2018 – A Year of Self-Love

As 2018 comes to an end, I feel as if I’m standing on the edge of so many new beginnings and dreams. It’s hard to even think about what’s happened over the last year to re-share because I am so excited for whats to come. But 2018 was incredible. Through practice, patience, and a whole lot of self love, I feel more empowered, at peace, and have an open heart that I haven’t had in a looooonnngggg time.

Since last year’s reflection, so much has happened. It’s hard to even know how to pick highlights. It was like everyday was such a gift, each amazing memory created, they were all beautiful in their own ways. The happy, the sad, the upsetting, the disappointing, the surprising, etc. If there was one thing that stood out this year, I would choose my gratitude for myself. Because recognizing that has been one of the hardest lessons I’m still continuing to learn.

My gratitude for all things, small & big, good or bad, has been the turning point for me. So it seems fitting that I recount the amazing things I have gratitude for.

Breathe

Let’s start with Modo Yoga. My practice at Modo has been instrumental in my personal development over the last year and I am so incredibly grateful for the staff and the studio. I started practicing at the end of 2017 as a way to support Kevin through his teacher training and then just kept at it. To much of my surprise. I’ve always hated sweating, but Modo really become a sanctuary for me. Days where I didn’t even want to go, I challenged myself to show up anyway, and never regretted it. Not only has Modo improved my physical practice, it moved me mentally and emotionally. It gave me a space to challenge myself, show up, and meet myself with grace. This translated to so many other things in my life over the year without me even knowing it. But looking back on what’s happened, it clearly shows up in every instance in which I’m touched, moved, and inspired. I think I’ve never practiced anything successfully before, but because I was able to show up to my mat, I started showing up in many other ways of my life too.

I can come to my mat with any type of emotion, whether it’s a good or bad day, slow or busy day, but after practice I am always shifted and moved to the same place: When I land on my mat I feel free. I feel loved. I feel comforted. I feel deeply rewarded. This is one of the best things I could do for myself.

The photo above is from the welcoming chalkboard at the beginning of the year. I remembered looking at it and thinking, “yeah…this is happening.” Not knowing all that would happen. It was the perfect message and truly a year of courage, change, and a commitment to grow for me. Funny enough, I’m actually the one that changes the chalkboard art each month now! Kylie, one of the studio owners saw my Bumbershoot work and thought it would be a great idea for me to participate! I LOVE my mornings where I get to practice and just make some pretty art in the studio alone. It’s a beautiful space with amazing energy.

I’ve been so lucky enough to get to know the staff outside the studio over the past year and they’ve become a huge part of my heart and one of the biggest things I’ve come to appreciate about Modo. Such beautiful people to share a beautiful practice with!

Memories with girlfriends

This year I spent a whole lot more time with the ladies in my life and celebrating their accomplishments! I organized my first girl’s trip to the peninsula (which by the way, Rachel’s podcast was nominated for a James Beard Award! Your Last Meal – she interviews celebrities on what their last meal would be and then goes into the history of the food. So awesome. She’s the BEST).

Jamie and I went to Oregon Country Fair and it was THE BEST.

I also spent a lot more time with my mom, which is such a gift. It’s been hard to figure out how to cheer her up with the divorce and everything. But trying to find those small ways of making her happy has meant so much to me. Giving her a fraction of the happiness and love she has shown us her whole life, despite everything is the least I can do.

 

It wasn’t always pretty, over the last year I would catch myself feeling angry and impatient towards her for being upset as she processed her emotions. It was hard for me to understand why she couldn’t be the person I saw her as. Someone who is strong and amazing, someone who shouldn’t spend a second more lamenting over the loss of someone who made her so unhappy. But in the end, I could see myself in her, and I empathized. I know what it’s like to carry a love for someone who is so ill fitted for you and even when you know it, you can’t help how you feel. I’ve never shared 30+ years with someone, so I can only imagine how much harder it is for her to move forward. But I hope with the small things, she will eventually learn to love someone, especially herself again.

