Thursday, December 27, 2012

and so it is...


For most of my adult life, I have traveled home for the holidays. There is nothing quite like a New England Christmas; the snow, the cold, real Christmas trees, egg nog, lots of laughter, fires in the fireplace, game nights, living in pajamas, and just all around smiles. This year was no different as I made the trek from the Pacific Northwest to the East Coast. Coming home is something special. I love the downtime, the quiet, the laziness. I love the time I get away from my "normal life." It's so restorative.

These past few days, I have been engaging in a process of designing, planning, and scheming my 2013. I went through the Holiday Council (by Stratejoy) and it has been one of the most beneficial processes I have ever been a part of. It's quite a lot of work; debriefing 2012 in lots of different ways-what went well, what was challenging, what were the gaps, the disappointments, the joys, the smiles, the relationships, what did I let go of, what did I hold on to.

2012 was rough. It was an emotional roller-coaster of ups and downs, losses, and gains. There were so many highlights and some disappointments too. Death. loss, grieving, upset affected a lot of my energy. Although true, I just had so much gratitude for all the support systems and amazing self-care I got to engage in. I was lucky to have coast to coast support when things were not going so hot. I also found my calling in a wonderful non-profit doing amazing work with small businesses. My yoga mat was used, my writing expanded, and my love grew for my partner.

The next part of the process that I currently wrapped up this morning over an egg nog/coffee was starting the planning & scheming process of 2013. The first part of this was creating a theme for 2013 and also looking at my future self at the end of the year through a visualization exercise. I am happy to say that my theme for this upcoming year really lights me up all over: BLISSFUL VELOCITY. Every time I say it, I literally get goosebumps. I also defined my values for this year: Balance, Love, Integrity, Self-Care, Spirituality. (BLISS)

And so in the next few days as I wrap up 2012 and embark into 2013 with clear plans, goals, and knowing exactly how I want to feel, I am grounded in how blessed I am with my life and everything that makes it up, even the mundane parts. Ha!

May you take some time with your coffee or red wine, a scone or a piece of chocolate and start your scheming & designing of your new year. Cheers!




Monday, November 12, 2012

putting it to bed

Pulling, digging, thrashing around. It's that time of year when we start to put our gardens to bed. We have been out in the dirt on the weekends, digging, composting, pruning back, and peeling away the dead layers. Working in the garden this time of year is one of my favorite ways to be in tune with the season. It's nourishing in the sense because I feel really connected to the change in the seasons. No matter what has happened in the spring and summer, the fruits of my labor fade away in a good way. There remains a different feel for it all and I love it.

In the process of my gardening, a lot of emotion came up. The year is almost drawing to a close and we will put things to rest. Maybe like me, you will look back and reflect on what worked/what didn't work, what was amazing, who you are grateful for, and more. For me, it feels ironic that the last 2 months of the year are the busiest after 10 months of pushing through. They should be warm, restful, cozy as opposed to frenetic, maddening, overwhelming.  So, what can we do about it?

Put things to bed.

This year has been a ebb and flow of ups and downs, mountains a valleys. I have experienced quite a bit of loss which has taken its toll emotionally yet there have been so many highlights: traveling, a new job & promotion, getting back into my yoga more than ever, enjoying my relationship, defining my core values, and finally feeling settled. I want to relish in the good of this year even in the midst of acknowledging the not so good. But my overall commitment in wrapping up the year is that I can let what hasn't happened go. I can put things to rest that are sucking my energy and time. I can laugh instead of fret. I can choose.

This time of year pushes us to the limits. I am loving lazy Friday and Saturday nights, staying in versus going out and being picky about what really matters. I am being gently with myself and my body as I know my personal tendencies to wrap myself up in chaos and overcommitment.

Let us take a moment to just pause...even for 5 minutes and enjoy the fruits of this year. Let us make the intention to put certain things to bed and smile as we tuck them in and say goodbye.

Friday, November 2, 2012

and breathe...


Helloooooo November! Wow, it is hard to believe that we only have about 60 days left of 2012. It catapults me into "reflection & gratefulness" mode. It also pushes me to the edge of feeling a tad overwhelmed and a bit frazzled.

I sit here decompressing after a tough couple weeks: losing our dog, a root canal, and consistent rain hitting the Northwest. The political ads are aggravating, the traffic is horrible, I miss my family, and it is hard to wake up in this dark and gloomy weather in the morning and get myself going. 

Amidst all of this crud, I am pushed to breathe in immense gratitude and peace, even facing the overwhelm, the traffic, the election. I am grateful for nourishing relationships and constant support that spans the country. I am thankful for a challenging and rewarding job. The hot meals I come home to at night. Hugs and cuddling when I am feeling down. Time on my yoga mat. Time to write and laugh. 

What I realize is that it is all good. All is well. All I have to do is breathe. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

what my root canal taught me


Smile Mouth Teeth Clip ArtSo I underwent my first root canal this morning...what a wonderful way to start the week. As I sat back in the chair and anticipated the worst, what happened was pretty magical. The music from my iPod pumped into my ears and the drilling, poking, and prodding never made me flinch. The whole thing about a root canal is removing the decay and also to make room for a "new" tooth of sorts.

Usually, my blog posts come from a place of life metaphors and this moment was no different than the rest.

It's all about restoration and building up, from death and decay.

Hmmmm.

To be totally blunt, 2012 has been a year of change, transition, death, dying, and loss. It has proven to be a year of tragedy but at the same time growth, blooming, and celebration of new opportunity. How can we live in both of these worlds at the same time?

Throughout this crazy year, I have come to the realization there are no guarantees. Just like the dentist-you go in, you hope you get a clean bill of healthy teeth, and you walk out with your 6 month appointment card in hand. But, sometimes, you get bad news: fillings, or in my case, a friggin root canal. But, what remains true is that you simply acknowledge what is and adjust. Whether it's your business, your job, your relationship, you adjust and do what you have to do to keep on living that oh so blissful life you lead.

Needless to say, I took the day off from work, caught up on some stupid TV, and ate a sleeve of thin mints and homemade pizza. I'm ready to get back to work after being out of the office last week for a conference and then mourning the loss of our pup this weekend. It's been up and down but I feel as though I am moving forward with excitement and ease.

Friday, October 26, 2012

on losing a best friend

The past week has been full of grieving. Grieving a loss that arrived this morning. 
Ginger, our lovely, unconditionally loving, amazing fur ball, was put down to sleep. She has been struggling with liver disease for two months and has been an absolute trooper. I know when I left this morning, I was saying goodbye for good. It broke my heart yet it was important for me to keep in mind that her quality of life was truly diminishing fast. I could see it in her eyes that she was almost about to cry. 

Ginger on my yoga mat, one of her favorite activities. 
Loss is something we all experience and it is important to recognize that we all deal with it in our own way. 
I will say that in my experiences, especially those in the last year or so, I have been more conscious about gratitude and expressing my fondness of the memories. Sharing the memories makes the loss a little bit more bearable. Don't get me wrong, the losses will stay with us for awhile, little things will bring us to tears, but revel in joyous memories. That makes living our bliss just a little bit easier. 

