"I celebrate myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

things that make me smile



Its been a bit of a stressful week or couple of weeks. Nothing too important or life changing, just feeling run down and a bit neglected or forgotten at times.
But, tonight I finally feel more relaxed than I have in days. Nothing has really changed, per say, except that I guess I feel like I'm starting to  learn to let go a little. I am a person who puts myself out there, heart and soul and relish in my connection with others. This I see as a positive, and I will of course continue to this.  But at times it leaves me feeling a bit wounded. Sometimes I don't seem to get back as much as I feel I am giving. Of course I am not some perfect selfless person, but I do love and like to feel love in return.
So I guess I'm discovering, or attempting to anyway, the balance between throwing myself  into continuously giving myself and my feelings to others, and knowing when to back into the shadows and be patient. How to weather other's storms that need to pass before they are able to give of themselves to me. It will never be easy for me, but patience is everything.
This doesn't mean that I will withhold my love and support until I am sure it can be reciprocated; what kind of relationship would that be? Instead it means knowing when to take a step back, silently always loving, but seeking peace and other joys from within myself and what the earth has given me.

And tonight as I finally am getting better at achieving these goals, I can't help but think of some things that tonight, and through all my recent stresses have made me smile.

My husband! Sometimes I feel like without him I really would feel so alone. No matter what I know he is always there for me and always supports and loves me. And most of the time he goes that extra mile to   do something funny or sweet that makes me smile.

Tea. Tea in the morning to help wake me up and savor a few quiet moments in a hectic day, and herbal tea at night in my PJ's to help me relax.

A TV show that shall not be named about a group of really strong women who make it through some pretty tough obstacles. Its inspiring and entertaining too!

 My comfy bed and a good night's sleep, unexpectedly catching the breeze on my face and Harry Potter movies.

This blog post has turned totally cheesy and I apologize.
But there you have it.





Saturday, October 22, 2011

Is anyone out there ?

What makes something important to you? Is it only when someone else recognizes that thing you do, or it is also valuable to them to? Does it take someone else to validate something? Or can we find the value in it ourselves?
We are a being that seems to need and constantly seek approval form others. Why do we wear what we do, do the activities we do? Is it because we, and we alone find satisfaction in it? Or is it because we know others will recognize it and compliment us?
I don't think there is anything wrong with seeking approval. We are social creatures who thrive by human connection. Connection which includes love, support, empathy and acceptance or praise.
Where the problem lies, I think obviously, is if our sole vindication comes from others. We have to have faith in ourselves. We have to seek what motivates us and what we are passionate about no matter what the reaction of others is, as long as its not harmful to anyone.
But we all know that we feel better when something we work hard on, something we pour our heart and soul into is recognized and appreciated by others.
Today I've been asked a challenging question: Why do I write? What is the motivation?
Is it just an outlet for my feelings and thoughts, And will I continue regardless of what others think or even if they care to read it at all?
Is the point so that I can gain popularity? If that is so, does it mean that I need to simply write about what I think people most want to hear?
Of course the ideal is, write what you want, what inspires you and people will naturally flock to it, showering you with praise for your unique approach and world view. And I laugh.
Oh, the emotion. What is writing but an explosion of emotion? At least the kind of writing I'm talking about.
All I know is I write what I know, what I feel, what I have questions about. Essentially the things that move me and that I think are the fundamental motivators and questions of life.
And lately, mostly I feel lonesome about it. Is anyone out there listening? Does anyone care?
Does it matter?
To answer one of these questions, even if no one is reading, I'll keep on writing. Because more than anything it feels like an extension of me. A natural expression of someone who at many times, as I say, has too many feelings, too many thoughts and questions to keep inside. I can't seem to find any other way for expression I so deeply crave that fulfills this need.
Now, do I have anything to say that warrants people's time and interest? I don't know.
This thought is humbling, at best. Sometimes I think, what is a creation if you can't share it? Especially one that is supposed to warrant inspiration?
And I know there are so many out there that do it better, so why would it be me they care to follow?
But alas, I know I can't worry about that. I have to do what feels natural and what feels like me.
Because when I write that's what you get, me. Love it, hate it bored by it, whatever it may be, its me.
Sometimes its a better more eloquent representation of me, but that's the way it goes.

So I call out to  the void: I hope someone is listening. Because I care about you, because I want to inspire creation, love, connectivity, thought, and the act of questioning.
And if anyone out there is listening, I say thank you. Thank you more than you know. For taking the time to hear me, to have interest enough to listen to my thoughts and my creation.

The steaks are high, but the risk is worth the possibility of complete failure. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Travel keepsakes and Inspirations






Mykonos, Greece
                                                                      


If you know me, or have read my blog you probably know how much I love to travel. I was looking for a photo the other day and came across some of my pictures from various trips. It was great to see them, and re-visit those wonderful places, but I must say It didn't help subside the travel urge I constantly battle. Especially because lately for some reason it is stronger than ever. I think its because a lot of my friends are traveling and I don't have any trips planned or coming up to put my energy into....
Sigh.
And because today I feel stressed and really just feel like leaving my stresses behind and escaping..

Well enough of my self pity party. Hope you enjoy the photos.



