A New Season ( & Hi! How’ve you been?)

 

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I haven’t blogged in so long, it’s insane. Where to begin? Summer came, and summer went.

It was good, it was full; it felt exhausting at times, exhilarating at others. Highlights ranged from a whirlwind NoVa July jaunt and a favorite friend’s fun-fun-FUN Denver wedding to a love-soaked reunion under Chicago’s sticky summer skies. August was chock-full of music and weekends spent in tents at campsites near and far (far, as in, at the tippy-top of a mountain goat-dotted glacier). The end of September felt tinged with a bit of magic—the pinnacle being an amazing visit with my parents in the PNW during its finest show-off days and then a near week of togetherness in easy-breezy Oceanside.

For a long stretch there, work felt really steady (and almost too flowing at times), and the Seattle sun consistently blazed down on us as she’s known to do—filling our souls and Vitamin D reserves to the brim. (We have to store up, ya know; that’s just how life here works.) At one point, I felt highly over-traveled, and then grateful to regain my footing during several stationary weeks at home. I’ve gotten so much better at saying “no,” which is a relief, and I’ve seen the empowerment that comes from turning down gigs, trips and invites, simply because that’s the direction my gut tends to lean.

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Recently, a slowing of assignments has me feeling a little nervous, though admittedly not nearly as panicked as I would’ve felt once upon a time. This ain’t my first freelance-work-lull rodeo, after all. And I know for certain that waiting, patience and faith are the biggest challenges of this alternative lifestyle I’ve chosen—and perhaps the most important necessities, too.

This is the reality of my work situation at present: I am sending out a ton of pitches, a lot of emails, a bunch of check-ins—many of which I know will never get a response. I am used to this by now, and I *usually* don’t take it personally, but still—it can grow super old, really fast. The past couple weeks, I have done more “pro bono”-esque work than I’ve done since early CV-building days, but my reasoning is that this keeps things moving, the juices flowing, the pendulum swinging…toward tangible things that will soon “catch”—if I allow the unfolding to happen at a pace beyond my control.

Yes, I am so grateful to receive invites to dinners, receptions and press events galore, and to find super-cool surprise deliveries on my doorstep (apples! Olive leaf-tea! Gourmet pizza pies!). This is all amazing, lucky, spoiled—undoubtedly a very privileged perk to my wacky line of work. But sadly, this isn’t the type of compensation accepted by the collectors of my bills or the cashiers of my stores. (Surely these are the less glamorous glimpses into freelance life that don’t often make the social media rounds.)

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Yet despite the slowing of the season, I am well-aware that life continually presents us with periods filled with “planting” versus “blooming”… and with years (or seasons) that “ask” versus those that “answer.” I take great comfort in complementary thoughts shared by peers like the lovely Meg Fee, in her post rooting for the bamboo farmer in us all.

I am trying to follow the advice of wise gurus I respect who suggest that, at times like these, we keep on keeping on, living, giving, gifting—putting messages out into the Universe that I have enough, I am enough, there is enough.

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I can’t know for sure whether or not it’s working, but today I got a couple small assignments in, heard from an old, old travel friend and found a $5 bill on the ground just minutes after my favorite Turkish restaurateur-chef randomly presented me with a beautiful ring, just because she doesn’t “feel like selling them anymore, and not everyone appreciates their beauty.”

So I’m inclined to trust there is some truth to this approach. We must believe in abundance—of wealth, of health, of love, of whatever we seek—even when, especially when, it is something we currently cannot see.

I’m thinking it’s worth convincing ourselves: There is somehow always enough.

Sleep (Thoughts on Scandi Vacay, Part 2)

Here—even when I’m not plagued by the red-level jet lag I’m currently stuck with—my sleep goes through cycles of consistent bliss and then spells of choppy, mind-racing purgatory.

On my trip, sleep came any time I would allow. I dozed while sprawled out in grassy parks and on lilting trains, fading off to the comforting surround-sound buzz of languages I do not speak. I somehow fell into deep slumbers in corner-nook “family room” cots and curled up (since the length of my body wouldn’t physically fit) in a Copenhagen shed-cum-“bedroom” where many-legged creatures often visited me during the night without welcome. I didn’t seem to mind.

My brain was clear, and my days were full (not to mention gloriously drenched in sun and fresh air), and the sleep came & came, naturally refueling me in the most wonderful ways it should. And it felt great.

So how to achieve that rested clarity now that I’m home? Mission still in progress….Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I’m off to brew myself a caffeine pick-me-up. STAT.

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Morning Routine (Thoughts on Scandi Vacay, Part I)

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In Katrin’s garden, there is time and space to ease into the day, as it should be done.

Bare toes on soft earth. Gentle yogic stretching on fleece blanket bathed in morning rays. Birds chirping, butterflies bopping, cats prowling.
There is time to journal and think and zone and thank before dipping into endless scrolling through texts, emails, memes, distractions, photos & recordings of lives that are not my own.

Gradually we rise, convene, assemble—filling pitchers, gathering dishes, laying out a hodgepodge spread on the alfresco tablecloth of nutty breads, bowls of fruit and packets of meat, plus smooth toppings (butter, Nutella and that delightfully thick local honey that slowlllly cascades over the edge of your spoon).

The day starts with intention and presence, gently reinforcing just how good this life can be—how really, really, really good it already is.

This trip reminded me there is magic all around. (I always know, but I tend to forget more often than I’d care to admit…) I’m tuned back into the *awe* at the moment (thank you, Travel!), and I’m not stopping the search now.

