Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: how to be alone

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.

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Day Alone In Pasadena

Monday I had the day off and decided to go to Pasadena alone.

I’m not sure why I wanted to visit Old Pasadena, but the idea popped into my head and off I went. Well, first I had to pick up and return tables from a work event. And I had to drive kind of far in mid-day traffic.

But once I found parking, I was off.

To lots of walking around.

I started near a park and wove my way up past Castle Green and then on to the main drag of shops. I’m always surprised how much of a place is generic – the same stores as anywhere else in the country.

It was hot out, the sun beating down on me as I walked with a fabric backpack on. I stopped at The Juice Farm. Sipped on this deliciousness while I walked around The Paper Source store and past a bunch of other places.

I love the old buildings – the brick and fired stone.

My original plan was to go to Intelligentsia (how cooooool does this place look??) and write and read in the cool darkness of a hipster coffee shop while sipping a fancy latte.

But the public restroom gods conspired against me. Or, I guess, the lack of public restroom gods… because it was hot out I drank a lot of water, then I had that smoothie, and then I needed to pee. Really badly, but there didn’t seem to be a public restroom anywhere. I even walked all the way down back down to the park to try some port-a-potties I saw and they were locked. LOCKED. Port-a-potties with big locks on them. WTF.

I wanted to spend my lunch money somewhere I’ve never been, but the need for a bathroom became the priority. When I did a loop through the coffee shop I didn’t see a restroom at all. I wasn’t that hungry yet so I felt frustrated – here I was trekking all over, trying to figure out where to eat lunch just to use a restroom.

Did I mention it was very, very hot?

With time running out, I stepped into Crepes de Paris, saw they had a restroom, and ordered food immediately. It was pretty much empty, so I had my pick of tables. Ate my egg and cheese crepe with a latte that was unbelievably strong and not worth drinking. I read a book and sat in the quiet.

It was magnificent.

I don’t know why people feel uncomfortable eating alone in restaurants. I find it relaxing and super enjoyable. I read more of The Highly Sensitive Person, stared into space, jotted some notes in my journal and enjoyed the a/c when the main door to the patio wasn’t open.

It started to get late and I was worried about traffic (was about 25m away from home, but in LA that could mean a 2hr drive). And I had one more stop to make…

Vroman’s Bookstore.

Come on, you didn’t think my day alone would include walking, eating alone, coffee, reading and writing and not include a stop in a bookstore??

I kind of wish I’d gone here first – I could’ve just eaten in their bakery and I found a little mall on my walk over that had public restrooms. At least now I know for the next time I visit where everything is.

The store was large and pretty noisy. People talking, telephones ringing and kids roaming around. I felt jittery and uncomfortable from the latte and the heat. I was pretty tired by this point and had a mile walk back to my car.

But I tried to enjoy wandering the stacks, reading the little tags that employees had written recommendations on, and basically satiating myself with books. I was overwhelmed and inspired – I wanted to go home and read and write forever. There were so many books, how could I even get to a small portion of them in my lifetime? I thought about taking notes on the ones that jumped out at me, creating a To Read Later list. I wanted to buy a few but also wanted to save money. It made me miss tangible, paper books in a really deep way.

On the walk back to the car, I enjoyed the late afternoon light, even though it was still hot out. I figured out where my car was and cranked the a/c while I drove home. I didn’t hit any traffic and the rest of the evening was relaxing.

After the chaos last week, I’m really glad I had a chance to travel alone for a day, even though I didn’t leave LA.

When I first read Mae Cheverette’s blog, and how she travels alone, I was so intrigued, her posts pulled at my heartstrings. Then there’s The Noisy Plume’s travels and my own day trip around SF 2 years ago now that I remember so fondly, and the deep pull Alaska had on me.

There is something about being in a new place, walking a lot, observing and experiencing without really having to talk to anyone, that opens my heart up. It feels so luxurious, so new, so silly that it can have that affect on me, but it does. It also feels selfish, but in a really indulgent, put-myself-first way. It’s exactly what Julia Cameron calls an artist date – “assigned play”.

I needed this break from routine, from my neighborhood and from the emotional turmoil I felt all last week. I’m so glad I went. xo

Creative Play

This week’s been full of meetings, discussions, talking, listening, spacing out, feeling overwhelmed and skipping out on To Dos. And yet, it seems this week is just the right turn of the dial to click me back into place. All of those events, traveling, people – ugh. March 18th through April 20th was high energy, it was productive, driven, busy.

Notice how it aligned right with Sun in Aries. And as the Sun shifted to Taurus, so did my energy.

I can feel my energy settling (almost too much – exercise is way down and feeling a bit heavy is up). I am sleeping well but a tad too much. I am skirting responsibilities, indulging in art, craving whole foods and wanting to slow down. My brain feels sans of thoughts, and then, a burst of information will come pouring through.

When feeling particularly blah this week, I pulled out Danielle Laporte‘s Fire Starter Sessions and took notes with colored markers. Inspiring and relaxing – and totally indulgent. This may seem like such a whatever activity, but for me to shut off the computer, leave the laundry in a pile and focus, man – good things can happen.

I spent most of the week either wasting time on other people’s schedules or trying to un-knot a problem. I’m confident the knot is unraveled (for now). I processed 90 emails, did two loads of laundry and gave the dog a bath. Also started a class (Clean & Simple– which I’m super excited about), went to trivia night and basically enjoyed the quiet of having my apartment to myself. Just letting things go along, indulging in some creative play and chillin’.

Looking forward to a relaxing weekend with friends xo.

Productive Monday Holiday

Yesterday was a Monday holiday for me.

Every week should be a 3-day weekend.

I was uber-produtive, creative, relaxed and happy… even with some weird head cold that’s brewing.

I cleaned the bathroom, ran 3 loads of laundry, washed the doggie bed, walked Carter Cash for an hour, worked on an e-course, created a new journal to go with the e-course, cooked food, took care of the carpet company estimate, talked to my family 2x, read a book, journaled, worked on a video, vacuumed downstairs, dusted and vacuumed my bedroom, changed the sheets, responded to emails, and watched football (the Jets are depressing ::sigh::). All of this with energy and never really feeling pressured or upset I was doing so much cleaning alone.

(Thank you moon void of course)

Today was a pretty good day at the office, though I am right on the precipice of completely freaking out with all the work I have to do. I tried to list all of the projects and “next actions” I could think of a la Getting Things Done (GTD). It seemed to help, but more and more things keep pouring out of my head. The crazy part is – how was I not going crazy already with all of that in there? Well, I guess I was.

There’s a lot of stuff percolating – three upcoming trips, three work events, this e-course which I’m sure will dredge up some buried items and MY SISTER RELOCATING TO LOS ANGELES and sleeping on my floor for a few weeks.

It’s funny how I post here so often and hardly mention the people in my life. It’s because I don’t share this blog with anyone (though I understand it’s out in the internets) and yet I feel like I have to ask permission to write about other people on here, which would mean I’d have to talk to them about the existence of this blog. Round & round.

Anyways – I’m working on that. The above is enough for now, I think, especially if you didn’t have yesterday off and / or are a Jets fan. ‘Night.

 

How To Be Alone

Alone. Solitary. Unaccompanied. Lonely.

This is not a blog post of high authority, explaining to you, dear Reader, the merits of alone time and how to thoroughly escape the world at large. I’m no good at being alone, though it seems my batteries only recharge when I have time to do so.

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