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6 Things I've Learned This Summer

Each year on December 31 I write my new year intention on a note card and place that card on my dresser so it is in daily sight. My card reads; "Leah's 2022 Intention: This year I'm dedicated to investing in: Relationships, Experiences, Spiritual Development, Self Discovery and Love". Since we are over halfway through 2022 I decided to check in on those intentions and offer some potential insight on life along the way.

1) Experiences

This summer i've made a conscious effort to pour time into activities and experiences that are not only in far off areas but ones close to home. It has taught me that you do not need to spend a lot of time, money and trip planning to experience something awesome. It is all about who you are with and the intention behind your journey. From spontaneous wake surfing mornings to day trips to watering holes to weekend excursions, i've found myself enjoying life in my own backyard more than ever before. I spent a fun weekend in Boerne, TX with a handful of my closest gal pals where we experienced the hill country life full of wineries, nature, natural swimming holes and outdoor yoga. I spent a weekend as a tourist in the city i've lived in for 13 years where we visited Barton Springs, spent the afternoon on South Congress, went to Hamilton Pool, curated a local bicycle art tour to visit many incredible murals & checked out the badass vegan food scene. Seeing my city through the eyes of a visitor helped me fall in love with my city all over again. I plan to continue exploring the Austin area this summer and growing my appreciation for this incredible piece of the country! I've learned that one does not NEED to travel far in order to have incredible experiences.

2) Self Discovery

2022 is shaping up to be the hottest summer on Texas record and I've discovered that when summer in Texas is hot AF, paints explode. One thing I love doing at art shows and table set ups is live painting and creating a helmet at the event. I channel the energy from the vibe of those around me and I make a design that fits. I learned early this summer that paint markers don't love the heat and after you have an intricate design started, they like to give up midway through and explode all over your previous work. This was a great learning experience not only for my helmet but also for my shirt, shoes and pants that absorbed the temper tantrum of the paint marker.

3) Relationships

In late June of 2022 my mother turned 60 years old. No matter the year, Birthdays are always an occasion to celebrate because as my dad says "growing a year older is better than the alternative." I returned to Iowa and spent the weekend surrounded by those who make me feel like home. Having lunch with my 92 year old grandmother, goofing around with my two nephews, running into friends from high school and bringing in her new decade with music and art. I was reminded how important it is to water your relationships in both your families, your bloodline and your chosen family. What a reminder that there is always a reason to celebrate and with a love language like quality of time, spending a long weekend surrounded by those who unconditionally love each other is unmatched.

4) Spiritual Development

I am constantly reminded I am my best self when I keep a consistent morning routine. What is beautiful is that I let it constantly evolve in a way that fits me in that phase of my life. My current routine is suiting my needs very well and helps gear me up for my always changing day to day.

  • I begin each morning guided by a gentle alarm, honestly this one is huge. I cannot stress enough to purchase the $0.99 gentle awaken ring tone, it helps me wake up gently, dare i say an unalarming alarm?

  • I then write in my 5 Minute Journal. I've tried different prompt journals but I always go back to this one because I absolutely love it and when I tried others I wasn't able to find my rhythm with them. Each morning it asks you to list gratitudes, intentions for the day and a daily theme/mantra. I feel like this starts up my day in a positive light.

  • After writing I meditate for 10 minutes. Sometimes I use Headspace, sometimes gentle music and other times I do unguided meditation.

  • I finish my morning routine by drinking at least 32oz before my morning cup of coffee.

Currently this is how I start each day of living my best life and it only takes 15 minutes but if you are new to morning routines maybe take 3-5 and start one thing. After a while add another and another until you find which patterns help elevate your day.

5) Love

Love is a big buzz word isn't it. What does investing in love actually look like? This summer i've learned that self love, unconditional love, friendship love and romantic love all share commonalities and are rooted in the same ideology. I've began reflecting on the way I talk to and about myself to myself and others. I look at the self talk through a lens of talking about a dear friend. I know this sounds cheesy, I avoided doing this because of this very reason but once i sucked it up and tried it, I've found it life changing. I have also realized that each one of these types of love take reflection, open communication and frequent checkins. Not only have I learned to do these three things with friends, partners and colleagues, I am also doing this with myself. One of the main ways I do this is through meditation and journaling. I reflect on how I am feeling, how I am honoring and loving myself and what it is I need to elevate my state of being. It's amazing falling back in love with yourself, if you haven't tried it you are missing out because you are freaking lovable as hell.

6) Remembering Self

This summer I have been able to lean into what makes me the best version of myself. From nearly daily yoga practice to covering myself in paint to hitting the streets for a run/ride. I have made an effort to lean into the things that ground me and bring me joy. I had fallen into a habit I wasn't even aware of where I wasn't putting time into the activities that made me happy because they weren't "new and exciting". I absolutely love running town lake, painting mandalas, practicing yoga daily, eating at Bouldin Creek, painting every chance I get and laughing uncontrollably with friends. This is something I will no longer put on the back burner because it genuinely fills my cup of inspiration.

Each one of these lessons has helped me fill my cup and when my cup is full I can create beauty. When I create beauty with Knockin' Noggins we are one step close to changing how the world sees safety. When that happens we begin to break the helmet stigma together and when we do that, MAGIC HAPPENS!

Cheers to making the second half of 2022 all about living the best version of your life because it's your journey to maximize!

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