Tonight I am driving an hour to go make dinner for someone. I have food prepped and ready. The grill is set up and waiting. And I am nervous. I’m not nervous because I’m preparing food. I’m a pretty good cook and generally feel comfortable in the kitchen–or at the grill. I’m nervous because I am preparing food in someone else’s space. For them. (I can’t remember the last time I agreed to do this. No, really. I can’t remember.)

Over the last few years, I have been focused on feeding myself. Feeding myself in every way. What does it take to feel satiated? What nourishment does my body need? What about my mind? My heart?

I’ve learned about the need for rest, for quiet, meditation and calm.
I’ve learned about the need for time in nature, hiking in the mountains, swimming in lakes, rivers, oceans, and cycling through fields on the country roads near home.
I’ve learned about heartbreak.
I’ve learned about recovery.
I’ve learned about the comfort of my own home, the safe haven I’ve created.
I’ve learned about letting dishes pile up.
I’ve learned about hand-mopping floors almost religiously.
I’ve learned about the need for travel.
I’ve learned about asking for what I need.
I’ve learned about asking for what I want.
I’ve learned about the support and love offered freely by many.
I’ve learned about the feeling of shutting people out.
I’ve learned about the feeling of letting people in.
I’ve learned about boundaries and blurred edges.
I’ve learned how little I truly know.

But this I do know: Relationships matter. People matter in my world. And once I recognized and owned that I am driven by relationships, it was time to redesign my life.

A desire to connect runs through everything.

I have a coaching client who once said that connection was one of her primary goals. In every area of her life, she realized that she made choices hoping to gain connection, deepen existing connections, create meaningful moments of connection. And I could relate. She brilliantly mirrored back to me my own desire for connection.

So back to tonight and my plans. Yes. I feel nervous. But what if I re-frame the nervousness? What if I view it as excitement? I’m excited by the possibility of connection in a new context. I’m nearly bursting with joy, recognizing the potential of the experience. I take a deep breath–in and out. Shoulders drop. My mouth and eyes smile.

Tonight is an adventure, an opportunity to share an experience. I get to feed a beautiful person. I get to share a meal, conversation, my vulnerability as I venture out of my comfort zone and into theirs.

And that is how I open myself to connection. To relationship. To being well fed.

Connect and be fed. 

Tonight’s menu:

Local grass fed steak
Grilled veggies (zucchini, peppers, onions)
Simple green salad
And “the light of a bottle of intelligent wine” will grace our table.

What will you do today to be satiated, nourished, fed?

 

Braveblogging31

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One More Time

It is only by risking ourselves
from one hour to another
that we live at all.
-William James

Maybe you know what this feels like:
You stand in the desert, lift your eyes to the horizon.
It would take ages, days, lifetimes it seems
to reach the edge of your vision.
Your chest lifts, soul expands. You and this land,
you conspire together, plan the birth
of wisdom and freedom and joy.

Or you lie on the deck of a ship in the middle of the ocean at night.
The Milky Way hovers, glittering and majestic. But close
like it has something to tell you, a secret,
the mysteries of the universe.
You are on the edge of all you’ve ever wanted.

I want THAT. One more time.
Resting. Standing.
Perched
at the edge
of all potential.

And memory floods this moment.

One more time
I want to walk Las Ramblas in Barcelona
where tango and flowers and music embrace me.
I want another meal in the kitchen with the cook
singing spanish love songs to the food,
infusing that food with love–the most nourishing of all.
I want to swim with sea turtles at dawn,
to hear a baby say their first word, watch her take her first step,
even to witness her get her heart broken for the first time, a risk,
a sign that she’s choosing life in all its duende.

I want to dance salsa in the moonlight,
teach a grandchild to knit, ride a bike, bake a pie.
I want to stand on a mountain, the sun on my face,
all the sunlight I can hold. Full. Radiant.
I want to smell jasmine tea.
To notice and photograph the prisms of light
in water droplets I discover on flowers in the garden.
I want to hike through lemon groves along Cinque Terra.
I want to cheer at my child’s graduation. Throw parties.
Write old fashioned hand-penned letters to friends I adore.
I want room service and hot baths and good books with stories I can get lost in.

Most of all, I want to relax
into the pleasure of loving.
Loving like I did as a child.
Without conditions or fear or reservation.
What I wouldn’t give for more fearless love.
Just one more time.

That’s why I won’t let this get me down.
I want the beautiful, painful, risk-taking adventure we’re all on
together too much. Too much. Holding nothing back.
One more time.
And again.
To life.

I was asked to write this piece for the 2014 Pink Ball in Walla Walla. Huge thanks to Amy Vixie (founder and president of JUGS, a non-profit organization that puts on the annual fundraising event) for the invitation. It was a beautiful event, and I am grateful and honored to have been involved.

I post it today, as the Grand Cardinal Cross graces the skies, as a celebration of life, a reminder to be courageous, to live fully, to love unconditionally. To life.

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Go go go. Hurry up. There is so much to see and do. And so little time. Keep up.

I have spent most of my life pushing, rushing, overcommitting, and spreading myself thin. Getting up early and staying up late. Not wanting to miss a thing, and believing in some part of me that if I could just add more accomplishments to my list, I’d feel better, safer, perhaps like I’d arrived.

But that’s not how it works.

Recently, at a Mama Chaos Club gathering (one of my favorite things!) we discussed the idea of slowing down.

Do nothing and everything will be done. – Lao Tzu

It is a scary concept for many of us. And I’ll be honest, I seem to be surrounded by high achievers with busy schedules who have big goals and lots on their plates. I like you! I do. And I think this conversation about slowing down is worth having.

What does it mean about who you are if you slow down? Think about it.

What does slowing down even mean?

  1. Step back. Take a breath.
  2. Say “no” more often.
  3. Be still and present with yourself for a moment (or two).
  4. Do things to feed your soul, not because there is a certificate or grade or accolades at the end. Do these things because they feed you.

Lao Tzu isn’t suggesting that we shut down, that we don’t set goals, that we let life pass us by. But instead, we can discern and go with the natural flow of things. Stop the glorification of busy. Smell the roses. Drink a cup of tea. Chew your food. Maybe even lie on the beach in the sun, drinking a piña colada, giving yourself time to think and write and rest and enjoy and create. Learn to be with still with yourself from time to time. Breathe. And learn to go with the flow.

The push, the rush, the overcommitment and overwhelm take their toll on our bodies, our relationships, and our hearts. This week, think about slowing down, giving your adrenal system a breather, and focus on being present. Report back on what you notice. I’d love to hear.

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When I return from Istanbul

This weekend, in my heart, I will be staying in a tastefully appointed (ridiculously luxurious) flat located over a designer boutique in a gorgeous district of Istanbul. I will run along the waterfront, soak in marble baths, wander palace grounds, marvel at the rich history of the city, eat and drink things the pleasure of […]

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I’ve been having a lot of discussions recently about happiness. And as I was driving through the beautiful countryside on my way to have dinner with people I love, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask you for feedback. Here’s my question for you: What have you done today to increase your happiness? I don’t […]

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Four Weeks of Gratitude

This morning I left Seattle early. Much earlier than I would have liked. I was tired and groggy and a little bit grumpy. But as I drove across the bridge, early morning light reflecting off the water, I noticed the view and something shifted. I was grateful to be awake. Grateful to have that view […]

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