Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Daymaker

 

I read Alexandra Franzen’s post about being a daymaker. This idea stuck with me as I sat down to write a few thank you notes to speakers at recent events. Then I thought I should send a card to a friend, then a cousin who had a baby, then a connection I’d made at a conference…

All in all, I sent 8 letters that day.

And wouldn’t you know it – within the week – the Universe replied back with random letters and unexpected deliveries.

Life is so grand.

Since the start of the year, I’ve been using the Postagram app to send a postcard to my two grandmothers once a month. I just set a reminder on my calendar, and when it goes off, I open the app, pick a recent photo from my library, write a little note, and click send. I’ve also used this app to send photos of Carter Cash to friends – his pic now graces the walls of many a cubicle.

As you go about your day, can you drop a note to someone? Email is good, but handwritten is even better. Or better yet – be a daymaker to someone.

Recently a woman who manages a venue we host our events at told me her daughter loves Menchies frozen yogurt. Well, my sister happens to work there and has a ton of free swag. I nabbed a few pieces and added a gift card to the branded bag. When I delivered it to this woman before our recent event, she looked at me and said, “I’m going to be a hero tomorrow morning. You made my day. Thank you!”

And I couldn’t help feeling like a bad ass myself. But by making her day, she had made mine.

 

Flow: Month Three

We can sum up March as I’ve finally gotten my energy back and it’s a good thing because I am committed to a shit-ton of stuff.

I know I hardly blogged in March, but that’s OK because 3 months into 2014 and I’ve:

  • Cut back on my drinking
  • Grabbed coffee with a woman I met at the retreat 6 months ago
  • Continued running 2-5x per week, usually 2m at a time with the dog (slooooooow)
  • Started (and become obsessed) with rock climbing at an indoor gym
  • Spoke an an important meeting
  • Traveled to San Diego and Big Bear
  • Hosted 10 events for work, one of which was the most well-attended event for our office ever
  • Attended a conference and a training
  • Took care of our homelife while H took his Comps test and ran the talent show
  • Biked 10m on a hot day to see a best friend as she ran the LA marathon (go Steph!)
  • Wished my mom a happy birthday (with my siblings and the gift of an expensive purse hah)
  • Hung out with another best friend while she visited LA (hi Liz!)
  • Read two magnificent books
  • Had Conan O’Brien talk to me (thanks to a friend I made at the conference, who needed a tour around Abbott Kinney and conveniently wanted to order a hot chocolate from the Toms Shoe store right as Conan also  came in to order a coffee)

So, I’m still going with the flow. Even when I forget that flow is my word for the year – I’m working on a new level of acceptance: This is how things are – an acknowledgement of how something really is and not the half-imagined version my brain would like it to be.

Interestingly, I have no real routine – every week is different – and this will continue for April as I travel and we have family visit. Yet, I’m still functioning fine. Things are getting done, cycles are aligning with the moon, emails get answered…eventually.

I have noticed a bit of multi-tasking manic-ness creeping in. When I read Sas Petherick’s “Calling Bullshit On Multitasking” I laughed out loud. She writes: “When I feel organised, I feel more confident, more in control.”

I get that, and I agree, but I’m also aware this week how much this seems to be my season of high energy, pulling a lot of information in and (possibly soon) creating a lot of product to ship out. My energy is great, my brain feels clearer and my confidence is up. If I was swimming through rapids in January and February, March felt like I finally caught a wave.

Looking forward to riding it for the rest of April.

But first, rest

There was a new moon on Sunday – and I slept right through it. What a way to welcome in this new season, eh?

Sunday morning, I rollerbladed the dog to the Farmer’s Market (how LA of me, I know). Cruising through the stalls on my skates, I picked out blood oranges, rye bread and farm-fresh eggs. Back at home I cooked a full breakfast. We watched the Flyers game and ate our food.

And somewhere in the 3rd period, I started to nod off. And slept for over an hour, on the couch. H woke me up to ask if I wanted to go climbing, which I did – was looking forward to it all week – but I just couldn’t get moving.

I ended up back in bed, post-shower – warm, clean and more sleepy than before. The sliding door was open and a strong breeze was outside, rustling through the palms. I slept, fairly deeply, for over 3 hours. Each time I woke up, I listened to the breeze outside, felt the cool sheets, and just knew I needed to keep laying there until I felt filled back up.