Yesterday on my way home from my conference in Tacoma, 'Angel,' by Sarah MacLachlan. It brings tears to my eyes. In honor of my furry best friend, I dedicate this to her.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

resistance in change


As I embark on my sixth year of living in the PNW, I have finally come to terms with the amazingly fast transition into fall/winter from summer. All of a sudden it feels like the sunshine took off never to be seen again, the drizzle and grey skies unpack their suitcases and settle in without giving a thought, and I am left in a state of incredible disbelief. All I want to do is stay in my cozy clothes, under a down throw, and eat chowder, chili, and pie as well as sip hot tea like it was going out of style.

Along with this transition comes complete and utter resistance and non-acceptance of the change. Not only do I start to miss long summer days, shorts, and chaco's but I feel a deep sense of melancholy take over my entire being. I resist the change through eating more junk food, crashing on the couch after work instead of hitting the gym, sleeping way more than I think I should, and being quite moody with everyone. Little things start to annoy me more and I notice I don't want to do a damn thing (i.e. paperwork, balancing the checkbook, cleaning out my car, packing my lunch, etc.) I start to resist.

The crazy thing about this whole resistance movement is that internally, I know better and I know exactly what's going on. It's normal. It's the way we change with the season. It's okay. Instead of being hard pressed to change what is through monumental changes, I can just start to feel what I am feeling and be careful not to attach myself to it. It's like a mini-buddhist practice.

Moving from resistance to acceptance is something I have been working on personally for quite sometime. I consider myself a fighter of sorts, not giving up, the word 'quit' not in my vocabulary but there are times that I know letting go and accepting is much easier than putting up a fight that in the end will be exhausting, draining, and leaving me resentful.

So, what are my core practices around this?
1. Sturdy & stable self-care. Massages, naps, sleep, practicing yoga, journaling, eating healthy foods.
2. Expression of the feelings in a healthy, non-destructive way, whether it's locking myself in my car and crying my eyes out or screaming into a pillow.
3. More light exposure. Hikes & walks in nature this time of year are key.
4. Tap into support systems. Friends and family are the givers of the support and compassion and it proves to be a win-win for everyone.
5. Maintain structure, regularity, and routine. The mind over matter piece is key.

Like I said before, it's like a mini-buddhist retreat all the time. Constantly observing, being a witness, moving through it, and making small changes. There is light at the end of the seasonal changes, that's what is so cool about the seasons.

May you be blessed this fall and always.

Monday, October 1, 2012

deep needs: knitting, car maintenance, and yoga

Wow. Autumn is finally here, officially speaking. I am always so sad to see the summer fade into distant memories, almost like "Christmas Past" from the Charles Dickens novel. It feels as though it is an abyss to never be seen again but yet it comes around faster than one might think. I know that as I get older, I feel the seasons change and time move in a different way from when I was younger, mostly because the seasons seem to affect me more and more both in good and challenging ways.

 I feel as though lately with the transition from summer to fall, I have had a few 'deep needs.' For instance, getting things in order, organizing, decluttering. I cleaned out my office nook recently and organized and purged, shredded and did some much needed data entry and e-file cleanup. Also, I have this deep need to move my body. I have been hitting the gym more, getting on my yoga mat again, and sweating out my junk. It is becoming more and more apparent that I need to listen to my 'deep needs,' no matter what they are. It is in our intuition that we learn the most about ourselves and the world.

On a fun note, I took a learn to knit class a few weekends ago. I decided that in keeping with my theme of trying new things this fall, knitting was in order. I have always wanted to learn and finally, I signed up for a class at the local neighborhood knit/yarn shop down the street from my house. I am in love with it and it is keeping my hands busy at night, helping me wind down. It also humbles me to know I am always in process.

The Man and I (mostly The Man) has been getting my car maintenance up to date. We did some big work recently (Transmission fluid flush, coolant flush, spark plug replacement, cap and rotor, etc.) I absolutely abhor car work. I hate it but I am SO INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL for The Man because he does it. I merely go with him, buy the stuff that he needs, and he does it. The car maintenance is such an incredible metaphor for life in general. We all have those things we hate doing yet know they are necessary and when we keep putting them off, it does nobody any good. Find a way to get it done and JUST DO IT.

I also got back on my yoga mat the past few Sundays. It feels so good to stretch and breathe. Yoga is my grounding place. It's my thing. Yet, similar to the car maintenance, I leave it off the list. It's funny how those things go sometimes where we know if we did the important things, our lives would be incredibly different, yet we don't. How do we change this?

I have been thinking a lot about this concept of putting off the things that matter.Whether it's taking our vitamins, seeing the dentist, going to bed 30 minutes earlier, whatever. We put off the things that matter and it leaves in a place of painful resentment and crabbiness. So, what do we do? Well, I hate to say it, but the tried and true method of doing anything is putting it into existence. Think: Google Calendar, iCal, your planner, an alarm. ANYTHING! But when we put something into existence, it's more likely to happen. It becomes an investment of sorts. (Think of putting pennies into a piggy bank over time).

So, this fall, I am taking the path of doing the things that matter: My yoga, time to myself, cooking more, eating better, taking time to plan, dream, reflect, design, write.

How about you? What are you putting into existence?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

getting back in the saddle


Oh September. One of my all time favorite months. Not only does the weather hold it's warm days and cool nights, but everything feels fresh and new. The yellow school buses start rolling through the streets, the feel of brand new denim on the skin reminds us of school days past and who doesn't go out and get some crisp, clean notebooks and fun pens? Soups replace dining al fresco, and leather boots cover callused Chaco toes. 

I have had one AMAZING summer. It has been so full of travel, love, friendship, and trying new things. It has been chock full of adventure: a trip to Maine, Colorado, camping on Whidbey Island, and guests in town, bringing me out to hike, swim, eat, and shop. I have been so incredibly busy with wrapping up the summer, that I am finally feeling somewhat grounded in what fall is about to bring even 15 days into September. 

For instance, I am really taking on living in the possibility of health & wellness this fall including being more active and hitting the gym. Not only do I feel stronger, but I show up better in all areas of my life because I am managing that funky little bug called stress. 

Also, I am rededicating myself to my writing practice. This summer, I have taken to my journal and have traveled anywhere and everywhere with it, filling the pages with my Pilot G2 Fine Ink Black Pens. So many insights about where I want to be have shown up in my journaling this summer and it has been so nice to use it as a processing tool. This fall is all about getting back to my blog again.

My overall BIG themes for the fall include:
Nurture, Nourish, and Flourish
Remembering to take care of myself and practice extraordinary self-care. Nurture my talents and passions each and every day. Be careful of not drowning in my to do lists. Nourishing and taking care of all my relationships.
Try New Things
I took a Learn to Knit Class this weekend and loved it. I am going to use my African Drumming gift certificate here in the upcoming weeks as well as get a haircut and revive some of my wardrobe for fall.
Just Do IT
This fall is all about ACTION for me. Taking action in all areas of my life and not succumbing to procrastination. It's so hard, especially when that rain starts to fall and all I want to do is eat crusty bread and chowder and curl up in my sweats. Well, not this fall. I am taking the actions necessary so I can reap the rewards down the road. Think: Financial Planning, taking stock of long term goals, packing my lunches the night before, and getting up at the same time everyday.