Yosemite

                                                      

Paris


Bali, Indonesia


Maui, Hawaii


Bruges, Belgium


Yosemite 


Naxos, Greece


Mykonos, Greece


Napa, California


Naxos, Greece


Maui, Hawaii


Bali, Indonesia


Palm Desert, CA


Santorini, Greece


Palm Springs, ca


Bali, Indonesia


Santorini, Greee


Mykonos, Greece





Sunday, October 9, 2011

Those Nights




Those nights, usually in summer, that stir a thing that's hard to describe, they are rare. Sacred is the way I'd put it. Its about an intangible. Something that simultaneously creates a euphoria ethereal, and a a longing so deep and sorrowful you know it can never be quenched.
Beauty reaches as far as the eye can see. The kind that fills the moment so that it feels like it might burst.  Perfect temperature combined with the awesome display of nature grandiose is almost too much. Its hard to believe the world exists in this way. An expanse so vivid and breathtaking has to fill the void. It should be enough to feel the moment of perfect peace deep in the soul, in the bones.
But beauty so impressive can't help but make us feel all too lonely. After all, how can we compare? Our imperfections become all too large and exaggerated. We long to create something so beautiful, but alas, we will never. We become so small and helpless. There is too much and we are not enough. And how many of these scenes will we never reach? Beyond the horizon lies so many nights and displays of wonder we long so deeply to see and know we can never reach. Our thoughts thrown into the void come back to us with a sense of wonder, but also with much defeat and despair.
And companionship is a necessity for our nature, but we know it is not still and unwavering like these surroundings. It is a constant quest full of compromise, and we worry that with each that we lose some of ourselves. The still and overwhelming beauty of these serene moments made possible by such settings will be disturbed, like the perfect glassy waters of a sunset lake erupting with ripples when rocks are thrown. Hard and fast they hit, and the recovery is slow and sad.
Those nights are emotion. A word that means nothing to some. A jumble of flowery words that have no real support. But the beauty is overpowering. We are at once awed and saddened. And so we can sit on the edge of a dock, looking out at a glassy lake into a vivid sunset and wish  to stay forever in the peace, love one in the beauty, and want to dive into the lake and float aimlessly knowing in melancholy how perfectly small and incapable we are.

 Those nights
 remain burned in my mind.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkins and Brownies




Today was surprisingly, a rainy day.  Its been close to 80 degrees lately, so a cool rainy day was quite a change. Coincidentally October has just begun. It feels like with the beginning of this month, fall has officially arrived.
Perhaps because of the weather, I left work feeling the need for homeyness and an urge for domesticity. When I got home I decided to add the little fall touches and small amounts of decor that give a nod to the season to our house. Fall wreath on the door, some mini pumpkins, fall leaves. I love seasons and holidays.  Its always fun to celebrate, but I think part of what makes me love them is the sentimentality. Holidays, and even seasons, at least for me, evoke memories and feelings of family, security, tradition and generally just warmth and joy. Times to take a break from work or school and be together, most often in the warmth of a cozy home. After all, home is where the heart is, wherever that may be.
And to add to the coziness, (and deliciousness) of it all, I baked chocolate brownies from scratch. I just took them out of the oven and the wonderful smell is filling my house.



I feel so blessed that I have a safe and happy home in which to celebrate the seasons and holidays, and also to have such a wonderful husband to enjoy it all with. I can only hope that when I have children that they will come to love the seasons and holidays, my little decorations and touches and feel so safe, warm, secure and happy. I hope they will look back on the seasons and holidays with love for all these reasons.
Here's wishing you the joy and warmth of the seasons and the glorious traits and qualities of each as they change. May you find warmth and comfort in the celebrations of nature and holidays spent with loved ones. Happy fall!


Monday, September 26, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things





So tomorrow I get to do two things I really love. How often does that happen in one day?!
The San Francisco Ballet is coming to a theatre in Orange County and I get to go see them!! My friend Allie and I are heading up and going to dinner at a French Restaurant and then going to the ballet!
French food and the ballet, swoon!
We are going to see the mixed program, which is composed of several short pieces that often include some modern ballet, and that is my favorite! There are not many better than the San Francisco ballet and I cannot wait!!
What a blessing to get to spend the evening with my friend enjoying great food and beautiful art!
To me, these are the things that make life worth living!



Carpe Diem

Here is a video of a principal dancer from San Francisco ballet that I just love to watch! She is beautiful!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Rid The Toxins


    



“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.” - John Muir





I Really feel like i could use some of this (nature + solitude + peace) today...

   

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Post Script

“Not all those who wander are lost.”
― J. R. R. Tolkien

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dreams and Travels and Wanderings





