To Big Sur with love

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wildflowers, Canon Digital Rebel

We just got back from Big Sur. The beauty there is so big and so wild and grand, it’s hard to hold. I kept closing my eyes and then opening them again, trying to really take it in. The wildflowers were in bloom, the sun was shining and the air was so clean and fragrant. Coming from the city, it was a euphoric transition.

I have a game called Intuitive Solutions (a game that I highly recommend buying) and as a part of my daily meditation, I’ve been drawing cards from it. Before I left town I got a card about pleasure which really resonated for me. How is it that we forget about pleasure? (SARK actually wrote a a wonderful book on pleasure called Eat Mangoes Naked because so many of us forget about it.)

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The weekend was all about the pleasure of nature, of hiking until you are sweaty and out of breath, hiking until you are up so high on the mountain that when you look back at the view, it seems you can see every ocean. The pleasure of the soft colors of sunset, the purple of the sand, and the fierceness of the waves. The joy of friendship and the simplicity of storytelling, sipping scotch and playing Boggle into the wee hours of the night. The joy of sitting in a cabin with no phone or radio, no tv or clocks and being woken up by the gobble of wild turkeys just outside.

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The pleasure of seeing your partner with fresh eyes, {vacation eyes} and remembering why you love them so much.

The exquisite pleasure of an orange, shared between four in the car, after several hours of hiking in the sun. The pleasure of a tired body after a day of play, of sore thighs and a tinge of sunburn.

On our hike, Deb showed me a patch of grasses that were all dusty and grey sitting in the middle of the trail. She said that the rodents clean out their home each year and put all of the things they’ve collected outside again. I forgot that the impulse for spring cleaning is an instinct shared by all animals and decided to take the rodent’s lead.

The first thing I did when we got home was go straight up to my room and empty the contents of my dresser. I ended up filling five bags full of clothing I hadn’t worn in a year or more and now have drawers that actually close effortlessly. I stepped into the bathroom and found Matt with the clippers in hand, shaving his head and letting go of 8 inches or more of locks that he had been collecting for the last couple of years.

I think we both feel lighter, like we let go of something symbolically, like there is more space for new pleasures and joys to come in.

What can you let go of this spring?

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Hi, I’m Andrea

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29 Comments

  1. Lu

    Paper, clutter, unused objects that I do not really care deeply for.

  2. Heather

    Spring cleaning is definitely good for the soul. I never realized it was an animal instinct though! Thanks for such an inspirational post.

  3. jenn

    andrea,
    oh how i love this post so….
    a few weeks ago i was reading an entry on keri smith’s website about the possibility of her moving and what is really needed for survival. keri was saying she’s realized it’s not much. this completly hit home.
    as you know i recently moved across country. this decision was really hard for me. after i made the decision i made this unconscious choice to move everything i owned across country with me.
    what i’ve come to realize is what i was thinking is that if i had all my “stuff” with me this new house, this forign place would still really feel like home.
    the house i bought before we moved here was new, large and one floor. we had so much room for everything. the house i own here was built in 1955. it’s only 300 sf smaller than my home in AZ but it’s multi-leveled. the rooms are a lot smaller.
    i moved here and put as much of my belongings into the new spaces. then we filled up our garage with everything else that didn’t fit. as the weeks go by and i unpack, i relize i don’t need most of what i thought i couldn’t live without. i’m realizing that most of it actually feels like a wall that is in my way to new self discoveries and not comforting like i thought it would be. i’ve realized that i won’t ever feel like i did in arizona and that is okay. i can treasure that feeling and those experiences but if i hold onto them too tight i’m not leaving myself open to experiencing new things.
    so now i go through boxes and decide what we can’t be without and put the rest in the garage to give away when i am finished. it feels good to let go of things and to move forward. moving has become a giant spring cleaning for me physically and emotionally. if i was just now getting ready to move i would do it so differently. i would sell almost eveything and start from scratch. see what i really need, and go from there. but, i can’t regret the way i went about all of this, it’s teaching me so much.
    jenn

  4. Kateri

    Let’s all be like the spring-cleaning rodents! I shredded 15 years of old checks, bills, statements, and expired documents yesterday. It felt great, and I have free drawers now!

  5. amy

    “you must be willing to let go of the life you have planned –
    to be ready for the life that is waiting for you…”
    (a paraphrased quote and an author I can’t remember – whoops!)

  6. Beastmomma

    Stress from taking a standardized tests. Always having the feeling that I am not doing enough hanging over my head.

  7. Kate

    Whoa, what a post! That last bit about you packing up clothes and Matt shaving his hair…whoa.
    I decided THIS on my drive back from Houston to Austin last night (from a chaotic and emotional graduation weekend): I am letting go of my fear. My boyfriend and I are moving to NYC. We are going to make this a reality. Because, you know what, there is never more time more money more security…you get what you get and you gotta do something with it. My dad said if I moved, I a) wasn’t being very independent and b) would be stuck in the same entry level job I am in now. My mom said we shouldn’t go unless my boyfriend gets fat cash from Hunter College. And my sister looked worried and said how expensive NYC was (she is 18 and you know, doesn’t know beyond what she’s seen on TV). I was, at first, disheartened. But I realize that these are things you say when you want someone to stay. So I am going. Because I need to become my own person far away from the comfortable and the known. This is, I guess, tuning in and well, dropping…into the middle of it all. I just don’t feel like that in Austin (tho it is a wonderful city). So it’s time to go.

  8. joy madison

    glad to hear your mini vacation was a sucess! Here’s to some Spring Cleaning on all of our ends!

  9. Penelope

    your vacation sounds loverly.
    i am planning on lightening up as well. been thinking about it a lot lately. i am going to go through my whole house, room by room and let go of everything i have not touched in a year. feels so good to do that.

