Monday, June 30, 2014

Lessons From the Night Sky

My dad was visiting this past week; it was so fun having him here.
His trip was impromptu, and I didn't plan much, but we ended up doing  the coolest thing.
Every Saturday of a New Moon, Mt. Tamalpais hosts star gazers to check out the night sky through the astronomy club's telescopes.
This past Saturday was a clear, cool night
and eventually twilight started to give way,
and the stars began to pop.
We climbed a ladder to a giant telescope and saw a star mass-
a big cluster of millions of stars swirling around the sky.
We were shown a star that had burnt up and died -
leaving a hole in it's middle, clouded in a light blue hue. Sad.
We saw Scorpion's tail -
a constellation only visible in the summer months.
We peered through two different telescopes
to catch a glimpse of Saturn.
It looked like a little video game icon, but you could clearly see it's rings. Awesome.
We traced the outline of the Big Dipper and paused to stare at The North Star.
 Did you know, The North Star holds steady as the entire northern sky rotates around it?
I think that's so romantic. And amazing. That mighty North Star.
Waiting for the stars on top of Mt. Tam
Every few minutes, the astronomers would step in and readjust the lens and positioning of the telescopes.
So much movement, both in the sky and on earth, the stars and planets easily jump out of view.
My dad and I were speaking with one of the astronomers as the telescope was realigned,
and he said something that really struck me.
He remarked that we know so much about the ground we walk on,
and yet, the sky remains a mystery to so many people.
Rarely, do we ever look up.
And we should!
 Because it's the same sky up there, night after night.
If you ever feel a little lonely, take comfort in the fact that there is familiarity up above.
The same old smattering of stars, to help guide you on your way.
I thought a lot about this the remainder of the weekend.
There are so many things I am excited about in my life right now...
but simultaneously, these things bring confusion.
And there are variables that cloud my view.
It's hard to navigate, and I wish I had the patience of an astronomer.
But sometimes, just  like with the telescope, you have to let things settle a bit
before you can see what your looking for with a clear eye.
Happy star watching, friends.
xo





Monday, April 28, 2014

The Mighty Mountain Lion

Most friends are aware from firsthand experiences with me, that I have a huge appreciation for animal totems.  
I’m a hippie dippy believer that there is a deeper, symbolic meaning associated with animals, 
and that quite a bit of information related to our spiritual nature can be derived from any critter or creature that cross our paths: large or small, feathered, finned or furry.  
My parents and aunt challenge family members to consider what we are thinking about at the exact moment a circling hawk catches our eye, or what larger meaning is being represented by the grizzly bear in our dream. It’s powerful stuff!

I’d guess this curiosity sprung from my parents’ interest in Native American culture. Growing up in a historic colonial house in Connecticut, you’d likely be surprised to see all the Hopi Kachina dolls, beaded jackets and woven baskets in our home. 
My childhood dresser drawers and bookshelves are filled with old buttons showcasing Chief Joseph, tiny beaded Indian dolls and Zuni animal fetishes. 
(family collection) 
When my sisters and I were little, our  family vacations consisted of car rides through dusty deserts and red rocked canyons. And at the time, we found it all a bit goofy – can’t we just go to Club Med like everyone else in the 5th grade?! But with a little distance between the Arizona desert and myself, I realized a handful of years ago how lucky we were to grow up in a family that put a strong emphasis on respecting all living things. We were raised not only to appreciate nature, but also to learn from it.

This past weekend friends and I were up in the Sierras, closing up our winter ski lease. 
On our way to lunch, we saw a mountain lion. 
Guys – I know. I freaked. 

We couldn't be sure if our eyes deceived us, so we turned around and high tailed it back to where we saw him. He was gone by the time we got back to the sighting, but I peppered people with questions about mountain lions in the area, and we took to the Internet and confirmed what we saw. 
A rare spotting in North Lake - but saw one, we did. 
The message being sent through this animal  is a powerful and personal one – most applicable to me, is the reminder to act in a way that is true to self – and tune out the noise from others.

Here is what we can derive from seeing the mountain lion: “Be graceful and easy in all you do; build your courage and use it to follow your heart, not allowing others to control your actions. You must claim your leadership abilities and start down the path you know is right. Trust the process and live your life with pure integrity. Incorporate the courage, strength, integrity and power the mountain lion represents.” 

Amazing. 
Happy, Monday friends. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goodnight, Moon

Last night, I set out to chase the moon.  
I didn't know if the blood moon would live up to its name, and I didn't want to be disappointed.
But it did. And I wasn't.
The stars even got a little jealous of the magic of the moon last night,  because a couple of them decided to shoot across the sky – daring us to take our eyes off of the eclipse.
We had to cross the bridge and climb up through the fog to lasso it.
That pesky marine layer put up a good fight, but we ended up finding the perfect spot in a quiet little park at the base of the bay.
(image is my own)
Sky gazing can make you feel so small I suppose, when you start to think about the universe stretching on forever.  
But, it didn't make me feel insignificant at all.
Don’t laugh at me. But I felt really connected to the universe. Connected and curious.
And I felt a sort of comfort, thinking about all of the other people bundled up and bleary-eyed, craning their necks up to look at the exact same moon, at the exact same time, 
well passed our bedtimes.
This big old orange moon, commanding the attention of everyone’s eyes – gently pulling us in closer.
It’s kind of a nice thought, right?  
Wishing you the galaxy and beyond.

