Reflections // Welcome, New Year

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Sometimes, if I’m honest, all the movement makes me dizzy. The on-the-go aspects of my lifestyle lead me to feel frazzled, unsettled, disconnected and wondering what I’m missing, having not pursued a more rooted, stationary path.

But then, other times—most of the time, thankfully—it makes me feel lucky, wowed, inspired, alive.

This year followed a few unexpected themes like Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland…I love them all!) and glaciers (climbing around inside of one and sleeping at the base of one—alongside frolicking mountain goats—in the awesome Cascade Mountains).

My work peaked, then plateaued, freaking me out and making me question. (Five years in, it’s a cycle that’s prone to repeat, this I should know.) Then, again, toward the end of the year—it picked up yet again with exciting opportunities on the horizon for 2017, reminding me to have faith in this unconventional route I’ve chosen to somewhat blindly, yet intuitively, walk along.

I saw my family tons, which makes me exuberantly happy and fortunate-feeling, and I reunited with friends in all corners of our country (and European hot spots, too). My travel roundup is nearly embarrassing to list, but something I am working on simply appreciating and taking credit for, instead of feeling the need to justify or excuse away… (In North America alone, there were trips to: Chicago, DC, Hawaii’s Big Island, Vancouver Island, Wenatchee, the Tri-Cities, Austin, Denver, San Diego, Osoyoos, British Colombia and so on.)

I saw some live music that moved me to the core—most recently, a broody Gill Landry on a local neighborhood stage … this summer, a gracious and genius Swede named Daniel Norgren, who poured every ounce of his soul and voice into the magical canopy of trees towering above my favorite Pickathon stage. Some other surprisingly special 2016 concert experiences included Joseph, I Draw Slow, Good Old War, Half Moon Run, Cobi, Blind Pilot, The Augustines, Third Eye Blind, Death Cab for Cutie, The Head and the Heart and—the biggest shocker of all—STYX.

Things changed, relationships shifted. Some remained as steadfastly solid as always, others strengthened in beautiful ways, and a few petered out in natural evolution. I feared some changes that never came; I felt the effects of other transitions more deeply than I may have expected. I worked hard to cultivate a stronger sense of “home,” I discovered the cleansing practice of hot yoga (which I always assumed I’d hate), and I tried to delve deeper into inflammatory flareups my body tends to suffer from more often than I’d like.

I celebrated several friends’ amazing accomplishments and exciting milestones, dancing and dining and wining the nights away, as we remembered what life’s really, truly all about. (When the comparison game snuck in, as it’s wont to do, I assessed ways I moved along with them and worried about parts of my life that make me feel “stuck.”) I continued to love the city I call home, and I challenged myself on a couple nature adventures that were hard, dirty and really, really cool.

I saw bears, marmots, sea lions, orcas and a nasty brown house spider I won’t soon forget. I failed miserably at squashing certain patterns etched in my psyche, while I made strides with other habits, reflex reactions and communication modes that I simply feel it’s time to drop.

In November, in light of the election I cannot yet discuss, I felt despair like I’ve rarely known—flattened by such deep-seated shame, embarrassment, confusion and sadness over a catastrophic decision that somehow (HOW? WHY?) sends the message that racism, sexism and disrespect of our fellow humans is blatantly OK.

I still don’t understand it, and I’ve had to work very hard to quiet the anxiety of what this all means … to believe that good and light can still triumph over an undercurrent of evil we’ve somehow given the go-ahead to surface and seep. During this disheartening, regressive period of history, I have felt so grateful to live in an evergreen-dotted bubble, where I’m surrounded by like-minded people, and I continue to seek out folks who champion the causes, mentalities and ways of life that I, too, admire and hold close.

All in all, it’s been a really, really good and blessed year, capped off by one of my most favorite Christmases on record. It took place in my parents’ cozy house on a hygge-tinged suburban street. We flew, trained and drove in from London, Seattle and Ohio, filling that welcoming home to the brim with laughter, cookies, games, movies, twinkly lights and easy conversations decidedly more adult and reciprocal than ones we might have had just a few years back. We downed mug after mug of daytime tea, and sipped on cider and wine as we gathered in the family room each evening, smashing together on a chock-a-block couch, to bask in the glow of a festive tree.

On my last night in the house before flying back to Seattle, I couldn’t sleep. I replayed the events of the visit over and over in my mind, feeling positively overwhelmed by the friends and family I get to call my own (and feeling that aching twinge I experience every single time we have to part ways). I full-well know that these highs don’t last forever—and that life ebbs and flows in ways we cannot control—so I increasingly take care to sit in the waves of gratitude when I feel them rushing in at speeds I cannot slow.

I am so thankful for all I’ve experienced, learned and felt this past year—even the times I’ve picked myself up when feeling low, combatted a loneliness that threatened to drown and trudged on through periods of scary unknown, working hard to maintain a blind faith that it’s all unfolding as it absolutely should.

I hope to write more in the New Year—a passion I’ve let somewhat slip into the cracks—and in the meantime, I wish you and yours the peace of letting go of the past, looking forward to the future and sinking whole-heartedly, attentively and appreciatively into the delicious, awe-inspiring present.

