listening lately.

May book coversI've been on a bit of an audio book kick lately. My commute isn't long, but I really dislike listening to the radio...so audiobooks (and/or podcasts) are a nice alternative. Here's what I've finished, and what I'm still listening to...

The Fringe Hours - I had heard about this book from several bloggers, but had kind of put it in the "good for moms of littles" category. I mean, I have nearly grown kids....and all the free time in the world, right? Ha! I wish. The reality is that live fills in all the parts that used to be filled in with kid activities. It's a different busy, that's all. So...I really enjoyed the insight and reminders about finding time to dedicate to self-care and to things/activities that bring me joy. Jessica's book sparked a conversation with several friends about what the one task is that is REALLY worth outsourcing. For Mo, it's cleaning and grocery shopping (although she only outsources one). For another friend, it's mopping the floor. For me? Laundry. I'm seriously pondering using a laundry service to free up more of my Fringe Hours for creativity & fun. 

The Fifth Agreement - I very much believe that "when the student is ready, the teacher appears." I've had The Four Agreements on my bookshelf for a couple of years. Confession - I've never read the entire book. I listened to The Fifth Agreement on a business trip this week. The book includes a pretty extensive explanation of the first four agreements, so I really got a lot of bang for my buck! The agreements are all "common sense"- but not easy to live by. "You have the right to live your own life, in your own way, and there is no wrong way." <-- YES. 

Packing Light -  This book is about travel but so much more. I originally worried that I wouldn't find much to "relate" to, given that the author is young, and the story is really a "coming of age" exercise. But isn't that what I'm doing right now? I've moved, I'm shedding baggage, and I'm very much practicing "packing light" (remember - one of my Core Desired Feelings is lightness!). I'm only about 2/3 through this one, but I'm enjoying it very much. Wisdom beyond her years for sure. 

I'm certainly in the mode of "give me all of the inspiration & knowledge, pretty please and thank you!" right now. Books, blogs, podcasts, audiobooks....yes, yes, yes, & yes. What's the best NON-fiction piece that you've read or listened to lately? 

 


currently 5.21.15

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reflecting on The Fifth Agreement after listening to the audiobook (in it's entirety) yesterday. 

practicing the first Four Agreements while Mercury is in retrograde...trying to combat the potential negatives.

feeling grateful for such good friends, and so much love.

rebuilding a relationship with Dan. It's hard to explain how profound the experience of may love prevail was. Being able to be honest about what was going on in that moment was so important. It's an authenticity that I'm not sure I've ever been brave enough to talk about before. 

having so much fun...because really? That's what we fell for the first time 'round...how much fun we have together. #lovewins

getting excited about seeing Dan's Mom again this weekend. 

loving my new tattoo, and already planning for my next one.

drinking gin & grapefruit juice...possibly my new favorite thing.

eating....honestly? Not a lot. Need some salad inspiration. 

needing to figure out my summer capsule wardrobe. 

pondering what I want to print for my living room walls. Photos? Graphics? Both?


glimpses of life : may 2015

I attempted to document A Day in the Life this week....and really just made it through the morning. I took a few random shots throughout the rest of the day, but just wasn't feeling it. That's okay. Even this small glimpse got me to thinking about what things are predictable (coffee) and what things are constantly changing (I had a day at home, a day of meetings, and a day of travel this week...plus the "ordinary" days). 

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Mornings are blurry.

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Coffee and mantras.

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Groceries still needed to be put away.

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Fresh flowers always.

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Coffee & online catch-up.

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Morning view.

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Just me. (note - the mirror is dirty, not my shirt!)


may love prevail.

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I spent most of last week in San Francisco - one of my most favorite cities. I ate delicious food. I drank fabulous coffee (the Gibraltar is my new favorite thing). I walked soooo much (20K steps on Thursday!). I met with clients who are also friends. I spent time with a friend who I've known since high school. It was a good trip

I returned home on Friday evening, and Dan informed me that he needs a break from our relationship. 

It was that sudden, and that unexpected. And yet...thanks to a super high intuition radar...I was not surprised. He was strangely absent from connection during my trip. Something is brewing, I thought.

I cried. I asked all of the questions - why? how could you? when did you stop loving me? I called/texted his Mom (sorry, Iris). I called/texted my besties, my tribe. I cried some more. I talked with my Aunt Betty. I talked with more friends. I drank wine. I watched Grey's Anatomy. And....I cried

When Dan and I first started dating, I told him that I wanted to "live and love in the light." It's a Scandal reference, and it was important to me. I wanted to be public about this relationship. I wanted to share it with so many of the people who have been there for my journey. I made the decision, early on, that I would celebrate this relationship publicly, and deal with the fall-out if I needed to. 

