Three Steps to Succeed in Love and Life

photo-1465145177017-c5b156cd4d14October 18th, 2018

“Step 1:  _____
Step 2:  _____
Step 3: Win”

That’s what I read as I looked down at the Cards Against Humanity card that I held between my thumb and index finger. I’m going to run with that prompt, and considering my life these days, I’ll write about relationships…or lack thereof.

Step 1: Stop worrying so much about being alone forever. The chances of me being an 80-year-old cat lady with cobwebs between my legs is not as likely as I make it seem…I’m allergic to cats.

Step 2: Enjoy the single life. It’s not all that bad, am I right? Now that I’ve spent the last two minutes trying to think of why it’s not all that bad, I’m realizing I have quite a bit of work to do. Shit, maybe step two should be find what brings you joy and follow that because thinking about single life makes me feel like Amanda Bynes pre-psychiatric treatment. Moral of step 2: Take action to do more of what lights you up.

Step 3: Win

More than six months have past since I wrote about the Cards Against Humanity prompt in October, 2018. A lot has changed since then. For starters, I could recite a laundry list of reasons why the single life is great. I am not saying this because since then I’ve been in a relationship that made me think boys are monsters and still have cooties. The single life is great because I listened to my own advice for once, and I took action to do more of what makes me happy.

These past several months have brought me so much fulfillment that a healthy and loving relationship would be the cherry on top rather than the Ben and Jerry’s itself. Until then, I’ll be living my best life, enjoying my freedom, and exploring possibilities. #Winning.

Are You Actually Worrying Too Much, Or Just Too Soon?

pexels-photo-262075My mom’s German boyfriend, who I refer to as “The Germ,” told my mother, “You don’t worry too much, you worry too soon.” Props to The Germ for that gem. 

Although I wouldn’t entirely agree in my case because I can certainly worry too much as well, I believe that The Germ is right. Heck, I spent all of last week hyperventilating about a “what if” scenario that didn’t even come close to happening.  

Imagine if we never worried too soon, or we never worried at all? What if worrying isn’t a natural human response or state of being, but we’ve collectively agreed it’s the norm? Food for thought. 

A lot of people don’t think worrying is a big deal, so they wait until it’s unbearable, and something must be done. I’m at the point in life where I feel I’ve suffered enough, and I am ready to do something before a midlife crisis happens. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve already had about 12 of those.) What can be done to help us chill out? 

Acknowledging that we’ve created a habit of worry is a good place to start. Just like any habit, when we’ve done it enough, it becomes second nature. If we start acknowledging worry as a habit, rather than linking the feeling with our identity, we can start to reclaim our power. Our perspective will shift objectively and positively by looking at worry through that lens. 

I know it’s annoying as shit to hear someone say all you have is now, you just have to wait and see, or be in the moment when you have a flat tire on Route 101, and you’re worried you’re going to miss your favorite barre class. That said, it’s true. Nothing else exists but now. The past is an illusion from our limited perspective, and the future is nothing but our imagination. When we worry, it is never coming from this moment in time. It’s coming from our programming of what we believe might have or will happen. A habit of thought.

Becoming aware of our worries, and taking those moments to transform our fears into a practice of mindfulness and presence, will help us not worry too soon. We will progress so long as we keep trying. It may Not be easy at times, but no mud, no lotus.

Got Dumped? Congratulations!

IMG_3119When someone doesn’t get what they want, whether it’s the job of their dreams, acceptance to their top college, or a good date, it’s hard to know how to respond. That said, it can be even harder to hear what others have to say about it. The go-to “Aww, I’m sorry” is probably the last thing anyone wants to hear. I’ve envisioned myself sucker punching people in the nose who give me responses like that, and though I felt a sense of guilt for my internal imagery, it felt justified.

One day, I held my breath as I told my yoga instructor what I was going through, but her response is what really took my breath away.

“Congratulations,” she said without prying for any more information.

That response shifted my perspective on what we perceive as failure or disappointment. Boyfriend dumped you? Congratulations! You’re free from being tied to a boy who did not love you the way you deserve to be loved.  Got fired? Congratulations! You’re moving forward toward a path more suited for you.  Didn’t get accepted? Congratulations! You’re on your way to finding a better fit. Had a bad date? Congratulations! You are one step closer to meeting the one who’s right for you. You now know more of what you’re looking for, and you are clearer about what your standards are.

