Bliss Inspiration: Like a Girl

If you haven’t seen it by now, Always’ new campaign #LikeaGirl is a brilliantly moving piece about the power of stereotypes in our society. As someone who works in marketing I’m always a fan of pieces that strike on a really powerful insight, especially one that can spark positive change. And female empowerment/self-esteem issues are definitely right in my wheelhouse of “Things that make me REALLY PASSIONATE.” So, yes, this video made me cry.

 

What really resonated with me is the connection it made to some of the work I’m doing in my own life. In one of the first meetings I had with Caroline, my ever-brilliant life cheerleader, we did an exercise where we rated ourselves on certain characteristics, one of which was femininity. When we got there, I was awe struck. I’d never much thought about the subject, but when it came down to it, it was clear that I didn’t seem myself as inherently feminine. Why?

Well… a laundry list of reasons. I thought that I didn’t match up to what cultural norms have defined as feminine:

1. I am not dainty, small, or graceful

2. I am head strong, could be aggressive and opinionated, and more of a ‘leader’

3. I am bold in life and love, I don’t play games, I’m not ‘coy,’ I go after what I want

4. I am not immaculately put together

5. I am not particularly “virtuous” (sorry Mom!)

So basically… I still have an idea in my head that the “ideal” woman is a 1950s Stepford wife, or at least a tiny Southern Belle waiting around for prince charming (seriously, the idea of feminity to me is like a real life Thumbalina).

Which is just. insane. It’s 2014. So much has progressed in terms of feminism and women’s rights. So why hasn’t our idea of “being feminine” changed? Why do we consider powerful women to be women exhibiting masculine qualities?

Always’ certainly hit the nail on the head with stereotypes. And I will add two more to the mix: the idea of how women can and cannot behave in the workplace and in love.

These areas are some of the most deeply ingrained in me, and some that I struggle with most deeply, especially the area of love and dating– which is where I’ll choose to focus. Women suffer many, many stereotypes around how they choose to date, how much of their real selves and real agendas they reveal, and how “far” they choose to go with the men in their lives. COUNTLESS books, articles, conversations, TV shows, movies, and more cover this topic. It’s everywhere. And it’s a ridiculous standard that makes women feel guilty, out of control, and unworthy.

As someone who truly values the importance of love and finding a monogamous partner, it scares the shit out of me that I may forever screw up my chances because I am not “following the rules” as society dictates, because I don’t act exactly as women are meant to act in courting situations. I don’t pretend to be uninterested. I don’t actively suppress my sexual needs based on how many men I’m “allowed” to sleep with per year [seriously, I know a lot of women who do]. Instead, I follow my heart, I stay true to myself, I express feelings genuinely.

And because of that, I often feel incredible guilt and anxiety. Even though I know what I’m doing is right for me, I’m afraid it’s wrong by societal standards.

Which is why I am here, writing to you and continuing my practice of love and acceptance. Because it’s time to break free of “who we’re supposed to be” and accept all of who we are.

xx

Swatting away negativity flies

I recently read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant, and wanted to share a learning that I gained from it. The book talks about the absolute power of self love, of looking at yourself with the same loving eyes you would a dear friend or family member. I’ve been working on upping my self-love quotient for some time now, and Kamal’s process really struck a chord with me. He suggests that by changing our mental loop to one of positivity and self-love, we can in essence change our lives for the positive through the law of attraction. This idea isn’t new. I’ve read it in pretty much every book I’ve sought out of late. But his suggestion is fairly radical in its simplicity. Kamal simply repeated the phrase “I love myself” over and over and over. He started a new mental loop, and though at times he struggled to believe the words he was saying, eventually his mantra began to work its magic.

This week, I decided to put Kamal’s tool into practice for myself. For me, it seemed like a particularly interesting idea to help battle the negative thoughts that fly into my brain, often multiple times per day. I’ve started to think of these thoughts as flies that need to be shooed out (or, aggressively swatted. Negativity is nothing but damaging). Many teachers suggest that consciousness is the first step to beating thoughts that don’t serve us, and I absolutely agree. So, this week I focused on being mindful when a negative thought entered my brain. Instead of dwelling on the thought or trying to dissect it, this time, I leaned on the new mantra. I silently swatted the fly away, repeating “I love myself” mentally a few times until I felt focused and present.

