What was the low point of your year? How are you healing & moving forward? I pondered this question for a week or so, and realized that I didn't have a true low point - particularly not as low as in previous years. Sure, I had few rough patches...but on the whole, this year didn't veer into dark & twisty. The rough patches are being healed with honesty & authenticity.
Where did you travel this year? What new and what familiar places did you visit? Where would you like to go in 2016? Lots of travel to familiar (NYC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, The Villages FL, Montreal), and a few new (Squamish BC, Austin TX). I stood in security lines enough to justify the expense of a permanent TSA Precheck pass. I love travel, even when it's for work. In 2016, I'll repeat many of the familiar business destinations, and will add in Mexico in Jan, and hopefully Machu Picchu at some point early in the year.
What no longer serves you? What can you let go or get rid of? Surrender? Letting go of rackets (fixed states of being related to a consistent complaint) is a big focus after completing the Landmark Forum...it's not easy work, but it's worth it. I got rid of a decade's worth of stuff when I moved...literally 2 truckloads for the Got Junk guys + a ton of donations. For 2016, I'm surrendering to possibility without having to figure out all the steps.
Where have you discovered community in 2015? This question stumped me a little. I feel like I wasn't as proactive at adding people/friends to my life, but instead appreciated my tribe more than ever. I'm hoping to build a community around Landmark in the coming year.
More to come!
I'm using Yoga Freedom's #reverb15 writing prompts for this year.
Kicking off this year's #reverb project in California (LA yesterday, SF today). I'll be following Yoga Freedom's prompts, and as always...will pick & choose those that resonate, bundle days when needed, and just generally do my own thing. (You can find my 2014 & 2013 projects in the category cloud to the left if you're reading on the actual site, and my 2012 project here.) On to the first two prompts
Encapsulate your 2015 in one word. Why that word? What would you like your word to be for 2016? Why?
My One Little Word for 2015 was (is) Magic. It has definitely been a quiet word, but not an absent word. I framed a postcard early in the year as a reminder that magic is something you make. So true. I think that a fitting/functional word for the year has been change. I changed homes. I changed planes (often). I changed pants sizes. I changed living situations. As with most change, some of it was good, and some of it was gin & tonic inducing.
I've been listening for my 2016 OLW. A few have popped up, but I'm not sure which (if any) will stick. Stay tuned.
Start all your sentences with "I love..."
I love the ease of living in an apartment. I love travel. I love Saturday morning brunch and Sundays at Scout & Company. I love that technology allows me to keep in touch with my kids. I love the life that Dan & I are creating. I love learning. I love how much time I've spent this year with my Aunt Betty. I love that I got to see Barb AND my brother in the same trip! I love coffee, red wine, G&Ts, and Deep Eddy Vodka. I love Trader Joes. I love being pain free. I love starting my days slowly. I love meditation. I love Scandal. I love grey & denim & stripes. I love the sound of Dan's laugh, and the way that Wilder says "ohmygod." I love my amazing, beautiful friends. I love the interwebs. I love that we are all making this life up as we go along.
It's an annual tradition of sorts...at the beginning of November, I decide to send out Thanksgiving cards. Not a mass mailing, but a carefully curated lot that is both heartfelt & handmade. And then, moments before Thanksgiving, I sigh...accepting the fact that the best laid plans simply didn't match up with my life. So. In lieu of cards, I want you to know that I am thankful for (in no particular order)...
My tribe. I am so very fortunate to have amazing friends. They're near, far, and virtual. They save me, time & time again. // My health. I am nearly pain-free, and I do not take that fact for granted. // My awesome kids. This is the first Thanksgiving in 23 years that I won't have a kid at home. It's not easy...but I'm ridiculously proud of my big kids. I deposited money in their bank accounts today, and texted "buy kale & sweet potatoes. i love you!" // My job. Oh, it is sooooo imperfect. But, I am more fortunate than many. Plus, my work peeps are ridiculously awesome. // My family. We're nuts, with a capital N. Still...I am fortunate. I have the best little brother in the entire world. I have parents who may not understand or agree with me, but still find space to love me. And...I have extended family that is the best. Aunt Betty. A whole list of ex-in-laws. In-laws that aren't really in-laws, but are gold. // My love. It's a crazy, wild ride...and worth every tear & triumph. You hold my heart. // And, of course...coffee, red wine, kale, sweet potatoes, cheese, the internet, scarves, good hair gel, and Shonda Rhimes. Because life wouldn't be the same w/o them.
