Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: ocean

#30daysofdresses – day 7

Or where we finally get to the new Dunkin’ Donuts…

Sunday I woke up and mentioned donuts. H responded with us going to the new (and only) Dunkin’ Donuts in Santa Monica.

Done.

While H waited in the line – out the door and about 20min total – I walked Carter around the block. I decided to wear my new Jimmy Eat World t-shirt from the show the other night and a jean skirt. I know this is technically not a dress, but like I mentioned, the heat is making wearing a dress really unappealing.

The shirt is awesome because it’s navy (my fav), has constellation-like writing (also fav), and it’s of my favorite Jimmy Eat World album.

I never wear this skirt, and wanted to ditch it when Jess and I met up last year. Apparently, every girl should have a jean skirt, especially those that live in sunny SoCal like me. But it always felt like it was riding up and not sitting right.

Solution – tuck in a shirt and wear a belt. Ta-da. Plus the belt and tucked-in action up the put-together-ness action of the outfit, so even though I’m technically just wearing a shorts + t-short combo, I look way more like I care than normal Sunday coffee-run outfits.

 

Winning all around.

With our Dunkin’ Donuts food in hand, we drove down to the beach path above the ocean, found a bench in the shade, and hung out. H was all excited for his fantasy hockey league draft and Carter checked out the squirrels and other dogs. The view was a pristine blue – possibly the only benefit from an LA heat wave.

I can’t wait for it to cool off…

Skirt is Gap, from a long time ago, per usual. Shirt is merch from Jimmy Eat World. Belt is originally from this dress. Flip-flops from Kohl’s.

PS – Happy birthday to my dad!

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Technicolor Climbing, New Hampshire-style

During my June work trip, I extended my stay to include a full day of rock climbing with my awesome coworker Arielle (read about the first time she took me outdoor climbing). She and her boyfriend, Eric, took me out to Pawtuckaway in New Hampshire where we took a leisurely hike in, climbed a few routes, and enjoyed the most gorgeous of New England summer day you could ever imagine.

Having lived in LA almost 8 years, I am blown away by the intense greenery of the east coast during summer. There is clearly no shortage of water there. Walking through the park, and coming up to the water in the first photo, it all looked like Technicolor. I couldn’t stop commenting on how green it all was.

Our climbs were good. Eric showed me how he sets a top rope anchor (something I have yet to learn). He is quite meticulous and really patient, so it was great to have him talk through his process. Also fun to watch him and Arielle climb – always enlightening to see how people approach a route.

We found this baby bird nest in the chimney climb. So tiny. We ate supermarket sandwiches and went through a bag of pretzels. We talked about work and climbing and life. It was just a delight to be outside in summery weather.

After we climbed for the day, they took me to a little coastal town (my fav!) called Portsmouth, NH where we ate at the Portsmouth Brewery. And then they took me to the ocean, because they rock.

Having climbed outdoors 3x now (one trip was Joshua Tree, which I have yet to blog) I am loving both the outdoor camping / camaraderie all-day feel and the intense competitiveness of the gym. Still feels so crazy I can add “rock climbing” to my list of hobbies.

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Flow: Month One

Looking back over January, I have one word for myself: proud.

I’m proud that I managed my anxiety with four major events in 21 days, kept up my workload, gave myself space when I needed it and listened to my intuition.

There was the upswing of anxiety with events – planning, preparing, all hurry-up-and-wait.

There was plunging exhaustion with so much adrenaline coursing through me I only slept 8 hours in 2 days.

There was the serendipity of being asked, “What are you proud of?” the day after the last event played off.

That night, getting coconut milk ice cream with these ladies, I experienced a deja vu, only to have the store clerk say “That means you’re on the right path.”

There was Heidi’s advice via Instagram: “lots of deep breathing to help slow your body down. Generous amounts of kindness and compassion for yourself especially in recounting the event and your delivery of it. Listen to your body and do your best to give yourself permission to give it what it needs most. Hang in, Justine. You have a great sense of awareness around your HSP so I trust you will know what you need. 🙂 …the tears are a great sign that you are releasing. The more you can give into them, allow for them, and not judge them, the more peace you will find. Be gentle with your process.”

I gave into the tears, so hot and heaving one morning, I thought they wouldn’t end. And I was gentle.

I shared on Facebook:
This weekend I was the gal in the arena “who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if (s)he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”

I had almost 500 people show up to one event. We had 3 events total. I leaned heavily on my coworkers & husband. I didn’t sleep. I took good care of myself. I laughed with people and almost cried under pressure. Then actually cried in the shower. I chose green juice and then downed margaritas. I answered email from bed, walked the beach and checked Instagram too many times. I was focused, scattered, grateful, pissed and everything in between.

Risk requires vulnerability and vulnerability requires trust & love & really good people in the arena with you. The critics don’t count b/c their not even in the game. Remember that. xo

And then I posted this: Brene Brown – Listening To Shame

I drank too much (again) and took naps at 5pm in the afternoon. I did a ton of work and then soaked in a hot tub. Twice. H and I went to San Diego for a night. I hiked during the day and checked email late at night. I swam in the ocean. I went out on runs with Carter and then took over a week off from exercise because of a terrible cold. And stress.

I started pulling tarot cards – tuning into whatever magic the Universe whispers through signs. I pulled the Eight of Pentacles (focusing on the task) and The World (fulfillment of a grand project) multiple times. It’s become a morning ritual.

Somehow, it is what we’d call a “net win” – coming out at the end of January feeling confident in myself, trusting and moving along with whatever reality brought me.

It truly felt like a month of ebb and flow, week to week, day to day, even hour to hour.

And I was determined to not put my living on hold while I was awash in the anxieties of these work pressures, and I succeeded. I asked for help and received it. I was open to whatever came my way. I risked and was rewarded.

I think I grew more this past month than in other month’s combine. And I’m proud. I went with the flow. I was the girl in the arena. And I dared greatly.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 of 52, Year of Ocean

“Been so long since I’ve seen the ocean… guess I should” 
Counting Crows

Wasn’t in a great mood when I woke up. Moon in Pisces, bad dreams, last day of vacation. Blank mind, but anxiety. How does that happen?

Took myself down to the beach path for a 2m run alone. H had Carter. I decided to run super fast, see how quickly I could run a mile. Averaged under 10min/mile which is pretty awesome for me.

On my way back I walked out to the waves… and dolphins. Jumping in the breaks, sliding through the water, playing with the birds. As I watched them, I had an inkling, a tiny voice say: go in.

I haven’t really swam in the ocean since I was rescued by a life guard a few summers ago (that’s a story for a different time). But I know that Lisa Field-Elliot swims during the cold months and there was already a woman walking hip-deep in the tide, and those two surfers waiting patiently…

So I pulled my top off and placed my phone and keys in my hat and waded in.

It wasn’t as cold as I expected. In fact, it felt glorious. The water sucked and cradled my legs, the sounds hummed in my ears, the shock of wind against my wet skin gave me goose-bumps, and the dolphins continued to jump and play in the distance.

“How beautiful” I kept saying to myself.

My mind cleared, my body calmed, my soul was light.

It was exactly what I needed even though I didn’t know it.

After the dolphins moved on, I dunked my body twice in the sandy, churning water (though I couldn’t bring myself to put my head under – it wasn’t that warm). I let the waves push me back onto shore and walked back to my things, honoring the moon in Pisces, my one little word flow and myself.

**See all of my Year of Ocean

~written January 5th 2014