Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cramming for the upcoming holidays

The holidays have never meant much to me.
When I worked retail - I was happy to pull a 10 hour shift. The time flew with the crazies, although the 4 am start wasn't anything to leap for joy about.

I'm going to be gone this holiday season though. And it's hitting me harder than I thought it would.
People are posting their open invites for Thanksgiving, and there are more than a couple that I would have loved to attend.
Leaving makes me realize how much I love my friends.
If I can build that here - then I need to have faith that I can do that wherever I land. That's a lot to believe in, and sustained belief.

To take care of some things for me, and for my family, I'm pre-loading the holidays.

I made cookies. Peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip. Yum. I ate 3 of them and I've pretty much filled my quota for cookies. Good thing I have friends!

My mom was lovely enough to bring Thanksgiving to me last weekend. She packed up the crock-pot, brought my beloved jellied cranberry sauce (can-shaped of course), and mashed pounds of potatoes. They drove down to Minneapolis, and I was able to invite friends to share as well. It was lovely, and after enjoying a final hit of pumpkin pie, and bundling my parents back up to the North, R1 (former roommate and all around badass) lit a fire in the backyard fire pit. It was a beautiful version of the holiday.

I got to wrap up a gift for my mom yesterday. It's all a surprise but it feels all warm and tingly to know that even while I'm so far away that they'll have something from me here.

Just a little taste of the holidays while the snow flies for me. Sending me off with a good 6 inches and a final kick in the snow pants.

-Rachel

Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Are Allowed

I found this today. Some of the statements vibrate at my same frequency. Read through them and see if it's the same. If you like what you read - take a look at Mara Glatzel's website: maraglatzel.com

you are allowed

OCTOBER 23, 2014
You are allowed to rest.
You are allowed to go through the effort of going to the store, buying the ingredients, and spending time cooking your favorite meal… even if you’re the only one there to eat it.
You are allowed to prefer the company of people who lift you up to those that drag you down.
You are allowed to cry.
You are allowed to believe in the magic of the moon and tide and seasons.
You are allowed to be wildly sexy… even if you aren’t “skinny” or “hot” or “perfect.”
You are allowed to be unproductive or to delve into something utterly “useless” that delights your spirit.
You are allowed to not have it all figured out.
You are allowed to be selfish, and not just this once
You are allowed to be imperfect. To show up messy. To feel vulnerable when a perceived flaw is revealed.
You are allowed to want your coffee a certain way. (Brewed dark with dollops of coconut cream, thank you very much.) And, you are allowed to be absurdly weird about the mug that you drink your coffee out of.
cherish
You are allowed to buy yourself really nice sheets to sleep in every night.
You are allowed to like succulents and flower crowns, even when they are painfully on trend and you’d really like to pretend you are too cool for them.
You are allowed to be uncool.
You are allowed to curate your life as if it is your greatest masterpiece. It is.
You are allowed to throw away all of the underwear in your drawer that has holes in it.
You are allowed to shine brightly, even it it is intimidating to someone else or makes them jealous.
You are allowed to be unendingly specific as you attend to the details of what is around you.
You are allowed to say no. To change your mind. To realize mid-process that something isn’t right for you.
You are allowed to recalibrate your course at a moment’s notice.
You are allowed to choose what you make things mean.
You are allowed to have a bad day. 
You are allowed to be ridiculously happy, even if everyone around you is struggling.
You are allowed to be too much. To be irrational. To be highly sensitive.
Chase
You are allowed to ask for what you need.
You are allowed to have needs. 
You are allowed to love yourself, bravely, no matter what.
You are allowed to make up your own mind about what you’d like to do – without asking anyone else.
You are allowed to make mistakes.
You are allowed to be deliciously, ridiculously, and messily human.

Friday, November 14, 2014

From the blog'osphere to book'osphere

I have been rambling around the internet and blogs for the last year.

I found this little number and I think that EVERYONE SHOULD RUN OUT AND BEG, STEAL, OR BORROW THIS BOOK ==> Adulting How To Become A Grown-Up In 468 Easy-ISH Steps
by Kelly Williams Brown.



Bam.
Mic drop.

She started as a blog and has made adulthood just that much easier and a whole lotta more entertaining.
One of my favorite easy-ish steps is #188


She is SO right. How often do you do this? Stop it. You're worth the compliment. And so is someone else. If you have something nice to say - then say it. You better believe that when people don't have something nice to say - they feel no desire to stifle that. It works both ways, and the world could always use more kindness.

-Rachel

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to teach grammar like a boss

This website is fantastic. Purdue OWL



Don't make grammar more difficult than you have to because often other people have done the heavy lifting for you!

Why are banks so effing unhelpful and frustrating?

[insert rant here]

No one else needs the specifics but it's a pain in the ass to be sure!

-Rachel

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

So many things that I didn't know! Grammar for smarter than your average dummy

English is hard. Terribly, terribly bastardized and convoluted.
Makes no sense except in use.

