Life has been a bit of a rollercoaster the past two weeks.
Maybe it was the eclipse. Maybe it was because I was rushing around to find a new apartment for September, or because I slipped and hurt my chin. It could have been misplacing my phone for three days and feeling completely disconnected, or because of my work uncertainty. I realized I’ve been moving too fast, forgetting what is important- the moment.
I got off-center and realized that my life was dependent on what was happening on the outside, not the inside. Yet, the good far outweighed the bad.
My mother visited, my phone was returned to me by a kind stranger, I found a steady gig for a couple of weeks and I got to see Lionel Richie in concert. Still, I had a strange, uneasy feeling. Despite learning to communicate with the world through other methods than my phone, and despite finding a wonderful, zen place to move into, I kept thinking- “what’s next?”
Then, I stopped. I wasn’t focusing on the moment and all that I had to be grateful for. So, I made a gratitude list and meditated. I revisited a few of my old blog posts and connected with nature.
Last night I met a dear friend for dinner. She always is full of wisdom and helps to ground me, especially in moments where I feel completely lost. She is the person in Boston I would call in an emergency, and I know she would be right there for me.
Upon telling her all about my adventures, mishaps and good fortune these past two weeks, she said something very wise:
“Your journey is about self acceptance, not self improvement. You are okay exactly how you are.”
Her words made me stop and think. Yes. She told me to be kind to myself. She told me that I am okay even when I feel criticized, ashamed, uncomfortable.
Honor the uncomfortable feeling, then give yourself a warm pat on the back. “Self, I am okay. I am safe. I am loved.”
We are so quick to forget all of our blessings and to focus on the future. The past two weeks have been an amazing reminder for me to reset, write down my gratitudes, and love a very special person: myself.
I love a new week! With feelings of optimism and peace, I am looking forward to what each day brings- and I’m not worried about the unknown.
Every Monday I enjoy getting coffee, going to the park and embracing the beauty around me. As I thought about what I have planned for the day and the week ahead, I stopped and remembered the importance of going with the flow. Often times we can get so caught up in our own plans that we don’t recognize the messages the universe sends about other plans and opportunities.
These past few months have given me many opportunities to practice being more mindful- with many uncertainties about what lies ahead, it’s been crucial for me to enjoy the moment and take time to just be.
Just last week I was feeling a little unsettled about my routine, but after enjoying a day at the beach and meditating on my intentions, I received a phone call about a new opportunity. It just goes to show that worrying didn’t serve me- having faith, putting in the work and going with the flow was all I needed.
While there’s still uncertainty, I’ve let go of fear. I’ve been through transitions before, and life has always worked itself out in the end. Taking time to connect, recharge, and care for yourself is so important when going through changes- even though we may want to control every outcome. Instead of wasting my energy feeling nervous, I’m enjoying this time of peace, walks by the harbor, and grounding myself in nature. The universe already knows what is in store for me, so I’ll embrace the moment and welcome the next opportunity that comes my way.
In a world full of so many distractions, it can become difficult to stay conscious of your mind, body, and spirit. Constant running, going and doing has left us feeling irritated, incomplete, flustered and alone.
This morning I saw a post by the inspirational April Adams, who has helped me over the past several months through her book, online advice, and messages of hope.
“If you’re tired of being overwhelmed by feeling other people’s stuff, clear your own stuff (traumas, fears, triggers…). Then you won’t resonate with the lower frequencies anymore and it won’t bother you like it did. Go forth and be free.”
This got me thinking; how can we be free?
Raising your vibration is the first step to clearing your mind and connecting with your higher self. Enlightenment and connecting with my own spirituality has completely changed my life, perspective, and overall happiness. This is a new concept for many people, but in a world of hustle and bustle, it’s important for me to share the simple ways that you, too, can live a more peaceful, free life.
Live beautifully. Enjoying the simple things in the world around me has made my life so much fuller. I started becoming more conscious of my surroundings while living in New York City, where life seemed to pass by quicker than I could enjoy it. Amidst getting pushed through the city sidewalks and squeezing into a sweaty subway, I found solace in Central Park, beauty in buildings, and peace by the river. Slowing down and observing the world may be difficult, but there is beauty all around us.