You may remember that as part of my Self Expression and Leadership Project earlier this year, I embarked on helping Team Sail Like a Girl!  We entered a video contest and the girls ended up being awarded the First Federal Bank sponsorship! And so, my logo (which I now realize is 10 years old…need a new one ASAP!) ended up on the boat among the list of other people who helped them achieve their goals! It was pretty neat to see!

  

The best news of all, THE GIRLS WENT ON TO WIN THE RACE TO ALASKA! First all-women’s crew and first mono hull to WIN the race. CRAZY. I am soooooo proud of Kate Hearsey. I cried when I found out. These women worked hard and they did it! SOOOO amazing!

I even got to finally meeting the AMAZING MARY!! After 9 years of knowing of each other through Brandon and being internet pals (she lives in Germany), I finally got to meet Mary in person and share so many fun memories with her! I am so grateful for her friendship, she is a remarkable human being.

 

   

I am so lucky to know so many amazing women in my life, these are just the few who really made this year shine!

Cody Beverstock

Life always feels most fragile when someone close to you passes away. Especially when it is unexpected. It still doesn’t feel real…but on February 20, 2018, we had to say goodbye to Cody Beverstock. A soul that left this earth far too soon. Cody is part of the three musketeers with Brandon and Nathan. He’s always lived in New York or California the entire time I’ve known Brandon so we only saw each other when he came home to visit. But when we did get together, I was always crying laughing by the end of the night.

I like to think I live in the present, loving fiercely, genuinely and unconditionally. And no matter how much I try to share how much people mean to me, every once in a while I get stopped and wonder if it will ever be enough. If I were to lose you today or tomorrow, would I be satisfied in how I have shown my love to you? I may tell you everyday, and show you with everyday moments, but somehow, it may not seem to be enough. Which makes me wonder if we tell people we love them so that they feel appreciated and cared for or do we tell them as a means of need for expressing ourselves?

Unfortunately the time came for Brandon to make plans to go to LA for goodbyes. Luckily were we able to get him and his sister down there. Nathan couldn’t make the trip from where he was, but we did our best to support him. Cody fought four long days in the hospital, he hung on long enough for everyone to say their goodbyes and share the love and stories of Cody at his bedside. Even though Cody wasn’t conscious, I believe he could feel the love that was present.

Cody was courageous, always answered life’s challenges fiercely. He never hesitated and stared everything down. Nothing was getting in the way of him and achieving his dreams. He lived bigger than most people do in a lifetime. And while it still feels like there is a void without him, we’ve all managed to keep his memory alive and his dreams active. Especially his sister Kelli.

Right before Cody passed away, he started the Create Something Beautiful Project. He had ideas and plans sketched out but never had a chance to get it into action.

“It’s about the way we should all live our lives. It’s something I hope to one day turn into a global movement: a community of people helping people, inspiring each other to, “Create Something Beautiful.” It is my hope that through my cooking, through connecting with people over food, that I will be able to help others overcome whatever struggles they’ve endured to become the person they want to be and create the life they want to have. Because we all have greatness within us. We all have a purpose in life and it is our obligation to identify that purpose and pursue it with reckless abandon.” – Cody Beverstock

We’ve been celebrating Cody’s life with shirts with his project logo, which Kelli plans to continue to put into action.

  

Kevin and Jamie even brought some mementos to the Burning Man Temple for us! I sent a photo with a quote on the back. Kevin and Jamie etched their own contribution too.

We’ll continue to keep Cody’s memory alive for as long as we live.

Miss you Cody. We love you.

The Summer of Love

This past summer will go down as one of my favorites. From the memorial day weekend at Banks Lake until the last weekend of August, I somehow managed to have every single weekend filled with adventures. Whether it was camping, festival shenanigans, sailing, or island hopping, I can’t remember a summer I have enjoyed as much as this one. I worked hard and played hard. I made it a priority to spend as much time as possible with Kevin and Jamie this year before they took off on their year of soul surfing. It was more rewarding than I could have possibly imagined.