I thank my lucky stars regularly that I learned English as a primary language, and never had to make sense of it as an adult.
Learning French from middle school on, and more recently Spanish has helped to improve my English but we can all use a little help...

My favorite from the list is:
  • The singular of biceps is biceps; the singular of triceps is triceps. There’s no such thing as a bicep; there’s no such thing as a tricep.
Although I think that I might still get this wrong regularly:
  • He stayed awhile; he stayed for a while.
-Rachel

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Being larger than you are




 "I firmly believe in small gestures: pay for their coffee, hold the door for strangers, over tip, smile or try to be kind even when you don’t feel like it, pay compliments, chase the kid’s runaway ball down the sidewalk and throw it back to him, try to be larger than you are— particularly when it’s difficult. People do notice, people appreciate. I appreciate it when it’s done to me. Small gestures can be an effort, or actually go against our grain (I’m not a big one for paying compliments), but the irony is that almost every time you make them, you feel better about yourself. For a moment life suddenly feels lighter, a bit more Gene Kelly dancing in the rain." — Jonathan Carroll

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Re-homing your treasures or the craigslist shuffle

I bought a lot of my furniture off of Craigslist. In fact, I consider it to be one of my greatest skills - reading between the lines of people's descriptions to decipher the truth. Always look for pictures, and select your neighborhoods carefully. The ritzier neighborhoods tend to have quality stuff that is a little more gently used. 
Bottom line: I know how to play the game.

I've also moved 4 times in the last 5 years. Not that I've had the top of the line furniture but it's been treated well, and I like to think that I curated some beautiful and quirky pieces to fit my life. Not a lot, but enough. (the same cannot be said for shoes or clothes though - of those I have too many and to the consternation of my step-father)










And it's hard to not get attached to the things that you touch and rely on every day of your day-to-day life. The things that are your go to places, the place where you keep your other treasures. I spent a fair amount of time to find these pieces and I have to temper that attachment with the need to purge. I don't need many of these pieces that are around. And above all they deserve to be useful. So I've put them up on Craigslist. Not cheap enough where people will treat them as disposable, but hopefully they all find good homes.
The craziest part though is having to deal with all the Craigslist yahoos. Some key thoughts when Craigslist shopping or selling. Be fast, be fair, and don't take anything personally. Most people will waste your time with no regard. Often they don't know how to bargain the deal either. Not that I'm an expert but persuasive speech is very rarely 5 words: 'Is 'x' still available? $5?'
I respond. No shit, sherlock. It's still available. Price is firm for the time being, and your offer is insultingly low.
Come on! At least see the piece before you decide to offer 1/10th of the asking price. You don't get to own my prized chair. Or ottoman. Or anything. You will treat it like garbage - I can tell. You won't prize it. And that's what I require. That's a luxury that I have now. 
Ask me in 2 weeks.

Everything may be a lot cheaper.

-Rachel

Friday, October 24, 2014

Your Authentic Self

Above all value your authentic self.
It's easier for you but easier for others as well.
People understand what they'll get from you.
No mystery. No guessing, and second-third-fourth guessing.
Set a good example for those in your life.

You can relax into who you are.
Your authentic self.
Sounds lovely.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Expanding Horizons: Looking for Enlightenment

BUDDHISM


I'm interested in meditation. A little interest piqued here and there. Although I've never really been interested in religion per se.

So in the interest of broadening my perspective, I attended Common Ground meditation center twice last week. 
It was wonderful!


I recently read a piece about finding your 'church', but in the sense that if you don't practice religion, you can still have a place where you feel connected, whole, in the groove. Read the piece here.

The center has a great community to help build a practice. Unfortunately, I won't be here to participate in their young adult groups, or the group practices every Weds/Sun. Mark, the lead teacher for the sessions that I attended suggested a couple of websites to help me find centers and practice groups in South America.
If you're interested in finding a center near you take a look at:

Buddhanet.net and their World Buddhist Directory

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Expanding Horizons

I've been looking up things to do.
What interests me?

Meditation
Cooking
Cycling
Hiking
Languages

I'd like to start a label here for Expanding Horizons.
It'll be a great list of places and resources of the things that are tripping my trigger right now.

Monday, October 20, 2014

So here's the problem (wink)

As soon as you start spending any time around travel websites, you find all of these other places - places you're not going to. On other continents. Or in the exact opposite direction for where you're going. And these places look GORGEOUS and must-see-able.

Take a look at this awesome Yurt experience in Mongolia. Who wants to go to Mongolia?!?

(this girl)

-Rachel

Feast for the Eyes: Cordillera Blanca in Peru


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Where the hell am I going?

No seriously...too many choices:

Do I sit in one place in South America or do I do the backpacker?

Thoughts?

-Rachel

Friday, October 17, 2014

Unexpected places - 5 from BootsnAll

Check this list out from BootsnAll.

