PenguinArt by Kate Garchinsky

Tag: trauma


When the world is a scary mystery, it’s time for self-care.

Self-care can be as simple as calling a friend and hearing a compassionate voice, or as elaborate as a trip to a secluded beach on a private island. For me, it’s paying attention to the birds. Really, really paying close attention. The best way for me to do this effectively is to sit down and draw them while they buzz around my birdfeeders. So, I’m going to do some of that this weekend. I’ll also take long walks in the woods with my binoculars, lay flat on the floor and let my dog lick my face, pet the cats until they chirp when they purr, and hug my husband a thousand times.

I think that’s a good start anyway. What will you do?

Tag: trauma

The dogs are long gone, outrun and outsmarted.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet.”
—Stephen Hawking

Things don’t always turn out the way we planned. And no matter how hard we worry, or try to prepare ourselves for the worst, worry is not control.

Feeling out of control can be scary, or it can be liberating, depending on whether we keep trying to regain control, or if we let it go.

When the world seems to be spinning out of my control, I retreat to nature. I lose myself in the woods, by the sea, in the mountains, wherever the creatures outnumber the people, and the wildness drowns out my noisy thoughts.

Sometimes it is enough just to know that the wilderness still exists. Other times I need to write down what I feel, and sketch what I see. When I do these things I am present in this moment–the only moment where I do have some control. Right now I can sit, I can stand, I can walk, I can breathe.

 This moment, this is a gift. It is life.

This weekend I’m heading to the Poconos for a few days with my loving husband and family. I’m gonna spend some time staring at the stars and the mountains.

You might try that too if you’re feeling out of control. A lake, a stream, a city park—any patch of nature will do. Find some wildlife and be an observer for a little while. See if you feel calmer as a result.

Maggie May climbing Mount Bierstadt with me. One of our last Rocky Mountain adventures before moving back to Pennsylvania. 2010

Above: Maggie May climbing Mount Bierstadt with me. One of our last Rocky Mountain adventures before moving back to Pennsylvania in 2010. Those mountains are still there, even though I can’t see them.