Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A 5x5 for My 25

Well guys, I have officially made it through a quarter of a century on this beautiful mother earth of ours! I am so insanely grateful that God has blessed me with the chance to get to this point, do what I've done, seen what I've seen, and grown how I've grown. I cannot believe the blessed life I've been given and am livin', and am so excited to arrive to my birthday on the upswing. (One that will likely be one of the highest highs I've had in a long time, since the low I'm coming out of is one of the strongest I've ever encountered.)

I figured that for my 25th Birthday Blog Post, I wanted to mix up the traditional list a little bit, and throw down a 5x5... five lists, with five items, for a total of 25! (Shaaaboom! Like that!? ;) So without further a due, here are my Five-by-Five's for Twenty-Five...

Five Qualities I Have Kept All My Life
  1. Quirky-weird-zaniness
  2. Colorful character
  3. Big, bright smile
  4. Curiosity about my surroundings
  5. Obsession with L O V E
Five Things I'm Proud Of
  1. Graduating from college [in under 5 years] & landing back-to-back contracted jobs with a Fortune 100 company [Disney/ABC Television Group]
  2. Realizing what kind of life I didn't want to live, and not being too scared to do what it took to get myself out of a desk, and into the world
  3. Learning another language
  4. Leaving a positive, loving mark on everyone I encounter
  5. Who I've become, and the value I've come to place on myself
Five Things I Still Want To Do
  1. Explore all the world
  2. Learn at least five more languages
  3. Learn to play at least one musical instrument
  4. The Camino de Santiago in Spain
  5. Realize my path fully
Five Amazing Things I've Done
  1. Come back to God, and realized Him as my source and center. And brought others to know and love Him. 
  2. Believed that I could create my reality, instead of believing that there is a such thing as "not very realistic", and turned my dreams into my daily life!
  3. Spent one week kayaking 136km around the island of Ibiza
  4. Learned to live with my heart wide-open
  5. Moved back to Spain/away from home with a plan to spend the rest of my life all over the globe
Five Things I've Learned
  1. If you don't love yourself, accept yourself, and want to really Be yourself, you cannot ever, really, fully, love anyone or anything else.
  2. It all starts within. What you see, believe, think, and feel, transforms your world, your life, and creates or kills any opportunity that might be laid out for you.
  3. There is a blessing to be seen, felt, and/or found in EVERY situation. No matter how much we perceive it to be on the negative scales, it's got something good for us hidden away. Sometimes it's not even that hidden away, we just don't realize it because we're emotional human beings.
  4. Gratitude (saying thanks), trust, and love, are the most important things we could ever have and release in our lives. They have the power to do all.
  5. Although our hearts are all beating in different chests, at different rates, all around the world, they are all connected and beating as one, to create the most beautiful bass line we could ever know. Explore the souls of other people. Explore the world. Come to see that we're all the same, we're all connected, and the world is such a massive place, but we can navigate it if we try.
So, there we have it! My Five-by-Five-for-Twenty-Five!

I hope that the blessings I feel and embrace, transcend the borders of my body and life, and reach you in yours. And that the upswing I've entered, will cause a ripple affect so great, of love, light, and wonder, that you will have the best day, everyday! I release all that is good in me, back to You! :-*

Blessings, Love & Beautiful Light

Sunday, February 23, 2014

I'm Not Lost

(Written on Friday, Edited/Uploaded on Sunday)

For awhile now, a storm has been brewing inside me. I've made the reference before that I am the ocean, and sometimes I'm riding the waves of life and killing it with the surf, but that there are those other times when I am the waves, and I'm crashing down; swirling, twirling, whirling, and destructive to all that is there.

Last time I rode the high for so long, I couldn't even believe how long it was lasting. I thought I had transcended into some hyper-dimension, and was blown away I could maintain it for so many weeks. But for the last few weeks, I've been tired and so incredibly unmotivated. Last night I was talking to a workmate in the academy, telling her how I wasn't sure what to do in the coming year, because I'm feeling pretty unmotivated, and she said that she's noticed that about me the last few weeks. Hearing someone else say that they can see and feel my low energy, is not something that really makes my heart soar. And so I did a lot of thinking as I was biking along, and realized that I really, really, desperately need some time to myself.

I've been so busy with couchsurfers, new friends, people at the house, work, and life outside of work, that I've gotten pretty far from my center, and haven't been taking time to just be with myself and God. I keep filling all my spare moments with other people, and while I love them, it's crucial to take time to just relax and enjoy your own company every once in a while. (I actually recommend doing this daily, and find my mind and life are in such a better place when I do.)

