Yesterday, I realized I was still trying to please my family. Big whoop, you might say, but this was big for me—and I have a feeling might touch home for a few of you, too. Let me explain.
My family is a boisterous, brilliant, crazy, loud, and wonderfully rambunctious bunch. All of them. On both sides (family dinner parties are big). When Andrew and I first started dating, I saw no problem with bulldozing a conversation we were having by talking over him and interrupting. Not because I was being rude, but because that’s how I learned to show my enthusiasm and engagement in the conversation. And get my two cents in (which, at the time, was way more important than listening which also wasn’t too high on my list of ways to show love).
Needless to say, I come from a competitive bunch who’s value on talking trumped listening and seeing each other for who they are and respecting that. As an INFJ, this forced me to learn about boundaries in a big way later on in life.
I don’t necessarily think to myself, “gee, what would make them proud of me.” But yesterday, I realized that when I have a fleeting thought of synthesizing my strengths in the world of coaching, motivating, or inspiring, I immediately brush it off. I hear “that would never work, there is no career in that, you don’t have the right credentials, you already have a career path,” and my personal favorite, “get real.” Some of those words I have actually heard. And the rest are from me, inside my own head, spinning further off my family’s projections.
But here’s the thing: yesterday, I named that. I put my finger right on the sore spot my subconscious has been dancing around since I discontinued Joyful Life Wellness. I named my exact fear: not just failure, but failure in the eyes of my family tribe. Whaaa?
Immediately, my ego went into overdrive: “I thought I was over that! I moved across the country by myself, dammit, threw all my stuff on a train, went out there with no place to live, went to art school, figured out who I was, did a bunch of amazing creative projects, lived in my fullest self! I’ve been so over trying to please my family!”
It drips with I-told-you-so confidence and is tinged with hysteria…I have a feeling you know of that voice too.
Immediately after this ego-hissy-fit, I heard my intuition say to me: Honey, personal development and growth is not like having a check list where you go from one stage to the next, then you check a box. It’s a constant, life-long, beautiful process. You can do this.
It’s a funny thing when you realize the answer is right inside of you, and has been all along.
It’s also crazy beautiful when you realize you have so much to be grateful for when it does come to family. For me, they’ve been my greatest teachers.
For fun, find out (or have a refresher on) your personality type here.
What little epiphanies have you had recently?
I’m here, alive and have not been swallowed by life or the internets.
Sure, life’s been busy these last few months. But whenever I hear that as an excuse (myself or otherwise) I always think, “Get in line honey, you me and everyone else is busy! That’s life so let’s all focus on enjoying it.”
And enjoying it I am. I’ve officially dubbed this the Summer of Success—success to be defined however you want. My goals are mainly focusing on a passionate career, but maybe your goals are relationships, self care, or a combination of all three. Success is what we make of it and how we as individuals define it. No one can tell us what makes us feel successful, fulfilled, sexy, or alive. They can try, but when it comes right down to it, we’re in charge of our lives and how we live it. Period.
Personally, I burn with the desire to connect, empower, beautify, communicate and be the mirror for people to see how flippin’ awesome they are. It feels good to let go of gripping so tightly onto who I think I am, and allowing myself to actually be my self! Go figure, haha.
With quite a bit trial and error over the years, I’ve realized that every day is a fresh start, an opportune moment to just. do. it. To go for it! To actualize the dreams and buckle fear into the passenger’s seat next to me for a joy ride together.
My Summer of Success short list includes:
Here’s to a big, beautiful, and insanely bright Summer of Success! If you’ve got plans for your own Summer of Success I’d love to know in the comments below!
“The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned; it enables a man to hold his head high, to claim the future for himself and not to abandon it to his enemy.” -Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Optimism is life’s way of giving us light. It is a beacon that shows us our path and opens up a down feather lightness for our lives to cuddle in. It allows us to sort, shift, and discover the parts we need and love best from moments that seem heavy, dark and unending.
As our personal fountain of hope, optimism not only inspires and allows us to relax into ourselves, but it’s power lies in it’s regenerative process. Good thing optimism begets optimism, we all need it in unlimited supply.
