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Finding my Center in Central Park

I don’t know why, but sometimes I get obsessed with a song and have to listen to it over and over again. Currently that song is Pray by Sam Smith. In it he sings (with that crazy, amazing voice) about how he has gone through life separate from faith or spirituality, but that’s not cutting it for him anymore. One of my favorite lines is “I lift my up my head and the world is on fire.” Many times I’ve seen the news and come to the same conclusion as Sam—"maybe I’ll pray”…or meditate…When you feel the fire, there’s this desperate need for a higher connection and for peace and hope.

The other day I was feeling overwhelmed about hitting deadlines for projects and getting everything done. I wasn’t coming up for air and started to fear I had over-committed. My window was open, the sun was shining in, and a gorgeous breeze filled the room. Realistically I had no time to take a break, but I felt pulled to Central Park, so I went.

There I sat amid lush trees and green grass, in view of the city skyline at the same time. It’s such a juxtaposition, perfectly depicting a magical paradise in the middle of urban-jungle chaos.

Then I put my earbuds in and put Pray on repeat. When I lifted up my head, I saw two guys in front of me doing jumps and cool tricks as they threw a frisbee back and forth. To my left were two more guys doing back flips, no hands. To my right was a man doing the most beautiful, fluid fan-form Thai Chi. Then a toddler came stumbling into my view, chasing a huge blue ball that was three times as big as him, laughing all the way.

And just as Sam got to the line “Let’s talk about freedom,” a woman in a flowing, floral dress and bare feet came running by me flying a kite in the shape of a butterfly.

There I was, overwhelmed again, but now because of all the joy around me, with the most beautiful soundtrack singing in my ears.

It was all so incredibly over-the-top joyful it was almost absurd. But it was real. When I returned to my apartment, my tasks felt manageable—and I left some for the next day—because all the stress had lifted.

It’s so easy to get caught up in day-to-day challenges that seem as imposing as tall skyscrapers. But we all have a Central Park within us—we just have to get past all that outer chaos. Whatever it takes to find it—meditation, prayer, listening to a soul-touching song—do it. Once you get there, you’re free and there’s joy all around. My goal is to go to the park every day…even if I don’t leave my apartment.

It’s all about the magic. 🙌

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