“I think the best vacation is the one that relieves me of my own life for a while and then makes me long for it again.” ― Ann Patchett,
“When we deny the story it defines us. When we own the story, we can write a brave new ending.” ~Brene Brown
Oct. 12, 2016, was not a good day. If you were around then as a reader of my blog (or connected with me on any form of social media), you may remember a little incident in Italy that left me there alone to finish out what was supposed to be a trip with a now ex-boyfriend. And, in case you may have forgotten, my solo-ness was a result of sending him back to Denver because I couldn’t stand to spend another second. I include the last part because that decision turned what had been a horrible situation into an opportunity. It was the first step in taking control of the situation and of my story and flipping it into a time of healing and reflection. Continue reading “table for one: a year later”
Some big things took place over the course of the past two weeks. First of all, my loves and I all hung out in the middle of nowhere Colorado with sans TV and other distractions (with the exceptions of books, games and nature) and we didn’t kill each other. Hurray!And, because we had such a great time, we decided, ”
And, because we had such a great time, we decided, “Hey, why don’t we make all of this official and go ahead and get married?” So, yeah, we’re also engaged (!), which, for me, means full-force planning mode. (And, yes, I read all of those blogs and advice columns and such that advise against getting into the planning phase right away but they clearly haven’t met me. And, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve had a spreadsheet since we first began discussing the probability of getting married months ago.) However, despite the fact that my planning brain has taken over, we did put aside the spreadsheets and dedicate last weekend to just enjoying our decision and celebrating the beginning of our lifelong commitment to one another (with the exception of one venue visit). It was an amazing weekend and we’re both beyond excited to gather with friends and family next year in celebration of our love. ❤ Continue reading “week(s) reflection + we put a ring on it”
From the top of a mountain to the depths of the sea (okay, just the shallow parts), the past two weeks have been adventure-filled and full of memory-making material. Of course, there was some work mixed in as well as some other mundane activities, but when I sat down this morning to reflect on all that took place in just 14 days, it was hard to believe everything we packed into such a short timeframe. And through it all, I just kept thinking how incredibly grateful I am for this amazing life and everything that comes with it. La vie est belle. ❤ Continue reading “week(s) reflection”
I have now almost been away from my home state of South Dakota for as long as had lived there. And, while I’ve returned at least once annually to visit the fam, attend events, etc., these visits rarely provided an opportunity, or reason, to explore the area in which I spent my formative years. However, a road trip to the Black Hills last week with my boyfriend and the pup not only provided such an opportunity but also offered a new perspective to the place I once called home. Continue reading “touristin’ it up in my home state”
+ It seems that whenever my life gets crazy busy, the first thing on the chopping block is writing + creative time. This is a shame for many reasons, but mostly because writing is my primary vehicle for pausing and reflecting. In its absence, the days, weeks and months buzz by in blurry succession, leaving me wondering not only how I spent the moments of which they’re comprised, but also drained and longing for the act of putting pen to paper (or, fingers to keys, as is the case for this blog).
You may have noticed my absence here the past month for my weekly reflection and other posts, which have sadly become casualties of that aforementioned crazy-busy life. Between travels for work and fun, attempting to catch up at work as a result of being out from said travels, and making an effort to connect with friends and other special people in my life, I’ve let being away from home impact my writing (and reading) time. And, I feel it. I miss it dearly.
It could be argued that I need to do a better job of incorporating mindfulness throughout the day so I can get snippets of pause regardless of if writing is part of my day, but that’s a discussion for another day (or, blog post). In the meantime, I’ve realized this ritual of reflecting and writing down my week is necessary to my happiness.
The good news is the realization above. The bad news is it comes a few days prior to a nine-day Scandinavian adventure, during which carving out time for this practice will be difficult. I guess it’s like anything in life — try your best with what you have and in the circumstances of the moment and, if you fall short, try again. I’m going to do my best to take time to reflect and write while exploring new places, cultures and people during my trip. But, if I fall short, I am comforted by the fact that my writing practice will be here waiting for me when I return — just like it always is.
