It’s now the middle of July + I thought it’d be the perfect time to offer some answers to the questions I posted for all of us in my celebratory halfway mark post for 2017 back at the beginning of July. I’ve had a few weeks to think about it and now it’s time to dig deep and really reflect on how this year is unfolding.
It turns out, as I thought back and worked through this post, I realized that it has been a very internal year. Or at least, that’s how it feels. And, yet, it’s also been very, very active too. Fun, busy, and productive. Ultimately, all I need to say is that it has been good. And I feel freaking amazing. Like it’s time to just soak it all in. We’ve put down roots + they are taking hold. And from the ground up, we are growing, evolving, changing, and simply living. Grounded + free. So, without any other delay, here are my answers to my 17 questions for the halfway mark of 2017. Enjoy!
→ How do I feel at the moment? Right now.
Right now, on Tuesday the 11th of July, I am feeling very chill. I’m on vacation. Relaxing at home this week. Letting Friends roll on my Netflix, while I write, blog, edit photos, and plan posts. Sipping coffee + smoothies. And in a few days, I’m headed to the States for 2 weeks! So, pretty much, it’s all good here.
→ When do I feel my life is the most meaningful?
Oooo… this is difficult to answer. I feel that my life is most meaningful when I am connected to my soul + when I feel that there is some synchronicity/alignment magic occurring in a certain moment. A moment that is, in fact, impossible to describe with words. And that happens at many different times throughout my days: reading and taking notes from books early in the morning, meditating in the dark, spending time by the seaside or on a mountain, eat a meal with loved ones around a table, listening to someone share a deep, personal story or need.
→ What do I need more of in my life?
Needing more of something generally means that we are lacking something. But, what if needing more simply means adding even more to what is already working? That’s how I feel about this question at the moment.
I have let go of the need for routine since the beginning of the year… it just felt like the right thing to do. And, I have, instead, embraced the idea of letting life unfold. So, I haven’t had set meditation practices. I haven’t blogged on a regular basis, but just whenever I feel inspired. I haven’t had any themes or planned themes to follow. And that has all been so very good. So very right. My soul wanted me to have this time.
But, I am beginning to understand, to feel, the hear the whispers from my spirit, that after summer vacation, it just may be time to set in some routines again. Although, I am not really sure. Now that I write this, I am having a different feeling actually. It may be a much deeper feeling… the usual reaction to the end of summer + the arrival of autumn is to get back to routines. It just makes sense doesn’t it? But, I am suddenly aware of a sense of feeling like approaching autumn in a way that I perhaps never have before. Very, very slowly (even in the midst of the busy-ness of getting back to work routines). Very intentionally. And with a continued focus on letting life unfold as it come.
What do I need more of? I need trust in the unfolding of life even more.
→ What makes me feel bad ass?
I feel bad ass when I think about the choices I have made for my life. The risks I have taken. And I feel bad ass when I remember that I have created a life in a foreign country. I learned another language at the age of 36. That’s bad ass. And I am not afraid to go after my dreams and live my life as my authentic self. Bad ass. Bad ass. Bad ass.
→ What are my 3 most significant achievements in the past 6 months?
1.Living life authentically:
My word of the year is authentic. so far this year, that has meant that I am living intentionally (my unofficial second word of the year). There have been no rules, no specific routines, no making plans. Instead, I have set intentions and cast a vision. It’s all been very free-spirited + flowy. I know how I want to live. And, day by day, I’ve been doing that. Letting life show up as it will. My third focus word has ended up being unfold. If you’ve read my posts this year, you’ve seen that word appear a lot on these pages. These 3 words are all connected. They are all the ways that I have been seeking to live slowly, mindfully, and with meaning. As my true self. As the highest self that I can be.
And so far, so good. Like, for real. I am very, very pleased with how I am going with the flow, feeling aligned as each day passes. Hitting a groove of remaining grounded. And without having to think much about it. There is a sense of peace + calm that seeps through every moment of my life so far this year. And, that has freed me up to be a bit more active in creating + making shit happen. This has also led me to a sense of pure contentment in my home life + my work life. Not a sense of settling, but a sense of basking in how things are at the moment.
You can read all about my word of the year right here.
2. Into the Wild: My Lenten Journey
You may not know this, but I love the season of Lent. The 6 weeks leading up to Easter. Not because I am a Christian… because I am not a traditional Christian + I do not belong to any church or religion. But, because my foundation growing up was within the Christian church, I was exposed to this inward-focused season of the year, which I believe has much to teach all of us – religious or not.
This year, for the first time ever, I experienced this season exactly as I had been dreaming of it for years. I had always envisioned a very slow, mindful, spiritual 6 week period, but have always been left feeling like I missed out. This year, however, because of my focus on living authentically, I believe, I blazed my own trail. And literally lived out Lent in the way that I felt was right, day by day. I let my soul guide me.
And this turned out to be the midway point of the first half of 2017. So, 3 months in, I made a huge step in living authentically. Only to realize that now, 6 months in, I am making another large step in living authentically. It all just keeps unfolding + building + evolving. And I am remaining aligned + open. I wish I could express with words on this computer screen exactly how free + alive I feel.
You can read all about my Lenten journey in 6 posts right here.
3. Small group + retreat dreams:
One of the things that I want to do, is to begin to lead small groups. I would especially love to set my sights on doing a day retreat before the end of the year. But, before I get too far ahead of myself, I need to talk about what I have accomplished which I believe is a step in the right direction to making the small groups + retreat a reality.
