The Land of Smiles

The Land of Smiles

Hello from Thailand, The Land of Smiles.

I left the US one week ago for Asia. Flying to Asia is different than flying anywhere else for me. insights, thoughts and emotions of every kind. Annoyances too. I’ve been to Asia three other times, alone. This time my mom and dad are with me. It is a very different experience to go and be here in Asia with them when I’ve always been here on my own before.

Three Things

Three Things

Oh, America.

Three things to share on this meditative morning in St. Louis.

  • The Bucket List. How’s your Bucket List doing? My Chicago Bucket List was full of everything. Good people and good food. Processed cheese, ice cream, Detroit pizza (this is my Midwestern lyfe!). Spending time with new friends who feel like old friends too, because connection has no time limitations.

The Bucket List

The Bucket List

Well happy summer, Chicago! We know this means there are now so many fun things to do in Chicago. Whether you’re in Chicago or not, life may feel busier when summer shows up.

Mine does. I’ve got plenty to do these days and I was ready to dive into packing up last week. Then I got sick. Ever get sick when you have a lot to do? Does it ever seem the worst possible timing?

Trust there is a higher purpose. Life makes us detour sometimes. Take them. Despite our impulsive conditioned reactions, it is easier to go with the flow instead of fight and resist. Life doesn’t go as planned sometimes. Accepting this is the ultimate peacebearer. Side note: acceptance is often difficult before it is peaceful.

The best time is now

The best time is now

The best time is now, summer! Summer in Chicago is very great. It’s basically a bundle of joy in a million ways from concerts to rooftops to beaches to festivals and on and on.

So many people out. Dogs everywhere too. I say hello and pet some. I say hello to some dog owners too. Sometimes people look at me with bewilderment when I do. Others seem relieved to meet a friendly stranger and respond warmly with an exhale. And this is very good.

Focus on the flowers

Focus on the flowers

This spring has been interesting in Chicago. Winter doesn’t seem quite ready to move on yet. It’s lingering a bit. We’ve had snow, sunny days, cold days and rainy days all this month.

There’s a silver lining to everything. The weather has given me some extra time to be quiet.

Do y’all give yourself some space to do this? To just be — b e — and let whatever comes up come up? Oh, I hope so. I give myself so much more of this now than I used to. It has become a priority to me. It is the peace bearer.

Finding joy in all weather, even bitter cold....

Finding joy in all weather, even bitter cold....

Starting off the new year in the Midwest means cold winter weather. Today is an exceptionally cold day. Although I’ve grown up with winters in the Midwest my entire life, I’ve often complained about the cold temperatures.

I would complain about winter but continued to live in it, as if my complaints would actually change the weather or something. Despite all those complaints, the weather remained! How dare it? Didn’t it hear my agony? My plea for warmer weather! Well, here’s the thing. The only thing I can change about the weather — and Mother Nature and life — is myself. And my responses to the weather. So I started making a conscious effort to stop complaining about the weather, instead focusing on finding positive in it. Even in its very darkest, coldest moments.

Getting to this Present Moment of 2019

Getting to this Present Moment of 2019

Happy new year. We’re halfway through the first month of the new year. It is winter in Chicago and that brings forth the inward energy for me. The energy that is reflective and quiet.

As I focus on 2019 and what it is, I simultaneously reflect on everything that has led to this. And what 2018 was. 2018 was a year. A year I am still exhaling from.

It started off by me jumping on a plane to Asia on December 31st at midnight after spending time in my hometown, St. Louis. The adventure took me to Taipei, Seoul, Suwon, Chiang Mai and Shanghai. And a couple of undefined places in Korea and Thailand where I was literally asking myself, “Where am I?!”

The Season of Gratitude

Thanksgiving season in America.

I love gratitude. This time of the year is a bit strange for me. The weather becomes dark and cold and the sun hides out. This is traditionally and culturally a time of celebration and family and food. We see movies and greeting cards and magazine spreads and shopping advertisements with this idealized notion of what holidays are ‘supposed’ to be and that seemingly creates a lot of pressure that is often incongruent from reality.