The Day Has Come

I never wanted this day to come. I loved living in the camper and innocently I thought we could hold on to it for many years to come. But we never wanted it to be the rotted out camper that goes out to pasture, and as we noticed small issues here and there, we knew it was time to let it go.

These days our kids have no interest in the camper. That alone makes me sad. They are so busy these days working, school activities, time with friends, the last thing they want is to be crammed up in a tiny box with their parents. To head out into the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do is their idea of hell and a dream for Andrew and I.

Even if they were interested we don’t all fit anymore, at fourteen and seventeen they have out grown their sleeping quarters. The top bunk was perfect for an eight year old under five feet, it is not as comfortable for a teen pushing five feet six inches. While the bottom bunk still fits Siena, its not comfortable for her and the idea of having the girls share or sleep together was never an option, even when they were little.

What makes me sad is not necessarily the idea that our camper trips are over, but more, the reality that our girls are getting older, creating their own lives and eventually they will leave our nest. That is the hardest to let go of.

I will miss the impromptu grilled cheese lunches at a trail head or lunch in a National Park parking lot, opening the door to majestic views and vistas.

I will miss sleeping at wineries, spending a few dollars on a bottle of wine and some snacks in exchange for lodging on a beautiful property.

I will miss sleeping in friends driveways, having our own home while we visit someone else’s home.

I will miss our cozy foursome, packed in like sardines, hearing each other’s breaths while we sleep, being close enough to touch from any spot in the camper.

I will miss camper tailgates and overnights in the ski areas.

I will miss campfires in the rain and stumbling into bed smelling of smoke.

I will miss fancy camping at the Gorge and seeing the concert stage from our grassy spot.

I will miss traveling down a dirt road to find an open, mostly flat spot to make our home for the night.

I will not miss packing the camper.

I will not miss loading the camper on to the truck.

I will not miss leveling the camper on uneven dirt ground.

I will not miss putting my toilet paper in a ziplock bag so we don’t clog the black tank.

I will not miss emptying the tanks.

These memories, all of them, the good, the bad, the challenging and the amazing, they are not going anywhere, they do not disappear when the camper does. They live on in our hearts.

What Do You Love About Yourself?

Last week, I had a lovely mid week get away, with fully vaccinated friends. We talked, we laughed, we walked, we did yoga, I twisted my ankle, we ate lots of food and enjoyed each other’s company in a super beautiful and relaxing setting.

When you are able to hang out uninterrupted with your best friends the talks are more than just chit chat, we dive deep, and we talk about it all.

One conversation we had was about how we feel about our bodies. I have always struggled with my weight, my self image and accepting where I am right now. Always striving for perfection, but never ever really feeling like I can get there. I can run marathons, work out everyday, do 108 sun salutations, give me a challenge and I am usually up for it, but when I look at my body, I don’t always see all the amazing things it can do. I see thick thighs, cellulite on my butt and saggy arms.

When I was having this discussion with my friend, talking about being obsessed about the scale. Not wanting to give it up. But in the same breath trying to model healthy body image for my girls, because the last thing I want in my life is for my girls to have a negative self image.

My friend says to me “What if you give yourself one positive affirmation each day, in front of your kids?” What if? What would that do for them? Instead of just trying not to say anything negative, what if I actually modeled and demonstrated self love in front of my girls?

Then I realize maybe I don’t have to say things like I love my strong thighs, because honestly I am not there yet. But what if I can share how much I love my body’s resiliency, because even though I twisted my ankle, when I take care of it, I am bouncing back and will be healed soon because I am being mindful.

I still have a long way to go. And with a society that focuses on beauty and outward appearances, in order for my girls to hear me, I will have to cut through a lot of noise, but the idea is to just keep at it. Every little drop in the bucket will make a difference. That’s what I need to remember and keep working toward.

So, now each day, I will ask myself: What do I love about myself? I invite you to do the same!

Patience

The theme for my yoga class this week was patience. The definition of patience is: “The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.”

This idea is something that I feel like has transformed over the past year and a half. When we started the pandemic we needed to be patient to get all the information, trying to make sense of what was happening with so many changes and updates to what rules were critical for us to follow and those that weren’t. We had to have patience and wait to see our family and friends. It was time to hunker down and keep our distance.

