Easter Coastal Getaway

Seabrook is an odd little place, a “new town,” established on the Washington coast in 2004. It’s very picket-fence-Americana with a beachy twist (and currently, lots of construction in the works). I kept saying I felt like we were on a production set, ‘Gilmore Girls’ to be exact. Our beach house was airy and spacious, though, and the perks ranged from a private hot tub to an awesome front porch con rocking chairs, perfect for a morning cup of joe or an evening cocktail. Our weather was glorious Friday and so-so the other days, but I think the ocean is pretty darn spectacular, rain or shine.

An absolute highlight was a spontaneous pitstop on the drive home at a roadside BBQ joint that was friendly, delicious and FULL o’swines. Pig heaven. There was a group of local ladies in the corner singing happy birthday to 80-something-year-old Judy, and one of the young servers delicately polished the restaurant’s cook-off trophies up front in between delivering piles of brisket. Matt and KL treated (they are so generous!), and we shared a huge hunking slice of pecan pie, which, in my mind, made it feel like a real holiday. Hope you all had nice Easters, too!

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Finding Feel-Good

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This weather has me in ridiculously good spirits (I am LOVING it). As does a steady workflow (at last!), the arrival of a fun spring package from my mom (she’s just the best), the return of a few Seattle BFFs who had been out of town, an upcoming weekend beach trip and a brief preview of the incredible Blood Moon last night, before the cloud cover took over and obscured the show.

I just jogged along the sunny Burke-Gilman, accompanied by Langhorne and a couple dozen fellow runners/bikers; I think deliciously crisp air like this—52 degrees at present—makes for the perfect running weather, even when the abundance of blooming everything threatens to send seasonal allergies into overdrive. 

I’m so, truly sorry, friends buried in snow—AGAIN!—back east, but we’re going back to rain shortly if that makes you feel any better…For now, though, I am savoring every darn second of these bright, beauty-filled days.

I’m also a sucker for feel-good video clips, and here are two recent faves that just can’t be watched without feeling moved. The first flight one had me grinning from ear to ear. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Reasons Seattle Rocks

I fell out of love a little bit with Seattle a week or two ago. This weekend renewed it all. Awesome things about this place include…

+URBAN HIKES

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+FIRE PITS

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+WEEKEND MARKETS

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+ABUNDANT CULTURE

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+ROOFTOP DECKS

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After a weekend of two concerts, one awesome dance performance, some canal runs, some canal laptop work time, hangouts & cocktails on rooftop patios, absolute oodles of sunshine (AND saying no to a couple things that just didn’t feel right), I am happy to report that my appreciation for this place has been rekindled. I remember.

“I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all.”~Ernest Shackleton

Keepers

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Monday was just one of *those* nights.

First, an invigorating dose of hot (well, warm) yoga, then a lakeside picnic with the perfect light, finally an early birthday celebration with the perfect company.

It was one I won’t soon forget.

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“Forget not that the earth delight to feel your bare feet and the winds linger to play with your hair.”~Khalil Gibran

Weaving My Story—My Messy Beautiful

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It’s a beautiful spring day, and I float through my neighborhood with a lightness in each step. I feel a tinge of guilt as I snap photos of fluorescent tulips and pastel blossom trees that have littered the sidewalks with pink confetti, knowing full-well that loved ones back east still lie begrudgingly buried under mounds of blankets. I pick a cafe table drenched in delicious Seattle sun, ready to dig into this post on our “messy, beautiful” lives, a topic I’ve been mulling since Glennon doled out the “assignment” a couple weeks back.

I cozy into my patio seat, ready to pop in ear buds and find a cheery soundtrack to complement the bright day. Quickly, though, I realize the mom-daughter duo lunching mere feet from me are discussing something heavy: the passing of a son/brother who recently (very recently, it seems) lost his battle with addiction. Their conversation is oddly light and superficial at times, and then, it takes a dip into something so raw that I cringe, feeling like an intruder on scared space.

The 20-something daughter so desperately wants to steer the conversation toward talk of what they could have done, why none of them tried harder, why they didn’t care more. The mother continually diverts with small talk of her salad, the weather, that darn morning traffic. The roles seem flipped; in this moment (or perhaps always?), the child carries the torch of adulthood. She wants answers.

I feel like a voyeur witnessing a most unusual vignette unfold. I absorb the palpable pain of these strangers grappling their way through a sunlit Monday conversation I’m sure they never thought they’d have to have. I am captivated. I realize that fewer scenes could be more appropriately linked to this assignment for Momastery. Something about the contrast of the day feels somewhat beautiful. And brutal. In Glennon speak: simply brutiful.
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I’ve gotten side-tracked. This post is meant to be about my own beautiful, messy journey. Truth be told, when I first learned the task at hand, I immediately thought of that brilliant “Notting Hill” dinner party scene in which the guests, megastar Julia Roberts character included, circle the table trying to one-up each other on sob stories. Each attendee attempts to prove him/herself more pathetic and, consequently, more worthy of pity—and the one remaining brownie. There is something so endearingly human about this bittersweet scene.

But I quickly realized this project has nothing to do with “one-upping” and everything to do with simply speaking one’s truth. By trade, I am a storyteller, and I truly believe that everyone’s narrative matters. No two can be compared. (In fact, this is my dream job: to be the voice for those whose tale needs to be told. There is often such healing that comes with the release of one’s story.)

As for my story, I am very grateful to lead a fortunate, blessed life (touching wood as I type), marked by overall good health, wonderful and supportive family and friends who forever have my back plus privileges many only glimpse in far-off dreams.