My hope is that this fall will allow everyone including myself to get back to basics and get in touch with the foundations that make our lives worth living. 

Happy Fall!


 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

summer notes: highs & lows

Greetings August! Wow, where has the summer gone? It's hard to believe that I am sitting her in the nook with just my sarong on and trying to stay cool midst the 90+ degree weekend we have had. Out of all the summer months, August is my absolute favorite. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I would say it is the best month to enjoy the outdoors and take advantage of all things summer; swimming, ice cream, bbq's, boating, etc. I feel strongly that adults should play just as hard during the summer as the kiddies who are out of school. I live pretty true to the quote, "All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl." Summer and life in general are just too short to sit back and let it pass by.

With that said, I have been away from the blog for about a month and I thought I was due for an update on my summer happenings & adventures.

The Great Outdoors...
So far, I have been lucky to spend a lot of time outside; hiking, scooters, swimming in lakes, a day at the beach in Maine, evening walks with the man and Ginger, picnics, outdoor cafes, grilling, gardening, you name it...even a water park.

The Summer of Fiction...
Ever since I could remember, I participated in summer reading programs at the local library. Weekly, I would go and browse the shelves, pick up as many books I could hold in my arms, and head home where I would read when the sun would go down or I wanted a tiny respite in the middle of an adventure, road trip, or camping excursion. I only read fiction during the summer; fun beach reads, tales of friendship, coming of age, and love. Yep, I'm still doing it and I have already made my way through 5 pieces of fiction this summer.

Embracing My Inner Hippie Chic...
More yoga, more smiling, more spontaneity, less pushing, less workaholism, more friendship, more connection, stomping around in bare feet and sarongs, following what feels good, even if that means eating bacon.

Cleaning Up My Diet...
So, despite the bacon, August is my time of trying out the gluten free thing. It's been something I have been avoiding for awhile but what better time to do it than when the produce is at the height of its season? I have been going strong for about 5 days now and I am noticing subtle changes; ability to focus, less fatigue in the middle of the day, etc. More check ins on that later.

Dealing with grief. 
My nana passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago.. It was absolutely devastating. I was crushed. I cried, felt pretty low and down, and turned inward. Not something I wanted to experience this summer at all. In the past year, I have lost 3 grandparents and one cousin. It doesn't seem fair, real, or possible yet death does arrive at the door when we are never expecting it.

My relationship with my nana had been somewhat of a rollercoaster throughout the years; ups and downs and most recently we have found common ground on having a wonderful granddaughter-grandmother relationship. She was enjoying her life to the fullest; working at the golf course part-time, getting out and exercising, and just really being present in her interactions with all of us. Most of all, my nana loved reading my blog. It was a conversation starter and a way for her to be informed of my life on the West Coast.


An Impromptu Trip To Maine...
With the darkness, comes the light. Because of my nana passing away, I went home to Maine to be close to my family. Yes, a lot of tears were shed and there was a sense of heaviness with my visit BUT my whole family was together, the 4 of us, just like old times. We shared in adventures; beaches, lobster, a 5k run, campfires, dining outside, shopping trips, a yoga class with mom, swimming, art walk, and just being with  each other. So...the summer continues to unfold and I am loving it, despite the hardships. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

refilling our well


The more and more I am immersed into the Blogosphere, I read posts by amazing writers who are highly spiritually evolved writing about the concept of "filling the well."

I was first introduced to this concept way back in high school when I picked up a book at the Auburn Public Library, a library I basically grew up in. The book was "Everyday Sacred: A Woman's Journey Home," by Sue Bender. What I remember most about this book is that it was my first "real" read about a woman bringing spirituality back into her everyday life. It was profound in a way that made sense to me, growing up in a small town in Maine, absorbing these simple lessons of spirituality aside from my Catholic upbringing. Since reading that book many years ago, I have continually been a spiritual text junkie. I will read anything and everything having to do with spiritual development and the like if it comes my way. This is one of my favorite hobbies and an activity that "fills my well," or in simpler terms, renews me and brings me joy from the inside out.

Refilling our wells has become such a vital form of self-renewal for those living on the planet. The demands continue to come at us, hard and fast and it feels as though we can hardly catch a breath sometimes. More and more, we are pushed into growth & panic zones, rarely finding solace in our comfort zones. We have deadlines, responsibilities, duties; some written, some unwritten. What's a human to do?

The Man posted this amazing quite by Pema Chodron on my Facebook page last week after a conversation we were having about "taking care of ourselves." It becomes a heated topic in our household because we are the types that push and push and give and give and leave very little for ourselves when it comes to the end of the day.

The quote...
"I’ve known many people who have spent years exercising daily, getting massages, doing yoga, faithfully following one food or vitamin regimen after another, pursuing spiritual teachers and different styles of meditation, all in the name of taking care of themselves. Then something bad happens to them and all those years don’t seem to have added up to the inner strength and kindness for themselves that they need to relate with what’s happening. And they don’t add up to being able to help other people or the environment.

When taking care of ourselves is all about me, it never gets at the unshakable tenderness and confidence that we’ll need when everything falls apart. When we start to develop maitri for ourselves, unconditional acceptance of ourselves, then we’re really taking care of ourselves in a way that pays off. We feel more at home with our own bodies and minds and more at home in the world. As our kindness for ourselves grows, so does our kindness for other people."
(Taking The Leap)


I absolutely love this because it is beyond just applicable, it is a practice to be lived day in and day out. I looked at this quote and thought to myself, "I can do this. I can practice unconditional acceptance the best I can for as along as I can," knowing it's not going to be perfect everyday.

Of course, this all aligns with Living Our Bliss. It is a practice and nothing else. There is no destination, only now. Enjoy and love yourself every minute, no matter what is pushing you.

Monday, July 2, 2012

remembering summer


The onset of summer opens a floodgate of memories, mainly memories of growing up in Maine and experiencing hot days, cool nights, running around from dawn until dusk, consuming obnoxious amounts of lemonade, food off the grill and the like. The memories bring so much joy to my life as living far away from family can trigger many bouts of home sickness, especially when thinking about a lobster feed in the backyard. The summers meant my mom was home with us since being a teacher provided her a perfect schedule with kids
When I was little, it never even crossed my mind that summers would eventually just blend in with the rest of the seasons; getting up, showering, grabbing breakfast, heading to work, coming home, and doing it all over again; 5 days on, 2 days off. There lies a fragile innocence when you don't anticipate this fact.

