it’s a new day, it’s a new dawn

 

“Goodbye, Hell Hole!!!!!!!”

That’s what I shouted – because I’m mature and grown-up – as I drove away from my tiny, sweltering ex-studio. I was putting it behind me. Literally.

it's a new day

I’ve been living in my new place for three weeks now. I find myself smiling uncontrollably. I can hear sheep, cows, horses and chickens out in the distance. The most consistent sound I hear is of leaves rustling in the wind.

It’s all music to me.

blackberriescherry plums

I’m currently visiting my folks and packing my car with all of the things that wouldn’t fit in my old place. [I just checked the manual and yes, your parents’ house is supposed to act as a storage unit. Thought so.]

I’m excited to be bringing more personal items and much more kitchenware. My new place is inspiring and full of promise, and I am motivated to step up my game to expand into and embody the possibilities.

The past six months have been a mixture of stress and joy, of limitations and discovery. I still haven’t been sleeping well; I wake up at 4am, 5am, 6am and my mind starts whirring, but this time in a good way. There is so much to do, so much to make happen.

strength

I’ve always had difficulty figuring out where I was going: Where do I belong? What am I doing? Am I making the right decisions? But I think I understand The Force now. You can’t always use your eyes to see. If you know yourself, trust and have faith in yourself, you do your best to feel your way through while remembering to R-E-S-P-E-C-T yourself. You recognize rightness in your bones and you go where they lead you. Dem bones be smart.

I’ll continue to stumble, to doubt, to hope, to practice gratitude. And I’ll try and hold it together if I need to juggle all of those things at the same time, but I make no promises. If you go to your local grocery store and happen to witness a small Asian woman sitting down in the middle of the potato chip aisle, alternately laughing and crying, please don’t disturb me. I mean her. She’ll be fine. It’ll pass.

It’s a grand ride, this life. Full of unruliness, stillness, sudden twists and turns, and the potential for laughter in the face of fear and joy. Better hold on tight. Or loosen your grip. You know what to do for you: The Force awaits.

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. ” ~ Pema Chödrön

home

 

 

 

it’s an ephemeral life

into the fog

“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You’re able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open.”

~ Pema Chödrön

When I discovered that Friday’s WordPress photo challenge was the word ephemeral, I knew I wanted to post some cool photos I took one foggy day. Then I started to think about fleeting moments. Then impermanence. Which led to the pondering of Buddhist concepts. And finally, my head burst into flames.

(My head is always doing strange and unpredictable things, like the time it fell off and rolled around on the ground. Well, I don’t need my head to write this post. Truth be told, I was barely using it for my previous posts anyways.)

I don’t consider myself a Buddhist. I believe and don’t believe in a lot of things. I simply decide what feels right and then try to apply it to my life. Intellectually, I get the ideas within Buddhism, but they can be difficult to practice for someone who likes permanence. When Joy enters the room, I want her to stay awhile. I ply her with wine and chocolate and the gyoza she likes from Trader Joe’s. But she always has somewhere else to be. She has a very busy schedule, that Joy.

i heart fog

Enter, Gratitude.

Photography is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. If you’re like me (oh, lucky you! the sweet realization!), you capture these moments in time and then – everything changes. You feel gratitude because what you saw and experienced will likely never happen the same way again. And if you’re like me (oh, dear. poor you.), you get secretly giddy over the fact that while you were living in the moment, you captured it and made it permanent. Take that, Buddhism!

In case you’re wondering, Buddhism can take this kind of ironic taunting.

Joy, pain, gratitude, disappointment…they flow in and out, in constant motion, and sometimes they are tangled up together. I suppose that’s what happens when you stay open – you allow more of everything to enter. It definitely helps to keep your sense of humor and perspective intact. So that’s why I’m going to end with the photo below, because photography also causes you to notice things in a different way, which is, like, totally awesome, Dude.

If you’re like me – twisted, easy (…careful…), head falling off all of the time but knowing how to play it off, and willing to laugh at yourself, then…Joy!! I proclaim that we can be friends!! Because honestly, this has all been a test of our potential friendship. Okay, okay…here’s the photo:

when trees photobomb each other

when trees photobomb each other

 

peace out

To experience more serenity, go to the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge here.

I live in a stunningly beautiful part of the country. So it only makes sense that I leave that beauty and replace it with new beauty. I’m insatiable! Nothing is ever good enough for me!! I always want more!!!

breathe…calm yo’self…serenity…

I never get up and drive to watch the sun rise. But I’m on a little birthday getaway, and these are the gifts I received for stepping outside my door yesterday morning:

Canvas Ranch sunrisesheep

As I get older, I realize how important it is for me to have the peaceful silence of nature around me. It softens the hard edges, sheds light on dark corners, and clears some of the static in my brain.

