Monday Morning Commute (Or Things I Will Not Miss While Away)

One of the only good things about the G train is that it has one of the lowest annoying tourist populations in comparison to other subway lines (at least in June). One of the bad things about the G train is that it is packed with overly tired and stressed out New Yorkers who will push past a 5 year old on the way to school just to get a coveted seat. We New Yorkers really are kind people at heart; just don’t mess with us during morning rush hour, especially not after we’ve been waiting for the notoriously unreliable G train.

As I settle into my spot holding a pole toward the middle of the car I find myself next to a normal enough looking guy in jeans and a T-shirt who pulls out the latest New Yorker. Then he yawns…his halitosis is so bad I gag. Then I catch a whiff of his under arm odor. Seriously?!? If you can afford a New Yorker subscription (Or did you just steal that out of your neighbor’s mailbox?) you can certainly afford a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant.

A few stops later a large, squat Caribbean woman wielding a prayer book settles in on my other side. She looks unassuming enough until she opens her mouth to say, “excuse me,” to someone she bumped with her bag. The overpowering smell of garlic coming from her mouth could only be accomplished by gnawing on a whole, raw head of garlic prior to boarding the train. It’s only 8:30am. How is that smell possible at any hour, let alone now?

Just when I think it can’t get any worse, a very large man pushes through the crowd of people to sit in the seat attached to the pole I am holding and pulls out a bag of Doritos. The smell of Doritos makes me want to vomit. I cannot explain it, but the extreme need to throw up upon smelling Doritos is what I like to believe is a trait of evolutionary superiority. Seriously, those things are toxic – no one should be eating them. I unintentionally give him a look, because at this pint my olfactory system has been pushed to the limit. Now I am the skinny, white woman silently judging the overweight minority for his poor diet choices. Great.

As the train starts to pull into the last stop I begin to sigh out of relief. Sure, there will be a mob of people to shuffle through as I climb the steps and walk to my connecting train, but at least I am free from the chamber of torturous scents. Oh right, I forgot, summer internship season has begun. There is a large number of young men and women dressed in their finest suits, which they will soon discover in this city of extreme wealth and poverty, while perfectly acceptable in their Midwestern towns are paltry when toe to toe with the custom-made suits and shoes their supervisors will be donning. I appreciate their bright-eyed and bushy-tailed energy, so lacking from everyone else on the train, but I wish they would look up from their phones as they attempt to exit the train. And I really wish that when they do look up and realize they have no idea what direction to keep walking in they would step aside instead of stopping dead in their tracks at the top of the stairs like deer in headlights.

Alas, it is Monday.

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Sifting Through the Past


I spent the weekend going through boxes of old journals, letters, cards, and photos. I came face to face with me at 18, 20, 25, 30, 32, 33. There were things I had forgotten that I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of. There were things I had hoped to never think about again staring me in the face. There were reminders of people no longer in my life. There were reminders of a shared past with people still in my life. I had some good laughs and some hard cries.

As I reflected back on the last 16 years of my life I came to some very hard realizations. I have spent most of my life believing I did not deserve to be happy or loved. I spent a lot of time dodging happiness and love, allowing people into my life who were not so good for me, fucking things up to prevent myself from being loved fully. It took being left, as opposed to the one always doing the leaving, to crack me open, break down the walls, and soften the hardened edges.

While there is sadness, for all the people lost and hurt, opportunities missed, and unnecessary suffering, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and lightness. I am no longer that person. I get to make different choices from here on out. I get to be happy and loved.

I wound up getting rid of 90% of the stuff I went through. It was incredibly healing. A dear friend reminded me that it is not necessary to hold on to the pieces of our past that are toxic to the present. My head is still spinning from all of the memories, revelations, and letting go that occurred in the last few days. Or maybe that’s just the hangover from all the cocktails and wine it took to actually open some of those boxes and go through their contents. The mementos I did keep bring a smile to my face when I think of them. They fill me with gratitude for the people and experiences that have helped shape me into who I am today.

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A Little Poetry

This is one of the best things I have come across in a long time.

