A Big Decision, A Book About Trees + Music for Sunday Morning

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// ramble on //

March. I was a disaster this month. With the biggest decision of my life to make and no idea what to do, my stress and anxiety levels skyrocketed higher than I knew they could go. I’ve historically been a “listen to your gut” kind of person, but my gut decided to sit this one out, bringing zilch to the table. I did a lot of introspection and a lot of advice-seeking. I had too many conversations, too many sleepless nights. I’d make a decision before bed just to flip flop when I woke up. The weight of the decision began to impact me physically. Heart palpitations, breathing issues, a few grey hairs (!). It’s remarkable how your mind impacts your body. In the 11th hour when I couldn’t take it anymore, I admitted the only way to make the decision was… to make the decision. By myself. All alone. Because really, no one could help. The pressure was agonizing. I’d already overthought every aspect. So I did the only thing I could think of: I wrote. It came pouring out of me. All of it. And by the end I was balling my eyes out and I knew what I had to do. And now, I’m moving to LA. It was astonishing how quickly my body returned to normal. The moment the decision was made, I could sleep again. My heart found it’s beat. I could breathe. And now I’m excited and terrified and going on an adventure and sometimes when a door opens, even if it’s hard, maybe especially if it’s hard…you jump through. Friends, fam, coworkers… thank you for your advice, your sadness, your understanding, your excitement. It means everything.

Sunshine Shoes in Venice | February 2017 | By Leora Katz

// from the quote note //

As I struggled with the decision, my collection of quotes came through once again. The words of wisdom I’d captured with a much clearer head were there to help me navigate back to who I am, what I believe, and who I aspire to be…

“If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine;
it is lethal” 
- Paulo Coelho

“Even the rightest choice can present itself to us shrouded in uncertainty and doubt at the outset, its rightness only crystallized in the clarity of hindsight.”
- Maria Popova

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. 
The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living.
The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.
The often surprising results of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert

// music meant for sunday //

A few years back, my brother and I decided to throw on a classic album we’d never listened to before. So we pulled up a “Best Of” list, chose The Velvet Underground & Nico, and gave it a whirl. It far-too-literally morphed into a Sunday morning ritual for me — drinking a coffee with the sweet sounds of Sunday Morning warming my heart, and the rest of the album setting the tone for my day. And on this Sunday morning, I share it with you.

// returning to nature //

Perhaps a subconscious reaction to stress, all the media I’ve been consuming recently has been nature-themed. I traded in articles about politics and tech for a book about trees, documentaries about music and culture for Planet Earth II. They’ve both become a welcome escape from this hyper-crazy time, reminders of the bigger and far more beautiful picture.

After the first three chapters of The Hidden Life of Trees, I was mesmerized. It’s a book about trees and their astonishing complexities. Did you know that trees of the same species are deeply connected to one another? They help each other through their root systems, strong trees sending nutrients to weaker trees to help them survive. They warn each other of danger, releasing scents their neighbour-trees can smell. They share resources, with no single tree trying to get ahead by taking more water or sunlight than it needs. And when left alone in their natural state, trees thrive — building beautiful communities that put us humans to shame.

From the Top | August 2016 | By Leora Katz

One evening as I was reading, my tired eyes began to close. I put the book down and instinctively reached for my iPhone. I stared at the icons for a few seconds and was about to tap Facebook or Instagram when I thought, “…No. I don’t want to. I feel so perfect right now, so full and content.” And my thoughts jumped to my childhood and teenage years, how lucky I was to come into myself before screens ruled the world. How different it all must be today.

I wonder…

Do kids play the same way we did? Do they use their imaginations to the degree that we did? Play outside for hours regardless of the weather, crafting secret worlds away from their parents’ overly watchful gaze?

Do tweens have sleepovers where they excitedly talk and dream and giggle till the wee hours of the morning, filling the room with stories, words, and imagination? Or are they constantly distracted by dings and beeps, signalling they’re wanted elsewhere?

And teens. I can’t imagine the extra pressure at a time when personal identity is so in flux. Relentlessly pulled by their phones, a gnawing addiction to look at what everyone else is doing instead of being focused on what they’re doing. An overwhelming impulse to ruin a perfect moment merely to capture it, to broadcast every action, to share instead of be.

Sigh. I feel old. This is how old people talk. Lamenting the latest. Romanticizing personal experience. Nostalgia taking over at the expense of technological advancements. But come on… the world really does seem fucked right now. Right? RIGHT? I’m not just old. I’m right. RIGHT?

Too many story apps with everyone focused on broadcasting their lives. Too many inane distractions from terrifying political atrocities. Too many dividing lines. The right and left. The haves and have nots. The ultra rich and everyone else. Complete confusion about what’s even real, if you have enough time to pay attention at all.

It’s all messed up and I wish everyone would just read this book, then play in the forest. And I mean everyone, from children to teachers to lawyers to taxi drivers to Mr. Trump himself. We humans could learn a thing or two-hundred from our giant, ancient, humble friends. About love, greed, and community. Friendship, support, and survival. Slowing down, embracing the moment, breathing deeply…

Read it. Please. Then tell your networks to do the same. I swear the world will be a better place.

// giggle //

You know this pink wall. You’ve seen it in your feeds, serving as a dutiful background for sweet and stylish shots. Well, it belongs to the Paul Smith store in West Hollywood. And thankfully, @melbroseplace is here to ruin the magic and show us how laughable our culture has become. Oh I can’t wait to giggle at this side of LA.

Photos by @melbroseplace

// all done //

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reply with your thoughts. Would love to hear from you :)

Love, Light, Leora ❤

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