Five Unexpected Treasures of South America


Zona Cafetera, Colombia

Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru

Coroico, Bolivia

“The other three days,” Salar de Uyuni Tour, Bolivia

Cafayate, Argentina



Add 'em to the list...

-Rachel

Spread open like a chicken

I had a revelation while on the massage table this week.

I was face-down, naked under a sheet and with half my body (the long way) being pummeled by elbows. Felt amazing. Won't hide that.
But it started me thinking. I felt like one of those turkeys that you see on cooking shows where their skin is being massaged with butter, herbs shoved under their skins and ready for crisping. Then they spread their drumsticks apart to shove stuffing in, and the whole time this turkey is just being manhandled. (can you tell that thanksgiving is coming?)

I felt a little like that. Spread open. Bare. It felt familiar. And for the last year I've felt like that a bit too.

Too open.
Too exposed.
Life was too much.
Too emotional.
Too many people.
Too much alone time.

Then I thought that I don't think that anyone could have known just how overwhelming I found everything. I shut down the external part for many people in my life.
I didn't know how to ask. And more importantly I didn't know what I needed.

What I know now is that I'm thankful for help.
For people that told me to get help.
And for my accident that set off a chain of events that let me hit bottom. But also forced me to take care of my body.

Sidenote; I read recently that emotional pain can manifest as physical pain. To the extent that if you're genuinely hurting, then try taking an ibuprofen. I'm not advocating, but it's an interesting concept.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I felt comfortable. I felt as though the naked part wasn't as overwhelming. I could see the similarities, but I didn't feel sucked into a previous emotional mud pit.

Put your Wellies away kiddos. I'm not playing that way today.

-Rachel

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I love the title of this blog article - How to Happen to the Hottest Guy In the Room

I stumbled upon this article - How to Happen to the Hottest Guy In the Room

What I took away was the part where I get to 'happen' to someone!
Sounds cheesy but I like the idea of finding enough value in myself, that someone would want the 'Rachel Experience'.

Makes me giddy.

Here's how you 'happen'. You can read the article or I can simply summarize it for you below.


  • Make eyes. Make eyes and smile while your eyes are made.
  • Get within range. Not shouting distance, and not too close. But close enough so they can see your shoes.
  • Then start talking to someone by them. And sound interesting, and approachable and happy. Take this chance to smile or make more eyes.
  • Notice them. 'Oh, hi. Didn't see you there'. Shake their hand. Ask a question. 
  • Engage. You're an experience darling! Open up, and ask things that genuinely interest you, but remember that you are approachable, and you have nothing to prove. Have fun, and meet a new person. Listen more than you talk.
  • Try to make contact. No, just make contact. Shake a hand. Or touch an arm. This isn't an assault, it's about being comfortable. 
  • And now it's time to part ways. Or let them convince you to stay. Either way. You have the opportunity to see what's what. Even something along the lines of 'Well, I've kept you to myself long enough...I'll let you get back to your friends, and I'll grab a drink/coffee/breath of fresh air.

Go happen everyone.
-Rachel

Feast for the Eyes: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sparkless

I found this over the weekend.
It hit me like a kick to the stomach. I actually had to stop reading, then read it again.

I've cut out the reader's (Sparkless') question, and instead just want to put out there what Polly has to tell her, but really all of us.

And holy crap. It is the ABSOLUTE RIGHT TIME for me to hear this. I have been making other people my priority. This is not about being in a romantic relationship. This has been everywhere, all the time. I've been changing who I am so that people have an easier time liking me. What shit, right. I haven't been happy. Not the last year, but longer than that. It's fucking exhausting, but really hard to pull out of the skid. It's time to stop.
I, and we all, deserve to be wholly ourselves. I want to be MORE. I want to be better than good. You're welcome.

