Grounded

Yesterday, I felt spacey throughout the day. I got to my townhouse at 12:30 AM Friday, slept some and woke up for a morning meeting. Given that my energy felt unanchored from reality, I used what little focus I could muster to finish my work tasks in order to get to the beach and get a workout in. Grounding. If we’re not grounded on this material plane, all else is useless (and almost impossible to do). As much as this century admires bright minds – what is a mind without a body?

This AM I was able to go to yoga – *sigh of relief*! It was exactly what I needed – lymphatic drain, joint moisture, and extensive opening of the hip flexors. Then, I spent hours in the ocean. Currently taking a quick break to head back and read a book on the sand! I’ll end the night with a workout. Finding balance after being in three states with drastically different conditions (I went from the coast to the desert to winter in the high mountains back to the coast in a 72 hour period), can certainly be a challenge. Next week, I’ll be heading toward the Palm Springs area and then up to Michigan. It seems to never end.

Though my travel schedule is up and running (And a little hectic), October is turning out to be a beautifully social month. Things are lining up and it’s all very exciting! Now if I could just figure out this sleep thing….Last week I billed 75 hours in a 5 day period. And because I’m salaried I get paid the same no matter what. Now I’m not complaining – I make damn good money, but a girl wants her rest too.

Open the Door

In yesterday’s random card draw, I selected the Goddess Radha.

RHADA – goddess of passionate love and longing 

“Are you in love? You very well may be soon. Rhada is the goddess of euphoric bliss and deep surrender when you gaze into the eyes of your lover. She is the passionate lover of Krishna, who gave up everything to be in his arms. Radha represents the desire to merge with your beloved and lose yourself in the utter ecstasy that is love. If you aren’t already in love, it’s well on its way and already occurring all around you. Allow yourself to lose yourself in the divine dance of romance, for love is just you experiencing your soul in another body.”

Manta: Om Radhaya Namaha

A Yogic Path, Sahara Rose

Rhada
Pre-run photoshoot 😛

We are hard-wired to pause prior to changing directions”. The teacher said as we transitioned from down-dog and flowed through chaturanga, up-dog, back to down-dog. India Arie’s Ready for Love suddenly started playing through my head as we made our way through inversions, back-bends, and balancing poses. As I’ve mentioned in this blog before, my last relationship ended in 2016. I haven’t dated anyone since. I’ve certainly been involved in situation-ships and have met people that have shown me what I don’t want (contrast), but I haven’t met anyone that I felt safe to fall for. I don’t regret any of it – as we say in research, all data is useful data.

I stayed for a double class – the second being a Yinki & Soundscape prior to heading to a workout. Yinki is a yoga modality that combines both yin yoga and reiki. It was a nice slow down from the Vinyasa class I had just completed. During the class, the teacher came around to provide reiki to the students as she was guided to. When she arrived to me, she placed her hand in the back of my heart chakra. It’s okay to let it all go. As she walked away, a small tear strolled down my cheek. On my way to my post-yoga workout,  I heard Bruno Mars’ Marry Me playing in a parked car I walked by and I chuckled. The song took me back to a pleasant romantic memory back in 2013 with this particular song at its core.

The past month of my life has probably been the most sublime month of my entire human existence. I’ve slowed down and have been granted the opportunity to focus just on work, beauty, and health (and the ocean – she’s everything :P). I feel healthy and strong. I have daily and nightly routines. I’m constantly reading books and writing. I’m happy with my skin, my hair texture, my body, my mind, and my spirit. My room is full of pleasant aromas, candles, essential oils, body oils, a himalayan lamp, the color white, a bamboo plant, a beautifully woven weighted blanket. It all feels so good, so right. Life can really change quickly as long as you set your heart and action towards your desired direction. And as long as you’re willing to let go of anything that doesn’t serve you – even if it hurts.

Ease. Peace. Balance. Harmony.

When I pulled the romance card out of my deck, I smiled. I didn’t cringe nor roll my eyes nor withdrew in panic. I felt tranquil. “It’s time.” I thought to myself as I went back to other matters.

