I walked with Sienna Jane, bundled in her stroller, over to the Arboretum last week to see the leaves.  I didn't know I was going to be walking through the gate and into a magic kingdom of blood-red billows and carpets of thick green.

Yeats wrote that “the world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 

I didn't remember how delightful it is to let them sharpen. 
It doesn't take much.

To look long.  To see the hidden mushrooms.
To take a deep inhale in and realize that the air is full of the sweetness of overripe blackberries and wood chips.
A slightly slower gait.  A deep breath.

It seems silly perhaps, but as I tuned in I got truly giddy - overcome by how beautiful the world around was. I was in awe of ... everything.  The colors and air and water...the sheer beauty and how it changes so gracefully!  I had to share it with Sienna.

So I got her out of her stroller, found the biggest patch of fallen red and gold leaves I could, and laid her in their crunchy bed.  I laughed at how badly I wanted to share this delight with her - a 12 week old! 
I think she got it, though, as she smiled back up at my face and coo'ed at the branches above.


The Simple Things (Like Breakfast Nooks)

The week Sienna Jane was born my mother&father-in-law came into town to celebrate with us - and proceeded to build the benches for my kitchen nook!  The Non-Scotsman added a table, my mother in law sewed some cushions, and I hung a few gorgeous photos taken by my dear friend, Bess Friday.

I'm just so happy about the whole thing!


Aunt Les & Cousin Rachael

I just had the best family reunion!

I know, it's rare to say something like - but I married a man from a pretty incredible crew, and we just gathered in California for a wedding. I met (for the 2nd time) my Aunt Les and my cousin Rachael - two crazy-cool women who both mentioned wanting to come visit Seattle.

This post is my attempt to lure them up the my gorgeous, green city.  Come play!
I just went to a new restaurant about a mile from my house called Westward & Little Gull.  For me, it's an instant classic.  Why has there not been a waterfront Seattle restaurant with a dock and a raw bar, a firepit and a killer cocktail list, a gorgeous brand and a grocery store before?  It's a song you hear and wonder how it ever wasn't written.  Like "Fur Elise" or Etta James's "At Last" - was there ever a time when those songs weren't known?

Sitting on the north shores of Lake Union - you can arrive by land or sea.

and once parked, you have your pick of ambiance.  Dig into a pile of oysters at picnic tables by the dock and watch boats go by...

...sit at the raw bar, or channel your salty-dog by bellying up to the boozy bar just inside.  Or just get a table like normal folk.


Or order from the little grocery and cozy up outside with a blanket at the fire pit.  Or take your wine and cheese back onto your boat and head back to where you came from.

I've been back twice just for these wood fired gigante beans.  Yes, beans.  They're that delicious.

Les & Rachel, any place with beans this good deserves a trip.  I'll put fresh towels out now...


Therapist vs. Counselor

“You mean a physical therapist?”

This is the question I often get when I tell people I’m a therapist.  “An acupuncturist?  A masseuse?”  No.  I am a therapist of the mind: a psychotherapist. 

I’m not surprised that many people don’t picture me when they picture a therapist.  Who or what do you imagine?  I’ll tell you what I still, today, picture, (and what Google Images confirms if you do a search for "psychotherapist"):

An older white man with a groomed beard and a forest green sweater vest.
Freud with his self-congratulatory cigar.
A chaise lounge;  a small lap dog.  A dark study with leather-bound books.  Solemnity.  No laughter.


There are countless stereotypes around the therapist character, and typically the media represents the professional as a person sitting a safe analytical distance from a patient.  These actors are often white, in their late 60’s, and use only their overly active intellectual left-brain to interpret their clients every move.


The term therapist has gone through the ringer over the years and changed many hands:  psychotherapist is scary to many because it includes the word “psycho;” mental health therapist is equally intimidating because no one wants to go to someone for “mental” issues.  Counselor is a far more friendly term, as it seems more like a mentor or advise-giver, but to many practitioners (myself included) it does not do justice to the education we have undergone --- counselors don’t need a degree to get to work.   

So, on one hand, I plead the case for the title “psychotherapist.”  A psychotherapist is an archeologist, digging for the underlying roots of countless problems – looking for the golden chests of unconscious mental processes, beliefs, and patterns that lead people to get stuck in their problems. As a psychotherapist I seek to be someone who is curious where others are critical.  Instead of shaming the patient who has panic attacks, for example, I want to know where her brain has fused together particular feelings with uncontrollable anxiety. 