This is not some bogus hippy-dippy positive vibe shit to ignore the pain. These are changes that are moving us forward regardless of how it makes us feel. There is good and bad in every situation we find ourselves in, so why not congratulate the good it brings? I can congratulate myself and simultaneously feel like the offspring of Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh and Butterpuff from the Powerpuff Girls. Even when the pain is there, knowing that it is all worth celebrating gives me a sense of liberation—and an opportunity to claim my power.  Continue reading Got Dumped? Congratulations!

The Void of a Vice

photo-1486572788966-cfd3df1f5b42My therapist told me when I want to emotionally eat, I should journal instead, so here I am. In an ideal world, I’d be double fisting granola on the kitchen island with no consequences or ill intent to mask discomfort. This, however, is my world, where my relationship with food is about as damaged as my friend’s iphone. She nearly needs stitches when she swipes the screen.

It’s interesting to me how we ALL have our vices to deal with during this crazy thing called life, yet some go unnoticed as an escape or way to avoid feelings. Overindulge in food, drugs, nicotine, alcohol, or sex, and it’s “You need help. You have a problem.”

Yet overindulging in television, social media, exercise, shopping, and caffeine, and it’s “You gotta do what you gotta do. It’s the 21st century.”

Sometimes, it’s even considered a form of self-care, when it’s anything but that. More often than not, it’s a way to escape feelings that are dying to be addressed and processed. Instead of becoming aware of our emotions and processing them in healthy ways, people go to processed foods or go through the process of picking the next Instagram-worthy photo.

The first step to avoid our vices is having the awareness that multiple times every day, we are using them to avoid something deeper. If we take a moment to pause each time we impulsively reach for our phone to scroll through Facebook, or call a friend because we’re “bored”, we may be surprised what comes up.   

One day I opened the fridge to chow down on some carrots and paused.

“What am I really hungry for?” I asked myself when I took a moment to reflect and acknowledge I was acting impulsively and wasn’t hungry.

I closed the fridge and started to cry. “What the actual fuck?” I thought to myself in disbelief.

I became aware that my boredom and loneliness resulted in needing a vice before my consciousness could acknowledge my emotions. Feelings of abandonment and sadness surged over me. I felt like such a little bitch because essentially I started crying over carrots, but it was so therapeutic and enlightening.

Just because I have a vice does not mean something is wrong with me, and the same goes for you. Awareness gives you an opportunity to reclaim your power that is always available to you but easily forgotten. Be more aware when you act impulsively or reach for your vice. Pause, reflect, acknowledge, and claim your power.

Ultimately, the goal is being okay being alone with yourself, your thoughts, and your emotions. It’s being there for yourself like you’d be there for a friend, without a vice. So here I am, claiming my power and being constructive about it. But damn, that granola still looks good.

 

The Stream to Success

photo-1545933165-945eb24d50a4When we are not getting what we want, sometimes it feels like we are trying to get it by paddling upstream after a downpour. People can be so hyper focused on reaching success, that what they do becomes more important than how they feel. We are conditioned that we must fight tooth and nail, and if we do so relentlessly, our dreams will come true. But at what cost?

If we’re miserable the whole way there, I think it’s safe to say we won’t have very many happy campers with trophies in hand. Rather, we’d have people wishing the trophy was different, bigger, or better. That is because how we feel now is predominantly based on the culmination of what’s already happened, and how we’ve already been feeling. And yes, there is value in the struggle. We learn and grow there. But we can struggle and follow the flow, or struggle in stagnation.

A stream does not stop flowing when a big rock gets stuck to the bottom. The water flows around the rock and continues its journey downstream. Yet, there I was, like Moses, blocking the flow of my stream so I could try to remove the rock I had named “Single as a dollar bill.”

The rock that we think we want to get is better left untouched. Maybe we think we want that rock, but that rock is there to tell us to move forward in another direction, or have a new perspective. Maybe if we kept flowing, that rock would naturally loosen.

This is not to say give up. This is to say let go of the rock. If you flow in other ways, what you want unfolds naturally. When you’re anxious about not getting what you want, rather than trying to rip the rock out of the ground, find a way to flow downstream.