Now, as we made our way through, we have a sense of the guidelines of how to stay safe. But now with vaccines available, we have to have patience for them to be rolled out for everyone. We have to have patience, waiting for everyone to be fully vaccinated. We have to be patient and wait to see how the world re-opens and what that will look like.

Just because I am vaccinated, doesn’t mean everyone around me is. It doesn’t mean the restaurants I was used to going to have just gone back to their normal ways. I will continue to wait, I will be patient and I will appreciate and be grateful that I have a family I love and enjoy spending time with. Although, now that some things have opened up more than before, the weather is nice and I have two teenage daughters, I am seeing them less and less. But, I continue to have patience that we are all on the right path and while I am not waiting for them to come back, I have patience for myself that as the new world rolls out, I will adjust accordingly.

Take A Moment…

There is a lot of talk about mindfulness and meditation these days. An opportunity to connect and recenter. But mindfulness doesn’t always have to mean a silent retreat and you don’t always have to meditate on a cushion in your private yoga sanctuary. While these might be wonderful ways to get away, they are not realistic for most people.

I read an article the other day from a newsletter I get each day called The Daily Good from The Good Trade. It is a super simple newsletter with recommendations on podcasts, books, recipes and interesting articles.

The story that caught my eye was 99 Ways To Add Mindfulness To Your Day, at first I thought this sounded overwhelming, I can’t do 99 things each day, but that wasn’t the point. The idea is to add small moments into your day when you CAN.

These were some of my favorite ideas:

• #3: Breathe. More specifically “Step outside to breathe the fresh air and get a sense for what the day may bring.” This is a powerful way to start your day.

• #6: “Meditate in the shower. Focus on the smell of the soap and how the warm water feels on your skin.” Just that simple, take time in the shower, something we do once a day, where you can be truly present.

• #17: Mindful eating. Something I am always working on, but I like the idea of trying to “pay attention to how food tastes and feels on your tongue. Experience how a warm mug curves gracefully in your palms.”

• #48: “Stop and smell the flowers. Reach out and touch a leaf or a tree trunk. Experience the joy of running your hands or bare feet through grass and earth. Indulge your senses with nature.” I just don’t do this enough.

• #52: “Hug your partner, friend, or pet for 30 seconds. Speak sweet affirmations to them.” This is such a sweet idea, hug and tell those you love that you appreciate them. Hugging is coming back! Go get your shots!

• #57: “Tell your co-workers or team that you are thankful for their work. Thank your barista for making you a delightful cup of coffee and your mail carrier for delivering your package. Just thank someone.” This is just nice to do and makes everyone feel good. I would add in give compliments too, same idea but telling someone what you like about them or that they are offering something you appreciate makes everyone happy!

• #97: And this, just because; “Pause when the sunshine hits your face. Embrace its warmth. Pause when the wind hits your face. Embrace its chill.” Be in the moment.

My suggestions to you is to read the whole article and then pick out a few you might be able to fit into your day or week.

I will start by saying Thank You to the The Daily Good and Emily Torres for this great article that gives us so many wonderful reminders to connect to the world around us and be present each day!

Happy Friday, Friends! Thanks for reading!!

Earth Day Poem

In my yoga classes this week, I read a poem by Stephanie Kaza, (writer, practicing Soto Zen Buddhist, and active proponent of religious dialogue. @https://www.stephaniekaza.com/)

This beautiful poem resonated me, not only for Earth Day, but as a way to honor our body and all it does as we move through our lives on the Earth.

“Please, dear mother Earth,

Help me to stand firm on my own two feet

Drawing on the solid earth below me

Help me to know the constancy of your strength

the power that is you, oh dear mother earth

Help me to walk with the blood of rivers in my veins

and the dark crumbling soil of earth in my flesh

let my muscles be strong as tree trunks

that rise up out of your belly

To dance in the sky

and sing praises to the life all around

Beating, pulsing, rich and full

with your sweet energy.

Oh dear mother earth

live in this body today.

Sing loudly in every breath I take

Stretch wildly and flow freely

with all the directions I move

and come home with me,

come home to my belly

live deep in my soul

oh mother earth, SING!”

