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.)

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.

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. 

Why Meditating At Work Will Make You Better At Your Job

At my last job I started something called “ClubMed.” It was a 5-minute meditation/digital detox that we took every day at work in our library or smaller conference room. Sometimes we had three quarter’s of the office, sometimes we had 4 people. Everyone appreciated it and when I resigned I made sure to pick a leader who would keep it going (and to my knowledge it has!).

When I interviewed for my current job, I’d mentioned ClubMed as part of the company culture that I’d instilled because, why not? They could think it’s super granola-y but that’s not the end of the world. To my shock and delight, on my second day the CTO and marketing associate asked me if we were really going to “do it,” meaning meditate. I said sure and soon it enough it was a regular thing we were doing every day.

I sent this article to our ‘random’ Slack channel the other day and said, “VINDICATION!” 

I’ve always liked to take a break in the middle of the day because it clears my mind and I don’t have to look at a computer or phone for those five minutes. The above article also points how it will make you less likely to make mistakes and more detail-oriented, you’ll be more decisive, and you’re more likely to empower your colleagues because you’ll be more receptive to trying new things and not of the “this will never work” mindset (which is how, if we’re being totally honest, most of us live).

If you want any tips or ideas for how to bring meditation into your life or workspace, send me a message. It’s super easy if you approach it the right way. 

Why Meditating At Work Will Make You Better At Your Job

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?

Typical Friday night.

After I left the office on Friday night, I grabbed a pint at the Macdougal Ale House, a kati roll from The Kati Roll Company, and eventually would up passing by the NYU Center for Spiritual Life and using the meditation room. When I saw Gabby Bernstein give a talk there a couple of years ago, she’d mentioned they had a meditation room and so I went to find it. 

After some rejuvenation, I raced over to The Bitter End to see my friend Lindsay perform with her band (so awesome!) and our friend Ian performed a song with her too. We’ve all known each other since we were 16/17 and performed in GREASE together. It was a good reunion.

Afterward I headed over to Cafe Reggio with Ben where he had some coffee and I had some ice cream (nom). 

All in all, a good Friday night. 

Yoga216’s Flash Meditation Mob

I get a daily email from Well+Good about new health trends in the city, yoga classes, meditation stuff, etc. Today this popped up in the email and my reaction was, “OH MY GOODNESS.” So I shelved my yoga class and headed down to what’s called the Fishbowl at the High Line, located at 17th and 10th Avenue. I met a handful of people who work at Yoga216 (a tiny little yoga studio on 20th and 10th) and just before 7:30, we all made our way down to the front of the Fishbowl, took our favorite positions, and meditated for what ended up being 20 minutes. 

It was awesome, and so different! After we went back to Yoga216 and had some complimentary juice and toured the space. It’s a really adorable and zen space, though I think unfortunately it’s a bit out of my price range. Classes are $39 each and they have good reason – there’s only six people per class, so it’s almost like a private session, but nevertheless, I don’t think I could ever make it even a semi-regular habit. But check out their Facebook page if you have a minute.

And if you ever get a chance to meditate on the High Line – I highly suggest it. The noise of the city magically disappears when you tune in.

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.

How to Stop Giving a F*ck What People Think

This article was sent to me by my friend Elliot today. Great article. Traveling alone? Best decisions I’ve ever made. I spent so much time worrying what certain people think about me that it takes up a lot of mental real estate. It’s not fun and it drove me to start seeing a therapist (otherwise I would’ve started taking anti-anxiety meds that my general practioner had been trying to convince me to go on for years). I’m now walking the fine-line between Not Giving a Fuck and Being An Asshole. Hey, it takes time. 

Last year I finally realized that there was nothing wrong with me and I was a good person. It was a nice realization. It helped me let go of my ego (as ironic as that seems), just let people talk, and not take it personally. 

How to Stop Giving a F*ck What People Think