I’ve traveled to 34 countries (and counting!). I’ve watched the sun set into sky-splitting fireworks over the Greek Isles and Argentinean pampas, Australian red rocks and Cambodian temples. When I sensed in my gut two-and-a-half years ago that it was time for some serious change, I had the resources and support system to help me make a life-changing leap to the opposite coast. For all of this, I am so lucky.

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And yet, there are many times when I stumble, stutter-step, fall apart—convinced that my sensitive soul cannot take the weight of the world’s bad and sad. I get caught up in worries and fears and past hurts and future what-ifs. Some days I’m convinced I’m on the entirely wrong path and not going the direction I “should.” (I’ve never been one to take the traditional, “easy route”; I am a perpetual seeker, and I move at my own pace.)

While many friends have long ago ticked the boxes of weddings, childbirth and home purchases, I find myself, at 35: single, renting a one-bedroom apartment and still having months when bill-paying causes legitimate stomach knots and tumbleweed nights of minimal sleep. (I am a freelance writer/editor, and yes, this is a lifestyle I’ve chosen…There are major pluses, and there are major minuses.) Have these decisions been short-sighted and naive? Or am I brave for listening to my inner callings? Really, who is to say. I don’t know.

No doubt, the life I currently lead is full of independence and flexibility. The world is my oyster. (Is there such a thing as too many choices?) In any case, I do feel truly blessed to be really living life, and I get to see, do, eat, hear and experience really cool things on a regular basis. I am cognizant of this. I know that many would kill for my freedom. I love that, if I feel like it, I can stay out at an amazing concert or a quirky play or a rousing dinner party until the wee hours on a Saturday, and then the next morning, I can simply wander—from farmers market to café to canal—running into friends along the way, flowing with the uncharted rhythm of the day.

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Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

But life is ironic. And that pesky grass over there (of my neighbor or my friend or my social media acquaintance) can sometimes look more verdant. Do I also sometimes wish I had more responsibility and more accountability? Do I sometimes envy those with a steady job, a grown-up house, a someone (or someones) waiting for them at home with whom to swap petty tales at the end of each day? Of course I do. It is easy to focus on the lacks. But I’ve learned–or I’m gradually learning—it is crucial (and worlds more helpful) to stay grounded in the already-haves. To notice the riches and abundance that’s already there. That is my daily goal.

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Some days, it is raining (again), and I’m alone in a café (again), feeling a million miles from my parents and others loved ones back east. I spend hours nudging editors who sneakily skirt my pitches, trying to validate myself for the umpteenth time as a writer—and a human. One day I feel so on the cusp of finally, truly “making it” and “having it all figured out,” the next, the kinks and roadblocks arrive, as the Universe chuckles at me for having felt so sure.

And yet, there are evenings when I find myself sitting on the silky sand of a moon-tinged beach, 3,000 miles from where I was born, and my senses almost cannot process the magic of it all—the flickering of bonfire flames, the hushed lapping of waves, the silhouette of distant peaks, the hypnotic riffs of the acoustic guitar. In these moments, I exhale with ease, and it all makes sense. The millions of questions—that monkey mind chatter—fades away, and I am exactly where I need to be. I darn well may not understand how I came to land here, or where I’ll venture next. But in the depth of my being, for an instant anyway, I know this much: to trust the “beautiful, messy” journey along the way.

{Photos above + below by Corinne Whiting}

{Photos above + below by Corinne Whiting}

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“I can tell you that what you’re looking for is already inside you.”
~Anne Lamott


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*This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, click here. And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, click here.

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So It Goes (& Friday Tunes)

It’s been an interesting, roller coaster week. I’m excited it’s weekend. There have been a lot of shifts going on in my world (talk of people coming and going, money strains, thoughts of a future plan, etc.), and much of it has my stomach in absolute knots. I have a hard time accepting change with grace.

I’ve been up since 6-something. In this town, when the sun streams in and splashes forcefully against my bedroom walls, I just cannae miss a single minute of it. I want to bathe in its warmth. I hope to make today light and airy, to not get bogged down in the heaviness of anything. Yesterday, at the end of class, Claudette treated us to a serenade of this Irish-meets-yogic song with her ethereal voice. It was beautiful. This morning I listened to it while I ate my oatmeal, determined to not multitask (for once!) and simply taste my food and feel the sun.

Yesterday was a very USA/Uncle Sam-themed day. First I got BADdddd news while filing taxes (ARGHHH! Such exorbitant self-employment taxes!!) and cursed our government the whole way home. Then last night, I enjoyed some welcomed laughs with a friend I hadn’t seen in ages at an improv show based on the inner workings of the White House. Yin yang, happy sad, so it goes.

How have your weeks been? I leave you with some feel-good tunes—Edward Sharpe & the gang, one of the bands I’ll be seeing in the Colorado mountains at Ride Fest this summer-yeeha! I’m SO excited. Happy weekend, friends.

Straight Up

The sun is shining, and that hopeful springtime buzz is in the air. Yet, truth be told, I’m kind of slogging through this week so far. My stomach hurts, my neck hurts, and I’m waiting to hear from so many peeps about several different things. I’m feeling a bit stuck and a bit overwhelmed by nothing and everything; it just ain’t flowing.

But what can you do, these periods come. And then they go.

Highlights have been meeting my friend Sarah’s adorable lil bambino over a sunny falafel lunch, a delightful dinner chez Hew and KL and views like these (see below). Ahhhh! Exhale.

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