And then, this morning when I woke up, the kitchen was a slight disaster, and it was the breaking point. I left the juice I was making half-done on the counter (yes, ironically contributing to the mess that drove me to the point of running out the door), grabbed my yoga mat, my journal, my devotional book and a pen, and took off for the rooftop of our apartment complex. I needed some time with myself, and more importantly, with God. I needed to come back to myself.

I put myself in child's pose, and then just let myself go. I spoke, I cried, I pleaded, prayed, and thanked Him. I asked Him to help me. To tell me where I'm supposed to go next year, and what I'm supposed to do. I told Him I could feel the storm brewing inside me, and that there was a war that had been waging within for the last weeks, and that I couldn't take it anymore. Nor could I do it alone -- dealing with it, processing it, overcoming it. Doing it alone wasn't an option, and He needed to give me the strength and comfort to continue. I released to Him how lost I've been feeling, and that I'm not sure what to do next year -- do I stay in Sevilla again, or do I just make a last minute decision to move to another country and just find work when I get there? What am I doing here, what should I be doing, what can I do? I gave Him all my questions, concerns, fears, and uncertainties, and bared my soul to Him entirely. And then, something amazing happened. Just moments after releasing this, I stopped, and was overcome by peace, strength, comfort, and my own voice, coming out of my mouth, but with new words, new conviction, and a message of strength.

I told myself, most likely on His behalf, that,

"No, you're not lost. You're never lost. Because as long as you live, He is with you. You're never lost, because he always knows where you are, where you're going, and He ALWAYS goes with you.  You're traveling the path He has laid out for you, and have absolutely no reason to feel lost, because you're not. You have nothing to worry about, and nothing to fear [but fear itself]."

And as I was saying the words, I knew I believed them, felt them, and that all was well.

It was so incredible how quickly it all changed. How fast I went from tearful pleading and prayer, to a strong woman full of conviction and rediscovered strength. From feeling like a lost child in the world and in her own skin, to knowing that I'm so far from being lost, and can never really be.

I knew I needed to take some time to speak aloud to the Lord, but man, the sense of security I acquired in just 10 minutes of doing so is insane! And it's sooo amazing to remember that I'm never really lost. No matter how confused I can feel about where I am, what I'm doing, and where and what will come, I don't have to stress about it or brood on the possibilities. Just keep living one pretty lil day at a time, and let the rest fall into place when it wants to. I can't control everything, so why even think too much about it. No point in wasting the beautiful, present moment that is, by thinking about what might be. Nope, can't do it, can't live that way.

So now, I enter into a new week, with new conviction, and a sense of knowing that all is well. It really is. I still have no idea what I'll do next year, but you know what, there are literally unlimited options in the world, so I'll be doing something, and it'll be awesome. ;)

I hope that this brings you some comfort in anything you might be struggling with, and that your life is filled with amazing blessings and beautiful thoughts! We are so wonderfully created, so no matter what else we might be feeling, we can always remember this much!

Blessings, Love & Light to all <3

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I've Got Big Plans, Man!

In one week, I will turn 25. It's a big age, and I think it's going to be a pretty major year for me. I'm planning on doing a lot in the coming year, and can only assume that it, as all the past years of my life have been, will be better than the one that came before (which seems quite hard to come by considering the last year I've had). I have been doing a lot of growing, learning, loving and examining lately, and have come to realize that there really is no such thing as "too old to do _______." There are so many things I want to do and learn in life, and I am quite excited to begin doing many of them. I have many goals and dreams, and I fully intend to make them all realities!

Twenty-five might be a scary year for some, as it seems to mark a huge step in the adult direction, but for me, I'm seeing it as a year in which I will be reborn, and dabble in as many new things as I possibly can! I see possibilities, opportunities, and new life! I've been coming up with ideas of things I want to learn and begin lately, and it's time I laid them out and released them into the universe, so she and my Papa God can help me accomplish them! Some of the things that I hope to accomplish in my 25th year of life are:
  1. Further exploration of myself, my thoughts, feelings, and capacities
  2. To learn to
    • Speak another language or two (at least be conversational)
    • Play the banjo
    • Dance the Sevillan [in time for the Feria]
    • Drive a stick-shift car
    • Make a killer tortilla de patatas
  3. Get serious enough about my blog that I can start to make some money off of it/parlay into the world of travel writing
  4. Explore, at least a little, every region of Spain / go to Formentera and Menorca, and some of the islands of the Canaries I haven't yet explored
  5. Go to, and really experience, at least three new countries (preferably five)
  6. Continue my progress, growth, mission, and life, in a loving, positive, mindful way
I think it's an incredibly reasonable list, and I really do plan to accomplish everything on it! Now I just have to put all my faith in God that He will help me make it all happen, and make some little plans and timelines for myself, so I can keep myself on track to checking them all off!