It took until Monday morning, sleeping in later than I normally do, to finally make me feel rested.

Two weeks ago I attended a conference on higher ed social media. Last week, I spent the day at the YouTube Space in LA.

Both events set my mind churning with ideas.

I am not sure how to capture all of them. Not sure what to do with all of them. I can feel the potential for my work expanding and I can feel that I’m lagging behind. There’s not enough time to capture, organize, do.

Then something clicked – these big ideas I’m having, that could catapult me right out of my current space, are too much. I’m falling into the Mars retrograde problem of all show & no go. I don’t want to talk a big game, I want to create, produce and have something to show for my work.

It’s not about revamping my resume (though it needs an update) or about finding a new job (I like my current position). It’s about going deeper into what I do well and what I can create in my current position. It’s about the work I do for myself.

It rings true for my ideas about flow too – that I need to be ride the waves, be present, act on what’s in front of me, and honor the seasonal shifts.

So I think my day-long nap on Sunday gave me a new perspective – in a subconscious, processing way. There is a certain knowing I’m experiencing in the past month, a confidence in feeling that I am kicking butt, that I am prepared, that there is opportunity for me to step up my game.

But first, I needed to rest.

Remnants

It’s been a busy busy busy two weeks.

Tonight is the last night of work for both H and I for a while. Of course, I fly to Boston Saturday, but at least after tonight we get to settled back into a somewhat normal schedule for the week.

Noticing that rock climbing gives purpose to things like drinking juice (above), getting enough water, making healthy food choices and strength training. It even makes ab workouts worthwhile. Climbing for smaller ladies like myself requires mucho core strength. I’m getting stronger and that’s awesome.

I spent last week at the CaseSMC and yesterday at the YouTube Space LA. I am bursting with ideas. With all of the events I’m running and attending, there doesn’t seem enough time to think though. Hoping to get some time soon to jot down everything and sketch out plans.

I love feeling like this. Energized, excited, with objectives to focus on. It seems like a waste to go spend the evening hosting an event, but that’s what’s on my schedule.

Hope your weekend is feeling lovely. Feel free to share what you’re up to in the comments. xo

 

How Many Of These Do We Get?

Last week, I had coffee with a new friend. This was only our second conversation, but it was long and deep. Her mentor passed away suddenly at the end of January, and so instead of our original plan of co-working, she spoke about the shock and absorption of this kind of news. Of losing someone so important without warning. And while she didn’t cry, I could see tears well up when she looked away, or her lip quiver on certain words. I sat quietly, holding space for her to speak out loud about her loss.

I listened to Merlin Mann on Back To Work, talk about waking up at 5am, not able to sleep. He spent that morning slower than usual, reading comics with his daughter while his wife made muffins. His pointed out he could talk about sleep issues or time management, but the reality is this – what is happening to us in each moment is our life. And “how many of those times do I get?” he asked. How many mornings of reading comics with his young daughter will he have the privilege of experiencing?

Friday night, H and I drove around trying to decide where to eat dinner, find a parking spot, and wait for a table to open up. The drive felt frustrating, I was super hungry, the first restaurant sat us at a very small, noisy table. We got up and left. We walked over to another place we like to find all of the patio tables full. As we waited for a spot to open up, he asked me if I wanted to stay. And I said yes – we may as well wait – because this was going to be better than wandering around for another option at the prime dinner hour. I stood on a step so I could be taller and leaned my face into his neck.

A table did open up, near a heat lamp, and the waitress let us quickly put in an order before the clock struck seven and happy hour ended. We sipped our drinks, chewed warm bread, and ordered steamed clams and a seafood pasta to split.

We talked about our jobs, our hopes for us as a family, our week, our loved ones. And it’s just magical to think how far we’ve come since we first met at 18, neither of us knowing anything, really, about what we wanted in life, or from each other.

And I thought again about my friend’s loss and a man reading to his daughter, and us sitting there at what is becoming our favorite happy hour spot – the patio’s twinkle lights and the good music mix smoothing over our moods from the workweek and allowing us to come back together as us.

How many of these do we get?

8 of 52: Year of Ocean

The weather for this family walk yesterday was gorgeous. Gloriously sunny, breezy, warm. Nothing like last week’s weather. Spring has definitely sprung here in LA (though the time change springing us forward does not a happy Justine make).

