There’s something magical about the smell of spring air.
Listening to the birds chirp, the sound of the waves, and the warm breeze hit the leaves takes me back to the same feeling of wonder and excitement as I did growing up.
During this reset, I’ve been looking back on the person I was before I let the world start to shape me. How did I feel on those warm spring days playing along the bay? What excited me to get up and run out to the backyard in the morning?
In the days before cell phones and the internet, we learned how to have fun on our own- and we had a lot less anxiety.
As I look back on a simpler time, I can’t help but wonder, why not always live this way? Why not incorporate more balance into everyday life even when the world starts up again?
Although we have the world at our fingertips, we will miss what’s right in front of us if we don’t pause to see it.
Our minds race each and every day. That problem I had last week? I’ve already forgotten about it. The worries I have today? They’re going to be resolved effortlessly.
Our higher power speaks through other people, but sometimes our egos don’t stop and listen. Meditation is a huge part of my daily life, but I often forget to ask for help. Sitting by myself has its purpose, but connection with people is equally important.
Since being home, I have had an amazing time reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. I’m so grateful to have realized I am loved, cared about, and can give my love back to them in return.
This is a whole new chapter, and I choose to listen to the birds, not the thunder in my mind.
The older I get, the more I enjoy time to myself, strolling the streets, and taking in all the beauty around me.
As a city dweller, it’s easy to become conditioned to more- more action, more material things, and more excitement. However, with so much to see and so many beautiful things to take in, it doesn’t take any money or resources to have a wonderful day- just simple awareness.
I’m grateful to be able to stop and smell the roses- with a little mindfulness and gratitude, you’ll see that the simple pleasures in life truly are the best.
In an effort to add some excitement to my morning walk to work, I took an unusual turn. Instead of walking down the same street, looking at the same storefronts and sights, a little voice in my head told me to do something different today.
As I strolled down the tree lined street, I noticed something shiny on the ground. I walked toward it, noticed it was a notebook, and picked it up- wet and all. Wiping off the morning dew, I opened it, expecting it to be filled out; left on the sidewalk as trash.
It was brand new.
Not only were the pages blank, but it matched my aesthetic: blank and rose gold, complete with a heart.
I thought about the feminine design, symbolizing my own willingness to open my heart- and to open to a new page.
We may hold onto the past or regret decisions we have made, but every twist, turn, and detour has a deeper purpose. These turns may have an unexpected outcome or a beautiful surprise, but when we live in the present moment, we will discover an important lesson:
Our true purpose is to live in the joy of our everyday journey.
Sometimes we just have to start our day off a little differently and be open to what comes our way.
Mental strength is not something we are taught in school. We’re advised to get good grades, earn accolades, attend a good college, and find a suitable career upon graduation. Most graduates don’t even have the opportunity to work in the field they studied, let alone pursue a degree in a subject they’re passionate about.
Students listen to their parents, societal expectations, and those who came before them. “Go into finance,” “work your way to the top,” and “lean in” are the messages we hear as we try our best to make a living for ourselves. Our best doesn’t seem good enough, leaving many anxious, depressed, and doubtful.
Who is actually encouraged to be authentic? At what point in our lives are we advised to be mentally strong?
Success comes in many forms, but to me, true success is learning to embody being true to ourselves, not what society tells us we “should” be.
We’re given hearts, souls, and dreams for a reason; why would we sell them to corporate America?
I’m currently 33 years old and have lived in Metro Detroit, San Francisco, Austin, New York City, and Boston as a young professional. I searched near and far to find happiness and success, yet I kept running from myself because I could never seem to find my place.
I didn’t stop to explore the big question of “what is fulfillment?” until I left New York in July of 2016. I purged my fashion blogger / PR girl wardrobe, abandoned my Astoria apartment, and sent boxes home to Michigan. I spent that summer living simply at a family lake house, finally learning the real meaning of “mindfulness.”
Instead of racing to the top, I began to dig deep.
Although each profession has a purpose, it’s the ego and greed attached to certain people or positions that irks me. Earning a big paycheck doesn’t make a person strong; what would they do without it? What type of person are they without the title attached to their name?
It’s easy to hide behind a career, wealth, or a facade; but the true accomplishment is knowing who you are on the inside. It takes mental strength to believe in one’s self; yet when you realize you are already enough, the world becomes much brighter, and much more hopeful.
These days I am no longer impatient about waiting.
It took 33 years for me to learn patience; idle time gives you a moment of peace to reflect, breathe, and notice the world around you.
