5 Ways to Actually BE In Your Life

Independence Day, by Julia Alter

 For this moment, I am just going to BE in this moment: sea lion speaking its staccato drum, a starry flag waving its undulating stripes at the harbor mouth, the small fleck that is my boogie-boarding daughter on the ruffled edge of the latest crashed wave, the man I married composing photos of daughter and sea, sailboat and sailboat and sailboat, the stranger yelling Isaiah! Isaiah! Isaiah! until Isaiah (I assume!) comes running out of the ocean toward her, the tangle of kids skip-dance-jumping like a line of jacks at the waterline--all elbows and knees jangling about splashing at the water as the water splashes back, the chattering teeth of the boy I birthed six years ago wrapped in towels now next to me, the brine of the Pacific salting his skin, with sand like starflecks landed in his eyebrows, the compass rose of my heart pulling in all directions at once, like the scavenging gull, the wild wind I can feel even in my eyelashes, this summer day all around me, held yet so free.

Still Life with Mound of Seaweed ;), Marina Del Rey

A Summer Gift for You: 5 Ways to Actually BE in Your Life

1. Pay Attention to Someone You Love
Put down the phone and watch their lips say the words. Or watch them from afar when they don't even know they're being appreciated. What is their skin like? Highlighted by sun? Shadowed by lamplight? And what of their voice? Is it soft? Determined? High or deep or sweeping the floors of melancholy. Look at this someone you love as if you'll have to paint a picture of them or give an eye witness description of them...deeply drink them in with your senses.

2. Look Far
You know the cure for the myopia of carsickness, right? Look as far out as possible toward the horizon. So do that. Notice how small you are again in the great grand scheme of things. Get up and go to the window if you're inside. Look as far out as you possibly can, even up to the sky. Notice something far away--a cloud, a tree, a star. Don't get your phone and take a damn picture of it. Just notice the shape, the  distance, the color perhaps and think about yourself in relation to that thing.

3. Crank It Up
Put on a song you love, a song that moves you and let it move you. Tune in to your inner radio and listen to what the music is telling you. Is it telling you to dance? Did you turn on Uptown Funk? Or are you in more of a Joni Mitchell mood? Let the music in and let it play You. Sway or jump or breathe or cry. Let music hold you and dance you. Hum along. Sing the words. Shake your glorious booty.

4. You are Pizza
Next time you eat something, study it as if you've never eaten it before. Who might have grown it or prepared it, chopped the herbs, shredded the cheese? Look at the textures. As you bite into it, really let the flavors bathe your tongue. See the sheen of butter lighting up the toast? The tiny mountain pattern your teeth leave in the skin of the apple? Listen to your mouth doing its great work. How your body knows exactly what to do as you bite and chew? Imagine your cells infused with energy from the warmth of that sip of mint tea, from the glowing juice of that fleshy, bright nectarine. And why not say a word of gratitude that you have that turkey and avo sandwich to eat or creamy coffee to drink, that your human body is biting down on life and relishing its taste.

5. Get Thee to the Great Outdoors
I don't care if you don't live on the cliffs of the Pacific! Go find a little landscaped patch of grass at the closest park. Plop thyself down and look around. What colors can you find? Is there salt on the air? Daffodils? Smog? Find a ladybug. Stare at the plants a little bit. Wonder about their growing. How long did it take to sprout from the ground? What does a wave feel like creating and recreating and never being the same, not even once? And you there, taking the world in, infusing yourself with a different breath every few seconds, never the same person from this moment you are in to the next?

Happy Summer, Beauties!

Caught Being an Artist, Marina Del Rey, CA



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