 

I even made a mini euro trip with Ashley to Slovakia and Hungary before I joined Gareth for a few days on his journey on the El Camino. Still need to make a post for that, but I can’t wait to complete the entire El Camino at some point in my life.

But my biggest achievement this summer: Backpacking the Enchantments. Everything I had slowly been working on over the year without even knowing it came to fruition. I would not have survived it without my ability to breathe.

I am SO grateful for the unconditional love I get to share with people in my life, but especially with my friends. No matter how little or how much time I get to spend with them, my heart feels like it’s overflowing sometimes with how much love fills me up. How lucky am I to have such a loving community of people who raise me up, allow me to work out my crazy, and contribute so much to my life.

having integrity

It is no secret that I love my job. What many don’t know, is that for as much joys and highs it brings, it has brought an equal amount of struggle and difficulty. But not only did I survive it, I learned how to to flourish in it.

  

I couldn’t have dreamed up a better position for me, but I was unlike most people who are in the restaurant industry. Many of them have been doing it for years, chefs cooking since they were teenagers. There is a culture in the restaurants I may never really understand but it was definitely a learning experience. Having the opportunity to work with some of the most talented and hardest working people I know has truly been such an honor. Whether it was organizing an oyster tasting class at The White Swan, or our sold out Trains, Planes, and Traveling Chefs dinners at Matt’s in the Market, or our B-EATS program at Bumbershoot, I loved them all. I am so so proud of everything we’ve been able to accomplish and receiving praise from some of the people I respect the most made the chaos all worth it. I usually am not one for compliments or acknowledgement, but for the first time I just accepted it. I knew how hard I had worked and I was proud of it.

 

Many will never know or understand why, but it was time for me to move on. At first I was afraid because I felt that leaving these restaurants meant I was a failure. It meant I would be turning my back on something I have dreamed of and worked towards for years. It would mean I was wrong all along. But I knew in my heart, I couldn’t work here anymore.

And as if karma knew, it sent a new opportunity knocking at my door.

New Job: The Center for Wooden Boats

As you may remember, I started volunteering for the Center for Wooden Boats a little over a year ago…I spent my time between the boat shop and the office doing communication work. When the opportunity came up to be the Events Manager, it almost seemed too good to be true. Within a few short weeks, my entire life became different.

I moved, accepted the job at CWB, put in my notice, and now I’m living out of a backpack till I start my job in February.

I am SO excited for this opportunity for so many reasons. As a Seattle native, I’ve watched this city grow from a place well balanced between blue collar, business folk, and artists to a place consumed and overflowing with new tech money. I’ve watched as my favorite places have to close due to high rent, loss of neighborhood business, or just plain dickbag building owners literally tearing down our cultured history with no plans to honor or preserve it (e.g. Save the Showbox). The Center for Wooden Boats is one of the last places in the city that I am holding onto dearly. With the sad closure of Jensens, CWB is literally the last place standing on the lake that offers dedicated wooden boat knowledge. My hope is to help CWB grow, share and celebrate it’s maritime heritage, and show the city and all it’s new transplants how we are not outdated and we won’t be forgotten. I want us to grow with the city and there are so many opportunities for anyone to be involved with the organization even without any boat knowledge! And with the new building we just opened, the Wagner Education Center (as a volunteer I’ve help install insulation in these walls!), we are in a prime place to really show people who we are and what we can do.

Plus, now I get all the boatshop time I want! It is the perfect place for me to begin a new chapter of my life and I couldn’t ask for anything more.

I am most excited about the staff. These people who I am in such awe with, I get to be with on a daily basis!

The told me I could have a dog in my lap AND work on boats at the same time. It was an obvious YES.

Next Stop: Tibet

I’m not really sure how to even begin to describe the last few weeks, but it is a reminder that life is happening RIGHT NOW.

For the first time since I moved to Italy with no return date or plans, I am presented with another beautiful opportunity to travel for the sake of traveling. No agenda. Just go experience the world. When I realized I had the opportunity to travel for two months, the most obvious question was actually the hardest to answer: Where should I go?  Which was easily remedied by replacing it with: Where do I want to go?

