What Inspires Change?

Last night’s book club was a success!  Although I took the wrong bus to Arlington (silly me), I serendipitously got off at Spy Pond, a place I often frequented when I lived in the neighborhood.  It was a good omen to remember how far I’ve come this past year, and how much has changed- inside and out.  The sun shined on the bright blue water, and I legitimately enjoyed my mile-long walk in the freezing cold.  Ah, what a time to be alive.

Once I arrived, I was greeted by Clarissa the cat and a basket of slippers. “The Nest,” my first home in Boston, is lovingly referred to as “the house of healing hearts-” and it lives up to the name.  There’s no warmer, cozier house full of hospitality and love.  Brenda certainly makes anyone in her home feel like it’s their own, and I will forever be grateful for The Nest being one of my first Massachusetts experiences.

Brenda was cutting up veggies and cheese when I arrived, and soon after April strolled in.  An all-around inspiration, April is an emotional health consultant and author- and after reading her book last year, I became much more aware of my own shift in consciousness.  One of her Facebook posts even inspired me to write this piece last summer.

One by one, ladies showed up to discuss the very appropriate book of the night: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck.

Although we didn’t have many negative things to say, some of the ladies felt it was repetitive, a bit entitled, and wondered why someone our own age was at liberty to give us advice.  I played devil’s advocate, however, and chimed in:

“Isn’t it better to learn these things now than much later in life?  Think about how many people in this world who will never learn these simple concepts.  They carry on, miserably, forever giving far too many fucks.”

Most of the girls agreed with me.  Sure, much of the book was full of common sense, but as many of us know, common sense is not so common.

We discussed the ornery coupon queen to the narcissistic serial entrepreneur who never accomplishes anything.  We talked about how the smallest things, such as a 30 cent coupon, could ruin someone’s entire day- because the coupons are what has meaning to that particular person.

Then, we carried on to discuss what has enough meaning in our lives to make the suffering worthwhile.  That was a very interesting question- what is worth fighting for?  What isn’t worth giving a f about?  Why would make ourselves suffer due to things that don’t even have meaning in our lives- such as traffic, a coworker giving you a weird look, or what your third cousin thinks of your new boyfriend?  Why do we search for problems when everything is perfectly fine?

My favorite quote in the book was this:

“Suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

That’s a very interesting thought.

Two years ago, everything was seemingly fine in New York City.  However, shit hit the fan very quickly- I watched it all crumble within a couple of weeks that July.

If my life would had been as wonderful as I hoped for it to be prior to moving to Boston (I think I was in denial that it ever was wonderful in New York), I never would have ended up here.  Had I not struggled, I wouldn’t have had the courage to make that big life change.  Had I not failed at what I thought I wanted, I never would have been lead into a completely new direction- one that gives me purpose, inspires passion, and has meaning.

Finally.  Meaning.

Prior to moving, I didn’t just have discontentment with my outside situation- it was mostly within myself.  As soon as I began to take ownership of who I was- not who I was trying to be- things began to get better.  Sure, I suffered through the uncomfortable moments of being myself- which inevitably pushed people who weren’t in alignment with me away- yet once the suffering was over, my life began to clear, and I was able to begin building again.

Thinking about the first few months of writing this blog is truly mind-boggling to me.  I was feeding myself a plethora of information- from self-help books to endless YouTube videos, I wrote every single day during 2017, still trying to figure myself out.  I blogged, I journaled, I painted.  I created a couple of other websites and came up with new ideas.  I worked a few different jobs.  I spent the year re-learning who Kristin is.

Although the growing never ends, I’m glad my suffering has.  Sure, we’ll always face both minor and major struggles along the way, but the hard part- the caterpillar trying to break out of the cocoon- is over.  I’ve finally broke out of the trap I created for myself, saw the light, and found my wings.

Returning to The Nest brings back all kinds of old feelings- relief, a sense of acceptance, feeling loved, and most of all, starting to finally love and accept myself.  The “house of healing hearts” certainly helped me get back on my feet, and I wholeheartedly agree with Mark Manson- “suffering is nature’s agent for inspiring change.”

Giving Too Many F’s

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.”

That brings me to the book of the month: “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.”

Now, what does this have to do with me and my sudden change of heart about Book Club?

Everything.

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.

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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? 😉 ).