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.


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 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.