Stay In or Go Out?

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Maybe it’s just the way it’s filmed, but the first time I watched Sex & the City, I thought that the girls went out all the time. Rewatching the series over the years (and now being a woman in her 30s) I’ve realized that, while not impossible, that just wasn’t the case for them, for myself, or anyone else I know (that I know of).

It wasn’t long ago that I’d rush home from work to head down to happy hour and get the weekend started — but as I’m writing this, it’s just after 10pm on a Saturday night and I am in my pajamas getting ready for bed.

I’ve actually been quite socially active — camping in Big Bear, attending rock and acoustic shows, gallery showcases and birthday parties. And while I’m not the biggest club goer these days, sometimes there’s just no better feeling than when the beat drops while you’re in the middle of the dance floor, and euphoria rushes like sprites in all directions through your bloodstream. Knowing what that feels like, it’s only natural to feel that if you’re not out, you’re missing out.

The other day I posted a series of tweets with the #selfcare / #selflove hashtags that ended up running along the vein of knowing your limits and not forcing things:

So to the above, I’d like to add that self-care is letting yourself stay in, which in my experience can take the same effort it takes to go out. Sure, going out can mean trading a security blanket for a pair of social butterfly wings, but staying in can mean pushing aside fear of missing out, or perceptions of what other people — or you yourself — may think.

Allow room for both as you see fit. Sometimes it’s okay to do nothing. It’s probably the biggest something you can do for yourself.

ttfn~

photo via Pixabay

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It’s Not You, It’s Me (The Truth About Blogging)

The idea of this blog came while travelling with my laptop in Denmark this past June. Being halfway around the world, I was reminded just how engaged the global online community is, and knew that if I just pushed myself, somehow I could find a place in it again.

Yes, again. Seven years or so ago, I had a blog called “Adventures of a Car-Less Valley Girl in Los Angeles” — a place where I commented on goings-on and personal forays in the cycling and public transportation world. Looking back on it now, I can see the interest and passion that went into it. Living car-free in a city where one’s car is considered a measure of status, it was basically my whole life. Not so much anymore, as I’ve had a car for a good three years now, although the issue of infrastructure and community still very much concern and affect me.

So what is my life now? What exactly do I want to share here?

1. Adventures in yoga. Everything about yoga is ultimate goals to me, but I’ve yet to put it into regular practice. It’s time. Over the next two weeks, I plan on making yoga a focus — practicing sun salutations A and B to the point of memory, adding some targeted stretches, and enjoying the hell out of savasana. (I’m really good at savasana.) I’ll also do some targeted conditioning work and maybe 10 minutes of HIIT cardio per session — but it’s time to switch gears and take a different route.

2. Random commentary (world events, hot topics, trends, etc.). There are maybe three YouTube drama commentators that I watch semi-regularly, but every time I do, I’m quickly reminded of this likely mis-quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Do I want to be that person on this platform? Not really. I’ve many viewpoints on things, but not necessarily on what is being gossipped about concerning social media personalities. Millions of others care enough without my input, and I don’t want to expend so much energy just to be in-the-know about someone’s drama that doesn’t serve me. I will, however, cover topics of note that inform, notify, and perhaps encourage to thought and action. We’ll just see.

3. Creative works. Think poetry, prose, short passages. I’ve an idea for a series involving mental health, and just existing, and will feature it here as it develops. It would be nice to write about writing, so look out for that as well. It might not always be pretty, but it might be what’s needed.

4. And finally, how bizarre life is. My colleague and I were talking yesterday about how life is just too much sometimes, but that no one can seem to tell from the outside. As we were talking, I could feel the stress settling in my neck and trace anxiety from making genuine eye contact. Balance between family, work, and passion is an ongoing process, and all the joy I can feel in one instance is met with fighting the urge to not cry in another. I’d like to touch on horrible and wonderful in every moment because right now, that is my life (and likely many others… we just don’t talk about it).

So there you have it — my intended direction for this blog at this time. Should I ever retract, just remember that the internet is forever, and there will always be some cached version available for viewing somewhere.

ttfn~

The Solar Eclipse Doesn’t Care What You Think

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I’d been looking forward to today’s total solar eclipse for weeks. Between the Perseid meteor shower last weekend and the Sturgeon moon the weekend prior, this was to be the marzipan frosting on top of a delectable month of visibly galactic activity.

From my vantage point in Los Angeles, I knew going in that it was going to be partial, but that was more than enough for me. To take part in a major event in the universe was all that was necessary.

What took me by surprise was some of the remarks about the eclipse — that it was a bit anti-climatic, or only okay. Fair enough if the hype surpassed reality. It happens.

Guess what? It’s a total solar eclipse. It doesn’t care what you think. It’s not here for you, humans. It went on without you whether or not you were there to watch it.

