Game On.

Long time, no post! Apologies if you’ve noticed; I’ve been abroad. I knew that when I was in Poland for 10 days that my meditation practice would pause. It did when I went to Scandinavia last year and I made the decision to change my expectations and not to beat myself up over it. The last time I meditated was the morning was on the flight from Frankfurt to Krakow and I was OK with that. I was a little anxious that I would have trouble sleeping without meditation. But aside from that one day when I drank three cappuccinos (damn you, caffeine), I had zero trouble sleeping thanks to walking 12 hours a day (and the mulled wine, and pierogi, etc).

I started meditating again yesterday morning and it feels totally easy to slip back into my two 20 minute meditations a day. Six to seven AM are my time to meditate, check my email, and pet my cat again.

I’ll get more posts and photos up about my travels, but if you need to see photos in the meantime, you can head over to my Instagram

(Photo is of a church in Gdansk, Poland.)

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. 

Least Favorite Made Up Holiday

Let me preface this to say that I think all holidays are made up. Did you know that there’s zero evidence that Jesus H. Christ was born on December 25th? And don’t get me started on Easter. Halloween is made up but at least that one’s just fun.

I’m not typically a fan of Valentine’s Day. Two years ago when my then-long distance boyfriend flew in I asked him to cancel last-minute our dinner reservations (nothing too outrageous, I promise) and asked him to go to a pub instead. I felt fraudulent getting behind the holiday that is a) made up, b) will obviously leave large groups of people feeling bad about themselves which is unnecessary.

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Last year I watched this vlog by Gabby Bernstein and I said fuck it and made it a day for self-care. I took a bath, I got a mani/pedi, it was fun. I even went all the way out to Brooklyn the day after for a kundalini yoga self-love workshop that a girlfriend of mine was hosting and met lots of really cool people who were also in need of something to do on this day, whether they were single or not. That was totally fun. I may or may not have started a “love vision board” (at the suggestion of Bernstein) that never really went anywhere and never was hung up. The point was that it was a lot more fun to focus on what I wanted for the future and how I could make myself feel good right now than wallow with a bunch of other depressed people at a bar.

This year I find myself in a relationship again (and not a long distance one, thank fucking god) and it’s a really wonderful and comfortable one. I knew I still didn’t want to make a big thing of the stupid day but I suggested eating one of those ridiculous milkshakes at Black Tap Burger and going to see The Boy. Is there anything more appropriate for Valentine’s Day than a horror movie? Nah. Even though it received horrible reviews it’ll be fun.  

The best part about Valentine’s Day this year? The Walking Dead is back! My dude and I are both stoked about this.

So, instead putting a lot of pressure on this day, I’m going to be Captain Obvious over here and tell you to just chill out and do what makes you feel good.

Future Obsession: Inspiralizer

I first learned about the Inspiralizer instagram account from Well & Good or Gabby Bernstein’s Instagram. I don’t remember which, but it was one of those. I received a tiny, hand-held vegetable spiralizer for the holidays and I’m still getting the hang of it and learning how to use it.

I’ve been watching a lot of Ali’s (founder of the Inspiralizer website and blog) videos and last night I made the baked chicken parm with zucchini noodles (and some quinoa spaghetti) that she makes for dinner in this video

It was so good and even Justin didn’t completely hate the zucchini noodles. After we watched a few more of her videos together, he asked if I’d really use the Inspiralizer and I said yes, so he insisted on ordering one for me.

Now we can eat noodles made of vegetables all the time. I’m especially excited to make this shrimp scampi and carrot noodles.   

I’m very, very excited to spiralize all my vegetables. 

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.