Thing #34 – Pay Attention

Last summer, an acquaintance connected me with a woman named Leslie and assured me she’s someone I need to know. Since she lived a state away, we arranged a standard networking phone call. Within a few short minutes, it became apparent we had more than our work in common.

Fast forward one year (exactly one year to the day that this acquaintance gave me her name), and I finally met her in person. 

You know that feeling when you meet someone and you’re certain you’ve been friends for ages? There are people from whom you can physically feel a gravitational pull. It was that. We spoke the same language. We talked about signs from the universe and our sensitivity to energies around us. We shared our love of Sedona and the pivotal experiences we had there. We shared our big dreams and nudged each other to tackle the next steps. It was one of the most inspiring and affirming meet-ups I’ve had.

Not to mention, it was a perfectly timed meeting. It’s no secret … Read the rest

Thing # 29 – Blue Journal

Blue Journal

If I told you one of my best friends is a journal from 2009, you might think I’m a sad, lonely hermit. I have countless journals that live in a box in the basement, but this one – my blue journal – stays in my bedside drawer. 

While I’ve intermittently kept a journal my whole life, it wasn’t until 15 years ago that I made it a consistent practice. My journal serves different purposes at different times. Sometimes it keeps secrets or helps breed new ideas, but usually it’s a safe space to store the chaos that gunks up my head. Most importantly, my journal is my companion. I’m rarely without it. It keeps me company like an old friend, and when I ask questions, it responds in its own way. 

Ten years ago, I wanted to commemorate my 30th birthday with something bold and memorable, so I traveled to Europe for a couple weeks. I went alone but never felt alone. Between the daily cast of characters that came into my life and the … Read the rest

Thing #7 – Anticipation

Hours from now I’ll freeze time. It’s an exercise I’ve refined over the past decade. Before I travel, I sit still in my anticipation and scroll through all the ways I expect my trip to be. Will the destination airport be easy? How will the city smell? What will the coffee/beer/bread be like? What do I think my favorite part will be? What am I nervous about?

I create this swirl of images, then I close my eyes to burn the mental snapshot in the front of my mind. Sometimes I jot it in my journal, sometimes not. On the way home, I revisit my pre-trip snapshot to see how it stacked up. I feel like a time traveler comparing notes with my earlier self. I compare the person I was on the plane before my trip, versus the person sitting in the plane now.

Whether it’s a two-week international adventure or a two-day work trip, this is my ritual. It keeps me super aware and prevents me from simply floating through the days. I Read the rest

Annoying lessons in gratitude

It’s gratitude season. Everyone’s jabbering about what they’re thankful for and it’s making me think about where gratitude comes from. Yesterday, as I drank the “World’s Best Chai” from Uncommon Grounds way too fast and wished it would last forever, I thought about this story about not getting attached to stuff.  It goes something like this…

“You see this goblet?” asks Achaan Chaa, the Thai meditation master. “For me this glass is already broken. I enjoy it, I drink out of it. It holds my water admirably, sometimes even reflecting the sun in beautiful patterns. If I should tap it, it has a lovely ring to it. But when I put this glass on the shelf and the wind knocks it over or my elbow brushes it off the table and it falls to the ground and shatters, I say, ‘Of course.’ When I understand that the glass is already broken, every moment with it is precious.”

Basically, all the wonderful things that come into our lives are already gone. Depressing, I know. It’s an … Read the rest

Habsburg life

When I was about 4 years old, I wanted to marry my cousin Josh. For no other reason than he was nice to me, seemed cute and was one of the few boys I knew. (Sidenote: I just realized I’ve also used these dreadfully minimal standards for some of my adult romantic choices.) If I were part of the Habsburg dynasty, this dream of marrying my cousin would likely have become a reality. Especially if Josh was heir to a parcel of land my family was desperate to acquire. Plus, age 4 was a pretty solid age to get betrothed. I would have been an old maid a few years later.

Vienna dripped with Habsburg opulence. It felt like being in the fine china section of Macy’s. I didn’t want to walk too close to anything in fear of my purse bumping and breaking things. The buildings in the city center stood side by side with their facades looking like the world’s tallest layer cakes. And at night, the twinkly lights and glowing domes made Read the rest