And let me tell you – it worked! In just a few cycles of the mantra, I was able to feel more at ease. The more I practiced, the easier it became.

This is the most conscious effort I’ve made to observe my thoughts and adjust my mental frame of mind, and it’s astounding how frequently thoughts that just aren’t helpful come into my mind. SO much more than they should, thanks mostly in part to fear and anxiety. But I’m starting to feel like I have the power to change my thought patterns. And I think it can really, really stick.

Because when it comes down to it- why spend so much time in worry? Why beat myself up for things big and small?

My most important job is to love myself. And that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to work at it. Hard.

It’s time to break free. It’s time to roll up the biggest, fattest magazine I have and whack the shit out of some flies.

Here goes nothing. xx

flyswatter

 

 

Gratitudes #9

1. I had a fantastic weekend in Montauk with some of my best friends. The weather was absolutely perfect, and our house is incredible. We have a huge porch overlooking the town with gorgeous views- it might be one of my favorite houses we’ve stayed in together. We had lots of fun adventures at some of our favorite places, but my favorite part of the weekend was sitting on the porch with (many) glasses of Rose, reminiscing about our friendships. Many of us met in a share house four years ago, and have been close ever since, adding new friends along the way. It’s such a special group to be part of and I’m particularly grateful to have such a kind, fun, and intelligent group of guy friends.

2. I get to work in the city tomorrow, which is always such a treat! And I’m very excited for the project that we’re working on.

3. Good reading material never gets old for me. I downloaded quite a few books this weekend that I’m quickly powering through, both fiction & non-fiction. I am just finishing up Mastering Manifestation, and I’m excited to put some of the learnings into practice. For me, the idea of clearing out limiting beliefs in order to open yourself up to positive manifestations and beauty in life really rings true. I really think that many of us are holding ourselves back because of damaging beliefs ingrained within us at a young age, whether by society, culture, media, religion, peers, etc. I know that even the work I’ve done in this area to date seems to have made a huge difference and I truly believe this is beneficial, whether or not it will make me a powerful creator :P

4. GREAT. MUSIC. I will be posting a lot of my favorites from the past week tomorrow. So much good stuff for thirsty ears.

5. OINTB season finale was incredible. That’s all I will say. When is Season 3 again? … worth the wait.

6. Had a chill night tonight getting back on track with laundry and cooking, working out, etc. We’re back to Montauk in a few days for the Fourth, so a catch-up day is really needed.

7. I’ve said this before but I will say it again– in-unit washer dryer: Life changing.

8. I finally cleaned out my inbox while I was on a flight to Denver last week, which is something I’ve literally never done before and let me tell you – it feels incredibly liberating. I am obsessed. Going to keep this up.

Until tomorrow, friends!

Bliss Beats: Anjunabeats vol 11

The boys behind Above & Beyond released Anjunabeats Volume 11 today, a collection of some of the most melodic, beautiful trance-ish releases of the year. Anjunabeats never disappoints, and I have high hopes for the new compilation.

Plus, nothing brightens up a rainy day like soul-soothing beats, emotional lyrics, and airy vocals.

Check it out on Spotify or grab a copy today.

xx

 

 

The Dear Abby Principle (aka universe please provide me guidance)

rumi intuition

When I first started exploring alternative spirituality, one of the first books that I read with a friend was E-squared, a collection of nine energy experiments meant to prove just how much you’re connected to and able to manipulate the energy field that is our world.

To say it was a mind-blowing experience is an understatement. I would highly recommend the book and the experiments, and doing it with a friend! It was really fun to compare notes at the end of each experiment, most of which take only 48 hours or less.

One of the principles that has really stuck with me is The Dear Abby Principle. The idea is that you have access to unlimited guidance and answers from within, and relies heavily on intuition, which is an incredibly powerful idea in itself. To access this intuition, all you need to do is basically surrender your question to the universe and trust that the answer will come.

I have to say, this is a principle that I continue to enact and see results with when I have a tough decision to make. And currently, I am facing a fairly difficult one for me. I got invited to an engagement party / welcome to NYC party by a good friend of mine, and I really want to be there to celebrate the happiness. However, my ex is going to be there too… and I don’t know if I’m ready to face him. I am really afraid of falling back down the rabbit hole of missing him, especially since I’ve made such great progress lately. I really don’t see any upside in seeing him, but I don’t want to let my friends down or miss out on their special moment. It’s a joyous occasion that I wish wasn’t in some ways tainted by the black cloud of my ex.

