Being Alone

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m best-suited to being alone. I value my interactions with loved ones deeply, and yet… I find myself wondering when I can be home again, alone with my thoughts. When I’m not working on projects, hours are passed with me staring at the world outside my home – sitting at my kitchen table, an unfocused gaze on my yard’s wildlife. Sitting on my couch, hands curled around a hot beverage, watching the clouds’ trek across the sky, the wind whispering or shouting in the greenery. This brings me contentment.

The choices I’ve made in my life this year have bought me increasingly more time in solitude. I’m so grateful for it, though I also hope it’s a phase of sorts. That this is a time in which I can best anchor my self, be extraordinarily clear on who I am and what I want, and then with clear vision set about building the next phase of my life.

One of the best pieces of home advice I’ve come upon is to not make any drastic remodeling decisions in the first year in a house. Determining what makes sense in the house is a process that takes time – to understand the flow of the house, how light moves across it at different times of day and in different seasons, to see how you really need it to be in order to make the best decisions.

I feel like I’m in the waiting period right now. How does light move through my life? How do I best structure my life to be a continual exercise in contentment and gratitude? What sacrifices am I willing to make to get what I want? How will I adapt to making space in my life for the people I care about, or for the natural progression of how my life is lived?

These are the questions to answer in solitude.

Advertisements

(S)word swallower

There are words we say and words we don’t. The experiences that we share also impart the ways we choose to view them. The feelings that we have, and how simple and complicated they can seem when examined individually and collectively.

I’ve been fortunate to have some down time recently. Life feels like it could go in a multiple directions, all compelling in various ways. The adventurer in me thinks, “Explore each route to see what is the most interesting! Surely another interesting path will open off that!” While my inner sage says softly, simply, “Choose a path by following your heart.”

Taking time to pause enables the opportunity to consult my directional tools. What do I want my life to look like? When my time comes, what would I feel joy remembering? What are my deepest held values and beliefs? Reflecting helps my navigation, though it brings up few regrets.

I will always wish I had more time with my family. That those endless summers as a child were incredible gifts – time spent with a charming and quirky family on memorable adventures. Bearing witness to the failures of memory in modern moments, I value these shared experiences so much more. These are times we can relive together in the moments we preciously carve together.

Sometimes, I’ve had to commit to the wrong decision in order to prove something to myself. These are the decisions that have caused me the most pain after the fact; the ones that still wash waves of regret over my toes years later if I’m left pondering a body of water too long. In many cases, the point I thought I was proving and the point actually proved are very different, and contain spiritually costly lessons. Applying these lessons has led to  decisions I’ve thought through carefully — examining multiple potential outcomes and carefully acknowledging and accepting risks — and these decisions leave me feeling strong, with an enriched life.

Regrets get a bad rap sometime. My inner child tries to interrupt when someone tells me that I shouldn’t feel any regrets. These are valuable tools in life! They can help if revisited periodically for course adjustment. Sure, someone should strive to make choices they won’t regret. But what do the regrets we hold on to tell us about our heart’s deepest desires?

My regrets center around words spoken and words left unsaid. Where murmured sussurations may have rendered other regrets moot. And so now, sometimes, I find myself with unweildy words at the edge of my mouth – and instead, I swallow the words whole, conscious of their sharp blade against my vulnerable insides, and use every other means necessary to communicate the message I want to share…

 

 

…love, sashainseattle

A Glimpse of Things that Move Me

sunsetandstars

A photo I took from Kite Hill at Gasworks Park on Solstice Eve in 2013. My mom once misquoted Oscar Wilde, and I like her version – shared here – better.

Short short.

Were it not for a dreadful morning almost a decade ago, I doubt I would have spent this evening as I did. Worth it? More than I could ever express.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November.

Ninety Days

At the end of June, I made a major decision. I decided to focus on myself for three months, and give myself 90 days off from major decisions, and work instead on understanding my moods – what they are like, how they effect me, and what I can do to feel good navigating my way calmly through them.

It’s been interesting. I started out by going hard-core into a new workout routine – which felt great – but began to realize that the best thing I can do is what I’ve been doing for years… walking. (And, you know, occasionally running.) I also began biking to get around and have adventures – it’s been a lot of fun!

