Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Turning 35: Vibrant Roots with Expansive Branches

                                  
This past year I did something that I didn't realize I was ready to do; I grew roots. It was one of the most significant periods of growth in my life. I spent my 34th year in reflection, exploration, creativity and development. There were release of things I had no idea I was still holding onto which created immense room for expansion. In this new space, I found myself learning to harness my intuition and doing one of the most brave and creative things I have ever done; starting a business.

I appreciate the quiet and still days at home where I could feel my roots getting deeper and stronger. In the stillness, my soul embraced faith, hope and grace; such a perfect word for this year. I learned what it felt like to receive and give this beautiful gift. This is where love thrives and blossoms in ways unimaginable. It is truly a place of awe and wonder. My heart has learned the art of healthy detachment and also unconditional love. 

I think one of the most significant shifts has been from passion to vibrancy. For years I felt that the fire inside me was passionate. It was an intense, unstable flame, searching for fuel to burn and grow. It fed everything I came in contact with. But now, I see this fire inside as a steady, vibrant light. It radiates and does not destroy. I learned to harness the passionate flame to create a vibrancy inside. 

This was a year of steady growth and reaching for the sky from a place of expansion. There were no grand trips to faraway lands, but I think the trip inward made this year much more significant. I am ready to see what 35 has in store. I can't imagine the treasures and secrets it holds. I am excited and so very grateful.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Transitions and Gratitude

                       
This year was rapid moving, adventure filled and life changing. So many transitions, realizations and lessons happened this year and I am grateful for each one...even the most painful. In Chinese Astrology, the year of the horse began back in February, which was when everything went full force, just like a wild mustang running, mane everywhere, nostrils flared. 

For years, my spirit animal was a horse. I identified with its energy and symbolism. I raced through life, determined and galloped past anything in my way. My energy was intense, like the color orange. I didn't accept "no" for an answer, was outspoken and successful; but unfulfilled. Then, my heart and soul started to speak louder than my brain and ego and I surrendered to some pretty tough lessons that had been begging to be learned. 

The lessons removed a lot of stored up stress, resentments and pain and I began to feel lighter. I started identifying with birds more, mainly hawks. The power of surrender helped me soar over the painful path I had created and provided insight to who I really am; my authentic self. So, I began to live more intentionally and this is how the year progressed...

-finally went to Costa Rica after dreaming about it for 10 years
-took an intuitive painting class and was given the word "brave" for the year
-hiked the Grand Canyon and let nature blow my mind
-went to Sicily with work friends and sailed on the Mediterranean
-visited Spain and fell in love with Flamenco and Pinxos
-spoke more Spanish (the little I know) than I ever had
-QUIT MY JOB
-went to Bali for a month and learned a lot of lessons through much discomfort
-learned forgivenesss and mended/released relationships
-went to Australia to celebrate 21 years of friendship and meet Baby Fox
-realized that wanderlust doesn't grip my heart as strongly and decided to STAY HOME for a while
-went to school to become a Spiritual Life Coach
-visited Washington DC
-learned to love the snow
-visited the Pacific Northwest a few times
-rode the lovely Amtrack a couple times and fell in love with train travel
-met some lovely people who have made this year sparkle a little bit more
-ran hundreds of miles and changed my body...you really can be fitter in your 30s than your 20s!
-started writing my book
-loved more deeply
-opened my heart 
-accepted my imperfections
-recognized compassion
-changed my vibration
-listened to my intuition
-embraced my authentic self

I can't wait to see what 2015 has in store. I feel like this year created a great spaciousness for growth. Every year, I realize that the path is perfect even with its setbacks. Each lesson is a stepping stone and when I look back, I see a lovely mosaic of different colored stones. My heart is so full of gratitude and love for this year and its transitions.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Race Inside My Head

                       
Last year, I decided to take up running as exercise after recognizing that life on the road was not helping me stay fit. After turning 30, I noticed my metabolism become slower and slower with each year. Hotel gyms weren't cutting it and I found running to be a great way to achieve goals and get fit. What I didn't realize was that running was a mental sport as well.