Remember…

you are marvelous

the gods wait to delight

in you.

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Letting Go

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My life has felt like one ginormous transition over the last six months. A transition into living my life authentically, not holding myself back, going for the scary stuff I never let myself even dream about, taking care of myself, and doing more than just entertaining the idea that I deserve to be happy. There was a lot holding me back, but most importantly was the fact that I, and my old thought patterns and ways of being were holding me back. I spent way too much of my life looking at myself though a lens of not being good enough or worthy enough, and I allowed people into my life who also viewed me through that lens. Letting go of that and focusing on relationships with people who view me as good enough just as I am, and continually remind me to do the same, has felt like a magical revelation.

And while I have felt happier, freer, and healthier over the last few months than I have in a long time, there has been a lot of pain too. There is a tremendous amount of loss and letting go required for change to occur – and with that, grieving. Just because a relationship or situation was unhealthy does not mean that we do not miss it and grieve it as we move into healthier ways of being. There are holes left, along with sadness and confusion.

Over the weekend I came face to face with a piece of my past, a former identity, that it is time to fully let go of. A no longer healthy relationship that has run its course and immersion in work that connect me to this past shone light on things I was content to keep tucked away, safely out of sight. And then…the floodgates opened. I thought I could hold on to these little bits and pieces, but the truth is, I cannot. And so, instead of trying to pick up the remaining broken pieces of what was, I am choosing to clean up what is left and walk away. A skill I am still fumblingly new at employing. And while I feel lighter already, it is because there is a new hole and new grief to process. There is also space for new joy and new adventures now.

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Positive Changes


I am really good at freaking out, getting overly anxious and stressed, and planning for the worst case scenario. (I had a therapist once tell me I imagined the worst worst case scenarios of anyone she had very worked with.) What I’ve realized recently is that, I am not so good at simply being when things are going well. I tend to reside in a place of constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. What if there is no proverbial other shoe? What if both shoes are on my feet just waiting for me to walk, run, skip, and stop worrying about it all?

My mantra for the last several months has been: “I am enough. I have enough.” I silently repeat this every time I catch myself worrying about something, real or imagined; every time I find myself slipping into the old broken record mantra of: “Can I really do this? Do I deserve this?”For too long I kept people in my life who fed into my feelings of not being good enough or deserving enough. As those people have been weeded out I’ve been able to clearly see the people in my life who have always believed I was good enough and deserving enough. They were just waiting for me to see it too.

Things in my life were bad on multiple levels for a long time. Now that the tides have changed, it feels scary. Am I ready for what lies ahead? Can I handle everything going well? Can I stay out of my own way long enough for everything to go the way it is meant to? The answer to all these questions is, I sure hope so.

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Big Changes on the Horizon

A little over a month ago I took a week long trip to the central coast of California to visit my parents and good friends. Something very unexpected happened upon my return to Brooklyn…I found myself miserable and burnt out. I woke up crying every morning for two weeks straight. I longed to be by the ocean in a way that was so deep it felt like my soul was struggling inside of my body. I knew something had to change. What, though? I questioned the neighborhood I live in. It has undergone some drastic changes that I don’t necessarily like or want to be an active or passive part of, and some people who are no longer part of my life live just a little too close for comfort. I questioned New York City as a whole. Is the place that has always felt like home no longer home for me? The one thing I didn’t question was, my job. I love teaching yoga. I did however, start to question how I am choosing to work as a yoga instructor.

After lots of thinking, planning, and even more tears than I can even begin to admit to, I made some big decisions. The decisions I have made scare me, but the thought of things remaining just as they are for too much longer terrifies me. Somehow, the courage inside of me to say, enough is enough, prevailed. Perhaps it was the influence of the cat I adopted days after returning from my trip to California. He, unlike my previous cat, is fearlessly curious – nothing scares or deters him. Perhaps it was the fact that playing it safe has never worked out for me. Perhaps it was the fact that I finally got too uncomfortable with things as they are. Change, it is inevitable afterall.

My friend and I went to see Elizabeth Streb’s new work, SEA, this afternoon. If you have never heard of or seen her work, this is a short glimpse into that world.