Since I moved out of my parents house almost 10 years ago and headed west, every summer has proven to be an adventure even though it didn't fit the "10 weeks of fun" cookie cutter summers. The summer after my freshman year of college, I stayed in Colorado nursing a sprained ankle from a climbing injury and waited for my Wilderness First Responder Course to start. I slept on a couch in a house with two friends who drank way too much alcohol and smoked way too much pot. I scraped by on granola, yogurt, and reduced produce and deli meals from the local grocery store. That summer, some guy friends who were renting a house down the street took my under their wing, invited me to their bbq's, and let me sip on good beer while we played cards at their dining table. I fell in love with one of them and the following fall, we were dating.

The summer after graduating college, I took a 3 week solo trip to Nepal and the Himalayas, trekked to Everest Base Camp, slept in tea huts, ate dahl, and meditated in Buddhist monasteries, receiving spiritual teachings from sherpas and monks alike. After that three week trip, my dad and I drove to Seattle where I would start my first job.

My first summer in Seattle was all work. As an intern trying to earn a full time spot in the company, I took on lots of projects and immersed myself in everything corporate training related. I was on the Microsoft Campus a lot of hours and yes, my internship did land me a full time position with the company and I stayed their for 2.5 years.

Then there was my first summer as an Assistant Summer Camp Director; a dream job of sorts. Chaco tans, suntans, and water balloon fights with kids. Mix in some weddings, a funeral, and a little burnout, I wrapped up my second summer at summer camp realizing that I was too tired to enjoy my own summer.

To make a long story short, I am now here, embarking on my 5th Seattle summer and settling in to a quiet, domesticated life of sorts with adventure, gardening, sipping delicious drinks on my deck, and remembering all the summers past full of laughter, hard work, and pure, uninhibited fun. Summer is a time to not only revel in the memories of summers past, but to create new memories and traditions as they spontaneously emerge whether it is happy hours on a deck, hikes to a new peak, or picnics with loved ones. All the memories count. They all make our summers worth living for.

on a heavy heart

There are those moments you dread in your life. Those phone calls you know are just not full of good news. Those conversations you step into with that spidey sense running up and down your spine. Today, I woke up and was going through my Monday morning routine in that not so mindful sort of way; snooze the alarm, try to catch some extra zzz's, finally decide to get up, take a shower, and start getting ready for work while mentally noting the items to add to the to do list; contact so and so for a meeting, run those boxes to storage, enter that data, etc, etc. Just as I was about to brush the knots out of my hair, The Man's cell phone was ringing and I just happened to look at it-my mom was calling. This couldn't be good.

My mom informed me that early this morning, the divine universe decided to take my cousin Tony Donatelli from the material earth. He was so full of life, brought laughter to our gatherings, and was an amazing son, husband, and father. I just saw Tony and his beautiful family in April at my grandmother's 90th which seemed like yesterday yet it felt like forever ago. I was shocked. I started bawling. I was so angry. It wasn't fair.

Living so far away makes me feel helpless sometimes; not able to comfort and provide the immediate condolences. Being part of an Italian family, family is everything. Even though I am 50% Italian, my mom and dad raised my brother and I to know that without family, nothing is really possible.

There's really not much else to say about the whole situation other than it is tragically sad. It also reminds me that we are never guaranteed a tomorrow, that we must express our love and gratitude as much as possible. With a heavy heart, I go forth and try to bring more light and love into my community.

Tony, may you rest in peace among the stars.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

weekends are good for...


In this house

...enjoying a hot cup of coffee while being barefoot in your house.
...clearing up those little pieces of clutter that have been nagging you all week.
...the smell of fresh laundry and the feel of clean sheets on the bed.
...snuggling and family time in bed after 8am.
...not setting an alarm.
...phone calls to the east coast and the mountains to connect with loved ones.
...a breakfast plate consisting of a juicy peach, sourdough bread from Pike Place market, and bacon.
...couch time.
...a weekend yoga class.
...walks with the dog.
...a trip to the library.
...a free event in the neighborhood.
...jean shorts and a comfy long sleeve and birkenstocks.
...the lack of e-mail notifications.
...dreaming and silence.

what are your weekends good for?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wishcasting Wednesday: What is your heart's wish?


Ahhhh...to be back on the Wishcasting Train again. It has been wayyyyyy too long but the best thing about wishing is that you can always come back just as inspired and gracious from the last time. Jamie Ridler over at Jamie Ridler Studios poses this week's Wishcasting prompt: What is your heart's wish?

When I really sit in silence, I can listen to my heart beat. It's a steady feeling and sound. My inhales and exhales fall in sync with the beating of my heart and a smile arrives on my face. A deep breath in and space is created. I can tune in clearly to my desires and wishes.

My heart's wish is to be present in all my interactions with others. To let the past be the past, to not get anxious about the future, but to remain grounded in what is directly in front of me and go from there. I also wish for bliss in every area of my life, to live powerfully in all aspects in how I show up in the world. I wish for love, both giving it and receiving it without question or condition. I wish for more "blank space" to follow my natural rhythms and what feels good. I also wish for more yoga, reading, champagne, barefeet, and sunshine.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

what the snail taught me

Today, I walked to Subway to grab lunch. It was cool, a bit crisp and on the damp side of course. The sky has been grey here in Seattle and it doesn't quite feel like summer yet. I smile when the small bits of sunshine peek through the clouds and fight their way to the people on the streets. On my walk, I decided to call my mom since she is on summer break. As a teacher, she gets to determine the course of her days. She picked up and was telling me how productive she has been, how she is getting back to yoga, kayaking with my dad, and enjoying her patio. I was immediately jealous. Then I looked down at the sidewalk and saw this snail just working it's way along from sidewalk to bushes. Oh so slowly. I watched the movement and was amazed at the slow yet steady pace. Lately, I have been feeling quite snail like.

I first want to acknowledge the fact that there have been lots of changes this year for me. I have been in my new position now for almost 3 months and have been giving my brain a workout with learning new systems, meeting new people, and adopting a new routine. I have had some major shifts in my financial health & well-being. It has been a long journey, but I am finally feeling like I am gaining much needed traction and control. Livelihood and financial sustainability are so interconnected and they must coexist in bliss. :)


The snail feeling I have relates to my physical well-being. Yes, I am doing yoga still but my eating and regular trips to the Gym aren't where I would like them to be. I also struggle with a daily routine and wish I could write and meditate more. One thing that has been a constant project for me is my self-care, personal transformation and my learning to rest and be in the moment. I have a tendency to push myself to the limit, leaving very little energy reserves in the tank. I have been much better about this but I still have to work on realistic expectations and my boundaries.


The thing about the snail is it not only arrived at it's destination of the grass, but it kept moving at that slow and steady pace. A great lesson to always embrace; we are always moving and life is in constant process.


Enjoy the journey!

i'm lovin it

Just a few pieces of yummy inspiration for a grey sky Tuesday. 


good one:)


rock climbing wall

Friday, June 22, 2012

stuck




Home. Shoes are off. The rain makes a steady sound outside the window and I am sitting here in my writing nook so grateful to be out of the mess. My commute today home took about 90 solid minutes. Most of that time, I was stuck and not moving. To give you more of a context, from my front door to my office with NO traffic whatsoever, it takes me about 20 minutes. Usually, when I drive, I make it home during the rush hour in about 30-35. Not horrible. Until today.