I started and stopped after 1 mile, panting with side pains and red in the face. My fitness level wasn't where I thought I was after years of gym memberships and yoga classes. I got myself up to 2 miles but I was still feeling like I wasn't getting anywhere. I wanted results quicker. I wanted my body to perform better and I was getting impatient.

All of a sudden, I started meeting new friends who ran. We didn't meet because of running, but it was a coincidence that they liked to run as well. But these people ran races and marathons on a regular basis and I felt so insecure about my running abilities and felt like my 2 mile milestone was a joke. But, there was one gal who was the most encouraging and she got me thinking about it in a whole new way.

I had to overcome my mind telling me I couldn't go any further. She invited me to run "I'm only doing 3-5 miles today." I cringed thinking I would die at mile 3. I told her how slow I was and how I had not run very far before, but she just kept encouraging me. So, this year, I made a goal to run 20 miles a month. I was out of the country a lot this year and there were several weeks and even a whole month when I didn't run a mile. But today, I hit my goal and I ran the farthest, fastest and longest time ever. I text my friend to let her know. She replied "How did it feel?...I love milestone running." It felt amazing. I coulnd't believe I just ran that far and for that long. I didn't even think about it while I was doing it, I just ran. And today, I finally felt like a runner. 

After an entire year I realized that my mind is stronger and my lungs and legs are toned for endurance. There is a lesson in all of this of course and for me it is that I am strong enough to overcome obstacles, especially when I am the obstacle. All my thoughts of "I can't keep going, I'm not fast enough, I'll die after mile # ___" were just me defeating me. When I changed the belief into something empowering and began believing the new empowered thought, I lapped my brain with positivity, strength and perseverance. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Snow Angel

                                     
My travel buddy and dear friend just returned back from being out in the world. We haven't seen each other since Bali and decided to take a road trip up to Lake Tahoe to spend a couple days and hopefully experience some snow. Earlier this year, I set an intention to learn how to enjoy the snow. I have had pretty bad experiences with snow and wanted to learn how to appreciate being in it. When I was in Melbourne earlier this year, I got my first 2014 snow experience and had so much fun being caught in a freak snow storm. I was hoping Tahoe would solidify my new found appreciation.

We drove almost 10 hours from San Diego through some pretty diverse terrain. I had never seen the Eastern Sierras and enjoyed seeing the other side of the mountains I grew up looking at and visiting. After leaving San Diego, a rain storm swept through as quickly as it started and within and hour, we were driving through a desert sand storm. When the mountains started to take over our view, I really started getting excited. We watched snow falling over the tops of the mountains while we remained dry below. Snow started falling and accumulating on the road as we passed rivers and climbed higher and higher. 

Once we arrived to Tahoe, the weather was cold, but there wasn't any snow to be seen. The next day brought beautiful sunny weather and the only snow we could see was on the very tops of the mountains far away. The hotel where we stayed was near a ski resort and we kept seeing "snow surfers" dressed up in their gear carrying skis and snowboards. I wondered where they were finding snow. 

We found a place with an outdoor fire pit and live music and sat near a couple guys who had just come down the mountain from snowboarding. They informed us that the snow was man made but that the next day promised to bring real snow. We chatted and ended up talking by the fire until late with a few other people sharing stories and travel tales. I love how sitting around a fire brings out the storyteller in some people.

The next day we drove up the mountain and saw the valley covered in fog and snow began to fall. The scene was beautiful. I am so used to sunny locations and although I was a couple of hours from where I grew up, I felt like I was in another world. The rest of the day, snow fell steadily and we found another cozy fire pit to stay warm by and met up with our new found friends from the night before. There were a few bands that played live music and the evening was spent in friendship and music. 

