courageous spontaneity. [#its5oclocksomewhere]

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Sunday. April 15th. 5pm
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I have no idea how it is that I came to be sitting here, at this table, with these people. The afternoon sure hasn’t transpired according to plan. The last thing I knew, I was headed to meet some friends for a quick lunch rendezvous and then I’d be off to run some errands, take a nap, and hopefully start my new book. But that was 3 hours ago, and, here I sit. With a smaller group of the same friends from lunch. After having all quickly ran into a furniture store downtown, emblazoned with multi-colored paint splashed across their windows and larger-than-life words that read “GOING OUT OF BUSINESS FOREVER,” “EVERYTHING MUST GO,” “BIGGEST SALE YET!” and other equally dramatic slogans. And now happily hanging out on the sun-soaked patio of a Starbucks, sipping on… you guessed it… a black coffee, and telling each other stories of fist fights, stolen laptops and vehicles broken into, picking up hitchhikers and saving damsels in distress. And mysterious men pulling our out-of-gas cars from the snow banks where they were lodged. You know, everyday kind of stuff ;)

And you know what, as I swallow another swig of my coffee and lean back in my chair the way my mother always told me not to, I am so glad that this afternoon didn’t transpire according to plan. Looking around the table at the faces of these friends of mine, hearing stories that tell pieces of their lives I’ve not known before, and sharing laughter together, I think about the doors of experience and the unexpected memories that are created by the courage to be spontaneous. I reflect on other times in my life when things simply didn’t go “according to plan,” and wonder to myself what other types of opportunities and experiences spontaneity was offering to me but I had failed to recognize because they weren’t as simple and safe as furniture store sales and Starbucks patios. How many other friendly faces, what unknown pieces of people’s lives, will I miss in my pursuit of the perfectly executed plan?

And I make a decision. Right here, at 5pm on a Sunday afternoon that has pleasantly surprised my socks off, I resolve once again to be courageous enough to be present in every moment of my life. Planned or not. To be brave enough to stop manipulating my own life out of fear of the unexpected and the unknown.

Because life is what is happening right now.
And right now, I’m sitting on a patio and surrounded by friends and I couldn’t be happier about it.


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barefoot thankfulness. [#its5oclocksomewhere]

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Saturday. April 14th. 5pm.
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Turning the stovetop down to low and bringing my boiling brown rice to a simmer, I reach over and slide open the kitchen window above my sink. There are no lights on in my house; Natural light has flooded every corner of my studio apartment, and it’s days like today when I’m glad that this window doesn’t have a screen behind it. Who wants a panel of black mesh and dead flies separating me from this gorgeous spring day? No, I prefer to stretch my arm through the opening and let the cool April breeze slide gently over my skin.

I inhale deeply and shut my eyes for just a moment, enjoying the smell of sunlight and fresh cut grass as it mixes itself in my home with the smell of cooking rice, corn on the cob, and a freshly cracked can of black beans. Opening my eyes, I grab my glass of wine and head outside – my bare feet are just begging for a moment on the lawn. After all, it’s not fair that my ears and my nose should get to have all of the springtime fun.

Indulging my toes in the pleasures of the dirt and grass, I sip my red wine and listen as my heart reminds me of all that’s good in the world. Of love and kindness. Of adventure and possibility. Of play and desire and contentment. Of joy. Of humanity and divinity and of our connection to one another.

And I smile.

Not because life is always perfect peaches and sunshine-y rainbows.
But because this moment – right here, right now – simply couldn’t get any better at all.

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sunlight & shadows. [#its5oclocksomewhere]

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Friday. April 13th. 5pm.
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The last remaining slant of sunshine is inching across the wood panelling of the patio. Judging by it’s speed, and the distance from me to the shade, I estimate that I have about 10 more minutes before the sun on my face is replaced by the shadow of the overhang. I put my laptop away and take my warm cup of black coffee in my hands. Tilting my head back and closing my eyes, I shut out everything but the warm haze of sun and salt that sits on my face, and soak up these remaining moments. I can hear the birds singing as they announce spring with every breath. I can hear the rhythmic panting of dogs as they meander by with their owners. Somewhere a few blocks from where I sit, a group of children are yelling and laughing as they play together. And I can smell the ocean. Even at low tide and distant from the shore, its easy to sense it’s nearness. Opening my eyes, I take in the quaint stretch of asphalt and sidewalk that lays before me and set my gaze on the endless expanse of blue sea that begins where the street ends. And I thank God for another glorious day, grateful for this gift of life He’s given me.

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patio patience. [#its5oclocksomewhere]

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Thursday. April 12th. 5:00pm.
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We finally make the move and head inside. After 2 hours of beautiful sunshine and a steely resolve to stay on the patio and enjoy this weather dammit, we feel the pinpricks of rain and acknowledge the looming black clouds closing in on every side. You have to credit us though – We have lasted more than 2 hours longer than the rest of the patrons that once joined us on this patio. If someone from further south of the border were to grace the restaurant with their presence, they would certainly classify us as crazy. But we are Pacific Northwesterns, thank you very much, and 55 degrees and slightly overcast weather is what we call the promise of summer.

As we carry our plates of half-eaten food in one hand, our second pints of beer in the other, and make the break for indoors we spot a table near the windows and stake our claim. The beer goes down easy and the laughter continues. The chill of the wet rain has yet to hit our bones and the sweetness of the sun continues to bleed into my skin. Looking over my shoulder, I can see the blue sky in the distance. It may be slowly making it’s way away from our little city for now, but I smile, knowing that it will soon return. For it is spring and the world outside these panes of glass is slowing waking up, regardless of the protesting rainclouds.

I turn back to my friend, grateful beyond words for her, and the warmth that is now beginning to leave my skin moves inward and floods my heart. Life is meant to be lived – to be felt and experienced and sucked dry of all it has to offer – and I am suddenly and acutely aware of one thing:

We are living it.

 

Not sure what “#its5oclocksomewhere” is all about? Click here for the quick background story on this creative project of mine and get caught up!