When I first moved to Seattle, I learned very fast how to deal with the traffic. I term my learning curve as "experiential immersion." I had to learn fast. At first, I hated the traffic. I would merge onto Interstate 5 white knuckled, cold, sweaty, and clammy and hold my breath, not being too aggressive and at certain moments being passive to the point where I could have caused an accident. Then, about 2 years ago, I got into an accident during a heavy rain. Totaled my car, thankfully nobody was hurt. I learned my lesson of not following too closely.
As I crawled and scooted home today, inch by inch, mile by mile, I started to think about this idea of being stuck and what it feels like. I played the funny role of "curious observer," and just noticed bodily sensations, thoughts, emotions, and the like. Being stuck sucks. Not only in traffic, but in our lives as well.

I definitely classify myself under the "Mover and Shaker" category in my life. Always taking action, running off my Type A adrenaline, and getting shi*t done. Enough said, right? But I hit walls too. I get stuck, spend time in ruts that aren't too productive, exercise ambivalence in the department of self-care, and then sabotage myself. We all do. It's okay. It's necessary to grow. How so?
Well, energetically speaking, the universe puts us where we need to be on order to gain the lessons it has to teach us. I know it sounds a bit "woo woo," but think about the times when you have been stuck, in a rut, or repeating necessary behaviors. You eventually come out on the other side and you become more evolved, living at a higher vibrational level. You bring with you evolutionary intelligence and it's a magical thing.
In my traffic mess today, I realized that tiny actions brought me through the stuckness. For instance, my relationship with my finances. Getting honest about them was a small step, even though it felt huge and moved me to take action with them. Doing my yoga or deep breathing for 15 minutes a day is such a tiny movement, but it creates some stability for me in my self-care routine. Setting an alarm to go off at 1:30pm everyday reminds me to take a break and eat and get away from my desk. It all adds up.

Here's a simple reflection to do if you are feeling like you have been in traffic for way too long:

1. Identify one area in your life where you feel stuck. (Think about what brings up feeling of dread; is it balancing your checkbook, the clutter in your house; the extra pounds you have put on).

2. Sit and breathe and be with your "area." What brings up the dread? What is the one word reflecton when you say that area of your life outloud? No judgment!

3. Write down 5 mini actions you can take using SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. (I will get my receipts gathered on my desk, I will pack my gym bag, I will have healthy snacks in my desk drawer) Easy peezy.

4. Post your actions where you can see them. Give yourself a week and then check back in.

5. Remember, no judgment. Be gentle. ANY movement in your area needs to be celebrated.

A toast to getting unstuck and a bigger toast to a weekend of relaxation, breathing, and space!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

the yoga of life

I can happily say I am back on my yoga mat again. I took a break for a bit and it really sent me into batsh*t crazyville. Ha! Anyway, being back on the mat brings so many things forward for me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and soulfully. The yoga mat has always been my refuge from a very loud inner brain. Those of you who know me personally know that yoga literally saved my life. I have processed every emotion that comes to mind on my mat at some point. As I get older, I am way more reflective with my practice constantly being curious as to what is going on. The magical thing about yoga for me is my brain and my body and my breath become a dynasty trifecta of sorts, just doing their own thing. The only thing I can somewhat relate it to is someone who builds cars. You reach that sweet spot in your work where everything just clicks and the engine turns on, the fluid is flowing, the brakes are in sync, and the speakers are turning out beautiful tunes.

Every now and then I have these moments where I want to capture the lessons of where yoga has bridged into my life. For example, I am dealing with a nasty bone spur and a case of plantar faschitis in my left foot currently. It friggin' hurts, especially when I flow through my warrior postures, down into chatarunga, into up dog, and finishing in down dog. I wanna scream. I wanna quit. I wanna roll up my mat and grab a slurpee. But I stay, slowly stretching and resting and breathing through it. I don't want to run anymore like I used to. When I was in college, I would push through without the slightest bit of acknowledgement of the pain, whether it was physical or emotional. Now, I can bear witness to what is and what isn't without the judgment. Evolved? Yes, please.

In yoga, poses are meant to counteract one another. You will notice in postures that there is a contraction and an extension at the same time. For instance, downward dog. Your extending up through the hips, down through the heels but your contracting your shoulder blades just a touch to gain the extension. These are sweet spots. And the extension and contraction concept can be related right back to our relationships. We extend ourselves to love, open our hearts, operate out of a place of compassion, yet one small little blip, upset, argument can cause us to contract, hide, tense up. There is a balancing of preserving vulnerability and being completely & utterly open.

I am excited and pleased to be back on the mat again yet I am constantly humbled when I lean into Half-Pigeon pose and feel the burning sensation travel through my hips. I do my best to live my life as a yogini in a modern, ever changing world. Constantly pursuing self-study and bearing witness to the lessons every day brings.

Monday, June 18, 2012

a case of the mondays


Happy Monday! Well, Monday is pretty much over but I thought I would jump on the bloggy blog and stream some thoughts on Mondays. Yep. Mondays. I love the clip from Office Space. A case of the Mondays? What? It happens to all of us at some point or another. We actually start feeling the pull of Monday when we wake up on Sunday mornings. Then we continuously look at our clocks throughout the day anticipating and being anxious for that Monday morning alarm. The weekend seems to be way too short, we can't stay in the present, and before you know it, you're stuck in traffic with your travel mug of coffee listening to NPR thinking about the to do list you either left for yourself on Friday or feeling shortness of breath when thinking of a full inbox. Yikes! What's a human to do?

1. Breathe! Deeply friend....Take a few minutes and just breathe. It sounds so corny and unfortunately it's what every doctor speaking on PBS right now tells us to do. Seems to be the solution for weight loss, depression, diabetes, anxiety, ADD, you name it. I really like this exercise: Sit comfortably or stand or lie on your back. Inhale through your nose, count to 4, pause for a count of 4 on top of the inhale and exhale for a count of 4. 3 cycles of that will get your system aligned. Believe me.

2. Adopt a Tradition. Not all traditions are bad. Growing up, Sunday dinner usually involved pasta and sauce and Italian food. I have friends who have taken up "Meatless Mondays," The Man and I term Sundays as "sacred," meaning we try not to work ourselves into the ground with errands and chores. Visit a farmers market, hit up a Sunday Happy Hour, or decide that you will have a taco night on Mondays. Whatever it is, it's something to look forward to and you can still be flexible.

3. Know that there will always be a to do list. I am starting to hate time management books. I used to be all about efficiency and I still am very much so, but there comes a point when you just gotta surrender to what is and what isn't realistic. Try to plan your 5 MIT's (Most Important Tasks) during your morning. I have a great notebook that I use when I get into work and I look forward to penning my MIT's while sipping my hot drink.

