Most of us experience life as a roller coaster ride. That might sound odd, but think how often we focus our attention on the extreme highs and the extreme lows of our lives. “Going up” moments like falling in love, getting a promotion, giving birth, getting married, going on vacation or completing a marathon get all the glory. Even our pains and sorrows — “going down” moments like broken hearts, lost opportunities, terrible arguments — are given their fare share of head space.
But what about when the ride is level and nothing is happening? Simple moments, like a bird chirping, a child’s laughter or a spider spinning a web outside our window. What about the beat of our own heart and the sound of our breath? Even though they seem insignificant, they’re not just “nothingness” that happen in between our up and downs. They’re the moments that — if we pay attention — can truly make our hearts soar.
No matter if we’re children or adults, we all need these moments when nothing is “happening.” Moments where we simply observe, and it’s neither good or bad. We need them in order to connect with life, as it truly is, right now. We need them to be present. And we need them in order to experience the kind of happiness that’s independent of any outside stimulants. The kind that’s within our own hearts. The kind that lasts.
A lot of the time, that means resisting reaching for my iPhone right when it’s about to appear. Or checking my email. Or turning on the television. So I have a new exercise I’ve started doing: Whenever I get the urge to distract myself, I force myself to be still. Instead of reaching for my phone, I raise my head and look out the window or look up at the sky. I notice things I haven’t noticed since I was a child. And it’s a wonderful feeling.
Preparing November’s Sweden With Love has been a great reminder that wonderful people are all around us. This month’s cover subject, actress Jorja Fox, is one of those people. The star of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Jorja has also co-starred on ER and The West Wing, making her one of a handful of actors who has played major roles in three of the most successful television dramas of all time. Jorja was photographed exclusively for Sweden With Love at her home in Los Angeles by award-winning photographer Elizabeth Messina. And although she dishes on former co-star George Clooney during our interview, that’s not what makes her so awesome. Come back on November 4, to find out why Jorja is one of the coolest girls around.
As usual, there will be new installments of Ask Five, In Good Company, Curated, My Daily Joy and more. I hope you enjoy this month’s Sweden With Love and, as always, I’d love to hear what you think!
Photograph of Ulrica by Elizabeth Messina ©2013.