How Your Hobby May Heal You

Have you ever thought, “That was the very last straw, and I can’t take it anymore”? If so, you are not alone. We all feel frustration along this journey we call life. What sets people apart isn’t the quality or magnitude of feeling out of sorts, swamped, or overloaded – but rather, the quality and magnitude of coping mechanisms cultivated to balance and deal with it all.

Some seem able to effortlessly organize themselves, their closets, and their schedules; others find it more difficult. While there are indeed people who are better than are others at riding life’s waves, nobody is born with total perspective, flawless coping tools, or life skills that will take them from womb to tomb without rocking their boat at some point.

Organization and time management are skills that can be learned. They often involve tapping into priorities, setting short and long term goals, and making three- to five-year plans. But what about that “last straw” and the frustration that results from feeling out of control of life in general? To address these, we may begin by considering where we are on the continuum of mind/body/spirit balance. If one thinks, “I’m not as ‘balanced’ as I could be,” then one might find it helpful to make a list of personal goals incorporating answers to the following questions:

  1. Do I have a talent, hobby, personal strength and/or favorite thing to do that creates a feeling of inner peace and/or joy for me?

  2. What makes me laugh?

  3. What lightens my heart?

In my case, the answers were as follows: (1) Writing, listening to music, and stretching; (2) My cat; watching animals and their silly antics; (3) Observing and communing with nature; helping others heal by offering tools and perspective; feeling I’ve contributed to channeling positive energy.

Putting these together, I realized I could begin to balance my own mind, body and spirit while gaining personal perspective through the written word. Indeed, my daily diary permitted me to become the “third person” as I viewed my recorded problems the following week with greater maturity and resolve; however, it wasn’t enough. I began to write poetry and short stories that reflected my own issues, but through eyes different from my own. I gave my dilemmas to water droplets and turtles; my fears to leaves and birds; and my frustration to all Creatures of the Meadow. After more than 15 years of doing this, one day I wrote what seemed to be a disjointed poem; the “speakers” were the earth, water droplets, and rays of sunlight. My jaw dropped. I shouted out loud, “Oh my gosh. It’s a book!” I frantically searched through over 15 years’ worth of hand-written and manually typed poems and short stories – I used a manual typewriter back then, until I upgraded to an electric one. My pages were all shapes and sizes. I found categories of stories that seemed to “flow,” although written years apart. That disjointed poem became the opening (until just before it went to the publisher, at which time a poem I wrote years prior became the opening). The book’s title: Tales of the Soil, and it was finally published in 2005.

I will be hosting an online Reading Circle to which I am extending an open invitation. The first seven people to respond via email (write: “Tales of The Soil” in the subject line) will be eligible to receive a free, signed copy of Tales of The Soil. There will be no “rules” that need be followed; no time schedule or assignments. Rather, I will remain available in an open forum (over the “Marcy’s World” Facebook page), and invite readers to offer thoughts, ideas and impressions through that venue, as well as on the air during my regularly scheduled broadcast on Saturday mornings from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. on Pawling Public Radio. As soon as I have the first seven participants, the Reading Circle will begin. I look forward to hearing from you!

Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World”on Pawling Public Radio. Email your questions to: For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit online.