What I Know For Sure

1. My favorite six words: “How are you? Are you OK?”
2. Ninety-nine percent of people and businesses never follow through, leaving behind a trail of thoughtlessness, emptiness, and broken promises.
3. Patience has never been my strong suit, until now.
4. A loving demeanor and a heart of gratitude open doors.
5. Kindness and politeness still matter.
6. We sure could use more empathy in our troubled world.
7. No means there is something better waiting.
8. Love yourself and never settle.
9. Let go of what you cannot control and trust that the Universe will take care of you.
10. I know what and whom I can live without.
11. I know who my real friends are.
12. Nothing is forever.
13. Change is guaranteed.
14. Social media is cool, but real life is where the magic happens. A like is never a substitute for substance. Get offline and live.
15. Call or visit. No text, message, or email compares to a voice, a smile, a hug.
16. Working out is an awesome stress reliever, much better than booze and food.
17. I cannot wait until it is warm again. I am cold all of the time.
18. The only person I can count on is myself.
19. I am tougher, more confident, more resilient, and more assertive than I have ever been. Don’t f— with me.
20. I am independent, intelligent, fierce, persistent, and strong. I am Elizabeth Smith, here me roar.
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Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Autumn in the vineyard

Autumn in the vineyard

If I could describe this year in one word, it would be crazy. Who in the hell packs up and leaves the life they know, their comfort zone, their family, their friends, their people, the South, the reality they have known all of their life, and moves across the country to start a new career? I’ll tell you who. This crazy girl.

It’s been a roller coaster of a year. The first phase was bliss: I can’t believe I live and work here. Every season is gorgeous, well, except the pouring rain right now. I pass famous vineyard after vineyard every morning on Silverado Trail and in the beginning I was thinking, “Holy shit, I LIVE here!” There’s wine everywhere. People drink and give wine away like it’s water. I have about 90 bottles right now and started out with 24 when I moved and I am drinking wine multiple days per week.

The second phase is reality. Napa is expensive. My apartment is a third of the size and over triple the rent of my apartment in Virginia. Fresh food is abundant, but costly. Gas is higher than in much of the country. My old car had two major, unexpected repairs. Health insurance finally kicked in and I realized I need a dentist, doctor, and medications. I also needed a veterinarian for my cat. Reality exists in Napa Valley. I finally went to a chiropractor after having been in pain since December 2013 and realized that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. Because of my chiropractic care, my overall physical and mental health have improved. I no longer have the pain I had. I’ve cut out most of the daily medications I was taking for allergies and other things. I now take one allergy medication and a couple baby aspirin per day (confession: I’m terrified of having strokes like my mom and uncles had, even though I’ve never smoked like they did). I also discovered along the way that I’m not really like about 80% of everyone else. That was a big reality check. There’s also the reality that every job has its good and not-so-good days, even at a gorgeous winery in Napa Valley.

The third phase I’m going to call the holidays alone. It’s the time of year when my dad passed away. My mom is in a nursing home in North Carolina. I’m in a place far away from my people. Strangely enough, in a place that is often festive with an abundance of wine, food, and events galore, it’s been hard to connect with people here. I knew a ton of people here via social media, then I arrived, but my social life is meh. There’s also the “I have no one to spend the holidays with” syndrome, which has been going on since 2012. This is my third year trying to arrange things so as to not be alone. In fact, this past month, my coping mechanism has been crazy-ass travel: Philadelphia, Seattle twice, and Asheville. I needed to get away and be with my people.

Although most days I feel like I am where I want to be, there are some days I really struggle. I miss people from the East Coast, I battle loneliness, and I have sleep issues from the stress of such a big life change. Sometimes it feels like me against the world. I owe an apology to those I’ve maybe leaned on a little too much this year, but I am thankful to have you, too.

Today was one of those challenging days. Both the rains and my tears flowed most of the day. However, at the end of the day, I discovered an unexpected blessing. A much-needed blessing. It was in that moment I truly felt like the Universe may not have forgotten me after all and I was filled with a bit of hope. After the rain and tears stop, there’s something beautiful to behold. Someone at work told me that when things get crazy tough, just go running through vineyard to clear my mind. I think she’s right. Running through the vineyard sounds like a much better idea than tears.

I’m ready to get back to the bliss phase in 2015. And admittedly, it’s still there inside of me when I allow it. I still say to myself, “Holy shit, I LIVE here!”

Love,
Beth

The beauty of trust in the universe

Sonoma Coast Sunset

Sonoma Coast Sunset

I am amazed every day how the universe has my back. I often get myself worked up about something before it happens, trying to brace myself for impact, just to find out I’m being taken care of by a wondrous universe.

Case in point. Today I expected to find myself in a very stressful, precarious, and compromising situation. I was prepared to stand my ground and defend my ethics and integrity. I had a cheerleader who told me,

Beth, you are awesome for not compromising your integrity. I will pray for you, trust that things will go according to what was meant to be. I know you will be OK. You’ve faced way worse than this. Deep breaths, it will be OK.

However, I am a student learning to let go and trust, so I was still skeptical. Finally, towards the end of the day, the situation did not manifest itself. Instead, I was presented with an alternate scenario that I believe was to reassure me that all is not as it seems. There is still goodness and kindness in the world after all.

I had my bi-weekly appointment with my chiropractor tonight. I knew that my body was relapsing a bit due to stress, so I had bookmarked some yoga videos on YouTube thinking them might benefit me. When I arrived, my chiropractor showed me my recovery path by drawing my progress on a whiteboard from icky to perfect. I was right, I was still having ups and downs instead of a straight line to relief. She performed my adjustment and noticed my discomfort after, during my resting period. She recommended yoga twice per week. I mean, could we be much more in tune with each other? She also hugged me and I could see tears in her eyes that mirrored those in mine. I felt comforted in knowing that she got me without having to explain. I am blessed with a new life, yet still struggling with personal demons that manifest themselves physically.

I believe that if we would surrender more, worry less, and just let life happen, we would realize how we are enveloped by the love of a great universe who wants us to succeed and grow. The world is not out to get us, it’s here to teach us how to live the life we desire. It’s in our corner if we are open to believing it is so.

With love,
Beth