Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: ocean 52

July (My Favorite)

I’m off this week in Newport Beach with my parents, celebrating the 4th. It’s the first time all year that being out of the office = actual time off. All the other days I was traveling or running around with people – basically, not relaxing.

This morning had a similar start where I had a work call reschedule, then cancel, emails to go through and people who think they need my attention… and after 30 min of that, I decided I was done and unplugging from work completely the rest of the week. It will all go one without me. My work is not my worth.

A helper in this is that the wifi at the vacation home is sucky and basically a waste of time. So I wanted to post a quick hello here, to update you on my absence and also welcome in July.

2014 is 1/2 over, and it’s been a whirlwind to say the least. I’m not sure how time is going so quickly.

Despite the lack of internet, I’m writing blog posts and (hopefully) coming up with a bit of a schedule. I have so much to share but I just don’t get around to it. Working to change that.

After the work crap this AM, I took myself down to the beach – walked the wet sand, shot a few photos and felt the humid, salty wind on my face. The ocean. The month of July. They really are my favorite.

Hope you’re off to a great summer-time. xo

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11 of 52: Year of Ocean

Friday seems to be about taking the dog out on roller-blades. This time I headed down to Venice Beach.

I’m realizing that this Year of Ocean project could get pretty repetitive. As soon as I skated onto the beach path, I thought “how the heck can I photograph this differently from the last time?”.

I decided to shoot with my iPhone, no filters, horizontal view and concentrate on the sketchy, hippy, early morning vibe of Venice.

Before the booths hawking hemp bracelets are set up.

Before the smell of incense and hoards of tourists fill the air.

Before the garbage trucks are done with their beep beep beep of backing up, breaking the quiet.

Before things are taken out of their packaging, before security gates are lifted, before the summer campers run on to the sand for their surf lessons.

It was a quick little jaunt, mostly for the dog to get some exercise, but it was a good visit, Venice locals and all.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 of 52: Year of Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday, after a full day of rock climbing, my friends took me to the New Hampshire coast so I could see the ocean. It was exactly the way to end this perfect summer day.

The sun had just set, so the whole beach was cast in a dark gray glow – the kind that makes me think of slate, and castles, and deep waters. We walked out onto the rocks, but cut back up the beach when we realized how much the ground was really just a bed of seaweed. The tide was as far out as can be. It smelled like salt water and seashells and wet sand. We stepped with careful feet, so we didn’t crush any of the thousands of snails nestled in the shallow water. I picked up their empty shells and slipped them into my pocket. The little tunnel of a home void of an animal anymore, just specks of sand and sea water filling it now.

It was cool to hear one friend talk about how he visited this beach as a kid – it’s the main beach for grade school field trips. I love how coastal town living is ingrained in me and my friends. That rocky beaches are the norm. That we’re used to the jagged coastline of the east, large sediments left behind by glaciers, instead of the pure, sandy beaches of the west.

I asked if they ever visit in the winter. They said no. I felt it would be such a perfect beach for those shorter, darker days, with snow covering the earth. Where the wind whips off the ocean like a cutting blade.

Walking the gravel brought my heart right back to New England – the cold winters, the lush summers, and the ocean. Always, the ocean.

9 of 52: Year of Ocean

 

 

I thought the other day how, even though LA doesn’t really have seasons, I do. And so it seems appropriate I haven’t been to the beach much or that things have felt a tad internal rather than external for the past five and a half months. And that I haven’t felt interested in this project until yesterday morning, when I woke up with a strong urge to go swim in the ocean.

Saturday night we went to a clothing swap / poker night and didn’t get home until the wee hours of Sunday morning. I woke up after 4 hours of sleep with a slight headache and major hankering to swim. My schedule was double-booked for the afternoon (a birthday party for Steph & a BBQ with my sis) but I had just enough time to go for a run & swim down at Venice Beach (like I did the first week of January).

I ran from my parking spot, up the beach path – past vendors, homeless backpackers, puppies on leashes, people with expensive video equipment, skateboarders and incense clouds – to somewhere in Santa Monica. I felt like I could’ve gone forever, but I was on a time crunch.

Along the area where I got onto the path, I walked out on the sand, asked a young girl if she’d watch my stuff, Then, I walked straight into the ocean. It felt glorious.

The Pacific feels so much more powerful than the Atlantic ever did when I was growing up – so I don’t go in past my waist. But I swam a bit, ducked under a few waves, submerged my body.

It was exactly what I needed. Glad I listened to that small voice telling me to go.

So, yes – the Year of Ocean project is back! It may have been too ambitious to think I could go to the ocean & come up with new content here weekly, but I’m OK with this being as many visits as I can get… if I don’t hit 52 before 2015 or it takes me 2 years, it’ll still be a fun project.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

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

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

6 of 52: Year of Ocean

Biked down to Venice Beach alone. Went to Menotti’s Coffee Shop for a latte. Walked down to the water, snapping photos along the way. Sat myself down on a beach towel, ate a peanut butter sandwich, and wrote my morning pages.

