“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”

Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. Be on the watch. There are ways out. There is light somewhere. It may not be much light but it beats the darkness. Be on the watch. The gods will offer you chances. Know them. Take them. You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Your life is your life. Know it while you have it. You are marvelous. The gods wait to delight in you.” The Laughing Heart, Charles Bukowski

Holiday Trolley on Powell Street: I first visited San Francisco in 2017. As a child, I always admired trolleys.  Getting to see one in action was exhilarating even for the second time.

Happy December! My return flight from San Francisco (SFO) to San Diego (SAN) was cancelled. I was immediately rebooked via Oakland (OAK) and I’m now writing this post from the comfort of my bed, under my weighted blanket. My time in the Bay area was magical. In order to give each experience the honor it deserves, I will be sharing each experience – Portola Redwood State Park, Museum of Ice Cream San Francisco, Legion of Honor (Museum), and Oakland – as its own individual posts. The sharing of these experiences will be largely be communicated via images in the form of a photo diary. Of course, I’ll include words and stories to accompany the images, but I want the photos to be as important as the words. I will be going back to Denver this coming Wednesday night and have not decided if I’ll be interrupting the flow of my Bay area stories to talk about the current real-time reality of my day. We’ll see!

Street Intersection, San Francisco, California

Gratitude. 2019 has been the best year of my life (thus far), particularly since this past August. My life has flourished and expanded in ways that I could have not foreseen. As we transitioned from from summer to autumn, my heart was filled with an immense amount of gratitude and joy. The arduous road to get here made sense. Getting to this place has taken effort from every ounce of my existence down to the deepest part of my soul, every piece of my heart, to every cell that composes each of my bones. Today I can say with deep conviction that the effort has been worth it. Because my life wasn’t easy from the get go, I’ve been able to grow strong, resilient, compassionate, understanding, and boundaried.

During my time in the Bay Area, I stayed with my friend Nicole. I met Nicole via one of my best friends, CMack (Caitlin). Nicole moved to the Bay Area 3 weeks ago after living in Vermont for 5 years. Because I’ve experienced the deep pain of spending a holiday in loneliness, I decided to join her for Thanksgiving. I’m on a mini-mission to ensure that human beings don’t spend especially social days on their own. My point/miles accumulation makes this mission a little easier to follow-through on.

Chinatown, San Francisco, California

Spending time with Nicole was wonderful. Astrologically, Nicole is a Cancer Sun which lies in opposition to my Capricorn Sun. While I have my Ascendant (and South Node) in Cancer and can understand the mechanisms of the Cancer constellation, I also have 6 planets in Capricorn. It is always a good refresher to look into a mirror that highlights your blindspots. Cancer is the archetype of the mother in the zodiac. Capricorn is the archetype of the father in the zodiac. Nicole walks through the world from a place of compassion, empathy, understanding, and undying love. I walk through the world from a place of structure, leadership, and “whipping things into shape”. She embodies the realm of the emotions. I embody the realm of material structure and logic. Because I have a Cancer ascendant, I have the capacity to deliver hard truths with sweetness, compassion, empathy, and diplomacy. However, six planets in Capricorn are still six planets in Capricorn. The Universe had to balance those 6 planets in Capricorn out with something sweet and fluid! (I also have a Pisces Moon that adds to the compassion and empathy). While with Nicole I found myself reflecting on the following questions: Where can I add more sweetness in my life? How can I be more understanding, compassionate, empathetic, and loving? How can I lead from a space of service and tenderness? How can I be more nurturing rather than strict with those that are close to me and going through difficult periods of time?

If you’d like to know your zodiac constellation opposition, refer to the list below (there’s quite a lot you can learn from your opposite sun sign!):

Aries – Libra | Taurus -Scorpio | Gemini -Sagittarius | Cancer – Capricorn | Leo – Aquarius | Virgo – Pisces

As I conversed with Nicole (whom is a keeper of motherly wisdom), about the trajectories of our lives, I suddenly came to realize that my heart was feeling lighter. Earlier this year, I let go of someone I was once close to. We had a toxic connection.  Retrospectively, I can say that I don’t think neither of us are bad people, but the entity that was born out of our interactions (the chemistry of Person A  + Person B) was toxic. I still remember how much anger and resentment I felt towards this individual on the day I decided to cut him out of my life. It was while being in the Bay Area with Nicole that I realized that the healing was almost complete. I’m of the belief that forgiveness is a process rather than an event. I’m also of the belief that you can forgive someone without that individual having to be physically present in your life. You can go to therapy, meditate, set intentions in your spiritual practices, journal, meet new people that help re-wire your neural pathways, etc. While with Nicole, a deep sense of compassion (as well as a deep realization) was born out of my heart – I now realize he was acting from a space of deep wounding. This doesn’t mean I want to be part of this person’s life or want them back in my life in any capacity, it means that I can understand and accept why they behaved the way they did and thus continue moving forward. I have can now say that I have fully integrated the lesson this individual came into my life to teach me: Do not be afraid to shine and let the world know that you stand in your power and your worth.

Bay Area Views: San Francisco Belle, San Francisco, California

Prior to getting on my flight today, Nicole and I went to the gym (a big hell yes to guest passes!). After our workout, we went in the hot tub then the steam room then the sauna. Gratitude amplified! To this day, I have yet to find medicine as good as a workout. A good workout re-aligns my entire life – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. Sweating is God’s gift to humanity. I swear that sweating and exerting your muscles inches you closer to heaven. After the gym, we shared a meal, talked some more, FaceTimed Cmack, and then made our way to the airport. I’m grateful for the people I have met on this path. They have been my saving graces again and again and again. As I wrote on 20-Nov-2019: The Universe (or anything “out there” for that matter) isn’t coming to save us, but with a little help from one another, we can save ourselves.

SF Ferry Building, San Francisco, California

As soon as I landed in San Diego, my sense of gratitude deepened just a bit more. The warm particles in the air provided for a cozy and welcoming embrace. Instead of driving to the airport, I took Uber this time. When I went to catch an Uber to return home, I realized Uber was using a new Pin system for pick-ups. I made my way downstairs and instantly connected with Mike whom was just as equally confused as I was. Just when Mike and I tried to figure out what was happening, three Uber employees approached us and directed us to catch our rides. As my Uber driver was putting my suitcase in her trunk, Mike came over and told me it was nice to meet me. He too had just landed from San Francisco. His driver was ready to leave. My driver was ready to leave. Thus, we didn’t get to exchange phone numbers nor social media. Have you ever come across someone you just instantly hit it off with? As we were both about to get into our respective cars, he came over to me: “Hey! It was really nice to meet you. Good luck with everything.” He pulled out his phone as if to try to get my number, but his driver called. Instead, he gave me a hug and we went separate ways. Mike, if by some odd happenstance you happen to read this, it was nice to meet you too! I’d love to connect. *Considers posting a Craigslist missed connection ad*.

It’s always the interactions that I have with others that makes life worth living.

SF Ferry Building (Inside), San Francisco, California

PS. The title of this post refers to the new Mister Rogers film featuring Tom Hanks. It’s certainly worth your time! I used it as the title of this post because the trolley toy models used in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe always reminded me of SF when I watched the show as a child.

PSS. A very special thank you to the company I work for truly respecting their employees time off. This was the first time in my adult life, I felt that I was able to truly enjoy a holiday. I didn’t receive emails nor texts from the any of my direct team members. Joining this company was certainly the right decision. My quality of life and health have both improved since making this change.