“I want to unfold. I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.” ~Rilke
week(s) in review
gratitude: new + amazing connections
this week’s intention: pause
what I’m reading: The Rules of Civility + Emotional Intelligence 2.0
read Hallejulah Anyway: Recovering Mercy
devoured S-Town (podcast)
explored Boston + attended Intra.Net Reloaded conference
logged longest run in years + was reminded that injuries are a thing 😦
drinks + catching up with dear friend
thoroughly enjoyed seeing Divisions with the Flobots
opted to spend a weekend at home relaxing instead of going to the mountains
celebrated with two friends who tied the knot
new breweries + other adventures with D
lots of concert tickets purchased
walk + brunch with three of my favorite people
closed on my re-fi (FINALLY)
kicked ass on a few big work presentations
tea + catching up with a good friend
reviewed/reflected on March + set April goals
ample time with my new patio furniture
began preparing for upcoming Scandanavia trip
wrote + posted Q1 readolution update
wrote + posted a love poem
wrote + posted catching up + weeks in review
weekend happenings + intentions
BOS –> DEN
attend birthday party
pack + finalize Scandanvia prep
coffee + catching up with a good friend
time with D
support Protect Our Winters by drinking good beer at “Makin’ Noise, V2: Earth Day Tapping!”
I’m not ever sure where to begin. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of travels, family time, women empowerment (Hillary!), celebrating friendships, welcoming spring and, amidst it all, attempting to stay afloat at work.
My travels took me to three cities: San Francisco (for the second time in a month), Portland and to my hometown. The latter was an unexpected trip as it was prompted by the death of my grandmother. Despite it being a difficult time, I am grateful it brought my (huge) family together, which hadn’t happened since my grandfather passed 17 years ago. I had the added bonus of spending additional time with a cousin who flew into Denver and made the six-hour drive across very boring terrain much more enjoyable.
As I reflect on all the events that took place since I last posted here, I am reminded of how quickly time passes and the importance of slowing down to enjoy each moment for what it is. Admittedly, I didn’t do a very good job of this the past few weeks. I remember certain moments of intentional pause but wish I had made more of an effort. However, I am also reminded that I — like everyone else — am a work in progress.
Takeaways from the past few weeks:
- You guys, I have THE best family. And, despite kiddos not being in my life plan (and who knows what will happen on the dude + life partner front), I know I will never be alone because I’m surrounded by so many amazing people.
- I need more friend time + girls’ trips in my life. And, in addition to that aforementioned awesome family, I am lucky to also have the best friends.
- It was difficult not only to say goodbye to my grandmother — a remarkable woman who lived a long life — but accepting that I now have no remaining living grandparents.
- I will always adore visiting and exploring new places (and returning to ones I’ve been before), but a fair amount of home + downtime is essential to a balanced life (for me), which is why I am currently writing this from my dining-room table instead of in mountains. This weekend was originally slated for a getaway with a group of friends, but I passed so I could catch up at home and prepare for my next round of travels beginning in a few weeks.
- I missed writing. In addition to my weekly reflection time that typically takes place on Saturday morning (of which most of my blog posts are a product), I wasn’t able to attend my monthly writing group due to my travels. I am grateful this act has become so ingrained in my routine that, when absent, I long for it. The same goes for reading and running.
“Make me a channel of your peace
Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope
Where there is darkness, only light
And where there’s sadness ever joy” ~Prayer of St. Francis
week(s) in review
this week’s intention: patience (primarily with myself as I attempt to catch up)
what I’m reading: The Rules of Civility
attended + was inspired at the PBWC conference
travels to SF + Portland + South Dakota
ran + stayed semi-active during travels
brunch with friend/former coworker
enjoyed an afternoon of catching up with friends hadn’t seen in a long time
lots of bonding + team development at two-day offsite
explored Portland + Willamette Valley with some of my favorites
had lots of fun with coworkers in SF
lots of time laughing with family
attended grandma’s funeral + lots of memories shared
cousin road trip
happy hour with friend
successfully assembled patio furniture
dinner + visiting with good friends
dinner + catching up with long-time friend
wrote + posted bite by bite + week reflection
weekend happenings + intentions
relax + enjoy time at home
review/reflect on March + set April goals
time outdoors enjoying the warm temps
work a bit (still attempting to catch up)
break in my new patio furniture
begin preparing for upcoming Scandanavia trip
When I began my new job last summer, I printed a picture of an elephant and hung it on my cube wall to remind me, when I was feeling overwhelmed, to focus on “eating” the elephant bite by bite. That sentiment, although seemingly minor, was the catalyst for my pushing through some pretty difficult patches during the transition to a very different company, job and commute.