Gratitude, not understanding, is the secret to joy. -- Anne Lamott
Confession - distance is not making the heart grow fonder when it comes to this blog. The longer that I'm away, the more difficult it is to come back. Is it relevant anymore - to my life, or anyone else's? Is it the "right" space for sharing? I'm not so much figuring out 40 these days, as much as living the hell out of 44+. I have a few thoughts about what the next chapter will look like, the kind of site/sharing that I want to shift to....but it's still a little half-baked. In the meantime, how 'bout a dose of -ings?
traveling - a lot of it. British Columbia. New York (a few times). Montreal. Texas. A steady mix of business & pleasure. Dan & I are heading to Florida for a few days this week, then I'm home for a couple of weeks (maybe). I really enjoy traveling, but I also enjoy coming home.
eating - my weight in Halloween candy and carbs. It's pretty ridiculous.
(over) thinking - everything. Mostly with an "not good enough" flavor. Reading, meditating, and talking my way through.
learning - Reiki. I completed my Level I certification in October!
planning - a massive photo sorting & purging project for the winter.
loving - our new KitchenAid coffee maker. When Hope calls just to say hi. Impromptu NYC sushi dates that last until 1am.
feeling - grateful. Life is messy, but it's good.
believing - that miracles & magic are possible.
knowing - that the saying "Don't try to win over the haters, you're not the jackass whisperer" is soooo true. (thanks, Brene Brown)
What's new in your world?
"Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath. That's why they call it breathtaking." - Anne Lamott | Help, Thanks, Wow.
As I drove from Vancouver to Squamish, British Columbia, I found myself saying "Wow!" over & over again. I thought immediately of Anne Lamott's book: Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. (edited to add: I hadn't remembered that this book showed up in my last blog post, also. Sometimes, the universe whispers, other times...it shouts.) BC is almost indescribably beautiful , and I certainly offered up gratitude & awe along my journey.
I had the privilege of attending Parents Weekend at Quest University a little over a week ago - the first time that I had seen Austin since he left for university at the end of August. The campus is amazing, the tutors (professors) are inspiring, and the vibe of the school is just awesome. I firmly believe that Quest kids are going to do great things.
Austin's dorm building is stunning.
Terrific trails just behind the dorms.
The view from the cafeteria doesn't suck.
The water is the most vibrant hues of blue.
We celebrated Austin's 19th birthday with an exhilarating Sea to Sky gondola ride.
That view though.
I'm glad that I read the stories about bridges (thankfully, not this one!) collapsing after my trip.
So thankful for this boy (and so very proud of him).
That supermoon, though. (image via Unsplash)
We walked down to the river last night & said hello to the supermoon last night - such a spectacular sight! We said "Wow" over & over again - reminding me of Anne Lamott's Three Essential Prayers. As we welcome the new moon, it feels like a few hellos are in order...
hello fall...which apparently arrived while I was in Los Angeles last week. The 35 degree difference in temperature chilled me to the bone.
hello fall capsule wardrobe...I've spent more on this season's capsule wardrobe because I had to replace practically everything from last fall (true story - last year, I was wearing sizes 8-10 / this year, I'm wearing sizes 2-4).
hello magic...Big Magic, of course. Loving Elizabeth Gilbert's wisdom.
hello travel...Los Angeles last week, British Columbia this week. Loved seeing Aunt Betty last week, and super excited to see Austin at the end of the week!
hello morning rituals...Dan & I have shifted our morning routines a bit. Coffee. He writes, I read. Then we meditate. No screens (except for the meditation timer) until I leave the house.
hello tattoo research...craving ink on my shoulder. Loving this.
hello conversations...with gratitude to Brene Brown for the shared language. "The story that I'm making up is..."
hello believing...that all things are possible. that lattes are comfort food. that this life is temporary. that we all have the power to change. that this supermoon is just the beginning.
what are you saying hello to this week?
hello monday is a lisa leonard-inspired practice.
