Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: energy

Spring Plannings

For good or bad, spring has officially sprung here in LA. While the east coast is pummeled by snow storm after raging snow storm, and spring seeps gently in other states, here, it is as if someone flipped a switch.

We went from chilly air, cool breezes, weak sun and foggy mornings to the full-blown technicolor that is California sunshine. Where in the shade it’s perfect, under direct rays, it can feel like you’re on the wrong end of a kid’s magnifying glass experiment of fried bugs.

While the heat is not my thing at all, the sudden burst of vibrant pink and white from the magnolias and jasmine plants is brilliant.

And the smell… swoon.

The internet says Leo Tolstoy wrote, in Anna Karenina, “Spring is the time of plans and projects” and that is what this week feels like to me. The past 2 weeks, I spent quite a bit of time catching up, digging out of email, and running errands – basically recovering from the first month and a half of the year.

Now that I’m caught up, Mercury’s direct, and my birthday is this week, I am ready to dive into those plans and projects – lining up with the seasonal shift, the glow of nature returning.

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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.

 

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

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.

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

Doing What I Want To Do

Blissed out after rock climbing at the ocean

Last week, I felt like crap. I was feeling awesome for over a week (energy was way up) and then, major blahs.

Anxiety, crying, low energy.

After all of these years, I can’t seem to find exactly what causes these downshifts. For someone so type-A, driven and focused, feeling like crap for multiple days in a row is a huge blow to my confidence.

On the surface it feels like something simple – putting too much pressure on myself with work, not getting enough rest, H not helping around the house, people driving like morons, hormones – you name it, it feels like the general cause of my stress. I assume I can ride it out for a few days, but when it takes over more than a week, it starts to feel insurmountable.

I’m learning that it’s complicated. And I’m learning if it’s normal for me, than it’s normal.

It’s about my innate power – my own abilities and the energy they require. How I can be so tuned into other people and yet get lost in the static of overwhelm. It’s about being highly sensitive. It’s about the ebb and flow of energy.

While there doesn’t seem to be an exact cause, there are a few things that seem to help pull me back to the filled up, happy person I always want to be. Listing them here in case they help you, and as a marker for myself the next time I’m way down in the muck.

Sleep
Overwhelm, exhaustion, an empty tank – whatever you want to call it – getting more sleep seems to brighten my moods. More than a usual 7-8hrs. We’re talking 10hrs over night or a solid 3hr nap. I know this may not sound “reasonable”, but I’m learning I need to trust myself in what I need, and if that’s 8hrs of sleep and then a 2hr nap later that morning, so be it.

Diet
Eating healthy helps, obviously, but lately a few things really throw me off. I’ve lost any interest in alcohol, (which is better than the opposite) and when I do have a drink, I feel miserable. It wrecks my sleep and ruins my mood the next day. Coffee, even decaf lattes, seem to both up my anxiety and make me incredibly sleepy. So I’ve been sticking to tea and chai lattes for my hot drink fix.

Work
Clearly I’m one of those people that care just a bit too much about work, my bar for excellence far exceeding other people’s. So last week, I took a day off. An entire day where I left my phone at home and did something fun. Another afternoon, I spent sitting with a friend at her pool, relaxing in quiet before I hosted a work event (where I was “on” for 5hrs straight). Making sure my reserves were refueled or even topped-off before I needed to pull from them is definitely something to schedule in in the future.

Input
When I’m feeling anxious, I tend to check social media a lot, mindlessly taking in information via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and websites. It feeds the feeling that I’m doing something productive with my energy, but I’m not. At all. So, I stop. I ignore texts, drive without music, go for runs without podcasts, turn off the lights in my apartment, turn off the TV, stop checking email often and choose carefully who I spend my time with. It may seem extreme to people who don’t feel the way I feel, but it really does help me bounce back.

Change Of Pace
Getting out of my normal morning > work > homelife routine also helps. Clearly, the euphoria of travel is partially being away from my responsibilities – all of those shoulds (true and made up) I let run rampant in my head. Last week, H and I went climbing at Point Dume again. This gave me quality time with him, a challenge to rise to (I climbed really, really well) and an evening at the beach. All of these things shift my perspective away from work / pressure / unhappiness back to loving my life and feeling like a badass.

Creating
There seems to be this correlation between not creating and feeling like shit. I was able to get some creative time on Friday night and Saturday – writing a blog post, shooting some photos, and playing with paper. I also made time to write morning pages, which have fallen out of my routine. Another way to refuel and top-off the energy reserves.

Self-care
All of the above falls into self-care, but the mental shift that seemed to take place last week was one of going from feeling trapped / exhausted / anxious to feeling OK with how I was feeling – allowing myself to feel it, talk about it, accept it and do what I not only needed to do to help myself, but actually what I WANTED to do.

And isn’t that the crux of it all – doing what I want to do? Why is that so difficult? And yet, it is. It’s the one thing that makes me the happiest, and it’s the thing I struggle with the most.

I mean, I started this blog and called it Allowing Myself because that is the skill I need to keep learning over and over. To allow myself. Last week was just another version of it. And each time, I get a little better at it – I move through it with more confidence and grace – even if it seems like there won’t be a light at the end of the tunnel, there is. Every time.

So maybe this week we could all practice a little bit. Tune into that little voice that suggests something that would boost our energy or even make us downright blissed-out, and choose that thing. Allow yourself any of those things you think aren’t reasonable to want, the thing that feels like “oh, that must be nice” but isn’t in your reach – and do that thing.

