I’ve been so busy involving myself in life the past couple of months that it’s been harder to find the downtime and motivation to write. As some of you know by now, I went through a break up about three months ago, and part of that healing journey for me has involved spending copious amounts of time with friends and family and very intentionally seeking out activities that bring me joy. Below are a few of the notable experiences that I wanted to touch on, both to reflect in a meaningful way and inspire others to find their mindful moments.
A place that grounded my soul: I’ve wanted to visit Spirit Rock Meditation Center for over three years now. Funny enough, I dated a guy way back when who shared my love of meditation and tipped me off to the mystical retreat space tucked away deep into Marin county. The space is home to a multitude of retreats every month and teaches in the traditional style of Buddhism, insight meditation (or vipassana) and loving kindness meditation (or metta). Most of the world’s leading spiritual teachers have graced the halls of this gorgeous estate; that fact -- combined with the natural landscape that seems to ooze spirituality -- gives any visit a sense of the sacred. A little-known fact about Spirit Rock is that they offer a donation-based mass meditation and dharma talk every Monday night from 7:15-9pm. For newcomers, they offer a welcome program right before that helps orient you to Spirit Rock and its history, traditions and offerings. My friend Linda and I drove up from San Francisco’s Financial District after work one evening to make the Monday welcome program and dharma talk; this was a journey Im not sure I could make on a weekly basis, but definitely every month or so. That night’s talk was lead by Mark Coleman, a leader in the meditation community. We started the night by meditating as a group for about 35-40 minutes, followed by a spiritual talk on the environment and our relationship to its perilous state. While the talk itself didnt speak to my soul in the way that you always hope it will, the extended group meditation had a really profound effect on me. I felt as though the energy of +50 humans practicing mindfulness in one room was powerful, tangible, in a way that I’d never experienced in my solo practice. For those who haven't had a similar experience, I’d encourage you to seek it out.
An experience that made me hopeful for humanity: Last week, I attended an awesome concert with my best friend on a Wednesday night. A couple things here: 1. Go to concerts on weeknights! It feels so unexpected and daring and really served to shake up my weekly routine. 2. If you’re single, invite your best friends on the dates you’re saving for that special someone - Jackie and I have been doing all kinds of fun outings lately and it brings me joy that my lack of partnered-ness hasn't prevented me from living life to the fullest. In fact, it might just be begging me to live larger, and in the best way possible. 3. The concert we went to was Lauv and not only is his voice/music incredible, but he’s using his platform to promote important messages about mental health and it gave me absolute LIFE to see. During his show, he took a break to talk to the crowd about a bout of anxiety and depression he’d faced earlier in the year. He talked about his struggle with imposter syndrome and not wanting to go on medication, but ultimately being saved by both that and therapy. Lauv’s decision to open up to his fans in this way is normalizing the conversation around mental health, to the point where he offered a free mental health course for those who’d like to take better care of themselves and those around them. To see and take it for yourself, text “lauv” to 33222. Thank you Lauv for using your platform in this way <3
How to spend a weekend in San Francisco to connect with roots (natural & familial): My mom came to visit me a few weekends back, and it's always been her ritual to get together and go along with whatever I have planned for us (love anyone who will do this!). I used the opportunity to plan a weekend of activities that had been on my to-do list forever and that felt very in touch with my core self. On Friday night, we walked through a foggy mist of a night to get dinner and drinks at The Snug, followed by jazz music down the street. Saturday we woke up to bike the Golden Gate bridge (biking makes me SO happy) over to Bar Bocce in Sausalito for drinks and lunch on the water. We rode back and finished the day with dinner at a lovely neighborhood French eatery called Cocotte. Sunday, we Jump-biked to Pier 41, where we boarded a ferry to Angel Island. On the island, we walked the perimeter loop (~4.5 miles) and had a glass of rose next to a friendly island raccoon before boarding our ferry back to SF. Reflecting on this weekend of sunshine, nature, mindful movement, good food and laughing with my mom brings me so much joy. How incredible to fit so many of the things I love into one weekend. What would you do if you had a whole weekend to plan and your best friend to do it all with?
What I’m doing to find myself lately: Something that’s been incredible to get back to since my breakup is reconnecting with my love for dancing. Dance is not something I was born with a natural talent for, per say, but it’s something I’ve loved and worked at all of my life to the point where I am passably good in ~75% of the scenarios I find myself in. That being said, I have an absolute blast in 100% of the scenarios in which I find myself dancing, so the odds work out excellent for me every time. If someone asks me on a Monday morning how my weekend went, and there was dancing involved, I will reflexively recount that it was a fantastic weekend. Lately, I’ve stayed up til 3:30 in the morning at a San Francisco after hours club, taken over the dance floor at my ex-company’s summer picnic, bopped around in my room with my three best friends before going out for the evening, and started taking legit hip hop dance classes again. It’s been another one of those life-giving exercises (metaphorically and literally - you burn so many calories dancing!) and it makes me want to grab others by the shoulders and ask if they’re making time to dance (or whatever similarly gives them life) every single week. Are you!?