My year in the now…

November is my birthday month.  Each time a digital clock reads 11:21am or 11:21pm, I notice it and think, “it’s my birthday minute.”  I feel fond of how the word No-vem-ber is said and spelled.  I am also fond of the season autumn with its pumpkins, changing leaves, and cool weather clothing.  And because my birth is a part of this cozy, nestling together time of year.

For close to 5 months, I have been living in Santa Cruz.  I have settled into my preschool special education teacher position and created my grocery shopping routines.  Delving into community opportunities, such as returning with a new view to ecstatic dance and finding a meditation center, has felt fulfilling and energizing.  I even started a meetup group named Santa Cruz Radical Wellness whose events has been well-attended and well-regarded.

November is a perfect month for sharing gratitudes.  As I reflect on my time in California and the things for which I’m thankful, I decided to consider 38 aspects that enhance my life, wellness and experience of love:

  1. My supportive, loving family and healing connection with them…
  2. My dear friends with whom I stay in touch long distance…
  3. My new friends with who I spend time in Santa Cruz…
  4. Ms. Jennie Cat, her purrs and gentle kneading…

    Ms. Jen-Jen...

    Ms. Jen-Jen…

  5. Insight Santa Cruz meditation center…
  6. Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (The MAH), the most community participation focused museum I’ve experienced!
  7. Going surfing as regularly as I like…
  8. Living within two blocks from the beach…
  9. Being able to easily navigate Santa Cruz by bike…

    Betty on the Santa Cruz wharf...

    Betty on the Santa Cruz wharf…

  10. Working in a well-knit special education preschool program…
  11. Dance Church and Inner Rhythms at The 418
  12. Green Vibrance drink powder…
  13. Coaching with Dr. Amanda Noelle, soul-mating faerie…
  14. Receiving mentorship and being inspired by Fempreneur Susan Liddy, heart-centered business coach…
  15. My new friend and kindred spirit on the spiritual path and in community:  Shamanic practitioner and raw food goddess Natalia KW
  16. My friendship of over a decade with inspiring Maren Souders’ and her life coaching business, Dream into Change
  17. Ancient redwood trees with wide open branches
  18. The new meetup group I created:  Santa Cruz Radical Wellness
  19. My new-to-me purple couch and matching chair from craigslist, kindly delivered by its previous owners helping me making my living room much cozier…

    Purple lusciousness...

    Purple lusciousness…

  20. Soft cotton bed sheets and pillow cases…
  21. Kindness from my landlord in the form of ‘free’ laundry quarters and a loaner room heater…
  22. Pure essential oils for my morning self-love ritual…
  23. The smell of surfboard wax (like fruity boardwalk taffy)…
  24. Learning how to practice metta (loving-kindness) meditation…
  25. Free piles of random goodness on curbs and sidewalks…
  26. Women’s clothing swaps…
  27. This bizarre, wonderful human experience (sometimes it seems so surreal and ethereal)…
  28. Merrell barefoot shoes and mocs…
  29. Thick wooly socks…
  30. Warm, fake fur-lined slippers…
  31. Clean, fresh ocean breezes…
  32. Preschool children’s laughter, artwork, and hugs…
  33. Bookshop Santa Cruz–a local bookshop business–I love buying local!
  34. Lola the Volvo with heated front seats and flip-down station wagon back seats…
  35. Living ever so near redwood forests–walking amongst the wise, old trees brings peace to my soul…

    Elder's circle...

    Elder’s circle…

  36. Fun frames for my reading glasses…
  37. The gray hair swirls in my bangs (and that my sister has them, too although swooping in the opposite direction)…
  38. My heart full of love for the people in my life and my spilling over gratitude for the children and families in my preschool program…
Lisa and Ms. Jennie Cat...

Lisa and Ms. Jennie Cat…

As December 2012, begins to wrap itself up, I feel glad to have a long winter break and open time to ruminate on what I would like to create and cultivate in 2013.  Thank you to those who hold space for me.  I look forward to sharing my musings for 2013 with you soon!

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Sea moving as silk…

The blue geometry of undulating waves has become a mainstay in my mind’s eye.  The natural shapes remind me of the diamond knit work of a fisherman’s net. As this fascinating watery organism quietly creeps toward land, myself and the ocean’s other devotees wait patiently.

As I spend more time in the ocean seated in a straddle on my surfboard, I receive the gift of being gently bobbed as I breathe in the fresh, clean marine air.  Otters twittering, breathing and crunching on their dinners, alongside surf line-up conversation and an occasional “wa-hoo” of a happy surfer, mix with the soothing crash of the waves crossing the finish line.

Inner peace and physical calm feel easier to attain when I am suited up in my 5/4 wetsuit and have been baptized over and over again in the sea.  Some many most surf sessions are more about paddling than catching and riding waves.  Other days, the sets come rolling in and I move back and forth paddling to catch waves and paddling back out to the line-up to wait for another.

Surfing and sitting in meditation behold similar wellness properties for me.  Being in the water helps me create physical calm because I am able to release the active energy in my muscles and the holistic organism of my body.  Sitting in meditation, helps settle the active energy of my brain and fosters restfulness and awareness.

Both require presence, breath observation and mindfulness.  In the ocean, I need to be mindful of all that is around me to so that I can strive for safety and fun on the waves.  While seated in meditation, I strive to fine-tune my focus on my breath and the motion of inner energy and emotion.

As I continue both practices, I feel grateful for how I make space for myself to float along and open more broadly to self-acceptance and the present moment.

Just like the vast horizon on the sea and the vast possibilities of the mind.