Another year older. And grateful.

bdayWow – 29 years. Seems so long. And so short. All at once. Old or young, one thing is for sure, I have a lot of love in my life. I feel so very blessed & want to take a moment to reflect on this beautiful birthday weekend & all the gratitude I feel for the people in my life.

My birthday weekend (yes, I celebrated for three days instead of one) has served as a powerful reminder of who I am. Specifically what I value & look for in relationships: connection, trust, & mutual understanding. I chose to spend my birthday (weekend) doing things I love and having so many people show up & show me love has left me feeling understood, appreciated & so very grateful.

I sort of think I am too old for gifts. But then, are we ever too old for anything? Nah! I was surprised & grateful for all the gifts I received this year and they were a fun reflection of who I am & the relationships I have with the people I love.

  • Fresh, colorful flowers
  • handmade: card, jewelry, food (BBQ, salads, dips, sweets, treats & a fruit platter aka “fruit loot”), drinks, a hoop (yes, a hula hoop), purse
  • farm fresh local cuisine
  • vino & mittens (wine & fashion are fun b/c choosing these myself can be work!!)
  • framed photograph
  • beach, picnic & play with the best company
  • scratchers – I’m feeling lucky!!
  • reflexology/massage (ok, that one may have been a “happy birthday to me” gift)
  • vintage style glassware
  • journal – a place to set goals, self-reflect & express gratitude
  • upcoming dates & travel (I guess I’ll be celebrating longer after all!)
  • cooked & cleaned for all weekend – ahh 🙂
  • lots of hugs, laughs & love

I love receiving & giving gifts that are useful, edible, experiences & a true reflection of a person &/or relationship. I definitely feel that my friends & family understand who I am. And feeling understood, appreciated & connected is the real gift. Thank you to everyone who has showered me with love this weekend & always – I am truly blessed & thankful.

What do you look for when giving or appreciate when receiving a gift?

End of an Era: Thirty before 30

Twenty-nine years ago today, I was born into this magnificent world. Thanks mom & dad. Today, I still feel pretty young. My parents had four children by my age & that fact makes me feel old. And definitely in awe of the difference between individuals – and generations.  But the beauty of it is that we are all here to live our own truth. That is why this is my favorite quote right now:

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman

In a world that is too often filled with unnecessary stress, too little time & lots of distractions, it is important to prioritize loving & nurturing our authentic self. Coming up to my birthday, I have been thinking a lot about all the things I have wanted to do, put on my someday “to-do” lists & stashed away as potential “bucket list” achievements. Turns out that now is still the time to follow the heart. With a smidge of planning & commitment, we can tackle the challenges & gain the experiences we seek all while basking in this amazing time called now.

So, with exactly 1 year left on this wild ride called “twenties”, here is my “Thirty before 30” List. Bring on this year of perseverance, growth & fun!

Thirty before 30

  1. Dine on the finest local cuisine: eat at all my “Restaurants to Try” (20 restaurants)
  2. Be in Nature: go on a backpacking trip (3 days)
  3. Read: all the books on my “Read List” (10 books)
  4. Learn: a new skill
  5. Create: my vision board
  6. Detox: 30 consecutive sugar-free days
  7. SUP Challenge: headstand on a paddle board
  8. Add more Music: sing & play 3 songs on the guitar
  9. Wild & crazy: skydive with Phoenix
  10. Indulge: eat at one of Gordon Ramsay’s Restaurants
  11. Laugh a lot: be in the audience for the Ellen Show
  12. Downtime: watch my entire “Movies” list (15 movies)
  13. Build strength: bust out 3 pull-ups in a row
  14. Self-care: get 1 massage every month
  15. Spread the love: surprise someone in a big way
  16. Give: volunteer at a community event or fundraiser
  17. Write: blog for 1 year (at least 1 post per week)
  18. Reconnect: sleep under the stars
  19. Meditation: Complete 24 hours of silence
  20. Unplug: turn off all electronics for an entire weekend
  21. Fan time: attend a professional sporting event
  22. Donate: give blood 3x
  23. Be an athlete: participate in the SLO Triathlon
  24. Face a Fear: do something that scares me
  25. Eat like a cavewoman: eat the Paleo Diet for 21 days
  26. Dance outdoors: attend Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
  27. Connect: invite someone new on a coffee date
  28. Donate: select 1 item to give every day for a month
  29. Greet the Day: watch the sunrise at the top of an early morning hike
  30. Pay it forward: random act of kindness for a stranger

BONUS: Play in the rain!!