Originally I was waiting to know when Kevin and Jamie would be in Nepal to meet them over there, but their decision came a little too last minute for me to justify the expensive last minute flights + I was at the beginning of feeling out the CWB position, and knew I needed to stick around to see how that played out (good thing I did!). Now the timeline looked like if I was meeting them at all it would be in January, where they were hoping to be in Sri Lanka.

A few possibilities came up for traveling last minute in December/January. New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Peru, etc. But when Nathan told me he was moving to China, I immediately thought of Tibet.

Some of you might remember when I was teaching english to Tibetan refugees while I was in the Himalayas in India back in 2013. Those few weeks were so special to me and Tibet quickly rose to my number one destination after that experience. Mostly because I wanted to see and experience the culture that raised the amazing people I met before it disappears. All I knew about going to Tibet was the only way to enter it was through China, and personally China was never high on my destination list. So when Nathan told me he was moving to China in January, I saw it as an opportunity to finally go to Tibet AND spend a little time celebrating chinese new year in China with Nathan.

I knew I would possibly be sacrificing meeting up with Kevin and Jamie, we’d be so close yet so far, but as soon as I did a little more research and saw all the beautiful photos of the landscape (MOUNT EVEREST HERE I COME), I knew that Tibet was going to be it. My heart was set on it. Jamie and Kevin of course understood, and I’ve left a window of time during my trip where it may be possible for me to visit them in Sri Lanka, but we’ll see if the timing is right!

The feelings surrounding my travel are mixed. When I was traveling on my own for over a year, having to navigate roads and maps didn’t phase me at all. Somehow this time around I have a little bit more anxiety about things..but perhaps I’m mostly worried about China because of of the strict control the Chinese government has on everything, I actually have to plan ahead for this trip. Getting to Tibet is not easy, but I know it will be worth it.

So now the plan is to see my family in LA and spend Christmas with my mom there, new years with Marcela in New York, I’m back for a couple days in January and head straight out to China for five weeks. I’m taking on learning to meditate, as I think the spiritual nature of traveling and being in Tibet will help deepen the practice.

By the time you are reading this (if you actually made it through this word vomit of a post), I will already be on the smaller trips I have planned to spend time with Brandon, Nathan, and the girls before I really take off. I am extremely grateful to the wonderful community of friends who have opened their homes up to me while I’m living out of a garage! THANK YOU Heidi, Miles, and Josh!

2019

2019 is going to be an amazing year for me. I know it. I’ve worked hard over these last two years exploring the sides of myself I preferred to ignore or refused to acknowledge. I spent a lot of time working through personal struggles, allowing myself to be vulnerable, seeing my resistance and moving through it, and sharing a whole lot of love among my friends and myself. For the first time, I truly feel whole and complete. Everything from here on out is a bonus.

My next dreams include:

  • Learning how to sail my new El Toro (thanks Brandy!) and racing one duck dodge by myself!
  • The Enchantments taught me I can do anything so I plan on joining a mountaineering course!
  • Graduating from my beginning basic aerial classes so I can get into lyra (aerial hoops)!

I actually have quite a bit more, but can’t quite remember them. My goal journal is somewhere stashed away in a garage and I haven’t had a chance to look for it since I started writing this. Will check next week. 🙂

Until then, I hope you have a wonderful end of year and thank you so much for everything you are in my life. My life is so beautiful because of people like you and all I get to experience and learn from you.

Thank you thank you thank you.

 

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6 Responses

  1. Beautiful, Sandy! You’ve had such an awesome year, and I’m so proud of you for pursuing your passions and focusing on yourself! I can’t wait to see you later today, and I also can’t wait for our time in China!!! Love you!

    • Sandy says:

      Thanks Nathan! I am so lucky to have a great friend like you to share so many adventures with. We’ve gotten kind of used to having you around this year, but I know China will be amazing for you. 🙂

  2. Brigitte says:

    Sandy. So happy for you and your life journeys . Way to embrace life and live each moment. So many exciting things are yet to come. Can’t wait to read about the adventures to come. Safe travels. Brigitte

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