Digging deep for the Lesson

One of my favorite things about the self work I’ve been doing is trying out all of the little tools and tid bits that many authors/experts share. It’s pretty empowering and awe inspiring to put one into action and see results, to really start to feel a shift. Even those that at first sound silly or daunting or even impossible can make a difference. It starts with being brave, letting go of judgements, and jumping in.

Today’s post is about one of the tools I picked up at the Mastin event a little over a week ago. Mastin spoke about how often when something bad or even something unsatisfactory happens to us, we tend to fall into the classic question: Why. Why is this happening to me, why would he/her/they do this to me, why would God let this happen? But these questions only leave us feeling victimized, and perpetuate a circle of negativity, lack, and the idea that we are not in control of our lives.

Instead, Mastin suggests to look for the lesson in the harder moments of our lives. Shifting from the victim from the empowered: what is the universe teaching me? What can I learn from this? What am I gaining?

This really resonated with me because it was a tool that I had employed once before with great results. Caroline, my life coach guru, suggested that I flip the switch on my internal dialogue about being heart broken and instead put together a list of all of the things I gained from the experience. I did just that, and really found it to be transformational— it helped me to start to let go of the helplessness and the anger, and start to look for the positive in the experience, to feel hope. At the time, it hadn’t yet come full circle that this was a tool I could use in every day life. I thought it was just something to help me release my ex. Now, I understand it can be applied to most situations to help maintain the gentle hum of faith.

So, with that in mind, I’d like to apply this tool to my previous blog post.

For a bit of background, a little over a week ago I had to travel to LA for work. LA is where I fell in love with my ex, and that experience is really the only context I have for that city. It was tough to be back there, flooded with memories that I really miss. I found myself in my hotel room that night, exhausted and sad, wondering why I was facing this experience at this moment. We had broken up a year ago almost to the day. I had worked so hard on myself, on moving on and growing forward in more ways than one. I couldn’t help but ask myself: why am I still here? Why do I still feel sad? Why am I unable to move on? Why couldn’t those wonderful experiences of my past still be in my present life?

What’s amazing: you ask for the lesson, and the universe gives it to you.

I was writing this post with the intention of working through what I thought the lesson could be, hoping that it would eventually come to me. Instead, the universe delivered a nail on the head lesson.

I ran into my ex today outside of my apartment, after a year of never having a run in in our neighborhood.

The lesson, after that, was pretty clear: I’m ready. I’m strong, I’ve grown into a really happy person, living a life that I love. And it isn’t dependent on another person, it’s dependent on me. I’ve got a good story to tell these days, and I’m no longer looking to fill voids with someone else’s accomplishments. The areas in my life in which I felt most inadequate were areas were my ex really shined, in many ways I was so proud to be with him because it helped me to fill up the places where I needed filling. Where I wished my life could be better. Now, I realize that I was never inadequate in those areas at all, and that what I have is more than enough. I’ve realized that I’ve been the person I wished I was all along, I possess the qualities that I so admired in him too.

So while it’s hard to be reminded of loving memories and feelings because I still really want these things, the truth is, the sadness is no longer tied to him. It’s the sadness of missing the experience of falling in love. And that’s an experience that I have full faith I will have again in life. In a way that is bigger than I could imagine.

One year later & facing my fears

Last night, I went to a workshop hosted by Mastin Kipp as part of the launch of his new book, Growing in Grace. I’ve been following his “blog”/spiritual guidepostings called Daily Love for a few months now, and thought it would be a good opportunity to see one of my many teachers speak in person. And, as these things tend to, the themes were right on point for what was going on in my life.

Mastin spoke a lot about the power of pulling through your fear, of being brave and moving through discomfort towards growth. The kind of growth that changes you and moves you closer to your calling. He says fear is part of the human experience, not something to be suppressed but to be sought out as a way to push ourselves further than we ever thought possible. As it turns out, today I am facing one of my fears. I am back in Los Angeles after a heartbreaking, challenging, demanding and inspiring year.

LA is where I fell in love. For me, it is a keeper of beautiful memories, where the impossible was made possible, my wildest dreams turned into reality, and where I found luck I’d never thought I could deserve. It’s a bit painful to live in those memories even now. In honesty, I’ve been petrified to come back.

So, one year later, after all of the life changing stuff that a break up brings you through… I find myself here.

I know that the universe is telling me it’s time to let go, to barrel through this fear, to make new memories and continue to forge my new life.

And as my girl Oprah says “God didn’t bring you this far just to leave you.”

I am listening. I hear you.

But, even now. My heart breaks again.

I miss it so. I miss those days, I miss falling endlessly in love, I miss feeling so damn connected and lucky. I miss the magic. And oh, was it magic. 

Even though I’m probably the happiest (uncircumstantially, anyway) I’ve ever been, I can’t quite shake that longing.

Because once you’ve had it, you know what you’re missing.

x

 

Gratitudes #14

Attitude of Gratitude time!

1. I’m finally having a night in after my vacation and lots and lots of catching up with friends. Laundry, cooking, and watching the Emmy’s never felt so good.
2. We saw a first cut of our new TV spots today, and the work is turning out amazingly. I’m really, really proud to be part of it and can’t wait to see how people react. The spots are beautiful and I think the content online will be even better.
3. Great weekend with wonderful friends. We celebrated my friend Jilly’s 30th birthday and it was a blast- hence the need to rest today. & sooooo many good pics.
4. Getting to spend time with my family yesterday- and sharing lots and lots of stories about our adventures in Europe. And beautiful weather hanging by the tiki bar.
5. I had a really nice walk home today- couldn’t find a Citi Bike unfortunately, but it ended up being really nice to just strolling, listening to music, and checking out the remains of the Union Square Green Market.
6. Early meetings = early ubers & a breezy commute. I am getting this on time thing down ;)
7. Soul night tonight- day 11 of the new 21 day meditation challenge, a new book to read, and a few writing exercises. Time to get that bliss.
8. Running into a friend on the street- and feeling really, truly authentic. I mean- how can you not be when you’re carrying 6 bags, after walking around the city for an hour? **The more I am who I really am…

xx

T-Swift Gets It (+ new Bliss Beat!)

I have been a huge fan of Taylor Swift for a long time now (old ladies who love T representing at three concerts now!), mostly because I think she’s a very talented song writer and a strong role model. She’s a breath of fresh air in an over-sexed, overly perfect world of singers exuding the traits that young women think they need to live up to to be cool, desired, & respected. And she’s damn smart.

Her songs are successful because they really resonate with a generation of women and young girls going through the things she writes about. She’s accessible. She’s had similar struggles. And most importantly, she’s authentic, and her authenticity and quirkiness are what make her universally loved. 

Shake It Off is just another example of her message: be yourself, love who you are, and you will shine brighter. Who cares what other people think, as long as you’re having fun and expressing your joy. Even if you can’t “dance,” or you’re kind of goofy, or you’re _________. You are you, and that’s who you’re here to be.

It’s a message that young girls these days really need to hear. <3

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