Well, the truth is I never really, truly left. Physically I was here, nestled into my little home in Venice Beach with my husband and our furry daughter. But my heart left for a little bit.
When I first moved to California, I felt like I’d found a piece of me that was missing. Like a soul mate. I fell madly in love with the year round farmers markets, the barefoot wetsuit-wearing fathers in the coffee shop early in the morn, the sunsets that looked like melted Crayolas.
I got kinda grouchy spouting off things like “there’s too much traffic” and “it’s too expensive.” Yeah, those things do kinda suck but I was speaking from a lack rather than an abundance. I had my blinders on to living one mile from the ocean. Blinders to the unbelievable family we have here. Blinders to the fact that we have our windows and doors open all year long.
Then I took a super early yoga class with a few of my closest friends. And we walked on the beach. For several miles in fact. The light was gleaming off of the waves. I had my feet in the sand and in the frigid water. There were seagulls and surfers everywhere. And I remembered:
California, you’re my soul mate.
And sometimes things change. And we might move eventually. But right now, we’re here and rather than bitching and moaning and pretending I’m not hopelessly in love with you, I’m going to soak it on up.
this year, for both thanksgiving and christmas, we’ve opted to stay put. i’ve just finished addressing our christmas cards. the turkey and the ham are ordered for thanksgiving day. and monogrammed stockings have been ordered for the mantle, with our bulldog rosy included. you’d thinking i’m a regular martha stewart here, which is laughable if we’ve ever met, but with this being our first christmas together as a true family, i want so much warmth.
i remember thinking what a pain in the ass it must be for my parents to lug ten boxes of christmas decorations down from the attic every year and then have to put it all away three weeks later. you take it for granted when you are little. “this must just be how it is.” but no, that’s not the case. it’s about what you want to create.
so here’s what i want to create – i want a hodge podge of friends and family filling our living room, a fire rumbling all afternoon, glasses full of red wine and hot toddies. i want those ridiculous claymation christmas movies and to eat stuffing topped with cranberry sauce for days after. i want a full belly walk to the ocean and an afternoon nap. i want to start creating all the magic my parents did for us.
but we will start with just one box.
in true virgo fashion, i can be a big ol’ critical pain in the ass.
i can be hard on those closest to me. i jump to conclusions. my mind is a very busy illusory machine.
that being said, because i know this about myself, i keep the reins on my mind quite tight. i probably ask myself, “is that true?” twenty times a day, but when the acupuncture, the green juice and the sweaty yoga practice has been pushed onto the back burner, my inner demons rear their ugly heads.
after a challenging trip home, i had a weird week. i was feeling really critical of everybody but me, and that downward spiral was putting me in an epically shitty mood. so friday i picked up the phone and called my mom who entertained my bullshit for about ten minutes then promptly sent me an email:
“actually you were part of the reason the weekend was rough. so get over yourself. embrace the greatness about your life.”
a few years ago that email would’ve sent me into a tailspin but as soon as i got it i thought, yesyesyes you are so right.
i was missing the beautiful moments with my husband, with my family; the time spent in my childhood home; the afternoons in nature.. and it was all because i was caught up on a few shitty interactions.
sometimes our mirror becomes dirty and we cannot see ourselves or others clearly. in yoga we call this avidya. it’s important to question our view constantly because it’s distorted. the exact same thing could happen to you and i, and we’d likely have wildly different stories and experiences.
donna farhi likens deconstructing these barriers to cleaning the windshield on one’s car so that one can see the beauty and avoid the potholes while driving.
where does this critical inner nature come from? how can i feeling so loving and compassionate then the critic rears its ugly head? i think the only way to lessen it is to love it. to understand that it’s from a place of fear. to understand that it’s another reason to look even deeper within.
everything that’s happening is just simply happening. we are the ones that choose to attach a story to absolutely everything. when our story isn’t inspiring, it’s time to look in the mirror. it’s time to make a shift.
it’s funny – sometimes words come so easily; they just flow. other times i must force every moment i spend writing. i’m in one of those slumps.
lots of stuff is brewing under the surface. many big shifts in my life are happening – my career, my outlook, my relationship – and all are calling for me to focus, dive in and, in many ways, grow up.