As I write in my notebook and enjoy the sunshine on my shoulders, I’m full of gratitude for the world around me. This is a drastic change from my former anxious, nervous self. I used to expect doom, but now I expect miracles.
Those miracles come in many forms. It could be a phone call from a friend I was just thinking of, the kindness of a stranger, or finding a small treasure on the street (this happens to me often!).
Miracles are all around us- we just have to stop, remain present, and connect with both the universe and the world around us.
When you’re more mindful, the universe delivers magical, meaningful moments. I hope you are able to stop and smell the roses today, enjoy the moment, and see life in rose colored glasses. 🌹
There comes a day when you stop letting the outside world trick you into thinking there is only one way to life, security, happiness, and success.
A lovely friend of mine, a neurologist in Cambridge, described the city perfectly to me once:
“Cambridge: where everyone thinks they’re a ‘renegade.'”
I had only been in Boston for a few months, so I hadn’t yet gotten an impression of the people or the culture. However, I liked this idea, and I certainly loved Cambridge.
Although I used to wish I had taken a traditional path (or at least a “laid out” one) I realize now through listening to others that it wouldn’t have been right for me. I have spent the past 11 years trying to “fit” the mold; city to city, job to job, relationship to relationship. It was a struggle trying to fit this square peg in a round hole.
I had simply assumed by speaking with her, the grounded and successful woman she is, that she must have had an easier path than mine. That things came naturally to her. That she followed her heart when making her career choice. However, upon knowing her better, I learned that it wasn’t her choice to become a doctor; it was her father’s.
I met this woman April of 2017, and she played an instrumental role helping me learn I am enough. She said to me, over and over, that I am fine just as I am.
I didn’t realize what she meant until now.
As my life came together, fell apart, and came back together time and time again back in the summer of 2017, my friend (who I just visited in NYC) also reminded me of how strong I am. Although I felt hopeless at times, she saw the light in me. She recognized my strengths. She helped me see my own light; and in turn, I have been able to do the same for her.
It’s interesting how we can get down on ourselves so easily, yet we are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.
Now, let’s go back to the idea of a “renegade.”
This made me laugh.
However, much of our society blindly follows the unwritten rules the “patriarchy” laid out years ago, without question.
I can’t imagine living an existence where I don’t question these rules.
As I began to step into my authentic self, I stood up to “the man.” I have ignored their sexist comments. I have ignored people telling me I can’t do things. I have been independent.
Perhaps this does make me a “renegade.”
Over the years I thought about what society wanted me to do; or at least, what those around me expected. I thought that if I got an advanced degree, a certain job, or had impressive credentials, I would please others.
But why did I care about pleasing the patriarchy?
I wasn’t pleasing myself.
As I have let the ideas of what other people “expect” from me, I realize that I wasn’t doing anyone any good. I wasn’t happy in relationships or jobs where I couldn’t be myself. I wasn’t succeeding in roles that didn’t align with my talents. I felt anxiety in environments I forced myself to be in.
As my spiritual practice and confidence grows, the more I realize that manmade rules are simply tricks to give others power.
We have all the power we need within ourselves.
The more fearlessly honest I am, the more gifts have appeared in my life. I’ve been published in places I never dreamed to see my work, I’ve received heartfelt letters from readers who didn’t know who else to turn to, and I’ve gotten the opportunity (and blessing) to find inner peace, joy, and empowerment through my authenticity.
I used to water down my personality to “fit in.” That didn’t serve anyone. Today, I refuse to play a role in society; I will live my truth.
I came to this earth for a reason; and that reason wasn’t to follow the patriarchy, let someone scare me into doing things their way, or let others take my power.
My reason was to help others realize they, too, can fearlessly spread their wings and fly.
I have heard a lot of thoughts regarding the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain this past week. The most common is, “they had everything” or “their lives looked so wonderful.”
I have a lot of feelings about this.
Those with depression aren’t necessarily the ones venting on Facebook or complaining at work. They’re not the ones who have bad luck, draw the wrong cards, or seem down and out. Those with depression are often the people who smile, entertain, write, inspire, and laugh- all to cope. They put on a face of strength. They try to block out the bad. But, sometimes, it’s all too much.
Happiness doesn’t come through wealth, vacations, relationships, or fame. Happiness is within your soul.
Without being fulfilled on the inside, the outside does not matter. I started my blog after getting help in 2016, and I am happy to say I did not let my pride, reputation, or others sway me into avoiding it or sharing my story. Instead, I learned that vulnerability only benefits others. I don’t care if people judge me for sharing- if I can help one person, it’s worth it.
The world will not be the same without these two individuals who were both such inspirations and role models to me. I can only hope they are finally at peace.