Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Category: Feeling

2015 One Little Word: Adventure

2015 was off to a slow start on the personal end coupled with a roaring schedule for work. This required turning in, focusing my energy where it was needed – on myself and my job.

Now that the knot of work loosened, I am excited to shift focus to my own projects. What better way to get clear on my intentions than by sharing my One Little Word for 2015?

Adventure. Yes.

While most of the past 10 weeks are a blur of holidays, work and not-so-great events, my OLW came to me before that. In the midst of traveling to Denver, Joshua Tree and Boston – on flights, during road trips, while climbing rock faces – I started to feel an inkling of something new. A whisper of forward movement. A feeling of needing to shake things up.

I could already feel the Saturn shift happening, and the planet of hard work was moving right into adventure-loving Sagittarius.

Perfect timing.

 

Advertisements

Wandering Through the Garden

“Working on ourselves is a lot like cultivating a garden.” ~ lois wilson

My friend Steve shared the quote above on yesterday’s post where I spoke about my slow entry into this new year. The garden reference supports what I’m feeling – that the past 2 months or so were a time to rest, to let the fields lay fallow, to drawn in.

But with the new year energy (all those motivating pins on Pinterest! all those big resolution posts on Facebook!) it make sense to feel a little behind. And then one of the biggest shifts in astrological news coincided with Christmas week – Saturn moved from Scorpio (underworld, emotions) to Sagittarius (curiosity, actions).

It’s like the whole Universe is a classroom full of kids being let out the day before summer break. It’s hard to ignore that type of energy, that cosmic shift.

Astrobarry wrote about here:

…and if there’s one central theme we can confidently associate with the taskmaster-planet’s recent occupation of the archer’s-sign, it’s that our job is now to move decidedly forward, straight into the heart of the action, the adventure, the excitement, to the obvious next-destination on this journey and/or toward that which really matters to us. Life’s too short to get caught replaying details of the past…

That is what I’ve been feeling – a serious focus on forward movement. Future. Dreaming, but with plans. Ideas but with outlines. Projects that lead to goals.

But for all that energy, it doesn’t mean we know what to do with it yet:

For the time being, many of us are sort of wandering through our new year, still acclimating to the different Saturn vibe. We aren’t sure quite how quickly or dramatically to move forward, caught between eager optimism and recalcitrant fear. Even as circumstances change, our minds remain in a struggle to catch up, as suggested by Mercury’s current retrograde (continuing through Feb 11). In this unfamiliar territory, it makes sense to proceed by feel, sensitive to our surroundings, somewhat meek or tempered with the force of our actions, still assessing the astrological temperature before taking more confident ownership.

I think that’s what I meant yesterday, I’m feeling my way through right now – not pushing myself to go any faster or work any harder than I need to. And I’m OK with that.

I know from experience that for each down turn there is an upswing. Like for each winter there’s a spring. xo

 

Living For The Love

Life is moving at lightening speed, with work event hosting and planning, trying to get as much work done as possible in the few business days before the Christmas vacation.

And yet, days goes slowly. My energy is low again, the darker evenings bring on a sleepiness I can’t battle, and I feel like tucking in – to needlepoint, to books, to hockey on TV, to bed with flannel sheets and night walks with the dog.

This morning, I read Yes by Jillian at The Noisy Plume:

…life is short.  It becomes more and more apparent to me as I watch my grandparents in the twilight of their wonderful lives, as I watch my parents age, as I see our siblings and friends having babies and growing the next generation, as I see the lines of a life well lived begin to pepper my face.  I’m not going to live forever.  Neither are you.  I am concerned that when I lay in the quiet of a failing heartbeat on my deathbed that I will regret how much time I spent worrying, how much time I spent on my computer hitting a “like” button, how many days I sacrificed making memories with the people I love on the land I adore for a small job I didn’t pour my heart and soul into.  When I realized all of this, I decided to say yes as often as possible to the people closest to me, even if there were 100 unanswered and festering emails in my inbox, even if I was straddling a deadline in the studio, even if I was running late on photo submissions for freelance work — I started setting those things aside and doing a better job of living for love, living for the love of life, living for the love of experiences.

Her words wrap around the feelings I have about the panic that sets in about events, unanswered emails, the general piles of stuff that spring up around the house and the to-do lists. In the end, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the time I’ve spent with people “living for the love of experiences”.

