27 February 2011

take a hike

"And what we've found is that we should be focusing on how we feel from day to day,
not on how we can become happy with life in general.
If you focus on day-to-day feelings, you end up building your resources 
and become your best version of yourself.
Down the road, you'll be happier with life.
Rather than staring down happiness as a goal and asking ourselves,
"How do I get there?"
we should be thinking about how to create positive emotions in the moment."
-Barbara Fredrickson, 
on her research findings about The Science of Happiness (via e.wat)

[if you're a quote skipper, i recommend you re-reading that one. it's crucial!]

i love hiking.
i really love bernheim forest.
but today i'm sick in bed
(i'll forgo the photo, tyvm).

sick, but:
studying for a midterm (research methods),
reading/studying for my other class (theories in health promotion for communities/groups),
and trying to rest up for a busy first part of the week.

do you ever catch yourself, 
busy in the midst of it all,
thinking: what was i thinking?

it happens, yep, it happens,
to all of us, as we faithfully plug along.
we're uncertain of our footing.
we not sure what ever convinced us to leap in the first place.
we're fooled into thinking comfortable but unhappy was, somehow, better
or easier, at least.

when uncomfortable, hiking the unexpected path,
true life,

maybe i'm just an adventure seeker.
with a big heart.
but i think i'm onto something here.
what do you think?

if you're well: take a hike.
if you're not: join me in restful pursuit of those daily goals.

sending love your way.

21 February 2011

short letters to the world, second installation

dear pants: why you gotta be so tight these days?

dear green tea: you're really working my patience, this whole 4% of the caffeine in coffee bull. as if that health-inducing excitement was enough to help me kick my terrible, under-caffeinated mood.

dear wedding plans: move yourself promptly to the front burner. its officially time to get this party started.

dear rae: paul & i always laugh more when you've been here. thanks for making a sunday night so fun! and bringing delicious 1970's slow-cooker sweet potato chili. you're the best. 

dear research methods class: giving me an assignment to "review the following statistical concepts and techniques" on wikipedia is just asking for me to spend two hours scrolling through carol hannah's blog and coveting other people's lives. 

dear yogi teas: your inspiration quotes are my favorite. every tea bag should have a string and a zen quote attached.  i'm particularly fond of purely peppermint and rejuvenating (caution: see above) green tea.

oh damn, yogi teas: now you've really done it. you have a well wishes tree? and i can send myself a little hope note with a life-sized version of my favorite teabag mantra (of late?). now i REALLY love you.  {yes, yes i did send myself a well wish, signed by, myself. }

dear pw: this is a big week for you! i am so proud of you for continuing to believe in your passions and for continuing to put one foot in front of the another as you follow your path. this is a big shift, and i am hear with confetti, champagne & kisses, ready to celebrate you!

dear iron & wine: we go way back and i love you more each album. 

dear tanner, college-brother who is probably way too cool to be calling me on a monday night but you did anyway and we had a really wonderful conversation, complete with you telling me how much you like my art work and sealing the call with a solid "i love you steph." you don't know how much that means to little old me. 

dear we yoga's power vinyasa class that got cancelled tonight because the power went out on that one block of downtown louisville: boooo. i was looking forward to that all day. i'll be back for more next week!

dear stomach: its almost time for your favorite dish of the year: walnut miso noodles with fresh veggie toppings acting as sprinkles. i love sprinkles!

dear monday: you were a whopper. but a sister has got to laugh, some how, some way. short letters to the world have a way of making that possible. 

20 February 2011

one small truth

we could all, always, use an extra dash of joy.
a smile that lightens your load just enough.
two baby teeth grinning your way,
reminding you of one small truth:

love always wins.

happy sunday, friends.
p.s. ebr: aunt steffi loves you!

