Welcome, Year!

I love when my birthday falls in the calendar year.
I love its ring: 3/3.
I love that it lands in the midst of a blah-ish stretch, yet on the cusp of a new, hopeful season.
I love that it arrives when winter’s felt long, and the blossoming of spring finally feels within reach.

I love that it comes just when I (and others) seem to need a bit of a boost, and this year—even more than usual—I felt absolutely showered by and immersed in love.

I am so lucky, I am so thankful, and I can’t wait to see what goodness this year has in store.

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Hello/Goodbye 2015/2016

I absolutely love end-of-the-year recaps. I enjoy reading what people learned, what they listened to, what they loathed, what they loved.

I always feel great pressure to create my own Year in Review, not because it’s a pesky “should” I feel obligated to complete, but because I think it’s a valuable exercise—a great (and rather fun) excuse for pausing, assessing and celebrating, too.

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This year for me was CHOCK-full of travel. My freelance career took off in newfound directions, for the first time (in a long time) making me feel blessedly unworried about money. I met wonderful people, reaffirmed exquisite, can’t-be-captured-in words bonds with family members and lifelong friends, went to two of the most fun weddings I’ve ever been to, delved even deeper into my yoga practice, got really good use at using Viber and FaceTime audio (hi, fam!), had sweet reunions galore in sun-kissed climates and carefree settings, welcomed fun, go-with-the-flow visitors to my welcoming PNW city, consoled friends in moments of heartache and loss and then this spring said goodbye to my sweet, funny, wonderful grandfather (my last living grandparent).

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I met friends’ cuddlebug babies and bonded with new favorite wee ones and watched some relationships quietly soar to exhilarating heights, while others quietly slipped into the backdrop. I dealt with great disappointments—the pendulum eventually swinging back (as it always does), launching me into smooth periods where it all seemed to perfectly click into place like a well-oiled machine–moments where I wanted to confidently shout, “I’ve got this!” I let out huge gasps of relief when hearing others’ positive health reports; I prayed (and continue to pray) for those still waiting for the tides to turn and for that good news to (please, please, please) roll in.

I used my passport several times (yeeha!), and packed/unpacked my suitcase more times than I care to count. I dipped into the world of glamping by sleeping in a fancy fabric tent and a cozy vintage trailer, I propelled myself down ziplines, and I hovered in a helicopter high above the rainbow-dotted cliffs of the Napali Coast, a couple-minute stretch of magic emblazoned in my memory bank forever. I went on my first international press trip (a huge personal goal) and had several inspirational travel moments—*those* moments, you know the type—that remind me why it is exactly that I continue to do what I do.

Many times, but especially this November, I felt terrified by our world…petrified by the potential evil lurking within the human race.
Then, I felt in absolute awe of our world…uplifted by the potential for love and kindness and triumphal goodness, plus the resiliency of the human spirit.

I had high highs and low lows, euphoric epiphanies and epic meltdowns. I felt utterly alone; I felt fantastically loved and supported. I leaned on the loyal pillars who hold me up when I falter; I listened more intently to that inner voice that alway seems to *know* when I allow it be heard.

For the first time, I went to Memphis, Nashville and Oxford, Mississippi, Hawaii (incredible Kauai), Spain (delicious San Sebastian!) and Costa Rica (Pura Vida). I returned to Austin, San Diego, Whistler and lovely London (seen through a brand-new, local-living lens). I saw new parts of awesome Oregon and the stunning Olympic National Park, and I watched concerts beside beach bonfires and under Happy Valley’s tranquil forest canopy — mystical musical moments that feed my soul in a way I cannot sufficiently record on this page.

I learned a lot and also remembered a lot that I already knew. I am still navigating my way through some decades-old patterns and “stuff,” as we always will/should be I’m finding, and it’s abundantly clear that the journey continues. I am staying curious and non-judgmental, and old stories are slowly chipping away.

For now, though, here are some pearls I know to be true. (More than anything, I write these down as a future reminder to myself.)

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~The bad doesn’t last. Neither does the good. It’s all fleeting. Savor, relish, but don’t cling. It’s all fluid, ever-changing.

That is the bad news. But this happens to be the very, very good news, too.

~Gratitude changes everything.

~ “You can never go wrong doing something nice for someone.” Mom knows best:)

~There are few places more magical on the planet then a Pacific Northwest beach or lake on a radiant, pastel-tinged summer evening.

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~Music makes life better, always.

~As a dear Seattle friend says, you have to follow the “POP.” If it makes you smile, if it puts that pitter-patter in your chest, if it feels right, do it. There doesn’t have to be a logical “why.” If your gut moves you in that direction, by all means, FOLLOW.

~If you’re not sure, sit on it. Silence and space are wondrous tools. Don’t react rashly; step away, wait, view it from a new angle in the morning.

~It’s not personal. Don’t make it about you.

~As humans, we are often terrible predictors of our own emotions. It is silly to preemptively dread a feeling or reaction I am convinced I will have. My emotions are not always logical, and they are certainly not always predictable, but they are what they are. So why waste the time assuming I know? Why not just wait and see? (Heck, perhaps I’ll even surprise myself. In fact, I find that I often do.)