———

Rest keeps coming up for me too, from tweets, to blog posts, to friend’s emails. Like, OK Universe, I hear you.

November saw me travel to Boston, to Denver, to Joshua Tree. I haven’t blogged about any of it yet, and I’m not sure why. I know there is some type of flow that happens between living / experiencing life the writing / reflecting I do… and I think I may need to do even more of that to really grasp what that flow is. To articulate it to you in words.

It’s so hard to revel in this season when everything seems to be so busy busy busy. I am taking time out each day to post a photo for December Reflections. I turn the Christmas lights on at night. I’m sipping a lot of hot chocolate and letting the holiday music blast through speakers while I work. The to-do list is focused, albeit shorter and shorter to cope with my lack of energy, but even in my weariness, things are getting done.

And then this by David Whyte:

To rest is to give up on worrying and fretting and the sense that there is something wrong with the world unless we are there to put it right; to rest is to fall back literally or figuratively from outer targets and shift the goal not to an inner bulls eye, an imagined state of perfect stillness, but to an inner state of natural exchange.

Again – to move from a place of outward productivity to a place of inward enjoyment. Reflection. A different type of giving and receiving. Especially being open to receiving.

If that’s what I focus on in the the next few weeks – receiving – I should be able to sing sink* right into the holiday spirit.

*Originally I wrote sing which I thought was a wonderful slip as music seems to move me much more lately, and singing is an excellent way to move into the holiday spirit. xo

Grateful Season 2014

Thankful for healthy family, a great husband, a smart dog, a good job, flexibility, love, peace, dreams. Trips to Boston and Denver and Joshua Tree. Rock climbing, hiking and the ocean. Time outside. Alaska. Really good sleep. Good coffee, and tea, and chai. Good books. Really good books. Cooking, biking and running. Podcasts and comfortable boots and snail mail. Internet friends, long distance friends, best friends. Laughing till I cry and clear, starry nights. Awesome coworkers and working from home. Movies in the theater and vinyl floors and green juice. Visits from friends and family, bright orange sunsets and paper crafts. Blogs, social media and sharing ideas. Deep conversations and time alone.

Writing here and you out there, reading.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

xo

Malibu Creek – Hike and Climb

Last week, we had Tuesday off, and decided to head out to Malibu Creek State Park to climb the Planet of the Apes wall. After taking care of the dog and eating breakfast, we headed out. The park was simple to find and we didn’t hit too much traffic.

It was overcast which made the feeling of autumn and vacation sink in even more. I’ve had the camping / hiking bug for a while now, and it was intensified by our trip to Joshua Tree a few weeks ago.

We parked, paying $20 to the envelop system because we didn’t have any change, and headed down the Crags Road trail. After about 1.5 miles we came to the Planet of the Apes wall.

Another group was setting up a few climbs, but the bolts for the easiest climb were still open. We hiked to the top of the wall, the view was awesome. H set up our top rope anchor. (You can see him in the picture above – and the tiny people near his left elbow that show how high up we were).

The climb we set up, a 5.9, ended up being tougher than I’d hoped. Even though there are huge pockets for your hands the wall comes back at you, and it takes a lot of energy just to stay on the wall and not swing off. This was a type of climb I don’t normally work on. Plus, it is filthy. There is tons of dust and dirt in the holds, so it felt like reaching around in a cellar.

We didn’t last long. H melted out before the top of the 5.9 – I made it 1/2 way. We switched ropes with the group next to us so we could try the next route over. That felt more fun, but was tough as well. Then there was already another group of people waiting to set up their ropes. H felt pressured and I agreed. We decided to pack up the climbing gear, eat lunch and continue on a hike into the canyon.

We came up and around to the rock pool, which was prettier than it was clean. There were a lot of people there, including what felt like a bus load of high school kids.

The people were were originally climbing next to at the Apes wall had also packed up and made their way to traverse the rock pool to an additional set of climbs on the other side. You can see them in the two pictures above making their way across the rock wall of the pool.

We ate lunch at a picnic table under some coniferous trees, brown needles blanketing the ground. It felt isolated, quiet and just what I needed. The overcast made climbing feel really hot, but otherwise I was wearing my jacket and long-sleeved shirt.

