Happy New Year, friends! I hope it’s off to a smooth start, but even if it’s not, I hope you’re not reading too much into that that, either ;) For me, I ended 2018 and started 2019 with being sick with some sort of virus that’s been lingering way past it’s welcome. Instead of feeling down and out about welcoming a new year by being horizontal in bed, working on a puzzle, watching some new shows and drinking copious amounts of herbal tea – I looked at it as an advantage. This is a time of year where commitments are minimal, and clearly my body needs the rest and recovery. So I’m honoring her by allowing her to tell me what she needs, when she needs it, sans guilt. Period. The end.
A past version of me would have felt stir-crazy. Lazy, even. I would have convinced myself that I should be doing more – comparing myself to others who are at the gym, meal prepping, getting ahead of the game by organizing and launching new programs, etc, etc, etc. But honestly, that’s just not where I am right now. I’m in the space of taking things day by day. Of honoring the space and the time that I have to be sick and take care, to brainstorm and journal and let go of expectations that things need to look a certain way.
I’m just here. And here feels pretty damn good. (even with a virus)
With it being the first week of January, I wanted to share my intentions for this month, as I have been for the past several months. I’m welcoming a lot of space for learning new things, and taking on new creative endeavors that are purely meant to be fun and therapeutic. As most of you know, simplicity, balance and mindfulness are the number one priorities in my life – so plenty of my intentions flow into those categories as well. Let’s jump in!
I finally did it. I signed up for a 4 week course at Penguin Foot on the Northside of Chicago and will start my lessons at the wheel on Tuesday. They’ll run each week for 4 weeks, where I’ll learn the basics and get my hands dirty. This is something that I’ve been wanting to learn for so long now (maybe 2 years?), so it feels really, really good to be teaching myself something new.
I used to paint with acrylics in college, and while I wasn’t terrible per se, it also just wasn’t really my medium. I would try and paint portraits, and they’d turn out a little funky which we’ll just go ahead and call “abstract” — and then hung up my brushes to dry for good. It’s been about 10 years since I’ve painted, but I’ve felt inclined to try out watercolors and see if that’s something that feels good. No reason other than to just create and see what naturally flows — patterns, color blending, who knows. But I recently bought myself this kit and plan on taking a weekend to indulge in some YouTube videos to learn.
Alongside my deep love for pilates, I’ve recently taken up Barre on a regular basis (1-3 times a week) and it’s incredible how much my body has changed. Baby abs popping though, lean muscle and just feeling really strong and stretched out over all. The best part about this workout is that it’s slow paced and focuses almost solely on body strength. It’s been an amazing mental workout for me, too, since it really requires you to push yourself and hold certain repetitions.
Going to bed early & waking up early
For as long as I’ve been photographing (9 years this month), I’ve never really had to worry about what time I woke up in the morning unless I had a rare early shoot or a random commitment (or a flight). But for the most part, I would just let my body sleep and wake up when it felt like it wanted to. I’d generally go to bed around 11 or so, and wake up between 8-9. Now that I’m in my own flow, I’m usually winding down around 9pm with my new favorite wind-down tea, either journaling and pulling cards or watching a nostalgic movie that doesn’t require me to think too hard (Sleepless in Seattle is a good example here). While I know they say that you “shouldn’t watch TV in bed”, I’ve been watching on my desktop computer, so I dim the screen till its nearly off, have the sound down low, have some candles lit and just listen to the vibration of the voices until I start to feel really sleepy. So far this has worked wonders (it’s been about a month now), and I’m waking up around 5:30 or 6 almost naturally – feeling really refreshed.
Nourishing my relationships
While I’m spending a lot of time creating (writing, photographing, the shop, side projects) I’ve also created a good amount of free time for myself, which has allowed me to really focus and prioritize my people. It allows me to travel to where they are, to take an hour or so out of my day to catch up on the phone, setting aside time out of the week to get in person quality time (especially in the winter – that can be tough when our bodies tell us to hibernate) and just making sure that the people in my life feel held and valued. 2018 was a bit of a trying year – a lot of unforeseen transitions – and I can confidently say that without my closest relationships breathing new life into my lungs, I’m not sure I would have been able to come out the other side.
Focusing purely on my intuition
I’ve spent a lot of my life doing things purely because I thought I was supposed to, and putting aside what actually felt good. Last year, I made huge strides with getting to know my intuition and being able to recognize her voice (large in part to this book). Now, I’m focusing on trusting her 100%, and leaning in to what feels authentic and in high vibration, and letting go of the rest. I’m almost looking at this as like a personal development project: listening to my intuition over outside noise and seeing what happens. Maybe I’ll document my findings here with all of you.
If you came into my home, you’d probably look around and tell me that my life looks pretty minimal. This is true. Everything in my home has a place and a reason for being here. Everything serves a purpose or tells a story, but there are certain things that I think about when I’m lying in bed, journaling or just thinking about my day and what needs tending to. Things like: a slew of random iPhone photos taking up space for no reason, an unorganized desktop/hard drive, random photo equipment that I don’t use anymore, beauty products under my bathroom sink that are half-used and not valued. These are the things that I know would release even just the slightest bit of weight from my shoulders, so these are things worth doing.
*Real time update: Since I wrote this past at the end of last month, I took the time before January arrived to tend to these things. What a game changer.
• I took my bins of old taxes to my parents to shred
• I backed up my phone and all of the images, and then dedicated part of my flight to San Francisco to clearing out photos on my camera roll.
• I took an afternoon to organize my hard drive and gave everything a folder within a folder (..within a folder – and color coded, too. I’m a Virgo. I can’t help myself!)
• I made a pile of photography gear that’s collecting dust, took images of them and posted them to a Facebook group where you can sell equipment. It’s still sitting in a pile, but at least it’s being addressed!
• I took on the undertaking of sitting down on my bathroom floor, listening to some good music, and going through products that I know I won’t use anymore. I made two piles: one to give to friends to try, and the other to pitch.
• Pottery classes
• Learning how to watercolor
• Barre Classes
• Going to bed early & waking up early
• Nourishing my relationships to the fullest
• Focusing purely on my intuition
• Simplifying all areas of my life
What are some things you’re focusing on this month?
As you all know, I’m not really one for setting resolutions. Rather I’m all about intentions and doing things out of growth, improvement and evolvement — I invite (and encourage!) you all to try and take this approach in 2019. See how it feels to your insides to let go of having to plan out your entire YEAR! As humans, we’re forever changing, so being able to give yourself the freedom to do so, to release the pressure of “sticking” to something for 365 days, deeming yourself a failure when it doesn’t last (because it wont), and instead — take inventory each month on what worked, what didn’t, and what your insides (intuition) is craving. It’s a surefire way to live the life you really want.