The performers have to face their fears and go for it anyway – there is no holding back or playing it safe in Streb’s work. The audience is also forced to face their fears by bearing witness to humans doing seemingly impossible feats. Magic doesn’t happen when we play it safe. And yet, we play it safe all the time because that is what we have been taught to do and that is what is accepted, and often expected. As I watched the dancers fly and literally fall flat on the faces, I realized I can step off my ledge and fly too. If I fall, I will get right back up and go for it again, just like the dancers did, over and over, and over again.

So, I am leaving the big apple for three months to live in California, lead my first yoga retreat in Costa Rica (more on that soon), and begin writing the book that has been begging to be born into existence for far too long now. I will plan, and put into motion, changes that I hope will make teaching yoga for a living more sustainable and enjoyable longterm. Most importantly, I will give myself the time and space to assess what it is I really want out of life. It all feels frighteningly unknown. No one, and I do mean no one, I have shared my plans with has been anything but supportive, which, quite honestly scares me a little. (Maybe I have finally succeeded in surrounding myself with people who truly do have my best interest in mind and want to see me succeed.) All my apprehensions aside, I feel ready to take a great big leap and fly.

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Just An Average Day

I walked downstairs to the basement of Pier 1 to use the bathroom after seeing a client a block away. The store had barely been open a half hour and no staff or fellow customers were around. As I paused to look at curtains I heard the unmistakable beat of Annie Lennox’s “Little Bird” begin to blast through the overhead speakers. I lasted all of eight counts before breaking out into my own private dance party amongst the curtains, wicker chairs, and random accent furniture pieces. The beat infectious, the lyrics resonating a little too deeply:

I look up to the little bird
That glides across the sky
He sings the clearest melody
It makes me want to cry
It makes me want to sit right down
and cry cry cry
I walk along the city streets
So dark with rage and fear
And I…
I wish that I could be that bird
And fly away from here
I wish I had the wings to fly away from here

But my my I feel so low
My my where do I go ?
My my what do I know ?
My my we reap what we sow
They always said that you knew best
But this little bird’s fallen out of that nest now
I’ve got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I’ve just got to put these wings to test

For I am just a troubled soul
Who’s weighted…
Weighted to the ground
Give me the strength to carry on
Till I can lay this burden down
Give me the strength to lay this burden down down down yeah
Give me the strength to lay it down

But my my I feel so low
My my where do I go ?
My my what do I know ?
My my we reap what we sow
They always said that you knew best
But this little bird’s fallen out of that nest now
I’ve got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I’ve just got to put these wings to test

 

After my solo dance party in the Pier 1 basement, I wandered crosstown to Central Park. I have always loved Central Park, a respite from the chaotic, concrete jungle of Manhattan streets. Given the mild weather and large numbers of people around the world on spring break, the park was far more crowded than I had anticipated. As I listened to different languages, accents, and dialects I began to wonder where else I might want to live. The city was starting to grate on my last nerve, and yet, no answers came to mind – NYC was, and is, home. Feeling irritated by all the tourists I walked through the park to exit on the West .

I exited Central Park and into the heart of Columbus Circle. I wandered into the Time Warner Center. I tried really hard not to pause at the spectacular views of Columbus Circle and Central Park from the third and fourth flours. Truth is, those views still strike a little chord of awe within me. I almost got touristy and started taking pictures, but I refrained.

From Columbus Circle, I took the A train downtown to pick up some wine at Bottlerocket and grab lunch at City Bakery. At the wine shop I was greeted by Otis, the huge dog and mascot of the place. Everyone somehow seemed too laid back and friendly for my edge as I picked out a bottle of wine. At City Bakery,  I sat on the upper level eating a pumpkin seed burger, drinking coffee, and watching the intricate dance of customers and workers. People watching, one of my favorite activities, best done in NYC (as told to me by my dad when I was just a kid), still held the same allure. I felt completely removed and detached from the scene below. Were these really my people? Was this really my city? Did I really belong here? I felt unsure as I sipped my coffee and continued to observe long after I had taken the last bite of my food.

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