It’s easy to forget that thinking and feeling optimistic about yourself, a situation, or your life in general is only a thought away. But it is the hardest to do when we are completely wrapped up in believing our negative mental thoughts. And that is precisely when we most need our own positive reinforcement.
To cultivate more optimism in my life, I try to do very small things that can reap huge rewards. A few times throughout the day I’ll stop what I’m doing and sit silently. It’s like a small check-in with how I’m feeling, where I am, and what my thoughts are thinking. I notice and then proceed. If I was thinking something really negative, I may laugh out loud at myself to break the hold negative thinking can have. Or I might say the word “hope” or “intention” in my mind to break the downward spiral. Then, I let it go. This is hard, so it helps me to visualize the negative thought literally being enveloped by a balloon or a bubble and floating away. Sometimes I even imagine myself waving at it. Buh-bye!
Optimism helps us see—see our selves as part of the greater whole and the humor in all that we do. It enables us to more freely create for the world (like giant thumb’s up sculptures in gold) and bring joy to everyone who experiences our work. Optimism allows us to be and give our best, which in turn is the best gift we can give our selves.
“Did you see that last episode of Iron Chef?” is a question I often get. When I tell people the truth (nope), they get disappointed. But honestly, I would rather be in the kitchen myself poking around, trying out different ingredient combinations, and experimenting on my own time. The drama of cooking shows turns me off because there is already so much drama for folks when it comes to food. Watching a show that tells me feeding myself is an insurmountable challenge isn’t my idea of relaxation. Call me crazy.
Most of those shows evoke a feeling of achieving the impossible in the kitchen. The kitchen, the primary room of the house used for taking care, feeding, and nurturing our bodies (and for some of us, our minds and spirits) has instantly become a battleground. This idea of cooking as a form of impossibility has been embedded in the psyche of our culture for too long. Coming home and cooking something that actually tastes good and is good for you seems more like climbing Mt. Everest than just making food.
If I really want some food drama, I’ll make something I’ve never made before using only what I have in my pantry and fridge (watch out, it can get crazy!). But honestly, the challenge for me, and for a lot of us, lies in feeding ourselves well, regularly, while gracefully dealing with the confrontations the rest of our lives can impose upon us.
Last year, I experienced a shift in how I approach food. Living back east where the access to good food—and other things that nourish like clean air, spending quality time outdoors, and taking in breathtaking scenery—are harder to come by than they are back in the Pacific Northwest. This has forced me to be much more aware of not only how I spend my time, but also what I put in my body. When I’m able to nourish myself with beautiful hikes, leisurely afternoons having tea with good friends, and breathing in fresh, pine needle air, I can honestly eat worse. An extra glass of wine, three more cookies, extra butter on a fresh slice of baked bread doesn’t have the same effect as they do when life is a bit more hectic.
But this is just me. The way I deal with adjusting to a more intense pace of life is by pulling back every so slightly and cooking really good food each night. Instead of photographing or thinking too much about it, I’ve been simply enjoying it.
Take twelve full-grown months. Thoroughly cleanse out all bitterness, hate, jealousy, negativity, confusion, and low points; wash them down the kitchen sink for a clean start. Using your best, flavor filled, love infused words, gently massage all the bruised and cut up areas. Pay special attention to the deepest cuts, filling those gashes up past the brim. Marinate until ready to use, gently adding more love infused words daily until it’s ready to prepare.
One month at a time, take out of the marinade and cut into thirty or thirty one equal pieces. Each day, take a new piece out to prepare; allow the rest of the pieces to keep marinating. *Important note: do not attempt to make all the pieces at once. Each piece is unique, different and a meal on it’s own.
Into each piece, add equal parts courage, patience, trust, kindness, honesty, intention, rest, meditation, work, and play. Season with extra fun and good humor.
Enjoy with friends and family; share with those less fortunate; and give the rest to those who annoy the heck out of us but teach us so much. Depending on the season, serve warm or cold.
Here’s to a wonderful fresh start and gorgeous new year! xo
Hello, friends! It’s been a while, but this has been well worth the wait. I opened my inbox the other day and found that Abbey, our photographer, had finished and posted our photos to her site. I was (am) over the moon with excitement. She was kind enough to let me share a few favorites here, but you can get the full version on her blog Abbey Hepner Photography.