I came across a blog of an old friend's tonight that I really enjoyed. I didn't know, but I guess she has become a photographer and this blog contained many of her lovely photos. A bulk of recent posts held photos from her wonderful travels across Europe, especially France and the many culinary experiences held there. Now there are a few things that have a hold on my heart; France, food and photography. I spent several minutes pouring over the photos, oohing and awing and feeling my heart speed up and skip a beat as I felt the sudden urge, sudden need, to immediately get on a plane and go to France.
I love to travel. Exploring new places and discovering the idiosyncrasies that make up every different corner of the earth is a pleasure I seldom know how to describe. I love wandering, getting lost in a new and beautiful place steeped in history and a culture not my own.
What really interests me in life, fascinates me and often inspires and motivates me is people and how they feel, what they do and more importantly why they do what they do. And so literature (especially) and history are of great interest to me. Some are fascinated by how the world works; laws of nature and origins of the universe. I, unfortunately, or maybe not, am not. Instead I am fascinated by how people react to the world around them; nature and men, civilization and men, and also, men and men (or women).
It might seem egocentric, but I am truly fascinated by what we can create. Buildings, art, music, literature and writing, and trying to understand what motivates people to create and to create certain things.
I guess in a way this is sort of philosophizing and some may say in the end, what's the point? What is the point in trying to "find meaning" in life or our world, because what does it mean anyway? In contrast science seems to have a real "purpose." Study our world and beyond, try to understand how it works and how it came into being and find answers to the every day questions and hopefully, the infinite questions that plague a scientific frontier.
But shouldn't it come down to what motivates or moves you? Now, survival in almost any case doesn't depend on musings on the meaning of life, the creation of art and music. It of course depends on what we can learn to extend the longevity of our lives, ward of disease, grow food efficiently etc. I, however, would hate to imagine a world without the luxury, freedom and motivation to create and "muse."
Isn't that what makes humanity different? Instead of simple survival, we have the intellect and the luxury to  seek to go beyond survival and hopefully flourish and enjoy.
Another thing about the blog I loved (besides France) was the photography itself. I've always loved photography but have never been great at it or given it a real shot. I love most outlets for artistic creativity, and photography is no exception. Looking at these photos made me think of a quote I think I think of all too often:

 "In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty." -Ralph Waldo Emerson


I have, much like probably everyone else in this world, the desire to create. And of course we would like to create something "genius". Far too often I find that I feel myself failing to create anything of substance, and instead I see the creations of others and I become frustrated, and I admit, a little jealous. When I can truly appreciate and feel the creativity, emotion and genius in some work, I feel simultaneously so close to it, so understanding, so sharing of the ideas, and also far away from it and any wonderful creation I've seen because I lacked the ability to create it myself. I feel in awe and a failure at the same time. And sometimes, like the quote says, I feel I too had those thoughts but simply failed to express them in an effective beautiful way.
Frustration.


Looking at this blog made me think all of this and two other things.
How can I create in my life the ability to travel even more than I do (because I do have many opportunities to travel)?
And how do I create a life with both travel opportunities, lots of flexibility to go where I please and that offers a creative outlet as well?
Don't get me wrong, I love my job. I love how quick to forgive and optimistic my smiling students are. I love being able to teach them things they don't know and watch them delight in learning.
But I find it so confining at times. This may sound ridiculous, but I have a hard time having to be in the exact same place at the same time every day. I want freedom to wander and still be productive. Its the waking up early and driving back and forth and sometimes, dare I say, having to say the same thing to a little face 5 or 6 times before I get a response or an action that wears me out. 
Now maybe what I'm thinking seems impossible. We would all love to just travel and "be creative" all the time in life. I'm not really sure.
And its not like I'm unhappy. I'm extremely satisfied and happy. But sometimes you see things that make you really think about what you are passionate about and what  your ideal way to spend your time is,
priorities, per say. Mine are family and friends, traveling, making time for peace and creating (whether that be writing, photography etc). I'm not entirely sure where that leaves me..


So tonight I will dream of France and travels. Of creating a work of, if not genius, then of some substance. And I will take joy in the life I have and feel grateful for a loving husband and family and friends, for smiling little faces and freedoms and means to do a lot of what I want.
I know that's a lot to be said, and I really am not ungrateful.
I just like to "muse" and dream sometimes. 




                                                 (photo taken by yours truly)  

Monday, August 29, 2011

You Always Make Me Smile



Happy Anniversary to us! Today is my one year wedding anniversary! I can't believe its already been a year! How it has flown by in the best way! When I think about the last year, the conclusion I come to is always, life is good. What a happy year and what a happy, lucky, blessed and grateful girl I am.
Thinking about our wedding day makes me smile. Not only because I got to marry Brian, but also because of all the loved ones there and the fantastic time we had. What a celebration! It is beyond joyful to have all the ones you love together in one place and be able to celebrate with one another.
I am overcome with love and humbled by the overwhelming love in my life. Love from my husband, and the love from all that just burst from the seems on our wedding day.
I love our wedding video and plan on watching it later tonight. There are wonderful moments caught throughout the day and the video. But I think my favorite is the dancing. The energy, the joy, the way everyone is completely carefree and literally almost jumping off the screen. It makes me want to get up and jump up and down every time I see it.
So I must run to go celebrate with my husband.
And again I think, life is good. Smile.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aloha







Well, me and the husband are off to Maui, Hawaii tomorrow! We are spending 10 lovely days on the Island to celebrate our 1 year wedding Anniversary. I can't believe its already been almost a year! Time really flew by. I love that this past year things didn't really change much. I guess when you are together with someone for eight years before you marry, you really know what you are in for and are just happy to be spending another year together. That said, this past year has been on of the happiest of my life. Even though not much changed, we did buy a house of our own and it just feels great to be married and really officially become a family together.

I can't wait to sit on the beach and soak in the scenery. I am happiest in life, for the most part, on a tropical beach. I find in moments spent on such a beach, or swimming in the ocean, I really feel grateful to be alive.