17 February 2011

the unveiling

sometimes life is really tough. take today. really tough but really good. and i mean really good. because the tough got turned to love. in this very moment, i am so thankful for the brave chords that get struck when life gets really tough, and i'm so thankful for brave souls whose lives tell the tale of the tender space of vulnerability. 

women who come immediately to mind: my mother(s), my sister, bréne brown, kelly rae roberts, my grandmothers (4), kaileen elise, analiese marie, victoria wall harris, ashley chaplain. these women mentor me into courage, fullness, life.

heart piercing cards original. sold.
in the tender space of their vulnerability, i have gotten to see their wisdom. i get to learn about being wholehearted. "brave in sadness, brave in love." willing to step up to the plate with all my fierceness, but with gratitude, humility, anxiety, curse words, patience, peace and most of all: love.

i get to learn the lessons of life. the oh-so-important, "how did i ever live without knowing this?!" these lessons feel life changing. i can't exactly describe it, but its like going on a jog or driving in the car and hearing a song that you feel like was written, recorded, and played for you right in this very moment. as though it was all meant to be and by god, you're actually hearing the words and processing them and they are touching the place within, so deep down and yet so present in every waking moment. that i'm running on the clouds and open up to all the possibility.

have you had moments like that? heart-widening, wing-strengthening, soul-gripping moments that feel like this is whats its all about. 

other moments in life that have made me feel this way: seeing my nieces for the first time. falling in love. watching my younger brothers become men. that letter from wendell berry. drives home from the therapist's office. long walks with my college roommates, times when we found ourselves among one another's support and deep love. family interventions. flying home from spain. mid-way through the austin half marathon. after the fourth of july art fair. when i achieved my goal weight. riding my bike through the park on the perfect day. listening to chinese translation on the bus ride home that one day. mondo beyondo

i'm trying not too look back, rather, i'm trying to feel back. feel deep into that space that feels so alive.

and the spark? honesty. leaning into my fears with a dedication to faith, goodness, and vulnerability. oh my goodness, the unveiling that occurs when you dare to seek, wholeheartedly, the ghosts, demons, and more. these are unexplored opportunities for your growth, your faith, your fullness. 

i'm overwhelmed with the fullness i feel. the gratitude that is bubbling at the surface of my being, much like the fine effervescence in a glass of champagne on the most special evening. 

thank you, thank you, thank you for being you: the brave soul. the courageous, willing one who hurdles even the highest obstacles with such faith. my soul is singing.


13 February 2011

changed perspective

i've been working on a blog post about bellies for more than two weeks. it's the worst case of writers block i've ever come up against. this post is hiding out in my insides as a product of twenty six years of belly-tangled emotions, expectations, and fortunately-or-unfortunately: the desire to be hidden. stay tuned... that's coming up once i can process further.

in the interim and on a completely different note, i found this photo on my friend erin's sister's facebook profile (no joke! hi kelsey!) and i downloaded the hi-res version (hello new facebook feature!) and in an instant it struck me as what we all need from time to time. no, no, not a headstand, however, those are very conducive to the end product: a changed perspective.
a changed perspective

sure. we need blue skies (hello, florida); sisters; sand between our toes; comfortable hoodies; long walks; fresh water; good friends; and warm, sunny days; but most of all, we need the opportunity to turn ourselves upside down and see the world from a different point of view.

what you can't tell from this picture, is that erin just took a huge, major leap.  erin: my amazing friend i met halfway around the world,  who has been known to do headstands, who i ran the austin half marathon with a year ago tomorrow,  who layed her dreams out on canvas,  erin who still owes HPL readers a recap of her yoga retreat, erin the extraordinaire...

erin quit her job, bought a plane ticket to india, drove her car halfway across the country (with her adorable pup Colby), and is gearing up for the wedding experience of a lifetime (hi ramji!). she pretty much wasn't going to settle for the status quo any more, so she is letting her life guide her from this place, forward. with trust, hope and  solid inner knowing. 

her story, these kinds of stories, give me a lot of hope. they flip my anxious ways onto their head and remind them who's boss. if order to live a really full life, must one choose the things, the places, the people, the opportunities that make them come alive? i think so. and i think that's true for erin, for me, and for you, too. 

it's been a mondo beyondo week over here (hi pw! your stories next!), and despite the excavating that's still left to be done (hello, belly post), there is a lot to celebrate, and a lot to get still about, too. hope you find the opportunity for the changed perspective. 

i hope you enjoy a happy sunday filled to the brim with the goodness that makes you come alive.

xoxo stephanie

p.s. i know erin will read this post, so if you have a moment, feel free to leave her a  hope note in the comments: i know she'll tuck them into the pockets of her heart as she embarks on this next adventure! xoxo