How do you stay true to your authentic self a midst the bustle of daily life & passing of time?

Setting Goals: Summer to-dos

There is something magnificent about being fully submerged in the ocean. The first shiver as toes meet the sea, the instant cessation of other thoughts and emotions as the icy blanket swallows me whole & the inevitable taste of salt that lingers on my lips. I find myself craving this reboot, or symbolic cleanse, when seeking clarity, trying to shake negativity, needing to reconnect with nature, or when looking for a fresh start at the turn of the season.

Celebrating Summer Solstice yesterday by soaking up the last rays of the evening sun

Today, I took a re-vitalizing dip in the Pacific and began thinking about my goals for this summer, the rest of 2014 & the end of an era – my twenties. That’s right – my 29th birthday is this summer!

I have been wanting to start a bucket list for awhile now, but I think I’ve been a little overwhelmed by the task. Hence the procrastination and many “life to-do lists” that I’ve been jotting randomly on every scratch paper in sight. I see a bucket list as a work that will always be in progress. A tool that promotes staying true to the self & living a vibrant, fulfilling life each day.

I will start my official bucket list soon (maybe I’ll re-watch the movie for inspiration), but in the meantime, here are my current goals as I set intentions for a summer of health, love & listening to the guidance of my inner voice. Have I mentioned I love making to-do lists?

2014 SUMMER TO DO LIST 

  • Create a “30 by Thirty” list: set goals for final year of being a twenty-something
  • Surf a wave: on a stand up paddle board
  • Meditate regularly (2x daily): start with 7 days in a row
  • Practice Yoga: attend 2 classes every week & continue #headstand365 challenge
  • Hike Wednesdays: stay committed to 1 new hike per week
  • Play guitar: learn & sing one complete song. It is time to pick it back up – literally!
  • Be grateful: finish #100happydays gratitude practice
  • Read 5 books: Summer is the season I remember how much I love to read & I have a book shelf full of must-reads 🙂
  • Wash the blinds: I really need the accountability on this one!
  • Dine with a view: eat dinner at Nipenthe in Big Sur
  • Paint a picture: put something beautiful on the four mini canvases collecting dust on the craft table
  • Just drive: take a road trip to somewhere new
  • DIY: try out a homemade deodorant recipe
  • Watch “The Secret”: this film on the law of attraction comes highly recommended
  • Play & Laugh: in the sunshine & as much as possible!!!

That should get things started! What will you do to cherish this summer season?

photo

If you need some goal setting inspiration you can take a Goal Setting Skills Test or find some tips for writing your goals from Psychology Today. I love Matt Cutt’s Ted Talk on trying something new for 30 days. It provides motivation for trying something new off your own bucket list & is also a good strategy for incorporating small changes into our lives one day at time!

Meditation: finding peace within

It’s Tuesday. Monday was tough. Life is tough, sometimes. It is also beautiful & wonderful. There are highs & lows. So much joy. And sorrow. Everything whirls by at such a fast pace unless we intentionally slow things down. Practice mindfulness. Live in the present moment.

I am happy I made it to Yoga yesterday. I think it had been almost three weeks since I made it to class. When I’m not going I start thinking about the wasted membership money & consider quitting. I could practice at home, right? But then I go to a class & remember. Reconnecting with the yoga community and syncing my mind & body re-inspires & motives me.

meditation

Another way I slow down and find peace within is through meditation. Before I knew much about meditation, I thought it was more of an alternative lifestyle (just for hippies, right?) and that it would be difficult to learn. My mind is usually racing with endless thoughts and “clearing” it seemed impossible. But, as stress & anxiety continued to build in my adult life, I knew I had to do something to manage it. Eating well & exercising wasn’t enough to combat the negative effects of too much stress. So with guidance (my hippie mamma who grew up meditating in the 70’s) & instruction (a knowledgeable & inspirational teacher) I began meditating two years ago.

