Grounding Out with Connections: Friends + Lyrical

The major hope of starting off the day with an intention is to take aim at a positive direction and focus on being present in the moment — not the one before, and not anticipating the one after.  Some days it works, and some days it doesn’t, but I have to believe that even the latter days are better off than they would have been if the first moment started off with hope and warmth.

fuel sweat grow: life

The last few days have been chaotic, for sure — I can’t seem to find a dull moment — but starting off with a little more intention, and winding down at the end – far from any part of the day really helped the struggles in the middle be quickly forgotten.

Of course there was wine, and amazing food — but they seemed pretty trivial in comparison to the great conversation with a good friend… though the combination of the three is, of course, unbeatable.  No matter what life brings, or where it inevitable goes I have always found that the greatest escapes from life seem to come in the forms of great friends, conversation, and when it’s a really amazing night, music.

fuel sweat grow: Ten Charlottesville Sushi

Dinner  at Ten was the prelude to an amazing Kate Voegele show at The Southern.  Kate is awesome.  I came across her music maybe 5 years ago completely by mistake (or good fortune?) and she quickly made her way onto my iPod’s top 25 most played.  She writes her songs, which I love, and they all tell stories that connect and inspire .  Each album, for me, has a different associated time period, life stage, and perspective on growth that is immediately triggered and brings the memories to life whenever I hear one of the songs.  I love that.  The good memories, and the bad; the bittersweet and the empowering.  I love them all.

IMG_8970This was the first stop on Kate’s tour, debuting her new EP (that you absolutely need to go buy here).  I actually met her a few years back (in what feels like my former life) at a LXM Pro game in Philly, and I can attest to her being pretty awesome.  I say that, somewhat, because in the 5 short minutes I talked to her (after a year of knowing her music) I decided it was true, but largely also because she married a fellow Wahoo (Cavaliers, respect) and I happen to know him to be legit.

Kate’s husband Brett is one of the founders of Lacrosse the Nations, and you can find him, just like Kate, traveling all around the world, basically promoting human connection.  Both of their lives, and talents, are focused on finding meaning in the stories of people they may not know, or have any real reason to know; they take time to relate (through song, sport, or simple existence) and give back to the world through all the heart and soul they put into their work.  Fundamentally, and for what I believe to be good reason, I feel like that deserves the sort of immediate respect that isn’t usually granted to strangers you’ve only knows for 5 minutes.  On Wednesday night I went to experience that connection in person, and for myself; I stood with great friends, in my favorite town and this current life that sometimes feels so distant from the past, finding connection with the stories of this essential stranger.

I went to bed full on the re-connection to my past selves, not for the sake of dwelling, but more to connect to their impact on the present, and that feels like a pretty important thing these days.  Remembering the past, only to find more value and purpose in the present — I can dig that.

I don’t know exactly what tomorrow is going to look like (though my planner does have some pretty positive insight), but today, where I stand right now — that’s what matters — and from this vantage point, it’s a pretty great place to be.

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Welcoming November with Positivity + Cautious Optimism

November is here and I’m itching for some change.  Daylight savings ended this weekend and I wasted most of the extra hour thinking about time, and all of the things I daydream (usually when I’m fighting waking up in the morning) that I would do if I just had one extra hour to myself.  Usually those thoughts center around either getting up earlier to workout, or just sleeping later — something of a paradox really.

Even though the idea of actually gaining an hour has already burned off, I want to be more intentional about how I start my days off — not just through actual action, but also intention and approach.

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There’s something to choosing an intention for the day — a subtle focus and general goal for how to mentally approach the waking hours.  Life is way too fluid to be controlled, but there’s something pretty powerful about selecting the lens through which you view it and how it really does begin to shine through the other garbage that starts to pile on.  And maybe, just maybe, over time the garbage will decrease — either in reality, or perception.  At least that’s the goal.

One of the best parts of the day is when I get to check my personal email and the daily Truth Bomb’s from Danielle LaPorte — it’s such a guilty (or not so guilty, really) pleasure of mine….but I need to put the effort in to have my own.  My friends at Merch Colony are currently doing a daily gratitude challenge in preparation for Thanksgiving, so as I launch this new positive/daily intention, I’m going to err on the side of gratitude this month.  December can be focused on a little more positivity since I know I’ll need it once the temps dip below what is reasonable…in my opinion.

This morning, admittedly, I took about a 45 minute delay on being exceptionally positive as I got up to head to MADabolic Cville for the 6am class.  I’m not a super early person these days, so it’s always begrudgingly that I make the early morning classes.  The up-side is that once I’m in it, I love it.  After years of waking up way early for rowing I have a deep love/hate for pre-dawn movement, but my body is definitely conditioned to rise to the occasion, and by 7am I already feel accomplished, strong, and completely focused on the day ahead.

As I was making my (3rd) coffee of the morning (in the newly renovated kitchen that I will undoubtedly be sharing more about, and in, soon), I sunk deeper into an already positive mindset, with gratitude that I’m able to start of Monday so happily, so productively, and with such an amazing group of people.  Followed up by this view of the back yard and the water line of the Rivanna beyond the trees — and thus Monday began with gratitude and a warm mug of coffee in my hands.  Not too shabby.

fuel sweat grow: view from the kitchen window

On another positive note, I made my first full meal in the new kitchen this weekend, and it felt so great to have my favorite space back.

fuel sweat grow: fall squash and salad

fuel sweat grow: grilled pesto chicken

I’m really into late summer/fall style salads right now, and aside from the general add of some avocado, pesto chicken seemed like a solid path to cautiously embrace November.

So, I welcome you, November with positivity, a fully functioning kitchen, and the cautious optimism of someone with an extra hour to burn and anxious anticipation of the cold months I avoid all year.