On Commitment

I’ve been thinking a lot about commitment lately. There are so many things I want to do – sometimes I don’t even know where to begin, or other times I don’t begin at all for fear that I might not finish or, worse, I might not do it perfectly.

I hear it again and again: just start right from where you are. Today I’m remembering to listen to my instincts and intuition which tell me to put some footwork into my dreams. That means I need to study, learn, meditate, reflect, write and practice. I haven’t written in quite some time I think because I’ve had a tough time figuring out where to start. It’s funny how having to think something all the way through before even starting can prevent you from taking action at all. Self-sabotage for me is the fear of not being perfect or not having something I’m super proud to share and broadcast to my network. Not everything has to be perfect. In fact, so many things worthy of sharing and discussing rarely are. It’s the imperfection in things that we relate to that creates community, encourages vulnerability and fosters strong connections. Perfection might be something to strive for, but I have to remember it’s not something I can actually ever attain.

I’m inspired by the recent news bites surrounding Essena O’Neill, the famous insta-model who recently caused a major uproar by posting honest, critical messages across her wildly popular Instagram account exposing the truth behind her modeling career. She, like so many others of late, is sharing honestly about the fallacy of social media and how much tireless work goes into creating a facade of effortlessness in beach-laden imagery and seemingly happy-go-lucky smiling photo spreads. I love everything she’s saying – and just as I was about to suggest you check out her feed, true to her announcement earlier this week, it looks like she’s officially taken it down. Her website, ingeniously titled “Let’s Be Game Changers” ignites a call to action for her fans and onlookers alike to share from the heart, be real, support ethical brands and causes and mostly, connect authentically.

In our hyper connected age of digital everything, it’s too easy to connect with one another at a second’s notice. But are we really connecting? Perhaps the contrary is true. Social media has made it all look like we’re uber-connected but really we’re overwhelmed by options for connecting and in the distraction of choosing the best way to get in touch, we’re excluded from real connection. We’re texting, Face-timing, liking, commenting, scrolling, quoting and tagging but are we really having genuine conversations? Are you asking your friends how they’re really feeling and being open to helping out those in need? Are people sharing on social media what’s really going on or simply putting their best face forward since that’s the image that looks like it will get the most validation? I’m totally a victim of this current paradigm, but I think it’s important to bring to light. After all, it’s what’s kept me from sharing lately even though I’ve felt a definitive pull towards writing and sharing.

Here’s where commitment comes into play. I’m committing to sharing honestly and being vulnerable as a way to inspire others to feel similarly comfortable with being themselves. I’m excited about the current discourse around connection, vulnerability and imperfection, especially the inspiring pieces from Elizabeth Gilbert (amazing podcast inspiration for her book “Big Magic”) and Brene Brown (if you haven’t watched her TED talk on vulnerability, hop to it). I’m thankful for all the people in my life and networks that are doing similar work encouraging people to connect authentically and demonstrating how doing so can be incredibly healing in so many ways. We have so much good work to do!

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

Commitment to your dreams is an act of Self Love

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.

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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

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

Sweat For A Cause: 5/2/14

Nite Sweats

Friday, April 2, 2014  //  Doors 9:30p  //  Class 10p  //   RESERVATIONS

A 90 minute Bikram Yoga class taught with candlelight and music!!

Class is a minimum $10 donation, all proceeds benefit the Lower East Side Girls Club.

The Girls Club provides after school programming, educational and cultural activities, a mentoring program and fun trips to economically disadvantaged girls residing throughout NYC. Soon, the Girls Club center will be offering amazingly nutritious meals to support the girls’ brains and bodies at Clare’s Cafe, in remembrance and celebration of Clare Veronica Walsh.

Bikram Class 1

Bikram LES Girls Club

Wanting It All

ImageI can’t help but admit that I often want it all. At least that’s how I seem to self-propel through the day. I’m applying to jobs that I think I’m qualified for and know I can do well at, but I wonder if the person on the receiving end is on the same page. I’ll never know how other people truly perceive me. And maybe that doesn’t matter so much as how I perceive myself. Perhaps the way I think about myself will emulate through my actions and interactions with others. Ghandi’s “be the change you wish to see in the world” comes to mind.

I want to make music, but I’ve never recorded anything or composed a song. I played piano for years but after not practicing for a decade I get down on myself every time I try to revisit the old repertoire and barely scratch the surface of a full song. I’ve always wanted to DJ but I don’t know where to start. Curating fabulous Spotify and Soundcloud (this song is amazing) playlists is as far as I’ve gotten. I want to take dance class every day and learn about dance traditions from across the world. I want to run a half marathon and spend almost everyday running a training program with my eyes on the prize. It feels so good to work towards something and to feel growth along the way, whether tangible, physical growth, emotional or spiritual. I want to grow my career as an amazingly talented consultant, strategist and maybe even event producer. I don’t want to just create the concert festival series no one has ever imagined before, I want to produce it and bring it all over the world and change the way people think about expression, art, dance and community.

I often feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day. But when I sit quietly with myself (sometimes I really need to when I feel the world spinning), I wonder if maybe I’ve already done everything I’ve wanted to do. There may be some destinations on my travel to-do list, but other than that, when I consider my accomplishments, none of them are truly material. My accomplishments are growth in fantastic relationships, an inner-peace I can sometimes really tap into and true passion for helping others and experiencing genuine connections. Then a revolutionary concept occurred to me: maybe, just maybe, I already have it all.

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