The Encounter // 10.4.16

Last Tuesday I saw The Encounter at the Golden Theatre on 45th Street. Transferred here directly from London and a tour, I had literally no idea what to expect so I was super surprised to see headphones on every seat when I arrived. Conceived by (and sometimes performed by) Simon McBurney, the first line in his note to the audience in the Playbill is, “We only see the version of the world that we want to see.” How true is that?! Having spent the last week or so reading Gabby Bernstein’s book, The Universe Has Your Back, I was totally onboard with the fact that what we concentrate on is what we manifest and see in our lives. I was into this play so far.

It was a Tuesday night, so Richard Katz was stepping in for McBurney. We took our seats, put on our headphones, and Katz came out and began the show. The first part of the show was was about how our brains assume a lot and fill in gaps with what we think is most logical. There’s a standing microphone onstage which leads directly into our ears, so as he moves around the microphone it sounds like he’s in back of us, or to our right or left, etc. The concept of seeing what we want to see is very Buddhist and I would’ve enjoyed if the entire 90 minutes were about that, but Katz eventually started telling a story.

The story of The Encounter was about an encounter that the protagonist of the story has with a rarely seen tribe in a Brazilian rainforest whom he is trying to photograph. He uses various sound effects and looping machines (which he produces using his own voice or various inanimate objects) to tell a simple story in a very compelling way. I found the beginning part of the story to be a bit slow, but the last half was more entertaining and quicker paced.

Richard Katz is an unbelievable storyteller. I can’t help but wonder how different it would be to see the creator, McBurney, perform the show, too. 

This is an unbelievably creative and unique piece. Clocking in at 90 minutes (no intermission – score!), it’s totally worth seeing. I mean, when else will you be wearing headphones during a show and thus unable to hear a cell phone go off? That alone is wroth the price of a ticket. 

Gabby B via Livestream

Last Tuesday, Gabrielle Bernstein kicked off the tour for her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, in New York at a church in the East Village. Since I’d just been to her last talk a few weeks prior, I decided to buy a streaming ticket so that J and I could watch it live together. I wanted him to experience but I figured an entire in-person night might be a bit overwhelming. 

The only thing I was curious of is whether or not Gabby’s presence would transcend my TV. She talks a lot about presence in her lectures and especially in her newest book. I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but I wondered just how different it would be. After eating some sweet potato noodles, we settled onto my couch with Playbill tuned in, literally. 

Luckily, it was still worth it. She brought her A-game and she delivered as she told stories, a lot of which I’ve heard before but J hadn’t, and the meditations rocked, too.

If you don’t live in a city where Gabby tours to, fear not, and buy a live stream ticket. It’s almost as good, which is better than not being there at all.

Gabby B and the Universe

When I heard Gabby Bernstein was doing a free two-hour workshop if you pre-ordered her new book, The Universe Has Your Back, I immediately clicked my way over to Amazon and purchased said-book. It’s not being released until the end of September but last week we got a crash course in manifesting the life we want on a sweltering evening in the East Village.

She talked for about an hour and a half and threw in a few meditations, too – including her usual meditation for protection in the beginning and her kundalini meditation for manifesting at the end. She talked about a recent conflict that she had been in with a friend and how in her meditation on the fight, she started to think about how much she loved this friend and the feeling she cultivated in her meditation completely dissolved any anger she felt towards her. I’ll try that next time I’m feeling angry with someone.

There were lots of tears and hugs given out during the Q&A. Gabby dispersed lots of great advice. When a woman asked what to do when she said “wouldn’t it be nice, if..” (as Gabby has suggested to get out a rut) made her cry because she wanted her boyfriend to want what she wanted, she said this woman needed to focus on herself and not trying to control someone else. Mic drop.

The talk went a little over so I was ready to get home after, so I left as soon as it was over. But it was a great experience. I went in feeling really exhausted and not all that psyched to sit through a talk, despite how awesome Gabby is, but by the end of the first meditation, I was glad I came.

Her book release party is in late September. You should totally buy tickets. She may sound new age-y, but she’s also awesome.

True Power

I hesitated before purchasing a $50 ticket to Gabrielle Bernstein’s YogaJournal Conference talk last Friday night, but I’m glad I did buy the ticket eventually. I needed it. I’d been having a heavy week and all of the yoga classes in the world weren’t helping, so this was just the thing recenter myself. I’m glad I forked over $50 + fees to Ms. Bernstein for two hours of meditations and good times.

