Worry No More

IMG_1315[1]I recently took a trip to one of my favorite museums in New York City: American Folk Art Museum. This museum contains works of art by artists who were self-taught, many of who were in mental institutions. That alone is what draws me to AFAM so frequently. There is something so intriguing in witnessing how the mind and passions of an individual express themselves without any influence from the outside world.

While the museum is truly worth visiting, the museum shop is worth a trip in itself. The shop is deemed as one of the best in the world based on its uniqueness: the whole shop is composed of self-made artisan products. It is here that one can find the most special little gems. And that is just what I found on this trip.

While strolling through item after item, I came across a little cubical filled to the brim with these tiny handmade dolls from Guatemala. The back read as follows:

“Worry No More: There is a story that when the Mayan people of Guatemala have worries, they tell them to the worry dolls and then put them under their pillow at night. By morning, the worry dolls have taken all the worries away.”

It was at this moment when a thought possessed my mind and I have not been able to get rid of it since. Do I worry? Worrying is a consuming habit that many people struggle with. In fact, when it does overtake me, it can be draining, overpowering, and unshakable. However, I have found in recent years that I have shed my habit of worrying – but not for the better.

Instead I have replaced it with avoidance. I see myself avoiding issues and struggles in my life that would otherwise provide me with great stress. The problem lies with the fact that by avoiding them, although I relieve myself of worry and stress, the solution is only temporary.

This has never been more apparent than recently in my life. An event occurred that required me to rearrange the path I was going on. But instead of approaching the problem and figuring out how to come to a solution at the time in which it occurred, four months have pass. Today, the source of my worry has not gone away but rather grown larger and become more dangerous. What solution do I have now but to worry?

Why is it that I only find myself in these drastic extremes? I either allow the issue to consume me or assume it does not exist. How does one find the right balance between the two? How can I go about achieving this? In the meantime, I have the worry dolls to bring me comfort.

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Albanian League of Prizren

IMG_0212[1]Hands down, one of the top things you need to do while visiting Kosovo, or anywhere in the Balkans, is to go see The Albanian League of Prizren.

The League of Prizren was organized in January 5, 1877 as a defense of the Albanian territories and their human rights. The political organization was a response to western and ottoman influences. The western world, such as Berlin, attempted to give away Albanian land to neighboring countries as a way to decrease the influence of the Ottomans in Europe. The League was a way to demonstrate that the Albanian identity as a distinct entity from the Ottomans.

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When visiting, there are four aspects of the League you must see. First, there is the outside: the architecture and gardens. The architecture has been rebuilt and restored to exactly match the original. After that, you can visit the three museums. The first consists of art work from many different Albanian artists. This was my favorite part of the museum – the artwork all relates to the League of Prizren and there were quite a few pieces I enjoyed viewing.

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The second part of the museum is ethnographic and exhibits many rooms in traditional Albanian decor. There are also many old traditional items and clothing on display. I, unfortunately, only managed to get one photo.

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And finally, the third and most interesting installment displays the old books and documents of the members of the League of Prizren. This aspect is less cultural and more political. There are photos of the original party members. And documents they wrote back and forth to other nations indicating their statehood and rights.

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I love this row of photographs displaying the way the League looked throughout the years!

And finally, after you are done visiting the League of Prizren, I recommend you enter one of the MANY cafés right outside and have yourself some refreshing ice cream!

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