Expect the Unexpected

A friend of mine sends out an email blast at the beginning of each week, sometimes missing weeks here and there. These aren’t just any old newsletter notes. He sends a collection of empowering, inspiring quotes and overarching positivity-laden reminders of everyday wonder. Unrelated to this but perhaps not at all is my bus ride last night. Waiting for the B67 to take me up Park Ave to Vanderbilt so I could quickly make some salad for dinner before heading to my friends house for our second DJ lesson felt pretty normal. I got on the bus, an ordinary situation filled with other passengers eager to get to their respective destinations. It was, after all, still cold out – where is spring these days anyway. I think I see it creeping up!

Suddenly a voice sounded over the bus intercom. At first I thought it was someone’s cell phone blasting YouTube or some kind of audio book turned all the way up. To my surprise it was the bus driver. He started telling a story about how his daughter called him last night, and at first he thought she was just calling to ask for something. She went on to explain that you never know when everything could just simply stop, in a flash, in a moment where everything ends. Boom. You’re gone. She called to say she loves him and she’s grateful for everything he does for their family.

Next we heard about his six year old grandson whose teacher called one day to say, “Excuse me Mr. Campbell but did you know your grandson was praying in the cafeteria at lunch? We don’t pray anymore in public school but he was praying,” as if to elicit some kind of Pauloconcern. The bus driver retorted, “That’s all fine and well, what were you doing while this was happening Miss?” “I was praying alongside him,” she replied.

I don’t know if this bus driver shares these kinds of messages on every bus or on every day he’s driving, who knows. Maybe he’s a preacher by day and driving the bus is just his side hustle. Or maybe driving to him is the same as preaching – in doing so he’s helping to spread the gospel of love and gratitude to people who need it most. Sometimes I can get caught up in the distracted and stressful energy of NYC life, wherein everyone is moving so fast you can hardly tell where they’re headed anymore. Sometimes the rate race can feel normal when really its not even a race, since races usually have destinations or end points.

The bus driver reminded me to stop and take a moment to be where I am. Suddenly I wasn’t on my way home to rush through dinner and get through my nightly activities. Instead I was making eye contact with those around me similarly amused by the surprising outburst from our transportation provider. I conversed with a fellow rider on how awesome it was to be sharing in such a fun experience. We smiled at one another as we parted ways. I thanked the bus driver so much for his kind words. Could everyday be like this? Could each bus ride emulate the camaraderie and positivity felt on the B67 that night? I want it to not be so hard to remember these simple truths.

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It is within yourself that you will find strength. When we are broken wide open is when we are given the pivotal choice of tapping into our power.
– Odette Artime
“Getting it” means getting out of your own way.
– Chandra
“I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves and tell me, ‘I love you.’ … There is an African saying which is: Be careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
― Maya Angelou
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
~E.B. White

Savvy Girls Know Their Personal Brand

UWIB BoardAt least I think I do! But there’s always room for improvement. Already lots of fun things happening on the UWIB NYC front this year, excited to be a part of such an amazing 2015 board making bold moves.

This evening’s content focuses on personal branding, finding your unique voice and navigating career challenges. We’ll welcome a presentation by personal branding expert The Lovely It Girl and then participate in small breakout sessions focused on developing your own personal brand. Come prepared to learn about the keys to living the personal and professional life you love (from the inside out!).

WHAT YOU’LL GET:

  • Actionable steps toward building your personal brand
  • Quality networking time with other UWIB NYC members and the new 2015 Board of Directors
  • Delightful snacks and drinks from our sponsors

DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m

LOCATION: WeWork Charging Bull, 25 Broadway, New York, NY 10004

Expecting a wonderful crowd. Will post learnings as a follow up. #FUN

Enter the Chill Zone

Is it just me or does time go by faster in New York City? What if time actually moves faster here than in other areas of the world or even faster than just a few miles away where there are more trees and less traffic noises? Maybe a New York minute is a real defined increment of time manifesting as two minutes squeezed into one typical minute experienced by everyone else outside the NYC bubble. Suddenly four years can feel like a decade, which explains a lot.