Sitting there at lunch, eating a random assortment of food I packed, I told H I could sit there for hours. That I wish I’d brought a book and we had more time – I wanted to just relax there for hours. But we needed to get hiking to beat the daylight and we didn’t have all night to burn.

Down the path, H slowed. H was tired and probably not as into the hike as I was. We were headed to the M.A.S.H. site – I was using that destination as a reason to get him going. I’m all for hikes for the sake of hiking, but H likes a purpose to all the walking (this is pretty much the only instance where this type of “productive” role reversal happens haha).

 

After about an hour of walking, we made it. It’s not much, but it’s cute. I hadn’t been to this site since I first moved to LA. I don’t remember being that impressed with it then either, but it does make for a “destination” on the hike.

We took a few pictures, ate some snacks at the tables and then both took an Awake energy shot. That perked H right up. He was zooming along the trail on the way back and we were chatty as we kept up this faster pace.

We talked about camping, our Thanksgiving trip plans, the future of our homelife, the idea of kids and a bit of what we’d like 2015 to hold (travel, for sure). This is the kind of quality time I really love – being outdoors by ourselves, doing something interesting with H, and a good swatch of time to enjoy.

This whole day felt perfect. I’m so glad we headed out on this little adventure. Clearly both my day off alone and this day made for a super spoiled introverted me. Yay.

Futures x10 x2

On November 2nd we went to see the closing show of the Jimmy Eat World’s Futures x10 tour at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. This is the same venue we saw them play Clarity x10, though for that show we had seats in the balcony. This time, we were committed to GA floor – and it was awesome.

We saw the opening show of the Futures x10 tour exactly one month before – if you remember, this is when I saw the band on the street and almost threw up from panic. It was really great to see them play the opening and closing shows of the same tour, especially since this involved the first 13 songs of the set list being the same. I could tell they’d gotten into a groove over the month-long tour. The songs, the time in between songs and the whole band just hummed.

This show, we were in Joshua Tree the day before and the morning of, so I knew we didn’t have the energy to do anything but stand and watch the set. Even in my exhausted state, knowing I had to travel to Boston the next day, I still loved every minute.

During the sound-check, the tech came out with a gorgeous blue bass on. “The bass player’s bass is so blue,” I said to H. “Yeah, that’s the one he always plays,” H said. “Oh – I never noticed before,” I replied.

It got me thinking – I’ve seen this band live almost 10 times, they’re my favorite, hands down, and I’ve never really watched the BAND play. I’m so fixated on Jim Adkins that the rest of the band blurs into the background.

Whoops.

A few weeks ago, my friend Joanna got to meet Jim Adkins after the show in Virginia. She made sure to take a selfie with him to send me. She said he is the nicest guy ever and that they really do just hang around the venue after the show, getting dinner and talking to fans.

Again, with the Jtree trip and the flight to Boston the next day, I knew we couldn’t hang around to meet them – but I feel like we’re getting closer. One day we’ll hit up a show and make time and get to meet them. For sure. In the meantime, I’ll wait patiently for their next album and tour.

Bonus – the band takes a pic of the audience each night and we made the cut. You can see H’s hands as the highest ones on the bottom left side of the pic below – he’s wearing a black t-shirt. I’m somewhere to the right of him and our friend is also standing there with us.

So it was a low key concert for us but totally worth the experience. Seeing the band 2x in one month did nothing but turn up the volume on my love for them. :sigh:

Check out the set list from the show. I was thrilled they played Dizzy (my other favorite besides Polaris and 23) and Jim talked a bunch during this show. He said he appreciates people still coming out to see their shows. It’s the “hugest compliment”.

I’m lucky I live in LA – a city they play in often. Their songs have impacted so much of the past 10 years of my life. Thank you to them for keeping on.

Piqued

From last weekend’s cuddle-sesh

It was a short, 3-day work week and I loved every minute of it. One of the rewards of travel is that my normally aloof mutt becomes very interested in snuggling (see above).

Now on to the links:

Happy Writer Mama wrote up An Introvert’s Guide To Retreats (With People) but I’d say it’s a great list to keep handy for any situation where you have to meet a lot of new people, especially people you want to be hanging out with.

