I wonder what my younger self thought I’d be like in mid-life. I suppose I thought I’d slow down, rest more, move more carefully. And now as I sit in bed writing this blog at 4:55am, with a full day ahead of me, I chuckle to myself. So much for slowing down!

There has been a significant slowing in my parents’ lives though—with the best possible outcome. My mom is recovering from surgery and has a pacemaker. My dad has an upcoming procedure scheduled–which makes me a little nervous but I trust his good health will carry him forward. I’m ever grateful for technology that allows the people we love—even well into their eighties and beyond—to live such quality lives. My parents are amazing! Though their bodies are calling for a more relaxed pace, their spirits are vibrant.

I am in a season, though, where life beckons with enthusiasm. I’m not slowing down the way I once assumed I would. In fact, I’m in hyper-production mode! Just so you can keep pace with me a bit, I’ll share with you the comings and goings of my last two weeks. I’ve driven to the Sonoma coast to spruce up my sea ranch beach house and spent a day in the garden there—loving every minute of planting and pruning. It delights my heart to have created an amazing nest that I can share with guests who rent the home from VRBO. (You can take a peek here!) After blissfully getting dirt under my nails, I left my home on the coast to head to Healdsburg. It was a journey on the most winding road through the redwoods to meet my friend, Jeannie Fafoutis, a past “What Now?” participant and artiste extraordinaire. Together, we jumped into a morning barre class, and I agreed to speak that evening at her book club, a lovely group of women reading through From Heartbreak to Wholeness.

Kristine Carlson and Jeannie Fafoutis

After two nights in Healdsburg, I drove home to the Alhambra Valley to pick up my pooch, Bear, and hit the road north to Mount Shasta. My daughter, Jazz, greeted me as she waited for her fifth baby to come into the world. (That’s right, five!) When I arrived in Shasta, we sat together on the couch and laughed about what might be the perfect timing if baby #5 would comply to our schedule. I had ten days before I would have to make my way back to the Bay Area with just enough time to pack for my next adventure. We had determined that September 8th would be the perfect birthday, giving me lots of time to help with the other children and greet the new baby too. So, my week in waiting was mixed with Nana time with the kiddos, coaching calls, meetings with attorneys and producers, interviews and podcasting.

And all of this was amidst the smoke of what looked like Armageddon. That’s right; Mount Shasta is surrounded by wildfires leaving ash where snow would fall. Where I would usually view the pristine Mount Shasta from my windows was nothing but grey smoke and ash. I had made the trip just a few days before the new Delta Fire broke out 25 miles south of us, closing Highway I-5 for a long stretch. So, amidst the seemingly still wait for the birth of a new arrival, lots was spinning outside. Oh, and did I mention that I got a flat tire in my driveway? Not a great occurrence when you’re told to prepare for possible evacuation! Well, that’s now fixed!

Kristine Carlson with new grand childBut what a cooperative little man that baby was! Welcome to Cannon Michael who came into this world on our schedule (Ha! Another chuckle at the miracle of his timing) on September 8, 2018. He is one more little person to love in the inner-most circle of family. I feel blessed by little hands to hold and arms of babies to snuggle and children to grow old with. Most of all, I feel proud of my daughter, Jazz, who is a wonderful mother as she holds so much.

We all hold a lot, don’t we?

And I wouldn’t want it any other way. All of this is what a full life looks like.

It was difficult leaving Mount Shasta yesterday when I know that I am needed there. (In fact, I had a rare emotional melt down in the car crying down the mountain while demolishing an entire bag of Kettle chips. Oh, ya..boot camp for me in the morning!) It is a priority for me to be a Nana who shows up. I do my best to be present for the moments that count the most. My normal four-hour drive turned into six due to I-5 freeway closures from the fire. And now finally home in the bay area, I arrived just in time to pack and finish the final touches on my upcoming retreat to Italy. In just a few days, 17 of us will gather in morning meditation and yoga, hiking valley trails, sightseeing and shopping, cooking class, glorious meals and wine tasting, sharing wisdom in circles, and enjoying the most breathtaking villa in Umbria, Italy.

(Then, I’m going to actually take a vacation! It will be two weeks of traveling with girlfriends in Florence, Cinque Terre, Monaco and Croatia. You can follow along on Instagram here.)

I am moving through life quickly yet mindfully with a deep feeling of awe of the adventure and rich life at hand. We forever walk a balance, don’t we? As a grandmother, a teacher, a writer, a traveler, there are many roles to manifest and many people to love—yet it’s that beautiful balance that gives life its flavor and its fullness. I want to do the things that light me up, while assisting others to set a flame to their own desires and adventures too.

Where are you, my friend? Are you in a busy, fast-paced season, as I am? Or are you moving more slowly these days–smelling the roses? The ebbs and flows of life are always with us. The ease and the hardship, the joy and the pain, the learning and the teaching, the fast and the slow. They all sit side-by-side—seemingly opposites, yet intrinsically sewn together into human awareness.

And so, wherever you are, be there. If it’s a season of speed and giving, live it full on. It it’s a season of slowness and rest, live it full on. That’s the glory of life: we can be present in the now, no matter what it holds.

So, for now, I’m signing off to get packing in this season of busy.

The adventure continues…

As my wonder-lust and wander-lust merge in these todays, I am living full out and full on loving every minute of it. I am living my most vibrant life, and I hope you are inspired to live yours too.