On Saturday, when the reality set in, I realized that I needed to deal with the fall-out. It's a little ridiculous. He shut off my access to his Google Calendar. I changed my FB relationship setting to "it's complicated" & deleted my profile pic. He changed his setting to single. That stung. I followed suit, and added a FB status "announcement." Love in the age of social media takes a lot of maintenance. 

Loving in public means leaving in public. 

I am not going to tell you his story, b/c it is not mine to tell. I am going to tell you my story. 

Seven & a half months ago, I fell for a boy with a fresh tattoo who was wearing a blue gingham shirt. The moment that I laid eyes on him, I thought "oh boy, I'm in trouble."  Love at first sight. I fell, hard. We dated. We met each other's exes. We met each other's kids. We traveled. I met his family. We shared hopes & dreams, calendars & commitments. We each stashed a toothbrush at the other's house. 

And all along, people said "You look sooo happy!" and "You're happier than I've ever seen you." 

They weren't wrong. Dan and I had soooo much fun. We laughed. We celebrated life. We loved. And.....we knew that life isn't easy, and love isn't perfect. Please know this:  Dan is an amazing guy. He has his issues, his baggage (don't we all?)...and he needs space to deal with that. I am still his #biggestfan. So. I had a choice. I could choose to fight that. To rage. Or I could surrender. I could honor the request for space, and do my best to support him on a journey that I know all too well. 

I don't think that my choice will surprise you. And so, this is what I want you to know...

We did not "break up"...b/c we are not broken. Yes, I am heartbroken...but he also broke my heart open in a way that it hadn't been in years. He showed me what it's like to be so very happy. I love every single one of you who has told me "it's his loss!"....and you're right, it is. But it's also mine. We are both #brilliantsexy - a hashtag that we agreed upon early in our relationship that means that we are equally awesome. Dan has asked for what he needs, and I have chosen to say 'yes' with grace & kindness (most of the time). In meditation this morning, I asked for love & light to surround him. I will continue to ask for that

I randomly chose a passage from A Year of Miracles as I sat, and of course, it was perfect...

Creation itself is a thing of love, and where there is love there are always miracles. Anything is possible where there are no impediments to love. No matter what illusions of the world may rage, I believe in the possibility of infinite possibility. Miracles are built into the nature of the universe, and I am open to receive them. May love prevail in myself & others. 

So much gratitude for everyone who has reached out with loving thoughts (and a heaping dose of gratitude to those who went so far as to ask "Okay, so who do I need to kill?"...love you, DV!) Please do me a favor and extend those loving thoughts to Dan, as well. #lovewins

You're the best.

Update - I re-read this in the light of day, and fear that it may seem that I'm completely relaxed and zen about the whole thing. Not true. I dropped some things off at Dan's business yesterday (he wasn't there) and cried on the way home. I said not-very-zen things in text messages like "remember, you're the one who hates me, not vice versa" (note: he doesn't). I miss him. We are trying to stay friends, and I am focusing on that. 


living with intent : mallika chopra

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"The road to intentional living is paved with bumps, potholes, flat tires, and detours; perfection isn't a stop on that road. " - Mallika Chopra, Living with Intent

What I loved: The realness of Mallika's story, despite (and as the result of) having a famous father, and raising her family in a privileged lifestyle. The common thread that links all of us...we're all just trying to figure out how to live our best life. The "easy" exercises/actions at the end of each chapter. I'm a fan of any author who can bridge the gap between "soccer mom" and "enlightened"...and Mallika does this well. She stresses about her weight, worries about her daughters, and struggles with being true to who she is....but still embraces the value of meditation, intentions, and mindfulness. Among the many quotes that stood out for me - "It's not about leaning in or opting out. It's about being real in the moment and making choices that are right for me."

What I left: Using intent as an acronym (incubate, notice, trust, express, nurture, take action). Yes, I realize that this forms the structure of the whole book...and I "get it." I just felt that it was overcomplicating the basic principle of being present, and affirming what you want for your life. That said, many people will appreciate the idea of breaking down the "steps"...and if that allows more to give mindfulness a shot? That's great!! 

I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own. 

 


far & away.

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Sixteen and 1/2 years ago, I was called into the owner's office just two weeks after joining the company. I was terrified that I had somehow failed miserably in my role, and was being let go. There was no basis for that, of course, but I was sweating when I walked into his office. As I sat down, he calmly asked if I had a passport. I quietly answered "no"...frankly a bit confused b/c I knew that the job would involve some travel, but had somehow assumed that 1) I'd need much more time with the company and 2) it would be domestic travel. In the next few minutes, he explained that he wanted me to attend a meeting in London a week later, so I'd need to go to Boston to get a same-day passport. At that point, I had been outside of the US exactly once - a quick jaunt to Tijuana during a debate tournament in San Diego. I hadn't even ventured to Canada. So, a few days after receiving my first passport, I boarded a plane by myself and met up with the owner & my manager in England. It was overwhelming and exciting, all wrapped into one.