Given all my experiences, my processing of trauma, and my years in therapy, I have developed a list of items on what I would want in a person. I’m not one of those “must be the CEO of 16 companies, look like a Greek God, and be in charge of the universe” type of people – that’s bizarre. But given my life history, I think it’s valuable for me to have a set of guidelines so I don’t run away and hide in a cave for the rest of my existence. In all honesty, I don’t even want to do that whole traditional dating thing (2019 translation: ain’t nobody got time for fuckboys and situation-ships). I want to find someone to commit to. I have met SO MANY people in this lifetime. And in my younger years, particularly, 19-21 I DATED. (Yes, it required a bold, underline, and italics effects so you, as a reader, could understand that those were my wonder years lol – good thing I got that out of my system super early!).

So, that list…

  1. Must live in the same geographic region as me – In this case in San Diego, with a particular preference for North County San Diego. Ain’t nobody got time for planes and trains and cars.
  2. Interdependence vs. Co-dependence: While I want to be adored by someone, I don’t want to be the center of their universe. I want someone that is strong enough to stand in their individuality (including finances), while also being willing to collaborate with others. Someone that has their own life and simply wants to share that with someone else. I can’t handle the expectations of being a nurse, a mother, a therapist, a <my everything>. While one person can mean the world to you, they should not be your everything.
  3. Integrity: I honestly love Brené Brown’s definition of integrity – “You choose courage over comfort. You chose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you chose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.” This one is super important.
  4. Respect: If there’s something that I’ve learned by being alive, is that we all define things differently. My best friend is a lawyer and prior to ever entering discourse with him, he ensures that we have clear definitions about the topic of discussion. This prevents simple misunderstandings in the long-run. For me, respect largely revolves around time. Don’t assume that I’ll alway be around and don’t assume that the time that I give is eternal. While time (philosophically) extends beyond the linear, in this 3D reality, time is of the essence – it’s all we have and we’re always running out of. Quality time is my first love language followed by words of affirmation. Also, respect extends beyond how someone treats me when they’re with me. If someone brings down the moon and hands it to me on a silver platter, it will render valueless if they follow that gesture by spending time with 16 prostitutes. Respect is a large, dense, endless topic – and it’s vital for me to even start having romantic feelings of any sort. To summarize my desire in one sentence – someone that respects themselves in the way that I respect me.
  5. Communication: I’m a words person. I seek to understand. However, if I see someone become avoidant around topics that are less than harmonious I think red flag. Life, especially human connection, is not all fluffy, shallow, fun, and games. Shit gets real. People change. Life gets complicated. All of that can only be transformed for the better in the presence of open communication. And yes, omitting part of a truth is a lie.
  6. Ease: Can I be myself around this person? I don’t believe that anyone should ever change for anyone else. Seriously. I think people are who they are. Therefore I observe and sense a situation out and show more of myself as time progresses to see if it’s safe or unsafe to show the full expression of my individuality. If I somehow feel constricted or judged, I will know that I don’t belong in that particular situation. If someone’s lifestyle is drastically different from my own – to the point that we rarely share time together, chances are that’s not a good fit. Whenever I find myself trying to fit into someone’s life – romantically or otherwise – I know it’s time to go.
  7. Growth: I want someone to hold me to my highest standards and I’d do the same. And for clarification purposes, high standards and constant criticism are not one in the same. I’m not just looking for someone I have good chemistry with. Good chemistry is easy to find (and largely physical). I’m looking for someone that I have good chemistry with and can build with. It takes the hell of a lot more than love to be happy alongside someone else. There needs to be a foundation and a destination (<Insert something about having six planets in Capricorn here or simply just being human.>).
  8. Adventure: I want someone that is adventurous – in the physical sense of the word (yeah, let’s go skydiving!), but also in the philosophical sense – let’s talk about the meaning of the universe in front of the ocean at 3AM. Adventure and exploration are huge parts of who I am and I can’t imagine partnering with someone that doesn’t value it as much as I do.
  9. Emotional consistency and follow-through: I love routines. I’ve experienced a good amount of chaos, particularly in childhood, and routines ease my anxiety. Consistency doesn’t mean doing things daily, it means doing things with a predictable pattern. For example, my friend Nick and I don’t talk to each other everyday, but we (meaningfully aka more than meme exchange) talk once a a week! If Nick were to suddenly talk to me on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then, stop talking to me for three weeks. Talk to me for a month. Stop talking to me for a year. Talk to me for thirty days in row. Then stop talking to me for five months. I would lose trust in that connection. Imagine if you worked out that way!
  10. Equality: Don’t expect me to do it all – initiating, planning, action taking. I’ve got a career to keep growing, financial independence to continue cultivating, a body to keep maintaining, and friendships to keep watering. Ain’t nobody got time to do it all.
  11. And in case you were wondering – yes. I must be attracted to them, there must be great sex, great conversation, etc. Refer to #7.
  12. Trust: Saved the best for last. I don’t trust easily. I don’t fall easily. I don’t let go easily. A combination of all the qualities described above, slowly, but surely will birth trust within my heart. Once trust is there, there’s space for love to blossom. And oh my – when I fall, I fall! I become the embodiment of Bhakti, devotion. Is it empathy, support, compassion, passion, adventure, intensity, and pure love all wrapped into one. My heart is made of rare gold and last time I checked, rare gold wasn’t easy to come by.
  13. I honestly just want to find the Alex Fine to my Cassie. They are seriously #relationshipgoals

