#startandendhappy : mindful happiness


Some of you may have seen Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook post last week, pointing to Sarah Trimmer's Ted Talk. I'm a fan of any/all exercises that encourage hitting the pause button on life & remembering the good. Over the years, I've relied on gratitude/happiness texts & emails with my friends when times are tough. It occurred to me while listening to Sarah's Ted Talk that I tend to get a little lazy with that practice when times are terrific. I feel grateful, but I'm not incredibly mindful about it. I have a LOT of happiness in my life, but I don't always pause to celebrate that. Make sense? So...I love the list the Sarah describes in her talk. Wanna play along? Share in the comments!


Flannel sheets. The right to vote. Texting. Coffee. My lunch (made by Dan...thanks babe!).


Being encouraging. Practicing generous listening. 


Laughing with co-workers. Remembering Dan laughing (hysterically) about a squirrel story. The fact that it's cleaning day, and I'll go home to a sparkling house tonight (HSJ - you rock!). 


About 2 story podcasts that the Littles might like. 


Practice mindful happiness.

the jagged path

Jagged path

"Believe in the integrity and value of the jagged path. We don't always do the right thing on our way to rightness."

Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

April had it's fair share of jagged paths. There were times that tensions ran high & patience wore thin. And then, as if to add insult to (literal) injury...I'm ending the month with a strained muscle in my back. Those who have known me for any length of time know how hard-fought my journey to be pain free has been. Landing squarely back in the thick of it is disappointing & discouraging. Needless to say...I'm not sad to see April go. I'm planning on a weekend of laughter with friends, relaxing with my favorite guy, a few creative projects (I promise, Louise!), and a few...uhm...medicinal beverages. What are you up to?


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). 


Mornings are blurry.


Coffee and mantras.


Groceries still needed to be put away.


Fresh flowers always.


Coffee & online catch-up.


Morning view.


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

may love prevail.

Coffee cup

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. 

a mid-week pause.


Sitting at my desk on Tuesday, feeling the mental heaviness of work/home to-do lists & the emotional weight of others' judgements, I made a happy discovery....zero meetings scheduled for Wednesday. I promptly headed to my boss's office and made sure that he was okay with me taking a spur-of-the-moment day off. I breathed an audible sigh of relief when he said "sure thing!"

A mid-week day off, with no specific agenda, seems like such an indulgent occurence. I didn't do anything wild & crazy (unless you count taking the bathroom sink apart to clear the drain)....but it was a much-needed pause. I cleaned out my personal email. I paid a couple of bills. I deep cleaned the upstairs bathroom. I cleaned the kitchen. I sorted through all of those random receipts that seem to find their way to the island. 


I pulled my "big" camera out and spent some time simply observing - light & shadow, color & texture. I jotted down notes for creative projects. I listened to a lot of Sam Smith on Spotify. I watched Grey's Anatomy on Hulu. I stayed in my pjs until about 1pm. 


I ventured out to run a few errands in the afternoon, and met up with a cute guy for a quick walk by the lake. We talked through some of the heaviness that I was feeling. He's pretty good at listening. I finished up errands, he finished up work, and Austin finished up a yoga class. The three of us ended the day with a simple dinner, conversation, and laughter.

"It's about living in the moment and appreciating the smallest things. Surrounding yourself with the things that inspire you and letting go of the obsessions that want to take over your mind. It is a daily struggle sometimes and hard work but happiness begins with your own attitude and how you look at the world." - Gretchen Rubin

how are you? + truth telling

Waterfront july

I attended a surprise birthday party for a friend (for those keeping track, one of the circle of six) this afternoon. As is typical of such gatherings, I saw a handful of people that I don't see on a regular basis, and all asked the same polite, friendly question that we all ask...

"How are you?" 

I answered, as you do, with "Great! So busy...the summer is going by crazy fast!" Not an untrue statement, but not the whole truth. It's a small question, that often gets a small answer in return...when really? The answer is broad, and pretty complicated. What I would have said, in different circumstances that allowed for more truth-telling...

I am torn between languaging only what I desire to be true, and throwing a misery loves company (or at least a come sit by me, let's bitch) party. 

I am ready for my house to sell. I am grateful for the positive feedback that I've received from showings, but I am fervently hoping for an offer. 

I am happy with the progress that I'm making toward feeling healthy. I'm down 9lbs, and a week into a Couch to 5K run/walk program. I am not happy that my back is protesting.

I am reading pretty much constantly. I go through (thankfully short) phases when I'm taking in way too much information on a daily basis, and feeling overwhelmed. Right now? I can't get enough. 

I am feeling my way through an ongoing introvert vs. extrovert situation at work. It's exhausting. I came home on Friday and made a milkshake for dinner b/c I was too exhausted to deal with chewing solid food...and then I went to bed at about 8:30. 

I am lonely sometimes. Not as lonely as I was when I was married (that's a whole different level of lonely)...so that's good. Lonely is hard.

I am current on Project Life, and very happy about that! 

I am moving forward. Sometimes in baby steps. Sometimes in confident strides. 

I am thinking of moving over to Squarespace. I know a few folks who have taken the leap to Wordpress (have you seen Cathy's beautiful new site??)...but Squarespace just feels more intuitive to me. 

I am grateful. This year has held more freedom, ease, lightness, and strength (all core desired feelings), and so I do really mean it when I say "I'm great! How are you?"


it's a good life, hazel grace.


