The Time is Ours

There’s a damp sweetness in the air as I brush my fingertips across a creamy-white shelf fungus clinging indifferently to a thick Doug Fir trunk. I walk onwards down the trail.

My heartbeat and the occasional gust of wind whispering through the leaves are the only sounds aside from the constant jingle of the creek. It rolls over slime encrusted rocks and trickles between a fallen branch, then eagerly winds around a bend. My boots clomp along, chasing its weaving liquid tresses. Clumps of wet loam, pine needles and decaying leaves cling to the waffle print on the undersides of my feet. I breathe in the fresh air.

If only I could savor this moment forever. A moment when my thoughts have dissolved into the forest, strained and cleansed by thousands of bristly tree hands reaching toward one another, touching. A moment when remembering comes without struggle. The sacredness of this home, this body, this life catches in my chest and I hold it there. Tears come, wind comes, and my heartbeat carries on drumming, pushing my legs to keep marching.

I glance at my right wrist – Be extraordinary – the engraved words shimmer between smooth leather encircling my wrist. Everything has changed since I bought the bracelet on a sunny San Diego afternoon 3 years ago.

Today is the birthday of a friend we lost at the too-young age of 27. And in just under a month from now, it will be the 2-year anniversary of the passing of a dear teacher who encouraged me to keep writing and to go see the world, which somehow, miraculously, I’ve now done. There are so many other things that have changed – some small, some big – the length of my hair, the ending and beginning of relationships, the city I live in, the dreams and heartaches I’ve birthed and witnessed, and seen loved ones through.

Time becomes such a strange entity as we grow older. Although it flexes and shrinks in harmony with our perspective and depth of experience, too often, it feels like it’s zooming by. I recently read a refreshing article, The Disease of Being Busy, and it made me wonder just how much our obsession with productivity impacts our perception of the precious minutes we’re each allotted to be here.

The author, Omid Safi, writes,

“When did we forget that we are human beings, not human doings?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just…be?”

In the absence of down time, we crave connection all that much more, and so we flock to social networks, checking our phones as if our friends actually reside inside the little square apps on the screen. Social media is so tempting because for a fraction of the time and effort it takes to interact face-to-face, we can get a hit of meaning and feel like we’re still a part of our loved ones’ lives. But in reality, we’re missing out on true human intimacy without real time spent with one another.

With our packed schedules, I’d also propose we’re missing out on intimate time spent with ourselves, examining our lives, dreaming of things yet to come, practicing our hobbies and wondering about who we are. If disease is a killer of the body, living on autopilot is death to the soul.

When I feel time whizzing by, I remind myself to do what makes me a human being again – I head to nature, I slow down, I write, dance, sing, cook my meals, listen to my heart’s musings, and tune back into the bigger picture.

The memories of the people who are no longer with us are a reminder of time’s preciousness. These moments are ours for the savoring. Why not spend them intentionally? What will YOU do this week to push pause on the “doing” and return to “being”?

My Nephew smelling a rose on a recent trip to the Portland Rose Garden.

My nephew smelling a rose on a recent trip to the Portland Rose Garden.

Hold Onto Your Reasons

There’s no easy way to walk away from a path that is fast gaining momentum, but just isn’t right, and choose another one. Likewise, there’s no simple balm for the overwhelming uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, or fear that you will feel. (A lot of). That is, if you veer left, despite the pressure to march straight ahead.

So what’s the left-turn? I think your younger self could tell you.

What was it you dreamt of achieving when you were a child? What got you fired up and excited about the life ahead of you?

I bet if you really listened, that same passion — that wild call to follow your soul’s vocation — would still be there. In fact, you may discover it’s been there all the while, whispering at times, but never silent, and always leading you onwards through the myriad of experiences and adventures, challenges, risks, and explorations throughout the years that brought you to today.

When I dug deeply and made space for that voice just over a year ago, I knew I had to trust the call to travel. And at the time, that meant leaving a career-oriented job that didn’t fit my value system and heading out into the vast unknown alone.

At first, I was terrified!

But I boarded that plane and took the leap anyways. It turned out to be an incredible multi-month journey full of love and synchronicity. In fact, traveling broke my heart open in the best way possible, and looking back, it was exactly what I needed.

Now that I’m back, I’m still listening, and that inner voice is still speaking. It’s familiar call is welcome now, and I’m honoring it. Currently, I’m following the call to be a writer. An artist. A crafter of beauty by way of words.

Writing has, for as long as I can remember, lit a fire inside of me. When I’m writing, I feel like a woman on an endless adventure holding a butterfly net, catching little glimpses at the bigger picture of something wonderful — flawed and tragic, but deeply nourishing. The best part about capturing stories is releasing them back into the wild. There are tales everywhere that need to be told, and shared, and revelled in. Thus, I’m focusing more on writing than ever before.

When distractions or doubts threaten to derail my dedication to what makes me feel alive, I hold onto my reasons.

It feels right. It adds purpose and meaning to my existence. It’s my dream. Life is too short to not live fully. I’m here to answer the call.

We all have to hold onto our reasons for following our dreams, or else we might as well just give up as soon as things get difficult, right?

No matter what your aspirations are, don’t take your hands off the steering wheel out of fear, or pressure to live a life that is financially rich, but spiritually poor. Hold onto your reasons for living the life you truly desire. Have faith in possibilities and perfectly introduced opportunities. Trust that the path unfolding is meant to support you in fulfilling your calling.

Take the left turn.

“That wind is calling my name.
I won’t wait or I’ll never get on.

So hold high, have faith your reasons;
Hold high, have faith your reasons.”
-Blind Pilot

This post was inspired by a lovely song called “Half Moon” by Blind Pilot, a band based out of Portland, Oregon.

One week into my 104- day journey across Europe.

One week into my 104- day journey across Europe.

I Would Have Kept the Trees

When I walk past the hedgerow
and glance near my feet at the sandy piles,
it could be easy to forget
that life once rooted itself here.

I look at the holes now filled
and think: this is how it happens;
this is how sacred things disappear.

The outstretched arms that birds once perched upon,
the dappled shade cast by its leaves;
the earthworms and beetles,
the ants and the breeze
that once
moved through it.

All this
no longer
is.

Instead, there’s a parking lot with a clearer view
of strip mall and road,
painted yellow stripes,
ordered and marching ahead.

I would have kept the trees.

There's nothing in the world like a good tree hug! This photo was taken in Baia, Italy.

There’s nothing in the world like a good tree hug!