She said this was a sort-of new talk for her so she was nervous but as always, she was uplifting and her presence was powerful. (Hence the talk’s name, “True Power.”) A few very intense guided meditations to some incredible music later and I think it was safe to say that everyone in that room (750 of us, apparently) were feeling a lot better. She even insisted on us turning to our neighbor and telling them, with no sugar coating, what was on our minds at that moment. It took a lot of courage but hey, we were probably never going to see that person again, so why not?

I picked up a deck of “Miracles Now” cards before the talk started, too. My dude, the patient person he is, even obliged in picking out a card with me each morning on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings. He’s not really into the spiritual, granola-y stuff, but he’s humoring me. I’ll get him to start meditating someday. 

Anytime I think I’ve had my fill of Gabby’s talks, I’m always wrong and I’m always glad I went. If you haven’t seen her before, go. If you’re, like, sort-of curious, go. If you want to start out slowly, read Spirit Junkie (not her first book, but the first one I read). You (probably) won’t be sorry.

Epic Battle: Meditation vs. Anxiety

My spiritual guru Gabby Bernstein always says that when people tell her they don’t have time to meditate, she asks them if they have time to feel like shit. I think this is a pretty good way (although somewhat forceful) to convince people to meditate. 

I noticed as soon as I got into the office yesterday that I felt different and very anxious. I devolved into that hyper-paranoid person that I was (and still am, sometimes, just rarely) in previous years and it took a while to get back down to normalcy (what normalcy means to me, anyways). 

I spent a large part of the weekend with my dude and when I do that my meditation schedule usually hits the fan. I was still meditating for the last four days in my yoga classes but the morning and evening sessions weren’t happening. It’s not his fault; I usually just forget. Sometimes, and I’m trying to be better about this, I will sit for a session while he’s in the shower. 

Because J is great, he took note of my anxiety and ended up surprising me with a flower delivery yesterday afternoon. It was completely unexpected and immediately brightened up my Monday. 

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But incase a flower delivery isn’t an option for you, you can always turn back to your breath and sit in silence for a few minutes, coming back to a state of calm that’s always hiding somewhere inside of you. 

Life Support

On Tuesday night, at the lecture that Gabby Bernstein gave, one person asked after the Q&A how to deal with super negative coworkers. She tries to bring the light to her office but since she’s only human, she gets into a funk now and then and when she goes to her coworkers for a little bit of uplifting, they’ll just give her more of the same she’s giving herself: “you’re right, everything sucks,” “today’s so awful,” etc.

This obviously isn’t helpful.

Gabby told her, “those are NOT your people,” and to go find her support that will be uplifting when she’s in a funk. She said she was in a room full of like-minded spirit junkies and to get a number or two that night.

Compartmentalizing your friends isn’t ideal (at least not for me because I used to be an oversharer, for sure) but sometimes you have to do it. You can’t change anyone else, so you have to change how you handle yourself and ask for help, if and when you need it. Realizing that there are things that you should or shouldn’t tell a friend, because you know what their reaction is going to be (and it isn’t going to be helpful). There are those friends that you can talk to about your relationship, and those friends who you can go to when you’re having a bad day. There are those friends you run to when you want to know how you look in a certain dress – their real, honest opinion. Then there are your friends who you know you can tell about a new biz idea and others you want to keep your ideas to yourself.

Neither is better or worse, they’re just different. We’re all different and again, since you can’t change them, we have to change our expectations. 

I used to be one of those super negative friends (and I’ll admit it, I fall back into it sometimes), but I realized that it wasn’t helpful to anyone in the conversation if I fed into their negativity – or instilled some of my own, whoops. I just try to look on the bright side (and yes, admittedly, sometimes, I still suck at this but I try). The friend may snap back and be like, “STFU. I’m being serious,” but whatever. 

If you know someone will be negative about something, don’t tell them. It’ll just frustrate you and if being frustrated can be avoided, why the hell are you making your life harder by not avoiding it?

Dwell in the feeling of what it is that you desire.

I’m not sure how, but I received an email from someone in Gabrielle Bernstein’s camp last week about an hour-long lecture that she was giving with Philosophy, and after checking my schedule, I happily RSVP’d.

