Sunday, May 31, 2015
Saturday, May 30, 2015
|Planting Wedding Dahlias in raised Bed 1 of 2|
No, I operate with a new decision making framework: how important is this to me on a scale of 1-10? Take the weekends for example:
Saturday and Sunday mornings are for sleeping in, cuddling, and a yummy brunch at the table where we solve the worlds problems and plan our weekend and week ahead. I slip out of bed, make coffee & tea, cut up fruit and put the bacon in the oven. I set the table and listen to morning jazz. I pour the coffee into one of my favorite mugs. I do all of this without thinking because I am in my own home. I slowly spin around, a dance of sorts, as I pull things from the drawers and cupboards, I am home, in my space. I can let my hair down and let my flaws show. There is nothing here but love and space and love. I play in my garden, hit up a yoga class, make time for meal prep, and catch up with friends and family. Maybe there are 3-5 house things I put on the list, but they don't take me more than 2-3 hours of time. We grocery shop on Sunday nights and do some wedding planning tasks, but that's it. I have packed away the compulsive need to get everything done in two days.
Sharing a small space with someone can be challenging. It takes love, compromise, love, and more compromise. And what I have found is that it is not just about delegating. It's about acts of service from the heart. Giving yourself over to your space and putting a magical touch on it allow a sense of sacred infuse every corner, as well as your heart.
It feels oh so good to be home.
Friday, May 29, 2015
Thursday, May 28, 2015
We just returned from a week on the East Coast celebrating our engagement & upcoming adventure of marriage with friends and family. I haven't seen anybody since I got engaged so there was a lot of grabbing of my left hand to see my ring. Of course, the "ooohing" and "ahhing" was super sweet and made me blush just a bit. In each of those little interactions with the people I love, I looked at my ring and was so full of delight and happiness, but beyond that, I was full of gratitude. Deep, heartfelt gratitude that poised itself as a huge tidal wave that overcame every cell in my own damn body.
Gratitude for the work of the universe, the divine, God, Goddess, whatever you want to call it. Grateful that all the moments I had lived up until the moment The Man put one knee on the earth and asked me to be his wife and spend the rest of my life with him. It was all perfectly designed and unfolded in the most whole and complete way possible.
This past week served as a reminder to me that our love for each other has no end, symbolizing the ring. It is a never ending journey, a path that we will both continue to explore and travel, full of reciprocity, support and strength, during the peaks, and especially during the valleys. The week allowed me to fall deeper in love with The Man, in a way that I had never been really able to articulate. It was as though the work of the divine was being mixed up in a cauldron of a special love potion of sorts.
Deeper, greater, open, and expansive. The love goes round and round.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
A week away from home goes by so fast. I always pack way too much because I am rushing around like a crazy lady the day before I leave but heading home has a completely different energy to it. There are both feelings of relaxation and restoration as well as melancholy and irritability. The thoughts about getting back into the swing of things brings with it anxiety and some stress but I realized tonight that for a few more hours, my spiritual practice is all about staying present and immersed in the moment. So challenging, right?
So I am here, my last night before heading home sweating profusely from the heat and the humidity in a total pool of bliss. Feeling so loved, honored and acknowledged. Held in the arms of family and friends as I embark on a new adventure called marriage. Filled with good food and drink, hugs and laughter, and overflowing with gratitude.
When I used to work in youth development work, we always told staff to quit games at their highest point in the fun factor because then, kids had something to look forward to the next time. That's what coming gome feels like. Oh so good and fun. Always so much here to look forward to...
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Monday, May 25, 2015
Sunday, May 24, 2015
As you can imagine, it's not just about the spicy food. Instead, the spicy food is symbolic of all the little things I enjoy in life that literally and figuratively spice up my life; spicy food, fun scarves, good smelling lotion, splurging at the Half Price Books sale, dark chocolate sea salt caramels from Trader Joes, a massage on a Friday afternoon, sneaking to the spa on a Saturday night, Prosecco, having my sun roof open and windows down as I drive home at 10pm on a summer night from work as I sing my lungs out to some Pop 40 tune, etc. It's all about the little things because the little things add up to make a big thing or make a big impact.
