simple pleasures, currently

a few of the things that are lighting up my days:

a good night’s sleep and a subsequent early rise.

the explosive fragrance radiating from the jasmine bushes two blocks down.

…and the poppy bush next door.

that moment when i taste a charred brussels sprout leaf straight out of the oven while I still have lingering chocolate coating my mouth from the brownie i just ate. salty meets sweet.

the feeling on my skin when i apply my nightly facial serum.

a home-cooked meal and a glass (or two) of champagne. because wednesday.

the anticipation of visiting mama and daddy next weekend.

…and celebrating a special birthday.

finding a good book and actually finishing it.

the sound of effervescence while opening a bottle of topo chico mineral water.

thoughtful text messages from lifelong friends.

this space for allowing me to capture otherwise forgotten moments.

how to know it’s may

at 6 am, light.

in the trees, chirping.

along the neighborhood streets, blooming jacarandas.

at the market, asparagus.

in our windowsill, chamomile.

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wrapped around my shoulders, a pashmina.

the talk of the town, mothers.

on trails, wildflowers.

in the air, aromas from reawakened grills.

in my glass, rose.

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outside, dinners.

on the 22nd, a special birthday.

bedside, lilacs.

at 7:30 pm, fading light.

 

celebrate

i wonder what it would look like if i was more intentional about celebrating. i’m not referring to the birthdays and engagements and babies type of celebrating (although they are all wonderful in their own right). i’m talking more about the everyday celebrations, the moments that might come across to the onlooker as mundane, but are in fact intimate victories worthy of observance.

this topic has been on my mind lately, in the wake of friends losing loved ones to aging or illness. it’s not lost on me that grief is inevitable or that our lives are so very fragile. in fact, it’s the reason why i even consider celebrating the little things. we are not immune from life running its uncertain course, so why not honor those daily instances that alleviate the anxiety? why not walk away from the day with a sense of triumph?

what follows are a few of the things i celebrated this week:

the spring bounty at the farmer’s market, prepped for the week.

stretching after running.

making a now-favorite vinaigrette for all those greens.

knowing my limits in social gatherings (i.e. an early exit because of work the next morning)

a couple more gray hairs, signs of another day lived earthside.

time with friends. time with my husband.

breakfasts eaten outside in the quiet of morning.

to celebrate. it’s a concept i hope to turn into a regular practice. being mindful of the impact the everyday victories have on my spirit and consciousness. because what a gift it is to take another breath, to live another day.

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on being

what does it look like to just be yourself?

it’s a question i’ve been thinking about since i listened to an episode on oprah’s super soul converstaion, in which she described her  best piece of advice was to just be herself. in this day and age of social media and its lure to create perfect life displays, i find it’s increasingly distracting us from being our true honest selves.

when i consider what it looks like to be myself, i think about what it is that ignites a light within me, what it is that brings purpose to my life and in so doing, makes me want to share it with the world. it’s greater than the voice in my head that doubts or wants me to believe that i am less than. when i consider what it looks like to be myself, it’s someone who follows her heart and does so without fear of judgment or failure. it’s someone who lives in the security of knowing she is meant to be here, in this limited time, for a wholly beautiful purpose.

i have yet to unearth the entirety of my being because, to be honest, i’m not sure i’ve given it much thought until now. what does it mean to just be myself. it’s interesting that as the season is transitioning from one of reflection to one of growth, i too am experiencing a growth of my own – learning how to rediscover myself with more intention and surrendering the things that don’t serve me in this life on earth.

here’s to the journey in letting go and being me. 

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s u n

it’s not lost on me that i am a tried-and-true california baby. a product of citrus and waves, temperate seasons and sun.

but mostly, sun.

truth is, i didn’t realize how much i am dependent on that powerful energy source until fairly recently. while i appreciate this unusually wet winter (so long, drought!), i’m finding myself a little out of sorts without the consistency of our beloved sun. into this new year, we have experienced more rain in weeks than california has experienced in years, which when calculated, amounts to even fewer days of winter sun and its unique warmth.

in years past, i woke up to cold morning runs, ending with a shower and basking in the sun’s gentle heat. breakfast was eaten outside, a blanket wrapped around for warmth. we had beach days, albeit chilly, for the thrilling joy of crashing waves and crowd-empty shores. hikes were routine, as the mild winter sun allowed for a steady journey without heat fatigue or dehydration. and of course, my garden, filled with drought-friendly succulents, all fed off the universe’s nourishing light.

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in the absence of those moments, i have to look inward and find a new sense of myself – a self that can’t be so reliant on the sun. it’s a process, and i’m making way. this passage by Willa Cather from My Antonia certainly helps:

“it was as if Winter was

saying to us:

‘This is reality, whether you

like it or not.

All those frivolities of

summer,

the light and shadow, the

living mask of green that

trembled over everything,

they were lies.

This is what is underneath,

this is the truth.'”

if anything, i am discovering how grateful i am for the sun – what it does, how it feels, the energy it brings. before now, i don’t think i ever gave it that kind of respect. its presence was always expected. even at 32, i’m still growing, and sometimes i think even more so now – what fills me, what depletes me, what ultimately sets my soul on fire.

i don’t know how much longer these wet days will continue, but one thing this child of the sun can guarantee is that it’s going to be one lush spring ahead.

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reminders

things i’ve been reminded of this week, through looking inward and also engaging with this wide, wide world:

a smile goes a long way.

sleeping in is a form of recovery.

the heart was meant for beating, so make it pump (see The Class).

time with your parents is priceless. and necessary.

go to the market early if you want fully stocked shelves.

hand-writing a letter is ceremonial (if you want it to be).

rain gives way to the most incredible wild blooms.

money doesn’t guarantee happiness. or love.

we are living our legacies. no need to worry about that later.

keep garden clippers in the car. you might have a wildflower-foraging opportunity.

quiet. stillness. these feed me.

sit in the sun, wherever it is.

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walking as religion

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from elizabeth mccracken’s bowlaway, via austin kleon:

“in the mornings he would walk…at the start of the walk, alone or moving, the sun at his back or cold rain down his collar, he was more himself than under any other circumstance, until he had walked so far he was not himself, not a self, but joined to the world. invisibly joined. had a religion been founded on this, purely this, he would have converted…proof of God? proof was in the world, and the way you visited the world was on foot…your walking was a devotion.”

a beautiful reminder to be present while walking, for we are one with our surroundings, we are one in this life on earth.