I have two things to tell you. First, this guy was going to dump you no matter what. He says he never had enough of a spark for you. Sometimes men imagine that they're going to be blown away by someone, literally knocked off their feet by a babe straight out of a Doritos commercial. But other times, men just don't find your personality intriguing enough. They might like YOU — being around you, going out to dinner with you, sleeping with you, having brunch with you the next day. But they don't necessarily find themselves fully engaged and interested in who you really are. They don't want to sit and talk unless there are a few cold beers and some snacks nearby. They don't want to walk and talk unless the two of you are on the way to a movie.
I was always paranoid about this when I was younger, because there was always so much evidence that the guy du jour liked being part of a "fun little team" and getting laid regularly and spending time with a talkative, funny woman, but HE DIDN'T NECESSARILY LOVE ME. Even though it made me feel paranoid, I found evidence of this in little things: He wanted to catch a movie instead of having dinner together. He wanted to meet up with his friends after one drink at a bar together. He wanted to listen to the radio in the car instead of talking.
But actually, it's a little rare, to find someone who loves you so much that he just loves to talk, talk, talk with you for hours. Plenty of dudes will want to form a "fun little team" with you, particularly if you're smart and highly evolved and you have your shit together. Your stock will always be high. There will always be lots of dudes with projects strewn all over their apartments who will take in your easygoing nature and your 18-month-long ability to suspend your disbelief and go with the flow indefinitely.
There's nothing wrong with you, in other words. You're probably attracting a wider swath of men than is good for you. They aren't self-selecting themselves out of contention, because you seem perfectly healthy and reasonable. If you seemed impatient or intolerant, you might slough off some of the wishy-washy slackers in the mix. If you were a little temperamental, you might lose all but the most fervent admirers. Instead, you are healthy and sane and no one will object to being a team, and when you hit month 18 you'll (very wisely) assess the situation with your therapist: "Welp, he's either going to pop the question or hit the road, and I need to be fully emotionally prepared for either eventuality."
Okay, this is where the record screeches to a stop. You seriously didn't know if he was going to say "Let's be together forever!" or "I like you bunches, but I never want to see you again!"?
I don't get that. It makes me wonder if you're really showing up or not. It makes me wonder if you don't want, so badly, to be someone's dream girl, that you've got your hands on all of the sliders and the knobs (sorry!) at all times, controlling all the levels to achieve the perfect mix. Does he look impatient? Turn up the tempo. Does he seem bored? Pump up the bass. Does he seem on edge? Turn down the treble. Play up the mid-range.
You write, "I know what the truth of a relationship is." Sometimes when someone writes something that straightforward, it's the least true thing in the entire letter. If you knew the truth of this relationship, wouldn’t you know whether you'd be together for another day or another four decades? Wouldn't I know a thing or two about you or about him? I get that you can't put too many details in your letter, or you might be recognized. But I can't tell from your letter whether you were madly in love with this guy. I don't know if he deserved that love or not. I don't know what all of these other wishy-washy exes were like.
Your letter is all about you. You're really asking me if you're capable of being passionately loved or not. But you haven't told me anything aboutyou. You haven't mentioned any details or any troubles in your past relationships or any overarching flaws you might have or repeating mistakes you might have made. In fact, the most DETAILED bit of your letter is the part where your therapist assures you — before she knows if you'll be getting dumped or getting engaged — that you're 100 percent healthy and evolved and approved for future marriage or future singledom. Either way, you are a government certified, grade-A, consumer-friendly woman, approved for multiple uses, from forming a fun little team to kind, healthy, mature fence-sitting!
Your real problem is that you're sure you have a problem. Because you're pretty sure that you have a problem, you're hiding. You're putting up with whatever. You're never getting ruffled or hurt. When someone breaks up with you, you're not yelling "Whyyyyy?!!!" In fact, you imply that only a weak or less evolved person would do that. You imply that you aren't a weak person, you're not crazy, you're not fucked up, you're evolved, you're healthy, you have proof: Your therapist will vouch for you. You have "remarkable communication and emotional coping skills."
You're so good at being GOOD. But how good are you at being YOU? You know what makes a spark? A real human being with a bad attitude who's tired of moving shit just to sit down in a motherfucker's apartment. A woman who, after 18 months of doing everything together, doesn't sigh and say, "Okay. I'm hurt, but I totally get it." She says, "HOLY FUCK I THOUGHT YOU WERE ABOUT TO POP THE FUCKING QUESTION. THIS IS SUCH A FUCKING CURVEBALL." [Knocks a pile of books off a chair to sit down.] "I just wish I hadn't worn these fucking tall shoes, they're killing me, and I thought I should wear them in case we needed to go out somewhere nice to celebrate!" [Takes off shoes and throws them at the wall.] "GodDAMN IT! FUCK THIS!!!!" [Grabs a sketch from some pile of shitty sketches and rips it into a million pieces. Throws body onto filthy carpet and sobs, noting bits of filth in carpet while sobbing.]
Okay, so that was a dramatization of some messy behavior. I'm not trying to tell you to be more of a psycho and someone will love you completely. But you DO need to be SOMETHING. Are you afraid of being something?
