Tuesday, June 20, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 62- lessons in turning 33 (part 11 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 

Lesson #31: Learn to like leftovers. I used to absolutely despise and hate leftovers. I HATED them. I hated having the same meal twice in a week. And then, something shifted. I started LOVING THEM. I am not super sure what happened...I think a lot of it had to do with my husband making the case for ease and grace during the work week so I wouldn't have to stress super hard about lunches or even dinner on a late work night. It also helps to have good, glass containers and awesome bamboo traveling utensils and a rockin' purple lunchbox.

Lesson #32: Drink more water. H2O is really the best thing for our brains and our bodies. I constantly have my water bottle with me, despite it's 40oz. size. It is clunky and looks obscene on a conference table in a meeting, but you know what? I don't really care because here is what I know: when I am hydrated, I operate wayyyyyy differently than when I am dehydrated. I am more alert, kinder, more engaged, less foggy, less moody and irritable, and way more apt to smile. So, drink your water.

Lesson #33: Settle down. A friend of mine recently mentioned to me how much more grounded I am. It was so incredibly powerful to hear that statement. I considered myself a dirtbag-nomad for so much of my life, especially throughout my early twenties. I wanted to run around crazily, doing all the things and seeing all the people. I never said no to anything and I was in a constant state of manic panic...rushing to the next thing and squeezing so much into my life there was barely any breathing room. So I settled down. I got really clear on what matters to me and had some powerful, somewhat painful realizations and experiences that put me in my place. Settling down isn't about getting married, having children, buying the house with the fence and the minivan. (Although, that may be settling down for some people). Settling down is really embracing one's sense of place. Really deepening into what some call the beautiful, splendid daily grind of life. It's doing the dishes while listening to the jazz station, or it's knowing your librarians and smiling at them when you see them at the grocery store, it's growing something in a garden or a pot, it's making your 9am yoga class on Saturday mornings non-negotiable, it's wearing slippers, it's sharing in grief and joy with the people in your life. This is by far my biggest lesson in turning 33 and I am grateful as heck for it.

Friday, June 16, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 61- lessons in turning 33 (part 10 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 

Lesson #28: Say grace...or gratitudes...or wishes. At our dinner table, we are big fans of saying what we're grateful for. We always start with gratitude, no matter what kind of day we had or what kind of commute we had to go through to get to the house. It always starts with gratitude. It cleans our insides, cleansing our palettes of our days and keeps us present to what's possible and good.

Lesson #29: There is nothing like a really good ol' hot shower. I am a fan of taking showers. It's how I start each and every morning (except for the weekends when I decide to dirtbag it up, or work in the garden first). A hot shower is one of my tried and true self-care strategies. It calms me down when I feel anxious, it washes away the dirt and stress and fatigue and uncertainty, and it puts me into mellow mode, where I am a lot more receptive and relaxed in the world.

Lesson #30: Technology is a good thing...most of the time. I am grateful for the technological advances the world has seen. It gives me the ability to stay deeply connected with my family and friends near and far. It allows me to share things that I find interesting. It connects me to knowledge, expanding my world view and opening my eyes. I also think technology teaches us about how staying present in this lifetime takes a lot of effort, and that is a good thing. It reminds us of the human condition of being highly distracted, unplugged, and disconnected. Technology can be a real teacher for us, if we are present and conscious.

Monday, June 12, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 60- lessons in turning 33 (part 9 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 

Lesson #25: Pick up your feet. Growing up, I remember my grandmothers always saying, "I am just going to pick me feet up for a bit." For most of my life, I had two paces...go 1000% or sleeping. I didn't embrace rest whatsoever. Rest? That was for lazy people. As I have shared in other posts, I had to change that way of living. Now, I find myself picking me feet up between tasks, savoring a mindful moment of breath and rest before moving onto the next project. I'm in this for the long haul.

Lesson #26: The power of the patio. My maternal grandparents had this lovely, expansive screened patio. There was an entrance from the house and from outside and it was amazing. I remember playing board games with my cousins and visiting with family as well as enjoying meals out there. Growing up, we had lots of outdoor spaces; a screen porch, a back deck (now a patio), and a picnic table in the yard. It was in those early memories where I developed my passion for outdoor sitting spaces. I love sitting outside and just watching life unfold; the birds at the feeder, the hanging baskets, even the rain drops. I love the feel of air on my skin anytime of day. Now, our Seattle home has a lovely covered deck and I enjoy that space so much. I always say that I would never sacrifice a deck and a yard to get a dishwasher and a bathtub, both of which we don't have. The outdoor space trumps all.

Lesson #27: Create a nook. Despite living in a tiny Seattle home, The Man and I have purposefully and creatively carved out individual nooks within our dwelling so that we can have focused, uninterrupted, nourishing time alone. We are both fairly introverted humans, so the power of the nook comes in handy when we just need a little thinking time or time to work on our own projects. At one point early on in our cohabitation, I wanted to simplify down to one nook and The Man cautioned against it. I am so glad he did. Now, I have a place for my books, my altar & meditation cushion, a writing desk, and I sit right next to the aquarium and get a view of the Olympic mountains. It's perfect and one of my most favorite parts about our house.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 59- lessons in turning 33 (part 8 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 

Lesson #22: There is enough room and time for everyone and everything. My relationship with time used to be heavily skewed. I was a chronic, manic, rusher. Rush, rush, rush. Trying to fit everything in and living in a place where scarcity mindset trumped all. Never enough time, never enough room. Looking back on it, it is exhausting even to remember those times in my life. It took some massive upheaval in the form of emotional breakdown and physical injuries to re-calibrate and literally transform my relationship to abundance. One of my mantras for living is there is enough time and enough room for everyone and everything...that matters. In this deep transformation, I got really clear on my values, my priorities, and aligned my actions with that.