I spent last Friday & Saturday walking the show floor at Natural Products Expo East. I focus on the cosmetics & personal care brands for business purposes...but I walk the food aisles for fun. A few of the products that I'm looking forward to adding to my grocery list...
Veggie Fries - I'm fairly loyal to sweet potato fries, but these potato & veggie combos were delicious!
Power O's - I tried these simply b/c my friend Adam said "you HAVE to try these!"...and because cereal made from beans is intriguing, I did. SO good!! I brought home samples for the littles. W gave these a solid thumbs up.
good greens - I loved the texture & taste of these bars. I'm on the hunt for bars to pack for travel, and these are definitely on the list.
Lemon Cookie ice cream - Not a new product, but definitely an over-the-top good product. I tried Three Twins Lemon Cookie ice cream months ago (I may or may not have eaten an entire pint for dinner while sitting outside a Whole Foods in Oakland), and have stalked our local natural foods stores for it ever since. After chatting with the company at the show, I put a request in at Healthy Living (we don't have WFM). The buyer called yesterday to let me know he's ordering it. Yay!!
BBQ Jackfruit - This wins the "wait, what???" award. Jackfruit is the hot new meat alternative...who knew? It's tasty!
Vanilla Coconut Horchata - Califia Farms is my absolute favorite almond milk brand. This horchata is amazing. (local friends - also coming soon to Healthy Living)
Note: I'm not affiliated with any of these companies...I just like their products!
What would happen if you met resistance with surrender? That's essentially the question that Michael Singer set out to answer in his real-life Surrender Experiment. As he explains, "This experiment would not be about dropping out of life; it would be about leaping into life to live in a place where we are no longer controlled by our personal fears and desires."
What I loved: The interplay of hippie/zen & everyday life. The way that Singer lived in seemingly opposing worlds - spiritual vs tech, for example - and was able to thrive in both. The honesty with which he wrote about times when resistance was the first reaction to pop up...a good reminder of the practice of surrendering. Most of all, the reminder that change, no matter how difficult (FBI raid, anyone?), is all about transformation. I didn't underline much in this book, but this passage sent me searching for a pen...
"Perhaps change only takes place when there is sufficient reason to overcome the inertia of everyday life. Challenging situations create the force needed to bring about change. The problem is that we generally use all the stirred-up energy intended to bring about change, to resist change."
What I left: Near the end of the book, I found myself skimming through the pages that detailed the medical services company & related FBI raid. I didn't need the play-by-play to "get it." Aside from that, I found Singer to be an simple & engaging writer.
If you've read Singer's bestselling book, The Untethered Soul, I'd love to know what you thought. I enjoyed his writing, so I think that I'll put that book on my to-read list.
I received this book through the Blogging for Books program. I was not compensated for this review, and all opinions expressed are my own.
Yesterday was not my favorite. A combination of fatigue, general stress, & hormones conspired to make it a pretty rotten day. Conversations drifted down hard paths ("hard, like the table"...we say, nodding to my Aunt Betty's reminder that challenges don't take that form). Words hit in those soft, vulnerable places...the ones that you know will hurt, even if hurting isn't your intention. Kindness & grace seemed to be taking a day off.
I read this reminder on Rosie Molinary's blog this morning -
Because it is all practice, friends. Every day. It’s what we have the promise of when we wake up in the morning: that we can practice our intentions, that we can practice at becoming who we want to be, and that the real magic is that if we are honest and vulnerable and keep trying, we might sometimes get it right but, even more important, that when we get it wrong, we must give ourselves grace and simply begin again with our intention.
And with those words, I exhaled. It is all practice. I have talked about this so very often. Show up, do the work, learn, adjust...then do it again. That's practice. I know that the hard paths won't go away, but that I can practice walking through them more gracefully. I know that I will always wear the soft places on the outside...there's no thick skin here...but that I can ask for, and demonstrate, kindness & gentleness.
So. Today I am reflecting on the practices of grace, kindness, and gratitude. I hope that your weekend is filled with all three. Namaste, friends.
*photo from Unsplash