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

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On the Go

Sometimes I have {internal} freak-outs—even if subtle ones—when I feel things are going really well. I overload easily, and I realize it doesn’t always have to be over bad/sad/stressful situations—sometimes it happens when there is also a surplus of good, of excitement, of movement in general.

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Does this make sense? Does this happen to anyone else?

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Recently, there’s a lot going on, and a lot of it is really fricking amazing. (I mean, like certain things just seem to have dropped into place super-duper flawlessly. I am amazed!) And I am so grateful.

But why do I always feel the need to simultaneously find some wood to knock on as I marinate in the delivery of such goodness? What do I need to do to just trust, to simply believe that it’s possible and deserved and true?

I’ve recently been having to work really hard to remain even-keeled and grounded in the midst of this swirl of activity—wisely gearing up (mentally and physically) for a travel-heavy next couple months, while at the same time trying my best to balance deadlines, relationships, quiet time here. Staying in the moment while wisely prepping and planning for what’s to come.

If you have any tips on how to stay in the HERE (in the midst of the promise of the later and the holding on to/honoring of the then), I’d love to hear ’em.
Thanks, friends.

Welcome, September. I have a good feeling about you!

Mood-boosters

Saw this “coping” list the other day and liked it.

What are your tricks for cheering up during sad or bad or just plain *blah* spells?

Things that put some pep in my step this week have included:

~tea, coffee, any warm ‘n’ cozy drink, really

~music, music, music

~reaching out. Job-wise, friend-wise, family-wise. Even if I fear I lack the energy to initiate, keeping in mind that good ole Universal Law of Attraction.

~movement (runs, walks, elliptical, anything that gets the blood flowing and the thoughts shifted)

~today, a multi-hour visit with a dear college pal whose spirit is so lovely and pure and supportive and uplifting that I can’t help but remember life is good. Really good.

~guilty pleasure boob tube. My latest vice: Hart of Dixie. Show me a sappy story set in the sweet South, and I’m a happy gal.

~collage-making! These days they call them “vision boards,” but I reckon adolescent Mitch and I were onto something way back when when we regularly covered my parents’ kitchen floor in magazine cut-outs and pasted to our hearts’ content. Sure, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Luke Perry and Christian Bale stole the limelight in those days, but I still find there is something so calming and therapeutic when it comes to putting together the puzzle pieces of a creative collage.

What lifts your spirits as we plunge into darker, colder months?

The process:

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The result:

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