That same mindset and lesson were greatly welcomed and used heavily this past week. Between travels, presenting at a big meeting and a conference (within day of each other and completely different topics) and preparing a plethora of reports and information for our department offsite next week, I found myself nearly paralyzed by stress last Sunday. I had just spent a few very wonderful days exploring one of my favorite cities with one of my favorite people, but lurking in the shadows were the tasks of the upcoming week. And, without the distraction of my friend, I had come face-to-face with those tasks and the pressures of the coming week, which transferred me back to when I first began my new job and all of the self-doubt and stress.
So, I did what any sane person who has a billion to-dos to tackle would do — I forgot about it all and headed outside. All joking aside, I realized I needed to take a step back and view it all from a different perspective, which meant giving myself a break. I headed outside for a no-expectations run — in that I would walk or run or move in any way that felt good for one hour. What ensued was a glorious run at sea level in a tank top that not only allowed me to sweat out some of that stress, but also to refocus on something else for a bit. It didn’t hurt that I kicked ass and pounded out five miles, which provided a sense of accomplishment, sparking momentum that carried on throughout the tasks and the week.
Upon returning from the run, I refocused on the upcoming tasks from my new mindset, first prioritizing based on the timing of the tasks. I decided I would put the most effort toward the most immediate task and, if needed, chip away a bit at the others. This meant spending two hours Sunday preparing for my big meeting on Monday, but also reading through my upcoming conference presentation one time. It helped me feel like I was still practicing and preparing for the second task, while spending more of my effort on the other.
For the tasks happening later in the week, I read through and understood what I needed to do to complete the tasks, but promised myself not to take any action until I was done with the conference. I also blocked out time on my calendar for Thursday and Friday to ensure I would have time to work on the tasks. And then I prioritized based on complexity, which for me meant knocking out the two easier tasks first. Because I had spent the time understanding the effort required and the task itself, I felt a bit more at ease.
And, throughout it all, I continued to remind myself bite-by-bite and that I can’t do it all — and definitely not at the same time. And, that it will all be okay, even if it isn’t. Luckily, it was all okay and both presentations went really well. I was also able to knock out yesterday the rest of the items for my offsite next week. The presentation part of the offsite is still TBD, but I’m going to focus on this moment, enjoy my weekend and not stress about it. Monday will be here soon enough.
“We walk through so many myths of each other and ourselves; we are so thankful when someone sees us for who we are and accepts us.” ~Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones
week in review
last week’s gratitude: friends
this week’s intention: bite-by-bite
what I’m reading: The Importance of Living + The Accidental Empress + Writing Down the Bones
exploring + time in one of my favorite cities
completed MBSR course
lots of movement + many workouts
coffee + catching up with a friend
hosted + participated in March session of Denver Creates
lots of time spent outdoors
continued to obsess over Beyonce’s Lemonade
attended friend’s bridal shower
celebrated friend’s 40th birthday
drinks + catching up with a good friend
celebrated with good friends for one of my BFF’s birthdays
presented at DWG member meeting
kicked ass at big work meeting
tickets bought for alt-J at Red Rocks
completed final MBSR homework + readings
went on a few dates + met some new awesome people
meditation + self-reflection
wrote + posted kindness begins with ourselves + week reflection
weekend happenings + intentions
catch up on tasks around the house
attend get-together with friends
read + relax
run + finish one of the three books I’m currently reading
time with friends
spend a bit of time preparing for work offsite
breakfast with friends