another trip around the sun + week in review

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” ― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Thirty-seven. I’m not sure what I thought my mid-30s (because I refuse to say late-30s until 38) would feel like, but I’m certain whatever I had imagined would pale in comparison to reality. Life is really, really good — and not just because I have someone in my life who is a true partner and has taught me what love is — but because, despite it not being perfect, it is real. And, if I learned anything in my 36th year of life, it’s that realness and vulnerability and raw may sometimes be a more difficult way to live, but doing so makes the living all the more worth it.  Continue reading “another trip around the sun + week in review”

week in review + it’s fall!

“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” ~George Eliot

We ushered in fall a bit early with our first corn maze last weekend which, despite the sun making it a bit toasty, was a fun adventure. When we first set out, we had a map but decided to just explore and find our way. After a few wrong turns and dead ends, however, we consulted the map and discovered if we were to continue on our current trajectory, we would never make it out. Luckily my fiance is good with maps and spatial reasoning — and I trust him completely — so we exited shortly after. Continue reading “week in review + it’s fall!”

Q1 readolution update

Screenshot 2017-04-09 10.41.51Part of setting a goal that you then share publicly with friends + family + blog readers (which, let’s be honest, for me are primarily comprised of folks from the first two groups) is that you’re now on the hook for being accountable for that goal. So, here goes — checking in for the first quarter on my reading goals for 2017, of which I am very much behind.

A few factors have attributed to my falling behind, including a lot of travel (which sometimes helps but has not been the case this year), less train time due to increased travel and also driving more to work (really no reason for the latter, it’s just something I’ve been doing) and, lastly, I’ve gone off course a bit and read books that were not on my original list (see “I’ve gone rogue” below).

The good news is I have three more quarters — nine months — to pick up the pace and meet my goals. The challenge is I’ve got a lot of catching up to do and I’ve struggled with a few books on the list and am not super excited to pick them back up. We’ll see what happens. In the meantime, updates included below in red.

How is your reading going in 2017? Did you set any goals? Would love to hear your feedback in the comments section!

2017 READOLUTION

I will read:

  • all book club books (~10) behind a few books
  • at least one book per week behind
  • a chapter each week in a year of living mindfully on track
  • one page daily in 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Precepts technically on track, but there have been plenty of catch-up days where I read multiple days

I will read again:

  • She’s Come Undone, Wally Lamb
  • the War of Art, Steve Pressfield
  • Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
  • Wonder, R.J. Palacio (book club)

I will read:

  1. When Breath Becomes Air, Paul Kalanithi completed
  2. the one-minute meditator, David Nichol and Bill Birchard
  3. If Our Bodies Could Talk: A Guide to Operating and Maintaining a Human Body, James Hamblin
  4. The Book of Joy, Dalai Lama + Desmond Tutu + Douglas Abrams
  5. Brave Enough, Cheryl Strayed completed
  6. On Your Own Way: Women Travel the World Solo
  7. The Knowledge: A Too Close to True Novel, Steve Pressfield
  8. All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr
  9. The Gift, Lewis Hyde
  10. Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
  11. The Well Life, Borten and Borten
  12. Tenth of December, George Saunders
  13. Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, Pema Chodron
  14. Presence, Amy Cuddy
  15. I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t), Brene Brown
  16. Fig, Sarah Elizabeth Schantz
  17. The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted, Elizabeth Burg
  18. The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown
  19. Lunch With Buddha, Roland Merullo
  20. The Girls with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy Schumer completed
  21. The Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery, Robert Kolker (book club) started but didn’t finish
  22. 10% Human, Alanna Collen (book club) completed
  23. The Accidental Empress, Allison Pataki (book club) started but didn’t finish
  24. Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Kate Bolick started but didn’t finish
  25. essentialism, Greg McKeon
  26. Originals, Adam Grant
  27. The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher
  28. How to Be Alive, Colin Beavan
  29. Writing Wild, Tina Welling
  30. The Not So Big Life, Sarah Susanka
  31. bird by bird, Annie Lamont
  32. A Path Appears, Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
  33. The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron
  34. Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
  35. Dataclysm, Christian Rudder
  36. Today Will Be Different, Maria Semple
  37. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, Michael Lewis
  38. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight
  39. Carry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, Glennon Doyle Melton
  40. The Underground Railroad: A Novel, Colson Whitehead
  41. Additional book club choices
    • The Rules of Civility, Amor Towles in progress
  42. New releases in 2017 (~5)
  43. Quarterly issues of Bella Grace Magazine on track + in progress
  44. Bi-monthly issues of Harvard Business Review behind

I’ve gone rogue:

  1. The Importance of Living, Lin Yutang in progress
  2. Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg completed
  3. Books for Living, Will Schwable completed
  4. Full Catastrophe Living, Jon Kabat-Zinn dabbling
  5. Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy, Anne Lamont completed
  6. Taste: Infographic Book of Food in progress

catching up + weeks in review

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
gratitude: family
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
therapy
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
read
review/reflect on March + set April goals
run
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

silence + week reflection

my typical Saturday morning of writing was interrupted this week by my attending an all-day silent meditation retreat yesterday. and, while the anxiety of not knowing how the six hours would unfold almost caused me to skip it, I’m SO incredibly grateful I decided to attend. to spend the day not speaking while alone is a pretty easy task (for me). to do so in the company of 20 others and while eating and performing other tasks that would typically be accompanied by conversation was difficult. but, so rewarding.

there is a beauty is silence. it is not the sheer absence of noise that makes it so, but what happens when there is nothing to interfere with our thoughts. instead of drowning them out with conversations and music and other distractions, we listen. we give our self the attention we long for — that we deserve.