I’ve asked a lot of friends for advice on this, and as much as it’s really great to talk it out, I think it’s compounded my anxiety and really clouded my mind, creating a larger issue than it needs to be. So, universe, I surrender. I’m waiting for my clear, unquestionable answer.

Will report back!

xx

UPDATE: I really had to go with my gut on this one… and my gut SURPRISED ME! On Saturday I felt strong and safe enough to go, despite all of the advice against it. And well, it really worked out. I went to the party, spent about an hour there, and just as I was leaving, saw my ex from across the bar. We exchanged waves, I got out of there, and went about the rest of my evening unscathed.

It was pretty freeing to know that I could go and enjoy myself without fear, and also that I could see him and not be sent into a spiral of emotional turmoil.

So there you have it!

“What I’m studying is how much love there can be…”

 

My good friend Sap sent me this Ted Talk, and I can’t even tell you how much I loved it.

The talk really got me to thinking about my Grandfather, who is deaf and has been from a young age. He has an amazing spirit, and is very kind, thoughtful, and funny – however, I’ve always wondered about how his life would be better and how the depth of our relationship could grow were he to be able to hear. Yet, Andrew Solomun makes a great point: everyone has their own culture, in many cases because of their unique differences– and they don’t want to be “cured,” per se, they want to be accepted for who they are.

When it comes down to it, isn’t that true for all of us? We want to be embraced for who we are at our core, not ‘fixed’ and freed from our flaws. What makes us different brings light to all of the beauty around us, and teaches profound lessons in acceptance. One size does not fit all.

And as Andrew put it, “diversity of family strengthens the eco-system of kindness.”

Gratitudes #8

I haven’t expressed my gratitudes in a bit, and I definitely am beginning to notice how easy it is to slip out of bliss mode without a gratitude practice.

So, back on the gratitude train we go! Here are my gratitudes for this week, so far.

1. Today was a beautiful day- the sun was shining, and I got out of the city for a few hours and spent some time sitting in my parents’ backyard. I’m not typically incredibly attuned to nature, but since starting my meditation practice, have been more mindful of our surroundings. My parents’ backyard looked so gorgeous today- lush, green, and budding. It was beautiful to see.

2. So many great new songs and sets this week! A few of my favorites:

  • New Epic Radio
  • Porter Robinson’s new song Sad Machine is anything but- euphoric and gorgeous. I can’t WAIT for his new album.
  • NERO is back – and still dark, sultry, and heavy on the bass. Loving Satisfy.

3. My friends had a wonderful engagement party / housewarming last night, and there was so much love all around the room. I love being part of special moments like that. + we had a blast.

4. I did something today that I never thought I’d do – yoga in my apartment. Doesn’t sound too revolutionary, but there is something about the idea of doing yoga in your own apartment that always felt like it wouldn’t possibly feel like a good workout. It takes a lot for me to break my exercise “rules,” one of which is that exercise time has to be heavy on cardio and in a gym environment. So, I was proud to give myself permission to try something different. And it was great! The video that I did was rigorous and I really enjoyed it. And it helped me mix it up (I’d spent the past few days running on the treadmill and could feel my body needed a break) without having to plan around a class time. I’ve obviously only tried one service, but since I’ve been to their studios in real life, I feel like I can confidently vouch for My Yoga Works online.

5. NEW MAD MEN TONIGHT. Enough said.

6. Dating has been getting to be a lot more fun and a lot less stressful. My life coach put it best – approach dating like you just want to see [who the other person is] and be seen yourself. It’s really opened up my perspective and helped me to shut off the need to worry about “pleasing/perfecting” and whether or not he is interested in me. It’s much more about mutually understanding who the other person is and deciding if there could be something there.

7. I had a great week away for work last week, but it was also EXHAUSTING and I was really craving alone time by the end. I got to catch up on a lot of sleep this weekend, and also get some necessary ‘me time’ in.

 

On that note, it’s time for Mad Men!

Wishing you a blissful start to your week.