Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: lists

Writing And Me (Blog Hop)

I’ve been journaling for 17 years, but I haven’t thought of myself as a writer, really, ever. I’ve thought about being a writer, like someone who wants to be a firefighter or president when they grow up. Now, I believe it’s the action that’s important (ex: if you want to be a runner, get outside and run. If you want to be a writer, write.) Yet, even after 530+ blog posts, I’m just beginning to think of my writing as significant enough to call myself a WRITER.

So it’s only fitting I was invited to a blog hop by Jill Salahub (a blogger I love AND get to actually chat with online) and have the honor of sharing with you a few awesome friends who will be posting next week.

1. What am I working on/writing?
I’m always writing morning pages, reading (books and blogs), intuitively taking in information, having deep conversations, taking photos, writing blogs posts and creating my life.

I began my blog in 2010, the same spring that I adopted a dog, bought a beach cruiser and began therapy.

Therapy was a game-changer for me. I finally started to understand all of my anger, hurt, and exhaustion and began valuing both myself and the life I was creating. I felt a need to capture my life in a more thematic, coherent way – outside of just stream-of-conscious journaling.

The same friend who suggested I try therapy (that I would actually like it) said my creativity came out in all aspects of my life – how I trained my dog, how I loved my husband, how I cooked, how I blogged and how I spent my days.

This took time to sink in but it’s how I see life now.

So I am always working on my life – learning new things, capturing moments, processing experiences, writing about them and then sharing them on my blog.

Creativity through living.

2. How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?
When I go into a Wild Write (as taught by Laurie Marks) I find my writing dives deep into the emotional experience of a situation. I’m all feelings, nostalgia, fleeting time and heartbreak.

My blog writing tends to be more day-to-day life, but focused on the themes of self-care, self-awareness and growth, details of my days, fun experiences and the larger threads that tie my experiences together.
When I began my blog, I had parameters. I would be truthful of my experience but also respectful. I didn’t want this to be an angsty online journal, I wanted it to be a creative space in line with the blogs that gave me great comfort (see a list of them at the end of this post).

I knew I wanted to share my experience. And the lens of my life include becoming more and more true to myself as I go through my late 20s, being in a committed relationship, the details of my days, anything I’m drawn to and the fleeting sense of time.

3. Why do I write what I do?
I am struck with how finite life is on a daily basis. When I’m falling asleep at night, I think “One day, I will be dead and gone” and this thought is both jarring and motivating.

Annie Lamott posted on her FB last week:
“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

This is it. THIS is what I’m trying to capture in my own blogging, in the blogs and books I read, in the conversations I have, in the people I spend my time with, in how I spend my days.

This is why I write – to capture the world around me and my own experiences, because I know it is all so fleeting, that it’s passing me by even as I notice it passing me by.

There are still days I forget that I am in control of my life and I have the power to choose how to spend my days, but blogging reminds me of how far I’ve come, where I’m at and where I’d like to go.

And I write to touch people – for my writing to resonate with them and their experiences. To be a light or a companion for them. The hope that my little example guides their way – to give them permission to love their life, to let go, to slow down, to truly be themselves and love what they love – even when life feels chaotic, stressful and impossible.

4. How does my writing process work?
I don’t feel like I have a conscious process, but it seems to flow in three parts:

  1. I am thinking a lot, all of the time, about everything
  2. I write things out in my morning pages, and
  3. Then I tie experiences together through my blog posts.

Every morning, I wake up and write morning pages in bed, while H leaves for work and Carter lays in his crate, patiently waiting for me to finish. Afterwards, Carter and I head downstairs where he eats breakfast and I down a glass or two of water. We head out for a run, bike ride or walk so he can get his exercise in while I do too.

Throughout my day, I take photos, think a lot, jot down thoughts, save articles and blog posts to Evernote, have conversations with people and live my life.

When I have an idea that feels whole enough to tackle or I have the urge to blog, I sit down, go back through my memory, photos and notes, and pick something to write about.

Because I think so much – and tend to intuitively take in my life and then process it outwardly by writing or talking – most blogs posts come quickly. From years of journaling, it seems, most blog posts come out mostly-formed. This doesn’t mean that they do not need editing – but they usually don’t feel like work. They feel like having a nice conversation with a friend. I have something to share, and I share it.