Life is such a beautiful thing, and we are so blessed to have the chance to experience it, no matter where or how we might be doing so. And since we are such complex and special beings, it's really important that we fully realize out potential and do as much as we can for and with ourselves. I am pretty sure we weren't created so we could just be couch potatoes or office bots. No, that can't be it. So, get out there! Go, learn, do, see, and be all that you can! Even if you just hit the sidewalk in front of your house with some sidewalk chalk and draw body outlines like it's a crime scene, use yo brain! Move your body, use your mind, live your life, and be proud of all you do!

Live, laugh, love, and remember how amazing and remarkable you are! :-*

Massive Blessings, Love & Light to you all
I'm so happy to be on this earthball with you :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Weird Thing About Swimmers

Since it's the wonderfully anticipated (or dreaded) Valentine's Day, I think it's only appropriate I write about one of my truest loves. One of my loves that no matter how much time passes, will always be a part of me, and will always be a source of fond memories and adoration -- swimming!

I started swimming laps in a pool again this week for the first time in probably two years or so, and found myself looking at one of the lifeguards, as she suited up and stretched to get in and swim, thinking, "Hmm..I wonder if I could beat her. She's clearly in better swim shape than I am right now, but I'm curious... if I was in my normal swim shape, who'd be faster?"

Wait, what? Excuse me? Why did I come here again? Didn't I just come to this pool to swim and get back into one of the passions and loves I've had for well-over half my life? Whyyy am I even thinking about this? We're all swimmers here. We're all here because we love to be in the water and know that the land kiiiinda sucks (not really). And besides, what difference does it make who is faster or slower? We're not at a swim meet here!

And that's when I realized that swimmers, or likely anyone who does a sport that is both individual and team, is pretty freakin' weird, and has this incredibly strange habit of turning anyone and everyone who steps, dives, or swims onto/into "our turf" into competition!

I mean it. It could be a 45-year old woman or man. If I'm swimming, and I see them getting ready to get in, I cannot help but wonder what their stroke looks like and how smoothly they move through the water. If they've been swimming their whole lives, or have just picked it up as a way to take care of themselves in their "old age." Or, the most bizarre thing, "Are they faster than I am?" It is such a weird thing we do. (I say we, because I am pretty dang sure I'm not the only one. ... Gosh, I hope not. That'd be awkward...)

This got me thinking, and I figured out that it's because swimming is both a team and an individual sport. We swim for a team (or represent a country, in the spirit of the Olympics), and our place contributes to the overall score of our team's, therefore determining which team wins the meet (swim meets or our "games" for those of you who aren't accustomed to swim terms). But, we are also in the lane (swim lane/calle), by ourselves, racing against the others in the pool (and the clock). This means, that in two-team meets, in every other lane, there is someone from your team. So while we may be racing against the other team's swimmers, we're also trying to beat our own teammates. (Don't anyone try and deny this one! You know you want to beat everyone in that dang pool! Doesn't matter which team they're on.)

So because swimming is both a team and individual sport, we have this weird sense of connection to anyone else who's a swimmer, but also that they are somehow competition. If we meet another swimmer outside the pool area, we're bonded. BOOM, friends, oh my gosh! "Where do you swim? What stroke? Omg, how much does it such to practice in the winter? And, how much longer till the summer Olympics are on?!?" (Even though we're still probably thinking about if we're faster than they are, we bond, because we have the same passion.) But on the deck (pool deck), we're like, "Okay, who's this? Hmm..they look pretty fit. But then again, I'm also pretty fast.. I think that I might be quicker than them. Let's see." And then it's either, "Ok, ok, worthy competitor. I see you." Or, "Yeah, that's right. I've been doing this since I was 8-years old. Year-round? Yep, did that too." (And if we're water polo players, we likely need to separate ourselves from those who "just swim," so we'll scroll, tread, and throw in some head's up laps too.)

We size up anyone and everyone who shows up to swim when we're swimming. We try and figure out if we're faster or slower than them, and when they look like they're an inadequate swimmer, but then get in and start lapping us, we're like, "Ugh. What the heck. It's cool, I'm just here to swim. It's not a race. But, I respect you, good job. You do you."

I'm not sure if this is just the way we overly-competitively-minded people think, but I'm pretty sure it's just what happens when you have grown up doing a sport where you are cheering and screaming for your teammate, gathered around the end of their lane, or even at the block screaming for them to swim if you're doing a relay, but in the next moment you're on your block, pulling your goggles over your eyes, staring ahead at the long, beautiful lane ahead of you with a serious look on your face and focus in your mind, thinking, "Ok, girl/man, it's time. Let's show them what's up."

