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Writing in the Woods Reflection

Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.—Thoreau

Last weekend I hosted the annual Writing in the Woods retreat and, per usual, we had a powerful group of women join us. When Tim and I arrived late Thursday night, we couldn’t tell if the West Virginia foliage was still on the trees. I woke up Friday morning to a beautiful surprise—the trees were peppered with yellow, orange, red, and brown and the sky was blue.

After decorating with twinkle lights, pumpkins, and yellow mums, the house was ready to host all weekend. Due to the outside chill, we spent our days writing and practicing yoga by the fire inside. Saturday night we roasted s’mores by the campfire and waved sparkles in circular patterns before the storm rolled in. A torrential downpour provided the meditative backdrop to Sunday.

The past few days of colorful foliage, sounds of rain, heat from a roaring fire, taste of colorful roasted veggies, and smell of freshly-baked pumpkin pie provided a welcomed respite for this city dweller’s soul.

Time away offers an opportunity to hit that pause button and check in. What’s working? What needs attention? Does how I spend my time align with my values?

By shifting routine through time away or doing things differently, there’s a break in the “rinse and repeat” lifestyle of get up, go to work, come home, go to bed.

One exercise I encouraged the retreaters explore was creating a two-month wish list. We have two months left in 2017, what do you want to see, smell, hear, taste, and feel by New Year’s Eve?

Wishing you a sensory-filled conclusion to October. Bisous. x

Mindfulness + Tranquility Tools mp3

Last week I took the early morning train down to Richmond to speak at Shape Soirée—a three-day wellness conference co-created by my friend Kelly Kostecki of Om on Yoga.

While participants munched on a yummy kale salad topped with cranberries and pumpkin seeds, I gave a talk titled “Mindfulness for finding more tranquility in your life.” During the hour, I shared five mindfulness tools and five tranquility tips to ease stress and savor more.

Ahhhh, doesn’t that just sound divine? Less stress, more savor—makes for a good mantra!

I’ve posted the mp3 in Tranquil Treasures under “Tranquility Tips,” so please have a listen and share your takeaways below. I’d love to hear what most resonates.

Wishing you a beautiful weekend filled with foliage, pumpkins, and mulled cider. Bisous. x

Bonjour October: Slow Down + Shed

October by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

Welcome to a brand new month and a season aligned with slowing down and shedding as exemplified by the natural world. Leaves change and fall. There’s a crispness in the air. Energy turns inward. A deep desire to nest falls upon us—sit fireside, curl up on the couch with a book, sip mulled cider.

This is my most favorite time of the year! Yesterday I picked up pink mums, a knit beanie with faux fur, and fire logs. Bring it on, October!

I came across this minimalism game on an Instagram post (thanks, Gina!) and, considering I already have an entire day set aside for decluttering, I think I’ll try this.

Last weekend I was in Northern California for a memoir writing intensive and had one free day with a simple goal of getting into nature. After a hike among the redwoods and their intoxicating earthy and musty aroma, we hit Point Reyes Station where I, of course, had to wander into the bookstore on main street. Then I, of course again, had to pick up the book World Enough & Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down after I found it waiting for me face up on a side table. It felt like a sign.

Anyone else want to join me in the intention to slow down and shed? Here’s to October, where Frost encourages us to “begin the hours of this day slow.” Bisous. x