Mind Cleansing

Forget about enlightenment. Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins. Feel the love, the longing and the fear in your bones. Open your heart to who you are, right now, not who you would like to be. Not the saint you’re striving to become. But the being right here before you, inside you, around you. All of you is holy. You’re already more and less than whatever you can know. Breathe out, look in, let go.

~John Welwood

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The Good Stuff

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Sometimes you need to slow down and appreciate just how far you have come.

That’s exactly what I made time for this morning. Sitting at a french cafe in the heart of Chelsea, I reflected on the past few weeks. There is definite evidence of progress. I have been participating in and enjoying Bikram yoga for close to three months now. My friend and I signed up for a 5k Summer series in Prospect Park. Every other Wednesday throughout the summer we will run a 5k. Ran one so far and although it was rough getting back into it, I felt proud to be doing something I love again. Running always makes me feel so strong. I made a commitment to cut sugar out of my diet and successfully went a whole three weeks without a drop of it. During that time I also consumed no alcohol and while I did have a few beers after my detox was over in honor of celebration, I have decided to quit drinking almost indefinitely. I don’t feel that need to escape that I once did which alcohol used to provide me and mostly just feels like I am poisoning my body whenever I do drink. I always feel worse. I only want to participate in activities that are beneficial to my body; I want to be good to myself. I established a personal doctor again and have been in for a few visits, it has been years since I’ve paid any attention to those important details of my life. This morning I was informed that I lost 12 pounds and drastically improved my blood pressure since my previous visit. I can only continue to work hard at boosting my health. Because all that matters to me is that I am healthy; physically, mentally and spiritually.

Aside from the focus on my health and wellness, I also recently received a raise after I obtained my New York City Health Academy certification in Food Safety. It feels good to be able to buy a few more groceries and not work so hard to pay the bills. I’m also looking forward to being able to travel a bit more often, so long as I can afford it.

I’m close to a month away from a trip home. I cannot wait to see my loved ones, have some fun and laughter and recharge my spirit.

I believe that life is mostly about timing. Sometimes things happen at all the wrong moments. But then again, sometimes it all works out. I feel strongly that there are amazing things about to happen in my future. I’m not waiting around or anything. My everyday adventures are more than I could ask for. I have the best friends, most supportive and loving family, an open mind, a big heart and the desire to always experience new things constantly and learn as much as I can. I believe the universe is taking good care of me as well as all of the hard work I have been doing.

Oh and it has officially been one year since I moved back to New York. I am still so in love with this amazingly versatile city.
I am a very lucky and grateful woman.

Long-Legged

I guess we can call this a rough draft.  I am sure to re-visit this at a later date but for now I just need to get it out.  Because I feel very strongly on the topic.

I wish to discuss some things very important to me.  Body image and respect.

First off, body image, especially in today’s society.  Let me first say that I am pleased with the direction that the everyday depiction of a real woman’s body is headed these days.  I see more and more full-figured woman in the media, advertisements, tv-shows, etc than ever before.  But I believe there is still a real problem with society’s expectations of what size we should be or how we should look.

I believe much more emphasis should be put on the health aspect instead of “weight” and “size”.  I’ve battled with my “weight” for a large portion of my life.  Now that I have spent the last  5 years or so learning what it means to be “healthy”, I wish someone had introduced me to this lifestyle sooner.  Instead of drinking slim-fast at age 9 (which is just fucking horrible now that I look back on it) or basically starving myself and taking very dangerous diet pills at age 21, I could have just learned how to eat real, whole, healthy foods and just be good to my body.

These days I am so proud of my body and I have no problems saying that.  I embrace every little imperfection and make an effort to appreciate my whole self with every glance in the mirror.  Maybe it’s wisdom that’s come with aging, maybe it’s so many empowering conversations I’ve had with my close female friends, or perhaps it’s all those times I spent changing in locker rooms finally realizing that no one is perfect and we all have our faults.  I don’t know exactly but I am thankful for everything I’ve learned about myself.

Here is the problem.  Now that we are approaching warmer temperatures, everyday clothing choices are no doubt more revealing.  Especially when you’ve previously been bundled up with 3 or 4 layers.  In all neighborhoods that I’ve resided in since my move to NYC, there seems to always be those men.  The ones who stand around in groups just waiting for a girl in a skirt, dress, shorts, whatever to pass by.  Then the filthy, disgusting, inappropriate,  grotesque and degrading comments begin.  It could be anything from a statement, a whistle, a look, a kiss noise or beyond.  Either way, it’s uncomfortable and unwanted.  This happens every year and at times it actually makes me question what clothing I choose to wear for the day.  I think if I were in any other city I would be quicker to speak up and express my dislike of this.  But to be on the safe side, I usually do everything I can to modify my path so that I do not have to come in direct contact with these men.  This is difficult in a city where I rely on walking and public transit for all my travels.

