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When you feel like all of the flowers in your soul have wilted, go outside. Take off your shoes and run in the grass. Ride your bike to a flower field or walk or ride your old scooter or skateboard. Look at the flowers and smell them. Do not pluck them. The world does not need anymore deaths of beautiful things. Take pictures and draw them and plant the image of their petals in your mind. Flowers wilt when they are plucked, but images are permanently engraved on the paper of your mind. Pluck any weeds that suck the life out of the flowers. Just like a flower, you need to remove the weeds that drain the life out of you too.
Turn off your computer and television and phone. Read a book and admire the use of intricate words the author uses. Read a dictionary. Try to find words that describe the feelings that are flooding your mind. Write and draw masterpieces. Finger paint as if you are a toddler again. Make a friendship bracelet for the elderly woman that walks alone or the man in the black suit that is always rushing to work. Let them know that you care.
Bake something sweet. Find a recipe in an old recipe book and make it. There will be a mess and the kitchen will look like a scientist’s lab that had a chemical explosion. Give the treat to your family or siblings or even the angry neighbor that would always glance angrily at you when you played your music too loud or would shout outside when you were younger. Sometimes we all need to know that we can be forgiven.
Climb a tree. The old tree you used to always admire in the park, with large branches and a thick trunk. Climb it at sunrise or sunset. Forget your phone or instagram or any pictures. Let this be a picture only to be shared with the stems of your blood cells and the paper of your mind. Admire the way the trunk has scratches and dents and indentations and creases. Pluck a leaf and trace out the veins with your fingertip. Try to see if you can find any engravings from lost lovers or holes from the boy who hit the wrong target with his BB gun. Take your knife and engrave your initials with a heart around them. Lovers come and go, but when you love yourself you will always have that.
Go to the thrift store. Look through the old books with torn pages and yellowing paper. Try on clothing that was from an era ago. Look for hats that are too big and gloves that fit. Find something for your friend or the lonely guy or girl you see at school. A snow globe that reminds you of the way their eyes shine when the sunlight hits them or a small statue. It does not need to be expensive or perfect or beautiful. Just something so they know that you were thinking of them.
Find an old sandbox. Whether it be in your backyard or the park or your old school. Take a small bottle and collect the sand in it. When you are sad or confused or stressed, run the sand in your hands. Forget everything except for the sand. Try to remember the color of your favorite sand pail or the color of a lake you loved or the feeling of sand in between your toes. Think of when you were little and would get sand in your hair from the sandbox or beach or even when you would get dirt on your clothes from playing too rough outside. Remember the time when you could lose yourself in sandcastles and mud cakes.
Find fruits. Try to figure out what kind of fruits are on the trees when they are still green. Do not pick any. Only pick up the fruits that have fallen and feel the texture in your hands and smell them. Steal a ripe lemon or orange or avocado or nectarine from a neighbor. Only one. Return the favor someday with one of your fruits or vegetables. Look at the different shapes of the fruits that dangle from the tree branches. Large, small, long, short, narrow, wide, and still all are connected with the same tree. We all are different, but we are all connected on the soil of earth.
Look for eggshells on the grass and nests in the trees. Try to find out what kind of bird might have built that nest on the thick branch or what kind of birds hatched from the old eggshells on the floor. Do not touch any of the nests. Admire the intricacy and workmanship that went into them. Listen. Listen to the way birds chirp and the way they jump from branch to branch. Make a bird feeder and fill it with birdseed. Hang it up in front of your bedroom window. When you feel most lonely, watch the birds enjoy their gift you gave them.
Sing loudly. Go outside and sing. Let everyone in your neighborhood know that you are not going to let some broken notes ruin your song. Sing in the shower. Whatever or whoever stole the songs of your voice, should not be able to keep them. Sing like you are eight years old again, carefree and messy hair, cartoons and movies on your mind. Lose your voice from singing too much and too loudly. It is better to lose your voice than withhold your voice.
Find old chalk or buy new chalk. Find a spot on your cement to draw or write a positive message. Use your chalk in the street. Let the neighborhood kid that may annoy you try drawing or let the quiet little girl with parents that scream too loudly draw as well. Go to the park. Let anyone draw with you. Draw hopscotch for the younger kids and get tips from the artists. Write an encouraging message. Let everyone know they are loved. We all need a sign sometimes. Let this be their sign. Leave some chalk for anyone else who might want to draw. The homeless man that sits on the bench or the guy with a black coat might turn out to be an amazing artist.
Sometimes living feels more like dying slowly. But there are gardens to smell and pictures to draw and swings to swing on and grass to lie on and sunsets to see and bonfires to light and trees to climb and songs to sing and friends to make and words to learn and books to read and cartoons to watch and there are new things to try everyday and do not let a few dead flowers stop you from caring for your flowers that are still alive."
Live in Concert: Ásgeir at Mercury Lounge in New York (6/19)