Enough

Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.

This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
until now.
Until now

~David Whyte, “Where Many Rivers Meet”

 

week in review
last week’s gratitude: Grace + our friendship
this week’s intention: living in the present
what I’m reading: Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own + If Our Bodies Could Talk
read Books for Living
DEN > JAC > DEN (pic 3, 7)
spent time with my bestie + her family in Jackson Hole
attended MBSR class #6
lots of movement + many workouts
more first dates
lunch + catching up with a friend
drinks + catching up with one of my favorite people
productive work week
survived a hellish winter-y commute
lots of reading time on the train (pic 1)
a bit of pampering à la hair appointment (pic 5)
finally saw Hidden Figures
completed MBSR homework + readings
continued progress on big work projects
skype + catching up with my niece
tickets bought for two more Red Rocks shows (is it summer yet?!)
meditation + self-reflection
wrote + posted grasshoppers and ants + week reflection

weekend happenings + intentions
attend all-day silent meditation retreat
celebrate second birthday of my favorite neighborhood brewery
read
move + spend time outdoors
time with friends
February goals review + reflection / March goal setting
read latest issue of Bella Grace Magazine

the mundane middle + week reflection

the past week was pretty mundane, which I don’t mean negatively but more in the sense of normal, every day, just moving along. that’s not to say there weren’t events that took place, progress made and good times had, but as I reflect on the past seven days the thought that comes to my mind is, “okay, so this is my life.”

weeks like the past one serve as a reminder that life isn’t all about ups and downs, sometimes it’s just about that space in the middle, which happens to be the place where I struggle most. when I land here, I want out — immediately. even if “out” means dealing with a crisis or another negative experience because at least there will be a goal (get the fuck out of this) and I will be focusing on getting there. and, even if I fail, I’m focusing my attention and time on doing that thing, getting to X.

in the middle, there’s no grand objective or experience happening. there’s no desire to hold onto a good feeling or get through a bad. there’s just you, getting through. and, hopefully, you’re taking the time to really be there — in the middle — when you’re there.  it’s something I’m working on because I think the middle deserves more.

the middle is not just a place to pass on by while we’re running to the happy moments or attempting to dig ourselves out of the undesirable. the middle is where the little things take place. it’s where pleasant happens. eye contact with a stranger. the smell of dirt. a walk with your dog. that first sip of warm coffee on a cold winter morning. a sunset while you’re sitting in traffic. it’s where the moments of our life take place. notice these moments. appreciate them for their ordinariness. live them free from the desire to hurry past. provide them the attention and credit they deserve. live them. and when you have difficulty in doing so, know that there are others out there with the same struggles. we all spend some time in the middle. we’re all in it together. let’s just be here and be okay.

“All that is important is this one moment in movement. Make the moment important, vital, and worth living. Do not let it slip away unnoticed and unused.” ~ Martha Graham

week in review
last week’s gratitude: acceptance
this week’s intention: progress over perfection
what I’m reading: Books for Living10% Human + Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own
read The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
wrote letters to members of congress + pres (pic 5)
coffee date + long walk with friend (pic 3)
enjoyed the weekend’s warm temps with lots of outdoors time
attended MBSR class #3
attempted to see Hidden Figures – sold out 😦
saw Patriots Day
multiple presentations at work
kicked off role of leading volunteer subcommittee (work)
yummy dinner + catching up with friends
completed 2016 taxes
survived first performance convo with my boss (good stuff!)
continued removal of items that don’t bring me joy by making big Goodwill donation
completed MBSR homework + readings
worked a lot
signed up to lead weekly meditation session (work)
continued Foundations of Well-Being program
meditation + self-reflection
posted the journey
wrote + posted much ado about doing nothing + week reflection

weekend happenings + intentions
host Denver Creates + celebrate one year!
begin travel planning for upcoming Scandanavia trip
MBSR homework
classic-movie day (Casablanca, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Gone with the Wind)
finish 2017 travel wishlist (holdover from last week)
coffee + walk with friend
move
January reflection + set goals for February
maybe go on a first date
continue to make progress in The Foundations of Well-Being course
board games + super bowl with one of my favorites

week reflection

“It is impossible for you to go on as you were before, so you must go on as you never have.” ~Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

week in review
last week’s gratitude: solo adventures
this week’s intention: notice
what I’m reading: Books for LivingThe Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo
enjoyed one of the best vacations of my life
grateful for a city + county that doesn’t want to let go of the holidays (pic 1)
lots of reading + relaxing + wandering + exploring in SoCal
drove highway 101 with the top down (pic 3)
lots of beach time (pic 4, 5, 10)
read Brave Enough
finally bought a DSLR – something that’s been on my wishlist for a long time (pic 9)
made significant progress on a big work project #allthespreadsheets
checked out a few San Diego breweries (pic 7)
attended first Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class (MBSR)
dinner with two of my favorites
meditated with coworkers (SO looking forward to this being a regular occurrence)
birthday wishes for my favorite nephew
enjoyed an extra day off of work + honored the man who made it so
six months at my new job + company
dinner + catching up with a good friend
phone time + catching up with friends + family
read + completed exercises in Belle Grace Magazine issue 10
attended special tapping to “make some noise” at my favorite local brewery
continued Foundations of Well-Being program
meditation + self-reflection
wrote + posted the unplan + week reflection

weekend happenings + intentions
participate in women’s march in whatever way I desire
read + write
continue minimizing + removal of items that don’t bring me joy
MBSR homework
connect with friends
meditate + continue bringing mindfulness to everything I do
walk + catching up with girlfriends
move
complete tax prep
make progress in The Foundations of Well-Being course
write + post 101 things in 1,001 days update

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