Ahh vacation! Isn't it the best?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Ocean Bounties and Summer Gratitude



Today was a lovely day. I started with me doing one of the things I love most, sleeping in. Then I got to stroll through my neighborhood in perfect summer weather to our local coffee shop for my soy latte.
I spent most of the day at the beach. It couldn't have been a nicer day; blue skies, sunny and about 77 F and a nice breeze. There is nothing more calming and satisfying than a day of sunshine and reading at the beach and a little ocean dip.
Inspired by my beautiful ocean day, I have decided to make steamed mussels for dinner. I'm making mussels steamed in beer with crème fraîche, Herbs, and parmesan croutons. Mmmmm! 
I can't wait to throw it all together and have the aromas fill my kitchen. There are few things more pleasant than cooking with nice fresh ingredients. 
Except perhaps sitting out on my back deck, drinking a glass of wine and eating the fruits of my labor with my husband.
I love summer days.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Innocnet




I love Taylor Swift.  I know, I'm kinna old to be so giddy about a girl younger than me, but I can't help myself.  After all, we all know I'm, er, young at heart.  And i'm not going to be modest about it, I love that about myself. I get really really excited about things like fireworks and Disneyland. I like tween movies. I'm pretty silly and clumsy. I love happy endings and lots of sap.
This being young at heart thing, my mom calls it me being a romantic. I suppose that's part of it. And not in just the romantic love sort of way. I love history and especially historical fiction. I get lost in time periods and especially the women who made them up. I love old musicals.
Maybe a part of it is an innocence I don't ever want to lose. Or even if it is lost, I don't want to lose the awe, the hope, the giddy, the silly, all the feelings and rawness (as opposed to jaded-ness) that come with.
So.. back to Taylor Swift... I was listening to her tonight, as I often do, and thinking how much I love her, her songs. Not that I know her, but to me, she and most of her songs embody all these "young at heart", "romantic", and "innocent" feelings, and what can I say? I can relate.

So here is the lyrics to one of my favorites. In contrast to most songs, it describes those moments when all you feel is jaded, regret. The times when you feel like you can't do anything right. Cause as young at heart as some of us might be, as innocent, there are times when we just feel like terrible failures.
But time and a little humility can heal all.


I guess you really did it this time
Left yourself in your warpath
Lost your balance on a tightrope
Lost your mind tryin’ to get it back
Wasn’t it easier in your lunchbox days?
Always a bigger bed to crawl into
Wasn’t it beautiful when you believed in everything?
And everybody believed in you?
It’s all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not what you’ve been
You’re still an innocent
You’re still an innocent
Did some things you can’t speak of
But tonight you’ll live it all again
You wouldn’t be shattered on the floor now
If only you had seen what you know now then
Wasn’t it easier in your firefly-catchin’ days?
And everything out of reach, someone bigger brought down to you
Wasn’t it beautiful runnin’ wild ’til you fell asleep?
Before the monsters caught up to you?
It’s all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights is still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not what you’ve been
You’re still an innocent
It’s okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin’ up now
Who you are is not what you did
You’re still an innocent
Time turns flames to embers
You’ll have new Septembers
Every one of us has messed up too
Lives change like the weather
I hope you remember
Today is never to late to
Be brand new
It’s all right, just wait and see
Your string of lights are still bright to me
Oh, who you are is not where you’ve been
You’re still an innocent
It’s okay, life is a tough crowd
32, and still growin’ up now
Who you are is not what you did
You’re still an innocent
You’re still an innocent
Lost your balance on a tightrope
It’s never too late to get it back

Monday, July 11, 2011

Water Joy



Yesterday I went stand up paddle boarding for the first time.
Yes please!!
I thought I would enjoy it since I love being in and on the water and enjoy surfing and just being active out doors, but it was even better than I imagined it would be!
What surprised me the most was how peaceful it was. There is something about gliding over the water, looking out over sea and feeling the sun and the breeze.
One thing I strive for in my life is to be present; that is to be in the moment, appreciating my here and now and my surroundings and observing the world as it teems with life around me. There are times when I have the urge to just push through to something more exciting, passing the hours in anticipation of the future.
But this is no way to live. Even the seemingly mundane is valuable, and at the very least  it is life. We know life is short, so taking days or moments for granted is really such a tragedy.
And so there are many times I must concentrate on the moment, actively making sure I am in the here and now. And then there are those wonderful moments when I can't help but be ever so present, enjoying every little thing as it unfolds around me. These invaluable moments usually occur for me when I am outdoors, enjoying nature.
Out on a paddle board I couldn't help but smile and be completely present. Observing land from water is a unique perspective ill never tire of. It is instantly calming and breathtaking.

As always I am thankful for summer and sun and ocean and the chance to get to enjoy this beautiful earth.
So, go paddle boarding!
I can't wait to go again in August in Hawaii!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

SUMMER





Summer makes me happy. I am a sunshine kind of gal. I derive endless pleasure and energy from clear skies, warm breezes and long light filled days.
There are too many things about summer to name that I love.
So I'll leave you with today's pleasures.
A breezy beach with lots of sun, peace and quiet, and a good book. What more could a girl really want ?
Oh yea, a cherry slurpee on the way home.

Here's to wonderful, lovely, smile giving summer! Im so glad you are in town.