Become conscious of your thoughts. I can easily fall into old thinking patterns. When someone annoys me or life doesn’t go my way, I become grouchy, negative and selfish. It has become much easier for me to catch myself when I’m thinking negatively about other people and situations; instead, I try and think with compassion. This is not easy, but there’s a power in positive thinking. If you continue to think negatively, negative things will come your way. If you think, “today will be horrible” or “I’m going to miss the train,” chances are, those things will happen to you. Alternatively, if you start your day with a positive mind, positive things will come your way.
Meditate. This one can be difficult, but once you are able to sit still and focus on your breath, you’ll discover that the benefits are huge. I never understood meditation or why I should do it until the first time I felt the “tinglies.” This can be a bit tricky to explain! I used to look to people, chemicals, or activities to feel a physical and mental sense of peace, but once I found it in meditation and a connection to my higher self, I didn’t want to stop! Once I truly learned how to meditate, an overwhelming sense of warmth and comfort came over me. I finally understood what it meant to connect to my higher self! Meditation is how I start every day, but I often meditate before bed, at the park during lunch, or sometimes I simply close my eyes on the train to re-center myself on my daily commute.
Make a gratitude list. I never go a day without writing down what I am grateful for. I’ve had many stressful situations over the past couple of weeks; I’m looking for a new apartment, I’ve experienced job changes, and to top it off, I have my own personal issues. Sometimes it feels like the walls are crashing down on me. However, there’s much more to be grateful for than to be upset about. I write down simple joys, from my morning coffee to a meaningful conversation that I had with a friend. Once you start writing down your gratitudes, you’ll realize there’s much more to be thankful for than to be discouraged about.
Focus on physical health. This includes eating right, drinking plenty of water, avoiding toxins and staying active. I didn’t realize how negatively alcohol, caffeine, lack of sleep, and diet impacted my life. I used to “push through” the day, not listening to my body when I was hungry and jittery. The first step to being mindful is to pay attention to what your body is telling you!
If you want to read more about awakening, enlightenment and consciousness, I recommend taking a look at Conscious Life News. There are some wonderful resources to help guide you along your own spiritual journey!
The smell of fresh air, the sounds of seagulls, the waves along the shore. Upon arriving to the beach, I breathed an instant sigh of relief and felt a sense of peace. Loud trains, cars and city smells disappeared as I approached the ocean, sand in my toes and sun in my face.
I knew the ocean was my home.
I’ve been trapped in fields of green and inside old brick walls. Trapped among the hustle, the rules, the restrictions and the judgement. I have felt stuck for so long, yet as I flew into Massachusetts and first saw the shore that cold December morning, there was something here waiting for me.
Something has been waiting all along, yet it is something I have yet to discover. The water brings me security and makes me realize that I am where I belong.
I no longer have to think in black and white, or view the world as others do- I can find my own happiness wherever I go.
No longer feeling stuck, I know I am free along the shore, and my words float onto my notebook like a boat in the wind. Today, I can go with the flow, breathe in the saltwater air and know that the best is yet to come.
I used to be one of those people who saw something on sale and bought it in every color. When I found a dress, pair of pants or top I loved, I would do the same- the more, the better! I would mindlessly shop on a Saturday and search the sale racks for things I didn’t need, but were “too good to pass up.”
My closet was full, my dresser drawers were breaking, and I couldn’t even account for most of my shoes. I forgot about things I owned, left the tags on multiple items and constantly took things to consignment stores- only to buy more.
It was insanity.
I vividly remember packing up my childhood house prior to my mother putting it on the market. I was on my way to start a new life in New York City, blindly moving into an Upper West Side apartment with one closet. Obviously, I thought it was necessary to pack everything I owned and send it on over. Endless boxes and several luggages later, I had an overflowing closet full of everything I could possibly need- yet only stuck to a few pieces.
I had purses in every color, shape and size. I had shoes I never wore. Don’t even get me started on the “seasonal” items that barely saw the light of day.
During my time in New York, I moved twice and got rid of a lot. Some of the pieces I sold broke my heart, but I needed the money more than I needed the fashion statement. I started by selling the old pieces I didn’t feel great in and the navy items that clashed with my everyday blacks. I started to realize that over the years my style has remained the same: classic, minimal, and grey scale.
Yes, there are many ways to dress up a basic ensemble. I also learned that the costume jewelry, uncomfortable heels and impractical handbags only took up space and weren’t necessary for me to complete “the look.”
It was time to embrace minimalism.
Now, I’m not one of those people who counts the number of pieces I own or commits to getting rid of two items when I bring in one- no. I believe life is all about balance. However, I stick to a look yet have only a few items that are outliers (a green dress, a bright bag, or a chunky necklace).
