Go outside yourself

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If you find yourself in emotional distress or with thoughts weighing on you, prepare to leave the house for a few hours. Bring water, snacks, a notebook, a pen, and anything you might need for the weather and time of year. Get on a bus or subway and go to a place where you can see and hear other people, such as a crowded plaza, coffee shop, tourist attraction, university campus, etc. Choose a comfortable place to sit and begin to write in situ: scribble descriptions of the people and places, weather, overheard bits of conversation and interesting signage, while you think intensely about what is troubling you. Let your hand move across the page in a kind of meditation. Refrain from writing about how you feel or what you are thinking. Instead, let those emotions and thoughts steep through your observations, as though you were a character experiencing dramatic irony in a Greek play. Leave and go home once you have a feeling of being emptied out. Reread your notes later and you may find that by going outside yourself, you have in fact dived into the tornado within.