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Life, Here + Now

I keep talking about it “being summer,” which is a bit bonkers considering it’s still early May. (The wee panting kiddo we passed on yesterday’s trail wearing a “Happy 4th of July” tee certainly did not help my confusion either…)

But we’ve been blessed with some brilliant sunshine and warmth here in the PNW this May (after a sog-gy winter), so I’m embracing the seasonal preview as best I can.

This spring has felt a bit tough in several ways…
So many people I know are going through periods of transition and stretches of unknown. And me? I’ve been on the move a lot…often feeling unsteady, ungrounded. Yes, some great things/trips/events have happened, but throughout it all, I’ve been unable to shake this sporadic sense of malaise, no doubt triggered by the revisitation of resurfacing *muck* that clearly seeks my attention. (Hi there…yes, I see you…)

While coming up with gratitude lists hasn’t felt tempting or fun as of late (though believe me, I KNOW I’m so lucky in so many ways, of course I do…), it feels better right now to look ahead to things that make me feel hopeful about what lies ahead.

This summer, I want to:

~Spend a lot of time in nature. Hiking, camping, biking, kayking, stargazing. Picnics on beaches, beers + guitar strums by campfires.

~Secure story assignments that inspire me. Find work that fulfills me creatively and points me toward interesting topics and passionate people.

~Spend as much time possible with bare feet, lake hair, toned arms, a strong core, a carefree ‘tude.

~Reconnect with family and friends near and far. More FaceTime, more hand-written notes, more visitors (hint:))

~Drop. The. FOMO. Be happy with where I am, here + now.

~Practice self-care. Mountains, oodles, mounds of self-care.

~Music music music. Listen to it. See it. Feel it.

~Try new things. Get out of my routine. Challenge myself. Push beyond the comfortable. Seek new connections.

~Only devote time and energy to those who reciprocate. Full stop. No exceptions. {To those willing to practice honest, open, raw vulnerability, too.}

~Heed the whisperings. Listen to my gut, listen to my gut, listen to my gut.

~Ban the pity party. I can drop in for a quick hello (maybe, if the moment warrants), but I cannot/will not accept the invitation to stay.

~Release the “stories.” Laugh more. Find the lightness.

~Trust the journey. Even when it feels hard.

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Goodnight Moon

I’m working on my patio by the light of a fuzzy moon and a neon laptop, and I hear signs of life swirling around my little apartment cocoon. They provide a sense of community and comfort on this mid-week April night. (A toddler puffs into a harmonica on the balcony across the way, and the far-off stream of I-5 traffic mingles with the overhead noises of coasting planes.) These familiar noises soothe.

I’ve been anything but light these recent weeks, and a return from Hawaii has (ironically) brought some levity. (And sure, the week’s sensational Seattle sunshine and feel-good vibes pulsating throughout the manic city’s streets haven’t hurt either.)

When the quiet finally comes after stretches of such clenched-up grasping, I feel grateful. Relieved. Clearer. Lighter.

It’s strange to think that that’s the same moon I ogled so recently through a high-elevation telescope way up on a Hawaiian volcano. It’s as peaceful to watch the evening breezes rustle these Northwest pines as it was the island palms.

For a moment, in this moment, it’s all tranquil. It’s all good. I’ll hold onto it while it’s here. Goodnight, moon. Goodnight, world.

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Fighting Change Since 1979

Sometimes it’s realllly annoying when the Universe keeps throwing lessons at you that you know you need to learn. (Yeah yeah yeah, I get it already.)

My favorite yoga teacher is leaving my studio, and I feel absolutely gutted about this announcement. (I’ve feared it for a long time, actually, and deep down I worry that I squash out things I rely on/cling to too much.) And because of this, I know there is a greater lesson in this all. As one smart friend consoled, “Change is hard. I’m pretty sure that’s why we do yoga.”

I know my devastation might sound silly/overly dramatic to those who don’t *get* it, but to me, C is so much more than an instructor of yoga. She is a wise guru, a sage mentor, a steady constant in times of flux and unknown. Her classes are my therapy on some days, my church on others.

And I know that life is all about change and transitioning and evolving and growing, but man is this lesson hard to live out time and again. So I’m just going to sulk over here for a wee while longer. But don’t worry, I’ll adjust, adapt, re-acclimate. After all, we always do. (What’s the alternative?)

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Fragile Times

There is a crooked tree out the window that keeps catching my eye. There is blue sky and yet there is rain, and it seems to be a day of contrasts in so many ways.

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I have bubbly local music in my ears, and there is impassioned, light convo going on around me in one of my favorite coffee-fueled spaces. All of this, and my heart feels heavy knowing what’s going on across the ocean, around the globe, heck even here very much on US soil and in all our own backyards.

The Brussels news is the the first thing I saw this morning on my phone, and I’ve been avoiding the real news all day, because I don’t need to (don’t want to) see the details. It’s deja vu, and it’s too much. It is too awful, too sad, too scary, too too too.

So I bury my head in the sand a bit in today’s semi-sunny Seattle bubble and try to live out those mottos of seeing the light and being the light and yada yada yada, even though sometimes words like this seem silly in the midst of such confusing, fragile times. I focus on who I love and what I love and how I can extend any amount of love into the spaces I enter to make this often dismal, sick world even one ounce lighter.

It doesn’t feel like much. (At all.) But at least it feels like something.

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