Monday, June 15, 2015

#100daysofjensmusings- Day 71: Lessons from Eight Fabulous Years

Today marked my eighth year of living in Seattle. Here is what I posted to Facebook:

"Today is a special day. I celebrate my 8 year anniversary living in The Emerald City. My time here in the city has brought so much joy, learnings, love, and a flourishing community. I am embracing gratitude today for the tribe that continues to hold me and create my home here. Evolution also comes to mind...I used to be a mountain & woods girl and now, I still am that and so much more. The city teaches me about grace, open heartedness, rest & respite, and voting with my dollars. The city teaches me that love can be found in the darkest of places and that small actions lead to big change. Eight years ago, I never would have imagined that my soulmate was working down the hall from me. I never would have thought that I would be following my bliss making a difference in my work on a daily basis and teaching yoga. I never would have imagined that I would be getting married in 9 weeks to a man who brings me so much joy, love, and light. So, I thank you Seattle for an amazing 8 years. I have no idea what is in store for the next 8 and beyond, but I do know it will be juicy and oh so full of the love and wholeheartedness that continues to come into my heart. Deep gratitude to all of you (you know who you are)."

And so here I am, eight years of city living behind me. With the gratitude, comes all the learnings, the deep lessons that I have gathered up around me from walks, talks, hugs, and tears. all of it.
Here are my top eight lessons that will remain timeless gems in my house of experience and reflection:

1. Don't Assume Things. It's so quick to judge circumstances for all of us, whether or not you live in the city or not. When I first moved here, I would break down into deep sobs when I would see homeless people on the street begging. I assumed a lot of things about those individuals and their backgrounds. It wasn't until I got really clear about my own assumptions and the thoughts in my head that I started showing up with a, "I don't know," paradigm. The only thing I know for sure is that I can be kind.

2. Respite and Rest Are Integral to Functioning. No matter how much of an extrovert or city lover someone is, I am reminded more and more that I need space to restore and relax, without noise. I make a conscious effort to find silent time on a daily basis and also retreat often to the woods or the mountains to get a break, because, well, we all need a break.

3. Saying No. There are endless things to do. Always. Especially living in a city where every second, a new event pops up that sounds interesting and lovely. I realized really fast that I can't do it all. I have to remember and come back to what's really important and what aligns with my current well-being. There will always be something else that pops up. And saying no isn't the end of the world. 

4. Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary. Commuting in traffic. Waiting in line at the grocery store. Waiting to fill up at the Costco gas station. When you live in space with almost a million people, things get busy and congested. It's just the fact of the matter. Transforming the ordinary and the mundane is key: audiobooks, silent gratitude and meditation, deep breathing practices, all of it helps alleviate the frustration that comes with the crowds.

5. Finding Your Tribe Takes Time. It took me about 6 years to get my groove with a community and a tribe that fit my values and aligned with what I was about. I operated under a lot of assumptions when I moved to Seattle, that I would magically find all these awesome people immediately. Like anything that is priceless and amazing, it takes lots of little efforts over a long period of time. And the end result is oh so sweet. 

6. Commit To Trying New Things. New restaurants, grocery stores, condiments, ethnic food, clothing, travel routes, whatever. The saying, "Don't knock it till you try it," remains so true in the city. There is so much to try and the worst that could happen is that you walk away saying never again. The Man and I have a little joke between us..."It's a good story!"

7. Don't Get Too Comfortable. Bust out of the shell sometimes. I especially take this to heart in the winter months. It's so easy to go from bed to car to work to car to home to bed. It's also easy to get sucked right into your neighborhood and your comfort levels. Make it a point to try something different in your routine once a month. If possible, once a week. You might surprise yourself and it's okay to spice up your life once in awhile. 

8. Remember Your Roots. I make it a point to get home every so often. I also make it a point to connect with friends and family that live far away. There is such beauty in the technology that makes it all possible and I am grateful for that every day. Without my connections and my roots, I lose out on a huge part of myself.   

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