If you really want excitement, watch Game of Thrones, if you can continue to stomach the subpar writing of the past two seasons.  If that doesn’t do it for you, scroll through your favorite tag on tumblr. Still nothing? Tweet at your favorite podcaster and momentarily lose it when they “at” you back.

It’s to be expected, as a good amount of people have conditioned themselves to be so entertained or moved by something or someone that it seems to be forgotten that existing is enough. Meanwhile, the universe could collapse on itself and our planet wouldn’t even register on its list of worries.

My puny human advice? Be like the universe. Be brilliant, be bold; evolve and be limitless. Always be the bigger entity. Attract endless crowds just by existing. Illegitimi non carborundum and all that jazz. After all, aren’t we made of stardust?

See you again in 2024.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing

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I had a really nice time this weekend camping in the mountains with  my boyfriend, our dog, and  our good friends (don’t worry, it’s not deja vu — we went last weekend as well). It actually managed to feel like two weekends in one because we got home early enough this morning to decompress and prepare for the week ahead.

For me, part of that was thinking of something to write about and engage in with others. But between fleeing Los Angeles on Friday night, really enjoying the time out in nature (including waking up to some fresh cougar tracks outside of our tent — twice), I just really didn’t feel like writing. Not at all. It’s natural, I thought to myself; just call it a night and revisit this tomorrow. But something motivated me to put a little something to digital paper that I felt a bit important to share:

I graduated from university in 2012 with a degree in creative writing. The initial goal was to be an elementary school teacher, largely because I absolutely love the school community and the positive effects it can have on young minds. It was my third grade teacher who really stoked the fires of my imagination through reading and writing, and I really wanted to give back in that regard. (Ms. Toni Stitt, if you’re reading this — thank you, thank you, a million times over.) Besides that, just thinking of the summer and winter breaks meant ample time to write or travel.

However, that desire to write had been burned out by exhaustion, the reality of student loans, and the need to get a job as soon as possible. So I went for five or so years with the skill and ability to write, but struggling to find, not just the spark, but the confidence to do so again. Now that it’s warming my fingertips and my heart again, I don’t really want to let go of it. So I’m not going to.

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Instead, I’m going to tell you just how amazing it was to see our galaxy last night, like reflective clouds reaching across the sky. The night itself was brisk and cold, but not so much that it was unbearable, although my friend lent me a pair of gloves to keep warm. We originally had our chairs positioned almost as if we were looking at the sky like a television screen, but I got up in the middle (managing to steer clear from shrubs and rocks in the dark), turned my back to the makeshift screen and arched up just enough to get the view I came for, by sheer accident. There were massive, incomprehensible clusters of stars and I thought, some people don’t get to take in such views. There’s no real way to duplicate this, no dreaming up such formations from a limited scope. You have to actually be there and let your brain receive such wonder through your eyes, I mused, and stood there another ten minutes or so until it was time to go to bed. 

That’s why I’m writing right now, and probably why anyone else does: because it really is worth telling about, passing along traces of life, and feeling all the more alive in doing so. 

Just in case you were wondering.

Keeping It Simple – Never Easy, Always Worth It

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(Editor’s note: Somehow I mistook today’s daily prompt for “simplicity” when it is actually “solitary”…. will work it in somewhere. And if not, there’s always next time!)

“Nothing worth having comes easy.” — Theodore Roosevelt

Everything as we know it to be in its past or present form has come to be the result of an implemented process. Clean water is made available by filtration. Minimalism is achieved by letting go. Good relationships stem from communication, compromise. Peace is accomplished by war.

I recently wrote on the concept of intuitive eating and about how it is essentially an over thinking of a simple function. I still feel that to be the case, but thought I’d dive a little bit deeper, as I also feel that this applies to much than diet and nutrition.

Eating well, often, and with a clear head can involve reverting to the most basic of mindsets — “I’m hungry. I’m going to eat.” But it also means having the resources, the funds, and the federal regulation that allows good, affordable food to be available, to everyone. But we all know that this is not always the case around the world. 

(As an example: I recently read a U.S. news story about kids at a Florida middle school being allowed to the front of the lunch line if their parents “donated” $100. Instead of teaching impressionable minds that life rewards privilege, couldn’t we perhaps just feed the children?)

Humans are complex beings with, I feel, good intentions. We have a brain that takes up 2% of our total body weight. It receives, filters through, and absorbs massive amounts of information, and responds to internal and external stimuli, including stressors and pleasures. Science has allowed us to know so much about this powerful, complex organ — the very command center of our existence — and yet there is so much more that we don’t know. Overcomplicating things sometimes only makes sense.

Back to the outset, what is perceived as simple usually is the result of some sort of process that involves time, willingness, and resources. What is easy or more feasible for some may be very difficult or less possible for others, but it is also entirely possible.

For all you may know, real progress for our shared pain points — mental/physical, economical, political, to name a few — may merely involve more input from our heart, or gut, than over-input from from our head.

