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meditation update

13 Oct

 

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In an attempt to meditate more frequently I signed up for a month-long membership at Unplug Meditation. It’s a guided meditation studio in Los Angeles that offers 30 and 45 minute group meditation sessions. They range from mantras to crystal healing classes. While I would like to get to a point where I am meditating by myself at home, I thought a group atmosphere and guided practice might jumpstart my practice again. I was right. This place is a little oasis and it makes meditation easy. It’s a calm atmosphere with soft light and candles. They offer cushions that fold into little chairs on the ground- you can keep them flat if you want to lie down or fold it to give you support when you sit. These cushions are pure gold- I’ve found that if I am not physically comfortable during my practice then my mind never stills. Instead I’m focused on the fact that my foot is falling asleep and my back is aching.

I’ve taken a range of classes at Unplug led by a different people and found that each teacher brings a whole new energy to the practice. One guided meditation that I absolutely loved (it may sound a little strange) the teacher led us back to the days of our ancestors- we weren’t told how far to go back so I decided to visualize 100 years or so back. I found myself standing by myself on a hilltop in Ireland…different shades of green as far as the eye could see…I could literally feel the wind in my face and hear the waves crashing on the rocks below. It was so incredibly powerful. I felt tethered to all that came before me. It was interesting letting my mind explore the new world- I wandered villages, watched people work, children play & animals wander.

When I left class that morning my perspective had shifted from what I could only see and touch in front of me to a vast and endless world beyond…past, present & future. It’s truly amazing where your mind can take you.

My visualization looked much like these photos…

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Slea Head - County Kerry Ireland

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My membership ends at the studio soon (after the month-long new student deal it’s pretty pricy to continue- major bummer!) so I will have to develop a space in my home that inspires me to calmly want to sit for long periods of time. Preferably one that Frank can’t bring his tennis ball into.

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For any of you interested in meditation here are some tips that have worked for me.

meditating in the morning before the day begins. I find my head space is clearer at this time

setting a timer for a desired amount of time so my focus can be on my practice and not the clock

stretching my body before so I feel less restless and more open

putting on light music or an online guided meditation (these free guided meditations are great)

focusing on my breath to anchor in the present moment

lastly, when unwanted thoughts appear I gently let them go by returning my focus to my breath. Don’t try to stop your thoughts; this will just make you feel agitated. Imagine that they are unwelcome visitors at your door: acknowledge their presence and politely ask them to leave.

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“Meditation is to dive all the way within, beyond thought, to the source of thought and pure consciousness. It enlarges the container, every time you transcend. When you come out, you come out refreshed, filled with energy and enthusiasm for life.”
David Lynch

 

fall / winter 2015

9 Sep

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(image found via pinterest)

With 2015 nearing to a close…I know, I know, we still have four full months, but once September hits I can’t help but reflect on how I want the year to wrap up. September – December always seems to fly by and I find myself surprised every year on January 1st- it almost seems impossible that we are there again. The next four months also happen to be my absolute favorite time of year- I find myself most creatively alive during this time. I also love everything to do with the holidays and what they represent- family dinners, our wedding anniversary, carving pumpkins, dressing Frankie up for Halloween, cooking, warmth, bundling up, decorating trees, cuddling & new beginnings.

The last eight months have been an introspective time for me. Rather than exploring the world around me, as I usually do, I have been instead making the journey within. I knew at the start of 2015 that something was off.  I had baggage that I still hadn’t worked through and I was dragging it around with me. I couldn’t hide from it anymore. It was time to do the hard work, even if that meant that other things had to be put on the back burner. Something very hard for a person who desires immediate results like me to come to terms with. Instead I had to trust the process. It reminded me of that quote by Zora Neale Hurston –  “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” Thus far this year has most definitely been asking me some questions. Ones that needed answering and ones that positively shifted something in me once I did. I feel empowered and for that I am incredibly grateful.

Life man, such a wild ride sometimes, right?

When reflecting about how I want the next few months to unfold, it was clear to me that I want them to feed my soul, creative mind, relationships, home & belly. I want to soak in every bit of goodness that 2015 has left to offer me. I have a feeling the next four months will bring an entirely different energy than the first eight did and I am ready for that new energy.

Some of the ways I would like to spend the next few months…

Deepening my meditation practice. I know I have only been scratching at the surface and I am feeling a pull towards more. In addition to developing a stronger home practice I want to explore Unplug Meditation, Against The Stream & Shambhala Center.