My passport is still nearly empty. I've been on a cruise to Mexico, a girls' trip to Costa Rica, and (obviously) multiple trips to Canada. I travel frequently in the US, but still nothing compared to many of my jet-setting friends. 

Travel has been on my mind as I'm settling into a life that offers a bit more freedom. Both of my kids are brave & independent, and they've taught me to be a bit more relaxed about saying yes to new adventures. I have a running list of both domestic and international travel that I look forward to. Barb and I have a trip to Austin, TX for our 2015 installment of Barb & Kat's Excellent Adventures. My Aunt and I are beginning to plan a trip to Machu Picchu for the fall. Dan and I are excited about a possible Mexico adventure. The kids and I are trying to sort out a joint-graduation celebration trip (Hawaii and Bali are both on the potential destination list). 

What's on your travel bucket list?


the life changing magic of tidying up : marie kondo

It seems as though everyone that I know (and every blogger that I read) has read, or is reading, this book. I ordered it shortly after moving into my apartment, after I'd already done so much decluttering & organizing during the move. I knew that it might be a little out-there, but I'm often a little out-there, so...

what I loved: "Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle." I certainly started this process during the move. I was ruthless with what was recycled/discarded (as evidenced by my receipts to Goodwill, Recycle North, and the Got Junk? guys). The author suggests making decisions based on the question "does this spark joy?"...a measurement that has been particularly helpful in editing down to a capsule wardrobe. The section of the book about dealing with mementos & gifts definitely resonated. She talks about "processing the past" while sorting through these items. This concept sparked some ideas about how to capture the stories of many of the papers & knick-knacks that I've carried around in a rubbermaid tub for years - b/c it's the story that sparks joy, not the physical object.

what I left: Some of the more "strict" suggestions simply didn't inspire. Empty my handbag every night? No thanks. I've read many reviews of this book that react strongly to specific instructions in the book. I easily left those aside - the author writes from a culture & practice that is simply different than my own. Yes, thanking your belongings is a little out-there, but so what? No harm done...

Amazon: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing


a season of happy.

I am most definitely in a season of happy right now. On some days, I think that I'm just lucky...on other days, I feel like this season is hard-won. I have talked often about doing the work (health, wellness, spirituality, relationships, parenting...ALL OF IT). My friend, Leigh, has often reminded me to take a moment to enjoy the results of that work. So Leigh...this post is for you

We are settling in nicely to apartment living. Our bright windows are serving my core desired feeling of lightness very well. I went to IKEA last weekend with a friend, and picked up a Kallax unit that we're using as a room divider....now to figure out how to style it. I'm shifting my attitude toward things that are simply different than our house-owning life. Example - having to do laundry on the first floor (we're on the fifth) instead of in the apartment could be annoying. Instead, I'm loving that I can bust out 3 loads at the same time. Less overall time for that chore is a definite WIN. 

I'm hovering around the 30lbs lost mark, which feels really good. I did have a reprisal of hip pain over the past week - but my acupuncturist is handling that. My super-fabulous hair stylist cut 3-4 inches (I think) off my hair last week, and I'm loving that it looks sassy & spring-y. I'm starting to rotate into a spring capsule wardrobe, and will definitely add a few things...and will delete several things that I simply never wore over the winter.

Dan & I took advantage of glorious weather yesterday and chatted about our day over wine & cheese by the river (which is literally a block from my apartment). I'm so grateful that we can talk about the good & the grey and work through the give & take of what we both need & want in any given moment. Because on balance? Life is simply unbalanced...and that's okay.

Life feels good.

 


what I'm reading...

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I've been trying to find pockets of time for reading - on planes, while drinking my first cup of coffee, and/or just before going to sleep. The books that I'm bouncing between right now...

The Motivation Manifesto - I started reading this one on a recent trip to CA. It's a little more "flowery" than I expected, but otherwise right up my alley. 

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up & Better than Before - both arrived yesterday. I suspect that they will both be books that I can't put down once I start reading them. 

Yes, Please! - listening to the audio book on my (short) commute, and on (longer) drives to Dan's house. Hilarious. Insightful. Awesome.

Bowl + Spoon - I have a thing for cookbooks. I've visited this one on Amazon pretty much daily for the last week. Finally ordered it today. 

What are you reading?