in october…

october is without a doubt my favorite month. it marks the beginning of a magical time of year, not so much for the holidays, but more so for the way it feels. i’ve waxed poetic about my eagerness for this season, what this time means. but october. may i praise this month specifically, even for just a bit? (and, no, the revered pumpkin spice latte will not be on the menu.)

in october…

the light shifts, softening as the day progresses, warming as evening sets.

stews and braises, pasta and baked goods.

oven time, every day.

a bounty of gourds, every which shape.

socks, to be worn without abandon.

to warm the spirit, chai and cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.

robust reds and smooth whiskeys.

introspection. letter-writing. podcast-listening.

knits and layers. cozy in, cozy out.

s l o w i n g down.

celebrating the greatest commitment i made to be a wife and life partner.

shorter days, longer nights, more rest, and endless cuddling.

deep love, quite possibly of the deepest variety. soul-filled kind of love.

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cheers!

e q u i n o x

“when you accept what you have, you see all you have received is more than enough and you are overwhelmed. i desire other things because i fear to be content with what i have…I have seen what matters is to be humble enough to admit i am content with just this. leave the rest to God.”

— thomas merton

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it’s something i want to carry with me as we transition into fall, a gratitude for everything this precious life is. yesterday was the equinox, marking the beginning of a deep shift. when outward energy is focused inward. when time is intentionally set aside to stay in, wind down, and connect. it’s approaching every new day a little slower, a little more centered, doing the ordinary and seeing the extraordinary.

i have yet to know what my legacy will be or how it will look, but i welcome this season to just be. to settle in and praise this day for what it is – all imperfect and wildly uncertain. here’s to autumn.

the fifth season

i certainly feel the seasonal shift happening these days. when the warmth of the summer sun eases into the chill of an almost-autumn night. when the market’s vibrant tomato reds transition to toned-down hues of golden squash. when the days get shorter and my introspection grows deeper. it is a magical time, a palpable change that is best described by jenn tardif, founder of 3rd Ritual :

“in traditional Chinese Medicine, there are five seasons instead of four, the fifth of which begins mid-august and concludes with the autumn equinox. this fifth season is associated with the element of earth and represents an ideal time to slow down so that we can mindfully transition from the expansive energy of summer to the introspective quality of fall and winter.

we like to honor this short but notable season by spending time in nature (i.e. hiking, picnicking, wandering through parks) and creating space for more meaningful connections (i.e. cooking for friends instead of going out, leaving our phones at home when we do, and sharing stories vs. updates). seize this moment to let the earth element work its magic by spending time with the people and in the spaces that leave you feeling most grounded.”

i don’t think i’ve ever paid attention to this particular time, the eagerness for the autumn equinox always looming large. however, this fifth season is so unique in and of itself, it should be celebrated.

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i’m grateful for a few leisure days spent with girlfriends in mammoth, where we practiced the art of settling in, fully embracing what these days have to offer. going on hikes and cooking at home, working on puzzles and chatting by the fire, we were immersed in the fifth season without really identifying it. and so it goes, what a gentle reminder to slow down and ease into what’s to come, just as the earth is already doing, just as nature always intended.

beauty is born from patience, that i am sure of.

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it’s alright

three months after making the decision to reduce my percentage at work, i have never felt better. more time to rest, more energy to build relationships, more freedom to explore my interests and dive deeper into my sense of self. yes, i’m making a financial sacrifice, but what i gain in life is priceless.

surprisingly, it was not an easy decision – to work less and live more. it’s been engrained within the fabric of our society that while we are young, we work! save! BUY! we then have children and continue the quest for working! saving! BUYING! in so doing, little to no time is made for responding to our inherent desires, those things that complete the wholeness of being. 

it’s not until we believe that it’s alright to steer from expectations that we can live the life we’ve only dreamed about.

enter Fiore.

somewhere, packed in the depths of my persona, is a florist. in that dream life of mine, i own a flower shop where i’m surrounded by wild varieties, making arrangements and evolving creatively with the passing of time. it would be my heart’s desire, manifested.

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far from owning a shop, i am now interning at one. one day, i walked into Fiore and asked the shop owner if there were opportunities for someone like myself – with no formal floral experience, just a passion for them – to be involved in any capacity. two weeks later, she offered me a chance to intern.

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a few days into it, and i am overwhelmed with gratitude. at Fiore, i learn and feel inspired. i am surrounded by women with a passion for florals and beauty and nature’s abundance. i am removed from the impulse to work, save, buy, and i’m instead fulfilling a dream that can only be lived by letting go of self-imposed expectations.

ultimately, i am honoring the desires of my heart, celebrating its ability to strengthen a passion that has always existed within. for these reasons alone, in this season in my life, i am open to wherever this leads.

