with abandon

“what do you love? now, love it fiercely and do not ever apologize.”

i came across this quote by Liam Ryan recently. it was one of those surreal moments, when the exact words i needed to read were placed in front of me at the exact time i needed them most.

i sometimes fall into this trap of hesitating to display my love for something. an internal monologue of questioning evolves: do i share too much? how can i love/enjoy something so much when there are others who are seemingly indifferent? should i just keep it to myself? it’s not until i recognize the weight of this doubt that i realize how none of that matters. my life is my life is my life, is my heart.

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flowers and gardens. loose leaf tea. dinner parties and candlelight and ambience. quiet. these are just a few of the things that characterize me. who would i be to deny such brilliance in the beautiful things that fill my soul? i’m tired of hesitating and asking the questions. i wear my heart on my sleeve and if that means loving fiercely, then i will do so with abandon.

…because in the end, what are we doing in this world anyway?

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more/less

the first week into 2019, and i love the thought behind setting intentions for more of and less of in the new year. resolutions were never a priority of mine because they always seemed to set us up for fail. too much rigidity. too concrete.

this more/less mentality instead gives us grace – increasing the things that fill us and limiting the things that do otherwise. i see it as a complementary element to how i choose to live anyway: with intention, embracing imperfection in the every day, focusing on things that bring wholeness, simplifying as we go. i liken it to a wabi-sabi way of life.

here is my more/less list for 2019, ever flexible as the seasons change:

more:

walks

reading

snail mail

dinner parties

seeking and dwelling on beauty in the everyday

intimacy with gino

gardening

gratitude

smiles

less:

judgment

gossip

screen time

apology

over-thinking

impatience

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here’s to living well and full!

 

reflections

today is the last day of 2018. it was a wild year of growth and inner exploration, travels and deep love. of course, that is within the scope of my personal life. the world at large, however, experienced pain and destruction, things i am well aware of, but prefer not to reflect on in this space. this wholly imperfect life is one in which i seek beauty and try to incapsulate it with all of my being.

i’ve always felt that before i can meditate on my intentions for a new year, i must reflect on the one that is just finishing. it is, after all, the culmination of the past 365 days that brought me to where i am now, in this current mental, physical, and spiritual space.

last year, i came across a beautifully curated compilation of questions that allowed me to reflect on the days leading up to 2018. i thought these reflections were the perfect way to end the year, and so what follows, are this year’s thoughts…

reflections on 2018:

the single best thing that happened this year: I traveled to Paris with mama

the single most challenging thing that happened: mapping out our future, asking the tough questions of if/when we’ll start a family, what does that look like, where will we be…

an unexpected joy: running while listening to podcasts. in all my years of running, it wasn’t until this year that i started running with earphones.

three words to describe this past year: liberating. exploration. grounding.

three words your partner would use to describe your year: growth. friendships. peace.

the best books i read this year: When Breath Becomes Air. Calypso.

most valuable relationships were with: Gino, Josselyn, Shaddi, Renae

biggest personal change from January to December: following my heart and reducing my percentage at work to allow for more space in my life to do things that excite me.

ways I grew emotionally: celebrating quiet time, listening to my heart

ways i grew spiritually: practiced meditation in its personal forms. spent more time outside, in nature, finding a sense of grounding when i felt unsettled (through trail runs, beach runs, and gardening). coming to acceptance of the unknown ahead.

ways I grew physically: actually responding to my body’s needs. welcoming rest. running more for the spirit and less for the rush.

ways I grew in my relationships with others: making more time. practicing vulnerability.

most enjoyable part of my work: at the hospital, precepting. this is also the year I started working at Fiore as a floral assistant. every aspect of my time there is enjoyable. it is inspiring, beautiful, and calming.

most challenging part of my work: at the hospital, being motivated when i’m not precepting, the days are long and when we are as busy as we’ve been, it takes a lot to recover.

single biggest time waster: social media, scrolling through instagram

best way i used my time: when I decided to go part-time at the hospital, I sought an opportunity to explore my interests. the flower shop has been just that.

the biggest thing i learned this year: follow your heart. take a risk.

a phrase that describes this past year for me: my heart is the internal compass that helps me navigate this uncertain life. listening to it has led me to a better understanding and acceptance of self.

…what an incredibly full year. i am ever grateful for the days that made up 2018 and look forward to starting anew.

onward we go.

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un. deux. trois.

how do i even begin to find the words to describe a two-week journey through paris in a single blogpost? i can hardly wrap my mind around the thought of recounting our memories to others – this space included – because in all honesty, no one will ever, truly understand our experience.

that is, except for mama.

fifteen days in the city of lights, and all i can say is how magical she was this time of year. perhaps my favorite, in fact. fewer crowds of tourists, more lights and holiday festivities. the biting chill outside made for a welcomed break in a cozy cafe, and later, snuggles underneath blankets with a cup of tea and treat in our charming apartment.

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we walked and we walked, as one does in a city that relies on public transportation. what a delight, though, to discover new streets, oftentimes get lost, but always find our way home. and then there’d be those times when we had a sense of familiarity from trips past, recalling a certain corner or a particular store. revisiting paris for the third time together made us feel a part of a collective whole, as opposed to stranded tourists. we felt part of a community.