This year continues to fill my heart with gratitude with each new adventure. Deciding to live and travel with intention has proven fruitful and I am so excited to see where life continues to take me. I have worked through so much discomfort and have fully embraced a new level of comfort this year. By doing things that are hard for me, I have grown and finally authenticated the brave part of my soul.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Adventures and Horizons

                       
I didn't travel on an airplane last month and that's the first time I can say that in a very long time. It was strange not to feel the undeniable urge of wanderlust...the same urge that has captivated my heart for years. I am changing, yet my sense of wonder remains in tact. I am learning to be home and feel myself blooming where I am planted, my roots reaching deeper with each day.

I have the above saying at my writing desk; a gift from my sister. She gave it to me on my recent trip to her home. I keep this up as a reminder that I am on a "new" adventure. When I decided to put the brakes on travel for the time being, I was afraid that I would lose my sense of adventure. But, I realize that this break is allowing me to harness the knowledge and wisdom I will need for the next phase of my life.

Last month, I took a class and started working on a project that will someday put me in a new career. I felt the sweet tinge of anxiety from starting something new and expanding my mind. Taking a class was intense and reminded me how much there is to learn. I thrive in diving into the unknown. I've entered both of my previous careers as a novice and had fun climbing as far as I could go. This time, there will not be a corporate ladder to climb and that feels right in so many ways. 

"Now you must go from Success to Significance" my elderly seatmate encouraged me on my trip to Bali this year. I was meant to sit next to him. His words really moved me and sent my soul on a journey to find just what that means for me. Part of this journey led me right back to my own front door and inward to my soul. In short, I have been on a soul searching journey all year and I think significance is on the horizon. I am excited to be trekking on this new path and can't wait for everything to unfold.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Planting my Feet Firmly on the Beach

                                          
I have walked all over the place this year. My feet have walked through unpaved, dusty streets in Costa Rica where every night, I walked to the ocean to clean them off before dinner and watch the sunset. The sand was coarse and warm in Costa Rica. During the day, I ran across the dry sand because it was too hot to walk on. 

The Grand Canyon pushed me to see how far I could push myself physically. Trekking up and down the canyon was both difficult and memorable. Switchbacks and carrying a pack did not stop me and I have a new found appreciation for nature and my body. I think it was the first time I offered gratitude for my feet and legs.

In Sicily, I walked through the streets of Catania dodging trash and finding my way to gelaterias. In the countryside, at the foot of Mt. Etna, I walked along a path in the early morning before work to get some fresh air and spend some time in nature. 

Las Ramblas and the entire city of Barcelona was probably my favorite walk this year. I loved getting lost in the city and finding my way to Barcelonita and tapas bars tucked in alleys in the Gothic quarter. The steep hill climb required to get to Park Guell was difficult, especially on a warm day. However, walking in Park Guell was meditative and relaxing and made the uphill climb worth the work.

In San Sebastián, I found myself on part of the Camino de Santiago and walked up a windy road just to see the view that pilgrims of the Camino see. At night, I walked up and down the streets of Old Town San Sebastián reveling in the Pinxos and Txakoli. 

Bali was done almost completely on foot and I faced my fears stepping over dead rats and dealing with incessant rain. But the meditative walks in the rice fields were my favorite part of Bali. There is nothing as peaceful as the bright green terraced fields, especially at sunset. 

I've had sandals break, soles worn down and callouses formed with all the walking I've done. I have decided to ground my feet at home. This is very exciting to me. I have spent many years traveling around and exploring. My address has changed 5 times in 5 years!  I want to establish roots and bloom where I am planted for once. This is a new adventure for me, especially my gypsy soul. But, nothing seems more right and it brings me so much peace. The decision was hard for me and I wrestled with it for quite a while, but when a decision brings such calm its the right one. I found a place that feels like home to me and its a place I can't wait to return to when I am away. And the saying is true...Home is where the heart is...my heart found it's home.