beauty hope life

simplify. let go.

I'm posting this random photo because I love it. And because Neville is what we look like when we don't "let go."
I’m posting this random photo because I love it. And because Neville is what we look like when we don’t “let go.”

I realize that saying I’m going to simplify and let go is not enough. Those are just words. They’re very nice words, but still just letters typed out on a keyboard. I’ve been thinking a lot about specific goals related to each of these items, and this is what I have so far:

  1. Meditate. I’m going to try this again for a while, just 10 minutes a day to begin with. Last night, I lit three candles, pulled out a chair and turned on a “Clear Mind” CD that Travis gave to me when we were first dating. I imagined my body becoming very light, then glowing. When I was done, I’m not sure much had changed yet, but I’m hoping with time I will be able to refocus my thoughts easier, and feel lighter.
  2. Read books more, and my phone less. This week, I’m trying to read a chapter a night before going to bed instead of scrolling through my phone. I’m a shameless Instagram addict, and while I love seeing my friends’ photos and posting my own, there is something to be said for a paperback novel in my hands and beautifully written words flowing through my mind before falling asleep.
  3. Clean out my closet. Then the drawers. Then the other closets. And so on. I watched “Minimalism” the other day on Netflix and I’m all inspired to live in a home filled with purpose and downsize the things I don’t use. This weekend, I plan to start with my closet and make a donation to a homeless shelter that takes used clothes.
  4. Get outside. When we were in Hawaii, we woke up at 6:30 every morning and headed to the beach or volcanoes. I don’t remember watching one TV show. The only time we had the television on was at night for noise while we got ready for bed. The whole trip was all about being outside, and I was so incredibly happy. At home, I can be more diligent about getting to bed earlier so I can walk our dog in the morning. I can get to work earlier so I can leave earlier and enjoy a little more daylight. On weekends, I can climb mountains, bike, run, and walk. I’m really so lucky to have trails so close to home.
  5. Create. I have my little card shop that is too often neglected. I’m giving it one more year and then we’ll see how I feel about it. But I’m going to create cards with the intention of putting smiles on my friends’ faces and hope a little business follows, instead of the other way around. I’m not going to let fear that something won’t sell stop me anymore.

And through all of this, I’m going to be kinder and more patient with myself. I’ll do what I can in a day, and I’ll try my best. Some days I’ll fail. Some days I’ll fail a lot. But I’ll let go and try again, and again, and again, and by the end of 2017 I hope to see myself as a more beautiful and fulfilled person by enjoying simple things and clearing out the rest.

What are your goals this year? I’d love to hear them! Cheers to 2017!

beauty grief hope life love

new year

It’s New Year’s Day and I’m sitting in my family room with the Christmas tree lights on, the TV off, the cat and dog resting, and Travis reading his phone on the couch opposite me. I have one soft light turned on in the corner, but for the most part, the room is dim because I was watching a documentary and the fan light causes a glare on the television.

I’m writing because I told myself I’d write today; it’s the new year after all, so it seemed like a good reason. I hoped to have all my resolutions picked out so I could tell you about them, but I’m having a hard time promising myself specific things like exercising five times a week, or writing a book, or going to bed on time, or learning how to do a headstand (although all of those things sound fabulous).

In years past, I chose five things I’d never done before and while this lead me to several adventures (like buying my first pair of stilettos and getting a massage) and temporary hobbies (like making desserts and sewing purses), I haven’t been able to think of five new things that I can commit to yet. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t do some of the things I’ve thought of such as climbing a 5.11 route or finally making a trip to Chaco Canyon.

I suppose this year I want more of a theme to work on instead of a number of things to check off a list. Quality over quantity perhaps?

What I keep coming back to is two themes: Simplify and Let Go. Let go was supposed to be my theme of my 32nd year anyway, right? Maybe it’s not time for me to come up with entirely new goals, but rather to focus on the ones I don’t have down yet.

Last week, Travis and I boarded a plane for Hawaii where we lived simply in so many ways. I have only put on mascara once since we left Christmas morning. My hair was never blow-dried and only styled in ponytails and buns (which is not a huge surprise, but still). I wore gym shorts, swimsuits, and tank tops every day which confirmed what I was afraid of – that I’d overpacked with all those shirts I didn’t wear. We stayed in a little studio attached to a house where a kind, outgoing 60-year-old man lives with his girlfriend. They shared their boogie boards, beach chairs, and umbrellas with us. He’d marked up a travel book and told us to take it everywhere if we wanted. Although we paid to stay there, we didn’t pay much, and his generosity made me want to be just like him someday – friendly, and genuine, and willing to share.

From the moment we landed on the Big Island until the day we left, the knot in my chest that has become all too familiar went away. I didn’t stress; I lived in moments. I took tumbles in waves, boogie boarded with my arms stretched out as if I were flying, took deep breaths of the salty ocean wind, and tried to engrain images of volcanoes, waterfalls, brightly-colored flowers, and black sand in my memory.

I’m very reflective, you know, so I reflected. I thought about Christmas and family and friends and life and loss and God. I read my books, and wrote in my journal. I was quietly thoughtful at times, and talked Travis’ ears off at other times. And the whole week – the whole week! – I was simply thankful to be there – anywhere! – on that island.

One day, I drew names in the sand of loved ones I’ve lost, and those my friends and family have lost. I included common nouns like “grandpa,” “brother,” and “friend” in hopes I wouldn’t leave anyone out. Before we left the beach that day, most of the words had already washed away because pictures in the sand are fleeting and, like life, disappear without our control.

So, now we’re home and Travis and I have made lists of things to do this year. I’m calling those lists ongoing resolutions, not new resolutions. We’ve discussed ways we can be more organized and accomplish our goals. But beyond the lists and goals for our budget, and health, and travel, is my biggest longing of all – to focus on what matters. To let go. To simplify. To be grateful. To remember what it feels like to stay present in my own life and accept it for what it is – a short, fleeting gift.