I treat my birthdays as a little New Year. I adopt a couple new philosophies that I have embraced/learned/come to meet over the past year and create new ways of being. It's like changing out the wardrobe once in awhile; dump old stuff at the donation center and replace with some fun, key pieces that light you up. The spicy hot food reminded me that sometimes it is sooooo damn worth it to push yourself to the edge sometimes and get a little uncomfortable. It is in those places that we learn the most. So here are my "new wardrobe pieces" for my 31st year on this planet.
"Prioritize your life or someone else will," from Greg McKeown's book Essentialism. I absolutely love this lesson and philosophy and plan on posting it in lots of places. I am out to design, create, and have a spacious life. It's one of my big lessons from India. It's a gentle reminder (okay, not so gentle), to create the life I want. For me. Only.
We can learn just as much from joy and pleasure as we can from pain and sorrow. I've lived my own "work,' of sorts, investigating my dark shadow side, my three evil stepsisters I like to say; achieving to impress, needing to please, and put everyone else first to get love. I did that work. The ship has sailed. The dark shadow side is nurtured enough and is very tame. Now, I am out for more joy and pleasure and a lot of it. Especially as I propel myself head first into wedding shenanigans, I want to enjoy all the bits to the very last bit.
Right Speech. I had a brush with some not super great interpersonal interactions the past couple weeks and really did some reflecting on my own role in the matter. What I gained insight from is that I am not super mindful in my speech. Huh. Sometimes, my words sting and leave scrapes and bruises and scars. Coming to terms with the interactions helped me realize that there is so much more of an opportunity to develop my speech as a spiritual practice. Is it true? is it helpful? Is it kind? It's a lifelong practice of sorts and won't stop anytime soon, but I need to start somewhere and bringing awareness of it to the forefront is the first step.
So that's it. My three new pieces that I am integrating into my current wardrobe. It will take so many reminders and it will take practice and they all will push me. But like spicy food, we have to be willing to be uncomfortable sometimes. That's how we grow.
Saturday, May 23, 2015
1. Everybody is on their own path, having their own experience.
2. Don't judge.
3. Be authentic.
4. Choose discomfort over resentment.
5. Listening is different than hearing.
6. We can learn just as much from pleasure and joy as we can from despair and suffering.
7. Celebrate with champagne.
8. Express gratitude.
9. Give good hugs.
10. Learn to receive and be taken care of.
11. Open, blank, white space is essential.
12. Say a blessing before a meal, even if it's a silent one.
13. Be kind as everyone is fighting a hard battle.
14. Follow your bliss.
15. Carpe diem.
16. In relation to your body, move it or lose it.
17, Put the past in the past.
18, Look beyond what's in front of you into what is possible,
19, Find things that light you up and do more of those things.
20, Compete once in awhile as competition can be good for the soul.
21. Never pass on an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
22. Share the messy stuff because people just want permission to do it themselves.
23. Get outside and take a bath with the trees.
24. Go barefoot more.
25. When you brush your teeth, just brush your teeth.
26. Be mindful.
27. Helmets, seat belts, and protective gear were made for a reason.
28. Chop vegetables in your kitchen often.
29. Be open to listening to jazz.
30. Sit in silence daily.
31. Celebrate the day you were born.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Partying is good for the soul...once in a while. It guides me to letting go, putting my Type A personality on the shelf, and really embrace flexibility, fun, laughter, and chatting about life, love, and the world. Partying is also good because it embraces a quality of celebration and acknowledgement, two things I totally think the world needs more of.
At work lately, we have been focusing on celebrating successes. I find this a practice in itself, especially for someone like me who struggles with my internal critical nature, which shows it's face quite often. Striving and pushing for good, better, and best is not always the best choice. Celebrating success, expressing gratitude, and showing up with lightheartedness are qualities I know I can bring more of into my life.
