Categories
empowerment

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.”

Categories
conscious living self discovery

Choosing Grace, Not Aggression

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“I want peace. I want to see if somewhere there isn’t something left in life of charm and grace.” -Margaret Mitchell

Life sure is funny.  Just when I was beginning to feel strong standing on my own two feet, the universe threw me a curve ball to test (and strengthen) my skills and strength.

This past weekend was challenging.  Despite the joy I was experiencing, the wonderful community I have found and my own practice of self care, outside forces triggered past pain and emotions- and this scared me.  Instead of self destructing as I have in the past, I took a deep breath, sat on a bench and called a friend.

Setting healthy boundaries has been a huge part of my own happiness and recovery, as I have experienced insecurities, pain and fear due to the messages I have received throughout my life.  This includes family members, teachers, peers, boyfriends and even public figures.  I have consistently questioned my worth, second guessed myself and backed down when I began to achieve some form of success.  I had no confidence- if what I was doing wasn’t “perfect” it wasn’t worth doing.  My self esteem and foundation were always a bit rocky, but old feelings of fear crept up on me when someone’s criticism and judgment set me off out of nowhere.

The defensive Kristin came back- and it was extremely uncomfortable.

I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder toward people who try to dominate me, thus acting out and being overly defensive and aggressive.  I have held on tightly to this defense mechanism through the years, only to realize how awful it made me feel.  I remembered traumatic experiences- bullying, sexist messages, abandonment and physical abuse.  I have kept all of this inside for years.  Had I been acting out for decades without realizing it?  Yes, I had.  It just took me thirty-some years to learn it.

After speaking with friends about traumas I suppressed (and failed to recognize as abuse- I thought it was all my fault), I am grateful for these triggers.  Old feelings of shame came to the forefront, and I was able to meditate on these uneasy feelings.  So, as always, I walked to the water for solace.

Water brings me such peace.  It is the closest way for me to connect with my higher power, so on Sunday I meditated on a rock and prayed for the courage and grace to get through the day.

I received just that- strength and hope.  I faced the day with grace, not aggression, and everything worked out just fine.  I tried not to let the negative messages affect my mood, so after leaving the pond I turned my negative energy into productivity.  Since art and writing has always brought me peace, I decided to stock up on art supplies to paint inspirational messages for my friends.  I’ve received endless love, compassion and hope from the friends I have made in Boston, so instead of living in my one-woman pity party, I decided to give the love back to those who have helped me.

As I go about my Monday, I will remember the feeling of peace and serenity I experienced by Spy Pond.  When I walk with grace, the world is a little lighter, a little freer.  If you’re also experiencing some aggravation, try a meditation to bring you back to center.  Remember, your true home is within you- everything outside of yourself is not in your control- but you can control how you react.  Once you’re able to manage outside factors with grace, not aggression, you will feel better- I promise.

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