In the meantime, let me show you a few of my favorite details and moments from the day.
We shot at several locations including the Durango Train Station, The Irish Embassy Pub, and Andrew’s parents house. The places were so different, each created it’s own narrative for us to enjoy and relax into. It was fun.
I designed an “edible bouquet” filled with mostly seasonal produce and fun things from the farmer’s market and grocery store. Working with a visionary florist at Wildwood Flowers, a unique and beautiful bouquet was born! I also designed what I called “salsa boutonnieres” for all the guys to wear. They were made with chili’s, oregano, and other fun ingredients that would normally go into a salsa. Plus they popped with amazing color, something I was going for to compliment the gorgeous, austere mountain backdrop.
For the guests gift, I hand made ceramic bowls. I think the best part was that all 50 were unique in shape, so no one received the same bowl. Initially I wanted to make them porcelain, but the kiln I had access to didn’t fire that hot. They were a hit and really lovely on the tables. The florist also made the little red “poppies” out of cut paper and real Black Eyed Susan centers that the guests could take home. More color!
My ring is a Victorian piece (early to mid-1800’s) we got at Anoinette’s in Portland before we left. The center is turquoise ringed by tiny diamonds. Initially, it wasn’t used as an engagement ring, but I like the idea of weaving the past and present while creating something altogether new. My band is a simple, solid gold circle and also an antique.
We had great food catered by The Yellow Carrot. (If you are ever in Durango, make sure you eat here for lunch!) Our menu was southwestern/Mexican, a favorite amongst the crowd. We even had margarita’s as our cocktail!
The best surprise of the night was all the guests had compiled their favorite recipes, photos, and stories into a book for us. I was speechless and beyond touched!
I also made a hula hoop with ribbons tied all around it. Initially, I wanted to hang it for us to get married by or under (as opposed to a traditional archway with flowers). But things change and it ended up being a lot of fun during the dancing. Think giant maypole with the bride and groom inside!
My dress was made by a lovely pair out of LA, Alix and Kelly. The great little faux-mink coat I’m wearing I found at Nordstrom. To see the rest of the pictures and more of Abbey’s gorgeous work, check out her site here. Cheers!
Picture your truth
Some days the fear-tiger’s roar is much, much louder than other days.
You know those days where you find yourself fretting over every little thing and then projecting those fears ridiculously far into the future. It’s frustrating because not only does it feel terrible, but it’s absolutely, totally and completely unproductive. A pet peeve of mine!
When I can’t seem to get the fearful thoughts out of my head, it’s usually because something in my daily life tripped me up a bit. Fear sees those as opportune times to slip right in the open crack of my self-doubt and take root.
The other day, it was someone telling me that I should have been able to score a job with Smithsonian or anywhere in the government in two weeks tops. (Read: what is wrong with you?)
My logical brain literally chuckled and was comfortable with the irony of the situation. But it also stirred something in the shadows of my heart that I had been ignoring: my self-doubt.
Just when I thought I had her under control (a funny concept, control), she rears her ugly head and decides to stick around for a few days. At least until I finally faced her.
And you know what I found when I did? She’s actually very pretty.
Self-doubt is a tricky thing to face, because it feels like it’s going to be deathly ugly AND it feeds off of anything you give it. Except it’s actually not ugly and it doesn’t feed off love. It softens with love. I literally feel a physical shift, an opening in my chest, a release from what feels like a tight grip when I focus intently and directly on a fear.
Here’s what I did:
I took my fear by the hand and we took a walk. It’s easier for us to talk when we can move our limbs and breathe deeply. Then, I simply started to list what was important to me: teaching, connecting, expression, growth, truth, flexibility, safety, community, creativity, and open mindedness. As I listed, fear started listening. I could tell because she softened. My heart softened. The roaring in my mind quieted down. These words came from my heart. They weren’t sentences, just words, born of feelings and inner truths (and I mean that in the most authentic-non-hippie-way possible). An expression of myself, I feel afraid when I loose sight of them. Fear just signals the need for a gentle reminder that I haven’t lost sight at all.