xo

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

With Arms Outstretched

Spriiiiiiiiing! 
The word itself sounds happy. And bouncy. And light.
Last night, I dreamt that piles of flowers
came pouring from the sky.
Big cheerful petals and blossoms. 
They fell gentle, on my chest. 
With arms outstretched, and up towards the sun:
This is how I welcome April.
(image is my own) 
Winter. 
You taught me lessons I never wanted to learn. 
Although, I am grateful that I did. 
You showed me the value of people. 
Who listened.
Without consequence or judgement. 
Without impatience or skepticism. 
They let words and worries tumble out of me, 
many of which had sour notes.
And they didn't rush to make things sweeter. 
Instead, they let me empty every last thought.
And slowly, 
this anchor I'd been dragging started to rust away. 
It makes me happy. And bouncy. And light. 
Happy Spring. 
xo






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Adventure is Calling

My eyes need a sky full of stars,
my lungs, the deep inhale of sea salt air.
My legs crave the ache of a long day on a dusty trail.
And my skin, the comfort of the desert sun.
Once, I told my little sister that I wished I could go hug a saguaro.
Well, I would tomorrow if I could,
and tell all my secrets to the trees. 
I whispered some wishes to the bay today,
but it didn't quite wash away the nagging need for an adventure.
image unknown
If my grandma had been walking with me,
I am quite certain she'd give my hand a squeeze 
and pose the familiar question, 
'A penny for your thoughts?' 
Oof. So many. 
And so. It's time to plan a trip. 
One for mind, body and spirit. 
Adventure is calling, friends.
And I must go.
Stay tuned.
xo

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Year. In Review.

It will be a quiet close to a relatively quiet year.
Some years are packed with adventures, some are a bit more calm.
2013 was on the calmer side of the spectrum. 
Sure, there are some things I would've done differently. 
The usual things, mostly.
I meant to read more books,
and spend less time in front of the computer.
I didn't ride my bike as much as I daydreamed about, 
or keep as many appointments at the gym that I intended too. 
I continued to throw out dishes that I didn't feel like washing when they piled up. 
Probably should have flossed more regularly also.
The good news is, those are all habits that can be remedied
once I throw them on the ol' resolutions list.
 And for the instances that I had less control over,
the unexpected loss of a job,
the unimaginable compromise of a friend's safety,
the hanging around,waiting too long for someone to realize how amazing I thought they were... 
to realize, how amazing they think I am...
Those situations made my heart ache.
But then,
there were the moments that caused it to swell.
I swam in a lot of rivers,
and I hiked a whole bunch of mountains.
I hugged the biggest redwood tree I ever saw,
counted endless shooting stars as they streaked the night sky.
I got a new job, representing a company that I love.
I danced to some really good music.
I made some new friends, and I tried some new foods.
I saw my first bald eagle circle above me on a crisp fall day.
 I watched my hard work unfold as an entire city and all of it's citizens
came together for the ultimate act of kindness,
in helping a little boy's wish come true.
And so it is.
I'll plot more adventures for 2014,
but I chalk this year up to being 'pretty darn good.'
Happy Christmas.
Happy year end, friends.
xo



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Snooty Tuesday, on Wednesday.

Yesterday I was in a mood. And let me tell you - not even an adorable puppy could drag me out of it. 
I wanted to punch and fling things. 
A friend and I call this the 'Snooty Tuesdays,' 
regardless of the day of the week.
And then, when someone told me I made their heart smile, 
I just felt like an asshole.
So it was by the grace of good friends, the grinning heart comment and a very thin veil of pragmatism, 
that I resisted the urge to do the following:
  • Dramatically swipe all of the contents on my desk from its’ surface, sending a flurry of office supplies and energy bars into the air to the shock and bewilderment of coworkers.
  • Buy a gigantic, extra-thick strawberry milkshake, remove the cover and splash it directly into a very specific person’s face.  (Basically, reenacting the scene from Grease except that this action would be premeditated on my part, not an impulsive reaction by Rizzo.)
  • Smash my cell phone with a hammer with one swift blow.
(72 min. creation, by me)


I didn't do any of those things…so that’s good. 
Things I did instead:
  • Re-watched a bunch of David Blaine YouTube videos from his celebrity TV special and settled on the conclusion that yes, Woody Allen probably does make his own malteds – which is adorable – and second,  that I need some DB ‘merch’ for Christmas. I proclaimed this need to the entire office. It was received with uncomfortable laughter and shifty eyes.
  • Spent 72 minutes trying to figure out/remember how to insert text on top of a photo in power point. I do not know how to bill this hour and 12 minutes. It should be noted that the determination to succeed here was driven by self-serving reasons, as the project was personal and not client related.
  • Invented a brand spanking new rendition of my popular workout series, “living room interval training,” where I do a bunch of weird, made-up exercises inspired by stuff I vaguely remember from my high school gym class elective: weight room. So, basically I gossiped to myself as I did calf raises and leg lifts. 
Today's better. Tomorrow's Friday.
I head home for Thanksgiving early next week. 
Things are looking up! 
Here's to smiling hearts and a weekend full of gratitude. 
xo