I arrived a tad before 6pm, not remembering that it was first-come, first-serve, and I was at the end of a long line. They told us at the back that we probably wouldn’t get in as they were at capacity, but I stuck around with a few others anyways. You could say we willed ourselves in because just before the event started, fire codes be damned, and they let the few us that stuck around stand in the back. Total win.

Lots of my friends who read this will probably roll their eyes at the granola-y vibe of what she spoke about and that’s fine. Roll your eyes and keep living your life how it suits you. I digress!

Gabby Bernstein will always be my favorite. She spoke about manifestation and vision boards, of course. We meditated. She said the number one key to manifesting is to put what you want out there into the universe and then chill. Because the energy of being a maniac and trying to get something, anything, will drive it away from you. She also said to pick a sign and ask for it and ask for it often.

I needed this talk and I took this advice to heart with my search for the perfect(-ish) job. Every now and then I get into panic-mode about my job and that helps exactly no one.

So, pick a sign and chill out. Oh, and meditate. Always meditate.

How To Be Mindful

I definitely don’t feel this stressed out transition this post-Labor Day week, thankfully. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt it. The month’s just kind of all blend together when you work, don’t they? Summer is nice, but I like fall better. 

How To Be Mindful

It’s Getting Crunchy in Here.

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And I like it. 

I remember Gabrielle Bernstein saying at a workshop once that when she got on “the path,” she wasn’t really concerned with actively dating because she was “working shopping, vibing, all around town,” or something – that’s totally paraphrased (sorry Gabby!). Although I am dating someone right now (it’s very new, I’m trying to remember that and keep my cool), I’ve been dealing with some obsessive thoughts and so I’ve been throwing myself into as much meditation as much as possible (and my regular yoga classes, of course).

I already meditate regularly, once in the morning and once before bed (more if I have downtime and my thoughts are spinning). I also lead tiny 5 minute meditation breaks twice a week (three starting next week) at my office.  

So here’s what I’ve been doing in addition to that to keep myself out of my head:

  • An awesome woman named Tamara comes to our office every Friday morning before office hours to lead a 20-30 minute meditation for whoever wants it, so that’s definitely always apart of my week.
  • Tamara’s 30th birthday party happened to be two weeks ago which started with a 30 minute meditation too. Awesome. Maybe I’ll do that this year….
  • Tamara and her business partner Mikela (also awesome) run a nomadic meditation gathering called the “BE Society” that meets in different spaces every Tuesday. This past Tuesday they met in a loft on Bowery which was very close to my office so I walked over there after work. I can’t go this Tuesday because I’m seeing Guster (also awesome!)
  • This Sunday (tomorrow) I am attending a meditation gathering at the Community Meditation Center and Sharon Salzberg is going to be leading it. I just started reading her book Lovingkindness so I’m super excited for that. 

If you haven’t meditated before, I’d highly suggest it. And now I’m off to yoga. Namaste. 😉

My Morning with Gabrielle Bernstein

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(Photo via gabriellebernstein I’m the second person from the left in the front in the orange shirt.)

Yesterday morning at ABC Home and Furniture in the Flatiron District, a couple hundred people came together to change their energy and in turn help change the world (another 4,000 were watching on the live stream). I arrived a few minutes before it started (thanks, MTA!) but I somehow managed to snag a front row spot (score!). We started off by tuning in and then doing some collective breath of fire. I love breath of fire because one of my yoga teachers makes us do it every so often, you know, while we’re holding planks. After that we did a meditation to eradicate anxiety (I did this every morning for 4 months straight, I love this one too), pictured above. We chanted, sang, breathed, meditated some more, had a couple of Q&A’s, and then closed with the only kundalini meditation that comes with a warning (because theoretically you have to watch your thoughts while you’re chanting because if they’re the wrong thoughts, you might manifest something you don’t want/need).

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People talked, people cried, people cheered. The energy was high. It was awesome. It was well worth the price of her book (you can purchase it here, and no, I’m not being paid!). 

Afterward she signed whatever we wanted and took pictures. I had taken a few notes in the notebook that I’d gotten as a favor at the wedding I went to a few weeks back. It said “thank you” on the front, so I thought it was a perfect token to ask Gabrielle to sign. 

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It was a mind-blowing experience. I highly recommend her workshops if you ever have the chance.