It fills, energizes, and it is the answer to a lot of my questions.

It gives me joy.

And that is the best present, really, that I could ever ask for.

happiness is a warm taco

My friend Mae took this photo during a moment of our champagne tastes and caviar dreams (I didn't have a picture of me eating a taco).

My friend Mae took this photo during a champagne tastes and caviar dreams moment (I didn’t have a picture of me eating tacos).

The alternative title to this post was “happiness is hugging a warm taco”, but doing so is decidedly messy. Don’t believe me? Try it, then get back to me.

The other day a friend and I went to get tacos at a local Mexican market. It’s no frills and the tacos are soooo good. You walk in, pass the glass case filled with ready-to-go carnitas, salsas, cheese, chicharron, and crema, and head towards the back where you can order your deliciously warm tacos. Did I mention that they are $1.50/each??

When they call out your order for pick up, you can sit down at one of the few tables or hoist yourself up on a bar stool and sit at one of the counters.

I hoisted.

I hugged my taco.

I spoke with my mouth full: “Thi foo make me happy.”

If you’ve made it this far into the post, first of all, thank you from the bottom of my taco-loving heart. Second of all, you might be thinking, “Poor girl, she thinks she’s posting a review on Yelp. tsk tsk.”

Yes, sometimes I get confused and think I’m on Yelp, Match.com or even forget where I am in general, but today, talking about tacos reminds me how something so simple can bring such joy. When everything is so clearly simple and solid and in-the-moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a taco, a stunning view, or breaking out in uncontrollable laughter with a friend. I’m grateful for any fleeting moment that causes you to connect to yourself and something even beyond that. Something bigger than yourself…that intangible feeling of…love?

I don’t know why my lesson was sent in a taco, but hey, I’ll take it. There’s a reason why I’m always proposing to food. Mr. T and I pity the poor fool I fall in love with: “Marry me or else I’m going to make a taco a very happy husband!!”

Hey, that’s a good title for a Match.com profile…

 

Shall We Dance?

I’m not sure what I was thinking.  That’s just it.  I wasn’t thinking.

After all, I’m still trying to understand the messages that my body sends me (see last entry).  Sometimes two halves don’t make up a whole, and sometimes the result isn’t as funny as the movie promises:

All_of_Me_1984

The local dance studio had advertised “Disco Night!” which included a lesson in the Hustle and then a dance party to follow.  I remembered how much fun it was to do the Hustle, and consequently, I thought it would be really fun to just let loose and dance afterwards.

What I didn’t expect was a formal lesson by award-winning ballroom dancers and as we learned each step, we would be switching partners.  I went by myself in an effort to “get myself out there” and found out, hey – this is what speed dating must be like!  Except, it turns out, this would be more humiliating.  On a positive note, I was having fun learning the first few set of steps before things got complicated with full and half turns.  On a not so positive note, if my guy also didn’t know how to dance and one of us missed a step, I got thrown off the ship and I took my partner with me.  If I tried to laugh it off and the guy didn’t laugh at all, I felt terrible.  Being responsible for my own demise was no big deal.  But if I ruined it for someone else…

When the lesson was finished, the lights went out and the disco ball came down. I thought, Let’s Dance!!!  Where’s Ren McCormack??!!  But people partnered up to elegantly chachacha and hustle and do whatever choreographed step they were doing.  Oh.

I watched the other single women being asked to dance and after fidgeting on the sidelines a bit, I left.  I felt…awkward.  I blame myself – I could have laughed it all off and not cared what anyone thought.  The point was to have fun, and my feelings of embarrassment kept me from truly having fun.

I guess the point of trying something new is that at least you learn what you like and don’t like.  After all, I don’t get the least bit embarrassed when I dance at weddings or other events where you can just let go and dance the way you want to.  In fact, I’m positive that I embarrass other people.  Maybe structured dance just isn’t my thing.

I was telling my mom about the experience and she said (translation provided in English), “When you were young, maybe 6 or 7 years old, you would put a record on and dance, dance, dance…dance, dance, dance…shake your booty, shake your booty…”  (Sorry, I made up that last part.  Couldn’t resist.)  She said that I would dance and dance and laugh and laugh…

That’s how a kid dances, right?  With complete freedom and joy?

That’s what all of me loves about dancing.  There is no argument within because I can let it all go and feel like a kid again.

No, I probably won’t be going back to that dance studio.  Not unless they combine speed dating with improvisational dance.  Now where to find…