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i could certainly wax poetic about the vibrant markets, rich with vegetables and various foodstuffs, local residents and their unabashed voracity. i could also detail the intricacies of the baked goods – everything from the admirable baguette to the flaky croissant. even the cheese. well, that could very well be a post in its own right. however, i’ll leave those details for your imagination. my words will never measure to the experience of the senses.

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it was an interesting time for france, as civil unrest ensued over a proposed increase on taxes for fuel. beyond that triggering point were other protests, including minimum wage legislation, education reform, and general frustration with the current government. the revolt was led by citizens throughout the country, the yellow vests, and although their intention was for peaceful protests, extremists inevitably joined, creating chaos throughout the capital. stores and buildings were vandalized, cars burned, people wounded. the arc de triomphe, a symbol of fraternity, became a target for retaliation. staying away from the destruction, we couldn’t help but feel caught between the intentions of the government with its global perspective and the citizens, with their frustration and ultimate strife. it was heartbreaking to witness our home-away-from-home being defaced, but what an incredible eye-opener it served to the problems of the world-at-large.

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of course, these experiences wouldn’t be what they were without mama by my side. the way her eyes lit up when she first caught glimpse of the Eiffel Tower. the way she rejoiced over holiday decorations and festive lights. i’ll never forget how she enjoyed her daily croissants or the falafel on our last day. traveling with mama is as close to being back in her womb as i’ll ever get. it’s as if i feel her heartbeat, feel her rush of blood as she takes inventory of the beauty around her. there were several occasions i had to hold back tears as i watched this exquisite woman experience a love so profound, it took your breath away. she was paris for me.

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i’ll never quite fully grasp how paris innervates me, how she feeds my soul. i guess it’s just one of those agreements we have to make with ourselves – that there will be moments in our lives that contribute to the edification of self. this trip was no doubt a piece of my journey. wholly grateful, cheers to a new season ahead!

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p a r i s

five days from now, mama and i will be in paris. it’s been a much-anticipated trip, as we never felt ready to leave the city our last time there, in 2013. but as much as i’ve missed the city of lights and all her grandeur, the timing of this particular trip feels right, almost perfect.

i can’t quite put into words how i feel about the significance of it all. mama and i at unique peaks in our respective lives – she approaching her 60th year, celebrating a full and beautiful life, me in my 30s, self-aware, in love, and living out of passion, rather than expectation.

paris has always instilled within me a sense of purpose – that this life being lived is worth the time and care it needs to thrive. and let’s face it, you can’t help but notice how Parisians are thriving every waking day as they rejoice in the bountiful markets, dive deeply into conversation, roam leisurely through the parks and gardens, and celebrate a meal, alone or in community.

and now, in 2018, mama and i are going back to revisit this feeling, this sense of meaning. we are changed people from who we were five years ago, but our gusto remains constant. although we will each gain something different from our time there, i look forward to reinforcing our already enduring bond, building on the life we share, and doing it all with purpose. the parisian way, if you will.

until we meet again, au revoir!

 

 

 

snail mail

can anyone really argue with the delight that is snail mail?

with the influx of technology with its instant messages and email, e-cards and the like, i argue in favor of preserving the art of snail mail.

there’s something to be said about taking the time to formulate thoughts into words that are then handwritten, sealed, and delivered to the recipient. it’s an intentional act, a gesture that conveys the message that we care. i have a handful of people to whom i consistently write. be it an everyday card or a lined sheet of paper, perhaps a postcard when i am abroad or a greeting card during the holidays, this snail mail is thoughtfully composed and lovingly sent.

when i receive letters in return, you can imagine the warmth i feel knowing shortcuts were avoided and time was instead used. the personalization captured by penmanship, the vessel on which it is written, the words inscribed – all of it – reflects a unique individual behind it, something we lose with the seemingly detached email or text.

i am no saint when it comes to the letter-writing practice, but i do make every effort to at least ask myself what it would look like if this message or thought was conveyed in pen on a paper and sent with postage. maybe the effort would go unnoticed. maybe it would be received with surprise, perhaps even prompt a return letter. however the outcome, the process of doing so is something i want to preserve because, honestly, what is a greater act of love than that?

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november 1

how it’s november, well that escapes me. we’re looking straight in the eyes of holiday season, and i am still just trying to wrap my mind around the influx of gourds at the markets. i have expressed ad nauseam my love for this time of year with its shorter days and overall introspection, so this new month is very much welcomed. in fact, it is very much celebrated.

i’m learning with time that although the days and months seem to pass quickly, sometimes more quickly than i can keep up with, i feel best when i don’t really think about it. instead, when i allow myself the freedom to evolve with the changing time, i impose fewer expectations on myself, for my life.

this might be the reason why i honor my 30’s, rather than fear them. or why the thought of a ticking biological clock doesn’t keep me up at night. i’m a firm believer in exposing the gray hairs and fine wrinkles, for they have been earned, these markings of a life lived.

i will probably be the last to wish for a halt on these passing days. they’ve been good days, however fast and uncertain. i feel like i am finally owning this skin i’m in and as long as these firsts of novembers keep happening, i know it’s just getting better.

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