while at home in iowa this weekend, i found myself spontaneously bursting into tears. spending time in the house i grew up in (that my dad also grew up in) seeing my family and friends i have known since i was little, felt strangely hard. it was as though i finally realized how far away my life was in los angeles. what that means for the future, i’m truly not sure, but i do know that matt and my future requires spaciousness, trees, fresh air and really good people. we have so much of that here in los angeles but it comes at a costly price.
family is the most important thing to me in the world, and it definitely expands beyond the few with which i’m blood related. it’s a tribe that you are drawn to. that inspires you. that teaches you lessons. i have no doubt that i’ll continue to find that wherever we might end up, but right now i feel called to get clear with myself. getting clear isn’t always pretty, and doesn’t always result in tidy blog posts with a “moral of the story.”
today it’s just messy, and from the heart, and that’s okay.
this past week my mom flew in from iowa to hang with me while matt was out of town on business. and hang is just what we did. we hung in the living room, we hung at the yoga studio, went hung while shopping, we hung while cleaning our house. there was white wine, pizza, movies, laughing til we cried and of course, some yoga. i am really lucky to have a super cool mom – she gives great advice, can drink wine like a champ and has a killer sense of humor. some people think it’s really strange that she was at my bachelorette party and that we talk on the phone a couple times a day but it’s just the way it is. there’s no other way for us. we’ve simply become best friends.
there was a couple of times this weekend when she referred to my “husband,” and we just looked at each other like, “wow, holy shit.” in some ways i feel like i’m eight when i’m with her, and in other ways, like we are peers. she passes me words of wisdom, and i help her in many ways too. it’s pretty cool to watch that evolve throughout the years.
at one point, when i was leading yoga teacher training, she sat in the living room and at one point offered her beautiful insight. afterward, she apologized.
“i’m sorry i said something.”
“i shouldn’t have said anything.”
years and years ago my life was based around avoiding my mother saying anything and avoiding many of the adventures i soaked up this weekend (especially the adventure of washing our bathroom towels..). today, it’s about cherishing it. wishing i’d paid more attention along the way. listening to her stories and listening especially carefully now while i can. seeing myself in her constantly. what we have is rare. it’s not permanent. and i am cherishing every last second.
i only hope that i am someday drinking vino and watching movies with my daughter and that we can have even a bit of the beautiful, totally-at-home relationship i’ve been so lucky to have with mine.
thank you mom.
almost all of april was devoted to our wedding then traveling for our honeymoon. to put it mildly, i feel like i’ve been living in a very, very good dream, one that i didn’t much want to wake from. but our re-entry back to our lives in venice has been lovely. coming home to our pup, who didn’t punish us too much for being away so long; to our amazing friends, who we shared many bottles of red wine with; and to our home, which we really came to miss as we traveled and lived out of suitcases for a few weeks.
every hour and dollar spent planning and paying for the wedding was beyond worth it. every worry i had seemed really silly in retrospect because it all unfolded exactly as it should. and the immense love we were surrounded with that day was nothing short of transformative.
so with a couple of backpacks and some major fatigue, we boarded our flight to thailand with some trashy magazines and junk food (yay!) and continued living in our little bubble as we traveled all over the south. all we had were our flights there and back, and not a single plan. we had so many adventures, like riding an elephant in the jungle, celebrating thai new year with water guns and singhas, and living in a jungle treehouse, all of which matt referred to as some “bucket list type shit.”
we are home, carrying worlds of gratitude and love (i seriously still have butterflies from it all), and every day working to co-create a beautiful, conscious life.
my bachelorette weekend was promptly followed by a weekend of decadence with my honey in las vegas. i haven’t been to las vegas since i was fifteen and honestly i’m more of a jeans and dive bar kinda gal then fancy shmancy club scene but we had an amazing time. it was our last “dating anniversary” and we did it up right with dinner at joel robuchon’s l’atelier (matt has been waiting to eat here for years), a little gambling (i just sit there and enjoy free drinks! definitely not a gambler.) and then out for the quintessential crazy club evening.
the best part?
coming home. as much as we will always be down for a good time and i will always spend a couple of evenings in a pair of stilettos and a hot dress, we love our little family, our little house, our not-so-little dog and our big, beautiful life here in venice.
next stop: marriage. then thailand. and i so cannot wait.
my family. these two goobers make everything better.
5 ways to survive going gluten-free. really great advice for those of you that are ditching wheat (i highly encourage it!).
nuxe huile prodigieuse. i bought this amazing oil in portgual and it’s changing my skin.
cooking. seriously! who knew?!