Cue in the Weeknd, Prince Royce, and whatever other lovey music is out there (Mentioned those two in particular, because their name in red leads to song links!). Also, see below:

A Phoenix Process in California

Nietzsche once wrote, “There is more wisdom in your body that in your deepest philosophy.” So it begins: my appetite drops, my vision becomes blurred, and my consciousness undergoes an out of body experience. The process is familiar – it’s my soul’s way of inviting me to shed the old: an old way of thinking, an old belief system, an old way of understanding reality – in exchange for a level up into the next stage of my life.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve graced this space with my words. The past six months that I have spent in California have been drastically changing me in the most subtle of ways. These grounds have helped me heal emotionally and have provided me with much needed clarity in regards to the direction I want my life to head in.

When I first started this blog, it was the intent to share stories that centered around travel (given how much it is a part of my life). I was enthralled by a process that constantly took me away from a reality that I was unhappy with. That’s not to say that I don’t love travel. It has certainly provided me with needed perspective, it has allowed me to meet incredible people, and overall provided me with experience that I will forever treasure as it shaped me into who I’ve become.

Now that I’ve a found a home base that I love, I’m craving to live life differently. I’m craving more time in my home base, more time with people that value me, more time with people that are walking a similar path. I’m craving to build a strong foundation. Moving forward, I’m going to use this space to share thoughts, emotions, opinions, curiosities, and overall happenings – travel related or not!

Rose Petals in the Sand

We can do anything if we put our minds to it/ Take your whole life then you put a line through it (Eastside, benny blanco, Halsey & Khalid)

rose
Rose Petal at Cassidy Beach, Oceanside, California

Getting lost in the lightness of being while communing with rose petals in the sand. Evidence of a life well lived: The beauty that the rose once held, now nearly faded. Change remains the only constant I’ve ever encountered. It’s been quite some time since I’ve poured pieces of my soul into cyberspace. Since I last wrote here, I’ve accepted and started a position in San Diego (county) California, I sublet my previous place, was hospitalized, found a place to live in Oceanside, flew across the country, and bought a car. Thankful for all the divine guidance throughout this process, as I don’t think it would have happened otherwise. 

It’s been the hell of a journey to get here. The past nine months, I lost complete track of my beingness. I was working 70-80 hours/weeks, spending 90% of my time completely alone, and living in a constant state of panic and anxiety. Within a few months, I found my self in an extremely dark place I thought I would never get out of. Whenever, I had “down time”, I would furiously apply to jobs because my soul knew the time had arrived. Opportunities began coming through my door – there was the UK (both Wales and England), there was Boston, Farmington (CT), Austin, San Francisco, and San Diego. As I started walking away from my previous situation and began to navigate towards a new one, I only made one promise to myself: “Go where it feels right.” I wasn’t being led by the external (like, “Wouldn’t it be cool to say you’re moving to London?!”), but rather was committed to following the call of my spirit. And my spirit was ferociously pulling me towards Southern California. Finally, on the 29th of August (2018), I accepted an offer from the amazing new company I now work for. I’m still in shock that such a unicorn of a place actually exists!

beauty
Beauty, Moonlight State Beach, Encinitas, California (Anyone know what kind of flower this is?!)

