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
-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 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.