 

When Your Well Has Run Dry

pexels-photo-874730Imagine a bird in the middle of the Masada desert, who can’t fly for shit. No water in sight. The well has run dry. What now?

Sometimes we’re that bird. We get stuck in a rut, and because of fears and insecurities, we stare at an empty well as our mouths turn to sand paper and our words turn to sawdust. 

We fixate on the well that has run dry, instead of flying to a new one. We trap ourselves in the constructs of our limiting beliefs, and we don’t even try to fly.

Finally, we get the courage to fly, only to end up at another dry well. “God damnit, climate change.” We blame the outside world because we are blinded by our own patterns of self sabotage. 

The reality is, we’re as free as a bird. A bird who knows it can soar beyond the mountains that stand between the dry desert and the crystal water. A bird who trusts in its ability to fly from the nest and into an environment where there’s an innate knowing they will thrive. A bird who sees every well as a beautiful detour rather than a desolate destination.

 A well that has run dry is not proof that we’re not good enough, or that we’re out of luck. It’s a sign to move our wings and our point of focus.   

3 Steps to Take a Leap of Faith

denny-luan-125448There are times in our lives when we take a leap of faith and feel it all.  Fear, anxiety, excitement, uncertainty, indecision, and joy rise simultaneously like the bubbles that cultivate while you’re pouring a glass of champaign. One of those times in my life is now. Taking leaps of faith is nothing new to me. I know these feelings lead to what I want. It’s winning or learning. I’ll take either one over being stagnant and complacent. So, what can we do to help us take that leap of faith?  

1. Trust your internal compass

Before you roll your eyes and think this is just another generic yogi/preachy/airy-fairy post, read on. Using your logic is a great way to get through certain areas of your life. However, when you’re taking a leap of faith, you need to tap into your internal compass, and trust it. Some call it your gut or intuition, but we’re all born with an internal compass that is designed to guide us through life. Trust that you have all you need to guide you to what you want to do. 

I came out to California by myself three years ago. I had no job, no idea where I’d live, and no idea what I’d do. All I had was trust that there was a reason I felt pulled in that direction. I knew as long as I followed that internal compass I called curiosity, I’d find my way. Though the beginning was as smooth as the face of a teenager going through puberty, I eventually found all that I was looking for, and then some.

2. Acknowledge the gremlin 

The “gremlin,” or the “annoying roommate,” is the voice in your head that feeds you excuses, doubt, and excessive anxiety. Some internal voices expressing concerns is valid. That being said, more often than not, it’s the gremlin trying to keep you from doing something that will require you to change and have potential discomfort. Sometimes, the gremlin comes in the form of other people too. They’ll tell you their opinions that stem from their limiting beliefs. When two gremlins get together, it turns into a party where everyone wishes they’d stayed home with their cats with a tub of ice-cream instead. Don’t join their party. Throw a better one. No gremlins allowed.   

My gremlin has many voices, one of which sounds like an old chainsmoker from Long Island who has recently been saying to me: “How the hell you gunna go backpacking through Asia by yourself with a one way ticket? You on crack? You think you got balls or somethin’? You’re not cut out for that. You should buy a cat and some ice-cream, get in your sweatpants, and stay here.”

Other times the voice sounds so much like me that I mistake it for my internal compass. “It’s wise to settle down and get your life together in the States. The longer you wait, the more behind you’ll be. You’ll get anxious that you’re putting your real life on hold. Plus, you could get hurt out there.”

It takes practice to acknowledge and befriend your gremlins. The more you become aware of them, and rise above the fear, the easier it will be for you to put down the ice cream and take action.

3. Take steps 

You don’t have to see what’s at the top of the stairs before you take the first step. Most people do wait, which keeps them on the same step, and unable to move forward to reach the top. You don’t have to fly up the stairs like Quicksilver. Little baby steps will do too, so long as you’re moving. 

Do I know what the hell is going to happen once I get to Asia? Do I see what the outcome will be? Do I know why I hear myself saying “Go!” You know as much as I do. Still, I’m packing my bags, selling my belongings, and putting in my 30-day notice for the apartment that it hurts to leave. I don’t see the top, but I’m taking steps to see what’s there for me.