Because I was giving myself time off from the big decisions (any major changes, commitments, or purchases), I began focusing more on the smaller ones – checking in with myself to see how I was feeling as I made my choices. I began feeling like the conscious choices were ones where I could both celebrate and learn something, and those are good things to do!

Though I’m not making any major decisions, it’s not as though I’m not thinking about some of the ones that are on the horizon. There are various decisions that I’ve been considering for a while that seem to all be at odds with one another. A crossroads in which my life can go in so many different directions, and which path do I take?

And so I turn to Daphne, who is curled up on a chair, wishing I would go to bed so she can sleep at my feet and not have to guard me from phantoms visible only to her. (She’s pretty protective.)

“Daphne,” I say. She opens her eyes, and I swear she raises her eyebrow. “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” She fails to play along as the Cheshire Cat, but the words continue in my head. “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

Though I’m only on Day 76, I feel as though I’m nodding my head. I know that at any crossroads, big or small, I’ll be able to follow my heart. I feel grateful to be moving slowly, to be learning how to breathe, and feel like in most situations that come up in life my smile is never far out of sight. Not to say there aren’t hard days, but even those hard days can lead us to the biggest blessings.

Earlier, I saw a picture of one of my totems, a sea turtle, accompanied with, “You don’t have to move fast, just keep movin’ forward.” Agreed. May the next two weeks keep brightening the smile on my face. 🙂 Peace.

Selling Myself Short

Life has been pretty interesting lately. I’ve been pushing myself out of my comfort zone to try dating again (instead of being so focused on work). For the better part of the year, I pushed dating out of my mind to focus on my friendships and life outside of work – for I know that the relationship I’d like to create in my life is one with someone who feels like a best friend.

A lot of this has to do with my past. My greatest weakness (and simultaneously my greatest strength) is seeing peoples’ hearts, and believing in what I see there – to the point of being slow to recognize that I should also consider someone’s actions to determine whether or not a relationship is good for me. I still struggle with this. Fortunately, I have friends who care about me, who help me understand that I don’t give myself enough credit for being a great catch, that I seem incapable of seeing myself as others see me. The thing I’ve heard the most from people this year? “Don’t sell yourself short, Sasha.” It’s eye-opening.

In the past two weeks, men from my past have been emerging out of the woodwork. Suddenly these parts of my life are falling into place — where I recognize that the only reason I went through what I did for as long as I did in several different situations was because I did not realize that it was as simple as expressing my unhappiness, and recognizing that I had the strength to leave. Or maybe that I simply did not recognize my own worth. How sad it is that we are so often our own worst enemies.

Being on my own for the better part of my twenties has helped me to discover my biggest blessing – that I know I am self-sufficient. I have everything I need, and I know who I am (at least, about 95% of the time – always room for improvement, eh?). I know that I can support myself, I can take care of myself, and daily I am getting better at recognizing what I need to find comfort in discomfort, to breathe and embrace everything that comes my way. I could be plucked up by a tornado, plopped down somewhere over a rainbow, and I know that I would be just fine.

I have a quote from Roald Dahl on my fridge — because I loved his stories, and his written words were the first that I learned how to read, at 4, following along as my mom read aloud with her finger under each word (she has always been kind and patient). Anyway, the quote is this: “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in the magic will never find it.”

I believe in magic, I believe in mysteries. I believe in everything that is good and right and true. I believe in love. And I believe that God/the Universe/the Grand Poobah conspires with Love to ensure that we always have exactly what we need (even if not entirely obvious in the moment), and that He/She/It looks for ways to tickle us with delight, if we can learn to see delight in all things. If we choose to see obstacles as a stepping stone, than there isn’t anything that will ever be so big that it stands in the way of us manifesting who we are. And I know who I am, and I know that the path to keep getting closer and closer to my truest self involves one word, simultaneously a noun and a verb: LOVE.

 

Doubt

Doubt is a funny thing. And it’s hard to give full voice to doubt.

Earlier today, I was speaking with a friend about how powerful words are. Giving voice to doubt seems to acknowledge that it’ll be what exists.

And it’s hard for me to really recognize the doubts that I have. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m afraid to admit them and acknowledge them, or if it’s because the feeling that keeps me afloat each day is my sense of faith. That everything will be okay. That everything will be alright.