I feel the difference as soon as I hop out of the train, car, plane – you name it – and take in a few breathes of fresh air somewhere else, even if its just a few miles upstate. Everything slows down, and not just that, but I feel how fast i’ve been moving. My body needs a few moments to recover and catch up with itself, like I’ve been running in a marathon without even knowing it and I urgently need air, water and rest. Sometimes when I go home to SF, I can lay so low and literally laze around for as long as possible to make up for lost chill time – marathon chill sessions of epic proportions. For some reason i feel like it’s allowed – I can finally do nothing without putting any kind of deadline or pressure on myself to be productive again. That must be the difference between the two cultural meccas – legendary chill zone vs. 24-hour ultra productivity contest.

My big goal this year is to open up my schedule for more fun and spontaneity. At first glance I might already be able to claim that my life is full of this kind of magic already – but the truth is, I, like so many other New Yorkers I’m sure, over-schedule and plan out my life like it’s going out of style. Deep down part of me is scared of what will happen if I wake up one weekend and have nothing to fill my day with – what, no plans? No brunch? No friends? What will I DO in that case? I want to shift away from thinking about DOing to instead embodying a mentality focused on BEing. If I don’t have anything to DO, what if that’s when the most fun can finally happen?

Note to Self

A miracle is a shift in perception from fear to love-from a belief in what is not real, to faith in that which is. That shift in perception changes everything. – Marianne Williamson

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Putting It Down To Pick It Back Up

Digital Detoxin

Oh my god you guys, I am taking a digital detox day off of social media. I even might have just tried to cheat on my own personal agreement with myself by almost typing in LinkedIn to do some lurking as though that wouldn’t completely count! Who am I?

I’m working from home today and its so far super productive and cozy working from a warm living room when it feels like arctic tundra just outside the window. Why the decision to detox, even if just for a day? Well I noticed I was spending so much time keeping up with the joneses and checking up on my updates, my own and my friends’ and just random events and curiosities – and lately always before bed. It would all start with a simple idea to check Facebook for an event update as I get a sense for my upcoming weekend calendar, then slowly there I go, falling back down the rabbit hole leading into all my other favorite haunts. Suddenly I look at the clock and notice a whole half an hour had passed, but where did it go?

I don’t want to let time pass me by like that, at least not for today. I feel programmed sometimes to be ultra-plugged in and connected to all plausible life updates in real time 24/7. It very well might be too much and like anything that gets overly indulgent perhaps to unhealthy degrees, its wise to go without for an intermittent amount of time to see what changes come from abstention. So far I’ve felt more focused on my work since I’ve multi-tasked way less than usual, I feel more present and I’ve even taken time to write a blog post, which – if you’re checking out my archives here – hasn’t happened in a hot minute (2.5 months, sadly). My incredible capacity for fomo has also subsided, maybe I’m growing out of it?

Here’s to getting re-focused on fun writing I love – it’s never too late to re-commit to the things that matter most. I love the image for this post so much. Sometimes it takes disconnecting completely to reconnect to what’s most important. Strip away the distractions and escape mechanisms so you can see what’s been trying to get your attention all along. Pick it back up again, hold tight and don’t look back.

There’s a Meditation Party and Everyone’s Invited!

Oprah and Deepak

Did you know you were born to be happy? That’s what Oprah (yes, THAT Oprah) and Deepak want you to believe. Lucky for you, this dream team is only 3 days into their famed 21-Day Meditation Challenge, all focused on “Expanding Your Happiness.” Try it if you dare to venture into the great beyond, to the greatest vacation of your dreams, to a far away land you’ve always wanted to visit, all without moving a muscle. All you have to do is listen in, get comfortable and breathe. Really, it’s that easy!

I’ve done the challenge a few times now, and can say with confidence it’s an amazing way to get familiar with meditation, especially if you’ve never tried it before. Why do it? Well, for me, meditation has proven to be an incredibly useful tool for getting centered amid the overly fun yet often over-stimulating fast life in NYC. Meditation is an easy way to tune into an oasis of calm wherever you go, because, as they say, wherever you go, there you are.

