Laguna Beach 19th June 2013

cali blush

Hi everyone, I have had a ridiculously relaxing day, late breakfast on the patio, coffee over-looking the ocean, and an afternoon reading on the beach as I worked on my tan (SPF 30 & 50 on the face), before a little jaunt to the super-maket, which is just such a pleasure! I drove South down PCH, the ocean on my right, palm trees above, the windows down, hair dancing wildly to Simple Minds on the radio (oh I do wish I’d been here in the 80’s!) and a dirty great big grin plastered right across my happy face. One of those moments where joy just grabs your heart and gives it a little squeeze as if to say “Oh boy! How did it get this good?!” and gratitude flows through the arteries delivering smiles to every cell in the body.

It has to be said I like driving, and here in Cali it’s much easier than London; wide roads, automatic gears, straight roads for miles, and everyone seems so courteous. I still have to smile at every stop sign over the “after you dear”,
“oh no, really you go first I’m fine”, “no really, It’s a beautiful day, it’s your turn”, “oh well if you insist, that’s so very kind”, “de nada, have a wonderful day,” that seems to be conveyed through facial expressions, smiley eyes, and hand gestures; which are nothing like the hand gestures you would experience in London, trust me! As for waiting for pedestrians to saunter across 6 lanes nonchalantly, or giving them right of way, like anywhere it seems, well seriously, it takes some adjustment! Also when someone isn’t paying attention at the lights, presumably texting or mesmerized by the ocean views; nobody beeps (honks), they all just sit there tapping their thumbs patiently, till the lights change again . In London the cacophony of several horns would delightfully serve to obscure the verbal abuse of choice names to describe the driver!

The fact that this all amuses me, and that I have dropped the usual high revs in low gears as I switch lanes to snake up the Finchley Road mode, adopting the laid back driving position, (left hand stroking the wind as I swoop down Crown Valley Parkway), brings me to the realisation that there has been a remarkable internal transition in the last few weeks, although I do admit I’m still a little heavy on the speed limits! I feel so much calmer, nothing feels urgent, granted I’m not working, but it’s always such a pleasure that I’m never in a hurry to finish my journey; guess that’s how life should be! Still, I do admit I still fiddle with the dial of the radio, not quite content yet to listen to the ‘spa music’ station dear EF cruises round to; I still like to sing along and even have a little boogie to anything from the 80’s channel, rock, breakbeat, RnB, and some old skool hip hop if I can find it.

Despite the cultural differences, driving has always been a pleasure for me, something about being behind the wheel in charge of one’s own destiny; that scene in the film of your life when you’re the heroine in the story, whatever chapter you happen to be stuck in. As I drove back home this evening, heading north on PCH with the smell of beach bonfires wafting across the carriageway, Tom Petty free falling on the radio, and the sun slowly slipped gracefully into the sea; the sky blushed pink, as I sighed a little grateful realisation, that this chapter is definitely a happy one for me!

I hope that wherever in the world you are, at whatever point in your life, whatever chapter you happen to find yourself in; that there is something that warms your heart, and when the sun sets, that you feel blessed too. Much love ❤ Hxx

Laguna Beach 18th June 2013

Laguna me 1

Hello everyone!! I’m sitting in my Laguna kitchen, watching the breeze dance with the shadows of the leaves on my patio, as the fragrant flowers blush in the afternoon sun. I am relaxed, content, happy, extremely grateful that I’m here, and privileged that this SoCal paradise is my home for the summer. It doesn’t seem possible that two weeks since my arrival have flown by already, yet at the same time it feels as if my London life is a distant memory, as it appears I have stepped back into the rhythms of life here almost seamlessly. I have shed a ton of worry and responsibility along with the jet-lag, and life feels lighter, brighter, and bursting with hopeful possibility.

I have enjoyed catching up with friends here, and re-acquainting myself with the laid back vibe this beach town absolutely hums with; and I have enjoyed meeting ‘me’ again. That’s the me that walks on the beach with a heart full of gratitude, that feels the resistance slip away in downward dog, that breathes in deeply the air perfumed with jasmine and gardenia, and sips my soy latte slowly savouring my environment. It’s the me that doesn’t have a head full of lists to tick off, emails to answer, people to contact, and chores to address; rather it’s the me that has room for acute observation, happy amusement and spontaneous decisions that make my heart happy and my soul sing. Life is easier here for lots of reasons, but most importantly of all, I feel as if I am perfectly positioned in this place, time, and sentiment, for whatever is meant to be, and it’s a wonderful feeling!

The past two weeks have been spent being gentle with myself, letting go of the ‘shoulds & coulds’ and accepting the way it is as I live in the moment. I have focused on sleeping well, eating well, and exercising gently; I have indulged in massage and manicure, reading, and making my home a sanctuary. I have purchased several scented candles (plus room sprays and diffusers), soft feather cushions, sumptuous body oils and creams, potted plants and bunches of peonies. I have joined a yoga studio, explored new beaches, reloaded my kindle, hiked in the canyon, discovered nutritious & delicious eateries, and watched the waves (and the surfers) each morning with coffee. I think it’s safe to say, I’ve settled in nicely!

There have also been some beautiful gifts here, it seems just waiting for me to come and claim them. My first day I met a British hairdresser, (as a curly girl stocking up on ‘Be Curly’ (Aveda) is a priority to tame the tresses), and we got talking (as you do!). He asked what I would be doing here in Laguna, and when I mentioned writing he immediately suggested I met his client that publishes books on health and nutrition. As it turns out, the publisher (relocated from New Jersey) has an impressive listing and I feel extremely privileged for the introduction. Then there’s the talent manager I briefly met last summer that I had coffee with this morning (SHE called ME!) and the exciting and energizing discussion we had about building the Pure Nourishment Brand. Suddenly I am aware that I have shed any prior tiredness and fatigue, and have caught the optimistic enthusiasm that infuses my SoCal experience, life is full of potential, I am surrounded by beauty, and I am bursting with gratitude for this opportunity : ))

Funny, I was going to give myself the whole of June as pure vacation, but suddenly I am itching to write that book proposal! Maybe I need another walk on the beach to consider the structure? ; )) I DO hope that you find time this summer to get reacquainted with the ‘you’ that you enjoy best too, the one that makes time to appreciate your needs, is gentle and kind with yourself, and finds serendipities waiting Blessings & love, Hxx

{Photo sadly uncredited, via Pinterest; words Hayley Darby ©2013}