Earlier this year, I was admiring an octopus in the Maldives, dancing in the Himalayas, nibbling on a luscious date in Qatar, balancing my feet on a catamaran in Mexico, and packing to go to Paris to celebrate the wedding of a magical couple and to Portugal to speak with lawyers and real estate agents… all before March. Wowza. Even typing this makes me dizzy.
The lesson I learned this year? SLOW DOWN, LADY.
Although I happened to make quite a good tennis partner to Working a Desk Job, matching his pace and need for efficiency with every assignment, I was doing this out of a false sense of obligation. As a kiddo, one of my favourite things to do was to zone out, gazing at the carpet and getting lost in its galaxy for hours. My name in Japanese, 悠, means “quiet, calm, leisurely,” and the character at the bottom, 心, means “heart.” It may be time to get back to those foundations, where the soil is rich, and sprout the magic from there.
And yes… it is the slowness that I love about Portugal. Sitting outside, under a kind, leafy tree, drinking a small cup of coffee, munching on a snack… the clinking of plates in the distance, a page of a newspaper turning at the table nearby, a cat poking its head out of an apartment window, an elderly couple taking a walk as the breeze rustles the old lady’s scarf. In the countryside, the breeze carries the salt from the ocean and dances with the sweet bougainvillea. A small village fair spills out from the mountains, where artisans sell painted pots, fish sizzle on frying pans, and kids run around like little flowers.
And it is the sense of community in Portugal that inspires me, taps me on the shoulder and whispers, “hey, hey, this is a place you may want to call home.” When my husband and I visited Lisbon in 2017, the city was in full festa (festival) mode to celebrate their popular saints. The alleyways burst with beer, grilled fish, dancing, and my favourite… fish hats! An uncle bounces a baby in one arm and carries a big stick of sausage in the other, swaying side to side to the music. Young Lisboans working the Communist Party stand flip delicious bifanas (pork sandwiches) on the grill and hand out beers. And not only is this fun, it is beautiful. The streets wave their colourful streamers, big paper fish, and posters of illustrated saints as if they were grand, triumphant ships.
Living life. I think they do this well in Portugal. And although my journey there may be “slow” compared to the pace of Working a Desk Job, I am excited about the process, as I peel away the layers and find my authentic self. When I buy my one-way ticket to Portugal, I hope to board the plane not as an overworked art director but as a lively spirit.
May 2021 get us closer to our soul purpose.
✨December soul spark✨
I wanted to share that I’ve been interviewed on the In Between podcast! I sat down with creative entrepreneur, coach, and storyteller Heather Ashley Baker, who helped me launch Snoring Snail. We talk about taking the time to pause and trust your beautiful Self. You can listen to the pod here.