Because let me tell you the god's honest truth: A lot of women out there are afraid of being something. The template for us is pretty clear: We are meant to have clean skin, a pleasant demeanor, and a nice rack. I'm not speaking up against nice racks, Lord knows. But there are lots of ladies around me, everywhere I go, who hesitate to say what they're thinking and feeling. They go with the flow, they never make waves. And eventually, they don't even seem to know what makes them who they are. They live to serve. They read the books that other people are reading. They say the pleasant things that other people are saying. They never put their needs first, unless it indirectly serves someone else — a manicure, some highlights. They make sure everyone around them is 100 percent satisfied. Like grocery-store managers. Like customer service reps. Like masseuses who also give free happy endings.
If that sounds sexist or demeaning, then it's by design. The developed world is packed to the gills with shiny, pretty sheep who will never step on your toes. I know many representatives of the middle-class suburban version of this, and I even know women in creative fields who pull the same "Me, too!" face in everything they do. It's soul-sucking and it's problematic and let me just say, too, that it is a FUCKING SNOOZE.
When someone says to me "I try to be nice" or "We make a good team" or "I like for things to be clean" or "I'm pretty organized," you know what I think? Well, first I think, "I need to be nicer and clean my fucking house a little better." But then I think, "Jesus. Why don't you try being a dick and striking out on your own and making a fucking mess for a change?" And also I can see it in some of these husbands' eyes. This woman is holding it down at home, and God forbid she do anything else.
I know I'm digressing, Sparkless. But you DO have a spark. If you wanted to be swept up by some conformist everyman who replaced the multiple projects with a clean condo and a straight job, you could do that quite easily. There's a more average bear that will love, love, love this highly evolved, communicative self you present to the world.
I think you want an artist boyfriend because YOU want to be an artist. You aren't writing me so that I'll tell you that some man will love you someday. You aren't writing to me to prove that you're healthy enough and now you're ready to be cherished. You're writing to me because you're ready to cherish yourself.
Like you yourself wrote: YOU SHOULD BE CHERISHED.
I want you to get out some colorful markers, and I want you to write these words 50 times, on the same page. You SHOULD BE cherished. You should be cherished. You. Should. Be. Cherished.
You don't cherish yourself. You do whatever what's-his-face wants to do, for the sake of the fun little team, for the sake of demonstrating your good communication skills. Just admit it. You never draw lines in the sand. He says, "We need to talk, it's serious." And you don't say, "WHAT do you MEAN motherfucking WHAT?!! TELL ME RIGHT NOW." You say, "Okay," and then make an emergency trip to your therapist and discuss all of the possibilities, and then you show up the next day, well-rested and prepared to discuss either ending it or nailing it down. That sounds perfectly sane and wonderful, but THAT'S NOT FAIR TO YOU. You are cherishing him, and cherishing your therapist, and cherishing sanity, and cherishing evolved-lady living, BUT YOU AREN'T CHERISHING YOU.
Don't you deserve something, beyond falling right in line with the other perfect, shiny ladies who deserve doting husbands? Don't you deserve a bigger, brighter existence than the ones they might be perfectly satisfied with?
You aren't satisfied with "evolved." That's not enough for you. If it were, you'd be more sure of your spark, and remarks about lacking a spark wouldn't get under your skin. You wouldn't take some dude's ambivalence personally.
And look, you'd also feel more alive and less worried if you felt comfortable with simply being GOOD. Because even the ladies who step right in line and aim to please, they have lots of spark, if that's what makes them happy. YOU WANT MORE THAN THAT. The lack of spark within you comes from the conflict between WHO YOU TRY TO BE and WHAT YOU REALLY WANT FOR YOURSELF. You want more. You act like you don't want more, you act like you're satisfied, but in fact, you want a lot more.
I don't know what, specifically, you want. Maybe you want the freedom to say exactly what you mean, instead of saying the "right" thing. Maybe you want to be assertive and bossy but you don't like women who do that, so you're afraid. Maybe you want to be the one with the projects strewn all over the place.
I used to date men who were obsessed with their creative projects. After a while, I realized that I didn't want THEM. I wanted to BE them. I thought being close to that energy might be enough. I thought that being loved by someone who was willing to give himself completely to the creative process was enough. I met a musician once who was consumed by his creations. I put him on a pedestal. I had so much crazy lust for him, it was almost stupid. But it wasn't him — I hardly knew him — it was his focus, his total involvement and belief in what he did, that made me crazy. I wanted to have that kind of passion for myself. I SHOULD'VE BEEN CHERISHED. I refused to cherish myself. It was easier to pretend that all of that magic and passion belonged to someone else, and that I had to ask permission to get a little taste of it.
You should be cherished, too. Cherish yourself. What kind of work are you doing in therapy? Is it time to stop being so good and start discovering what's going to transform your life into something big and vibrant and shocking? Do you want to get little pats on the head and control your expectations and quietly hope for more? Or do you want to say, for once and for all, NO MORE KIND, MATURE SLEEPWALKING. NO MORE WISHY-WASHY DUDES WHO LOVE THEMSELVES BUT FIND ME WANTING.
It's time to forget about being lovable. And in fact, it's time to forsake someone else's idea of what gives you a spark or no spark. Block the "other" from this picture. No more audience. You are the cherished and the cherisher. You are the eminently lovable and the lover. You are a million brilliant sparks, flashing against a midnight sky. Stop making room for someone else to sit down. Fuck "good" partners. Fuck waiting to be let in. You are already in. You are in. Cherish yourself.
Fuck wondering if you're lovable. Fuck asking someone else, "Am I there yet?" Fuck listening for the answer. Fuck waiting, alone, for a verdict that never comes. Don't grow up to be one of those women with a perpetual question mark etched into her brow: Am I good? Am I lovable? Am I enough?
You are here. Sit down. Feel your potential in this moment. You have accepted too little for too long. That is changing today. Breathe in. Draw a picture of yourself. Tape it to the wall, with the words: YOU ARE HERE. You are here. Cherish yourself.
Polly