Reading! There are fifteen (I might be setting myself up for failure on this one) books I would love to read before the end of the year. I’ll share them in a later post.

Cooking- I plan on spending some quality time in the kitchen! Again, there is something about fall and winter that inspire me to want to cook. I love hearty recipes and the feeling of warmth that comes from the kitchen this time of year.

I would love to put a small dinner party together in our home each month to bring our family and friends together. I want to make a point to enjoy the ones that matter most in my life. I also love to entertain.

I want to finish a few work projects that have been on the back burner for many many many months. As I mentioned previously, I put some things on the back burner to focus on me and it’s time to dust them off. They involve getting two book proposals finished and ready to submit in the new year and revamping my personal website which has been in purgatory for the last six months.

Practicing yoga. I want to make my yoga practice more of a priority over the next few months. My love for it has been renewed recently and I would love to keep the love affair going. My body just feels so much more balanced when I am practicing regularly.

I would love to finally find a property for the business Brian and I have been building with a few partners this past year. I can’t wait to share about it in the new year! Granted we find a property and the ball gets moving.

My home life- one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been in an incredibly solid and fulfilling place and I want to continue to watch it grow.

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There are years that ask questions and years that answer,

Years that

fall apart

and years that come together…

There are years that cry and years that laugh,

Years that wonder

And years that strike and clap and thunder.

. . .

Your job isn’t to know — not right now, not quite yet.

Your job is simply

to breathe,

to trust,

to rest

To know that it is all a part of the path —

The mystery and the clarity

The hardship and delight

The darkness and the light alike.

. . .

Dear One,

Haven’t you heard?

“This place where you are right now

God circled on a map for you.”

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around these parts…

16 Jan

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the above picture has nothing to do with this post- I was just compelled to share the cuteness with you all.

I could not be happier that the weekend is almost here. It’s been a bit of a blah week for me. Not for any specific reason..my head space has just been BLAH. I think I might finally be coming down from the high of the wedding. I didn’t really have a chance to mourn that it was over because we went straight into the excitement of the holidays. It was a joyful few months and I don’t think I was prepared for it all to end. I’m not saying that life can’t be joyful after the wedding…I’m just saying I’m a little sad it’s over.

Despite my blah mood, I was able to make some progress with a few of my goals this week.

I worked on a travel essay about our trip to Nepal, which I plan on submitting as soon as I finish it (hopefully this weekend).

Brian and I finally settled on our honeymoon destinations- Bali and Vietnam here we come. I just LOVE having a trip to look forward to.

I have my very first date with my little sister, Briana set up for this Sunday. I still have no idea what to do with her…must come up with something…soon.

We’ve also made a lot of progress with our home this week- we picked paint colors, met with a furniture builder and found two killer pieces at the rose bowl flea market this last weekend- a fabulous new turkish rug and mirror for the entryway. The mirror is currently white but I plan to paint it coral this weekend!

Other than the thrilling activity of painting the mirror coral this weekend…I plan to do a bit of cooking (paleo cauliflower soup), reading (finding your own north star), writing (travel essay), organizing (the clutter that has developed in our cabinets is crazy…I was almost killed by a falling juicer the other day) and taking a few walks on the beach with my pup and husband.

Hoping that I will have a little more umpf next week!

On another note…did you see the new header on the blog?! I love it. I just die over Frank’s regal pose. Thank you, One Part Gypsy for creating such a fabulous header for me.

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so…now what?

20 Nov

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The dust has settled. We are married and I don’t have to be stressed, consumed and focused on the wedding anymore. So…now what? HA. Seriously though, it’s a blessing to have the head space again for the rest of my life. I’m sure you all noticed I blogged much less leading up to the wedding. I also wrote less essays in general, stopped focusing on writing my book & finishing other work projects. I hit a serious wall. This year was magical for so many reasons. My life came together in so many ways- Brian and I got engaged, bought a house, traveled to Asia, planned a wedding, bought a puppy and got married. Can you say…exhausting? Neither of us felt like we had much head space for anything else other than getting through the day. Problems of abundance, I know. I’m not complaining in the least, I’m just saying it was a year focused on building my home life and not so much my career. But, now I am ready to throw myself back in head first. With everything I have. I missed writing and creating in general terribly. It definitely left a void in me. But, I felt tapped out and unable to connect to that part of me. So, I decided to go with the flow of life and let myself focus on other things. It was what it was and I knew in my heart it would come back at some point. Life is a long journey and everything ebbs and flows. I tried not to fight it. Well, that’s not entirely true….I did try to fight it and was being very hard on myself, but, with the help of my fabulous therapist I lightened up. I gave myself the freedom to enjoy what was and go with the flow. She also reminded me that sometimes the inspiration comes from living your life.