~I am brave. (We are all brave, in ways we forget to acknowledge.) I may be an absolute baby when it comes to doing certain “adult” tasks (ahem car maintenance and calling Comcast), but I am stronger than I often give myself credit for. I went to Pickathon alone (again). I drove with my cousin and her four kids from Chicago to Virginia (again). I spoke some public words at my grandfather’s memorial service. I’ve been self-employed for 4+ years. (Perhaps bravery meets naivety with this one…but I’m going with it:)) I’ve traveled alone to locations near and far (nothing new for me by any means, but a nice reminder that that—a defining characteristic of who I am and who I want to be—is still embedded within me. The adventurous spirit of curiosity burns bright).

~The only constant thing in life is change. I am slowly processing some Seattle goodbye(s?) I’ll have to say in 2016, and while it guts me to the core to even admit of their imminent arrival, it soothes me to know that I’ve done it before, and that—in time— I/we will adjust, adapt, recalibrate. No, it won’t ever be exactly the same, and yes, that makes me really sad. But it is what it is, and when we fight it, we suffer. We must flow with the currents, ride the waves, trust trust trust & simply carry on.

~I can be my own worst enemy. But I can also be my own best champion. In 2016, I want to (continue to) work on championing myself—being big and bold and getting out of my own way a whole heckofalot more.

What do you wish for your 2016?

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Thank you, 2015, for your ups and downs. For your predictabilities, your consistencies and your wild surprises, too. For your many miles, scattered longitudes and latitudes, your countless planes, trains and automobiles that led me to stunning landscapes around our beautiful world. For the people who continuously enrich my life and so often make me feel like the luckiest lass alive.

Bring it on, 2016. I am so excited to see what you have in store.

Spinning into Clarity

When I have too many decisions laid out before me, I’ll admit it, I kind of freak. I spin. The overwhelm becomes paralyzing. I don’t know to describe it other than feeling like I might just short circuit, smoke rising from my tangled wires. It’s just not something my brain/heart handles well.

Right now I am trying to get a clear vision of things I want for 2015. Projects I’ll pursue, plane tickets I’ll buy, people I’ll prioritize, pipe dreams I’ll declare not that zany after all. It’s pretty wide open, and it’s so exciting, and I KNOW I’m so blessed to have the options, the resources, the people…this freedom.

(And this is all to say, too, that I know that—ultimately—I don’t have control over the big picture anyway. If this past year has taught me anything, it’s that life is as unpredictable as the sky is blue. The best-laid plans often get derailed by beyond-our-control circumstances, and—on the opposite end—amazing, unscripted additions can evolve that hadn’t blipped on the radar screen at all.)

Anyway, this past week, instead of feeling excited about the mostly-blank canvas sitting before me, calming awaiting my first brushstrokes, all this mental sorting, envisioning and possibility has had me feeling a bit cranky and pretty anxious. And while I’m not exactly sure WHAT lies at the root of all that, I am trying to be patient with my wily emotions, trusting that the clarity will come.

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In a tarot card reading I had done last year, the friend-of-a-friend in charge gently (yet passionately) encouraged me to “be big”….to “be bold.” To flaunt my me-ness. Something resonated.

I’m coming for you, 2015. I’m still on the sidelines warming up, but I’ll be there soon.

Photo by Corinne Whiting

Photo by Corinne Whiting

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” | Marianne Williamson

Keep Knocking

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Keep knocking, and the joy inside will eventually open a window and look out to see who’s there.~Rumi

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A Midsummer’s Anti-Recap

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People keep asking how my summer’s been, and I don’t quite know what to say. (First off, why the past tense, people? I ain’t saying adieu to this season just yet!)

Also, it’s been so much, a bit of it all; it’s been everything. There’s no tidy response. It started off with so much unspeakable sadness, and it will end with a bittersweet ache, too (my brother and sister-in-law move to the UK next week!).

But, man, in between, there’s been so much goodness. Life is so full, so multi-layered, so surprising, so rich. I pinch myself sometimes—the deep-rooted connections I’ve made, the beautiful music I get to hear, the waters I get to frequent, the fiery sunsets I get to drink in. These days, I’m just really sitting back and taking it allllll in.

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“There are no simple answers in life. There is a good and bad in everyone and everything. No decision is made without consequence. No road is taken that doesn’t lead to another. What’s important is that those roads always be kept open, for there’s no telling what wonder they might lead to.”~D.J. MacHale

Rumi, always

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“Remember, the entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you.”~Rumi

Ushering out the old & in the *new*

There are times when I get caught in my own head, tripped up by my own stories. (More often than I care to admit.) I’m a sensitive, emotional, observant, intuitive Pisces. There are aspects of these traits I love about myself, that I have come to embrace as true assets; yet there are other parts I know could be further tweaked. I am learning to look at them with a gentle, interested eye, and I see their potential harm. There is work yet to be done.

This year, my 35th year, I want to (finally) allow much of that unneeded “old”—the dead weight that no longer serves me—to drop away. I want to be lighter.

My birthday falls at a good time of year—smack dab in the drab of gray winter, when I often need a wee lift, a celebratory boost to remind me that life is indeed beautiful and that winter will not last forever and that I am buoyed, supported and very, very fortunately loved.

This weekend, I surrounded myself with those who remind me of this. I enjoyed chats, laughs and adventures in the snow and the rain, I indulged in good food and drink and, throughout it all, I tried to listen to that inner voice.

I am still reflecting on this past year, not quite ready to reveal any sort of astute recap or contemplative summary. But I am looking back with gratitude (cos much of it was really stinkin’ awesome), and I’m looking ahead with quiet hope. (Thank you to those of you who have made my life such a beautiful ride thus far.)

“At the center of your being you have the answer: You know who you are and you know what you want.”~Lao Tzu

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