A Day Away

A day away from the city

Early morning ferry ride

Open the gate to the farm

School is in session

I am on my way

Travel the curvy road

Fields and farms on either side

Dead end to the trail head

Steep hill leads us down

Grassy knolls and trees around

Through the shrubs we find the water

Rocky beach abundant with sticks

In the water and out

Dropping it and shaking off

Running further down

And then back again

A day at the beach

Our favorite way to spend the day

Last Time

For me, one of the silver linings of the pandemic has been joining my writing groups. I have taken a number of classes with Hugo House and have formed friendships and groups with people I have never met in person, yet I tell them everything about my life. In our group this weekend, we were given a prompt about the last time we did something. As we get closer to spring break, I wrote about the last time I was at the ocean…

The last time I was at the ocean was only a few months ago, but it feels like ages. Yes, I have been to the water and technically the Puget Sound is part of the ocean, but the real ocean is the beach and the waves and the open air and sand that seems to go forever.

I get to go back in a few weeks, a little get away to the house at the beach. The drive can be long, but these days traffic is less. After a few hours we finally turn off for the last twenty miles, the curvy road with evergreens on either side. As we get closer, I can feel the stress lifting. That last turn until we get to our town, I can see the ocean. As we pull into our tiny beach community, my daughter says to me, “You can exhale now, Mom.”

Heading down the huge staircase that leads to the water. Once the path is clear, one of us darts ahead and we let the dog barrel down the stairs to find his freedom on the sand. Seeing our canine family member have so much freedom, running fast, herding us all up together, splashing in the waves and chasing the birds. That is my perfect day at the beach.

With clouds in the sky, sun shining or even sideways wind blowing, it will always be my happy place. Running on the beach or strolling casually, the inhale of the fresh sea air fills my soul. It’s the recharge I always need to pull me back to the ground, get out of my head and be present in the moment.

The ocean has a power that I respect. Never turn your back to the ocean, I tell my girls. The waves come and go, sometimes in sets, sometimes sporadic, but they always come in and go back out. The sound is soothing, the rush of the white water as it floods towards us, the pull as it heads back out to sea. Back and forth it goes. Always reliable. Always there. Steady.

Coming Home

Moving, organizing, getting settled. I took a break from the blog last week because I was bit overwhelmed, now I am feeling a bit more grounded in my space. For me it felt like home since the moment we walked in.

The laundry is loud, the space is small, there is barely any storage, but it is our home. The shower is mine, the kitchen is mine, this is the house we brought our babies home to, this is the house that we remodeled and updated. This is our house. It feels a bit smaller than when we left, our girls are older now, but they hibernate to do school and chill out in their rooms, we don’t need spaces for tons of toys or doing gymnastics. We all are able to find our own separate spaces when we need it and we can all be cozy and together if we need it too. I remind myself we lived in a camper for a year, we can handle a smaller space, especially when it feels right, we are closer to our friends and this is our home.

I look forward to watching the leaves on the Japanese Maple tree coming in. I look forward to back yard barbecues with neighbors and walks to the beach with friends. I look forward to my kids walking or driving a short distance to go to school and finding their way home after their day. I look forward to staying put for awhile. Knowing our departure was what we needed to do, but coming back was just as important.

It’s Been A Year

*Photo from Seattle Art Museum last March, I don’t know the artist but I love the colors, the images and the peacefulness of this piece.

In early March of last year, I decided I was going to do more. I was going to get out more, explore more, find things to do on my own, I felt like I needed a change. Little did I know the Universe had other plans. I became a member of the Seattle Art Museum as my first step to get more art and activities in my life. I remember going to the museum early in March, being nervous with all the news of this new virus coming out. I debated whether to go or not, but finally decided, I wasn’t going to let this scare stop me.

I enjoyed the museum, tried not to touch anything, appreciated the fact that there were not too many people there and explored the various exhibits. That was my last trip to the museum.

This year has been the complete opposite of my mission in March, instead of getting out more, I have stayed in more than ever before. I started teaching yoga in my house, groceries ordered online delivered that day, friends and family meet up on screen instead of around the dinner table.

I have taken more online classes this year than ever before. Classes on memoir writing, facing fears in writing and being creative with writing and other mediums. I have taken classes on mindfulness, Ayurveda and yoga art history. I have joined writing groups with people I have never met in person, but share all the details of my life.

This year has closed us down to the world outside, but when I reflect back on my desire to do more in March of 2020, it seems that even from my home, behind my iPad, I was still able to connect, learn about the things I am interested in and continue to grow.