But, now the time has come to start working again and I am so ready. SO READY. I’m currently sitting at a cozy little coffee shop by my house with a day of writing ahead. And go!

* On a totally unrelated note: somebody please come to my home and take all the leftover wedding cake away from me. I must be stopped. 

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check-in

7 Mar

When I originally started this blog a year and a half ago, it was ALL about accomplishing my goals. My obsession with it was actually verging on insane! I was NOT going to turn 30 without accomplishing all of them.

While it is still is a blog about setting goals and making them happen, it has also become a blog about everything that happens in between! All the lovely moments that make up my life.

The other day it dawned on me though…holy shit I am more than half-way through my 30th year?!!?!? WHAT!? Seriously? WHAT?! I’m going to be 31 in four months?!?! With this daunting realization I thought it would be a good time to check-in with myself on my progress with the goals for the year….

– Overseas trip (CHECK!)

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When I put overseas trip on my list I had no idea where we would end up traveling. I just knew I needed to get out of the states and go on an adventure with Brian. We settled on Hong Kong and Nepal and I am so grateful that we did because what an adventure we had!! If you haven’t read about our trip you can below!

Big news / the travel doctor / the toe  / Hong Kong 1 / Hong Kong 2 / Arriving in Nepal / Kathmandu / Patan / the monkey temple / Bhaktapur / trekking: the group / trekking: the water buffalo / trekking: the starry night.

more posts still to come…

– Volunteer as a big sister

I made a bit of progress with this right out of the gate, settling on the organization I wanted to work with and filling out the paperwork. Then the strangest thing happened…I did nothing after that. Life got in the way and I’ve had my application folded up in my date book ever since. But, the good news is I plan on sending it in this weekend once we finally set up our printer and fax! Fingers crossed that they think I am a suitable candidate to be a big sister.

– Artist dates (CHECK!) 

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I haven’t done as many of these as I would like but I have started them! You can read about them here, here and here

– New living space (CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!)

home

As much as I loved our little bungalow by the beach I wanted to move on because I couldn’t stand sharing a miniature closet with Brian anymore. That and the kitchen drove me nuts- the oven didn’t work for most of the time I lived there.  Let’s just say it was the perfect bachelor pad!

I was ready for us to have a space we could grow in. So I put this one the list thinking we would just rent another slightly bigger apartment by the beach. But sometimes the universe has bigger plans for you! Because we ending up finding a loft that we loved, made an offer, beat out seven other offers and now have a new home to build a life in. High five, Universe!

– Get a French Bulldog

Frank : inspiration photo

Frank : inspiration photo

We couldn’t get Franck until we moved but now that we have  it’s time to find our little boy and bring him home! I’m thinking we still need to settle in our new home a little bit more before we add a puppy to the mix. Soooo, maybe July? Maybe as a 31st birthday gift to myself!

– Publish my writing 

I work towards this goal everyday with my book agent. But alas I have not snagged the right book deal yet. Maybe in the meantime I should focus on publishing my writing other places. Do any of you have any fabulous leads?!

– Ballet classes 

I start a 6-week course at Align Ballet March 30th!! So very excited to get back to the barre. Posts about the experience coming soon!

– Yoga retreat (CHECK!!)

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Awwwww what a magical weekend that was. In three short days I had some major breakthroughs, adopted the motto “Be Fucking Amazing!“, laughed more than I thought possible and met two lovely ladies whom I now call dear friends. Oh, and came home to a surprise engagement!!!

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Speaking of engagements, let’s be honest, I wanted to put “get engaged” on my list of goals for the year but didn’t want to set myself up for disappointment! I also thought it would be slightly awkward to put such a thing on a public goal list. But it was on my secret list! So check that one off too!

What an interesting, life changing and fun eight months it’s been!

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
C. S. Lewis

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artist date # 3: creating the perfect workspace

13 Feb

At our old apartment my workspace was lacking. Translation- I had no workspace. I mostly worked sitting indian style on the living room couch with a pillow propped on my lap as my desk and my computer on top. It wasn’t the most ideal situation for a person who works out of their home half the time (by the way I realize I have never told you what I do for a living other than write and blog! So odd! I promise to write a post about it soon). Luckily our new home has a second bedroom and considering we don’t have kids and don’t have sleepover guests often we decided to make it a joint workspace. Dream come true!