Blogging has gone hand-in-hand with becoming more ME than I’ve felt in a long, long time. As I listened to my needs and wants, I wrote it down. As I found myself through therapy and creativity, blogging helped me find my voice. And track that trail.

My blog is a reflection of this process and it’s a work in progress. I want to understand, reflect on and enjoy my days through my writing. Recently, I am actively raising the bar. I want my blog to reflect me as a person and my life experiences even more, I want to expand into telling longer stories, other people’s stories, posting more regularly, and seeking out readers. I am now comfortable enough with what I’m building that I want to share it. I am not embarrassed or self-conscious about my blog. I’m proud of it.

LIST OF BLOGS THAT I LOVE
Drawn to Laurie Marks Wagner @27 Powers, Andrea Scher, Jen Lee, Susanna Conway (who’s blogging e-course I recommend!), The Noisy Plume, Esme Wang, A Design So Vast, Pink Ronnie, Elise Blaha Cripe, Ali Edwards, Jill Salahub, Jamie Ridler, and Abby Kerr.

AND… these lovely ladies involved in the blog hop:

Jill Salahub | Thousand Shades of Gray
Jill Salahub is an Introvert, INFJ, Highly Sensitive Person, Scorpio, and Four on the Enneagram – in other words, a passionate mess. She’s a wholehearted practitioner of writing, yoga, meditation, and dog. She is generous and gentle, loves laughter and pie. Her mission is to ease suffering, in herself and the world. Jill writes about the tenderness and the terror, the beauty and the brutality of life, and of her efforts to keep her heart open through it all on her blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray, (which she started writing long before those books).

Katie Arnold | Talk Less, Say More
Katie is a music industry professional, healthy living enthusiast and fitness fanatic.  Her blog Talk Less, Say More is a place for her to share all of her life passions in one space – writing, music, good food and fun workouts.  She believes all things in moderation are the key to living a healthy and happy life, and loves inspiring her friends, family and others around her to live their best life too!

 


Jessica Defino | hell or high fashion
Jessica DeFino is a Los Angeles-based wardrobe stylist, writer, and blogger. With a focus on fashion, Jessica’s work has been featured in Harper’s Bazaar China, Remix Magazine, ELLE Mexico, RayLi, and B Mag Online.  Her blog, hellorhighfashion.com, is dedicated to helping others better their lives through the power of personal style.


Lynne Raspet & Suzee Ramirez | Two Poppies
We are sisters, the two youngest in a family of five children. Two Poppies is a place where we share our “art and soul” ~ our creative expressions, personal inspirations, thoughts and dreams. We are moving into the realm of blogging at our own very s…l…o…w… pace due the other directions in which our lives are pulling us.

Lynne is a mom of four who bounces all over the country (especially the South ~ in fact they are moving within the month to El Paso, TX) with her Air Force pilot hubby and loves discovering new places to travel and adventure everywhere they live. Capturing real life with her camera, including morning walks, road trips, and the baby squirrels they fostered is her idea of a good time. Her favorite ways to sweat right now are running and yoga. She believes in serendipity including an adorable kitty who appeared at midnight on Christmas Eve and became part of their family.

Suzee lives in Orange County, California (her entire life!) and has two lovely animal- & beach-loving girls (we’d have a farm on the ocean if they had their way) and is married to her fellow entrepreneurial husband. She enjoys being active, creative, adventurous, and living with a sense of curiosity, awe, and wonder. Her reading is mostly centered on spiritual discovery & feels very comfortable knowing that life is a completely miraculous mystery.

Our paths have included teaching (Lynne was a bilingual English/Spanish kindergarten teacher) and graphic design (Suzee has been in this field for many moons & was partner in a design group). We currently also own and operate Multicultural Kids, which sells all kinds of products that encourage children to discover and appreciate the amazing world and all of its people. We are in the process of producing our first book, “A Beautiful Rainbow World” ~ a children’s photography book with photos from around the globe which will be out in June

