Bird and Belle's Adventures in Marriage

Being Present


Pestering the Troll!

Hello little blogosphere! I sure have missed you!

Bird and I decided to fly west for the holidays to visit his aunt, uncle and mom in Mill Valley, California. Just before the hilly beauty of Northern California sucked me in permanently we hopped another plane to Seattle. My eyes burned as we left California – I love this state more than words can convey. I was NOT looking forward to going to gray, dismal, rainy Seattle. Was I wrong! Seattle has all the beauty of Northern California, and more. I have never felt so electrified by a city. I’m sorry Cali, but Seattle just landed in the No. 1 slot for places I hope to live… We’ll see how that pans out!

City wars aside, my holiday vacation was just what I needed. I rested, had a massage, got my nails done, took some leisurely walks through nature and cities, ate amazing vegan food, sipped old wine with family, saw a hilarious show at Teatro Zinzanni, watched fish fly through the air, rode on a car ferry, photographed seals and sea lions and more.  It was a MUCH needed vacation!

I thought a lot while traveling. 2010 brought an enormous amount of change to my little world. I planned a wedding, got married, changed jobs, changed my diet, bought a bike, dealt with my first major illness, logged more traveling miles than ever before, to name a few. For the most part, the changes that occurred were positive and joyous occasions that should leave me feeling fulfilled and refreshed.

Instead 2010 seems more like the blur you see while riding a huge rollercoaster. Many of the happenings, adventures, ups and downs are just a streak in my memory. Not at all what I had intended. Why didn’t I relish the adventures? Why didn’t I sit and meditate on the failings? Why am I not filled with an unbelievable sense of accomplishment?

I pondered this while perched at the top of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Why? Because while participating in Adventure A I was already focused on Adventure B. While digging out of Dilemma C I was stressing about Debacle D. This pains me to admit, but I don’t know if I was ever truly present in 2010. So sad when I consider what an amazing year it was.

Be present. A simple concept, right? I poked around with “being present” while on vacation and just when I was ready to pat myself on the back I realized that patting ones back for being present really is not being present. This could be more challenging than I thought.

Fortunately the idea of looking back at a year and not feeling remorseful and anxious because I missed so much is appealing. I dislike the concept of New Year’s Resolutions for much the same reason I dislike Valentine’s Day – Hallmark should not dictate the day we show our love to another or choose to make a positive change.

Instead, I prefer to think of my attempt to live in the present as a vow to myself. Much like a wedding vow, this is something that could be broken but will ultimately help hold me together. A vow can be a daily struggle to uphold. What sets it apart from a resolution, which is often abandoned, is that one always returns to a vow. When times get tough, couples fall back on their vows, pick up the pieces and move on. I think this fits much better. And so, self, I vow to try to remain in the present, focus on the day and its events and, when times are hard, to remember all the beauty that I experienced while present the day before.

I’ll close this musing with some of the more inspiring photos from our holiday trip through Seattle. As always there are many more and stories to tell about each. In the next few weeks these will be edited and posted to our Picasa account. I’ll be sure to let you know when they are up. Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy 2011, dear readers!

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4 thoughts on “Being Present

  1. We loved Seattle also! I’d suggest giving Portland a visit, it’s amazing there. Pretty similar to Seattle but a bit smaller and really neighborhood oriented.

  2. “Be present. A simple concept, right?” Well, maybe simple and complicated both. Sometimes I think, “I want to treasure every moment of this,” but feel that I am not capable of actually taking it all in! Other times, I just plain don’t want / like to do whatever, but plunging in fully is always better than avoidance.

    I like your characterization of the concept of “vow.” My primary vow to myself is to live in a state of gratitude.

    Your Seattle photos are wonderful! I have been there on some incredibly beautiful days. However, my cousin who lived there for about 40 years says that, in truth, they have two seasons: Rainy and August.

  3. Insightful dear cousin..gee, I wonder what a whole year of meditation will conjure up inside of you? I am glad you are sharing your journey with us.

    Fantastic photos! I know what you mean about the west coast. Try living in the redwoods for a while! is Mt. Ranier and the whole city of Seattle. We have cousins there you know? Ones you would certainly see a family resemblence too. Think gums….

    So, I gotta know..did you ask the moustache guy to get his pic or was that on the sly?

    • It was a stealthy mustache photo session! He looked a bit grumpy and I was not sure how thrilled he would be about some Kentucky kid walking up and gushing about the size of his mustache and her collection of photos of strangers facial hair 🙂

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