Thousands of people across the world are participating in the challenge and many are sharing their experiences on the event website. If you feel so inclined, peruse the comments for inspiration, or follow my lead and get everyone you know to try this out. Like anything, the challenge is fun to share with friends—it’s a peace party and everyone’s invited!

–Originally written for the Praytell Strategy blog on 8/14/14

Pura Vida: My Dream Came True

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My life changed forever the first time I ventured out on a one-week solo expedition to Costa Rica. I bought the plane ticket pretty impulsively after noticing a sweet deal on one of the many travel deal sites I stalk. I knew I always wanted to travel somewhere alone but at first I thought I might convince a good girlfriend or maybe a group to come with me on this one. Deep down I knew I would go this alone and see if I had what it takes to survive an absolutely out of this world solo adventure.

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I didn’t prepare as much as some people might have suggested. I perused tourism sites and trusted the country was more developed than where I lived in Brazil in 2009. I figured I’d know more once I got on the ground. At least it would be nice and warm so I could pack light: bathing suits and shorts every day! One of the first places I looked up was Monteverde, a huge area of forest and mountains settled in the mid section of the country. I know I was researching locales in June because it was then that I set my Facebook cover photo to a picture of Monteverde’s famed hanging rainforest bridges (this post’s headline picture). I knew I had to make it to that exact spot even if I didn’t make a plan for how I’d arrive–there was something waiting for me there.

I could barely sleep the night before I was set to leave. I was far too excited. I packed everything I had into a backpack and woke up when it was still dark out, wide awake with anticipation. All I had planned was my bus trip from the Liberia airport to the Pura Vida Hostel in Tamarindo, where I’d spend my first night. When I arrived at the hostel it finally started to really sink in: I was alone in a foreign country and I could do whatever I wanted with a week to spare. I went to enjoy some lunch at the restaurant next door, amazed at how comfortable I felt as soon as I sat down. My waiter started speaking English and even accepted my US dollars all while an American news broadcast was playing in the background.

ImageEventually I met a couple character mainstays at my hostel, Eddy and James. Eddy was from Chicago taking a prolonged break from his start-up whereas James was a surfer from New Jersey who was chasing the waves for as long as he could steer clear of returning stateside. After a few adventures with Eddy as well as some other travelers that would join our escapades here and there, he offered to drive me to Monteverde. This was an offer I couldn’t refuse, especially since I didn’t have any other plans and purposefully left my schedule open so I could see what might come up. I didn’t know it then but this was the trip I had been waiting for.

ImageAfter a bumpy ride through the country side, we made it to Santa Elena where we found an amazing bed and breakfast to call home–Camino Verde. The day we arrived we went zip-lining through the trees and even ventured to try bungee jump ing while we were at it. Eddy would only stay one day, enough to get a feel for the mountains and Santa Elena’s quiet change of pace. My first day waking up alone there I struck up a conversation with the inn keeper and asked if there was one thing I absolutely had to do while in Monteverde–what was it? He said it was my lucky day and if I was game I could hop in a van coming by in 10 minutes to take me on my next adventure.

Trusting my guide’s recommendation, I hopped into the van filled with Spanish tourists eager to explore. We stopped after a 30 minute drive up a big hill into what seemed like an epicBridge expanse of rain forest. It was really a nature preserve filled with canopies, gardens, natural sights, wildlife and trails throughout perfect for self-guided walking tours. I started out on my own while purposefully trying to walk slowly to make sure I would remember every moment. I suddenly felt grateful to be alone to savor this experience.

After walking a bit, snapping pictures of beautiful plants and butterflies along the way, I arrived to a critical stopping point where something suddenly clicked and I was overcome with emotion. There in front of me was the exact same hanging bridge I had come across when first researching Monteverde many months before. Without a concrete plan to reach this place, the symbol of my solo Costa Rican adventure, I made it there–perhaps the universe was guiding me. Before my eyes, my dream became a reality and I continued my tour with a renewed sense of purpose, abundance, and gratitude that I was delivered to the place my imagination had conjured up all this time. Sometimes I get what I want and sometimes I don’t, but no matter what happens, I am always taken care of. Perhaps the same is true for us all. The rest is pura vida.

 

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