But on the other hand, in deciding what to name my practice, my marketing mind got all opinionated.  I want my practice to be approachable to young people, people like me.  Sure, fellow professionals may not hold the term in as much regard, but they're not who I started my business to serve.  I want my name, like me, to be accessible.  

So, I compromised with the business name:  

There, both my personalities are satisfied.


First Impressions

I am about to give birth - twice.

The first and most important birth is to my first baby, a daughter.  In about 2 weeks, give or take (hopefully take), the Non-Scotsman and I will welcome her into our arms and home and begin a relationship that I can not yet even imagine.

For her, every moment will be a first impression.  Maybe that's why we sit in her nursery and re-arrange toys and artwork, or why I spent about 2 hours picking out the perfect plant.  It's why we painted and scrubbed and chose a fresh peach and gold color palate:

peaches + golds

Perhaps that explains why I spent a fortune on a candle just to make sure the room smelled of nectarine blossom and honey.  Or why we debated over and over about the texture/fabric of her first outfit, or why I panicked when I found out
 Jamie Young's Lotus lamp was out of stock - only to be swept into thankful relief when a talented friend surprised us by making it for us:

We want her first moments to be absolutely, completely lovely.

And yet, the reality is we can not control much more than the aesthetics of the setting and our own hearts towards her.  She will experience the reality of the trauma of the birthing process.  She will not always be comfortable and every single first moment will be a shocking experience of newness and change.  

Her first impressions will be just that: HERS.  So, as much as I brand and design and re-arrange and plan for her first impressions of the world, at the real first moment of meeting I have to simply step back and observe how and what she takes in.  I create a space for her, yes, but in the end I must truly create space - space for her to be her and to experience life as she will.

Space for comfort
This brings me to my second birthing process: opening up my private practice as a psychotherapist.

Love the warmth and feminine charm of the mixture of creams/whites, etc
(No, this is not my real office .... yet)

Again, every client who walks through my door, or clicks on my website (coming soon), will be experiencing a thoughtfully planned first impression.  Each little detail has been fussed over:  colors and fonts, forms and fees, windows and textures.  I want to set a tone of comfort, compassion, and professionalism, and I am doing everything in my power to convey those values - including trying to emulate the SOFIA brand:
Sofia Brand Design 02«Anagrama — Sofia by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects» в потоке «Брендинг / Айдентика» — Посты на сайте Losko
Yet, just like with Baby Girl, I can do my best to set a tone through my brand - but the way they experience it is entirely their own.  And really, I am setting an atmosphere where they will be free to become uncomfortable and where change can happen.  

I am creating a space that invites them to take up their own space.  

Love the idea of arriving home to this view


Back to Spaciousness

For me, "spaciousness" looks like a steamy afternoon when you're lazing in your backyard with your friends - bottles of cool wine sweating like triathletes who only trained for 4 weeks - and someone says, "It's hot. Why don't we go buy a raft."  It's a statement, not a question.  No one argues, cause everyone is too hot to think.  And so you all manage to get up off your sticky lawn chairs, slide on flip-flops, and roll to the nearest store to buy a $20 raft and any other floating objects.  

Your skin is sticking to the person sitting next to you in the car, the windows are rolled down, and you soon find yourself at the lake.  Somehow the wine has found it's way there too.  Someone gathers enough energy to blow up the raft, and you all flop into the best $20 you ever spent.  No question, this is a spacious life.  A life that has room to move, to change, to get up and spontaneously play.

Spaciousness is what I started this whole blog about -  and certainly something that seems attainable on a hot, lazy day.  It's partially about space in my schedule, but more importantly, and certainly more sustainable, is space I find inside my mind and heart.   Life has been busy lately --- (about to have a baby, just graduated with a Masters, became a licensed mental health counselor, moved houses, and started my first garden.  I'm starting my private practice and trying to decorate a nursery: not sure which is harder)  --- and yet, I feel like I have room.  It's summer inside.

Spaciousness listens to myself.
Spaciousness listens to others.
Spaciousness is open, receptive and curious - not closed off or shut down.
Spaciousness feels connected to the people I love.

What is it that gives you real space in your life?  How do you find it?  In a culture of "go! gO! GO!" and where bigger and better and crazier schedules is a sign of "fulfillment," how do you, unknown friend, find the space to breathe?  To listen and feel?  To connect?  To play?  How do you do this when life is busy?  I'd love to know...