This week, try taking your self and your fear(s) for a walk, especially if it’s something that overwhelms you. Breathe deeply. Then feel or recognize your own words in the center of your chest and let them out. When you get home, write them down. You may even want to take a picture (hello camera phone!) that represents one or each of your words.
Let’s show fear how beautiful she really is, shadows and all.
Send me a picture and/or just a word of your favorite truths, and I’ll add them to the virtual “truth” wall I’m making to share with you. It will be spectacular.
Please share on Facebook or email it to: tricia [at] eatingisart [dot] com this week. I can’t wait.
This was also this week’s Photo Note(able) bi-weekly inspiration I send out. I’d love to have you join and sincerely hope you do! As always, I never ever share your information with anyone. Sign up here or on the side bar and see you next week!
I’ve been quiet. Not for lack of things going on, changes, transitions, or even transformations. But because I’ve been taking a step back and allowing all this change to finally settle in.
It can be a challenge to just be quiet when you have a blog. There’s a little voice that always says, “just post SOMETHING!” Sometimes I listen to her blindly. But more often, I’ve been flexing a different muscle and speaking with her instead. I ask her, “what should I say? What would be authentic right now? And how does this relate to food?” This line of questioning, of course, inevitably leads to other questions. And then I can feel stuck.
“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” -John Maxwell
In the grand scheme of things, a lot does come back to food. How we feel in the long term, energy levels, and getting a good night’s sleep are all affected by what we put in our bodies. But food is also just a gateway, an entry point into figuring out other stuff that can feed you even better, even nourish you deeply. And that’s where I’ve been lately.
Then I hear myself asking, “how do I talk about that?”
The other day, while filling out paper work and getting background checked/finger printed to do some volunteer work with the Smithsonian design department, I had a few moments to step into a gorgeous garden behind the castle building on the Mall. It was an oasis, a respite, a physical manifestation of the inner space I’ve been actively trying to cultivate.
Amidst the busy schedule, the straight hustle of city life, freelancing, temp work, volunteering, informational interviewing, socializing, and spending Q.T. time with Andrew, I’ve been finding my groove. My stride. And prioritizing a lot that seemed nebular before. With lack of time comes focus.
I’m shifting, reprioritizing, and thinking. The natural cycle that happens over and over throughout our lifetimes. And I’m really looking forward to reacquainting with my voice after this transition to share this space with you.
“Don’t waste life in doubts and fears; spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours and ages that will follow it.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
The spicy sounds and smells of Thai food envelop the entryway as you saddle into the tiny, galley restaurant called Shop House. The food was tasty, and I would go back. But that’s not why I’m pretty excited about it. Since moving from Portland, the land-of-never-ending-delicious-fresh-local-organic-food-that-doesn’t-break-the-bank, I’ve been spoiled. Very spoiled. I can not tell you how many times Andrew and I have tried a new restaurant here only to leave vowing we’d never go out again and we should have gone to Chipotle. Yeah, that bad.
So when I heard about Shop House, the Thai-inspired restaurant Chipotle is testing here in Dupont, I had to give it a try. Banh mi sandwiches, rice bowls, or cold noodle salads with rotating sauteed vegetables and an option of tofu, chicken, or pork. It was good however, it still went down like a big burrito from Chipotle: satisfying but nothing too off-the-cuff fancy. On the flip side, as a chain, Shop House could change the landscape of “fast casual” food as we know it, introducing entire communities to things like brown rice, garlic eggplant, and pickled green mango. Affordable veggies with a Thai-twist? Yes, please.
1514 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC 20036
Here’s a short list of things that I really appreciate:
1. Small town coffee clubs.
4. One of the most amazing collaborative musical projects I have ever seen.
6. Sitting down to enjoy simple and delicious meals: massive salads, grilled spicy tofu, baba ganoush, red cabbage sour kraut, sesame molasses bread, peach crumbles, cold soba noodle salads, smoothies, and crunchy, tart apples. Looks like some recipes are in order for you all here soon.
7. List making.
What’s the number one little thing you’ve been appreciating lately?