So despite the past few months feeling busy and full, I like to look on all the successes and celebrate those, because in the end, it's the good stuff that keeps you going:
...all the work going into the garden and dahlia planting
...juggling an intense workload and taking care of myself
...making time for people in my life who matter
...self-care strategies like spa nights and massages
...cooking new meals and recipes
...making time for my writing and reading
...cutting out coffee for 5 weeks and really enjoying it on my vacation
...having some rich and intense conversations and clearing up inauthenticities
I type all of those things out and feel really happy where I am at. Things are good. So much to celebrate.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
Magic happens when people come together. There are opportunities upon opportunities where you can examine how you show up and be present. You have the opportunity to really listen from the place of "I totally get it. I know what you are going through," as well as the chance to open your heart to all of humanity.
As a natural introvert, I have experienced massive depletion in the past when I wasn't joining forces with magical people who came together with wholehearted compassion, vulnerability, and listening. For me, I had to really figure out who I wanted to run with.
Now, gatherings can totally nourish me and sooth me in new ways I had not experienced before. My heart gets a love superboost and it feels like only one thing exists. Magic.
Heading out to the East Coast. It was a whirlwind of a time packing. Always so much to do before leaving. You do what you can, like anything, it's all you can do. Then, you just leave. You leave the bills, the mail, the cleaning, the to do lists, all the little unraveled bits.
You fly away. A surrendering of sorts. Goodbye life, for now.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
The black night sky is speckled with stars, like silver glitter on black construction paper that kids create. A blanket is pulled over the world, except for those of us who work late nights, pounding through e-mails and to do's and then we escape. A huge, deep breath infuses our beings. We make our way home to quiet rooms and houses, dark living rooms and kitchens. Life is put away for the day.
Like a mouse, you gently put your things away or maybe they are dumped in the middle of the living room. The fridge opens- meats and cheeses and popcorn for a midnight snack, just to get you through breakfast. You strip off the clothes from the day, Being barefoot feels so nice...spread the toes, wiggle around outside the prison we call shoes. You look in the mirror, think about the late nights and how they are juice to your soul, an adrenaline rush of sorts. You remember the Buddhist who said, "When you brush your teeth, just brush your teeth," and remember that's all there is really. I mean, the present moment is it. It's all we got.
You slip into bed next to your loved one. A cuddle, a touch, a quick kiss goodnight. This is nightfall. This is how it is. But not forever.
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Today, I talked about how I came back from India with this whole commitment to creating more spaciousness in my life, how I wanted to cut back on my commitments, to stop pushing so hard, get in touch with the things that matter, dump old, toxic relationships that weren't serving me, yada yada yada...I guess you could say that I had a little bit of "holier than thou," complex going on thinking that I would come back from my trip and POOF! all my patterns would magically go away, like I had just finished visiting a genie in a bottle of sorts. Well here I am, driving full force in my life, pushing, pushing, pushing. Long days, long nights, fast weekends, rushing here, rushing there, praying for green lights, impatient with my life, living by the to do list. I continue to tell myself, "Well, it's just the way things are, it will pass," and for some reason, I keep saying that over and over. Are things really going to shift?
So as we carpooled home, I was sitting in the back seat which was super luxurious as my best friend has a brand new Subaru Forrester and watched the cars and the wheels of the cars in the lane next to us. I could see the wheels spinning so fast, so fast they would go, around and around at that highway speed, which in reality, is quite fast if you are talking about breaking speed, following distance, etc. As I looked at the wheels spinning, I looked a little harder and could see the brake system within the wheels. The rotors and the calipers were there, ready to engage. You only needed to tap the brakes and they would do their job. Huh.
So of course, I take all of these little observations and see how I can apply them into my own life and to be honest, it's like everything else I have written about: there's the action right in front of you. Will you choose to take it or not? Will you hit the brakes? Yes, there is so much going on and there always will be, but I am left with not only choice, but an opportunity to create a new possibility by honoring my word as self. Spaciousness, Grace, and Ease. That's what I am out to create and I am the only one getting in my way.
