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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Restorative Walk and What Babies Teach Us

About once a week or so, I'm trying to post interviews with amazing and insightful people who inspire me! This week's focus is Emily.

Emily was our daughter's nanny for a while, and was such an amazing partner for us in caring for Flanna! From the moment I met her, I knew that she was the right nanny for us, and I've never had another caregiver who's ever come close to her in the intuitive and thoughtful way she treated our daughter. Emily has a spanish degree, lived in a yurt once upon a time, has compassion for all living things, is a rescuer of animals, is married to a kind artist, is a doula, and is now a mommy to an adorable little son. She has a quiet confidence that I wish I had, and I was really thrilled that she agreed to answer my happiness questions! Here are her responses:

1. When you're feeling blue, what do you do to make yourself happier?

It depends on the shade of blue. Sometimes I like to take a walk...
actually, a walk almost always helps, but sometimes it's more
difficult to get myself out and doing it than others. If I'm stuck in
the house, I like to take a hot shower and envision all my stress
being washed out (or sometimes I imagine the water is irrigating me
with good vibes, if I'm just "down" for no identifiable cause). If I
have enough time to myself, I'll turn off the lights in the living
room and practice yoga by myself -- I don't turn on a dvd or follow
any routine, I just move and stretch until I feel better (or until the
baby wakes up).

2. What's a little thing that you do regularly that makes you happy?

I wove this little basket that hangs by my front door. It's my worry
basket. Whenever I come back home, I mentally leave my worries in that
basket. Sometimes I take a trip outside just to "put" my worries in
it! It helps that I think the basket is really cute, and I'm pretty
proud that I actually wove a tiny basket.

3. What's something you've discovered that you'd you like your
child to know about happiness?

Well, for right now, my son's the one teaching me about happiness.
He really knows how to enjoy the moment and how to let the upsetting
moments float on by. Once he's done crying, it's like it never
happened.. he can go right back to being happy, as soon as the
situation has improved. He doesn't dwell on that uncomfortably wet
diaper he had an hour ago. When someone is funny and friendly with
him, he enjoys their presence without guarding himself. When he wakes
up in the morning, he smiles and squeals and meets the day with
excitement. It truly is a brand new day for him, another opportunity
to play and explore and learn. I'm trying to wake up with that kind of
attitude, too.


I agree that kids are able to wipe the slate clean much more quickly than we are, and that we old folks should work toward that again. Also, a good walk does more for my happiness than a hundred dark chocolate Hershey kisses. I think that was one of the reasons I was so happy in Athens…we had such a walking lifestyle that I got exercise and sunshine and social experiences without really trying. Also, I’m super jealous of anyone who can weave anything. And while jealousy might not increase my happiness level, I do think the visualization of leaving my worries at the door is a great idea. Thanks, Emily, for your insights!

What have children in your life taught you about happiness?

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