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

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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Getting Off The Ground

Meditation has changed my game. I’ve officially been out of my full-time job for 3 weeks and pursuing my own independent consulting business for the very first time. I am on the precipice of what feels like a major change, a change that could set in motion a huge re-routing in terms of my career and future. It feels so right True Love: Meditationin so many ways, like I am being guided along a new path that’s already been pre-determined for me.

Meditation has helped me reconnect with my inner self and strengthen the most important relationship I will quite likely ever have. I am in touch with my intuition, which is where I derive this security and sense that I am in fact moving in the right direction. This foundation helps prevent me from filling up with fear while at the same time helps propel me forward towards realizing my dreams. Suddenly the things I was once most afraid to take on I’m pursuing full steam ahead with the faith that I’m where I’m supposed to be.

I used to feel like these types of talks, words and terms were off-limits for someone like me: an intellectual, a cool kid, a hip hop aficionado, a city kid hopping around from shows to parties to late night escapades, someone “too smart” to believe in the spirituality thing. I’ve since learned that I was operating under a lot of preconceived notions and assumptions about which I actually knew very little. That and I practically had no experience even giving it a try. I meditated in yoga classes before and always found it easy to do after an intense work out, but never in my spare time when I could instead be active, indulge or do anything else but sit still with myself and my thoughts.

I find guided meditations really helpful, as well as group meditations hosted by NYC entities like Dharma Punx and Center of the Cyclone. There is something about the shared energy in a room full of people all committing to the same purpose that I can feed off of, that makes me feel safe to fully focus. Right now I am trying my best to follow the free 21 Day Meditation Challenge hosted by Oprah (my girl!) and Deepak Chopra.

Spirituality is all your own, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it. The thing is, you’ll never know if you’re missing out on something that might really change your life for the better–unless you give it a try. Taking the plunge and trying it, despite how goofy it might feel at first, is the hardest part. I just know that I wouldn’t feel as confident and optimistic about my newfound plunge into dream-chasing if I didn’t have this foundation. I can tune back into it anytime, anywhere for energy and reassurance and it keeps growing so long as I keep practicing. I don’t know how else to describe it but pure magic–magic that tunes me into the universe so I can be present for everyday miracles.