Saturday, May 16, 2015
So the idea of taking root is on my mind. Developing a strong foundation first before you can rise. It looks and feels different for all of us.
Take root in your life. From the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning. Spread your toes wide, ground down through your feet. You are stepping into the world again after being in your dream state. Move your body, simple stretches, a big morning stretch does the trick. Feel the feet. It always comes back to the feet. After your morning tea, sit down at your altar. Your heart is an altar, you know. Sit down and root down and feel your heart be the bridge between the earth and the air. Our heart can open more as we take root in our seat. Breathe and contemplate but mostly breathe.
Step into your day, your service, your work, your relationships. Is there an opportunity to show up differently? Is there? Look a little more deeply and you will see those fleeting moments that can make a difference. Root down into listening, because we know the power really is in the listening.
Then, come back home to yourself. Pause, be alone. Root down to rise. You will expand beyond infinite worlds when you set the foundation for your heart, your spirit, your life.
Friday, May 15, 2015
I was having my morning tea and thinking of my #100dayproject and how the project has rippled out into my own life. What has come to mind is this whole idea of "just do it," the infamous Nike tag line. Be in action. Stop being in your head. Take the next move. Deal with what is in front of you.
To be in action and to take action serves us way more than being in our head. We start to play these little games with ourselves, mind tricks and then the great debate on why something shouldn't happen ensues. We get caught up in our own net. The only way to escape is to just do it.
I have been reading some good stuff lately; out on the web, some blog posts, some great books and what I am constantly left with is this whole paradigm of action. Take the next action, whether you think it's small or insignificant or if it is huge and life changing.
So, how has the project spilled over into my life?
- Focus. Extreme focus. I have to write every. damn. day. No matter what. If I put it off until bedtime, well, guess what? I don't get to crawl between the sheets until that publish button is pushed. I have to focus on making something. Every day.
- Take the next action. Answer the e-mail, make the call, get my ass to the gym, get my ass on my meditation cushion. Pack the lunch. Clean the dirty dish. Plant the plants. I have really cut out the chatter in my head, the great debates, and it feels so much more spacious in that headspace of mine.
- "Prioritize your life, or someone else will." This is a quote by Greg McKeown, author of the book Essentialism. I have really paired down and identified my own essentials. Day 38 was all about that. Making the space and time to write reminds me that it is a huge part of who I am and what I desire. Carving out the time and having structure for the things that matter, that really truly, deeply matter, is keeping my energy contained and high.
- I succeed with structure. I have to say that I am a pretty self-structured person, but sometimes I flail and was doing so with my writing. What better way to engage with the writing then to do the #100dayproject? For example, I have been implementing two days per week of small group personal training. I go Mondays and Thursdays and by signing up, I get my ass there. Also, I have been implementing a small practice called self-care Fridays. By the end of the week, the introverted nature in me needs some TLC. Spa visit, massage, journal in bed, cafe, wine, chocolate, reading time, you name it. By building it in, it's there for me.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
For me, joy is similar to liquid as a state of matter: it takes the shape of it's container/space. Like water, joy can come in small bits or big hunks. It can weasel it's way into tough situations or amplify the good stuff.
The past couple weeks have been pretty busy at work with some late nights teaching and coaching clients and for most of my day, I have to be in extroverted mode. For a natural introvert, this can be draining and exhausting, but I have implemented so many practices and self-care checks in my own routine where it doesn't do it as much anymore. One of my most favorite things in the whole wide world is getting in my car after a long day and sitting in the quiet. I then turn on my car, turn the radio to the public Jazz station, KPLU to be exact, and drive on north to home. When I work late, driving home is super fast and lovely. I love being on the freeway and seeing the lights of the downtown core and the sky. It brings me so much joy.
I have ditched coffee for over a month now and feel totally great. I never have been a coffee drinker by nature, always herbal tea, until about two years ago when I started drinking it more regularly. I would go a few days on and a few days off, but a couple months ago, I was starting to get that nagging feeling in my soul that I should take a break. Give it up for a bit. Take a break. So now, my herbal tea collection is getting it's use and my new joy is my hot cup of tea when I read my work e-mail in the morning at my office. It has become a practice and this thing I look forward to in the morning. It brings me so much joy.
