Kelly Ashley

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21 posts tagged writing

An Ending, A Move and Golden Gratefulness

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I was told about nine months ago that the birthday during which your date (of the month) of birth matches your age is known as your Golden Birthday.

"Really? I’m turning 28 on the 28th this year!"

Since that moment, I thought about grand celebrations including (a few of) my favorite things: international travel, music festivals, the company of loved ones, good food & drink, and new experiences.

Most of those things ended up being too expensive and/or not fitting with the rest of my plans around that time.

One of those plans was to move. After ten months apart (!!!!) A and I are living in the same place full time! Somehow we made it through what was going to be three months apart and turned into nearly a year, and after all of that time we’ve ‘fallen back into it.’

And we lucked out with a new home that has quite the rooftop view!

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To top it off, I had a wonderful birthday night which included free Mexican food and drink + balloons, the singing of The Birthday Song in both English and Spanish by 8th grade students from Boulder, CO on the subway, a free birthday bourbon and dancing to some free jazz music - which gave me cheers from the crowd!

I’m a huge proponent of Birthday Week (and in this Golden case, two weeks!), and thus, the celebrations continued, mostly with us exploring our new neighborhood.

I’m a very lucky woman! Here’s to many more birthdays!

An Omen of Change Proves True

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January 30 saw the occurrence of a Black Moon, when there is more than one full moon within a calendar month. (It was also a Supermoon.)

A Black Moon is meant to be an omen of change and I wrote before that 2014 will be a year of clarity and connection.


I am not a very spiritual person, but I certainly agree, as it’s proven true in my life thus far, that everything happens for a reason - even the bad things.

Lately, I really have felt the connection to and between, well, nearly everything.

Call me crazy. Call me optimistic. Call me a hippie. Be skeptical.

But when it happens to you (and 60% of the time it works, every time) it’s freakin’ amazing!


• On January 30, there was snowfall in the area where my Snowboard Instructor boyfriend is working after extreme drought:
The current zodiac sign is Aquarius - symbolized by the water bearer.

• On January 31, my mother is having surgery to replace and restrengthen a hip:
The Chinese year of the horse commences today - the horse is a symbol related to travel and mobility.

In addition to being a year of clarity and connection, 2014 will be a year of change and movement.

Clarity via changes. Connection via movement.

All in line with my thoughts, plans and goals for the year.

It’s no coincidence.

A Year of Clarity and Connection

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2013 was a great year.

I had several realizations about my goals and focuses, and started to identify opportunities and relationships with more ease. I began the year in a small beach town in Victoria, Australia and am ending it back in New York City.

Many things went as planned, more did not, and many were/are still confusing.

It was a year of assessment and discovery.

2014 will be a year of clarity and connection.

Clarity about my priorities.

Clarity about my relationships.

Connection to more who share my values and appreciate my perspective.

Here’s to listening to your own voice and fostering communication.

Happy New Year!

Full Circle, But Not Complete

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After spending time on the other side of the world and the other side of the country, I am back in New York.

Once again, I am not where I would have predicted I’d be right now, but it feels right.

I am working with a company and team that I admire and am proud to represent.

I’ve moved to a new area of my old neighborhood, found the perfect living situation for me right now, and am enjoying exploring this area.

I am spending wonderful time catching up with family and good friends.

Yesterday, when I got off of the subway coming home from work, I heard someone yelling my name.

It was a friend from college that I have not seen or spoken to in years! Speaking with her felt comfortable and exciting.

Validation.

Had I not taken that train, at that time and gotten off at that stop and went down those stairs just ahead of her, she would not have seen me and we may not have reconnected. Another chance meeting.

Returning here has already sent me several messages confirming a few important things:

 Trust Your Gut: All of the decisions I’ve made in the past few months have started with core feelings of comfort and excitement. When you know, you know. Trust that.

 We Are All Connected: Serendipity is not just a cheesy movie. Being aware of how our decisions and actions lead us to and from the appropriate people makes amazing difference.

 Self First: A lot of my recent choices required that I decide what is best for me. I’ve considered others as relevant, of course, but the affect of those choices on others was not my focus. Doing what I need to for myself is only going to help my overall comfort and thus relationships, and I feel that.

Being in New York does feel like coming full circle, but this is only the beginning of a new chapter.

Delicious ambiguity.

I’m Happy and Unhappy (and it’s my choice)

My biggest issue, in the past three years especially, has been choosing to be happy where I am, with what I have, in what I’m doing. To remember what matters most in moments of frustration and worry.

My partner lives in trust of the universe and karma to make things right, and he is constantly teaching me that worrying is a waste of time and energy.

I practice yoga to help keep myself grounded, focused, and in a positive and present perspective.

I’ve felt immense joy and freedom through travel, with the people and perspectives I meet on the road (that are unique to travelers) and in how that challenges me everyday.

But I still kind of like being ‘in the box’

…until I don’t, and then I wonder what I need to be happy.

Today I discovered The Nomadic Family and their honest, vulnerable wife and mother, Gabi.

