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

Back to Basics: Finding My Superpowers

Syd @ Oscars #Selfie

I recently came across an article in Fast Company about how to “Find Your Passion With These 8 Thought-Provoking Questions.” I’ve since thought about all the questions the article raises and want to expand on some of the ones I found most meaningful. My favorites to explore include:

  • What am I doing when I feel most beautiful?
  • What are my super powers?
  • What did you enjoy doing at age 10?
  • What are you willing to try now? 
  • Looking back on your career, 20 or 30 years from now, what do you want to say you’ve accomplished?

The guiding questions help reaffirm my recent decision to pursue something I’ve always felt a calling towards, but didn’t necessarily have the courage to fully pursue. The more freedom I get from the routine I was in for many years, the more I get in touch with how deeply ingrained so many old ideas are in my psyche. For most of my life I had a calling and passion for social justice, helping others and working towards ideals that were deeply important to me. I believed in equality and equal opportunity Screen shot 2014-04-17 at 11.48.46 AMfor all, especially in terms of education and economic sustainability. After graduating college and following my lifelong dream of living in New York City, I quickly found that working in a non-profit like I had always planned wasn’t going to provide enough support needed to sustain a livelihood in NYC. It made me wonder, what about all the other people I grew up with who wanted to help people and work in the social sector? How did other people do it? Did they succeed?

Back to the questions that got me thinking about this in the first place. I feel most beautiful when I am helping others and truly fulfilling what I believe is my real purpose: to listen, facilitate organized communication and help translate ideas into tangible action. These are my superpowers. I can connect with almost anyone and really hear what they have to say. It seems like I have a unique ability to communicate and build bridges with a broad array of people, across different industries and backgrounds. When I was younger I used to nerd out making birthday cards and other art projects for hours on end after school. I loved art so much but not just for the sake of creating art for my own enjoyment–I always wanted to make art for others’ to enjoy. Deep down I always had a powerful drive to create. So now I am willing to revisit this part of me that feels like it was neglected for quite some time. I got caught up Fast Co Quote 2on a path towards stability, adulthood and what I thought was going to lead me to the freedom I thought might come in the form of finances.

You’ll never know until you try. That’s what I keep telling myself and the funny thing is that I really believe it. You might think I’d feel fearful about trying out this new path, but I don’t at all. As soon as I became available to pursue new opportunities as an independent freelancer, new possibilities seemed to magically find me without too much effort from my end. It feels like an uncanny alignment is happening in which the universe wants me to follow this path and is providing in return for my efforts, however small at first. Twenty or thirty years from now, regardless of where I am, I want to look back at say “I tried my best” and I will hopefully feel peace in knowing I gave it my all and didn’t leave an open possibility for what could have been. Regardless of what I will have accomplished by then, I want to know that I accomplished enough in just trying to make something of myself and follow my true calling as opposed to falling into the typical path I can easily go back to marked with security and financial stability–the things I thought might set me free. I can always return to that, but now is my one shot towards following another path where I can honestly admit, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. There is something beautiful about not knowing and just simply trusting instead.