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creativity

In the pause: Soothing a worrying mind

I’m so glad to be home, so excited for what’s next. And I’m not going to lie—I’m a little nervous, too. The second I solve one challenge or put one more concern to rest, another one is waiting in the wings and immediately steps into the spotlight of my attention. It’s moving, it’s job searching, it’s getting Phineas healthy and settled, and it’s the personal and professional to-do lists that never seem to end. None of this is bad at all; it’s just stuff that needs doing and I’m the one who need to do the doing.

Mine is a naturally worrying mind. I do my best to stay focused and composed though those pesky concerns are persistent little buggers. And unfortunately, if I can’t find a good one, I invent one. You know, just to get ahead of things! I don’t procrastinate well. I’m just not built for it; I often wish I was but it’s not my nature.

I was talking to my friend, Alex, and she reminded me about all of those posts we read when someone gives advice to their younger self. And they all say some variety of “Stop worrying. It’s going to be okay.” I try to imagine my older self telling myself today the same thing.

If like me you can’t stop worrying at least put the worries over there, way over there, so you can keep moving forward. I take a long walk. I take a deep breath. I remind myself of all of the difficult things I’ve done before, all of the trying circumstances I’ve survived. And that helps. Staying calm in the face of challenges is difficult, and it’s the only way to get through them. And get through them, we will.

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About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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To be a writer is to first be a listener and observer. I often go somewhere—a coffeeshop, a museum, a store—and just tune into the conversations of others. I don’t take out my phone or notebook. I don’t have any purpose other than to listen to what people say, how they say it, and then how people respond to them.

I tried this experiment recently at the @metmuseum. I went to their Astor Chinese Garden Court and sat there for a while as people wandered in and out. It’s a bright and peaceful place in the museum. Good for clearing the mind and opening up the ears.

It was fascinating to see such a diverse set of people come into the space and have a similar experience, of peace and contentment and happiness. It reminded me how hurried and cluttered our lives can become. And it made me more conscious of the power of places that give us time to just be. The expression of “wow” on everyone’s face when they entered the garden made me smile.

As we edge toward 2018 and the cold weather takes us indoors for a few months, I’m looking forward to more of these listening and observing activities. We have so much to learn from each other.

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