Monday, October 13, 2014

Feast for the Eyes: Mendoza, Argentina


90's kid quiz



Who remembers this?

Full House flashback.

On the upside, it's a funny little, albeit trite, kind of phrase.

But it makes me think about how relationships flex, get put on ice, or break.
And all of that is fine.

The internet says that it's how life goes.
Most of my previous relationship ebbs and flows felt like they happened to me. Right now I feel like I have a choice. Whoa. Crazy right.

Last night, I sat in on a lecture by author Steven Pinker. He is a socio-linguist, and cognitive psychologist. Listening to him, I geeked out about the brain, language, and why we do what we do. Anyway, he talked about how to be a better writer. We're all guilty of a particular bias in our writing - and I think in our thinking - where we assume that when we learn a piece of information, that everyone else must know that information, or that it was/is something easy to learn.

Sometimes I think you hear things, at a specific time, and it helps you to put things together.

Maybe everyone else knew that you had a choice - but my choice is new to me.
So, now I get to 'cut. it. out.'

-Rachel




Sunday, October 12, 2014

Chasing the New

I've got a thing for new things.
I'm not good with routine, or repetition or as it flows through my brain - monotony.

I like 'new' things. Love new things.
Today I did new things. Yesterday I did new things. I'm planning new things. Everything is so new!

Today I biked to St. Paul - 12 miles there. (so many hills - gah)
I ate at a new-to-me Vietnamese restaurant, and rode the new Green Line LRT line.
Total miles biked today - 21.3 miles. And I feel good. Really good.

I told everyone on FB (so you know practically the world) that I'm jetting. No secret work list that didn't make the status update. And that feels really good as well. Lighter. It feels more real, even though I have less than anything actually planned.

As scared as I am, I have to say that I'm taking comfort in the fact that it's all new.

-Rachel

Radical Happiness

Bam.
Just choose to be happy with what's in front of you, what you have, and all the space in your life.

Choose to be happy in the face of anyone and anything.

Because happiness is a choice. And it's the biggest and smallest choice in life.

I may just be bold enough.

How radical is that!

-Rachel

Friday, October 10, 2014

I ain't got no troubles (or a firm grasp of grammar)

I've been depressed. Straight up, dark days and crying in public kind of depressed. I broke my thinking patterns down, went back 29 years, and now I'm in the process of building something that is equally me, but healthier.

Healthier means more sustainable. Kinder. Patient. Compassionate. Particularly towards myself. Match what 'I know' to what 'I feel'. Whew - that shit is hard.

I've been depressed. Not in a sad - this too shall pass kind of way, but instead where I needed help. I didn't have everything that I needed in me to do this by myself. I needed help. I have strength, and I have the belief that I can be all parts of myself.
I've been depressed.
That doesn't define me.
I'm many things.

I'm a happy person, that has been getting in her own way.

-Rachel

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Feast for the Eyes: Atacama Desert, Chile


Believing in yourself



-Rachel

A piece of my heart



Should any of you need a friend, a shoulder to lift a couch, or a shoulder to lean on - then I would like to offer up mine. I can even leave my love of inspirational quotes at home. I like to listen, and you all are worth it to me.

-Rachel

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I'm not running away




I don't know if this is the best forum for this.
I'll do it anyway.

I'm not running away.
I'm not judging anyone's choices.
I'm not judging anyone's life here.
I'm not fleeing bad memories.
Nor am I fleeing 'bad' people.
I'm not doing this because I'm can't hack it here.
I'm not doing this because I'm weak.

(Side note: For anyone that really knows me - I don't run. I'm more apt to amble, or dart. Possibly cavort, or wiggle, but I never run.)

So in my head and in my heart I think: this cannot be my life.
I am an expanse being held in a body that is too small. And I need to go and be that.
I am brave. I am grace. I am bold. I am fit. I am light enough to rise to the occasion.

And here, here I am attached to things, and attached to people. I am comfortable. And it causes me pain. It makes me sad. So I will go and build elsewhere. I will go rebuild what I've spent the last 12 months tearing down.

And I'm excited! If you talk to me, I know that it may not seem like it, but I'm adept at burying it under the anxiety of everything that ever needs to get done before I leave.

Because I may not come back. And that's okay. I'll bring you with me.

-Rachel

Today I Bought Travel Insurance

I feel so responsible.


And damn, there are A LOT of factors to take into consideration.
I found a couple of really great resources that I'd recommend.
Although, since I haven't used said insurance yet - I don't really have a new perspective; but I'd suggest doing a Google search for Nomadic Matt and travel insurance or just click here

So here's what I went with...

World Nomads

5 months
$400
Seems like a good deal. I AM COVERED.

and I can sleep a little easier. And hopefully so can the people that love me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

When someone else's discovery shines a ray of light deep into the darkest bits

I found this post on a badass lady website. She asked her ex's to tell her why she wasn't girlfriend material. That kind of self-examination takes guts. Like GUTS spilling out on the floor. And she wrote an article about it!