Thursday, May 26, 2011

nobody puts baby in the corner





I once read an article in a magazine about a lady who was seriously not a morning person. Her story was her confession  of this simple fact of her personality, as well as how much this simple fact had come to play a haunting role in her life.  Like so many of us are, as a "responsible" adult she was expected to rise early in the morning, be happy to accept invitations for early morning exercise classes or groups and brunches and simply become active early with a chipper desire to conquer the day with great energy.
She gave it her best shot, but just couldn't keep up. She found herself pretending to be someone she wasn't. And when she couldn't keep going that way, instead of pretending to be someone she wasn't, she began hiding who she really was. When asked or invited to participate in early morning activities, instead of feeling like she was able to tell the truth and simply say I don't want to get up that early, she made up false excuses, like she had other plans, simply so that she could be who she was (not a morning person), without  suffering the judgement.
This article both pleased and horrified me at the same time. It pleased me to know that I am not alone in my bodies never ending desire to sleep later than 9am, but it horrified me that this lady had to pretend to be someone she wasn't, and hide a truth about her for fear of judgement. JUST BECAUSE SHE WANTS TO SLEEP. I mean, really?
It may seem silly, and even a moot point. Who cares if someone wants to sleep late? But in a society that operates from 8am to 5pm, values over working and prioritizes punctuality and perfection, it is a perhaps surprising, but sad reality that not being a morning person causes one to get treated differently than those that so conveniently fit into the early riser box.

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise.

Ok, so late to bed late to rise makes you, unhealthy? Unwise? How about lazy? This is a judgement that I have dealt with more than once for being a later riser. I sleep in late, wasting away the day, and I must be lazy, right?

There are certain ideas that seem to be universally logical. Things that benefit everyone and are for the best of the species. Example, treat others as you want to be treated. Seems simple, clear and generally like a good idea. Then, there are ideas that have somehow come to be considered the norm, over years in certain societies and cultures people have adopted abstract notions about the proper or correct way to behave in a society. Example, waking up early.
And I have another one, that I'm sure many would disagree with; punctuality. What is time, really? Its how we divide up our days. Its a categorizing mechanism so that we can organize our over busy days.
Now, time is a helpful tool. It allows us to plan things and accomplish things. But people value their time way too much. Is that all that matters in a life that is so short anyway? You spend your days counting your minutes and thinking that your time is so valuable. There is a fine line here. Time must be valued, in so far as it is limited when you are a mortal human being. So take the time to appreciate your life, being alive, the birds and the bees. But that's not what most people are doing when they say their time is valuable so you better not waste it. They are thinking how many things they can squeeze into a day that will benefit themselves.
Beyond that I just could never understand the sheer weight and grave importance put on punctuality. It is the rudest thing you could do to someone to be late, how dare you! Um, I'd rather someone be late than not really be present when they are there, to not be kind and careful when needed.
This is especially true when it comes to the work place.  Its the ass in seat mentality that I have such a hard time swallowing. How dare you be a little late to work, even though there was nothing that you were going to be doing productively when you were there on time. If you get there late, stay late to make up for it. So, stay there late when you have nothing you can do for work, as long as you are physically there, just sit at your desk and stare, because that is better than being late.
How about we focus in the quality of the job someone is doing. Isn't that the most important thing?
Now if someone is not punctual and misses something they are supposed to participate in or because of their tardiness cannot complete work, that is a problem.

I am just so tired of what seem to me to be arbitrary customs, and getting judged because i exist outside the box.  To me, it just seems like a waste of negative energy and a serious overlooking of whats really important in a life.



And now I am left with the sad fact that I don't see our society changing its arbitrary values and notions anytime soon. My choices? Ditch normal life and become a homeless wanderer? Pretty sure it will have to be continue to force myself, against all my natural inclinations, to fit into the box already built for me. At least some of the time. The rest is for me and those I love who accept the misfit that is me for who I really am.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Bicycle




Last week I bought a bicycle. I haven't owned a bike since I was maybe 10. Making my purchase, I pictured scenes of summer; riding near the beach on a warm summer day, biking to get a Popsicle.
I figured I'd ride it on and off when it was nice out.  As it turns out, it will be wonderful for those very things I pictured. What I didn't figure was that it is, to my pleasant surprise, good for so much more.
 One summer when I was about nine or ten, I spent my days playing cards on the shady front lawn of my neighborhood friend's house, chasing the ice cream truck with her and saving money to buy candy at the liquor store. Those wonderful lazy days we spent our time alternated between her house and mine and on all the tree lined streets in between. We owned the neighborhood and were free to make our own days and go where we liked because we had bikes. On our bikes we were free and independent, as free as any ten year-olds could be. Riding was fun and it was a means to explore and feel like we had the chance to make of the world what we wanted of it.
A few years later as a teenager I became less interesting in riding a bike and of course more interested in driving a car and riding in my friend's cars while they drove. We found freedom and a thrill in riding once again, but this time a little faster and further. But the thing about driving is, it eventually becomes a chore. Traffic, commuting, siting in a car for hours becomes tedious instead of liberating. We hardly take notice or pleasure in our surrounds, failing to enjoy the journey and focusing instead on our time and hurry and wanted destination. Unfortunately so many things become tedious like this or lose their simple pleasure or appeal as we get older. To my very happy discovery, riding a bike is not one of those.
I've ridden my bike every day since I got it, and what a pleasure its been. I feel like a kid again, the wind in my hair, looking up at the sky and noticing the trees and the clouds.
And as a completely independent, car driving adult, able to go wherever, whenever, I surprisingly and quite unabashedly feel freer than I've felt in a long, long time.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Life Lessons