…because in the end, i’ll be better for it.

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freedom

do you ever think about the moments you feel most free? you know, those times that are marked by an undeniable, honest, pure-of-heart feeling of living without abandon?

we tend to do a fair share of complaining – about busy schedules, time commitments, stress, idleness, the list goes on. however, we give little attention to the things that ignite our spirits, the things that free us from our self-induced burdens. the commitments will inevitably always be there, but so will the opportunities to release. let go. inhale.

freedom looks different for everyone, and i am certainly no expert on “how to live a good life.” but over time, especially in these longer, slower days, i’ve been intentional about noticing the moments when i feel untethered and totally me, not some version of me overshadowed by to-do’s and expectations.

to me, freedom looks like a gathering of girlfriends for a patio dinner. running seaside or on a canyon trail. it looks like taking my bikini top off as the sun slowly sets, the last bit of warmth on intimate places. freedom looks like napping outside after reading a chapter, maybe two. and climbing into bed after a workday, sometimes with dinner in my lap. i am able to take a deep inhalation while walking through the farmer’s market every sunday, assured that we’ll be nourished seasonally and abundantly for the next week.

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it’s absolutely a work in progress, to identify these moments and validate them for their worth. it’s also a lesson on introspection, a personal education on how  to illuminate our quest for peace. it all might sound foo-foo or granola-y, but i can attest to the absolute freedom i feel, merely by being open to the idea that it’s all around us and capitalizing on its healing capacity. even in the everyday.

may you be free, today and always.

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what they never tell you

some thirty-one years into this life, i’ve come to learn there are a handful of things they never tell you – they being all those people, usually older, who surrounded us, guided us, educated us in our earlier days. basically, society in general.

i feel like i have a fairly strong intuition, and i believe because i’ve taken the time to acknowledge it, i’ve been able to discover things that wouldn’t have otherwise been shown to me.

and so what follows is a collection of truths that i find foundational to my growth, things they never tell you, but hopefully we learn  along the way, somehow…

success does not equate with square-footage.

living minimally is possible. in fact, it is necessary for deeper reflection, self-discovery.

foods should be eaten seasonally, hence why they thrive during specific times of the year.

you can (and should) drink rose all year long. bubbly too.

weddings do not equate marriage, do not equate happiness. save your money.

if you don’t want to wear a bra, don’t. no one really cares. and if they do, that’s their problem.

yes, build a savings, but don’t do it solely for retirement. what if you don’t live till then?

…and on that note, live smaller to work less and live more. then you won’t feel like you have to retire. 

quality over quantity. that goes for food, items, relationships.

plants are therapy. 

having kids does not equate with forming a legacy. we can form a legacy through our daily actions and interactions. 

meditation looks different for everyone.

candlelight at dinner is the easiest way to ritualize a meal, even if said meal is eaten in bed on your lap.

incorporate a “tea time,” however that looks to you, in your day NO MATTER WHAT. it is essential for self-care and resetting and overall wellbeing. it is a ritual worth investing in.

i realize this list is not the end-all, be-all of learned truths, but i am grateful for the opportunities to have made decisions and changes earlier on in life in order to continue living with a sense of peace, a sense of purpose.

as time goes by, i am certain this list will grow, new discoveries will be made, and my sense of self will grow deeper. meanwhile, i will continue living this big, beautiful life with all of its intricacies, not expecting that someone will magically appear to lead the way. they will never give you the prescription to a life celebrated.

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unhurried

we still have a little over a month of summer. well, the season at least. the heat will certainly continue through october and perhaps part of november, but the spirit of summer will be long gone.

i always have a hard time during this time of year. the start of a new school year intermingling with the long, slow days of summer. although i am far out of school, i can’t help but feel nostalgic for those days when the promise of new beginnings was within reach. rested and sun-kissed, i eagerly approached the new school year with a sense of inquiry that carried me well into my studies. the collection of summer days past became mere stepping stones into what i considered the more opportune season.

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it’s interesting, that years later, i maintain a similar mindset. eager to move onward. ready for the next season. how is it, though, that the existence of now – these drawn-out days of early mornings and late nights, of sun-ripened fruit and gatherings beneath the stars – be hurried? what is the force that pulls me forward, blinds me of the magic that is summer?

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this may be the first year i acknowledge my hurried angst. it may be the first time i actually take heed of what i am missing out on when i long for what is next. the sweet bounty at our fingertips, the time i relish spent outside, in nature, healed by the sun and nurtured by its warmth – this is my reality now and as long as i celebrate it, live it, be it, then perhaps fall will enter into its own and i will be even more ready for it. this time, unhurried.

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