  10. Hazel

    Ah Boggle… one of my favourite games 🙂
    This spring I will be letting go of exam stress and remembering to value my very beautiful boyfriend for all that he does.

  11. Jessica

    i’ve let go of my need to have an “important” job. a “big-girl” job. i think i’ve shedded those last vestiges of needing to feel successful, and have finally given to to needing to feel happy. i will find that job that doesn’t feel like work, and then (and only then) will i be successful.

  12. Lauren

    Oh Big Sur is one of those magical places to me. I love it there. Actually the whole coast of California is pure magic to me. We have taken numerous road trips going all the way up the PCH. It is a very renewing experience. How funny you mention letting go of stuff. Just this past Sunday in church the pastor talked about how sickening it is that we have so much stuff that we don’t even USE and there are people in the world who have NOTHING. His “sermon,” if you will and this post- has really motivated me to get off my tush and clean out the kids overflowing closets and drawers as well as my own. Thank you Andrea- you are always such an inspiration!!

  13. Marilyn

    Hon, I done let go of almost ALL my stuff 3,500 miles ago… 🙂 But I did think of you guys yesterday morning…when we were standing/sitting/weeping in Glide. (Okay, it was just me doing the weeping.) 🙂 It was SO great to be back! (I posted about it.)
    Big Sur…stunning, gorgeous, one-of-a-kind place…sounds like you had a fantastic getaway.
    Now, how ’bout some photos of the newly shorn Matt?!?

  14. Tracy

    Oh, this post is just lovely! You took me along, while I read your blog. Powerful gift you have…Thanks so much for your perspective and words. They make me smile.

  15. jen

    Just wanted to drop a note to tell you how beautiful your post is…I love Big Sur. I hardly ever get down there and I live SO close(Monterey). Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it is, I think I may have to take a small day trip this weekend:)

  16. Ali

    I love that you let that stuff go Andrea – it is powerful and really does lighten you up :). I want to let go of some mental things I have been hanging onto…let them out into the universe for they are not serving me at all…and I would be much better off without them.

  17. Eva

    Worry about the future .. that is exactly what has to go, it keeps me down, doesn?t allow me to enjoy present. Don?t want to waste any more minutes .. well .. go all my worries go .. go .. 🙂 … thanks Andrea! I needed a kick like this 🙂

  18. Emily

    My boyfriend and I are are currently having to decide what to pack into a couple of suitcases to make the move from London, UK to New Zealand. Deciding what we actually need. Thank you for your post – it helps remind me about why we’re moving, and the nature we too will enjoy once there.
    Have a good day :~)

  19. Anu

    this weekend, I stripped down to my underwear and tried on a bunch of stuff that has been languishing in my closet. I filled a big bag to donate. I feel phase two coming this weekend. I’m ready to dig deeper and get rid of more stuff.
    At my blog today I wrote about how hard it was for me to buy some new furniture because of past terrible experiences. Full of apprehension, I called my best friend and she said “Get OVER it and move on!!!”. So I’m letting go of bad experiences and moving forward.

  20. Julie

    I have been using my Intuitive Solutions set for YEARS! Glad to hear that you use and love it too. The “setback” cards I draw are always on the money for issues I need to work on.

  21. Milly

    Oh, I really need to let go of a lot of “stuff” that weighs me down. I’ve been slowly purging, since I’m moving in one week. Hard to let go, but it feels good to be free of stuff I don’t really need.

  22. Steph

    Your posts are always so lovely! Thank you for creating a place of and for positive reflection – your website is a rare one.

  23. Pamela

    So much to comment on in this post … the therapeutic qualities of Big Sur, one of those convergence points where beauty crashes up against itself, until you almost can’t breathe.
    I checked out the Weepies website and had a listen, I’m a new fan! I miss my love of, and awareness of, what is happening in music. I need to let go of fear of the unknown, my need to know what comes next. Spring cleaning-for me this year it’s emerging from the cave, re-engaging with the challenges, as well as the gifts, of life. Letting go of fear of failure, relaxing into the vicissitudes.

  24. mademoiselle a.

    That’s a nice coincidence. I finally ridded myself of all the letters and souvenirs my first boyfriend sent me back in early 90s. A big, big relief.

  25. jolene

    letting go of: laziness
    time does not stand still for excuses.

  26. jessica

    oh yes! i’m in the process of de-cluttering, too. it helps that the school year is done & i’ll be home again for a few months. time to get comfy again. 🙂 it’s funny, i just wrote on this topic in my blog, too.

  27. Leonie

    Your photos of Big Sur are incredible.. thank you for sharing the moments 🙂

  28. Tina

    What a fantastic thought ago letting go. Along with your beautiful photos and imagery. Today I am letting go of the worry. Relinquish thoughts of what I cannot control. Thanks so, for the encouragement. 🙂

  29. Jen in Ohio

    Oh! So much to comment on!
    First, your gorgeous Big Sur photos have me eagerly planning my drive up and down the PCH, when I get to coast next Tuesday! Eeee! So excited to be getting back to the state that I love SO MUCH. And, of course, Big Sur and the Henry Miller library, and delicious Nepenthe. Can’t wait!
    Second, it is indeed the season for letting go! This spring I find myself falling in love and trying to let go of my pre-conceived notions of how love has worked in my past relationships. Attempting to let go of the baggage that, for so long, has kept me tied down to the bad experiences from my past. For the first time, in a long time, I find myself genuinely allowing my walls to fall and let another person in. To see my at my most vulnerable. I’m trying to let go of putting myself down and accept that someone sees me as beautiful and smart and funny. And yeah, it’s going to be a renewing spring and a beautiful summer.
    Third, Andrea, do you welcome guests at the Superhero workshop? I would love to visit and see where “the magic happens” as it were.

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