These are just two very small examples of my joy and I know that I could list hundreds. Joy opens our hearts up and it forms to the container it's in. Can you find it? It's there. I promise.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
My naturopath suggested I do two things:
1. Write a letter to my future, stressed out self. In this letter, write about how things are probably exhausting, tiring, stressful, whatever and how no matter what, stay the course. Put your stake in the sand for what is essential for you to feel the best you can feel, despite external circumstances. You can miss a day here and there, but don't let that make you miss all the days.
2. Make a list of my foundational practices. Keep that list visible in many places. Those are the "My Essentials." I shared with her what I thought my own essentials are:
2. Physical Activity (the heart pumping kind)
3. Eating well
4. Yoga & Meditation & Spiritual Practices
7. Being outside
Then comes all the other stuff...work, finances, housecleaning, gardening, errands, etc.
When we take care of ourselves, our spaces and places, our relationships, what's right in front of us for work or caretaking, we get this magical urge to continually take care. Maybe we dive into that land of over-caring. It's always good to come back to our essentials and see where we can pare down and what we can say no to, so there is room for other things. Find the essentials and ditch everything else.
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
My best friend introduced me to this whole idea of living a "both-and" life. I love her for that, among many things of course, but she reignited in me a new way of looking through my life lens. I love how she always says, "I'm a both-and girl! I don't live in either/or!" Amen sister!
In so many areas of our life, we default to either/or/but.
"I can either be loving or I can set boundaries."
"I want to be in a relationship but I want to be independent."
"I want a fun wedding but it needs to be classy."
"I want to have open white space in my calendar/life, but I want to do so many things."
"I can either do chores or read my book in bed all day."
"It's either a vacation this month or not at all."
These are all traps. Traps to living boxed in, constricted, and playing small.
I have really used the 'both-and' philosophy as a practice. It's a daily thing and a mantra that I share so much with people. What do you get?
-Compassion for self & others
There is always a cost to living in 'either/or,' and when we live like this, something must die off. There remains limited or no possibility for creating something extraordinary, like a new way of being or a new way of being with people. When I practice my 'both-and' living, you kind of get to play a wizard; inventing, creating, innovating from the cauldron of all possibilities.
"I can be loving and set boundaries in my life."
"In relationship, I am a partner and an independent woman."
"My wedding will be fun and classy."
"I want to do a little work and also have time for self-care."
"I want spaciousness in my calendar for all the things that are important to me."
"I will take a vacation and my schedule will accommodate accordingly."
Whoa...after reading those revised statements, there is so much more space around them and light. There are so many opportunities to invent again and again new opportunities for living and playing big. We can all take the opportunity to look at our own language and words and see how there may be choice points to adjust and rework and maybe, just maybe, you will find a little more freedom.
Monday, May 11, 2015
Want what you want. Sit down in a quiet place and tune in deeply to that space between your heart and your spine. There is softness there, close your eyes and hear the rhythm of your heartbeat. That space between beats is where desire lives. It lives in the deepest parts of our soul. In the yoga system, they say that the heart is where the earth element meets the air element, the ethereal.
The world needs your desires. Every one of them, down to the type of chocolate you like or how you like your eggs cooked or the brand of coffee that makes you smile ear to ear. If you want ice cream instead of cake at your wedding, want that. Want your morning meditation practice. Want your gym visits and indie films. Want time to be alone and want your goals, even if they sound silly, like reading 52 books in a year. Want your creative outlets and time with your friends and time in your garden. Want the trip to India and the meditation retreat and tea dates with good people. Want the opportunity to make mistakes and want the job that gives you more flexibility than money. Want the nice shower head and the cute scarf. Want the man who makes you feel like a queen, even on work nights. Want to be married and at the same time, want independence. Want your feelings, every one of them, even the messy ones. Want a clean house and no tv, because both things will make life simpler. Want simplicity and ease and grace. Those three qualities are gold. Want beautiful notebooks and a writing nook. Want happy hours and visits to bookstores. Want vulnerability and rage, they both are valuable. Want to write your stories. Who cares who reads them. Writing is for you. Want fresh vegetables and time in the sunshine. Want whatever is in your heart.