The technique I learned was simple. Meditate using a mantra for twenty minutes, twice a day. First to start the day off right (soon after waking up) & again to transition into the evening (right after work). With education & support from my teacher I felt connected & at ease with the method. To learn more about the Transcendental Meditation technique I learned watch this short clip from Good Morning America. You can also check out the official TM website for lots of information, research & videos!

I have enjoyed many benefits from regular meditation including elevated mood, increased patience with others, more frequent feelings of joy, greater ability to regulate emotions and relief from anxiety symptoms. I am excited about the continued potential for regular meditation to strengthen my relationships, increase creativity & clarity, and be a vehicle for growth & positive change.

What I love most about meditating is that it builds inner peace & the ability to contribute to a more peaceful world – the ripple effect. Thich Nhat Hanh talks about this & gives strategies for practicing mindfulness in daily life in the book Peace Is Every Step:

Practicing mindfulness in each moment of our daily lives, we can cultivate our own peace. With clarity, determination, and patience-the fruits of meditation-we can sustain a life of action and be real instruments of peace. I have seen this peace in people of various religious and cultural backgrounds who spend their time… watering the trees of love and understanding throughout the world.

There are lots of methods out there so do some research to find out what is best for you! For me, this works. As long as I practice regularly. So, this is my committment to one week of regular meditation. Scheduling in self-care & making healthy choices a priority in our daily routine is essential. A week is short enough to be realistic & long enough to re-commit myself to a practice that brings great joy & calm to my life.

oaks in the sky

Let me know what meditation techniques you love & the benefits you have found through adding a meditation practice into your life!

 

The Beginning: first ever blog post!

One love. Bob Marley put it so simply. But somehow everyday life & relationships complicate even simple things. The further I travel down my own path and the more soul searching I do, the more I understand that we are all connected. That’s what this blog is about – or at least how it is starting out. That’s something else I’m learning, that despite our best intentions and well thought out plans, life has a way of throwing the unexpected at us. So I choose to identify & work towards goals while striving to stay open to whatever the present moment may bring.

Off on a tangent already – back to the purpose of One little Peace. To share who I am in this moment & how that changes day by day. Share passion, awesome community resources & wellness inspirations. This will also serve as a handy reference tool as the details of things often allude me (forecast a post on ways to improve memory). I have always been fascinated by human behavior and love everything health & wellness. Seeking purpose & wellness in my own life, I keep coming back to something greater than myself – US! I want to be the best me so that my life has a positive impact on those around me. In a world where so many of us are separated from our loved ones & neighbors by fences, great distances & miscommunications, I hope this blog inspires & contributes to a greater sense of community. Every small action we take to be well & act with love puts out a positive ripple effect into the universe & promotes positive change in ourselves, our community & our world.

You have probably already figured out that I am much wordier than Bob, so bear with me while I back up a smidge. I’m Kelly, turning 29 this year & a seeker of balance. Yoga is one way I do this – I’m currently practicing headstand (more on that fun challenge later). But, I mean balance in life – the bigger picture. Between our jobs, families (see some of mine below), emotional, physical & mental well being and so much more it seems impossible not to feel depleted or out of whack sometimes! My journey is seeking balance & peace in my life.  With One little Peace I hope to share part of myself, provide wellness information/resources & look at the wide array of choices we can make to be a catalyst for positive change in the world just by being happy, peaceful human beings.

Family2014a

Being silly & playing outside at my brother Stephen’s birthday BBQ last weekend.

If you find yourself laughing along with me, adding momentum to the discussion or trying out a wellness strategy for yourself – I will feel blessed to be a small piece of your journey & grateful that you are a piece of mine.

Don’t let people pull you into their storm, pull them into your peace

Kimberly Jones

(Anyone know more about Kimberly Jones? Maybe I’ll do some research…)