Basking in the Glow

I am drinking my morning smoothie by the light of a freshly-lit candle and my ultra-wee fake tree (a Fred Meyer purchase many years old that brings me more joy than I could have ever foreseen). I am remembering all the mornings Mom would turn on the tree before school so we could eat our Cream of Wheat under its magical glow—such a cozy start to each day during one of my favorite seasons.

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Often I think about how special it was when all four of us lived together under one roof—our reality for so many years, when we simply knew no other way. I deeply miss those days when we were one solitary unit, when we hadn’t yet learned to spread our wings and fly. Now, on the rare occasions it happens again (like this December!!), I soak up every second, grateful to hear their oh-so-familiar footsteps and voices—ingrained in the core of my being—once again sharing my space.

I feel very excited for this December. My calendar is piled high with festive events and joyous reunions with so many friends at once—another rarity I appreciate now more than ever before. This season makes me hopeful. (It also makes me nervous when I see how much I’ve committed to, so I’ve tried to offset the “busy” with a slew of new self-care techniques and appointments that I can’t wait to try…)

Sometimes, often, I really love the quiet of my little apartment—a sacred space I attempt to fill with hygge and happy. On this gray morning, I hear: the rhythmic patter of rain, the squawk of a cranky bird (seagull?), tunes from the “Wild” soundtrack I downloaded last night. Sometimes, though, I also can’t wait to once again live in a home filled with other voices and footsteps—music and laughter and life and love. And I really do trust it’s coming soon.

Happy almost December, all. Here’s to basking in the promising light of the season.

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.

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Oprah mag reading treat (thanks, A!!) on the train back north to Seattle.

Sometimes we just need these simple yet powerful reminders, eh:)?

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Holiday Zen Vs. Zany

For some, this time of year can be too hectic, too overwhelming. Too much family, too many commitments, too much rum-spiked nog, too many cookies. Just. Too. Much.

Thanks to my current lifestyle, I’m enjoying a slower holiday season than I have in ages. The gift-buying process has been a joy; I’ve had some time to stroll around downtown, soaking in the bustling spirit of the season (including some awesome steel drum versions of traditional Christmas songs). While I admit I’ve missed the millions of sweet and boozy festive gatherings and even the awkward office party obligation (in fact, my former workplace is lunching together as I type this), I’m remembering to enjoy the flip side of being completely overbooked.

The next week will be people-packed, and here’s hoping we can all maintain our sense of patience, Zen and compassion and  just relish one another’s company. Do you have any tricks for keeping the calm amid holiday nuttiness?

Here’s a little guide that some of you might find helpful.

“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.” ~Havelock Ellis

Happy Tuesday, friends! Hope the pre-holiday week goes smoothly, and safe travels to those of you crossing the miles. I LOVE thinking about all the joyous reunions that will soon take place in bus depots, train stations and airports around the globe.


Things are happening…

…gradually.

I am trying to plant the seeds. Put in the work. Make the connections. Send the pitches.

Then step away. Breathe. Believe.

Patience is not always my forte. I’m working on it.

The movers arrived. My shipment was really small, I promise. This mile-long truck was stuffed to the gills with dozens of other customers’ possessions, not just mine. (No wonder my goods showed up bruised and beaten with one entire bin missing. Grrr. I am trying to remember this comes with the territory of moving, but it still stinks…)

Prepping for Avi and his crew…

I have several fun potential press trips up my sleeve. I don’t want to divulge tooooo much to jinx anything, cos some things are still in the works. But I am heading to Forks, WA, for a “Twilight” tour next week. Ironic for someone who is typically vampire averse, eh:)? But hey, I’m open to all new experiences here, and I’m anxious to explore another part of this lovely state, so why not give it a whirl!

Wednesday was KL’s birthday, so the whole day felt like a special, carefree holiday for all of us. Our dinner at Bastille was fantastic–A+++ ambience, superb company and the best creme brulee I’ve had yet. Mag-ni-fique. (Hurry on out here, visitors; this venue will most certainly be on my ever-expanding “tour” itinerary:))

Yesterday was a brilliant clear-skied day, and the The Head and the Heart, Ryan Adams and Rusted Root accompanied me on an enjoyable waterside walkabout. Due to all of the Seattle weather hype, I’ve arrived here with the lowest expectations on that front (I basically told myself I likely wouldn’t see sun again till late spring). That way, every moment I catch glimpses of bright and blue, I am pleasantly surprised. So far my system seems to be working.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the world belongs to you.“~Lao Tzu