After an incredibly busy week, where one or both of us were out every night, sometimes not getting to bed until midnight, we woke up Saturday refreshed. Being asleep by 10pm on a Friday night has its advantages.

H decided on a beach walk for Carter, and of course I tagged along. We ended up south of the Venice pier, walking on the beach, Carter saying Hi to other dogs. We took our shoes off and put our toes in the very chilly sand. (Putting my feet in sand feels like vacation every.single.time.)

South down the beach and then East, we ended up on the Ballona creek / westlands footpath, which I didn’t even know existed. Isn’t it crazy we’ve here for almost 5 years and I’ve never known walked this footpath?

We made our way back to the streets, fantasizing about living in the water-front homes, and ended up at the Cow’s End in Venice.

We ate bacon, egg and cheese on bagels, sipped coffee and tea, and watched the other doggies walk by with their owners. The sun was warm and turned my cheeks red. It was a perfect morning walk and I was grateful for the quiet, alone time with H. Carter was pretty satisfied too.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

30 Things I Love Right Now

  1. My husband. Because at 11+ years together, being able to call him my husband is so awesome.
  2. Carter Cash. I mean, really. Nugget.
  3. My siblings living in the same state as me. Seeing my sister multiple times per week.
  4. My job. Autonomy, flexibility and made for me.
  5. Having enough income – not stressing about bills. Not wanting for anything.
  6. Living so close to the ocean. Biked there just the other day.
  7. All of the awesome people I get to call friends.
  8. My amazing coworkers.
  9. Spotify & Pandora – streaming music, especially playlists created by other people.
  10. Making juice at home – kale, ginger, lemon, apple.
  11. Binge-watching shows on Netflix. Oh Em Geeeeeeeeee House of Cards, Season 2.
  12. Coworking with friends, especially one in particular who has a hot tub (you know who you are haha).
  13. Lattes without sugar. Coffee with milk & sugar.
  14. My shorter hair cut, while still missing my long hair.
  15. Essie nail polish.
  16. Rock climbing.
  17. Choosing juice over alcohol.
  18. Wearing dresses.
  19. Navy blue, gold, teal and dark pink.
  20. Hockey.
  21. Being off birth control.
  22. Buying and reading books on my Kindle.
  23. Our apartment (location, light and layout).
  24. My relationship with my parents.
  25. Technology – taking classes online, social media connections & information, and…
  26. This blog.
  27. My practice of taking photos and sharing them. Writing and sharing. Talking and sharing.
  28. Good conversation. Not sure if I’ll ever not love good conversation.
  29. The gold and amethyst ring my grandmother let me pick out for my communion that I started wearing again on my right ring finger.
  30. Me. With 30 spins around the sun under my belt, I’m pretty fucking proud of who I am, who I’ve become and the life that I’m living.

Flow: Month Two

I think the most important thing about February was that I gave in and, schedule-wise, went with the flow. There was no week that went the same way, Mercury was retrograde, I was hibernating and exhausted, the weather was hot or rainy. We were busy.

It was an odd month for sure and I’m glad it was short.

There were two highlights of the month: learning to rock climb and my 30th birthday.

Rock climbing  is now something H and I do together, at least once a week. We’re still learning, trying different indoor gyms and have yet to climb outside. I’m addicted. H even bought me a harness for my birthday!

My birthday was also wonderful. We went out of town for a ski trip and the next weekend celebrated with a dinner. It was awesome to get some much love the day of and also to feel the fog was lifted and I was back to my self, even if that self was now a year older.

I slept in some, acknowledging that the lack of sunlight in the mornings makes it harder to rise. (Just noticed how bright it was when this morning’s alarm went off – and also realizing Daylight Savings time starts this weekend so it’ll be back to dark in the morning).

We’ve been (binge) watching House of Cards, The Walking Dead and seen a few 3+ hour movies. We saw the Flyers play the Kings at Staples Center. We were both sick for over two weeks with some weird cold that wouldn’t leave. I read The Goldfinch. I cut way back on my alcohol consumption. Not sure I see a difference yet, but I certainly don’t feel worse.

I had more meetings than I possibly could’ve ever wanted, a some frustrations with work, but they all just led me back to the same idea again and again: I have to put my own creativity, my own work, first.

