Yesterday wasn’t anything out of the ordinary- yet it was a delightful Saturday afternoon.
It was one of those sunny, frigid December days; the type of day when you need sunglasses and gloves. With my notebook and planner in hand, I crept into a cafe for coffee and a warm place to write.
I spotted an empty seat by the window and hoped it would still be there by the time I ordered my drink. However, not only did I notice the empty seat- I noticed a familiar face at the spot next to what I hoped to be mine.
I remembered this person from the summer- we had sat next to each other at the window on the opposite side of the cafe. Just like me, he seemed to prefer the window seats- and just like the time before, I had my journal, planner, and black coffee.
We said a few words this time- chatting about the cold weather, our birthdays, and the dark winter days. He offered me his New Yorker magazine after writing in silence, looking out the window, and sipping warm drinks.
You always wonder what will come out of something like this; you wonder what the stranger sitting next to you will say, what they’ll do, or if you will ever see them again.
However, Saturday afternoon was perfect; because sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to quietly sit with.
As I walked through the Harvard Coop the other day, I passed the self-help section for inspiration. Per usual, something stuck out:
Just when I needed it, this book struck me (and now I’m #1 on the waiting list to check it out at the library… more thoughts on it to follow!).
Over the past few months I have been working on setting healthy boundaries, staying in my own lane, and speaking my mind without cowering down. Not only have I been attracting people who have been in alignment with my values, people at a lower vibration haven’t been approaching me as often. Some people in my life have even thanked me for my honesty; I’ve shared things they may not have said themselves and have helped to inspire them to be a little bit more transparent.
Although I’ve never thought of it this way, it’s a courageous act to put an end to relentless people pleasing. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “What other people think of me is none of my business. One of the highest places you can get to is being independent of the good opinions of other people.”
If I were to walk into a room with 10 people, there would be 10 different opinions of me. Do I need to take each one to heart? Do I need to conform to please each and every one of these people?
Of course not- that would be silly.
One of the biggest freedoms I have found is being happy within my own skin, independent of what the outside world has to say. One of my biggest joys is to connect with other people on a deeper, meaningful level, but it’s not possible to please everyone.
First, you must be comfortable within your own truth.
I recently connected with a hypnotherapist in Cambridge who had me on his community TV show these past two weeks. I know what you may be thinking- you went on television and were hypnotized? Were you conscious? Did you do something weird?
Let me assure you, it wasn’t a scary or strange experience at all- it was actually quite to opposite! We met beforehand to discuss the blocks that have held me back- such as self doubt, limited beliefs, and worries.
On the most recent show, we focused on blocks with money, abundance, and living a fulfilled life. For the first half hour of the show he asked me questions about what my world would look like if I didn’t have these blocks. He wanted me to share what I want my life to look like, not the limited life I thought I could manage or the life I deserved.
I was still holding myself back even when daydreaming about my ideal world!
It was amazing to learn how my own words or thoughts were preventing me from abundance. Once I learned this, he noticed how my face lit up when I talked about living on the beach, writing, being able to fly across the country on a whim to visit friends, and helping people through my work. There was a major shift when I realized I was still thinking negatively about my potential.
It’s an abundant world- and we all deserve and are able to live our very best life of happiness and fulfillment.
Instead focusing on the things we don’t want, we all need to learn to reframe our language to focus on the things we do.
This is a huge lesson for all of us. From limiting myself to thinking about what I thought I could manage in my life, he helped me expand my thoughts through imagining a beautiful, fulfilled world.
The video will be on YouTube soon, and I will be sure to share! Although it’s only been a day, I already feel lighter, more positive, and optimistic about the days ahead.
It’s an abundant universe- we just have to remember to keep thinking positive, believe in ourselves, and accept the gifts life brings our way.✨
When we believe in ourselves, the world around us will believe in us, too- so try not to limit your potential. You’re worth it!
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.
Tonight I have Book Club- the first Book Club of my life that I willingly decided to go to.