Let yourself do what you want. And I’ll be doing my best to do the same.

xo

Flow: Month Four

April was a lot like March, if March was on speed.

The craziness that was the second half of March took over ALL of April.

Traveled to Boston, where I spent a night with my parents, went climbing outdoors for the first time, worked three 12-hour days, had an all-night happier with friends, took the 7am EST flight back (at this point, I was on no time zone what-so-ever), returned to LA to find the entire downstairs of the apartment in upheaval, as H decided he was going to finally change out the floors, with his entire family landing at LAX the next afternoon. Then on to them visiting us for 12 days – including going to Six Flags, Universal Studios, and doing a crazy hike in hot weather – and then packing up and going to Stagecoach country music festival for 4 days.

Whew.

In each circumstance, with each day, came a new reason to go with the flow.

Traveling for work is nothing if it’s not just showing up and doing my best.

Coming home with the expectation that H and I would relax before his family arrived, only to have the apartment in upheaval for the next two weeks, gave me the opportunity to repeat “it’ll get done…and we’ll finally have new floors”.

Staring at a massive pile of stuff in our office while said floors were replaced let me cut myself a break and know that, when I had the energy, I would put it all back together again.

Being whipped around time zones, with no routine, lots of restaurant food and family in town made me listen to my body more. Was I thirsty? Grab a glass of water. Was I tired? Let’s take a nap. Did I need to burn off some energy? How about a run.

Attending a music festival with 60k people and camping off-site meant the control-freak in me could only do so much. I really just had to see what came up next and go with it. With sixty-thousand other people. Haha.

Getting not one, but TWO, flat tires on the drive to the festival gave me the chance to ask for help, hang with my sister (where she took the awesome picture  of me above) and really trust that things would work out.

And y’know what? They did. They do. Over and over again. Things work out, timing makes sense, people stop by, strangers speak up and things I thought were imperative end up being kind of… whatever.

I already wrote this here, but my therapist said it best “Justine. You’re doing really well. You’re just rolling with the punches”.

Crazy thing is, I don’t feel like I’m rolling with the punches – I hardly feel like I’m being punched anymore. Nothing seems that dire right now (and of course, I’m lucky/grateful that’s the case). But it used to be that my car stereo not working could send me into a tailspin, and somehow having two flat tires was, like, nothing. We were safe, we had food and water, we called for help and we figured it out. A total pain, but relatively easy in the grand scheme of my life.

So despite how chaotic my schedule is lately, I am feeling pretty awesome. I know it won’t always be like this, and I def have days where I cry or just want to watch TV and zone out, but I am proud of myself, again, for cultivating a sense of well-being, of confidence that I can figure it out, of trust that things will work out…

For trusting and honoring flow.


Read about how my OLW ~flow~ worked for me in January, February and March. xo

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.

Girls’ Happy Hour

As I mentioned, I am feeling pretty good this week. I’ve had energy, been super productive at work, exercised, chatted with friends, cleaned a bunch and cooked at home.

Yesterday was a hot one in the Valley – in fact, it’s been hot all week, but last night involved sitting outside with some girlfriends, enjoying happy hour.

One friend is moving, one doesn’t love her job, another is a great source of work advice, and my sister joined us too. So the conversations flowed around employers valuing their employees, how much easier it is to work with straight-forward people, why people don’t value networking skills, and how we’re all pretty darn good at what we do. We drank margaritas and ice water and split appetizers.

So fun.

And considering I spent the entire day in my windowless office, processing work, all alone, it was magnificent to get out and spend some quality time with my friends. Nothing beats that, I tell ya.

Headed out for some dancing tonight, a hang with a different friend tomorrow, and day-drinking on Sunday. It’s shaping up to be an awesome 3-day weekend.

Hope you enjoy yours xo

Sundays Are For (Week 24)

 

 

 

Sleeping in 3 hours past weekday wake-ups, but still up before 9AM. A trip to the dog park for Carter Cash while I sit in the car talking to my mom. Brunch at our favorite local joint, where we sit at the counter for the first time. The vat of whipped butter is a surprise and the bustle of the workers is impressive. For $21 we both get french toast, sausage or bacon, two eggs and coffee. Perfection. A quick walk around the farmer’s market and we head home.

Afterwards, I feel cranky. Even though I’ve had  a mug of coffee, I am tired. The past two weeks had been all sorts of odd energy. We planned to ride down to the beach, but instead, I lay down on the couch and fall asleep for two hours.

H does work, straightens up and takes a shower. My nap is blissful and exactly what I needed. Once I’m up again, I have energy to go out.

We ride down to the ocean to find it’s a lot foggier than we expected, almost cold. We find a free bike rack, lock them up, pick up some wine at the store, and head out onto the beach. It’s so relaxing, refreshing, rejuvenating. Hands down best way to bring me back to myself. And it reminded me of this Sunday back in September – Sundays Are For (Week 8)

On our way home, we stopped at the grocery store for a few items (I’ve gotten really back at doing larger grocery runs), showered, and ate frozen pizza. Then I video chatted with a friend in NYC – she used to be my boss before she relocated. She’s awesome & I miss her. It was so smart of us to video chat, her with wine and me with my pizza. WHY didn’t we do this sooner?!

And now it’s the quiet hour, where I eat some strawberries and H studies for a grad school final, and Carter lays on the couch, watching us. Our apartment is a mess and other things are up in the air, but right now, life is awesome.

Happy Sunday to you too xo