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."
-Denis Waitley

No man is an Island. The choices we make every day, often without realizing it affect someone else. The doing, or nor doing has consequences. We cannot be so naive to think that we are immune to the world around us. That our doing has no affect on the surrounding world and that if we choose, the world can have no affect on us.
This connectivity  can be of the utmost comfort, or at times it can be daunting.
Sometimes its hard enough to sort through yourself; your emotions, wants, goals, seeking a balance is, for most of us a constant effort.
And so sometimes we make, what seems the wrong choice. A choice that disappoints or does not take another into consideration. Sometimes it is obvious, even as we are making the choice that it might leave someone behind or hurt. But sometimes we are surprised by the consequences of our actions. In these moments we can become exhausted and frustrated, thinking we let one down, and of the overwhelming task of keeping others in mind in every decision we make.

It is hard work being a peacekeeper. Being selfless all the time can be debilitating.  But acting like nothing you do matters in any great way is crippling.  And so we come back to that word balance. That elusive state where all is well and even. The more of life I live, the more i realize how important it is. In fact, I strongly urge that it be a daily mantra for all aspects of life. It is a key, i believe, to happiness. Happiness, which is not a destination, or a right. "Happiness is a spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude." Happiness also has to do with choices. I do believe, to a certain extent, you can choose to be happy. It is a matter of mindset and a way of looking at things. And happiness is a balance of actions. Thinking of the consequences of our actions, the way it might affect others, but not forgetting ourselves all together for the sake of others. Because we cannot be happy hurting others and forgetting their integrity, but we also, i am convinced, cannot be happy by living solely for others.

So what is a way we can live this balance? "Live every minute with love, grace and gratitude." If love is the motivation for our actions, grace is how we carry out those actions and gratitude is our response to other's actions, then we have a good shot at happiness; experiencing our own and making others happy too.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sunday





Everybody loves the weekend. Time off from work to do whatever you like, whenever you like.
Lots of us plan fun activities with friends and family. If you are like me, Friday nights are for going to dinner, or a movie, or social events. Saturdays are fun and somehow always busy, even hectic at times.

And then there is Sunday, lovely Sunday. It is a day like any other in most ways, and just another day in the weekend. Historically and traditionally in Western culture it is a day of rest. A day for family and worship. Although I do not actively practice and organize religion, I can't help but agree that Sundays were meant for family, for rest and for peace.

Unlike any other busy day of the week, I find that on Sunday I can finally relax, unwind, and really be present. I can focus on the now and notice and appreciate the little things. Watching a movie with my husband, reading a good book, playing a game with family. Sundays evoke feelings of security, simple pleasures and true happiness. The smell of Sunday dinner, the simple act of making the dinner. I always find joy in cooking; it relaxes me, gives me purpose and challenges me, and for some reason it seems to have more joy or meaning on Sunday. Its the slowing down, the taking the time to cook a meal from scratch, to leisurely enjoy it in the company of loved ones.

I love that as I grow older, and in this day, I have the freedom to keep the traditions that bring me joy; resting for a day, spending time with family, but I am not chained to anything for the sake of it.
I am free to chose the life that love, the way that makes me complete, free and happy. What a privilege and a blessing. I am thankful to my parents, my country, my husband and my friends for letting me choose. I know how vital it is to happiness to be able to be yourself. 



So here is to freedom and happiness.

And here is to Sunday; to family, friends, resting, and simple pleasures.
Happy Sunday!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"There is no remedy for love but to love more." - Thoreau


Happy Valentine's Day!
Ever wonder how we came to celebrate this day?
No, it was not invented by Hallmark.
It probably all started with a man now known as St. Valentine...
(here is a brief history)



Every February we celebrate Valentine's Day by giving flowers, candy and cards to those we love. We do this in honor of Saint Valentine. You may be wondering, "Who is St. Valentine"? Time to brush up on your Valentine's history!
Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during third century Rome. There was an Emperor at that time by the name of Claudius II. Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those that were married. With this thought in mind he outlawed marriage for young men in hopes of building a stronger military base. Supposedly, Valentine, decided this decree just wasn't fair and chose to marry young couples secretly. When Emperor Claudius II found out about Valentine's actions he had him put to death.
Another legend has it that Valentine was an imprisoned man who fell in love with his jailor's daughter. Before he was put to death he sent the first 'valentine' himself when he wrote her a letter and signed it 'Your Valentine', words still used on cards today.
Perhaps we'll never know the true identity and story behind the man named St. Valentine, but this much is for sure...February has been the month to celebrate love for a long time, dating clear back to the Middle Ages. In fact, Valentines ranks second only to Christmas in number of greeting cards sent.
Another valentine gentleman you may be wondering about is Cupid (Latin cupido, "desire"). In Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus, goddess of love. His counterpart in Greek mythology is Eros, god of love. Cupid is often said to be a mischievous boy who goes around wounding both gods and humans with his arrows, causing them to fall in love.

