Brainstorming by the Bay

Growing up in Northern California afforded me with a lot of advantages. I cannot recall ever being cold and I remember saying “like” over 50 times a day. Like Awesome!!! 

California is coastal obviously, but I didn’t grow up on the coast. My family didn’t take annual trips to the beach either. The only large bodies of water I saw was my neighborhood pool. When I graduated from high school I decided to attend college in San Francisco.  Our freshmen orientation was a bond-fire at Baker Beach, a popular beach in SF. That’s when my life changed forever. 

I remember riding on the subway for the first time, making strangers laugh by holding onto the rails with both hands and over animating the bumpy ride. We were underground for a while, when light finally filled the train car all I could see was the ocean, my little heart sang. I was overwhelmed by a sensation I had never felt before. I was home, I was safe, and I was small. 

Right then I discovered the ocean was a 15 minute train ride away, a train ride I would start making at least once a week. Large bodies of water do something to me. They feed the left side of my brain, the side that controls creativity, empathy and perception.  The ocean speaks to my soul, my higher self, my ‘Inner Mary’. Big bodies of water remind me that I am a small being in a huge world and an even bigger universe. The water simultaneously grounds me while inspiring me to chase after my dreams. 

I do my best brainstorming around large bodies of water. Some of the most important decisions I’ve made have been at a lookout point where I can see the ocean. I decided to break up with 2 boyfriends at Twin Peaks, to give my current boyfriend my heart at Lands End Trail, and I decided to start this blog at Hawks Hill. All of these places have beautiful panoramic views of the Bay.

I will admit my favorite place to brainstorm is Hawks Hill. Taking the 2nd exit off the Golden Gate Bridge, loop around until you see a huge intimidating hill. Then climb climb climb. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the road and not marvel at the beauty of San Francisco. I am a morning person, usually up a few minutes after the sun. I pack a goodie bag full of fruit, nuts and water along with 5-6 different colored pens and 2-3 different notebooks. I need variety and I might want to use a pink pen while writing in my Wonder Woman Journal or a green pen and a composition notebook. 

Looking out at the San Francisco skyline, waves crashing on the beach creating thick white foam that reminds me of frothy milk makes me feel more at home than my actual home. With the backdrop of the famous Golden Gate Bridge (that’s really not golden at all), I feel like I’m safe and I am myself. Now I can let my guard down and work with no distractions from the world. 



As mentioned before I need options and Hawks Hill is only one place I like to go. I also visit Tiburon. Sadly this sleepy town was currently made nationally popular for being Robin Williams final resting place. If you’re a local you know Tiburon for it’s huge houses, unobstructed views, and boat lined docks. In addition to a direct view of San Francisco you also get an up close and personal view of Sausalito which is a truly unique town full of treehouse like mansions situated on the side of a mountain. 



Last, but certainly not least, I love McNear’s Beach in San Rafael. The hustle and bustle of the city and people can overwhelm me. When I want to be alone, at peace, with 0 distractions I take a 20 minute drive to San Rafael and go directly to McNear’s Beach. This place is a safe haven. I’m always confused why/how it is always empty when I look at its beautiful views of the Richmond bridge, a newly built dock and very nicely kept bathrooms. I would think the place would be jammed packed, but it never is. I’ve never seen more than 10 people at this beach at a time, how special is that! You can listen to the waves crashing on the rock lined shore and send all your worries out to sea. I usually park as close to the water as possible and spend half of my time in my car and the other half exploring the park, sitting on old school wooden benches and contemplating life. 

Being immersed in such beauty inspires me. There is something about water that gets those creative juices flowing and makes me want to work hard for my goals. I make these treks a few times a month to outline my next few weeks of blog topics, my next crafting project, my next marketing move, my next big life decision, or my next big adventure. 

The best part about all of these places is that my iPhone doesn’t work. I’m not distracted by Instagram, twitter or any social media nonsense. Sometimes I need to unplug and mentally jump into the water!

I was asked to participate in WeWork “Tracking your Brainstorm” campaign. It felt like it was a great fit, so I jumped at the chance to share my personal experiences with new communities. WeWork is a coworking space like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Modernly decorated workspaces, printing services, lounges, screening rooms and high speed internet are accessible with a membership. It seems too good to be true, but it’s not! I was surprised to learn that there are 2 locations in San Francisco. I set up a free tour at their Soma location for Friday. Can’t wait to check it out. I’ll let you guys know how it goes! 


Peace & Love,

Mary

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