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.

IMG_6525 (1)

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).

IMG_6195

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.)

*************************************************

~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.

IMG_1559

~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?

Lake Quinault Lodge

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.

Advertisements

Big June

My June? It was a LOT. (How was yours?)

It was a lot of everything, I don’t know how else to describe it—emotions, events, reunions, deadlines. Sometimes, life just can be a lot to take in, can’t it? This past month, I was constantly in motion…routine was not a thing.

I went to a beautiful memorial service for my sweet grandfather who I will miss so much. I went to an anniversary BBQ/celebration in memory of my cousin’s husband who has somehow now been gone a year (how can that possibly be?), and that stirred up quite a few things from last summer.

I had special, special reunions with my family (LOVE), my best and oldest gfs, long-lost relatives, super-fun visiting guests and then, in the interim, sweet reunions with my Seattle people, which has felt extra-special when we’re all spinning around one another in crazy summer-schedule travel mode.

In June, I took so many trips down memory lane (a couple literally), I pored over ancient, dog-eared photos, I heard old stories for the first time, I got closer to understanding where I come from and who those people were and are—the long lineage of genetics and events that have fused together to collectively make me me. (The older I get, the more this piques my interest…the more tales I want to hear.)

I have been craving rootedness and schedules and full nights of sleep.
And now it is July, and I am home. Yes, I am still busy, and I still have looming deadlines and umpteen events penciled in, but I am so, so happy to be here. I love the PNW so much, and I especially love it in the summer.

Life is full, but life is good. I am in a grateful place these days (and so grateful to be there), constantly astonished by how this beautiful life continues to unfold.

Wishing you summer days full of browned skin and tangled pool/beach-hair and deep breaths that feel easy and free, the way it should always be.

IMG_6195

IMG_6219 IMG_6248

IMG_6367

IMG_6487

IMG_6525 (1)

*watch & listen*

FullSizeRender (7)

“Walking. I am listening to a deeper way. Suddenly all my ancestors are behind me. Be still, they say. Watch and listen. You are the result of the love of thousands.”~Linda Hogan (b. 1947), Native American writer

FullSizeRender image1 image2

Happy Surprises & Big Girl Panties

Sometimes I learn really huge lessons that I desperately want to remember. I tend to quickly forget (don’t we all?), so I’m resorting to print. Some of these are very obvious…but tonight I want to remember that:

IMG_9223

~happy surprises can (and do) drop out of the sky.

~we must tune out the naysayers. surround yourself with supportive cheerleaders. go where you feel moved, where something “pings” inside. follow the spark, always.

~nothing is permanent.

~when it rains, it pours. (really, really try to remember this in the midst of a frustrating standstill, an agonizing drought.)

~often, the only thing to stop the stories, the ruminating, the festering, the dis-ease—is hoisting up one’s big girl panties, opening up lines of communication & practicing bravery and kindness rolled into one.

~we never ever know the whole story (and often, when we learn at least some of it, we soften.) everyone is human, and we are all just doing the best we can.

It’s been a mostly good (busy) couple weeks here in the (sunny!) PNW, but tomorrow I’m heading east to my people on that (snowy!) coast, and I couldn’t be happier. Hope your weeks have been filled with some happy surprises and refreshing revelations, too.

The Knowing/Holding On

There was a night when I was there, ironically, just a couple weeks before his death, and I knew. I just knew. I had no idea how quickly it would all unravel, but a sixth sense deep in my being told me to hold onto that evening. To be very still and very present. To soak it in. That he wouldn’t be with us forever—and that that night held something special. I hated my sixth sense. I hoped it wasn’t true.

We had been to the pool earlier that day—him having to lounge in the shade, a port in his arm and all. (A visibly sick man supervising his playful family from the sidelines. He was supposed to be in the pool splashing around with us. How did any of this make sense??) Instead, he lay to the side with his friend Steve on the chaise lounges, as they checked World Cup scores on their iPads and dreamed up Caribbean catamaran trips that the two couples would take later that fall, after he was well. Oh, the plans that were made for “later,” after he “got well.”

IMG_5309

On the way home from the pool, he whipped us into the parking lot of a local shopping center, popping inside to pick up dinner—delicious bratwursts from a local delicatessen—his idea. He, much like my cousin, always makes things special, makes things fun (even in sickness, when he felt his very worst). They enjoy the good things in life, and they enjoy sharing that with others, too.

We ate out on the deck, a perfect June evening. He DJ’ed—Jack Johnson, Zack Brown Band, sharing fun facts and tidbits as he shuffled through catchy, toe-tapping songs (he always seemed to know at least a little bit about everything and everyone). He couldn’t really taste the delicious brats, his taste buds so dulled, so he piled on the hot sauce and extra seasoning, while Jen and I relished the flavorful tastes of a quintessential summer meal.

Our conversations were not groundbreaking or profound that night, yet they were enjoyable and flowing and, most of all, nearly normal. For a moment of blissful escapism, it all felt normal.

Last night in bed, many of the emblazoned images of my second Chicago visit of the summer rose to the surface out of nowhere, washing over me. They include vivid pictures that will likely stay with me forever, memories I dare not taint with words. They are moments so raw, so tender, so sad and yet, sometimes, so eerily, twistedly beautiful. Parents saying goodbye to their son. A young mom saying goodbye to her life love, the father of her four children. Scenes one should never need to witness. Scenes that just weren’t supposed to happen. But they did.

How does one navigate sadness? What can you do with such immense sadness? Some emotions get a boost from good cries or the reading of inspirational quotes, etc. etc, etc., but with sadness, it just sits. Until it passes. And it gradually visits less often. It seems there is no other way.

I am now so very grateful for that summer dinner out on the deck. When it felt like everything, even though it really wasn’t—maybe for a moment anyway—would maybe, just maybe, be okay.

IMG_5322

Mountain Medicine

I’ve been on (an unintentional) blogging hiatus these past weeks, and to be honest, I wouldn’t even know quite where to begin. Oh, the places I’ve been…my family has been (high, low, everywhere in between).

My words seem extraordinarily inadequate to capture the grief, the sorrow, the mourning, the suck-air-from-lungs sting—and equally insufficient to do justice to the in-between beauty, the all-encompassing love, the inexplicable wonder of it all.

So I will keep it simple for now. These are the dappled skies and blazing sunsets that worked to soothe my soul after one of the saddest weeks I’ve experienced—one in which we said goodbye to a man—a good man—gone far, far, far too soon.

These clouds, these rays—reminders that life goes on, and we must do our best to take it in with appropriate, absolute awe.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

photo 5

“The goal of life is
to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe,
to match your nature with Nature.”
– Joseph Campbell

Honoring a Sage

photo (80)

“I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”~Maya Angelou

Previous Older Entries