I was on my usual power hike through Forest Park on Saturday. I caught up with my sister on the phone on the way up to the view on top of the hill. It was a lovely conversation, one that ended with a pep talk to each other…a reminder to take the time we need for ourselves.
My sister is a mother of four. While I don’t have kids, I’ve gone through quite a few changes these past months that I didn’t know were coming. And, it has made the time both challenging and wonderful.
After many years of trying to figure this out, Mr. H and I finally started our own business together. It’s called Superneat Marketing. Some people crack a smile at the name and others roll their eyes. But, like any business, there is a reason we came up with that name.
Neatness has been in our family for a long time. When we make a toast, it’s: “To neatness.”
It’s pretty much the highest compliment you can get in our house—if someone is having a bad day or you want to tell them how much you love them, we say to each other: “Well, I think you’re superneat.”
Already our clients are using the term and we love that. But more than anything we love helping these awesome small businesses grow, because they are often the underserved population with marketing consultants and agencies.
It’s very rad to help them out, and it’s superneat working side-by-side with Mr. H.
The other cuckoo thing that happened as we were launching our website…we moved. In two weeks. Mr. H and I were crawling all over each other in the glorified studio we lived in for three years, so it was time for a much needed upgrade.
As you may have heard, rents in Portland have been pretty outrageous with the population explosion. We decided to be smart about it—especially with the mega life changes already happening—and worked with our apartment building to transfer units.
We had to hustle to get an upgrade deal that wouldn’t do us in, hence the two weeks. And even though it was only a move down the hall, up one floor, and down another hall…it was still a move.
But, the cats are good and we’re good. Plus…balcony and a happy marriage!
After a three-year hiatus, I started teaching yoga again. I’m sticking with subbing for now and taking it slow. I found an amazing studio here in Portland called The People’s Yoga. Their mission is to offer yoga to everybody, regardless of economic barriers. I dig it and I’m very proud to teach there.
Lastly, I’ve been writing A LOT for other publications.
I became a regular contributor for ClearVoice, which is an awesome place for me to nerd out on content. My writer friends will find this interview with Kristen Lamb interesting, Humans Are Wired to Remember the Story.
I also started realizing a dream of mine of becoming a travel writer. What started with several millennial-esque travel blogs on VIVA Lifestyle & Travel morphed into opportunities at Intrepid Travel. They value sustainable travel culturally and environmentally—very much Britt’s speed.
I remember writing my first piece on a Sunday, and it was a toughie that was all about the power of a ban to make a positive impact. I had to do a lot of research about animal rights and pretty much cried through the entire piece.
But, I felt honored to write about such an important topic and it was beyond cool to see it shared widely on social.
This morning as I’m sitting here in my robe before work, I feel like it’s a damn miracle that I’m even writing a blog post. It got so hard to do this, something that used to be so simple.
As many of you longtime bloggers can understand, sometimes you hit a wall. Not writer’s block, it’s more like being blocked by life.
I always say you have to be in a very specific state of mind to do this thing called writing. You don’t have to be on cloud nine or anything, but you have to at least be able to free yourself from distractions long enough to sit your ass in the chair and throw down some words.
When life changes? That adds a very thick layer you have to push through.
I was recently talking to my good blogger friend (and kindred spirit), Julie of Les Petits Pas de Juls, on WhatsApp. She asked me how my book was going and I said…slowly. But, I’m thankful it’s still going in some form.
I told her I had been writing so much for other people that I was struggling to write for myself. And, I’m hoping to make more time after I clear my head on a rad trip we have coming up next week.
Last year I vowed to meet more bloggers in person, and I was fortunate to meet Jilanne in San Francisco. Next I’m thrilled to see Julie, who runs a beach bar with her husband on Holbox Island.
“Slow” is the word there, and I love that. Because “fast” has been too much of a word for me lately. I’m looking forward to hanging with Julie and allowing her to remind me of the sweeter, beautiful things I’ve been glossing over too much in life.
We decided to bookend the trip to see Julie with two places Mr. H and I have dreamed about…Mexico City and Cuba. Being the geek that I am, my main inspiration for going to these places is to see Frida’s house and Martha Gellhorn’s house (who many would refer to as Hemingway’s house, Finca Vigia.)
Both Frida and Gellhorn have been heroes of mine for a long time. Being able to walk in the same places as these women is magnificent. I’m excited to drink in the culture of both of these places and see what kind of inspiration I come home with.
Anyway, the dust has started settling a bit and I felt this incredible sense of peace in the forest last weekend. On my way back home I was about to put my headphones in to listen to music when I stopped myself.
I wanted to listen to the birds. I wanted to listen to the trees in the wind. I wanted to hear the children’s laughter. The whole reason I was hiking in the first place was to unplug. Yet, I struggled with it. I still had that urge to multitask.
So, I did something I’ve never done before in the three years I’ve hiked that same route. I stopped on a bench and stared at the trees. I laid on the bench for about a half hour. And, it was glorious.
Groups of people passed me from time to time, and one older gentleman made me smile when he said: “Somebody’s got the right idea.”
The nice thing about this bench is that it’s up higher on the hill, so it’s not nearly as crowded as other parts of the trail—even on the weekend. So there were times when it was just me on the bench. Just me and the birds.
After a while they accepted me, because I was one of the quiet and still humans—an anomaly they aren’t used to seeing, I’m sure.
Did you know birds sing the most extraordinary song when they think nobody else is around? I didn’t. I felt lucky and grateful to be the only one in that audience, in that front row seat to nature’s stage.
All I had to do was stop and see. It shouldn’t be that hard. I’m going to do more of it.