Lesson #23: Invest in a good blender. Not much to elaborate on here, but I really, really, really love my blender. Smoothies have been a staple to keeping my diet semi in check. I know that I can pack some mega nutrients and yummy greens in a glass and feel amazingly nourished. Investing in not only a good blender, but good kitchen appliances can be a catalyst for good health and sharing good food with loved ones.

Lesson #24: Set the table and sit at it. Maybe it's my Italian ancestry, but I believe that dining tables are meant for two things; food & people. Not piles of junk mail, cell phones, wallets, keys, to do lists and crap. Tables are supportive in so many ways to our mindfulness practice, our gratitude practice, our communication and connection with our loved ones, and a direct connection with what nourishes our bodies. Sitting down for meals is integral to my own life, even if it's just a piece of fruit and cheese between breakfast and getting out in the garden. Sit down, take a breath, and enjoy.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 58- a week off

I took a week off from writing. Life has been feeling really full and at points, my internal brim of capacity was reaching overflow. Most of it has been really great stuff; my best friend was in town for a quick visit, I went out on a three day retreat to Whidbey Island, and things have been busy at work and in the garden. And I've been tired. Also, a little unmotivated.

Image result for cycleI recently have come across a really interesting theory about how time management is a fallacy. I do hold that belief to be true...managing our time is a myth. But managing our energy? That makes total sense. I have been diving deep into my own cycles; the seasons, my own moon cycle, the cycle of creativity, the garden, etc. What I am realizing is that no two days are exactly alike in terms of my energy. I have been loving Kate Northrup's work on this matter and it really resonates with me. So I have been doing a lot of tracking. Where I am energy wise and how I feel physically, emotionally, mentally and am starting to get some really great information.

So all in all, I have been trying to find my rhythm again while at the same time, being very gentle with myself. I am working with a lot of emotions and some days are more roller-coasty than others, but trying to maintain a deep curiosity as to how I am feeling and how I can respond skillfully and mindfully. There is more to come...including finishing up my "33 Lessons" series, but for now, I am curling up with my book and winding down to get some much needed shut-eye.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 57- lessons in turning 33 (part 7 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 


Lesson #19: Work to live, don't live to work. Maybe this lesson came in my early twenties where I worked myself to the bone. I traveled a lot and didn't have a ton of time to develop my own life and identity. I burned out fast and in the end felt resentful. One of my mantras that I share super often is the philosophy that I work to live. This also aligns with the Buddhist Eightfold Path of having Right Livelihood. I am fortunate to have created a job that integrates all parts of my being; my creative side, the autonomous side, the acts of service side, and the compassion side. I also realize that boundaries around work allow me to enjoy my life; spending quality time with friends and family with peace of mind that everything is fine on the work front, always doing serious unplugging on the weekends (no work e-mail on my phone and not checking it outside of work hours), as well as building in time for rest, vacation, and relaxation.

Lesson #20: We must develop the ability to let go of things from our past. When I took the Landmark Forum, a seminar designed to live powerfully in the world, they shared an analogy with us about how we live our lives. Think of life like a filing cabinet. We continue to mis-file our past right up front with our present and future. All of those files keep reminding us of our past and don't allow us to live in the present or create a new future for ourselves. When we continue to operate with a bad filing system, we get resentful, frustrated, and we start to disengage from our life. We have to file the past where it belongs...in the past.

Lesson #21: Live by the Pareto Principle. Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto Principle changed my life. The Pareto principle states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Through this principle, I have transformed so many of my habits and how I live my life. I also believe in the 80/20 rule applying to exercise, eating, and sleeping habits. By doing our best 80% of the time, that can influence us greatly.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#100daysofwriting: day 56- lessons in turning 33 (part 6 of 11)

This post is part of my "33 Lessons on Turning 33" in which I will be sharing 33 gems, insights, and pieces of witty wisdom over 11 posts. 


Lesson #16: Try to always assume good intent. Maybe it comes from all of my Buddhist studies, but one of my teachers once said to me, "We're all just doing the best we can with what we got." It becomes a conversation of empathy and I do believe it is true that we are all just trying to do our best and show up as our best selves. Sure, there are definitely assholes and bad people in the world, but when we show up assuming good intent, we can breathe just a little bit more and open our hearts just a wee bit more to let in the love and the compassion. And...this lesson is not about being walked all over or letting people take advantage of you. That is deemed unskillful compassion. So, try it out. What would life look like if we just shifted our lens to consider that we're all trying our best?

Lesson #17: Buy the good lotion. A couple years ago, I walked into Aveda and bought myself an awesome lotion. I splurged. I love that lotion to this day. It's totally the best. It makes my morning routine lovely. I get to engage in a lovely self-massage after my shower and I enjoy every but of it. When I put on the lotion, it reminds me that I matter. That I am worth it. Now, don't get this mixed up with this notion that my lotion and body products determine my entire self-esteem. It doesn't. But the lotion reminds me that taking care of myself is an investment and I must invest so I can serve in the best way possible in this world.

Lesson #18: Binge on the action movie. Every so often, my brain needs a total break. I need to unplug from the non-fiction/self-help/personal development/self-empowerment/spiritual growth world. When I met my husband, I was stunned by his AV setup. Now, I guess I consider it our AV setup; the surround sound system, the TV, the subwoofer, all of it. It has been a love/hate relationship but there is nothing better than plugging in an action flick at the end of the week and snacking on some popcorn. GOD! I LOVE IT! I used to feel guilty and ashamed, and now, I totally own it.