yet another slap in the face from the universe

my birthday was this past weekend, so after celebrating in the city with my friends on saturday, i headed to new jersey to continue the celebration with my family. i had the best, most laughter-filled, most relaxing day with the people i love most, and was happy as a clam. yet the day after my birthday was a little rough all around: i butted heads with my niece; had a friend react very passive-aggressively when i politely asked to rearrange plans to hang out; and was feeling a little sad about the end of a brief, yet very nice, romance. i had been on such a high the day before, only to feel like my world was crumbling around me (ok, that’s super dramatic. it wasn’t crumbling, but there was way more conflict than i’m used to on a daily basis.) since i was so wrapped up in my birthday weekend, i hadn’t done my self care practices, i.e. yoga/pilates, tapping, or meditation, which is probably why i’d had such a visceral reaction to the each relationship hiccup. i could handle each on its own, but taken together they felt like a punch in the gut. the last thing i needed/expected after the high of celebrating all these years of life.

that being said, i was feeling slightly melancholy on my commute into work the following morning. it didn’t improve matters when this guy insisted on taking the seat next to me on the bus, when there were plenty of empty seats both in front of and behind me. normally it wouldn’t have bothered me, but because i was heading back into the city after my birthday, i was laden with bags of gifts and the leftovers of the delicious cake that my mom had baked for me. so it was a whole to-do to rearrange my stuff and make room for this gentleman. anyway, once i finally re-settled myself, i noticed that the guy was meditating. i have never, in my hundreds of times on a new jersey transit bus, witnessed someone meditate during his/her commute. at one point, the guy even started practicing kapalabhati breathing (a yogic practice by which one exhales very forcefully–and therefore loudly–through the nose). i had to laugh. here i was feeling all flustered and frustrated first by my own personal shit, and then by the fact that my fellow bus rider had, at least from my perspective, inconvenienced me by taking the seat next to me. but in fact, the universe had put him there as a reminder that you best pick your self-help practices back up asap! and you best believe i did. i meditated for the rest of the ride, and by the time i got to the city, i felt infinitely more centered, even when the subway stalled for a good 10 minutes and i ended up being late for work. so to the dedicated meditator who insisted on taking that seat next to me on the bus, sincerest thank you, whoever and wherever you are.

i’m constantly saying it, but it doesn’t get old: the universe really does provide. as long as we’re open and willing to see the signs, the lessons are there for the taking.

speaking my truth

i’ve come to the conclusion that there are two types of people: those who can and do freely express their emotions, and those who are sort of stunted in that department, and for whom expressing raw emotion is difficult. i certainly fall into the second category; i feel all the emotions–sometimes i think i feel too much!–but i have a hard time verbalizing my feelings, especially in romantic relationships. i hate to admit that as long as things are fine on the surface i’m content to sort of glide along. i don’t often dig deeper, don’t attempt to really connect on an emotional level (this probably speaks to a fear of intimacy.) but intellectually i know that the only way to have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship is to speak my truth, regardless of how uncomfortable it makes me (or the other person, for that matter).

so for example: i’ve been dating someone casually for the past few months. i like and care about this person very much. he treats me well and is kind, interesting, funny and just all around a really solid human being. but recently i’ve felt a little uneasy about some elements of our not-quite-yet-relationship. i’ve been thinking about addressing my concerns for a while, but fear was getting in the way. over the weekend i saw an opening to bring up the topic and finally did so, and everything sort of exploded in a monumental way. i thought i was reasonably stating my feelings in an innocuous, non-threatening and non-accusatory way, but from my perspective anyway, the other party took what i said out of context, and instead of seeing that i was actually trying to pay him compliments and let him know how much i enjoy being with him, he took it as me saying all the things that i find to be “wrong”. it was so deflating to want to have an open, honest, and progressive conversation, only to feel like my words were misinterpreted.

in the hours since this conversation, i’ve had moments of feeling like, i should have just kept my mouth shut; i fucked it up; i said the wrong thing; i said too much; i didn’t say enough, etc etc etc. i’ve berated myself and felt dejected and wished i could take the whole thing back. but then the more developed and in-tune with her higher-self cristina steps in and reminds me that you can never go wrong speaking your truth. my intention wasn’t to harm or place blame; it was merely to say, this is how i feel, and i would love if you’d express how you feel, too. i can only control my actions and no one else’s. as long as my words come from a place of love, i have nothing to feel guilty about, nothing to regret.

sometimes we go into hard conversations knowing the outcome can go either way. as a friend told me last night: regardless of the outcome, i win. if that difficult talk ultimately brings me and this person closer and deepens our connection, that would be great. if it doesn’t, i spoke my truth. every time i do so, i grow just a little bit more. it reminds me that i’m stronger than i give myself credit for.

communicating in and of itself is already hard enough; then on top of that, you need to figure out which style of communication works best with the individual with whom you’re dealing. it’s enough to make a person’s head spin! but when it’s all said and done, my relationship with myself is the most important. if i honor my feelings and express them in a loving way, i’ve done my best. and that’s all that can be expected of any of us. so today’s moral of the story: speak your truth.