Gabi, her husband and their three children have been traveling the world full time for three years, all the while sharing their adventures, homes, struggles, successes, frustrations and finances in words, photographs and videos.

I read Gabi’s post “I Hate This Home, And That One, And This One" and watched the videos (watch the videos!) and when I got to this, I started writing:

"Whatever ‘home’ I’m in physically this month, I am still confided to the prison of my unresolved soul issues, to the rollercoaster of my emotions, and to the swiftly temperamental ebb and flow of my family members and the world around me."

The text and videos in that post reminded me that I’m not alone in being an emotional female, more often than I’d like to admit,  who knows what she wants, until she doesn’t.

I’m also normal as someone who loves the challenge of a leap and will be the first to volunteer to jump, but will take ages to scope out the landing. (Just frickin’ jump!)

Happiness is not in the next job, home, flight or vacation; It is in our minds, in our words and actions, in our lifestyles, in our relationships.

I’ve been told this before (over, and over), but, once again, by being externally validated by other people’s lives, today I may finally get it.

Happiness starts and ends within ourselves, and we each must learn how to live life by the rules that (most of the time) make sense for us, and that being and staying happy is a choice.

Choose wisely.

Remember: Give and Take

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"Friend: I just want the world.

Me:  You can’t have it. No one can.

Friend: Let me rephrase. I want the world as I want it.”

If you are reading this and have internet access, food to eat everyday, shelter, an income, clothing and love in your life, you’re already on top of the world; but everything beneath you may not feel ‘in it’s place.’

I get that.

When I’m traveling, I yearn for more structure, when I’m structured, I want more spontaneity and flexibility.

I think the key is to find ways to have a balance. Give and take. We must do both.

My friend’s response:

"All true and easy to lose sight of."

 …part of the struggle of life. It’s work to remember it.

Work at it. It pays off.

A Lesson Reinforced By Travel: Stop Judging

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After an amazing year of exploration, compromise, adventure, kangaroos and wallabies I was reflecting on my fourth trip crossing the world about the lessons I’ve learned.

There were many, but one that was reinforced by travel and possibly truly learned for the first time seemed to be the most important: stop judging.

Stop judging people by their professions, possessions and looks. Determine your opinions by words and actions.

No one chooses which circumstances, locations or families they are born into.

If you stop critiquing others’ lifestyle choices you remove the ‘right’ for them to reciprocate and hopefully you can both live more at ease.

I have many friends and family members who have totally different careers and lifestyles from mine - some of which I would never want - and I love that. Having them in my life provides me with a balanced perspective and fuels my self discovery.

After all of the life changes I have made in the past three years, know this:

My perspectives and values, needs and wants have changed. I am ever-evolving and they will continue to change. If you appreciate, care for and/or love me all the same, I will in return - and that’s what life is all about.

Bad Things, Good People, and Why They Connect

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I have a few friends who have recently gone through some difficult experiences, and one recently said that they keep thinking, “Why do bad things happen to ‘good people’?”

I (think I) figured it out; at least some of it.

Bad things happen to ‘good people' because they will use the grief, lessons, and understanding to help others in similar situations.

'Bad people' will turn those experiences into anger and use that energy to make others hurt or suffer in the way that they did, or worse.

Whether you think of yourself as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, in every moment of struggle you have the power to choose one; for your present and future effect on yourself (mind & body), and others.

If you’re going through a tough time, know that when the situation is over or these feelings have passed or subsided, you will be stronger as a person and as a contributor to the world.

Have faith in what comforts and guides you, and, most of all, in your own strength.

Be good to yourself, and others.

A Thank You From The Road

Sunrise from the Treehouse

We have now been on the road for four weeks.

It’s liberating, constantly exciting, and sometimes very frustrating.

Thus far on the adventure, we:

• left The Snowys and spent a week in Canberra, the Australian capital city

• drove to the coast and stopped in Bateman’s Bay, Mystery Bay, Congo and Byron Bay

• really enjoyed Byron and stayed in the area for four days, during which we met a girl who recently left the same town in Tahoe that we did, went to her house and found she lives with our favorite bartender from our favorite Tahoe restaurant (more chance meetings)

spent two days in Brisbane where we walked at night among artistic lights and free street DJs, toured markets, pet koalas, fed kangaroos and wallabies, and stood inches from a Cassowary  

• stopped in Surfer’s Paradise and Burleigh Heads on The Gold Coast

• went back to the Byron area where we stayed in a real tree house

• got back on the road and had a break down

Since we arrived in Australia, we’ve had lots of fun along the way and several frustrating moments, but nothing as tough as when we broke down on the side of the road, did not know the nearest town, and all devices were short on battery.

When I wanted to yell and curse myself for purchasing a car in a foreign country, A reminded me that these are all “first world” problems.

Especially given the recent events in my hometown area of New YorkI am so very grateful to be safe, healthy, happy and appreciate the support of my family, friends, acquaintances and colleagues.

Consider this a thank you, and a reminder to us all to give thanks and to make the time to stop and smell the eucalyptus, especially in those frustrating moments.

