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.

 

about today

things i want to remember about today:

sleeping in (a rainstorm just outside).

a farmer’s market pommelo (the size of the sun).

a pilates class (and the strength i felt afterward).

dusting shelves (music played in the background).

reading (There There).

a grounding bowl (of sweet potato, romanesco, kale, and salmon).

a heat pad (for warming the legs).

wildflowers (bedside and ever so endearing).

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today is my 32nd trip around the sun. thirty-two. it’s interesting to view myself at this age, an age that seemed so far away, nearly impossible to reach when i was a child. and now here i am, living it, feeling wholly grateful for every year i’ve had the opportunity to experience.

i can’t say this is where i expected to be in my life at this age. to be honest, i never really put too much thought into it. married? yes. and that’s about it. my present self is relieved that my past self didn’t have too many expectations for her future self. the freedom has allowed me to evolve naturally, to discover things as i go, without any pretensions. and for that, i feel like i’ve become me.

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in honor of the first day of this new year, i celebrate everything it was and continues to be for the next few hours:

waking to my own rhythm, in the mountains, next to g.

solo breakfast, reading.

long walk on the trail along the Merced river with g and the pup.

an outdoor snack under a canopy of trees.

sitting by the fireplace, warm.

reading, again.

and later, dinner and champagne. bubbles, always.

a frigid walk to the cabin, down comforter prepared.

a good night’s sleep, rested and heart-filled.

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here’s to what’s to come, whatever that is, wherever it may be. here’s to even more becoming.

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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