Guuyyyyyssss, I love post-apocalyptic stories + Walking Dead zombies and Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors, so it’s only natural that I share her short how to survive a zombie apocalypse appearance on BuzzFeed.

Tom Hanks is obsessed with typewriters. The cooler thing? I’ve gotten to see some of them because of my cool music industry-related job. Now if only he’d been working the day I was at his office… This NPR Book News link also covers Ann Patchett’s comma correction and Lena Dunham’s rage spiral. Obvi.

20 Animals with Majestic Hair. My sister texted me this link and I actually laughed out loud, multiple times. I feel like at least half of these animals’ internal dialogue is just “FML”.

For a happy Justine, sleep is the 2nd priority, coming in right below food, so it’s no surprise to me that sleep-deprived bees are not able to give their little waggle directions as accurately as their well-rested counterparts. (I wish this article was longer. I love bees.)

My friend T sent me this link about how introverts interact differently with the world, including an ah-ha moment for WHY I SIT NEAR EXITS. “When surrounded by people, they (introverts) locate themselves close to an exit…Whether it be by an exit, at the back of a concert hall, or an aisle row on an airplane, they avoid being surrounded by people on all sides”.

New motto for life: avoid people on all sides.

And random share here, but @danlongo ‘s tweets are hilarious. We’re like, almost real internet friends b/c he’s friends with my actual internet friend Ciara.

And that’s that. Happy weekending xo

Day Alone – Last Bookstore

Since yesterday was Veterans Day (and work was closed) I took Monday off as well, creating a 4-day weekend (after 4 days of travel for work). It was the perfect way to get grounded.

I did a HITT exercise, gave the dog a bath and then ran 2m with him. I met a friend pretty early for breakfast at Paper or Plastik Cafe (where the “no laptop” pic was taken above – Hi Julie!) and then picked up a weaving Jessica O’Brien made and gave away for free via Twitter (heart the Internet).

Some time that morning I thought about The Last Bookstore in downtown LA – I’d never been. Having the entire day to myself seemed like a good enough reason to go.

The drive downtown was pretty easy with the help of GPS and I found a metered spot across the street. #bonus

Inside it is all sorts of used-bookstore-goodness. There are shelves and shelves of books, grouped in the usual categories, but the endcaps had random assortments of new and used volumes. The tables in the middle held art or coffee table books – the themes not entirely obvious at first glance. There were a bunch of very worn, very old chairs strewn around, some with people lounging and reading. And there were PA speakers set up, with a random playlist going, though I caught some Conor Oberst, which made me super happy.

I walked around for over an hour, collecting a few books that I thought were worth owning. And by worth owning, I mean, books whose pages I may want to write in the margins of. I love reading but I don’t buy books often anymore. In the interest of more open space in our apartment, I gave away most of my books in the past few years – getting our living room down to one bookcase and the bookcase upstairs holding other things besides just books.

But that dry, paper smell of stacks of books? That never gets old.

I drove from the bookstore to a Starbucks. I tried writing some, but my brain felt so overwhelmed with ideas, it seemed blank. After an hour of scratching around, I left to pick up groceries.

At home I unpacked the groceries, biked the dog around the neighborhood, cooked Mexican food for dinner, and pulled the 9 of Cups from the tarot deck: It is a sign to enjoy the abundance of life and to feel each of your emotions as if you had never felt any of them before. See the perfection all around you.

Yes, another day alone. Just like my day in Pasadena last month, it was a much needed luxury of spending time with myself, and creating space to just be.

Perfection.

Piqued

Los Angeles’ best small venues to catch music in.

Jill on trusting in basic goodness:

I am already whole, all of us are — this is basic goodness. I am not a problem to be fixed, or a project to take on, and neither are you, nor anyone else. You are not — no matter what advertising, religion, culture, or that little meanie with sharp teeth that lives in the dark might say – you are not basically bad, you are not unworthy or unlovable.

Lindsey on Parenting as an introvert / Parenting as an extrovert – knowing that my introversion affected the dynamic within my nuclear family growing up, and is something I navigate often within my relationship with my sister now as adults, I am keenly aware this will continue to be part of who I am as a mother:

My introversion and natural shyness surely means many things for my children, good and bad. I worry that the bad outweighs the good, that my lack of outgoingness and my struggle to include other people in our life sacrifices something important for them. All I can do, though, is be the best version of who I know I am. All I can do is swear that I will keep trying to open up—myself, our home, and our family.