I’ve had such fun daydreaming about how I wanted to decorate my workspace- one that is both functional and inspiring to work in. Inspiration photos I pinned:

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office 2

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As you can see from the pictures above I’m all about a white palate with pops of color. I love having inspiration boards around the desk. I love flowers or a plant to be incorporated and I love personal photos and trinkets to be seen. Last Friday I decided to spend my set aside artist date time unpacking office boxes and starting the process of building my space. So far I’ve ended up with this…

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It’s a work in progress. So this is where you come in! I’d love love love to see pictures of your work spaces- please send them in! I’d also love any tips you may have for creating the perfect workspace. Help me decorate!

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A post about nothing and everything

24 Aug

My sweet Aunt Paule offered Brian and I her beach cottage in Santa Barbara this weekend while she and her partner David are on a retreat. Considering we aren’t ones to shy away from mini vacay’s (especially when they are free) we are off to Santa Barbara for a few days!

I happen to love their little cottage by the sea. It’s the perfect place to cozy up, write (I really need to rethink my book proposal), read (my new book “Wild” for inspiration), sleep (I’m a fan of sleeping sans alarm clock), watch movies (or maybe continue watching episodes of Breaking Bad) and cuddle (I’m a fan of cuddling too). I also want to take long walks on the beach and drinking margarita’s at the local Mexican joint.

On another note- I made some progress with my goals this week!

 I made a list of a few new “artist dates” to take myself on…i’m scheduling these once a week.

– rent 5 Best Picture films that I have never seen and spend the day watching them

– create a new vision board (these visions of mine need a new board!)

– Downtown LA museum day

– head to the library to check out books on a subject I know very little about

– take myself on a picnic

Second I played a truly fun game of phone tag with a woman named Noelle at the Big Brother Big Sister organization about volunteering as a Big Sister. We still have not actually spoken but I have high hopes we will next week. High hopes.

I “thought” about what changes I want to make to my book proposal. That counts for something, right?

I chased down a man and his adorable French Bulldog on the street to ask which breeder he went to.

I spent hours looking at beautiful photos of ballerina’s for inspiration for my upcoming “back to the barre” series ( I plan on posting them tomorrow)

OH AND I BOOKED A TRIP TO NEPAL! That still happens to be the most exciting update of the week.

What happened with you guys this week? Any fun things to share????

Currently on my nightstand

22 Aug

Last night I went to put my glass of water on my nightstand and couldn’t find any room…it has become overrun with books! Here’s the rundown…

1. Lonely Planet Nepal– As I mentioned on Monday, Brian and I are going to Nepal in November! We are seriously excited. Is it November yet?? The first thing we did after buying the tickets, was head to the bookstore (yes a few still exist) to buy books. To say I have become obsessed with researching Nepal would be an understatement. Swayambhunath, I’m coming for you!

2. Blue highways– I bought this book before I left on my road trip across the USA last year. Sadly, I still have not read it. At least I accomplished driving across the country!! I have high hopes that I will get to reading it at some point soon, so for that reason it stays on my nightstand.

3. The Spontaneous fulfillment of Desire– I have read this book a million times and every time I do I find something new to love about it. It makes me remember that the world is a pretty magical place.

“I do not believe in meaningless coincidences. I believe every coincidence is a message, a clue about a particular facet of our lives that requires our attention.” – Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment Of Desire

4. The Color Of Water– This was given to me as a present for my 30th birthday last month and it’s fast become one of my favorites. I am almost finished with it and I can’t say enough about it. Such beautiful writing on it’s pages. Love it. Go buy it.

“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.” 
– James McBride, The Color Of Water

5. The Alchemist- I am sure many of you have read this one considering how famous it’s become. It is my favorite book of all time. Yet another one that reminds me that the world is a magical place and that we all have a purpose to fulfill.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

6. Wild- Just bought this book  at my mother’s insistence. She thought it would give me inspiration for my book. Considering the woman knows me pretty well, I did as I was told.

7. FIfty Shades Of Darker- I know. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have read two out of three of these. I will say that after finishing this one (in two days…they are an easy read) I decided that I’m not reading the third. I’m done with the saga.