So yeah, maybe we're a little too competitive in a generally calm, casual setting at the community pools, but hey, you're most likely stepping into a world where we spend most of our time when it's season, so cut us a little break with our stare downs and sense of mine. Either way, I frrreaking love swimming, and am so stoked that I've finally gotten myself back into it! It really is the most comforting place to be (for me), and I'm happy I've returned to my dry-hair, chlorine-smelling-skin, wet suits and towels all over the house, ways of life!


I decided to set a goal for myself, since it usually helps the motivation factors when you're working towards something, of making a 100 (free[style]) in under 1:07 by the start of May. I did my first one for time yesterday, and came in at 1:25. Which, considering it's been a couple years since I did a 100 for time, isn't so bad. But when I consider my fastest 100 free was just under a minute, I laugh and realize I'm pretty far from where I was always was. Although, it was a relay time, so really. . .

> > circa 2011 < <

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Progress Report on My Four for 2014

For awhile, each morning when I was writing in my devotional/prayer journal, I would write the date, and I would say to myself a little, "Oh my gosh, I can't believe it's already x day of the month. I can't believe another day has come and gone, and we're already into the next one! Time moves SO FAST!"

I'm not really sure why I would do this, but it went on for two or three months, and it really was freaking me out. I think originally my thought was that, by reminding myself how quickly the days pass, I should and would try to live each one as fully as I possibly could, and not let one go to waste. But instead of it making me think, "What shall I do today that will make it really count?", I was left freaking out that already the time had come to write another day down! So I stopped doing this when I was home, because I didn't want to think about how quickly my numbered days in California would pass, and I've not started doing it again since. And it has helped!

The urge is still there to think, "another one," when I write the date, but instead of letting myself be like, "holy crap, on to the next one already," I just smile and remind myself that time is slowing down. (Which, as I've learned, it seems to pass more slowly when I tell myself this, and also just remain in the moment.) But since we are now in February, I thought it would be nice to do a little "One Month Check-Up" on our resolutions!

My Four for 2014 were:

  1. No cussing
  2. No drugs
  3. Do more of God's work
  4. Let go, and move on
1. No cussing -- this one has, surprisingly, been the hardest of them all to do. Through deciding that I would not cuss this year, I've come to realize just how much I actually like to cuss. And usually, for no reason, and to myself. I love to just say the F-word to myself in any given situation, and then laugh about it. But, also through trying to quit the habit, I've realized the times that I tend to cuss around others are: a) after a couple beers, b) when I'm super relaxed (aka speaking native English), and c) when I'm being lazy. I've pinpointed it to be, ultimately, something that happens when I am just too lazy to come up with a more intelligent way of saying what I want to say. Which can be hard, because sometime, those phrasal insults that involve swear words really have a meaning that can't be so easily expressed otherwise. Overall: still working on it. Potentially doing better, but there's still much work to be done.

2. No drugs -- this has been incredibly easy, considering that my friends here don't do drugs, I don't know where to find or buy them, and I just really don't care to do or take any. So, this has been, by far, the easiest of my resolutions. Overall: MAJOR success, and even better, still no desire for them! (We'll see how bad the temptation is when I'm actually around them though. . .)

3. Do more of God's work -- well, I wouldn't say that I've gone out and done a bunch of mission work since the new year began, but I am going to church tomorrow for the first time in my nearly two years of living-abroad-life, so we'll see what opportunities arise! And, through meeting new people, having loads of couchsurfers, and getting out in the world a bit more, I'm a far more open person that I think I was last year, and this causes me to gush out love with an incredible force, ultimately resulting in me serving God's greatest purpose for our human lives -- to love one another. Overall: doing quite well, and am looking forward to what opportunities come following me finding a church. (Which was part of this overall new year goal.)

4. Let go, and move on -- well, I'm not sure how many of you read this post about moving on and letting go, but, I can say this has been far easier and smoother than I thought it would be. I have had one serious breakdown, upon realizing something quite with a lot of impact and depth, but I am definitely traveling steadily and happily down my path, without excessive looking back and dwelling. Overall: succeeding!

So, that's where I'm at with my Four for 2014, how about you? Did you set any resolutions or goals for the year? And if so, how are you holding up with them? Hopefully they, you, and all, is just splendid!

Loads of Blessings, Love & Light to you all. 
I love you, I adore you, I wouldn't exist and be me without you! 
Thank you for sharing the globe with me! <3