Want what you want because life is oh so precious. Want it dear...want it.
With Deepest Love,
Your Older, Wiser Self
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Can the smiles of children be any bigger?
Bubbles fly into the air, unabashed with joy in each and every one of them.
Barefeet and open shoulders.
Let the sun kiss you and the sand run through your hands.
It won't last. It never does.
The smell of lilacs make me drunk.
As I kneel and dig in the dirt, after work.
My hands stretching and building muscles after a dormant winter.
My hot tea tastes like liquid gold,
in the cool mornings and at night.
Get in early to leave early-
happy hour calls your name.
Friends and family, laughter and firepits.
Cake and ice cream.
A big birthday month, my own in fact.
Find time to expand, yet it is imperative to contract.
Find time for inward reflection on all the good, the sun, the flowers and blooms.
Things grow. Life is infused with joy beyond joy.
It's not summer quite yet, but it's warming up to be.
Sleep naked, sleep in. Rest and relax.
Open your heart.
Friday, May 8, 2015
I wanted to share a few things that I have been loving on the web and in life. It's my small offering to you for your weekend.
I am loving Gretchen Rubin's new book, Better Than Before, which is all about habits.
These blogs: ZenHabits - Rowdy Kittens - Be More With Less
I love Susannah Conway . Her site is inspiring and I love her free photo challenges.
I have been integrating smoothies into my morning routine and am really enjoying different combinations.
Time Makeovers have been on my mind: Margin & 168 Hours Facebook Page
Simplifying is one of my goals this year.
And a great read.
Enjoy your weekend!
Thursday, May 7, 2015
> After brushing my teeth and putting my toothbrush back in the medicine cabinet
> Sitting down at my computer desk after lunch
Wednesday, May 6, 2015
I see you everywhere. On my way to work, while I am driving and listening to NPR, while I push my cart around at the grocery store or am putting gas in my car, or as I return my library books in the little metal deposit box on the sidewalk. You make me smile. Your innocence combined with the passion you have for each other makes me a little jealous. I chuckle internally and think back to when I was young, unabashed in my passion for my heartthrob at the time. You have no sense of time and probably sleep very little. There is no such thing as a personal space bubble for you. Enjoy that. It's fresh and young and the world needs more of that openheartedness.
To be young and in love is like combining the two best things in the world: cookies and milk, ice cream and root beer, pizza and cold microbrews. I see you engrossed in the present moment. Don't forget how the present moment feels.
Do I tell you that the passion morphs into something different? That it goes deeper than physical embrace? Do I tell you that other aspects of life start to creep in, like jobs, money, family, and stuff, and that you will have to schedule intentional time to be together? Do I tell you that one of you may experience a life event, like an illness or job loss, and that it tests every part of yourself and your relationship? Do I tell you that you will crave independence and want time alone and at the same time, you miss the hell out of your partner and can't wait to get home from work to kiss them and be in their arms? Do I tell you that a few days may go by without getting naked? Do I tell you that you will fight and exchange words that you may feel yucky about the next day? Do I tell you that success looks like getting dinner on the table and sitting together one out of seven days may be the highlight of the week because you are on a work deadline? Do I tell you that some nights you just want to read your book in your yoga pants and go to bed and not talk to your partner because you're just tired and need time to decompress? Do I tell you that you will be scared shitless when they ask you to spend the rest of your life with you? Do I tell you that marriage is not about a wedding at all?
I have decided I won't tell you any of these things. You know why? Nobody told me and if they did, I would have laughed in their face.
Dear Young Lovers,
Love. Keep loving. Love hard. Love like there is no tomorrow.