Tag Archives: Zen

[Self Discovery] The Serenity of the Sea

Standard

 “My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go”
— 
Henry David Thoreau —

Summer in SD

Ever just feel the need to get away? Not to necessarily escape from life, but to take a midweek vacation from all the humdrum stress of your vocation and whatever else might be plaguing or mentally exhausting you.  Lately, there’s been this large itch to jump in the car and not be home – maybe it’s the incredible heat waves we’ve been having in Los Angeles proper, maybe it’s the fact I’ve formally lived in Los Angeles for a decade now; irregardless, lately I’ve had this distant itch that I’ve needed to scratch from sandier locations.

Untitled

I work from home and have been working from home for the last five or so years.  It’s a wonderful life, but at the same time – it can make for some stir crazy mornings and cabin fever-esque afternoons.  Thankfully, for the last few weeks, I’ve been blessed enough to tag along while my dad goes on a few work trips down to gorgeous and sunny San Diego, and every now and again I’ve also been jumping in the car with Danny and working from anywhere that cell phone service exists along the Southern California coast.  From Santa Monica, to Long Beach, San Pedro down to Orange County and San Diego – the California Coastline down here has a bevvy of beautiful beaches, ripe and ready for adventures.

Untitled

With seventeen miles of coastline and nearly 5000 acres of land, San Diego boasts an incredible amount of beaches per capita, each with their own unique charm, from Ocean Beach to Encinatas and back to Moonlight Beach – you simply can’t go wrong as you bounce from one sandy piece of heaven to the next.  Yes, of course beaches will be crowded – have you met Summer in SoCal?! – so be sure to head there with plenty of time to spare and plenty of sun and sand to be had.

Travel up the coast a bit and you’ll hit the beautiful beaches of Orange County and Newport, including the stunning 1000 Steps Beach.  But I’ll be honest, the only version of the OC I like is the show – and it’s primarily because I can put it on mute. Anyhow, just a hop, skip and a jump up and you’ll reach shores of San Pedro and Angels Gate Park, where notorious scenes from my all time favorite movie were played out in the 90’s.  Can you name the movie? I won’t give it away!  Nestled between two coastlines in a sprawling green park that overlooks the coast, you’ll find the fabled ‘Koren Friendship Bell‘ in all of its vibrant glory and impeccable hand crafted detail.

Los Angeles itself is known as much for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as it is the menagerie of beaches against its coast.  Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Point Dume – you simply can’t go wrong.  Now, it’s definitely a personal decision, but Danny and I typically off for the off the beaten path locations with less people – the more of a tourist trap it is, the less peace, quiet and space you’ll have, you know – if you’re into that sort of thing.

Untitled

“Don’t underestimate the healing power of these three things:
music, the ocean, and the stars.” 

Hypnotically beautiful with brooding turbulence underneath, the Ocean water mimics the human condition: meeting new highs and pulsing lows, bringing rocky baggage ashore and washing herself clean of the past, pulling new ideas back undertow and ingraining them in her personality. Summer in SD

It’s as if the waters have found themselves in the midst of mindful meditation that you can’t help but immulate: with this wave – I’m breathing in, with this wave – I’m breathing out.

 

No matter the mood or emotion I bring to the water’s edge with me, it’s always washed away and I’m left feeling rooted, as the soles of my feet and tips of my toes edge their way in and around millions of grains of sand that each have thousands of years of stories to tell.  Twisting my head to and fro to see as far as the eyes can see, I’m inexplicably drawn to the cascading of blues that measure where the sky and sea are drawn together in an almost hand painted gradient.  It’s here, that I shed my snakeskin of the past to the salt and air and become again.

Where do you go when your soul needs to refresh?

 

Advertisements

[Weekly Dose of Wisdom] Get Your Zen On

Standard

Even though the month is only halfway through – to say that it’s been a long, or emotionally charged last few weeks would be an enormous understatement.  The good news, is that every situation provides a catalyst for change provided we’re honest with ourselves about our intentions, both past, present and future.  Over the last few years, I’ve found myself more and more enthralled and in touch with my spirituality – and since I was never raised within the construct of organized religion, I’ve been coveting the small moments that I feel truly connected and at one with the universe surrounding me, as well as within me.

A lot of thanks is due to Depak Chopra; it’s not that I know the man personally (though, I’d love to sit down with him and pick his brain), but through his website he offers a free, 21-day guided meditation course – often topical, with focuses on personal intentions, love, etc. Though it’s only for a few minutes a day, it provides a wonderful jumping off point for anyone unfamiliar with meditation.  The first time I completed a course was two years ago when I ventured off to Arkansas for a work trip, and ever since – I’ve noticed a wonderful, peaceful shift in the way I approach the world in times of chaos, as well as times of calmness.   Sometimes, when I meditate on my own – I use a little literary inspiration; here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on seeking peace, finding tranquility and establishing your internal equilibrium.

IMG_1416.JPG

IMG_1414.JPG

IMG_1409.JPG

IMG_1417.JPG

IMG_1421.JPG

IMG_1418.JPG

IMG_1419.JPG

[Oh, Snap!] An Afternoon at the Huntington Botanical Gardens

Standard

Between my father and step mom being in town, and Danny’s mom heading down for the day – we’ve been inundated with family time, and it’s been perfect! Last night we went out on the town with my family, grabbed some sushi and enjoyed downtown Pasadena. Today, we thought we’d try something new so we cruised down to the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens for a beautiful adventure.  Revered as one of the world’s epicenters for culture, research and education – the Huntington itself is a Non Profit institution founded by Henry Huntington back in 1919, almost a century ago.  During his lifetime, Huntington procured and collected an immense collection of art, classic and historical literature and my personal favorite – an assortment of botanical gardens from all over the world.  From the Australian outback to the Jungles, to Chinese and Japanese Gardens to the Rose and Herb Gardens, and with over 120 acres to the Huntington – there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

To start, we wound around to the Chinese Gardens to admire the lush vegetation, incredible architecture adorned with sacred geometry and the most delicious iced jasmine tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of slurping down.

 Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

After spending an hour meandering through the Chinese Gardens, we waltzed down by the running river and into the Japanese Gardens, to find an area adorned with the most extensive assortment of bonsai trees I’ve seen in my entire 30 years of existence.  I swear, some of the trees were nearly a century old and so incredibly miniature!

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

As we exited we were pulled into the canopies by the rose gardens while we caught our breath (it was almost 100 degrees out, mind you) and wouldn’t you know it but we stumbled right upon the full glory of their rose gardens, with so many different and beautiful hybrids.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

Finally, as we left four hours later we had to stop and smell – and eat! – the edible herb garden; I tasted a flower that tasted sweet and peppery – I so wish I remembered the name right now, but it was as beautiful as it was delicious.

Made with Repix (http://repix.it) Made with Repix (http://repix.it)

With the size of the Gardens themselves, here’s simply no way to see everything on the grounds but boy, did we ever try.  Do you have a favorite local botanical garden that you enjoy? Whether it’s in the Southern California region or across the globe, I’d love to get some ideas on other amazing botanical garden’s to fawn over.