4. All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl. Tap back into your passion, especially after work. The Man has a great saying, "Create a life worth living," and we try to live that each and every day. Granted, when we have to pick up dog poo and take out the yard waste, it may not fall under the "create a life worth living," but working in our garden together and sitting on our deck drinking a beer is. It's all about your choices people.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Of all the father's in the world...

Of all the amazing dad's in the world, I think I lucked out to have the best. Yes, I think a lot of the women in the world would say their dad made a priceless impact on them and as I get older, I realize that the way I live my life today, all grown up and stuff, has a lot to do with my dad.

Throughout my life, my dad has been a world traveler. His work as an engineer has brought him to some obscure places and I believe 6 of the 7 continents. Fearless is the word that comes to mind. Looking back on it, he exhibited traits of a Marvel Comic superhero-work and fly in planes by day and still show up and be  the most amazing dad ever; hiking trips on the weekends, building our deck, pulling Christmas boxes down from the attic, carpooling my brother and I to endless athletic practices.

My dad is a gem. A one of a kind. I am so beyond grateful for the relationship we have and continue to share. I know I can always call him up and vent to him about anything, get advice on home improvement projects, or just ponder the world.

Happy Father's Day Dad! May you be safe wherever your travels take you and know I will always love you.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Everyday Service

Starting on June 12th, I'm going to be a professor in an online course called Everyday Service! The course will discuss why service is important, what kinds of service opportunities are available to people of all ages, and how to make service a part of everyday life! When you sign up, please remember to visit the Everyday Service Fund to donate your class fee to any organization you like! 



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

reflections at 28


I celebrated my birthday last Wednesday and my actual birthday turned into what most would deem a "Birth-Week." It was pleasantly action packed including sushi & ice cream, the Roger Waters Concert, dinner out with friends, many pints of hard cider, a beautiful spread given by The Man's mum & sister, 3 cakes, beautiful gifts, a solo-date down at Pike Place Market, flowers delivered to work, time in my garden, a 3 day weekend, staying in my pajamas a little longer with coffee, bacon, and strawberries for breakfast while I watched a movie, and lots of downtime to catch up on my reading and writing. I even bought a new bathing suit, a beautiful fuchsia hanging basket for our deck, and did some necessary cleaning. Yes, what an amazing birthday it was.

sparkle

On another note, my shower seems to have become a "mni-think tank" where I conjure up my ideas about what to write about. I was thinking this morning about how I have become a bit more wise and if I had the opportunity to write to my younger self, what lessons would I include? Here they are...

Dearest Jen,
You are young. You think you are invincible. You are vibrant and full of life. Don't lose that. It will get you far. Remember these lessons and carry them with you as you embark into the world.

Learn to rest. Enjoy the moments that are unfilled with things to do. There will always be things to do. A full inbox, to do lists, errands, paperwork, etc. Rest everyday, even for 5 minutes. It will do you and everybody else a world of good.

Know when to quit and let go. Yes, you were raised your entire life not to be a quitter and that is very admirable. The important thing is to follow that feeling you get in your gut. You know, that intuition thing? It is priceless and will lead you down some unexpected, yet amazing paths.

Mistakes are good. Perfection doesn't exist, neither do perfectionists. Life is messy. Work and love are even messier. Mistakes give us access to our soul and some unremarkable life lessons.

Find something you absolutely LOVE to do. Yoga. Drumming. Writing. Cooking. Hiking. Let your passion be your teacher because at the end of the day, passion keeps us waking up and craving more.

Don't be so rigid. Remember Gumby and how flexible he was? It's okay to have beliefs, values, goals but don't get so stuck on those things because sometimes when we hyperfocus, we can miss out on the really good stuff.

Read. Read. Read. Enough said.

Embrace your quirks...and your bitchiness. Life isn't all roses, fluffy bunnies, rainbows, and unicorns. Think of your personality as though it is warm creamy brie combined with sharp cheddar. The quirks make you, well, you. That's who you are.

Connect & Stay Present. Stay connected with family & friends. Remember your roots. Express gratitude. Call someone. Write a letter. Listen.

Last but not least, you are only as young as you feel. Embrace play, nourish the inner child. Treat yourself as though you are a curious 6 year old at the petting zoo for the first time. Live life in amazement. Each and every day.

Blissfully yours,
Your 28 Year Old Self

Saturday, May 19, 2012

the seattle plague



Being sick is one of those things that you work so hard to prevent. Inevitably, life catches up with you and a germ creeps in. And then, BOOM! You feel as though your bench pressing your head and it weighs 300 pounds, you are going through Kleenex like it's going out of style, and you surround yourself with so many mugs of tea, cough drop wrappers, and cans of chicken soup. Every pair of sweatpants is strewn below the dresser and movies become stacked on the coffee table like a game of Jenga. Yep. It happens and sickness has taken over our house.

As I write this, The Man and I are both on the upswing but it was brutal there for a bit. This week revolved around hot chicken Pho, a Vietnamese noodle & broth soup, lots of liquids, and couch time. Needless to say, I am doing much better and feeling productive today.

I have mentioned this in previous posts, but getting sick teaches us to slow down and be gentle with ourselves and others. It sucks, yes, but our bodies are so wise. Get more rest, don't push so hard, get outside more, etc., etc. I use to beat myself up for getting sick, but now, I ride the wave and know it is temporary. Being sick gives us insight into what's not working or what may need adjusted. It might mean getting an extra hour of sleep instead of watching another episode of Six Feet Under or building the immunity through green drinks instead of cappuccinos.

Either way, listening to the body is one area that I take very seriously. After going through some BIG stuff in college in terms of my health, I know better than to push boundaries of self-sacrifice and self-destructive behavior. I also know that it's okay to say no and to push back a little bit so my energy is conserved for the right things. It brings up this idea of being selfish. Our society constantly tells us to put others first, take care of everyone else, do unto others. Well, that ship has sailed and we must reclaim our energy and wellness and take it very seriously. Life is so precious. Our relationships count on us being present and engaged. We are out doing these amazing things on the planet and when we are stuck in bed nursing a cold and flu, we gotta take a time out which is a super bummer.

I am heading into my birthday week and I want to shine and celebrate. I want to be well. It must start with me.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

May


May is my favorite month. Not only is it my birthday month, but there is something about what it feels like outside this time of year that makes me smile. Things are fresh. Clean. Open. New. Green. My garden is rich with life. The herbs smell delicious. The mint is overflowing in it's pot. Tulips open wide like a yogini in a backbend. Bugs crawl all over the stump. The lilacs takeover your olfactory sense. Painted toes come out from hiding in clogs and boots and become sun kissed. I feel more romantic. Easygoing. Light.

May hits us and we realize that we are 1/3 of the way through the year. It's a great time to reflect on the 1st quarter and evaluate what intentions have come to fruition. I recently did my own quarterly review. It was my first time ever reviewing intentions/resolutions/goals/etc. I have been really intentional with my 8 Pillars Project; creating targeted intentions and goals around 8 key areas: self-care, spiritual connection, relationships, livelihood, health & wellness, finances, home & garden, and creativity. This project has been so great for me simply because I am always in action within the areas. It's easy to create manageable tasks that are small and realistic, yet they yield such amazing results.