While I forgot about flow a bunch over the weeks, I also noticed it pop up in moments. Like in the pure thrill of a cancelled meeting or the perfect timing of thinking I’m late but it all working out. It seems that life does have an order to it, and if I’m not too busy trying to drive my own order with how things should be, then life shows up and gives me a much grander adventure.

This month was about resting, tucking in and refilling the reserves. I think I accomplished that. And in the past week I’ve found my energy coming back, my drive revving up, ideas flowing again. Ready to move and live this new (astrological) year.

7 of 52: Year of Ocean

We’ve had a bought of rain here in SoCal, and while it’s not the snow-mageddon the rest of the country is experiencing this winter, it was quite the change for us. Luckily, we’re fine, our commutes weren’t too crazy, and the storms have passed.

But Carter Cash hates rain (avoids getting wet in general) and so the weather made it difficult to exercise him yesterday and today. And an exercised pup is a happy pup, so he was frustrated this morning. At first we thought we’d take him around the neighbohood on bikes, but as soon as we walked outside, we realized it was drizzling – no good for the bikes or the dog. Selfishly, I suggested we go down to the beach, so Carter would be entertained and I could get my weekly ocean visit in. Worked like a charm.

We didn’t walk very far, with our cafe vanillas from Coffee Bean, but it felt good to get out on to the sand. It was especially cool because the view was so different from a week ago – the ocean was a churning, foaming beast – you could feel it pounding and sucking at the sand.

Though Carter loves the sand, dogs aren’t allowed on the beach, so I took a quick walk out to the waves alone. I felt rushed b/c Carter was howling at me (this was interrupting his walk) but just being that close to natural energy – the ocean, the waves – and I felt something in me realign again.

It’s still baffling to me that I get to live this close to the Pacific ocean. That even though I’ve moved 3,000 miles from home, I am still less than a 20min drive from the sea.

I guess that’s just the Pisces in me. And it was a great time to say hello to the waters, as the new moon in Pisces was last night, welcoming us to be open to receiving, to go back to where life began, in water.

I always forget this is a Piscean principle… that us Fishes are so prone to giving that we forget to receive, to allow that loop to close. And with that, and my one little word for the year ~flow~, I move on into this week of work, friends and to-dos. I’ve signed-up for two online classes which I’m looking forward to, and I have a rock climbing class as well. All good things.

Hoping all is lovely for you whatever ocean you’re near. xo

*See all of my Year of Ocean

The Big Three Oh List

I wanted to create a list of things I wanted to do in my 30th year*, without melting under the pressure. All about lowering the bar lately, but I jotted down a bunch of stuff one evening last week, and it all felt good. So, I figured I’ll go with it and see how it all ends up. I’m sure it totally helps that I’m sharing this on the Pisces new moon xo

  1. Learn to make a latte at home, or a cold brew, or something fun with delish coffee
  2. Host a story bowl
  3. Bake bread, enough that I have a fav “go to” loaf, unless I absolutely hate the process
  4. Take a trip alone. Attend a retreat.
  5. Visit friends in Chicago, visit friends in NYC, visit Denver (I’ll take any and all)
  6. Create a second income stream / Launch an e-course or e-deliverable
  7. Rock climb outdoors
  8. Hang plants in the apartment
  9. Make a photo collage on a wall in my apartment. Also, hang twinkle lights, preferably in a cute shape
  10. Get the hang of Pinterest
  11. Write a song. just one.
  12. Get a tattoo
  13. Write a letter to my parents thanking them
  14. See the LA Phil
  15. Do a juice cleanse
  16. Visit Alaska. omg
  17. Celebrate two lovely friends at their wedding
  18. Learn to give myself a manicure
  19. Create a meditation practice
  20. Get a blogging mentor or writing group or something related to this
  21. (This one is private)
  22. Create a mini-book
  23. Learn more about tarot
  24. Run a 5k. Maybe even a 10k. Or that elusive 1/2 marathon.
  25. Put myself, and creativity, first
  26. Switch to natural products
  27. Change our floors or move to a new apartment
  28. Ride a horse (a friend’s offered to take me)
  29. Visit somewhere outside of the country
  30. Go kayaking
  31. And one for good luck – Spend more time staring at the ocean – Finish Year of Ocean

*Idea credit: Kelly Purkey

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 172 other followers