As I transition into this new space, I’m startled. It feels as if I’ve always lived here. It feels like home. The transition has been smoother than the rest of my life combined. This entire move has made me believe in fate and purpose in ways I could have never imagined. I’ve been met with nothing but kindness, love, and grace. My life is overflowing with beauty, with adventure, with abundance, and most importantly peace. Towards late 2017, I began working with a coach, Katie Pelkey (check her out!). One of the exercises she had me do towards the beginning of our work together was to outline my values – beauty, adventure, abundance, and ease. It’s Sunday, October 14th and though part of me does wish I could see my sister on her birthday, I feel entirely calm and I’m living by my values. I don’t have an itch to leave or go or flee. Life is moving as it’s supposed to. And I’m trusting that amazing things are yet to be discovered and uncovered. This is the beginning of a marvelous life adventure. The beginning of a new chapter in my life. The culmination of years worth of work. The payout as Saturn returns. In gratitude, in awe, with love, Wanda.

moonlight
Moonlight State Beach, Encinitas, California

P.S. If you live in Southern California and are reading this, let me know what your favorite neighborhood to live in is. Once June comes around, I’ll have to find a place to permanently settle. I’m currently living in Oceanside, head over heels in love with Encinitas, but I’m open to suggestions! 

PPS. Happy birthday, Cely!

Two of Winds

two of winds
Booksmith in Haigh-Ashbury, San Francisco, California

Tension leading to an impasse. A balance of power. A conflict of worlds, ideas or ideals.” Steve Luca via Japaridze Tarot

Giuseppe’s gleeful demeanor darkened. His eye gaze shifted from the beauty of Parc Phoenix to memories of a distant past – almost as if the mention of her name had haunted him. “Freya? What makes you ask?” Selene quickly noted his change in body language – from the shift of his gaze to a slight slouch on his shoulder – Who was this woman? How exactly did she fit into Giuseppe’s life? “Ms. Laguerre?” Selene nodded. “Well, I think this is a conversation best saved for the bookstore. I can provide you with visuals – photographs, paintings, things of the like. What do you say we head to Trois de Jardins?” Selene shook her head yes and asked, “Would it be possible to stop by my flat on the way? I left my phone charger and I often use an application on my phone to catch rides back to the flat when it’s late at night.” Giuseppe responded, “Well, of course.” 

They arrived in the building where Selene’s flat was located and the smell of cigarettes overpowered the hallway. While Selene entered the apartment to get her phone charger, Giuseppe relished in the nicotine tinted air in the old brick building. The aroma reminded him  a New Year’s Eve he had spent with Freya in Boston. The year prior, both had taken a road trip across the United States starting in Los Angeles. For the entire month of December, they had stayed in a small apartment that belonged to one of the sibling’s of a friend of Freya’s.  “All set.” Selene came out of the flat ready to head to the bookstore. As they walked towards the bookstore Giuseppe began to tell Selene of that New Year’s Eve they had spent in the city among some of Freya’s friend. The joy he had felt. The year had been 1994.

Upon arriving at the bookstore, Giuseppe looked around, opened the store, turned on a small light and headed straight towards the painting room. He then remembered there was something he had forgotten. “Ah! The photo album!” He went to a small safe in the southeast corner of the room Selene had failed to notice the first time she entered. He opened the safe and pulled out what appeared to be a photo album. Giuseppe flipped through the pages until he pulled out a photo of a lovely ballerina. The photo was labeled as Freya (1965). “Right after I left Brazil in 1977, I went to Italy. My intention was to spend some time with my parents as they were in their fifties and time wasn’t moving backwards. I was twenty-six and it had been exactly a decade since I last had visited Naples. I remember arriving and feeling a warm embrace – as if the city never held onto any grudges for me having left. After a few nights home, I became restless. I think my parents wanted to keep me all to themselves – based on my travel patterns, they were afraid it was the last time they were to see me. On a Friday night, January 27th to be exact, I decided to head to a pub in the center of the city. It was there that I met Freya.  Her hair was up in a tight ballerina bun, she wore a sleeveless, patterned dress that rested right above the knee, and high-heels. She made the room brighter. That night I had the courage to speak to her. We spoke for the entirety of the night and once the pub closed, we walked around the city until we saw the sunrise. That night, I asked her if it was possible to see her again. She told me to meet her at the same pub the following Friday.”

Giuseppe flipped through the photo book frantically searching for something. Suddenly, he stopped and carefully pulled another photograph out of its encasing – a photo of the pub from March 1968. “How long did you stay in Naples?” Giuseppe chuckled. “I had promised my parents that I was only going to stay for a two-week time period. Yet, the week after meeting Freya, she was all I could think about. Normally, I would be planning for my next city, for my next stay, for my next adventure. That week was different. Every corner I turned, I would do so hoping and praying I would run into the lovely ballerina I had met at the pub. At this point in my life, I had met my fair share of beautiful people, but Freya’s intense and direct energy was captivating in a manner I barely have the words to describe. I’ve spent the rest of my life buried in books in an attempt to find the right words to describe the essence of her soul.” Selene looked at the old man in front of her light up as he spoke of this woman that had changed the way he perceived the world.