A Few 1st Quarter Accomplishments:
-I am being fiercely protective of me. 
-I am getting more sleep, creating more time for journaling and silent reflection, establishing healthy boundaries around where I put my energy, and writing down my dreams. 
-I created my 12 Happiness Commandments as recommended by Gretchen Rubin over at The Happiness Project. I have also been implementing this practice of being gentle with myself. 
-I have been connecting more internally with myself and externally with the people in my life. Grieving the loss of my grandmother, coming up on a year since my grandfather passed away, scheduling more time with women, and long conversations with my mom. Also, just being external with how I feel. 
-More adventures & weekending.
-New job. 
-More writing.
-Less stress.
-Financial Health in my personal life. 
-Improved communication with The Man.
-Breathing, reading, and stretching. Ahhhhhh!

Friday, May 4, 2012

trouble in paradise


So what do you do when things aren't going great? When life isn't all kittens and rainbows? My advice: don't resist, flow with it. Things happen. Words are said. Fights manifest. It's life. It's those moments that teach us the most about ourselves. In those moments I catch myself saying, "I'd be better off on my own." Then, when the dust settles, I think, "Wow. I would be way worse off on my own." Who wants to be alone? Who wants to cut themselves off from rich & complex relationships where the dynamics can sometimes curl your toes but most off the time knock your socks off? I don't know a soul. It's hard, this relationship stuff. It can feel like salt water on an open wound. And deep down, I know where my hand in the matter is. Yep. I guess since I like to write, I use my words like daggers. I can be manipulative like in my fictional storytelling, guiding and directing the characters to do what I want in subtle and not so subtle ways.

The Buddhists say that relationships push you to your most highest, spiritual selves. Relationships facilitate the access of enlightenment. Huh? Right now, I would put myself on the Relationship bus, packed to the brim with a driver who had a little but too much to drink. Things are a little rough. Now, the experiential educator within me wants to bring it full circle: what can I learn and what now?

Well, #1, I am taking a much needed time out. I am in a weird mood. Maybe it's the lack of yoga or sweating or getting my ass on the meditation cushion or to my writing nook, but I am in a funky ass mood. I gotta get back to my basics, my "soul work," as they say.

#2: I gotta start communicating better. Enough said.

#3: I gotta stop blaming.

#4: I gotta start loving without judgement.

I will give an update if and when these things start happening.

Love to you all.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

don't forget the small things

Since the dust has settled around my crazy whirlwind tour in the space of transition, I am enjoying small things. Small pleasures are what makes up our lives. Yes, the vacations, the engagements, the weddings, the funerals, the monumental achievements do have a big impact and I am not saying to ignore the amazing happiness or sadness that surrounds those events, but for the most part, the small bits of joy in the everyday that bring smiles to our faces make life worth living. My brother once made a comment to me on the phone that has stuck with me: "Jen, life always can't always be "knock your socks off" life." He was so right in saying that.

I have been enjoying reading Alexandra Stoddards book, "Choosing Happiness: Keys to a Joyful Life." It's a great book and I have been reading it on my lunch breaks. It's a fabulous pick me up and reminds me about those small things that are right in front of us each and everyday. So, my personal challenge this weekend was noticing and enjoying small things and here were my insights & experiences from the weekend.

-Sweet smelling shower gel
-A hot cup of coffee while standing outside in the chilly, sunny morning
-Lunch with a friend
-Fresh veggies in my meals
-Long conversations with my parents who live far away.
-A walk down at the Marina
-Breakfast date with the man
-Browsing the local library and picking up CD's to listen to in my home.
-Curling up for a good movie
-Cooking a delicious meal accompanied with wine & french bread.
-Smiling at strangers
-Starting up conversations with strangers (commented on an old school Muppets Lunchbox a grocery store employee was carrying out on her way home from work)
-Making order amidst the chaos
-Clean dishes and a shining sink

One of the things about enjoying the small pleasures is that we must remain mindful and present to notice these things. When we move at a pace that is super duper speedy, we fail to enjoy the moments that can bring us the most joy.

What small things are you enjoying this weekend?






Saturday, April 21, 2012

settling in after transition

Wow. It's been way too long. Yet, I am at peace with my choice of not writing for almost 2 months. What have I been up to? Well, where do I start...

1. New Job. I left the YMCA at the end of March and started a new position at Washington C.A.S.H. (Community Alliance for Self-Help). They specialize in providing aspiring entrepreneurs the resources, technology, and training they need as well as micro-capital to start and run small businesses. I am in love with my new job and the past 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of learning the ins and outs of my new position as their Volunteer Coordinator & Office Manager. I'm in luv.

2. Grief. My grandma passed away at the end of April. This was another area where I experienced turbulent emotions, yet remained at peace, knowing I was able to say my goodbyes when I visited her at the beginning of March for her 90th brithday.

3. Fresh starts & new beginnings. In my life, with my health, with my finances, and my relationship. I have been spending a lot of time doing the real work around my personal life-getting things into balance, living with unmatched integrity, and just doing the things that nourish me . I am getting outside in my garden again, doing spring cleaning, organizing important documents, and taking care of me.

4. Beauty & Gratefulness in the everyday. I am so incredibly grateful for everything I wake up to everyday. I smile while I drive to work and think about how the universe presents gift after gift of beauty and abundance. I have amazing people in my life, a great job, access to a beautiful city, delicious food, and ways to express my individuality and creativity. Life can't get much better.

I plan on getting back into the blogopsphere on a regular basis. I feel that the dust has settled and things are on track and quieter. Have a beautiful weekend.


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the 8 powerful pillars: part 5: My Tribe


Relationships are our best teachers. Every spiritual text will tell you that. It is beyond true, it is profoundly relevant to how we live our lives. We notice immediately when we don't nourish our relationships. The results are transparent and we feel like crap. I think it's quite easy to think of our relationships in terms of compartments: friends, family, our significant other, people we work with, our extended family, our college friends, the people we met when we traveled, etc. I am going out on a limb here to say that relationships don't function in compartments. Our relationships are holistic, meaning that they have and always will crossover.

In my 8 powerful pillars project, relationships fall in the 4th pillar. Relationships are essential to one's own success, no matter how driven one may be individually. Our tribe lifts us up when we are down, cheers us on when we race, and gives us hope, hugs, and hospitality. Nurture the relationships. Mend the fences.

Some of my actions in this pillar fall under one umbrella: staying connected despite the circumstances.
This is all about the little actions that add up:
-Skype a long distance relative.
-Call my parents when I get the chance.
-Text my brother to simply say hi.
-Talk to my friends regularly.
-Schedule time to hangout with good people.
-Maintain a date night once a week.
-Write and send birthday cards & thank you notes.
-Really enjoy time with family & friends.

It all sounds so simple but small bits of effort = lots and lots of joy. Nurturing relationships is a win-win for everyone.