Happy 2017, friends. Let’s make it a great one. xo

Coast2Coast Redux

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I am just back from D.C., which means it’s time for yet another wordy, cryptic ‘Ode to Transitions’ blog. It’s practically tradition now. There’s something beautiful in the predictability of such things, eh:)?

I thought the torn-ness I feel between the two coasts (my two homes) should dissipate with time. Logically, the space between should feel like less of a big deal, right?

And yet, for some reason, this time when home, I sometimes felt off-kilter and conflicted, not able to easily, gracefully, maturely deal. I know in my very being that I am in the right place out here. (I sense it in my bones, and amazing signs/”coincidences” upon my return last night confirmed it loud and clear. Thank you, Universe.) And yet… why does the distance sometimes feel so glaring? Why do tinges of guilt remain for living so far? Why can’t I say “see you later/soon” stoically, without feeling like my heart is being wrung out like a goshdarn washcloth?

When I am back east now, the passing of time feels apparent—the city has changed, people have changed, people have moved on. The flood of memories—mostly good, a couple less-good—hide in every crevice of the beautiful, historic, highly-electric and often-stiff buttoned-up city I for so long called home. Ghosts of the past dance on unexpected street corners; joyful recollections jump out from the least predictable spaces.

I cannot help but think of the me I was and the me I am (and the me I aspire to be), and I am so grateful for changes and leaps and fed-up-ness and bravery. I look at it all with a new, fresher lens, and I see how I listened, successfully moving toward happiness and a more authentic me. But of course, part of me also longs for those sacrifices that come along with the change, and I pine for those moments in time that were wonderful and magical—and cannot ever again be replicated in just that way.

Today, I’d like to be wrapped up in warm fleece on my parents’ cozy couch, because there is something nourishing and incredible about *home* that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. But instead, I’m a million miles away—on the other side of the country—having a pleasant, back-to-reality, ease-in day, in a place where the people are so dang kind and the pace is just. so. much. more. ME.

l ate lunch at one of my favorite cafes, where the bright-eyed server asked about my morning, and then I came to my favorite coffee shop for a quick meeting; here joyful baristas mix expensive and tasty coffee concoctions as they bop along to overhead tunes. I’m seated across from funky, feather-bubble fixtures that dangle in the window, looking out at clouds rolling across the lake, the bobbing masts of sailboats and the edge of a cityscape now happily imprinted on my brain.

Maybe the transition back will never feel easy, and maybe I will always leave behind pieces of my heart wherever I roam. Today I will try to focus on the gift of having two homes and the eternal gratitude I feel that—in two (very different Washingtons)—I love deeply and feel deeply loved.

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Synchronicities

“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”~Chief Seattle

YES.

Also, on that note, see this film!

I’ve been on the road a lot recently. It’s been full and beautiful and spoiled and exhausting and educational and frustrating and fun. Everything overload.

For now, I’m happily back in my Fremont bubble—absorbing and recuperating, laying low. Off to brunch with friends shortly on this quiet fall Sunday. Happy weekend, friends!

Seasons of Change

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Tonight I walked home under the brilliant light of a near full moon (the air smelling of sweet late-summer bonfires). I felt blanketed in love after a comforting, cozy dinner out with my amazing Seattle tribe; I adore them so.

And yet this is suddenly a city where my brother and sister-in-law no longer live (I love them so much…I don’t have the words). I don’t know this place without them (and I’m not sure I can). The tears cascade in alarmingly bottomless streams, and my heart sits heavily in my chest, sucking away my air. I find my footing home in the dark of night—new footing that feels awkward and clumsy—but that with time will come. (Right? It will come?)

I hate change, and I resist transition, and yet so often, we don’t have a say. And so, here it is; change has come. And I grapple my way forward into this new season, shuffling under the moonlight to find my path home.

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Here/There

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Awake early. Jetlag. Sun streaming in. (Catch it while you can!) Reggae, Langhorne, Fruit Bats. Easing my way in, easing my way back.

Home #2

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It’s the same story every time I hop coasts, transitioning between the two worlds. I miss there and I really, really miss them. (Some trips, it feels much harder to wrench myself away than others.) At the same time, it feels good to return here.

I have two homes I truly love. This is rare, I realize. I am very grateful.

Do you, too, balance between a here and a there? What helps you gracefully glide back in?

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*dReAmS*

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“The earth is heavy and opaque without dreams.”~ Anaïs Nin

(p.s. Hi from cozy home. I’m attempting to stay blissfully offline as much as possible this week…:))

Paths

I love that, when it’s sunny, I can choose to take the long way there, wending along the sparkling canal to soak up rich rays and the wily reflections that dance atop the water.

I love that, when it’s clear, I can follow the alternative route home, along the street that offers the best straight-on view of those nearby, snow-kissed mountains. Purple peaks that span the horizon—reminding me of what’s out there, the beauty that lies beyond. Big picture.

Nearly every time I take off on a trip, I feel sentimental beforehand about this city and for my ‘hood. I take that as a really good sign about this place I call home.

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