the magic touch

i’m not a particularly touchy-feely person. my mom and sister would hug and kiss people all day if they could, but i’m pretty reserved when it comes to physical displays of affection in platonic situations, or even with my family members. of course, i’ll hug and kiss my family when i see them, but it ends there. i don’t go out of my way to put my hand on a shoulder or stroke someone’s hair (though i really don’t have a problem with someone i’m close to doing either of those things to me). but i’ve really been trying to embrace my feminine energy as of late; that part of me that is soft and inviting and receptive to love in all its forms. interestingly, i also don’t have a problem with little physical acts of affection in romantic contexts, so i wondered recently, why am i uncomfortable with them when it concerns people whom i’ve known literally my entire life? so i decided that the next time an opportunity to show that kind of affection presented itself, i would take it, even if it felt slightly forced or uncomfortable.

sure enough, the universe does provide. recently i was driving somewhere with my mom and we started talking about the night my died passed away. my mom had been in the room with him and was there the moment he “went home to god” as she says, so naturally she gets choked up whenever she talks about it. this time was no exception, and though i know she was trying to be strong for my sake, the emotion overtook her and she started to cry. i didn’t say anything; i just put my hand on her shoulder. and then i took her hand and just held it for a while as we drove in silence. i can’t totally put my finger on it, but i know that the simple act meant more to my dear mom than any words could have.

it was such a nice and gratifying feeling, this physical affection thing! it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside, but more importantly, i’m sure it was comforting to my mom. not even a week later, a second (and sort of funny) second opportunity arose: one of my best friends and i went to an event at a mattress store. they served wine and guests could lie down and test out the mattresses (only in new york). so my friend and i were laying side by side on this bed, in a room full of people. the saleswoman was telling us all about the benefits of the mattress and at one point she goes, “you guys look so cute! should i take your picture?” ehh why not i thought, and give her my phone. she took a few shots and then said, “what if you guys held hands? that would be even cuter!” my friend, who is even more reserved than i am, made it clear that she’d rather not, but i grabbed her hand anyway. the picture turned out pretty adorable if i may say so myself, and it created a little more of a bonding moment.

i’m not an expert nor am i a scientist, but i know there is plenty of scientific evidence to support the benefits of physical touch, both with humans and pets (i’m all set on the latter. when i’m with my dog, i basically pet, hug, and kiss her the whole time. i’m pretty sure she thinks i’m a huge nuisance but i don’t care). but nonsexual touch with our fellow homo sapiens is theorized to decrease violence, create trust between individuals, and strengthen the immune system, just to name a few. the research is fascinating, and a pretty ringing endorsement for not only telling your loved ones what they mean to you, but also showing them.

the only thing to fear…

…we all know the rest. as per usual, the universe has been conspiring to get me back to blogging. the flashing lights are coming from all directions, and as easy as it is to be lazy and make up lame excuses as to why i can’t write, i can’t ignore the signs any longer

so here it goes: a little over a month ago, i mentioned the life-coaching program i signed up for. despite finding the sessions to be insightful and inspiring, i myself have felt pretty stagnant. i often compare myself to my fellow trainees who seem to be so much further along in their journeys, and therefore get a little down on myself. but during our last session, self-pity just wasn’t an option. our fearless leader sort of called me out and devoted a good half hour of our ninety minute session to getting me to “dig deeper”. i dug til it was borderline uncomfortable, and then went home and journaled about it later that night, once i’d had a little time to reflect on what was talked about earlier in the day. what i came up with is that i am [still] approaching many aspects of my life from a place of fear rather than love. this isn’t exactly groundbreaking, as i’ve undoubtedly blogged about it in the past (probably more than once). but it was a helpful reminder that my default is fear. i won’t change this overnight, but if i recognize the pattern and attempt to change course, i will slowly but surely move towards making love-based decisions (or so i hope!)

so: the only thing to fear is fear itself. and by the way, because i still love to tap when i make the time to do it, my man brad yates has some great videos to help conquer the fear demon. i hope you’ll find them helpful. namaste my peeps.

write it down! part deux

i hate that i haven’t blogged in nearly a month. work and personal life have been so busy and i’m barely keeping my head above water. i feel like i’m in a constant state of motion, rarely taking a minute to just be with myself, quiet my breath, listen to my body and get my bearings. i was finally able to do so yesterday though, when i made myself sit still for a minute and think about an upcoming trip. i have to pack…a lot. i’m traveling for a wedding, but will be doing plenty of sightseeing and hopefully yoga. i only intend on bringing one suitcase, therefore need to be pretty strategic about what comes and what stays behind. so i did the thing that i often mean to do in life but get lazy about and don’t: i made a list. and before i knew it, i was almost done packing. it’s yet more proof of the power of writing it down. somehow putting it on paper makes me know i NEED to do this thing, otherwise i’ll feel like a failure. and let’s be real–no one wants to feel like a failure. granted, the fact that i was preparing for a very joyous occasion helped the process along, don’t get me wrong! but even on the rare days where i make a to-do list, i pretty much always cross every item off by day’s end. so big or small, write it down! in my experience, it will drastically improve your chances of success.