December 20, 2013

Holiday Resilience Now.

The other night my wife was flipping through the On Demand movies on cable, trying to decide between Sharknado and Mansome.

“Honey what do you think?” she asked me while reading Mansome’s description: a comedic look at the varying grooming methods adopted by metrosexual men.

30 minutes and 12 previews later…”Let’s just f*cking pick something already!”

We ended up watching an absolute gem: A Year in Burgundy… about a year in the life of the wine culture in France’s Burgundy region.

We learned about people who spend their lives in the vineyards, in touch with the terroir, the seasons, the tradition.

Thank God we chose this movie instead of watching men shave their sandbags.

There was one moment in A Year in Burgundy which really captured my attention.

One of the winemakers was making fun of all the other winemakers, and how they coddle their vines and treat them like spoiled children.

This particular winemaker explained how he makes his vines get down and dirty, by feeding them less water thus forcing the vines to develop character and root deeper.

These vines become resilient to drought, and draw nourishment from the hard-to-access moisture in the depths of the earth.

They also produce a richer wine, if not for the taste, then for what John Steinbeck referred to as “the works of the roots of the vines.”




December 2nd marked the 4th Anniversary of my move to New York City.

Many friends and family have said, “After four years of living in this madness, what do you have to show for yourself? This tiny apartment? Your massive rent? I don’t get it. When are you moving home?”

Christopher McCandless (Into the Wild) wrote, “I read somewhere how important it is in life, not necessarily to be strong, but to feel strong, to measure yourself at least once.”

Whether by choice, or by circumstance, we all face moments in life that push us…and push us hard.

Many of you are facing something right now…overcoming illness, raising children, building a business, scraping together money to buy holiday gifts…and when we are pushed, we always have a choice. We either complain, or we get stronger.

Since moving to NYC, I’ve done plenty of complaining. But over these years, I have also:

–lost 20 lbs (in the Big Apple, you gotta bring your A game!)

developed a meditation practice (in a crazy outer world, you best have a peaceful inner one)

–learned to peacefully co-exist with my wife in a 500 square foot apartment

–painfully birthed a more confident version of my former self (otherwise New Yorkers eat you alive).

In the past, I withered in the wind. Now, I got roots!

God knows many of you are dealing with something far more intense than I can even imagine.

So to you and everyone out there who is going through something this holiday season…consider this question:

What became of The Tall Tree with eency-teency, little roots?

Ask The Strong Wind and he’ll tell you, “It’s not very mansome.”


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: courtesy of the author



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