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.

we’re all just doing our best

a friend often says that “we’re all just doing our best.” and it is so true. it’s like one of my favorite books, “everybody’s got something” by robin roberts: we all have our unique problems, and what may be a mountain to me might be a molehill to someone else, and vice versa. it’s so important when dealing with people that we try to remember that just like us, they too are battling their demons. and i think if we could be a little more open and honest about our respective demons (this doesn’t mean we have to overshare or tell everyone our life story) but if we could just acknowledge that like, “hey, i’m going through some shit today, please bear with me” if would be a huge help to our multitude of relationships. and also to ourselves! so much of happiness and serenity is being self-aware, being able to step back and say, this is how i feel. let me process this and figure out how to go back into the world. i’m continually learning how to do this.

this post comes about because a few things transpired to rattle me a bit over the weekend. when i hung out with a friend i was a little jabby and feel like i unfairly took out my frustrations on this person. i wish i had said, “listen, i don’t want to go into specifics but i had a bit of a rough day so forgive me if i’m not at my best.” instead, i kept my icky feelings to myself, and they made their way out in a not-ideal way. i genuinely did the best that i could in the situation, and so did the person who had to deal with me. but ultimately a miscommunication occurred and that was upsetting to me.

so the takeaway is: you’re going through some shit. so is he. and she. and that guy over there. and your boss/therapist/dentist/uncle. be kind to all of those people and remember that they too are all trying to muddle through this messy, confusing, sometimes scary, but most importantly, very-beautiful-if-you-stop-to-appreciate-it life.

finding your tribe

i recently took a pretty big step towards the “figuring out my life” thing and signed up for what i guess one would call a life coaching program. i used to think the concept was ridiculous: i’m an adult after all- surely i can figure out my own life! but what appealed to me so much about this program is the fact that it’s a group one, so every week i’m communicating with not one like-minded person, but nine like-minded, butt-kicking individuals from different backgrounds and with different interests, but ultimately with the common goal to make life better for themselves and others. we’re only about a month into the program, but i’m already finding so much inspiration in these people who have dreams of doing big things and contributing to the world in some positive way. meditation and yoga and whatever other solo practices i have are fantastic, but i truly believe that there’s strength in numbers. having a support system that understands where i’m coming from and where i want to go is more valuable than i ever could have imagined. it hit me this morning during our video conference: i had found my tribe. i have a few scattered friends who really “get” me, but it’s awesome to commune once a week with nine people who are totally on my wave length, and who have committed to support me in this process (and i in turn to support them).

if you haven’t already, get out there and find your tribe! it’ll make the journey that much more fun, inspiring, challenging, and rewarding. much love to my fellow game changers.