On specific occasions that punctuate the everyday: what times feel most special to you?
I really, really love dinner parties. Small or medium-sized, the elevated comfort of being with people I love in my own or someone else's home fills me up in a very specific way. I suppose it marries a few of my passions: food, wine, telling stories, building community. I think I feel most alive in these settings.
To get even closer to the idea, I'm remembering the sweetest bliss often exists in brief moments where the sun is slowly starting to set but I can still feel the warmth on my face, and am in the company of someone I really admire and trust. This type of moment feels more rare and perhaps because of that more treasured. So often that little pocket of time in the day is so fleeting that I miss it.
Thinking about it, I realize it's also been portable for me... I think of sitting with friends on a sidewalk in Florence at dusk, watching the city come down from a busy day; or turning the oven on in a Sicilian kitchen before opening a bottle of wine to take outside to the courtyard of a rented house full of some of my favourite people, some of whom are swimming in the pool, others reading books, someone lighting the grill. I think of sitting on the steps of the back door at my childhood-best-friend's house in South Africa, ice cubes clinking in a glass, sun on our faces, dreaming up ideas and hopes. It's apparent to me that this moment is a recurring theme in my life, sought out for a brief injection of belonging.
The other time I feel this kind of alchemy is in nature. Silence in "big nature" as my friend Emily calls it. Being immersed in natural surroundings that are overwhelmingly vast and wild... there might not be a better feeling than that: all at once inescapably part of something and also so very, very insignificant.
How might someone describe you?
The most honest description would probably come from my boyfriend, Alex, who really sees it all. Poor thing ;)
Descriptors that come to mind: honest, ambitious, loving, playful, emotional, dedicated, open-book, critical, fiery, stubborn, curious.
I am easily anxious and I worry a lot about pleasing people. I've been working on accepting that about myself and being gentle when those feelings arise... in an effort to not just default to them and maybe grow out of them eventually. Same goes for the critical, stubborn moments. I know that these things are part of my make up because of deep, deep conditioning and survival skills. I have a few cherished friendships that have helped me celebrate the more prickly parts of my personality and not write them off as "bad". I have friends who push back when I just go right to self-loathing or self-doubt.
And, we're not really supposed to promote the program, but in truth, Al-anon has been incredibly helpful in my understanding of why I am who I am. I've learned so much about myself; when to surrender to and when to resist my own inner machinery.