It may never be that easy, but it is almost always that simple.

Photo via Pixabay

The Difference Between Anger and Hate

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“Hatred eats the soul of the hater not the hated.” — Alex Serz-Hommer

Hate is one of those words that seems to be overused to the point that people don’t remember what it really means and entails. I myself have very recently learned that there is a difference between hate and anger.

On Saturday, August 12th, a group of protesters carried out peaceful demonstration in Charlottesville, VA against a gathering of white supremacists. A woman named Heather Heyer was killed when a man reported to be a neo-Nazi allegedly drove a vehicle into these individuals.

Within the past 72 hours, I have observed many heated reactions to Heather Heyer’s death and the circumstances that surround it. Some have referred to this as ‘hate responding to hate’. However, upon close reflection, I have realized that the response is, instead, anger.

Hate and anger may look or sound the same, but there truly is a stark difference between the two. Take hearing versus listening, for example, summarized excellently by the University of Minnesota Duluth:

Hearing is simply the act of perceiving sound by the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired, hearing simply happens. Listening, however, is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes meaning from words and sentences.

Likewise, anger is a mental and physiological response that peaks, then eventually tapers off to a middle ground. Anger, like joy or sadness, eventually passes. Hate, on the other hand, is a conscious, self-justified ideology, largely blind to reason. Hate takes on many forms, and often believes itself to be right above all others.

In short, anger can be reasoned with, while hate consumes.

It is important to point out that the majority of people responding on the side of Heather Heyer and the peaceful protesters is anger, and not hate.

The persons protesting that day were standing up against a proven threat to society. Peaceful protest has never been synonymous with rainbows, flowers, and unicorns; it is always brought on by strong counter feeling. But it doesn’t mean that it is fueled by hate.

A person died that day. People are tired and scared. They don’t know what to do anymore, now that threats of mortal and bodily harm have resurfaced as much more than threats on such a public, unchecked level.

This is a terrifying situation that affects all of us. A lot of people feel helpless, but it’s important to remember that hate groups are still very much the minority. It all may seem so much bigger than those who fight against it, and yet it is still being fought.

I am hopeful that the majority will remain angry enough to stand up for what is right, to call out hate for what it is, and more importantly, to make the distinction. 

And in discerning just where one’s motivation lies, I am hopeful that people will be able to spot the difference.

Why Does Everyone Hate Mondays?

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There are only 20 Mondays left in 2017.

I used to hate Mondays, so much so that the foreboding feeling would start to take hold on Sundays. It became so much of an issue that my significant other at the time thought it was hilarious, until he realized I wasn’t joking.

After some reflection, I realized that I hated Mondays so much because I hated my job. I didn’t hate the people, or the location or commute, or even what I did, but it just wasn’t working for me where I was in my life.

So ‘fess up. You hate your job just like everyone else in the world, and that’s the main (if not sole) reason why you hate Mondays.

So what are you going to do about it? Post a meme that adequately expresses your frustration, then grumble some more once you get to work? What good is that going to do, besides get you a few likes on Instagram?

I hate to break it to you, but there’s nothing more unattractive and uninspiring than someone who constantly complains about a situation and then does nothing to change it.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that Mondays and I are besties, but I have made an effort to not hate them anymore. This is largely because I stick to the following points as closely as possible:

1. Sleep in. If you can afford the time, give this to yourself on Monday mornings. Do you workout in the morning? A fair amount of workout programs schedule rest days on Sundays — just schedule them for Mondays and sleep in the extra hour. It feels almost as indulgent as dessert.

2. Start the day off with water. Before coffee, green tea, or apple cider vinegar shot, start with water. Sometimes the weekend  = overindulgence = not feeling too good the next day. If the damage is already done, water first. Keeping things simple often yields the best results. 

3. Balance work with play (and everything else). My natural social rhythm (and that of my friends) seems to beat from Friday night to early Sunday afternoon, giving me some wind-down time to set things up for Monday. I’ve decided to apply this to the week as well, balancing a night of laundry or practicing yoga poses with going out for dinner or a movie. Having a flexible work/play balance ends up bringing calm to the daily chaos that comes all too easily. 

On that note…

4. Take a minute for you. There are only 24 hours in the day, but five minutes here, two minutes there can really add up to something. Use whatever time you have to pause, to check in with family, or to further personal dreams and goals. Never underestimate the power of a spark.

5. Realize that everyone is feeling it. Even if you can’t see or sense it, everyone feels some variation of Monday blues. It’s just all about making it work somehow. Who wants to be known as one of “those people”, anyway — not only as someone who hates their job, but seemingly does nothing to change it? Do you really want to be that person? 

If it’s really that bad and none of the above points apply, maybe it is time to look for a new job. 

And if its not that bad, then c’mon, figure it out already. 

There are only 20 Mondays left in 2017. What are you waiting for?