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While many of the hobbies we’ve picked up during the pandemic have functioned as welcome diversions, there are some seemingly simple pursuits that are far more than a mere distraction—they're humble activities that can serve as eye-opening ways to find joy and even heal emotional wounds. Hair braiding, for instance, one of the most common worldwide beauty and self-care practices, also happens to be deeply therapeutic. The manual, repetitive pattern—over and under, up and down—in itself is a sort of tactile mantra focused on bringing something together rather than taking it apart.
“It’s the fact of creating oneness,” says Miami-based journalist, multimedia artist, and hair-braiding virtuoso, Danié Gómez-Ortigoza. “In Mexico, the indigenous tribes say that you should always tie your hair so that your thoughts are not scattered.”
A Mexico native, Gómez-Ortigoza is known for her ornate braids decorated with ribbon and canvas textiles for added visual effect (follow her mesmerizing artistry on Instagram @journeyofabraid). For her, braiding is so much more than a style statement; it’s a daily form of meditation. Fashioning a braid is her equivalent to getting ready to face the world, no matter what's happening. Whether…