Thinking about decluttering and discovering your signature look? Here’s a few questions to ask yourself to get started.
What do I feel best in?
I have a lot of black tank tops and leggings. They’re versatile and practical, whether dressing up or down. I believe in quality over quantity, so I find a brand I like and toss them when they start getting old.
Whether going out with friends or running errands, I love a basic black dress. I have many. Sundresses, work dresses, everyday dresses. People often ask me why I get dressed up, and my response is simple: “I’m only throwing on one thing. It’s easy.” No effort, yet I feel chic and polished. It doesn’t get much better than that (oh yes- and my favorite black dress was $8 and from H&M. No one would ever guess).
What do I really wear?
Going back to leggings, this brings me to jeans. I can’t stand them. I stand at a petite 5’3, so it’s a challenge finding jeans that both fit and feel comfortable. I would much rather wear an oversized shirt or throw a long tank over my leggings instead of feeling restricted in jeans. I only own two pairs as of today.
Jewelry was a big thing for me, too. Most of my jewelry is simple or sentimental, and all of the other boxes and bags of statement pieces gathered dust. I stopped buying cheap, and started thinking practical.
What colors do I gravitate toward?
It’s clear I prefer blacks, whites and greys, but I also like pops of color. My favorites are red and green. I don’t restrict myself to these colors, but the majority of my wardrobe can be worn interchangeably with all of my pieces. It’s like a game of mix and match.
I remember how proud of myself I was when I packed for a trip home for the holidays. Everything I wore worked together. Boots, flats, leggings, skirts, tops, dresses. This was when I had my “a-ha” moment- I realized I didn’t really need as much as I owned.
What brands suit my style and budget?
I got on a Henri Bendel handbag and jewelry kick while living in New York. They always have amazing sales, so I enjoy getting a new handbag or monogrammed tote every season or two. I also have stayed true to budget brands such as H&M, Old Navy and ASOS, who year after year come out with little black dresses and basic pieces that fit me. Gap is one of the only brands that consistently has “short” jeans that fit me- I just pick up the number, hit the register and go- I don’t have to waste any time, and I know that they’ll fit.
It’s great to discover new brands, but also important to know your body and your style- whatever your budget may be.
I don’t like to spend a lot of money on clothing items (I’d rather splurge and buy nice shoes or a bag), as I have a tendency to spill coffee or sit on something that may stain- yet another reason I wear a lot of black. City life can also do a number on your clothing, so I try to avoid getting myself into a situation where I ruin a $200 top that I couldn’t afford in the first place.
As I reflect on my path from excessive spending and hoarding to getting a rush from cleaning out my closet, I am grateful to lose fashion FOMO. I used to constantly compare myself to fashion magazines, women around me and the latest trends, but now I wouldn’t trade my signature style for any other.
Being happy within yourself, and your outfit, is one of the greatest gifts of all- minimalist or not. ❤️
Yesterday I ventured north to enjoy my very first “beach day” of the summer. Revere Beach was the first public beach in America, which I learned when looking it up for reviews and directions on the T.
After an easy blue line trip from the State stop, I found myself seaside. Although it’s much different than the pristine Lake Michigan beaches I’m used to, I found serenity in the shore.
I was feeling anxious and unsettled that morning. I called my mother on my way to an appointment, wondering when life would “settle down.” Over the past decade I have been constantly moving, changing things and trying to find myself.
When will life just get easier?
There’s no doubt that the ups and downs life has thrown at me (some my own fault, some by chance) have made me strong; but I can’t help but wonder, “when will I be able to finally stand still?”
I’ve traditionally looked to relationships, jobs and moves to give me stability, but I’ve learned that the only true stability is within myself and my spiritual connection. Life will always throw curveballs, but it’s how you handle it that will give you strength and character.
After a couple of hours at the beach, I felt a few rain drops. It was time to go. I got caught in the rain on my way home, which felt appropriate, cleansing and comforting. I stopped by the library to pick up a book that was on hold for me (“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron) and did some work on the computer. My beach trip left me feeling much calmer, more positive and hopeful.
The rain carried on through the night, symbolizing a fresh start and a sense of peace. I recently read that fear and uncertainty paves the way for positive changes, and that my prayers are being answered in ways I would never expect.
Although I may not have the answers today, I have faith that they will divinely unfold when it is time. Until then, I’ll continue to find serenity in the shore and in the beauty around me.