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P.S. Thank you Jason, Dave and the guys at Pacific Garage!

Chance Meetings and the Power of Positive Thinking

I started yesterday the way I have started most since I moved to Australia: alarm, shower, decaf green tea, rolled oats, email checking, carpool with the boy into town to work from my favorite coffee shop.

When I got there, I was once again greeted by the friendly staff who call me “Green Tea Kelly” and sat at my favorite table [next to the outlet] to use some free WiFi and zone into work.

About two hours later, my laptop requested a charge and I reached into my backpack to grab the charger… which I forgot.

Since the car was now 30 minutes away with the boy at work and I needed some good exercise, I decided walk the 8 kilometers (10 minute drive) to our house so that I could appease my computer and get back to work.

[Cutting out a lot] An hour later, I decided that if I had about another hour of walking, I might as well take the scenic route nature trail, which would also keep me away from the road - a good decision since Australian drivers do not yield to pedestrians.

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On the trail, I passed a mountain biker several times who finally stopped and said hello.

He is from Papa New Guinea and had seen me in town and wanted to know if I am of Pacific island decent [I’m not]. We had a great conversation for about 20 minutes about politics, culture, race, and Australia, and I found out that he is currently writing a play that is partially about New York. He has never been there, so as a native New Yorker who loves theater and is looking to bring it back into my life, we unofficially made a coffee date to discuss the play further.

After another hour I was walking in the rain and starting to get very frustrated.

I wanted to make my way to the road to hitchhike home, but paused and reminded myself that I needed the exercise, was in Australia walking among kangaroo footprints and that the sun was still shining through the water drops so I should look for a rainbow [+ hitchhiking alone = not safe].

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When I finally arrived home, thirsty and tired, I felt my endorphin rewards.

I plugged in and got back to work and the rest of the day was filled with food, music, good company, great conversations, educational documentaries… and a glass of whiskey.

Taking the ‘road less traveled’ sometimes turns out to be a huge detour [1.5 hours longer than you thought], but if you take the scenic route and stop to enjoy the view, it’s a great trip.

What Matters Most

"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

"Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right." - The Grateful Dead

Today I was given another reminder of what matters most in life.

Ever since I left New York, I have partially felt the need to justify my lifestyle.

Where am I living? With whom? Why? For how long?

Today I had several conversations with people that I trust that reminded me that I don’t have to.

What matters is that I’m living, and I’m fortunate to be healthy and happy.

I took some time today to sit outside, connect with nature and write. I made a ‘free writing’ list of What Matters Most to me, and what doesn’t:

Most lessons in life are not easy. Some are unfair. Some make you want to hate the entire process.

Life is hard, but it doesn’t have to suck.

There will be positive and negative events in life that will drastically change you - whether it’s for better or worse is up to you.

Keep what matters most to you in mind, and you’ll make it through, rather successfully. 

Two Years Later

It’s now been two years since I left NYC.

I wrote a post on this day last year, and want to keep reflecting.

Being from the “New York Metropolitan area”, living in NYC was my wish come true.

I was excited to move to New Zealand, but leaving close friends from middle school, high school, college and the start of my career was hard.

But if I hadn’t taken flight and made the big move, I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am today.

People say to me/ask all the time:

"I could never do that!"

"How did you do that?"

"Did you really want to do that?"

"What was it like?"

You can.

I took a chance.

Fuck yes.

Amazing!

Three weeks ago, I moved to Australia.

Right before I left, a close friend asked me, in concern, if I really wanted to make the move, and if it was easy.

I told her the truth: it hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been amazing and the best way to get to know myself and strengthen my friendships and romantic relationship.

In the past two years, I’ve moved across the world twice, started new jobs, been laid off, made new friends, lost touch with old friends, and continued to travel.

I’ve embraced the spirit of the dragon thus far in 2012, and am continuing to focus on work that inspires me, doing more acting and writing and learning everything that I can.

I still love New York, and it will always be home, but I am thankful for the opportunity to see much more.

The Start of Chapter Oz

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” - Australian Aboriginal Proverb

We moved to Australia!


We left Tahoe Wednesday, June 6 and arrived in Sydney Friday, June 8 local time.
We spent the weekend in Sydney with one of A’s cousins, and had a lot of fun playing tourists,
Sydney tourists
seeing the Vivid Sydney installations,
Vivid SydneyVivid Sydney
spending time on Manly Beach,
Having fun on Manly Beach
and on a Sydney harbor cruise.
On our free Sydney harbor cruiseI've wanted this photo for so long!
We then left Sydney on a bus bound for Canberra, the Australian capital, where we spent one quiet hostel night. The next morning, we headed to the town of Jindabyne in The Snowy Mountains, were we’ll be for the winter season.
The Road to Jindabyne
Just like during our Tahoe move, we gave ourselves two days to find an apartment and buy a car, and made it all happen!
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And now, we’re enjoying a relaxing weekend with our new amazing view of Lake Jindabyne, before we get back to work.
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