What she got was some lighter 'it wasn't you it was me' but the blinding light for me came from this response...

You struck me, as you likely do everybody else, as a very sharp and funny woman who is quite easy to talk to. You also happen to be extremely good-looking. All positives, in my book. You also struck me as unique in how immediately frank and forthright you were in conversation. Your frankness was refreshing and exciting and often funny, and it certainly didn't ring any alarm bells when you talked openly about things like career, family, sex, etc.
That said, your frankness often drifted into straight-up confession, as if you wanted to lay out everything that was potentially difficult, disappointing or problematic about yourself on the table immediately. As someone who also has a confessional streak, I can understand this, but I know from experience that it's best to play certain things close to the chest when hanging out with someone new, especially a potential romantic partner. 
You have a ton of remarkable weapons in your arsenal –- smarts, looks, wit, a cool job, a justly celebrated rack –- but you strike me as a woman who can't resist undermining herself from time-to-time. Perhaps you like to air your self-doubt and less flattering qualities off the bat in an effort to preempt greater disappointment or embarrassment down the line, or maybe you've developed an attachment to the idea of yourself as a tragic romantic figure, or maybe something totally different. I don't think it's a great strategy, though, as people tend to believe anything you tell them (me included, apparently).
When a person is eager to catalogue their faults early on, it's hard not to start instinctively thinking of that person as TROUBLE and anticipate a fraught experience with a lot of complications and psychic tension and gloom. It's also hard not to think of that person as simply not being happy and/or not feeling good about themselves (as everybody knows, confidence and a high self-opinion are very attractive in men and women, unless you're some sort of sociopath).
Of course, most of my relationships HAVE been filled with complications and psychic tension and gloom, but I, like most others, like to adopt a kind of willful ignorance of these eventualities on early dates to set the goodwill groundwork. It seemed to me that you were unconsciously trying to undermine this rosiness by really running with a warts-and-all technique. I think this here article is actually great example of your confessional streak and eagerness to air your perceived faults and troubles. 
The author admits that this ex touched on something she already knew but seemed to have a very hard time changing: that she sabotages herself by spotlighting her flaws, telling herself that she prefers this flat-out admission of being less than perfect rather than just putting only her very best, albeit edited, self forward.
 I think that I do this as well.
With everyone.  How do I edit without being unkind to myself? Or is the kind thing to edit?
-Rachel


Some weeks are harder than others



Anxiety is insidious.

Things are so up in the air for me right now.
When you're feeling good - the unknown is an adventure, and it's a whole hell of a lot easier to say something like 'well, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.' This past week has just been filled with addition upon addition to the list of things to do, and list of things that are 'unknown'.

I'm feeling different. Different than the gross depression that has been so prevalent for the last year. Different in an indifferent kind of way. I'm anti-social. People seem like a herculean task. As do the loud noises and lights of work. Lately, I've been all about snuggling at home (plus it rained all last week), with a blanket, my first pair of socks worn in 3 months, and a Netflix marathon of Gilmore Girls which was just added on Oct 1st.

I'm trying. I do things because I think that I should want to do things. I should want to be out. Or more like, I shouldn't want to be stuck inside all the time. In a month, I won't have my personal space anymore. My personal fortress of solitude. All of that is going away. Maybe I need to soak it all in before I move out at the end of the month.

All of the above was just to say that anxiety is insidious. Last week I just felt gunky, funky, and blah. Ennui. Malaise. A special finger for the week. I think that the perfect storm of rainy weather kept me indoors, and this avoidance of the present. Anxiety is when you're focused on the future. Groundlessness is when you feel as though where you stand is no longer someplace you recognize.

How do I be more present?
How do I be around the people that are open to help listen, without telling me to plan more?
I don't want to justify my feelings, I just want to feel them. And then let them be.

Meditation is the key.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bookend Experience: Patagonia

This is an option for my AMAZING AWESOME PATAGONIA TREK!

I FEEL LIKE IF I'M TALKING ABOUT PATAGONIA IT NECESSITATES YELLING IN CAPS LOCK!

I'll try to tone it down.

I heard of Zozi the other day, and found this awesome looking 11 day trek through Chile's Patagonia and the Torres del Paine.





Take a look at all the awesomeness and let me know what my exuberance
might be blinding me to...


-Rachel

14 ways to make yourself miserable

I think (re: hope) that everyone works through these.
It's a good reminder of how to pull out of a spiral.