The Barefoot Contessa is every piece of Long Island I wish my life could be, wrapped in a clean and calm cooking show. So naturally, I found this drinking game to be hilarious.

Ani Difranco is one of my creative heroes. Reading this interview was like sinking back into my 15 year old self, except that now Difranco is speaking about babies on top of feminism and songwriting. We’ve both come a long way.

Difranco talking about her new album “Allergic To Water” :

Yeah, I mean that sounds like a cool way of interpreting it. I guess my particular way would be that everything that is worthwhile and in fact necessary, what sustains you and gives you life, is also painful. And often the most important things are the most painful. I think the reason I chose that song to title the whole record is because that feeling, I noticed, comes up a lot in the record. It was just that kind of year for me, or couple years.

A tad late, but I am becoming more and more a person who wants to have a spiritual Halloween (or New Years or Valentine’s Day) and be much less about drinking beers in bars. Reading more of thenuminous.net may be the right way in.

My obsession with Jimmy Eat World continues (saw them perform again last week, blog post coming). And if you have an obsession, the Internet is right there with you, helping you along. This candid interview with Jim Adkins is delightful, minus Matt Pinfield’s aggressive chatter.

Move-A-Body Friend

I’ve been waiting patiently for months for today.

The day where I wish my friend Chelsea a happy birthday, and explain to you what a move-a-body friend is.

This is not my term. Brene Brown coined it:

When we’re looking for compassion, we need someone who is deeply rooted, is able to bend and, most of all, embraces us for our strengths and struggles. We need to honor our struggle by sharing it with someone who has earned the right to hear it. When we’re looking for compassion, it’s about connecting with the right person at the right time about the right issue.

We need a move-a-body friend.

(She continues to tell a story about a friend needing help moving her passed out alcoholic mother off the sofa before the kids get home from school)

“I’d call you because you would come right away, give me a hug, never look judgmental or disapproving or disgusted. And then you’d say, ‘Let’s do this.’

And that’s what I’ve decided Chelsea is for me. Someone who embraces my strengths and struggles and continually shows up for me as a friend.

I feel utterly responsible for so many people. People naturally trust me and share their honest and weighty experiences with me (many times without my prompting). This is part of my superpower, part of the service I bring to the world, but damn, if it doesn’t get tiring.

I was just talking to Chelsea the other day and said that it seems I don’t have a need for physically close friendships. Maybe because I’m an introvert, or spent so many years without best friends, or am close with my siblings, or have Henry, or because talking is my love language…

I have many female friends. Loving, deep, important, close, supportive – these are all words that come to mind for the friendships I keep.

But, while I need and love my female friendships, I don’t need them to be in my physical presence. I go to work and call one of them. While I’m driving I call another. We Skype, we text, we write emails and letters and Gchat all day long… but I don’t see many of them in person often.

And I haven’t seen Chelsea in years. So it’s only fitting that, at the strongest our friendship has ever been (at least, I think), I booked a plane ticket to see her this month. To visit her in the city she’s made a life for herself, meet her boyfriend and cat (though you could argue order of importance there haha #joking), and spend quality time with her.

Y’know, make her laugh in person. It’s gonna be awesome.

We met working retail in Boston. It was my first and only retail job. Our boss was a fucking nutcase, one rude comment away from full on sexual harassment. Chels and I bonded instantly with sarcasm, high levels of work and ridiculous chocolate chip cookies from the mall food court.

She quit. Then I quit. She left Boston. I left Boston. Maybe I left first…? And we stayed in touch.

I moved to LA. She moved to Denver. We stayed in touch but somehow had a fight, then a falling out.

And then, after some long cooling off period, we got back together. She is one of two friends ever that I’ve had more than one fight with and yet we continue to stay friends.

Lately, we talk multiple times per week for hours at a time, text every day, rely and depend on each other the way only close friends do. I can be my full, real, honest self with her. She shows up for me. And I hope I do for her.

I don’t think I have ever felt so fiercely about a friendship.

So, here’s to you Chelsea. Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to celebrate it with you in person in a few weeks xoxo