And so today we honor love..
The romantic kind, mostly.
But I always take Valentine's day as a time to also celebrate and honor all love - friendship, family and all those we love in  our lives.
So Happy Valentine's Day! Don't forget to tell someone you love them today.

Monday, January 31, 2011


A poem to end the day with.
Though its not a peaceful lullaby end of the day sing you to sleep type poem, I do think it is worthy to leave on the mind, and let settle in as you settle down for the night.
I love Robert Frost.
I think it is beautiful. It speaks to me. I hope it does to you, too.


Reluctance
by Robert Frost
Out through the fields and the woods
And over the walls I have wended;
I have climbed the hills of view
And looked at the world, and descended;
I have come by the highway home,
And lo, it is ended.

The leaves are all dead on the ground,
Save those that the oak is keeping
To ravel them one by one
And let them go scraping and creeping
Out over the crusted snow,
When others are sleeping.

And the dead leaves lie huddled and still,
No longer blown hither and thither;
The last lone aster is gone;
The flowers of the witch-hazel wither;
The heart is still aching to seek,
But the feet question 'Whither?'

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

You and Your Heart

I was reading a magazine today which had several articles about happiness in this issue. What it means to be happy, how to be happier and what happiness does for us.
Its interesting that in many studies people did trying to understand and explain happiness, some of the conclusions that were reached were: people generally could not verbalize or express what really made them happy, that happiness was often confused with success, and most profoundly, that happiness, true and pure in form, is most often brief and fleeting. As humans we suffer from a condition where the things that we anticipate excitedly and that we believe will give us joy, do in fact give us joy upon initial reception, but usually just moments after experiencing this joy, the true joy turns to just comfort.
That, among a lot of what I thought were sort of discouraging facts about people and happiness, was what disappointed and saddened me the most.
Are we so desensitized?
In a culture of instant gratification, bigger is better, have we have become so utterly greedy and spoiled that nothing really impresses us anymore? I find at certain times, I am sadly no different. The simple things that I seek for joy, like a walk in the park, do make me happy, but sometimes leave me feeling a bit underwhelmed. Occasionally I find myself thinking, well, that was nice but not very exciting. This is truly sad.
I try to think of the moments in my life where i felt truly and unequivocally happy. Sometimes they occurred in places that maybe were grand or exciting; a ski mountain an amusement park, a nice resort. But was it really the things that money bought that made me truly happy? And really, the answer is no.
When I think about it, it was mostly always because of the people that completed those scenes.
The funny story we shared, the meaningful conversation, the simple pleasure of company of a loved one.
Another frequent contributing factor for me and my happiness seems to be nature. The majestic ski mountain, the beautiful beach at the resort. And what a wonderful thing that has just happened. I am able to name two things that make me truly happy: loved ones and nature. It seems simple, but I think that many have a hard time naming things that really bring them true joy. We can all name things we like, that entertain us or give us some sort of instant gratification, but those cannot be confused with the things that bring us pure happiness.
Although many have probably heard a similar saying, I really liked this quote about happiness:
"Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling."

Now this is different than the issue of happiness being brief in that it turns to comfort, and then quite often a sense of disappointment,
I think that happiness turning sort of placid comes from unhealthy high expectations.
It comes from a culture that pressures us to be thrilled, all the time.
Life is often not thrilling, but that does not mean it is not fulfilling.
Instead, this quote helps me put real happiness in a different, more healthy perspective.
The moral of the story is, we cannot expect to be constantly truly happy.
That does not mean that in the moments in between we should be depressed.
It just means that true happiness is wonderful, special and something to be treasured.
It is moments of brilliance, memories to look back on fondly and the reasons we find we are lucky to be alive.
And the moments in between are pleasant and also happy, they just might not be the real bliss moments.
So we need to stop aiming at happiness as if it is a station, a destination to reach.
Instead we go along, finding joy in every day and stopping to relish in those moments of real and true happiness, bliss, that we are lucky to encounter.
Now, for me, since I know two things that make me truly happy, I'll do my best to incorporate those in my life in hopes of having many moments of true happiness.
In this magazine psychologists tried to define or explain what this "true happiness" is or means, and I think they did it more than well: Immerse yourself in whatever you are doing. This state is what they call "flow". You get caught up in something that feels bigger than yourself while staying present in the moment.
And when I think about my true happiness moments, that is exactly how they occurred.
I feel like I had one of these moments just this morning, and in true happiness fashion it was a simple thing that made me feel this way.
I was on a walk to a coffee shop. That is it. It was a beautifully sunny day with a nice breeze and I felt truly happy. Being able to walk with the sun and breeze on my face, in a place i love to be.
I was present, feeling the current weather conditions, observing the details of nature around me, yet I was lost in the bigger picture that is nature and a bit awed by the brilliance of the world.

I came across this music video for Jack Johnson's "You and your Heart" the other week and I am in love with it. I couldn't exactly explain why it spoke to me so much when I found it except that it is filmed in a tropical ocean, one of my great loves in life. But as I watch it again today, I know exactly why I love it so much.
To me, it displays true happiness. It is so simple. Scenes of surfing and swimming in the ocean.

I can feel the pure joy of him being completely in the moment, immersed in the greatness of the ocean, while being at the mercy of the sea, definitely a reminder of the bigger picture.
And if that doesn't come across to you, just look at that smile. :)

Enjoy!







