Daily Dose: Truth + Travel

barcelona

Don’t downplay your abilities now, Libra. You’re on the brink of greatness, so act like it. Things should go quite well if you let them. Don’t clog up the works by thinking that you’re unworthy of the good luck that is sure to come your way. If things don’t work out exactly the way you want them to, take it as a sign that the situation wasn’t right for you anyway.

Sometimes it’s as simple as subscribing to daily horoscope updates to remind you of the truth.

I’m going to Barcelona in less than 2 weeks and it feels like a dream. I’ve always wanted to go to Europe and I’m finally making the trip! Truthfully for a long time I believed that there were many things preventing me from going – namely student loans, living in one of the most expensive cities in the world, an inability to save consistently (for a long time), and my healthy budget for self care and entertainment (gotta be healthy and have fun, duh!). Somewhere along the line my old frame of mine shifted into a new plane wherein I am no longer waiting for something to swoop in and save me from student debt and expenses. Instead I simply started saving and took responsibility for making my dream happen – and it wasn’t even that hard!

I’ve found a few tools incredible helpful in the process – including Mint.com, regular check ins with my checking account, and using a CaptialOne 360 savings account to auto-save each week towards my goal. Oh and definitely Hipmunk for my flight alerts – always my go-to for finding great flight deals. It only took a few months and I’m off to an incredible adventure!

What Ever Happened to Field Trips?

I can’t remember the last time I went on a real field trip – maybe back in college? It seems like it all happened a long time ago. Back in the day at Hoover Middle School, me and 800 of my closest 8th grade friends were taken to the Exploratorium on the free day as our 8th grade graduation field trip. Classic SF middle school jam if I do say so myself. In high school I went on solo lead field trips to visit my friends at other schools down the block and sometimes as far away as Lowell, which was all the way across the city. Anything to get my Sunset snacks at Victor’s Bakery, Panda Express at Stonestown or UCSF on Parnassus. So many memories.

Just the other day the special place I get to show up at every day (Praytell) turned two! For a happy birthday adventure we all took an afternoon stroll up the block to our neighboring Brooklyn Museum. How lucky are we? I forget how peaceful and inspiring exploring the ins and outs of an epic museum can truly be – I want to do this more often. I took a few snaps, mostly of colorful paintings emulating the style and energy I’d be proud to hang in my own home. What can I say, I like what I like. I could have spent way more time in the Egypt exhibit – I even took a meditation break to take in some of the majestic history I sensed surrounding me.

I only go to museums now, for the most part, when people come visit me. Then we’ll go to the Met or the MoMa, walk through Central Park or Prospect Park, or maybe take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. A long time ago when I first visited NYC I remember taking a day to myself while my friend had class at Columbia to walk all the way downtown from Harlem. I stopped inside the Museum of the City of New York and even ran into Julia Stiles in the entrance – such an NY moment. Reading about the city’s history and Robert Moses’ vision for development was electrifying. I knew I had to live here one day. And here I am, nearly a decade later, still seeking museum dates and long adventurous strolls across Manhattan with no particular destination in mind.

Below:

  1. Georgia O’Keeffe – Brooklyn Bridge
  2. Jarrell A. Wadsworth – Revolutionary
  3. Kehinde Wiley – Saint Remi (check out more of Kehinde’s work and upcoming exhibitions on Artsy)

IMG_8238 revolution

Kehinde Wiley Saint remi

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.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

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

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

rainbow

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

Personifying #Ideals

Gatsby Party Let’s face it: you know within five minutes of talking to someone if you’re on the same page and if you ever want to see the person again. I think that’s the truth of it. I’ve had so many interviews and conversations the past few months I swear I’d make a stellar career search consultant (seriously could be an epic side hustle). Dating analogies aside, which totally work for job searching by the way, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned has to do with finding your tribe or the people you choose to join forces with.

People often write to-do lists to get organized, but have you ever crafted a to-be list? Use this tool to define what ideals and traits you seek to embody. Use it as a guide in determining relationship standards in your personal and professional livelihoods. I have and the benefits are immense. Approach your vocation and professional cohorts like you would your dearest friends. You’ll be spending a lot of time together after all.

It all comes down to the people. You can work for the coolest, trendiest company and have a stellar, super prestigious title but if you can’t connect with the people you work with on a genuine level you won’t come close to feeling happy or fulfilled. When you connect with people you sense you have a lot to learn from, who you admire and respect, whose feedback you will take seriously, who you’re not afraid to approach with challenging questions—look no further, you’ve found your in.

As far as my ideals go, I stay on the prowl for people who embody the traits that I too strive to emanate:

  • Make direct eye contact
  • Honest communicator
  • Not afraid to ask difficult questions
  • Genuine caring attitude
  • Engaged and dedicated in work aspirations/projects
  • Clearly communicate values and purpose
  • Help others achieve growth and success
  • Positive attitude that empowers other people to thrive
  • Collaborative and approachable

Simple enough, right? Ideals aren’t supposed to be perfect rules. They are simple guidelines for growth. The kind of change I seek for my engrained tendencies and attitudes can sometimes feel slow but as long as I keep striving for growth, I’m on the right path.