I welcomed this year by swimming in the waves. And I can see that this visit was a way to welcome in my thirtieth year, but I didn’t do anything symbolic.

In my writing, I noted that I am feeling better: Like I finally caught a wave after sitting on my board for a while. I have ideas, inklings, things I want to do + feel I have the energy for it.

And then I wrote:

It’s not that the fuzziness is gone, not that I’ve reached clarity or a higher consciousness. And def haven’t heard from God, but it’s as if I was in a dark and musty room. Cobwebs of regret strung between walls hung with failures and x-marks the spot of where I could’ve done better (can’t we always? but it’s not productive to dwell) It’s actually as if a door cracked open. That there is now a beam of sun, however weak, but warm, reaching through to guide me out. Beckoning me, that this time of darkness is almost over. And I will soon be able to see.

Cheers to the ocean, to writing, and to feeling lighter. Being able to see again.

*See all of my Year of Ocean

5 of 52: Year of Ocean

Friday took me down to Santa Monica for a meeting, and I walked the beach for a quick moment afterwards. We’re having a hell of a winter drought, which is awesome for our days of sun, but terrible for the environment. And I miss the cold, crispness of February in Los Angeles, but I know this is better than the snow being dumped on the East Coast.

Decided to shoot my photos with the Hipstamatic app – I was going for that sunburst of heat and SoCal living, but instead I think I captured it all too blown out. Which is appropriate, since that’s how I’ve felt the past few weeks.

It’s my 30th birthday this week and I’m wavering between catching up / recovery from so much work while still being proud and reflective about how far I’ve come. I find it difficult, often, to experience, capture, reflect and understand my life as it goes by. It all seems so much to take in, so much to process and feel and comprehend. I am caught up in the details and then sometimes manically speak about life epiphanies and it all just makes me want to blog more. To process and reflect in this little corner of the internets, to keep throwing down place markers and sign posts – this is new or I’ve been here before, no? – a map of some sort. 

Anyways, that’s where I’m at. I missed a calendar week for this little project, but I  am not letting that deter me. This venture to the ocean on Friday proved my point. I sat on my shoes in the sand, in a dress, set the timer on my iPhone, and just stared at the ocean.

I needed that, and I think I’m going to continue needing it this whole year. xo

**See all of my Year of Ocean

4 of 52, Year of Ocean

Last week was challenging. I could say “What a way to start off 2014” but it’s how I start every year – with events that are bigger than me, with more work than I can handle alone, with an abusive amount of stress and socializing.

What was different this year is that I had a team. A few coworkers that came out to attend and assist at the events that actually helped.

And after the crazy weekend, we had some time together – sipping coffee, walking Santa Monica beach, eating at Cafe Gratitude and talking for hours. Of course we were still working – one of us would step aside to take a phone call while the other two looked in shops. They took photos of the ocean while I sent important post-event emails. But it was exactly what I needed after the pressure, the exhaustion and the work.

These two gals are my support group at work, despite us working 3,000 miles apart. We vent, laugh, work, challenge and discuss so much. We call ourselves Team DAJ and one day hope to take over the world.

But I think what’s most important to mention here is that they’re kind, hard-working people with smart opinions that set very high bars for themselves. They may have traveled out here to work my event, but the whole thing would’ve sank without them.

I was offered Grammy tickets as a thank you for my hard work, but the Grammys were right after my biggest event on Sunday, and there’s no way I would’ve made it there without crying. I was able to extend the offer to these ladies and they took it with glee. It was the perfect topper for their LA trip, despite the very long day they endured.

And as they were getting ready in the bathroom at the venue, while I still had guests mingling outside, and was waiting for the rental company to come and break down all of the tables and chairs, I listened to them chatter with excitement between stalls. They.were.so.excited. And I felt like a proud older sister, ushering them along to the next Hollywood adventure. As one skipped out of her stall so I could pee, and the other asked me to zip up her dress, I felt like, for the first time in a very long time, I had girlfriends. Not individual women who I shared deep conversations with, but a tight group of girls who gossiped and joked with their own group language, full of inside jokes and shared experiences.

So for the first time ever, I came out of the eventful weekend happy with my work, and I give most of the credit to feeling like, for the first time ever, that I had a team.

Team DAJ. #loveyameanit

**See all of my Year of Ocean

3 of 52, Year of Ocean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With so much going on at work, it’s a blessing I can walk on the beach in between meetings, lunches and emails. This day it was nice and warm out, the sun setting strongly on the horizon. The tide was far out, the lowest of the low, probably due to the full moon the day before.

What I remember is the birds running along the wet sand, sticking their straw-like noses in and sipping their dinners. I remember H calling me, asking where I was. When I said “the beach” I braced myself for a rude reply (even though he would never). When he said “oh, cool” I relaxed – and thought about why I expect to be scolded for living my life.

For taking a few minutes to walk the beach at low tide.

There was a group of tweens in wetsuits, heading out into the bright, calm water for surf lessons. I wanted to join them, but instead, picked up my wallet and boots, and walked back to my car.

**See all of my Year of Ocean