This writing has been percolating since the holidays. All of the scents from home-cooked traditions and the sing-a-long music that paints a black-and-white picture of a distant era kicked up some old-fashioned nostalgia.
The fleeting familiarity that has a long-ago sense of home was so present. It was everywhere. It had me pondering, what is nostalgia?
Is it an emotion? A memory? A second cousin of deja’vu?
The phenomenon of nostalgia rippled through me this holiday season on overdrive.
Ironically, the word Nostalgia is quite nostalgic for me.
Self-referential, I know.
Nostalgia has significance from my childhood. My (*ahem*) well-connected Italian uncle had a sprawling entertainment complex in the heart of South Philadelphia, Palumbo’s. Part of Palumbo’s was a restaurant called Nostalgia.
I have faint yet distinct memories of Nostalgia; both as the swanky, old-school, Italian nightclub and the desire to know what nostalgia meant. It’s one of those intangible words, especially as a kid. If you grip too hard to define it, it’s gone.
The familial affiliation to Nostalgia always brings me back to memories through the lens of a child; the dark and lively restaurant scene, long tables with white linens, fancy women, men in ties pouring drinks, Shirley Temples, magician acts opening for top shelf entertainers, and visiting the smoky back office complete with rotary phones and paper calendars.
By definition, nostalgia means a longing for home or familiar surroundings. Or a bittersweet yearning for things of the past.
That feeling captivated my awareness over the holidays.
Not in desire for what was as a kid, but rather wishing I could somehow transcend time to be an adult in that era.
The sense of nostalgia I experienced this holiday season piqued a sense of wonder to peek into years before my time; believing it would somehow fill in the blanks of missing memories and wild curiosities.
What I would give for one night in a circa 1960’s Palumbo’s nightclub scene and have free reign to sit in that smoky back office and dish the dirt on the Who’s Who of Philadelphia, Tony Soprano style.
Anyone have a light?
Whether nostalgia is a mood, memory, or an emotion, all these years later I find it’s still best to not grip so hard.
Nostalgia lives in the archives. It’s fueled by the senses. And it’s not meant to be held onto. Like a good dream, it only lasts so long.
But dang is it ripe to connect the energetic body to physical reality… Around here we call that fascia.
Leaning on your physical body when your mind is in a mood of ethereal memory lane may not surface anything concrete but it can heighten a sense of knowing or belief to your core.
And sometimes that’s all you need.
Now that we’re on the other side of happy and merry, let’s focus on the body… because that’s not in the archives and you want to feel good in that thing, right?