Recent Posts by kirsten

Two months to go on “42 before 43”

By Thursday, February 23, 2017 0 , Permalink

Playing Catan, credit Kirsten Akens February 2017.

As I mentioned in my last “42 before 43” update, the first six months of this project were unexpectedly chaotic. First, my husband and I moved. Then we prepped our former home for rental.

Then we adopted a second dog.

A breather never came.

I got promoted from writer/researcher on the documentary I’ve been working on to executive producer. [It’s been good, but I could definitely insert a huge bug-eyed emoji here.]

And then the election happened. Amid trying to focus in and act on my personal social justice priorities, and trying to not be taken over by the constant stream of quick-bite news and social media, I upped my reading even more than usual.

More recently, though, our first pup Lucy got sick, and it’s been a long haul to figure out what’s been going on and how to best care for her.

What I’ve chosen in my downtime over the past months was not to go chasing after dreams and desires, but to rest. To sit. To snuggle my pups. To binge-watch new TV series. To settle into 20-minute restorative yoga poses.

So, as you read on, you’ll find I’ve checked off just a few more items since my last report. (Honestly, some of the easier, don’t have to go anywhere for them, ones.)

From my perspective, it’s all good. This list is just something to keep returning to, and keep revising. And to remind myself of all the cool things I have accomplished. In two months, it’ll all turn over again.

Anywho, per usual, I’ve added italicized notes where I’ve begun or completed an item. And for ease, turned an item green if I have already completed it.

What have you been up to lately when it comes to your bucket list? Let me know what you’ve accomplished and what you’re dreaming of in the comments.

• 42 Before 43 • 

  1. Visit Greece — This is where I was for a couple weeks in May, teaching yoga on a Star Clippers sailing ship and falling in love with all the cats. That was a big and longtime travel bucket-list item checked off!
  2. Watch every episode of MASH — A rollover from last year. My hubby and I are watching together. We got side-tracked with the move, but we’re back into it.
  3. Read at least 90 books — Last year I hit 81 so I’ve upped it again. To date, I’ve read 69 books, with five in progress. It’s gonna be a race to the end but I’m still confidant. My favorites of the year so far? This. This. And this.
  4. Refine Project 333 to my own version of a minimalist closet project — I’m shifting my process, based on what I’ve learned doing Project 333 for a couple years now. I did start a new revised cycle on October 1, and I’ve been aching to set up something new again for March. I also participated in the Un-Fancy 10×10 Challenge, constructing 10 different outfits out of just 10 items, and wearing them over a period of 10 days. It was pretty eye-opening. Learn more about that challenge here.
  5. Get will and living will in order — Found a lawyer. Taking the next steps.
  6. Attend a Switchbacks soccer match — Done. Super fun. 
  7. Attend the Santa Fe Opera — Not gonna happen this year.
  8. Do a Georgia O’Keeffe tour around New Mexico (Ghost Ranch, Abiquiu, etc.)
  9. Hike to Hanging Lake, as part of a larger summer/fall hiking goal (see No. 10) — Not gonna happen.
  10. Stay at the Beaumont Hotel in Ouray … and hike Blue Lakes while there — We could still make it to the Beaumont, but Blue Lakes is going to have to wait for another year.
  11. Attend Judith Lasater’s Advanced Restorative Yoga teacher training — Not gonna happen as she only teaches this level two course once a year. Hoping to get into the August 2017 session. I am, however, currently taking her 21-Day Savasana Intensive
  12. Be involved with a stage show (maybe a play, maybe a fashion show) in some way — Done! Modeled for GOCA’s annual art fundraiser Brilliant. It was super fun, aside from the fake eyelash removal, which was kinda painful. #firstfalsiesat42
  13. Choreograph a country line dance (and see if Barb will teach it at Cowboys) — Talked with Barb, my instructor, about this. She’s all in for reviewing my choreography when it’s ready. I’ve picked a song and am working on the choreography.
  14. Attend a Soul Mechanics session at Ormao
  15. Take a birding and/or bird banding class
  16. Take French language lessons
  17. Try surfing
  18. Nurture a green thumb into existence (re: learn how to properly care for my indoor plants)I’ve done some reading, and so far my plants are not just living but actually thriving.
  19. Learn to make pizza, Roman Villa-style
  20. Learn to bake (not-just-quick) bread
  21. Learn to make my own maraschino cherries (and a fancy cocktail to go with them)I did this in December. And they were BRILLIANT in fancy Old Fashioneds. And the, ahem, cherry on top of it all? My chocolatier friend Stephanie and I took some of the berries and made chocolate-covered cherries for Valentine’s Day. Heaven.
  22. Renew my #newrecipeaweek commitment — Plugging along on this.
  23. Perform at a poetry slam/open mic
  24. Learn to play an entire song on my ukelele
  25. Remember to use reusable bags when grocery shopping — Doing really well with this!
  26. Plan my next trip to France (perhaps running a retreat at Little French Retreat) — Been chatting (again) with my French friend Tamsin about this. I think it’s going to be further out for me but someday!
  27. See the sandhill crane migration in March/April 2017
  28. Go storm chasing
  29. Go on a train trip
  30. Visit a new-to-me national park
  31. Visit Best Friends Animal Society’s sanctuary in Utah — I did attend the Best Friends Annual Conference on behalf of A Voice for Lil Olive last year, and that was pretty cool. And I’ve found a friend to make the trek to Utah with me. It may not happen before April, but next summer for sure.
  32. Snail mail cards to six friends for no reason — Three sent. 
  33. Share a bottle of bubbly with a friend once a month — Um. Not doing so well. Ah well.
  34. Play Catan with friends — Done! Oh my gosh, way fun. And the couple who joined us is up for a monthly Catan evening.
  35. Try out a new hair color (or highlights, or a streak) — Added red highlights. (Honestly, not a super fan. But that’s part of doing new stuff!)
  36. Have a new pair of jeans tailored to fit
  37. Find a new go-to layerable dress that accentuates my fabulousness  — Also done! 
  38. Wear “grown-up” clothes to bed — Haven’t done this every night, but I’ve done a major clean-out of what I’ve often worn as pajamas, and am spending more time thinking about wearing something comfortable and cozy, not just pulling whatever I happen to find in the drawer.
  39. Plan for a fun photo shoot
  40. Launch a new website — I’ve been working on a new layout in Squarespace. If I could have this launched before my birthday, I’d be a happy girl.
  41. Interview at least one of my bucket-list celebrities — Admittedly, I haven’t interviewed from my bucket list. However, I’ve interviewed some amazing people this year. One story is yet to come out, but you can read my interview with Mary Roach here, and my interview with Shaka Senghor here.
  42. Place freelance writing with at least five new publications (a mix of print and online) — I’ve pitched a slew of new places. Nothing confirmed yet.