Solo traveling through foreign countries I’ve never been, without a plan or timeline, has me feeling like a cat being held above a bathtub, by a child. However, I know the less I plan, and the more I let life take me through this journey, the more I’ll expand. We grow more that way because we are forced to use our internal compass for guidance, rather than our logical brain. We step out of our comfort zone, which makes our gremlins have tantrums for an excessive amount of time that we then have to find ways to cope with. We come to realize life unfolds beautifully in retrospect, so when chaos arises, we know it will work out in the end. Taking a leap of faith comes at a cost, but growth is priceless.

This is not to say go all willy-nilly and spend your life savings gambling because your “gut” told you to. If you feel your internal compass guiding you towards something that lights you up, don’t let your gremlin shut the light off. Walk toward it with curiosity, love, and the three tips to take a leap of faith. 

How To Wake Up On The Right Side Of The Bed

pexels-photo-347135Have you ever woken up, and within five minutes of going about your day, you already feel like sucker punching everyone in the face who has the nerve to ask you a question? Just me? Great… Anyways, maybe this’ll help. 

Good morning world what a beautiful view, I’m alive another day and get to spend it with you!

Before I look in the mirror and cause a potential fright, let me take a few breaths and acknowledge what feels alright. 

Don’t pick up the phone and scroll through Facebook. Grab a nice cup of tea and head to the kitchen nook.

Hold the cup in your hands while you conjure love and appreciation. A lot of good will come even if only one minute of  dedication.

Then play something positive that makes you happy. Perhaps affirmations, a podcast or song that’s fun and snappy.

Put on an outfit that makes you feel on cloud nine. There’s no need to worry, you’re looking mighty fine.

Go in front of the mirror and strike a power pose, feel the positive energy run from your head to your toes.

Take these vibes and go on your way. I’ve got a feeling you’ll make this a merry day. 

The Best $300 I’ve Ever Spent

pexels-photo-545065I don’t care what anyone else has to say about the matter. Having a session with Rebecca Dawson, a medium, was the best $300 I’ve ever spent. Regardless of whether or not half of it was hocus pocus, though I don’t think it was, the hour long session was worth it. No candles, chants, or crystal balls, just an awesome authentic Australian chick, who channeled like she had been doing this since she popped out of the womb. 

As a result, I feel more confident with where I am and where I’m going. I feel relief. I feel clarity. I learned things about myself that I wouldn’t have been able to know otherwise. I wouldn’t have been able to get answers and clarity if I spent $300 on hair extensions and that souvenir at the Grand Canyon that I just had to have. 

Yes, we all have the answers within and blah dee blah, but getting in there to find the answers can be like trying to put on spanx, blindfolded, in heels. Not that I’ve experienced that scenario, but I’ll pass if I can help it. 

Although I would highly recommend what I did, I’m not putting this out there to turn people into a metaphysics freak like myself, or convince someone that this is what they need. Quite frankly I enjoy writing, so I’d be doing this regardless. However, there is always a purpose to what I do, and a hope it will inspire and help someone in some way. 

The moral of this post is to use your resources to enhance your soul, not your ego. It is to not fear taking chances or spending money if it is something that excites you and will enhance your wellbeing and quality of life. I feel like there should be one more sentence to sum this all up, but this post isn’t about perfection, so I’ll leave it at that. 

Wait

I’m currently waiting for a train to head back to Santa Barbara, sitting on a cement ledge as thin as my patients because some girl is letting her backpack take up the seat next to her. I’m being a little bitch and not asking if I can sit there because it looks like she’s had better days. My butt is numb, the train is delayed, and I almost let this be a negative experience. Why? Because my expectations are not meeting my reality. Because my ass has felt better before. Because I’m not being present. Because I’m letting the outside circumstances dictate my feelings.  

Instead I can choose to be productive or introspective, or pace around as I look up at the sky and marvel at the planets ability to give us another day after all the BS we put it through. 

What if we made every moment of waiting valuable? What if instead of pulling out a phone, we appreciated the good in our lives, or struck up a conversation with a friendly stranger?

We collectively have agreed that waiting is an unfortunate predicament rather than an unexpected present from the universe. If we looked at waiting as an opportunity for growth rather than an inconvenience, many moments of our lives would be spared. I’m going to make the most of this hour and a half delay. Hopefully the next time you have to wait, you can make the most of it too. 

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