I do not deserve to be treated in this way nor does any other woman.  The lack of respect makes me sick and I wish I knew how to change it.  Just because I am tall, have long legs and decide to wear shorts for the day, doesn’t give some creepy guy the right to say derogatory things to me.

So I vow to wear whatever I want to this summer.  Without worrying about what disrespectful comment I might receive.  Because it is my body and my freedom to be me.  I will never again let someone else make me feel bad about that.

The Invitation

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The Invitation
by Oriah Mountain Dreamer (a Native American Elder)

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon…
I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us to
be careful
be realistic
remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments

Fuel for my Mind, Body and Soul

“Yoga is not about being bendy…

It’s about showing up to your mat consistently not knowing whats going to happen and being okay with that. It’s about believing that you can do anything even if its the scariest most impossible thing you could ever dream of. It’s about uncovering who you really are. It’s about being kind to yourself so that you can be kind to others. Yoga is about discovering that most of the crazy thoughts in your head are not true. It’s about being healthy without pushing yourself to your limit. It’s about slowing down to get strong. It’s about breathing and moving and smiling on the inside. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done but the best thing for me.”

Life’s Little Instructions

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This was something I originally shared over a year ago. I needed a reminder of all these things and I believe others out there probably do as well…

Treat everyone you meet like you want to be treated.
Watch a sunrise at least once a year.
Never refuse homemade brownies.
Plant a tree on your birthday.
Learn three clean jokes.
Return borrowed vehicles with the gas tank full.
Compliment three people everyday.
Sing in the shower.
Keep it simple.
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
Leave everything a little better than you found it.
Think big thoughts but relish the small pleasures.
Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
Never leave the toilet seat in the up position.
Floss your teeth.
Ask for a raise when you feel like you’ve earned it.
Be forgiving of yourself and others.
Over-tip the waiters and waitresses.
Say “thank you” and “please” a lot.
Buy whatever kids are selling on tables in their front yards.
Wear polished shoes.
Avoid negative people.
Remember other people’s birthdays.
Commit yourself to constant improvement.
Carry jumper cables in your trunk.
Have a firm handshake.
Send lots of Valentine cards. Sign them, “Someone who thinks you’re really wonderful.”
Stop blaming others and take responsibility for every area of your life.
Look people in the eye.
Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Be the first to say, “Hello”.
Use the good silver.
Return all the things you borrow.
Make new friends but cherish the old ones.
Keep secrets.
Plant flowers every spring.
Have a dog (or cat).
Always accept an outstretched hand.
Wave at school kids on buses.
Be there when people need you.
Feed a stranger’s expired parking meter.
Don’t expect life to be fair.
Never underestimate the power of love.
Drink champagne for no reason at all.
Live your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I made a mistake”.
Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know”.
Compliment even small improvements.
Always keep your promises.
Marry only for love.
Rekindle old friendships.
Call your mother.

I Don’t Play Games

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I recently was told that I need to pay more attention to playing “the game”. While I appreciate the advice they were trying to pass along and I am, in fact, familiar with that “game”, I won’t be joining in.

I decided some time ago to be real; to be myself. Perhaps I’ll always be “too nice” and let my feelings show “too soon” and wear my emotions on my sleeve a bit too often. If these are the reasons I am still single at 31, then so be it. I’m holding out for someone who wants, loves and appreciates who I really am. I’m passed the point of games.

I used to be ashamed of who I was and it took me so long to grow. I’ve dug so deep to get to the core of my being and I’m not afraid to show it.

In the beginning of a new year there seems to be a lot of talk about all the things that went wrong in the previous year. But what about everything that didn’t? I always enjoy a bit of reflection on the previous year and my favorite moments. What wonderful memories can you recall? What are you proud of? Here are a few of mine:

  • Ran my first 5k
  • Spent time enjoying the beauty of Ohio
  • Enjoyed dating again
  • Relocated back to New York City
  • Made new friends
  • Decided what I want to do with my life
  • Yoga
  • My Mother visited New York
  • Let go

Face It

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“Everything you do is based on the choices you make. It’s not your parents, your past relationships, your job, the economy, the weather, an argument, or your age that is to blame. You and only you are responsible for every decision and choice you make, period.”

Don’t Let the Darkness Eat You Up

I experience high levels of anxiety from time to time and there are two things that can always calm me down.  My sister Tiffany, and music.

Some time ago I was going through a particularly rough patch.  My sister sent me this song.  I adore this song and Jose Gonzalez is my current favorite artist.  It calms me, soothes me, restores me and helps me remember that I am better than the darkness.  And I cry every time I hear it. Happy tears.