New Year Wisdom

Cardiff Castle by Corinne Whiting

Cardiff Castle by Corinne Whiting

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” | Rainer Maria Rilke

Hello, 2015 (from your jet-lagged friend)!

I’ve been up since 5. My body (and mind) are still over in Western Europe, and aside from my internal clock thinking it’s a gazillion time zones ahead of what it is here in the PNW, my swirling mind has entirely too much to process and replay and savor from the past three weeks to possibly quiet…And strangely, loads of Irish speak seems to be circulating around that busy noggin, too.”Gaff,” “craic,” ahhh how I love those folks!

[Also, sadly, my home/to-do-list-fueled/overstimulated brain has already begun to kick back on. Note to self: Fight that! Not welcomed here this year, thank you very much.]

So, for now, sleep can wait.

Alas…hours before the sun rose, as you do when in the disorien(ta)ted throes of jet lag, I made a delirious brekkie burrito by the light of the kitchen stove (the clean eating can wait a few days yet….) and relished some Christmas Minstrels (chocolate) around 7 am (it’s afternoon over there anyway, right?) while watching a so-so movie on Netflix to ease me into the day.

I don’t have the steam for a full recap in me just yet, but let me say this:
My trip was really fantastic. Just really special, sprinkled with moments of magic—the obvious, extraordinary ones and also the more mundane. In many ways it felt simple, comfortable, all about cosiness and connectedness. I felt that creative/adventurous spark reignited within me (one that I sometimes worry might be ever-so-slightly beginning to wane… But I know that it hasn’t, and it won’t…).

I lead such a blessed life, and traveling away from the routine seems to remind me of this time and again. In some ways, going abroad always feels like coming home.

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Perhaps it was in light of a year that came along with some really, really tough bits and loss, that this togetherness with my people felt extra weighted in goodness and bliss. Maybe this perspective comes with age…or the fact that I currently live thousands of miles from my most favorite people on the planet. I don’t know.

In any case, teas and tiffins and pints and pies shared with my incredible family (in England) and dear friends (in Ireland) made this holiday season one of the most wonderful and memorable of my 35 years. I am so grateful. (I don’t know how to state this all without sounding like a giant sap.) But it’s true. I feel so lucky, and often I marvel at how I get to walk this life with these amazing people—in these amazing places.

Delighting in a true Irish coffee on the final day of 2014. (Photo by Corinne Whiting)

Delighting in a true Irish coffee on the final day of 2014. (Photo by Corinne Whiting)

Something also felt so unexpectedly right about ringing in the New Year in one of my favorite cities on Earth (Dublin), under the care of the most gracious, welcoming hosts. I’m so glad I followed my gut on that one.

As I lifted off, up over these stunning verdant fields of Eire on the 2nd of January—exhausted and stuffed, full-hearted and homebound—I truly sensed the fullness of it all. The riches this holiday season brought and the promise of the year to come.

Happy 2015, friends.

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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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Hues of Here

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This week I’ve been feeling strangely invigorated. I don’t know why it comes as a surprise (post-vacay, dead of grey winter), but it does. I haven’t been sleeping much or that well either (and oddly, that seems to be okay, too).

After five wonderful days away, I just feel there’s so much I want to attend to here (before I jet off again!), so much nesting home time and city socializing time—catching up with friends (real-life and fictional….hello Parenthood and Nashville characters as well as the couple books I’ve recently been juggling:)).

I know I’m a broken record, but I have such wonderful people in my life. Such.

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There’ve been a few things this week that could’ve rattled me, and maybe momentarily they did, but overall, I’m feeling hopeful. Able to see the full picture. I’m so thankful when these waves come (because I well know how swiftly they can ebb and flow).  I’m in a trusting phase. I feel open.

Just feeling grateful on this Friday, I suppose. Happy weekend, friends.
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New Year Goodness

Dawn of a New Year

Dawn of a New Year

Usually, even when it shouldn’t, New Year’s Eve carries with it a lot of pressure, a lot of build-up, a lot of expectations. (I know I am not alone in feeling this way.) It feels like a stressful deadline to have fully processed the year that’s about to come to a close and to have neatly laid out all of one’s goals and intentions for the year to come.

Sometimes, I honestly feel relief when it’s over. For me, everything on this holiday feels a bit too crowded, a bit too sloppy, a bit too forced. (Next year, I repeat, all I crave is a cozy fireside dinner party with all my nearest and dearest in a remote cabin in the woods. Oh, and snow falling softly outside our window and a late-night acoustic jam by the flickering flames would be great, too, thanks:))

Party @ a home

Party @ a home

Party @ a bar

Party @ a bar

My NYE was fine, filled with moments that were good, but when the first morning of 2014 arrived, I also sighed a huge sigh of relief. My January 1st, in contrast, was FANTASTIC. One of my Seattle BFFs, who happens to live about three blocks from me, invited me over for a day of total vegging, and I loved it. She cooked (health-conscious but delicious food), we watched movies, we sipped some wine, we rehashed the night before and looked forward to the year ahead. We allowed ourselves that rare chance to be total yoga pants-wearing-sloths for an entire day without feeling one iota of guilt. It was divine.

The simple day reminded me of a few wishes I hope to hold close for the year ahead. Drop the “shoulds.” Do what feels good. Indulge. Maintain moderation. Surround yourself with those with whom it’s zero effort, who get you, who listen, who build you up,  who make you laugh. Be present. Appreciate the now.

Laugh easily. Dream hopefully. Trust steadfastly. Allow joy. Live with ease. Be grateful for it all.

New Year's Day bliss: zucchini-shiitake bruschetta, a wee bit of vino and Sweet Home Alabama on the tube

New Year’s Day bliss: zucchini-shiitake bruschetta, a wee bit of vino and Sweet Home Alabama on the tube

Happy New Year, friends.

Ahead

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Hello from full-on, crazy-packing-prepping-pre-international-trip mode over here. DEEP. BREATHS.

How goes things for you all?

Hope the weeks are good ones so far!

The future has already entered you

{Sun peeking out at Whistler this past weekend}

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“Fear not the strangeness you feel.

The future has already entered you.

It is pulling you through life by your heart.”

~Martha Beck

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