My friend and old roommate, Brenda, coordinates a monthly gathering with a group of her friends. Like any book club, they chat about life, nibble on snacks, and discuss the book, of course. Last year, when I was still new to Boston, I was hesitant to join groups or get involved with activities while I was “figuring things out.” It took me a long time to feel like meeting new people; it’s never fun to chat with a group of seemingly together human beings, all while thinking, “what the hell am I doing with my life?”
A year has gone by and I’ve been feeling better than ever. Honestly, too- no more putting on a happy face for the sake of appeasing others. I’m no longer insecure about where my life is headed, and I’m no longer shy about expressing what I want out of life- even when it’s drastically different than the norm. As I meet new people, my honesty gets bolder and bolder, and like Brenda would say, “there’s no such thing as too much information.”
Now, what does this have to do with me and my sudden change of heart about Book Club?
When I moved to Boston I gave too many fucks. Too many f’s about what people thought about me, too many f’s about whether I was happy with my job or not, too many f’s about whether I should go out with that guy on Tinder. I gave too many f’s about whether or not my family approved of me, about the things I did when I drank, how I looked in that picture someone posted on Facebook, or whether or not the blacks in my outfit matched close enough.
I gave too many fucks about everything.
When I started this blog, I didn’t have much. I didn’t have the job I have now, the apartment, the friends, or the peace of mind. But I did have one thing- fearlessness.
I had enough ups and downs, mistakes, failures, and embarrassing moments to be shamelessly vulnerable. So, with three packed bags and nothing to lose, Mindful in Style was born in my little Airbnb.
A couple of days later, I got my first job in Boston and met Brenda.
It didn’t take me long to get back on my feet, but it definitely took some time to feel comfortable in my own skin, even though I was putting my heart and soul into my blog. I still questioned myself as I pressed “publish” and second guessed myself quite often along the way- but I kept writing.
But today, I really don’t give a F what other people have to say.
Things will fall into place no matter what- the difference is, how are you reacting to life in the meantime? Are you giving too many F’s and putting your energy toward things that don’t really matter? Are you following the crowd even though it doesn’t make your heart happy? Are you worrying for the sake of worrying?
Needless to say, things in my life have changed a lot- but it began with my mindset. Would life be as great today if I had continued to give too many F’s? Nope, I don’t think they would be.
So tonight I’ll head back to my first Boston home- The Nest- and share my own experience with giving too many fucks, fearlessness, and the power of vulnerability. Today, I’m no longer shy to share my experience with new people; in fact, I am excited see who connects with my story. Book club is no longer something to avoid, but something to embrace- just like my own vulnerability.
In other news, it’s the Red Sox Opening Day! I’m wearing my Sox gear to work to support The Jimmy Fund. I may be a Giants fan, but I still can love the Sox (and why would anyone give a F? 😉 ).
While running errands over the weekend I passed one of best things about Central Square- Graffiti Alley. Although it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s some of my favorite street art in the city. Every time I walk through the magical rainbow covered walls, I notice something new. What did this mean to the artist? What were they thinking?
Then, as I reflected on purpose and meaning, I stumbled on this message today:
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose. To me, purpose doesn’t have to be something grand or extravagant, but it has to be meaningful.
Purpose is what fills your soul and makes your day worthwhile. Purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning.
Graffiti Alley made me think about my own purpose- speaking to others through my own writing and art. It’s only natural for any writer or artist to fear rejection, criticism, or naysayers- however, the purpose of my work is to connect with those who understand.
Art tells a story, whether it’s a mural or a song. Although not everyone will understand the work an artist shares with the world, the art can have immense meaning; meaning that is unique to each individual.
Each time I receive an email from a person who relates to my struggles, has walked in my shoes, or needs someone to vent to, I am both overjoyed and humbled. Connecting with others on a deeper level means everything to me. From being a young girl who was bullied in school to someone who can be the voice to stand up for others, I wouldn’t want to be liked by everyone.
I would rather connect with one person on a meaningful level than 100 people for something shallow.
So, the next time I walk through Graffiti Alley, I’ll ponder the thought that went into each splatter of paint, brush stroke, and word. We may not understand the meaning that went into the art, but remember: it could mean the world to someone.