Oh, summer twenty-fourteen...you are so good to me. I know that yesterday was the official start to summer, but the past week+ has offered up glorious days (even the rainy ones), a vibrant social calendar, and the chance to embrace lots of happy moments. 

Interesting - last monday, I became hyper-aware of the fact that after a particularly good weekend, I "corrected" back to my normal - a state of struggle & discouragement. It was super empowering to be able to recognize the behavior, talk about it with a trusted friends, and come up with a plan for the next time. When you know better, you do better.


So often, my peace & calm is tied to water - I've found myself at the waterfront more often than not over the past week. I'm missing the ocean, and thinking hard about my 2nd act being in the west, but in the meantime....Lake Champlain serves up a worthy substitute. 

As usual, I'm behind on a dozen things (hi Mom!), and feeling like the days go by in a flash, but I do know this....it's a good life. (and yes, I saw The Fault in Our Stars...and loved it. Also loved Chef.)

these days.


I love the way the light reflects off of the snow and reminds me that warm days will return.


I'm trying to be okay with a super-simple/small Christmas, but still feel nagging bits of guilt. 


I'm grateful that we are no worse for wear after a wicked ice storm. 


I'm spending entire days (like today) in pj pants & a sweatshirt, and drinking coffee in front of the tree. 

monday (11.18.13)


today, I...enjoyed 53° weather (and not wearing a coat)

today, I...had to run to Best Buy on my lunch break, which is oh-so-conveniently located super close to Starbucks

today, I...had Chocolate Chai tea (not from SBX) and am not sure what to think of it

today, I...said "this is what i need from you" and hoped, with all of my heart, that the recipient heard me

today, I...made mushroom & sage risotto, and laughed as Austin tried mushrooms for the 12th time, and STILL ended up picking them out

today, I...felt angry and sad for two friends who are dealing with two very different, but difficult situations (psa - kindness matters)

today, I...listened to Taylor Swift's RED for about the millionth time (KP, I blame you). Missing him is dark grey all alone...

today, I...got a high-five from Austin when I told him the story of my 2014 OLW making itself known (no, I'm not telling y'all yet)

today, I...left some space for the Universe to heal a relationship that means the world to me. I have no idea what that healing will look like, but I'm going to believe that love wins.

today, I...felt powerful & strong on the elliptical

today, I...marked one day off the "countdown to Thanksgiving break" calendar

today, I...was happy and grateful


thoughts on pain.

Acupuncture                                                                           (image)

I am aware that I live in a state of being that many people can't relate to. I am in near constant pain. Go ahead, read that again...and let it sink in. Near constant pain. When you deal with the medical field and pain, you become well versed in the pain scale. On a scale of 1 to 10, where is your pain today?  For reference, my 10 is having a nurse attempt to turn me onto my side to change my sheets after my car accident...about 20 minutes too soon after upping my morphine. My 10 is being weaned off of morphine and discovering that the "minor" injury that was missed was a fractured-to-the-nerve molar. And for those who cannot relate to those injuries (and I hope that's ALL OF YOU), my 9 is childbirth (Austin) without pain medication. Anyway. I exist in a 3-5 world. Three means moving a bit slower in morning, and sitting in lotus a bit longer in the morning. Three means that I can take the stairs at work with ease, and even hit the gym after work. Three means that I'll probably forget to take my supplements. Five demands my attention. Five means that Austin can read my sighs, my grimaces, and my slower-than-usual movements and comment "It's bad today, huh?" Five means that tears of frustration outweigh tears of pain. Five reminds me that there isn't an easy solution - laying down hurts, sitting hurts, standing hurts. Five demands that I take magnesium, tumeric, and devil's claw. 

On Saturday night, I woke up at about 3am at a seven/eight. That level of pain strikes fear and causes confusion. What do I do now? Should I call an ambulance? Should I have Austin come home and take me to the ER? Why is this happening? What did I do wrong???

On Sunday, I refused to let the pain win. I tried to go about my day. I met Colleen (& Charlie) for coffee. I went to Michael's. I squatted down to get something on a low shelf and could not get up. My stubborness (& fear of ambulances) forced me to hold my breath and pull myself to standing. 

Here's the thing - if you had run into me on Sunday? You wouldn't have noticed. I am so practiced at living in pain that I don't think that I give off the normal clues. 

This morning, I could barely get out of bed. I managed my way to my meditation cushion and sat in lotus (the ONLY position that gives me relief) until my feet went numb. I emailed work to tell them that I wouldn't be in. My strategy? Acupuncture, drugs, and hospital. In that order. I've never had acupuncture before, which is shocking considering my treatment plan has consisted of - cortisone, physical therapy, active muscle release, chakra clearing, EFT, yoga, chiropractic care, dietary changes (no gluten, no dairy), supplements, and kinesiology work. Today, I planned to try to get an appointment at the acupuncture clinic, and if I couldn't...I'd ask my doctor to call in an RX for narcotics (which I don't tolerate well)...and if that failed, I'd bring me & my high deductible to the hospital.

I am so grateful that the first strategy was the winner. 

Let me just skip to the end and tell you that acupuncture is miraculous. I arrived at the clinic at a seven. I couldn't bend down to take my shoes off at the door. I left at a 2-3. I'm going in again tomorrow, and then on Friday, for additional treatments. I realize that acupuncture is treating the symptom (pain), not the underlying cause(s) (degenerative disc disease, lingering accident issues, an extra 20lbs)....but today? Treating the symptoms is giving me hope