Taking The Leap

I wish to take the leap in being more vulnerable. I wish to leap into the unknown and be okay with it. I wish to leap into abundance, health, integrity, and compassion. I wish to leap into pushing myself beyond my comfort zones. I wish to leap into breaking the damaging and destructive patterns. I wish to leap into love. I wish to leap into admitting when I am wrong. I wish to leap into taking fabulous care of myself. I wish to leap to bed when I'm tired and to the tasks that are waiting when I have the most energy. I wish to leap into creating healthy boundaries and time & space to breathe. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Losing the Groove...and Getting it back...slowly


If I had a theme chosen for February, at the beginning of the month, I would have said love. Now, coming up on the last few days of the shortest month of the year, my word has changed to Finish. Please god, let the month of February be over. I am done with it all. It was a month of too much. Too much of everything, especially the stress. I am sitting here in silence in my writing nook. It is beautiful. I just took a hot shower after a fantastic jaunt to the gym and I am cozy in my sweater wrap and Patagonia sweat pants. Sweetness.

But let me be clear-this is one of a few moments of sweetness I have had all month. I literally have lost my groove. I was doing so well. I was sleeping, taking care of myself, the month of January rocked. And then like a roller coaster at Six Flags, I plummeted. I stopped the practices that nourish me, simply because I wasn't taking the time for what mattered. The meditation, the yoga, the quiet walks with the dog, the time to cook healthy meals. The month felt more like an old war movie, where the audience looks at one another and mouths, "Is it over yet?" 

So I have been contemplating how I can get my groove back. For starters, just simply stopping in the tracks and evaluating what's working/what's not working can do wonders. Then, adjust, align, and take action. That's it. If you were to think of embarking on a road trip and taking a wrong turn, we simply pull over, look at the map, adjust our bearings, and keep on driving.

I only had this revelation when I came home tonight. Nothing crazy. Nothing esoteric. Just adjust, align, and take action.

Looking forward to the last few days of alignment. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday Musings: The Happiness Commandments

If you haven't had a chance to read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, you should request it from your local library, go buy it. or borrow it right now. Or, at least go an visit her blog over at http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/. Gretchen Rubin is one of those women is just real. Real about life, love, work, health, finances, housework, you name it. Her book is fabulous. She embarks on a journey to see if she can improve her overall happiness in a year.

"THE HAPPINESS PROJECT is the memoir of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier – happily, it was a #1 New York Times bestseller. -Gretchen Rubin"

Not only is Rubin a great writer, but the book gives folks practical applications on how to improve quality of life in simple ways-no backbending, standing on your head, drinking tonic advice here. :) Rubin uses 12 personal commandments in her happiness project to guide her through her year and her life. I have been playing around with developing some of my own happiness commandments and finally did it! These 13 commandments are my foundation and have been for quite some time. I have drawn on them from time to time, but have never compiled them in the same place. 

The process to generate my happiness commandments was simple and fast, yet effective and powerful. I first thought about advice I would give to those embarking on their own journey of happiness as well as mantras I live by. Also, using key word phrases helped. This was a beneficial process to me and I thought I would share them with the world. 

Jen’s Happiness Commandments:
1.               Follow My Bliss.
2.               Take the Time to Reflect.
3.               Nature is My Church.
4.               I am responsible for my own happiness.
5.               Speak Up & Ask for what I need.
6.               Say no.
7.               Be kind, Be Generous.
8.               Simplify.
9.               Make the time for what matters.
10.         Do what I resist the most.
11.         Nurture the Temple (Body)
12.         Open My Heart.
13.         Take the necessary action.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Love Story: The Man & Me

This post is late. I never got to it. But the more I thought about it, I decided to go back and write this post because I think it's a beautiful way to tell a story. This past week has been the traditional rollercoaster of life; up and down. Valentine's Day passed and life is still life. Love has it's challenges. In my own relationship, there has been lots of moments this past month that have required tenderness, trust, honesty, and just plain ol' hugs. The reflection piece is key, especially when times are trying and tough.



I saw this little blog challenge on the blog written by my brother's girlfriend. It's just what the doctor ordered in terms of reflecting on the foundation, the beginning.

1. How long have you and your significant other been together?
The Man and I have been together for almost 2 years officially dating but we have known each other going on 5 years this June. 

2. How did you meet? {What's your "love" story?}
When I was in my last semester of college, I secured an internship with a company in Seattle specializing in Corporate Recreation. After a very successful phone interview, they took a chance on a spunky little dirtbag excited about life in the big city. I showed up at the office on June 15th, 2007 and met Charlie, the Office Manager. Official title: Director of Organized Chaos. I also met his dog Ginger. I was extremely nervous, he had no idea I was showing up, but he immediately took me under his wing. He helped me with everything; learning the city, telling me where not to live, offering company when I didn;t know a soul. He also became my mentor at the company and coached me in my first job out of college. There were many late nights at the office and tears, laughter, and just a lot of fun. We became best friends over time and did a ton together; yoga, dog parks, eating at cool locations, hiking, you name it. He fell in love with me and I was already taken. I broke his heart. We had a falling out. I was devastated. And then shit hit the fan in my own life and he was there, like always, being supportive, loving, and amazing. He helped me move on from a painful event. Then, the universe had it's own plans and the cosmos aligned and we chose each other. Very Jerry Springer. Just kidding. :)

3. If married, how long have you been married? If not, is this the guy you hope to marry? {do tell} Marriage is a funny thing because I think a lot of people think it solves all the problems or makes things better. I have no doubt in my mind that I will spend the rest of my life with The Man, and whatever happens, marriage or not, just knowing I am spending quality time with the man who makes me a better woman is all I can ask for. 

4. If you are married, where did you get married at? Big or small wedding?  If not, where would you like to get married? And will it be big or small? 
Charlie and I like to think that we will get married on an island, outdoors, free spirited. He nurtures the hippie in me. :)

5. Do you have any nick-names that you call one another? Do share!
I enjoy all the nicknames Charlie has for me: Monkey, Monks, Shrimp, Woodland Elf.

6. Name 3 things you love most about your honey.
3 Things! Yikes! Well, his unconditional support, his sense of humor, his willingness to try new things.

7. Tell us how he proposed? Or your ideal proposal?
No ideal proposal, just authentic. :)

8. Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberrieschampagne, and rose petals?
More like a mutually agreed upon movie on the couch and a good pizza. :)

9. Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
See above but I am the girl that won't complain about a little excess. You gotta keep it fresh for each other and not get too comfortable.

10. Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
I would like us to travel to Thailand, go snorkeling, visit Italy & Paris, and spend a year living in a yurt, farming, and doing yoga near the beach.

11. Tell us what you plan on doing on this Valentine's Day.
It was a rough day for the both of us this year, so we just took it easy. 

12. Are you asking for anything this Valentine's day?
Just time together.

13. Give us one piece of advice of keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Be honest with each other, even if the roughest of times. 

14.  Show us a picture of what love means to you.