(You can read all about my lists, and the former ones, here. And how I did on last year’s list here. Bottom line, I love to try new things, and formalizing the process has helped me do more of them than ever.)

Sunday sadhana

By Sunday, February 19, 2017 0 , , Permalink

Today I Choose Joy, credit Kirsten Akens Feb 2017

To me, sadhana is a daily spiritual practice allowing time and space for an individual to turn inward.

As Yogi Bhajan (of the Kundalini yoga tradition) says, “Sadhana is self-enrichment. It is not something which is done to please somebody or to gain something. Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.”

Sadhana could be taking a walk in nature, doing breath work or yoga asanas on a mat, spending time meditating or chanting, reading and reflecting on a poem, journaling or simply watching the sun rise.

Please accept this post as a possible starting point for your own practice today.

Our ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death but a good life to the very end.

— Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

More books, more reading

By Friday, February 17, 2017 4 Permalink

Books credit Kirsten Akens February 2017

I’ve not done a ton of book coverage on this here blog, but I don’t really know why (I think about it often).

Reading is the most pleasurable and time-consuming hobby I have and, unless I’m talking about my pups, you’re most likely to find me discussing books with friends and acquaintances (and even strangers!), and recommending titles.

I believe that the act of reading can deeply impact us. Whether reading for entertainment, escape, or education, it opens us to new worlds, and to perspectives different from our own.

It allows us as readers to challenge our biases and foster empathy — even when we’re not expecting it.

I just finished audio-reading JoJo Moyes’ Me Before You, and I will tell you — without any details so I don’t spoil it — I had expected an escapist novel. It was so much more. (A really beautiful book, by the way. I highly recommend it.)

All this to say, I’m going to change the lack of books here. I want to share more of my reading world. Watch for more regular posts on recent reads, oldies but goodies, awesome audios, library love, and book news — I might even toss in an author interview every now and again.

Join me? (And let me know what you’re reading down below in the comments!)

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