Idol Chatter

To grasp what I am about to say and not think I am totally bonkers, you need to first understand: I have not have a day off in, oh I don’t know, four months maybe? I mean, not a single day off. Not even on the weekends. Physically, emotionally, and especially, spiritually, I feel as though I’ve been wrung dry.
coffeeheartsm.jpgSo the day after Thanksgiving, I got up and went to my favorite Manhattan coffee shop, Tarallucci E Vino, a little Italian place with great pastries in the best espresso in the city (I think) that, in simpler times, I frequented on a daily basis. I walked in the door, one of the women who works there greeted me like an old friend, told me to have a seat, she remembered my regular order. And she did.
My coffee arrived—an Americano, very strong, with steamed half and half—an almond croissant on the side. I pulled out the House & Home section of my New York Times from Thanksgiving day (I didn’t read the paper on the holiday), and happened to start reading Jancee Dunn’s inspired “With the Grace of Liberace Go I,” about her collection of 1950’s -60’s, and -70’s entertaining guides by the likes of Joan Crawford and Helen Gurley-Brown (from Cosmo).

As I sat there laughing out loud at Dunn’s hilarious wit, I took my first sip of coffee. With its unique, delicious taste I was flooded with feelings of goodness (I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true). To take a nod from John Wesley, I found my heart (and body) strangely warmed, even momentarily euphoric. I suddenly remembered so vividly how this simple ritual of coffee, a croissant, and the newspaper, something that I used to do daily, could somehow restore me in a single moment—no, transport me (as rituals are supposed to do) to a place in my self, in my life, in my history, associated with a pleasant sort of restful joy and reassurance.
Clearly I’ve needed a day off. Some time to myself. A morning to just sit and read. This morning I hit the trifecta of the contemporary, quick-fix spiritual retreat. And I am better for it.
What are your spiri-secular rituals? What simple acts restore you in these busy times?

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