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Book Love Rekindled

Last week, I took a trip to my favorite library – the Santa Monica Public Library’s Main branch – and went to town taking books out. I thought I would share a slightly messy list of my notes.
Got it! – Steve Martin – Born Standing Up – 791.4092 MARTIN
Couldn’t find – Marukami – Running – 921
Yes, but not now – Wakefield 153.3 – Creating from the spirit
Didn’t find – On Becoming An Artist – 153.3 Langer
Didn’t look for it – Maisel – Book Proposal 808.02
Not really good – Note To Self – O’Shea – Journaling 808.066
Took this book out a long time ago – decided no this time – 158.12 Bliss – writing journaling
Couldn’t find it – A Walk Between Heaven and Earth – Holzer 818
Didn’t look – The Blue Jay’s Dance – 921 Erdrich
Got it! – A Drink Before the War – Mystery – MF Lehane, Dennis
Got it! – Donald Miller – A Million Miles in a Thousand Years – 921 Miller

Reading is important to me. A priority, you could say. It calms and energizes me at the same time. My reading habit is a direct reflection of how I’m feeling. Interestingly enough, the happier I am, the more I’m reading (at least this year). Wish it were the other way, since when I’m feeling crappy, I probably need that comfort even more. There’s a big gap in my reading from about April to August this year. Yes – I read a few things, but it wasn’t joyful. It felt forced, dull and exhausting (much life how I feel about that time in my life hah).

But I’m back in the swing of things – both in reading and in life – woo! Thanks to a friend who recommended Divergent, an amateur version of Hunger Games, it made reading feel fun again. Engaging, like rekindling a love affair with my Kindle (see what I did there). And I’ve devoured a 4-5 books in the past 6 weeks. Feels good. Feels real good.

I’m in the middle of A Light Between Oceans and can.not.wait to read the Steve Martin memoir.
Would love to hear your book recommendations or what you’re currently reading. Please share with me. If you’d like to see a list of books I’ve read this year, visit my library.

Update: Haircut

Last month, I cut my hair off on a whim.

It was probably a year since my last hair cut and it had gotten so long it felt gross. When I realized it was long enough to donate to Locks of Love, I jumped at the chance. Donating it takes the sadness away from the shock. Like 12 inches shorter…

And I’d like to note here that I am not normally freaking out about my haircuts. My hair is wavy, so it hides shitty cuts well, and it grows so darn fast in the SoCal heat that even a disaster will grow out in a month.

So what’s working?

  • Showers are short and easy. No more struggling to get gobs of shampoo out of my hair.
  • The time it takes me to get ready is much shorter. And no blowdryer needed.
  • When people compliment me on it, it seems random, like they truly want to say “Gah! I love your hair!”
  • Way less choices with how to wear it.
  • Only needing a hat when I go running. None of this braids / hair-ties / ponytails business.
  • Waking up from naps, having it blown out from the wind on a car ride, and it still looking good.
  • The curlier / bigger hair, the better.

What’s not so awesome?

  • Way less choices with how to wear it. It’s either down and curly or falling out of a very small ponytail.
  • I don’t love it. I’m not sure why. I love the idead of it. I enjoy the compliments, but it doesn’t truly feel like me yet.
  • Having it in / on my face and neck so much.
  • Sunburn on my scalp!
  • Thinking that I either need it longer (right past my shoulders) or even shorter (which is kind of a scary thought right now)

It is truly odd, though, to have a haircut where most of the time I think it looks like crap and yet, all of the feedback I’m receiving about it is super positive. Not sure what to make of that, but it’s the biggest observation I’ve made so far.

What about you? Have you ever gone with a radical hairstyle change and felt unsure about it?

Monthly Nutshell – January 2013

Well, January was quite the introduction to 2013, no?
Here’s my month is a nutshell in case you missed anything.

…said Thank you to 2012 and Welcome to 2013

…wrote nothing is wrong with you, which was more about me telling myself, nothing is wrong with me.

… hiked with my sister (back from her road trip) and we got some epic (puppy) photos.

…(we) celebrated 6 months of marriage. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.

Ease found me.

…tried an e-course that isn’t working for me, but I’m saving the emails b/c I think it will soon.

Carter found himself some freedom, accidentally and on purpose.

…read almost three books, experienced a terrible hangover and made pancakes here.

…started my Project Life pages.

…felt impermanence and rituals and time.

…spent time with friends. We experienced a killer of a Monday holiday, up at 5am.

…ran 5 events in 4 days. Then it was done. I practiced self-care. Cafe Gratitude came into my life. I rested some more. There is always an ebb and flow.

…participated in the cultivating courage e-course by Andrea Scher.