My top 3 in no particular order:
1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. This one is especially relevant for me as I'm quitting a job, getting rid of health insurance, and heading off into the great unemployed unknown. I'm switching lanes and redefining what I find successful. It's not easy in our culture of more is more, and success is things. Just know that it's not easy, but a necessary leap. I still think of what I could be missing out on, and what it might look like when/if I come back.
3. Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. Talk about it to everybody, and make sure to read up on the symptoms so you can speak about them knowledgeably and endlessly. Practice the behaviors most associated with that condition, particularly when it’ll interfere with regular activities and relationships. Focus on how depressed you are and become weepy, if that’s your identity of choice. I have been 'growing' a lot in the past year. Now is the time that I choose how happy I get to be, and what Rachel I choose to be to the world. I know that I have all parts of my personality - including someone that is allowed to be sad. What I am not is a 'sad' person. Year 29 is my year!
11. Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous. It's not all about me. I think that this is why I bike. It's my time to meditate, and 'ride it out'. After all of this, I feel better/clearer/calmer.


And for your viewing pleasure, here are some kickass spirals

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Inaugural 'Art of Getting Started'

Sometimes you just need to do something. Something will get you started. Boom. Creativity just happened.

Psst. Creativity doesn't come easily to me. I'm going to give this a go with some irregular posts. Feel free to participate with me.

The Art of Getting Started

#001 is to Write Your Bucket List

this is crap. I choose not to do this one.

I like #002, which is Go For a Walk
and
#003 which is Take a Selfie Without Showing Yourself

Keep an eye out for my assignments.

-Rachel

Friday, October 3, 2014

Finding a Through Line

I wandered around the internet this past weekend.

I found a career coaching website called Create As Folk

There's a great post about putting together your disparate experiences into one trajectory. She calls it a 'through line'. Often the things that seem random and disjointed have a commonality.

Using herself as an example

So far, I’ve had two main careers: acting and coaching. I’ve also done some teaching here and there, and that’s purpose-driven to me, so we’ll throw that into the mix. For me, what do acting, coaching, and teaching have in common? What do I give to these careers, and what do they give to me?
The through-lines for me are collaboration, community, inciting change, and being part of creating marvelous things.

When you can articulate your through-line, not only will you feel a bit relieved, but it will be easier to explain to friends, clients, or employers about your changin’ heart.

The externals of your careers may have changed, but the core, the through-line, has remained the same.
The other benefit to this is that if we can find the purpose-driven through line from our previous experiences, then it can give us some idea of what to steer for going forward.
Thoughts?
-Rachel

A New Lens On Life

I went to the eye doctor yesterday. At 29, my prescription hasn't changed - wahoo! That's great news.
Earlier in the week, I heard from the nurse practitioner that it's not advisable to get Lasik done before going to travel in high altitude locales. It can make your eyes do funny (re: unfunny) things, and I don't wanna mess with my eyes.

2 things I learned though:

  • I don't like getting my eyes dilated. Makes it hella hard to bike home. 
  • The mark-up on eye glass frames are INSANE! Funny story, that they only had these navy plastic Nicole Miller frames. I asked to see if they had any other colors. The girl checked their inventory and it was a no go. She then googled the classes, and would up on the Nicole Miller website. There were 3 non-prescript sunglasses color options for - get this - $39.99. Whoa, what a good deal I think to myself. So I have her write down the name and style number for me. Then I can look elsewhere for myself. She hands me the post-it with AN INSANE figure on it. $349 for the frames. FOR THE FRAMES ALONE. I could barely contain my gasp.
Once I get home (it was rough going and I know know first hand why you don't often see blind people on bikes), I put my thinking cap on. I googled online eye glasses, and found a great list from LifeHacker on the Top 5 Eyeglass Sites

I had never bought glasses online before.
I ended up checking out Warby Parker, EyeBuy Direct and Coastal.

Warby Parker and Coastal will ship you frames to try on - that's a plus.
Warby Parker seems to only have the hipster-y, plastic frame jobbers without nose-pads. I need nose pads.
Side note: I have no bridge to my nose. As my step-dad used to put it, 'I don't know how you're still alive breathing through that thing.' What's the opposite of prominent, because it's that. Whatever that is.
Coastal is expensive and filled with mostly ugly designer frames.
I chose 2 glasses from EyeBuy Direct. Grand total - $105 dollars. See the frames below. Sunglasses first, and another pair of glasses after.

Feels good. And another thing checked off the list.
Have you ever bought glasses online? Anything I missed?

-Rachel

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Brain Pickings' 7 learnings


The 7 Lessons

  1. Allow yourself the uncomfortable luxury of changing your mind.
  2. Do nothing out of guilt, or for prestige, status, money or approval alone.
  3. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words.
  4. Build pockets of stillness into your life.
  5. Maya Angelou famously said, ‘When people tell you who they are, believe them’. But even more importantly, when people try to tell you who you are, don’t believe them.
  6. Presence is far more intricate and rewarding an art than productivity. As Annie Dillard memorably put it, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
  7. Debbie Millman captures our modern predicament beautifully: “Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time.”

Best piece of advice

I read this today from an interview that the author of I Miss You When I Blink did with Allie Brosh from Hyperbole and A Half.
Allie was asked about her favorite piece of advice.
She said,

“Be an unsinkable ship.” Basically, making yourself seaworthy is easier than trying to control the sea.

Word.

What's the best advice that you've heard? Care to share?

-Rachel