He continued, “The following Friday, I awaked with an all-consuming joie de vivre. I remember nearly skipping on my way to the pub! That night, I asked Freya that if at all possible, I wanted to see her more often. I still remember her laughter and the twinkle in her eyes when she responded, ‘I’ll have to see if it that’s possible’. She led a demanding life devoted to the dance universe. It was her passion. I still can feel sensations in my body arise when I remember the first time that I saw her dance in front of an audience – it’s almost as if she was possessed by the all the muses themselves. Eventually we began to see each other more often. My two weeks turned into months. I found a job in Naples. Got a small apartment near the pub. And lived contently in one place for a while. At the same time, I reconnected with a lot of my childhood friends. My life flourished. However, one evening while flipping through my travel journals I felt a deep melancholy settle in my soul. On a Thursday evening, while waiting for Freya, I took out a map from my satchel – one I always carried with me. There was still so much world for me left to see. When Freya arrived, I asked her to travel the world with me. I told her of this elaborate story of us I had managed to craft that afternoon. Freya began to cry and then spoke to me in anger, ‘How dare you insinuate that I leave my dance career behind! You are like those other men!’ She walked out of the coffee shop and ran down the street. I chased after her. I apologized – but suddenly it seemed as if something had been broken.” Giuseppe’s story reminded Selene a lot of the story Mr. Flaubert had shared with her. However, it seemed that though Mr. Flaubert had eventually found a new Mrs. Flaubert, Giuseppe had not.

In July of 1978, I gathered all of my savings, packed all of my bags and headed to India. After arriving, I felt an empty void in my soul for the many days, weeks, and months that came. I wrote to Freya on a daily basis. So much so that the india post workers knew me by my first name. Freya never responded to any of my letters. I painted this painting – Two of Winds to try and capture what I felt was going on between us.” Selene looked at the painting in front of her. The painting was a lot more minimal that Giuseppe’s other paintings. It wore a light blue, slightly cloudy background and had an odd figure in the forefront. The head of the figure was in the shape of a bat – forming a dark face in the middle. From the wings of the bat, the body was split into two. The right side of the body was yellow and bore a geometric shape. The left side of the body was that of snake. Both pieces were conjoined by a conch from which a pair of hands protruded; the right holding a spear, the left holding a sword. That Christmas, December of 1978, she appeared in front of my apartment. It was a rather embarrassing day. I was walking home with a woman I had just gone on a date with, only to be greeted by a fiercely powerful ballerina at my door. When I arrived at my door that evening, I remember bursting into laughter. I remember feeling tense and saying, ‘Freya, next time you plan to visit, please warn me in advance!’ The woman I had walked home with must have felt the tension because she simply walked away.  There we were – Freya and I, face to face. After our encounter in India, I continued to travel and Freya continued to visit me during the holidays. This arrangement was ongoing for five years. She continued dancing, I continued to voyage. In 1983, Freya relocated to Nice to become a dance teacher – eventually opening a studio of her own. I followed her there and we began to build a life. And here I am today.”

Selene looked at the calendar sitting on top of the bookshelf. She stared at the date it displayed – her second to last night in Nice. Though her time there had been riddled by illness, not exactly what she had expected, it had been transformative. “Where is Freya today?” Holding back tears, Giuseppe responded: “We built a beautiful life. In the beginning, while she continued to establish her dance school, I continued to travel solo. Once her school was established, we traveled together. We would go to two countries per year for extended periods of time. She loved it!” Giuseppe laughed as he spoke of her joy. “A year after our New Year’s Eve in Boston, she was diagnosed with late stage cervical cancer. A year after her diagnosis, in November of 1997, she passed away. Well my dear, I think it’s time I close shop and you head back. You have long travels ahead of you.”  Selene said her goodbyes to Giuseppe. That night, instead of calling a ride home, she decided to walk under the full moon. While she took breath after breath on the streets of Nice she contemplated the pain that we all carried, the grief that has been in residence with the joys of the brightest souls on Earth – the full range of feelings in the human experience.