A month or two back, I was approached by a former boss about creating + facilitating a small group for retired people in the autumn. After pondering a bit, and being amazed at this opportunity, which is nothing at all I had envisioned, I’ve committed to it. Boo-yah! So, I’ll be putting together a 10-week group all about finding passion for life… later in life. My goal is to create something that can be adapted, by just a bit of tweaking, for all age groups. I most definitely see this as a mere beginning of beginning to create my own material to offer… and to finally hammer down an entire course on the belovelive way of life. And this connection has already started opening even more doors to that retreat that I want to offer… perhaps in conjunction with the winter solstice.
→ What is one step I can commit to that will bring me closer to my soul, my true self?
I feel pretty damn in touch with myself + my soul these days. The thing that I could commit to doing more of is following through on the ideas that I have. To create even more that comes directly from me. Hopefully my small group + retreat plans will give me a chance to really organize + create + share.
→ What area of my life most needs simplifying, and what’s one way I could simplify in that area?
Living simply is something that my love + I are constantly talking about and working on right now. It is a goal of ours to live more organically, minimally, authentically, and mindfully. And even though we have been doing more of this lately, I think that simplifying our consumerism is what we are going to stick with. That’s going to continue to be our focus for a while. And, this includes, food, clothing, home items, everything. It’s all about consuming less and recycling more.
→ What is my favorite song this year? Why?
Heart and Song by Taarka. Hands down. The vibe, the positivity, the lyrics, the sound, the raw originality, the message. They all speak to me right now in life. And I think I can characterize this song as my song of the year (so far)… it shares a message of how I seek to live my life.
Chorus: And shall we rise up, my darling / And greet the new day with open arms
And shall we be strong, my lovely / And never give up on heart and song?
→ Are there any ideals I would be willing to die for?
Wow. This is hard. But, of course it is. I’d like to say that, should I find myself in a situation where another’s life was threatened, that I’d step in, not thinking of what might happen to me. As for the ideals that I believe in most, I hold freedom the highest: freedom to be who you are, freedom to practice a religion or not, freedom to choose for your own life, freedom to raise your voice + express your opinion without consequence (and without harming another). Would I risk my life for these freedoms, I don’t really know. I cannot really imagine it. I am a pacifist and, therefore, will never enlist in the military in order to defend these freedoms, but I will always raise my voice in the ways that I can to help create a world where everyone can live freely, as a human right.
→ Who is someone that I admire? What qualities do I like about that person?
I admire my wife. Probably most of all. I’ve never met such a fighter. Such a woman who has desperately clawed herself out of the darkness of sickness and up into a life of, well, freedom.
I know there are many others throughout all of time who have fought, who I admire, but none that I have lived so closely to and/or met. So, hands down. My wife is the person I admire most.
→ If I was in my 90s, what memories would I like to have? What stories do I want to tell?
I want to have traveled the world. Published both written + photography books. Spent time in an ashram. Hosted retreats. Lived short-term in various communities in other countries. In other words, I want to tell stories about my experiences with places, people, and the mysteries of the universe.
→ What do I love to do for, or give to others (not an object – something from my personally)?
I love hosting visitors. For an afternoon, an evening, a weekend, a few weeks. Whatever. Hospitality is something that both my love + I really truly dig. And I looooove hosting parties + dinners. Creating a meal plan or a list of goodies to serve – including drinks + snacks is so much fun. And decorating. Let’s not forget decorating! Dinners + parties when there’s something to celebrate involved, like a holiday or such, are the best. Of course, informal backyard or living room gatherings are just as fantastic. And it can be 2,4, or 10 people. Finding a reason to celebrate and spread joy through hospitality… that’s just the best.
→ How do I like to relax?
In keeping it real, the best way for me to relax, as in to shut off everything and just let it all go, is to cozy up on the couch + watch Netflix. It’s a chance to not escape, but to just move away from everything in my life for just a moment. And it is something that I do for just pure pleasure… what winding down + relaxing should be. And it’s best with my love, a dark, rainy day with popcorn and blankets.
→ What excites me?
instagram. craft beer. spirituality. the stars + the moon. bare feet. road trips. blankets. the ocean. coffee. airplanes. trees. meditation. eating out. cacti. zola the cat. lina, my love. family time.
→ Let’s say money is no object. What would I do?
Travel. Volunteer. Write. Take photos. All day. Every day.
→ What habit would I most like to establish in the next 6 months?
Yoga. I am ready to reintroduce that into my life. My meditation game is strong, but I want to reconnect with the physical aspect of it, so my goal is to join a class this autumn. But, if I don’t do that, then I want to at least practice yoga at home… using YouTube. Increasing my physical activity level is something my body + soul craves right now.
→ How do I want to be remembered in life?
As an inspiration. As someone who, though her physical presence may be gone from the earth, continues to inspire people to soak up the beauty of every day and to use their lives to make a difference.
If you haven’t considered discovering your own answers to these questions, then set aside a little time to do it before the end of July. Oh, yeah. It’s tough + deep. But, it’s such a good way to get perspective on where you are and where you want to be. It really is possible to create the life that you want to live… but you have got to do the internal work first in order to get there.
Send me an email or a message if you wanna chat about this, or if you have any questions at all. I may be on vacation, but I’m still here!