8. I Feel Bad About My Neck– I love Nora Ephron. LOVE. She is a huge inspiration to me as a writer and this book is one of my favorites. fifty

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
― Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

9. Awaken The Giant Within– I have mentioned in prior posts that I have been to a Tony Robbins seminar in the past (keep your laughter to yourself). I know people have mixed messages about him but I happen to find this book a helpful tool in living my best life.I re-read it often.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within 

What books are on your nightstand??? I would love to know!

houseguests

1 Aug

Brian left town yesterday for his week of backpacking through the woods. I was sad to see him go but he’s sooooo excited to drop off the grid for a few days, camp, hike and take pictures with his best buds from college. I realized Monday night as he packed up his bag (a very heavy and large backpack that he has to carry for 5 miles a day…sounds awful, right?) that since moving in together last year, I had never stayed in our place alone- it’s usually me packing up and leaving for trips! But this time, I’m the one getting left. I like this less. I went out for dinner last night and when I got home I walked in the door to silence. I missed his voice excitedly saying “honey!!!”, followed by a hug. I’m so accustomed to having him around. He’s my partner in crime and my best friend. The silence won’t last long though. My cousin Brooke and her two kids, ages 1 and 8, are coming to visit me from up north tonight. It should be a fun 5 days of hanging with some of my favorite humans. On the agenda- the beach, walks, shopping, eating and last, but not least, a day at Disneyland. I haven’t been to Disneyland in ages and I am looking forward to riding Peter Pan (my favorite as a kid) and to eating a funnel cake (maybe two). I guess going to Disneyland is kinda like an artist date. I won’t be alone, but it’s a good exercise in letting my inner kid out to play! Lots of pictures to come…

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1st artist date…

27 Jul

I was in a crappy mood on Wednesday- I find it’s impossible to be positive ALL the time. I also find that it becomes exhausting to attempt to will myself out of my crappy mood and much easier to just accept what is. I also decided it best to save others from the pain of my company and take it as a sign that it was the perfect night to start my once a week artist dates…with myself. It was 4pm…hmmm what should I do with my night? Ah-ha! See the film “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” of course! I had been dying to see it for a few weeks but I hadn’t been able to find the time.

The plan went as follows…

First a yoga class (good for crappy moods), then sushi (even better for crappy moods especially when paired with a glass of white wine), & lastly, a movie (paired with salty popcorn).

Once I had decided on the plan, I immediately perked up. I’m taking myself on a date! I looked forward to spending a whole six hours just doing me. After my much-needed yoga class, I strolled over to a fancy sushi joint and sat proudly at the sushi bar (in my sweaty yoga clothes no less) and ordered away. I managed to take one photo (not much of a photo either) before my phone died. Doesn’t it make you feel like you were there with me??

I’m actually happy my phone died because it forced me to sit in peace without the distraction of facebook, twitter, blogs, texts, instagram and emails. Just me, my sushi and the fulfilling activity of people watching. I’m a seasoned people watcher. I loooooove to people watch. So much so that I have been known to have a staring problem. It can be a bit embarrassing for those with me. I instead remain blissfully unaware of how rude I am being and get totally engrossed in the task at hand…people watching. I watched a couple argue. I watched two girlfriends gossip about their day. I watched two servers flirt behind the counter. I watched a couple sit through their sushi on their cell phones and I watched a little boy spit a mouthful of sushi out on the table. Life happening all around me and in that moment I was so happy I didn’t have to engage in any of it. I was just doing me.

After dinner, I cozied up with a bag of popcorn in a dark theatre and lost myself in a beautiful film for two hours. Sometimes you see a film that makes you feel so much that you wonder what you have been feeling during all those other films. “Beasts Of The Southern Wild” was one of those films…it moved me.Thank God I was alone because I was sobbing.

I could tell you a million reasons to see the film but I feel like I’d ruin it for you. So instead I will share three of my favorite Hushpuppy (the name of the little girl in the film) quotes below because each of them made me feel inspired, connected and alive. I think I’m going to really like these artist’s dates with myself.

When I got home, I cuddled up to Brian and told him that I wanted to name our first-born Hushpuppy. Hushpuppy Glodney

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“I see that I am a little piece of a big, big universe, and that makes it right.”

“The whole universe depends on everything fitting together just right. If one piece busts, even the smallest piece… the whole universe will get busted.”

“When it all goes quiet behind my eyes, I see everything that made me flying around in invisible pieces.”