Saturday, January 15, 2011

Summer Sun in January



Today, in the middle of January, it is 75 degrees outside. Yes, I live in San Diego, where it is relatively warm all year long, but this is very nice for this time of year.
Oh how I love the warmth. I feel instantly happy, relaxed and at ease with this beautiful weather.
I spent a good part of today walking on the boardwalk by the beach and it was just lovely.
But there is a catch. This weather feels more like summer, and so my mind wanders to my favorite time of year, drifting to visions of beach days, bonfires, beach bbqs, kayaking in the ocean and spending lazy warm days lingering near the beach. I become greedy, wanting summer here now, so that days like today can be every day.
And then I think, why don't i just live somewhere tropical?
I could be on a plane to Hawaii tomorrow...
:)
But instead I'll just have to relish days like today. Feel the warm sun on my face and take in all the beautiful scenery that I am so lucky to live amongst.
Its days like today, and things like the ocean on inviting sunny day that make me glad to be alive.

This was a perfect song for today:
Constellations, by Jack Johnson

The light was leaving
in the west it was blue
The children's laughter sang
and skipping just like the stones they threw
the voices echoed across the way
its getting late

It was just another night
with the sun set
and the moon rise not so far behind
to give us just enough light
to lay down underneath the stars
listen to papas translations
of the stories across the sky
we drew our own constellations

The west winds often last too long
the wind may calm down
nothing ever feels the same
Sheltered under the Kamani tree
waiting for the passing rain
clouds keep moving to uncover the scene
stars above are chasing the day away
to find the stories that we sometimes need
Listen close enough
all else fades
fades away

It was just another night
with the sun set
and the moon rise not so far behind
to give us just enough light
to lay down underneath the stars
listen to all the translations
of the stories across the sky
we drew our own constellations

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Something fun to share!

Well, I have something fun to share today.
Our wedding was featured on a blog today!
This is a blog is written by a wedding publicist who loves to share inspiring weddings with the world and give wedding vendors some recognition for their great work!

Take a look at the lovely post!

http://www.inspiredbythis.com

:)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy New Year!



Though I am somewhat sad to end this last, very exciting year, (purchasing my first house and getting married, its hard to top that!) I am, as always excited to see what this new year brings.
I'm excited to settle back into normal life and enjoy our new house, and as always for a few things and trips I plan to partake in; snowboarding in Tahoe, Cochella in the spring, and a trip to France in August.
Anyone who knows me knows I love to plan trips and adventures, its what I'm best at.
So of course I'm excited for these adventures, but a new priority I have this year is to find smaller, if you will, joys. Sometimes I find I am victim of waiting for the next fun thing or adventure, while passing the time in between. This is no way to live. Life is the every day, the small moments.
No day, no part of life is trivial and each day should be taken as a gift.

SO here is to a New Year and (hopefully): Living life to the fullest and always in the present, finding joy in every day and in the little things (because that is really what life is made up of, isn't it?), and always, loving freely and without pretense or judgement.
:)

Cheers!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today was a fairy tale.. I wore a dress, you wore a dark grey suit



I got my wedding photos right around Thanksgiving, and I've just recently had time to organize them.
Looking back through them, I am reliving the day and getting emotional all over again.
I am overcome by the love I have for my husband.
I know so many say this, and I know this, but I love how it evident to me in the photos that I am marrying my best friend. My partner for eight years, there is no one who knows me better, who always keeps me sane and laughing, and who always believes in me.
I think, how young we look. It has only been a couple of months, but I somehow see our lives flash by in my head, and I can see us looking at our wedding photos years down the road. We were, we are kids. So many things to come and so much to learn, and yet I feel in my bones that nothing could break us.
Perhaps this is just the naivety of being a newlywed, but nothing has ever felt so right.

So, a wedding, the love between a bride and groom, is obvious.
But I am also positively overwhelmed by the happiness I feel when I see all of my best friends and sisters together. These girls have stood by me for years and with out a doubt can always bring a smile to my face.
Love between a man and a woman is beautiful, but the love of girlfriends is, in my opinion, essential.
I cannot even explain how lucky I feel, how blessed, how overjoyed that I have these wonderful girls as friends. I have the sudden urge to tackle all of them at once...

And then there is my family. Words fall short, always, in expressing how i feel about them or what they mean to me. I know that it comes naturally to love one's family, especially parents.
But now that I am older I can look back and truly be amazed at my parents and all they have done for me. I can understand how hard it is to raise a family and give them all the credit in the world for doing a job that leaves me in awe. How extraordinary to not only provide for others and put them above yourself completely, so much so that they never have to wonder if they are taken care of,  but also to inspire love, creativity, a love of learning, a thirst for adventure and an example of giving that is set deep within me today. I know so many say it, but my parents have really given me everything. How can I express gratitude for that?
My sisters are a part of me that will never be shaken. I learn from their examples and look up to them always. But more, and now that we are grown, I know that they are friends and, like I would do the same, would do anything for me.


I love weddings. Not only because they are pretty and fun, but because love, in all its wonderful forms is evident everywhere. The love between a bride and groom, between a bride and her bridesmaids, between father and daughter. When else do we get to have all our loved ones in one place, celebrating love and family and friendship?

Love is a beautiful thing.
:)

Some favorite photos from our wedding.

8 29 10