Let Me Be an Example

2013-08-10 14.48.38I wake up slowly in my small New York apt and can hear the city waking up the same way. The various sounds of daily life in Alphabet City looping and layering over themselves to create the track for the day. Birds, traffic, dogs barking, a trash truck. I can hear peoples voices drifting up from the sidewalk below, honking horns, kids playing and apparently the drum circle is meeting early today (those mother fuckers are relentless). It’s been breezy all week and I haven’t had to turn the window unit AC on yet. I am so glad for this because I much rather being able to hear the outside than the mechanical whir of forced air and have always found the swelling and swaying of gauzy curtains blowing in the wind romantic.

I wasn’t romanced at all when I first arrived. Still weak and exhausted from having spent the previous weeks sick, I climbed the stairs of an old building up to the 5th floor to find a stuffy, dirty and cluttered version of the one bedroom apartment I’d only otherwise seen photos of. It’s a furnished sublet, which I sought out intentionally so I wouldn’t have to commit to a lease, figure out utilities or haul furniture. And while I’m not dumb to the state of old buildings in East Village Manhattan, nor am I ignorant to the fact that a furnished sublet will include someone else’s things, I could not have fully anticipated the dirty and chipped tile floor, the layer of dusty grime on everything or the drawers, shelves and cabinets all full to the brim with stuff haphazardly filling every space (minus two shelves in the bathroom and a section of the Ikea wardrobe in the bedroom). I immediately felt my heart stiffen and my mind start to race with disappointment, doubt and anger. I felt so embarrassed that I had been so naive to think that I wasn’t being naive. I really thought I had done my research and found the best option for getting started.

So since that first day I have scrubbed and sorted and arranged the best I can to fit myself in here and I do feel much better about it. I’ve expressed my disappointment to the lease holder, done my best to adjust my perspective without loosing sight of my goals and I’ve found plenty of reasons to be out of the apartment, it is New York City after all. I’ve also had some money I was counting on fall thru, some opportunities dissolve and had to disconnect from some of my initial connections which leaves me somewhere between this being nothing like I thought it would be and everything that I hope it will be. Which is just a cryptic way to say…..it is what it is.

I was hasty to choose here. Not the city, but this space, and have spent a good part of each day overwhelmed with the nauseating feeling that I just invested my make it or break it money in the wrong thing. I was responding to an urgent message from within to get the fuck out of Indiana and I had plenty of ideas in my head about what I needed in order to do that, but rarely are the ideas that have only existed in my mind fully developed. They need real air in order to live and time to grow.

I haven’t wanted to talk too much about the amount of time I’ve spent having some of the least fun I’ve ever had because I knew it would pass and didn’t want to risk getting stuck in it by building words around it and I do have a peripheral sense that there is something bigger in the works. But I also feel like it’s unfair to not share anything about it in the case that the idea of me just stomping around the big apple without a care in the world has anyone’s skin crawling. Which would be a shame because it’s just not true.

I do love my location in the neighborhood and actually enjoy the five flights up to my little home. I have have gathered so much creative inspiration, tasted so many interesting foods and have had my eyes opened wide by many things I have never seen before and can feel myself moving more rhythmically inside and out. (except for numerous and painfully awkward high heeled stumbles). I am still extremely optimistic about what ever it is that’s compelled me to come here and already the holes of the things I’ve lost are being filled with new things. And I know you know this, but this is how life works. It sucks hard and we endure in order to unlock that reward. Over and over.

Most of the time the reward is not a party and sometimes it is just getting clear about what we ARE and ARE NOT willing to do and for WHAT. And always there is more to gain, than there is to loose when we can see that the good and bad are always in motion, dancing around us with each other.

So here I am, ‘living the dream’ of getting out of a small town and going full steam ahead towards the life I see for myself and it’s lead me straight into the arms of some of my biggest fears, but that’s just fine.

Because if my risk can help you gain a little courage to get out there in search of something greater or if my struggle can help you to be more prepared for your own journey than I am more than willing for forge forward. There have been plenty who have caught spider webs in the face for me. And if my success will give you hope that what you dream up, is in fact possible

Than let me be an example. For the better and for the worse.

 

Matcha with Coconut Oil

2013-08-09 12.45.09I LOVE coconut oil, just like everyone else who gave it a try and hasn’t looked back since. And I just keep finding more things to use it for, from cooking, to skin care to medicinally.  So you know when I heard about using it in your coffee I got right on that. My morning beverage of choice is Matcha Green Tea and so I made a pot with some Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut/Almond Milk and then whisked in a tablespoon of organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil. I left it extra spotty in the photo for effect, but when you give it a good whisk (or blend) it becomes frothy and creamy. The naturally mild sweetness of the oil adds a really nice flavor and leaves a rich slickness on your lips with every sip. But that’s not the end of it, as is usually the case with coconut oil, there’s also great health benefits to starting your day with a cup or two. As it turns out consuming a healthy dose of fat (like the kind in coconut oil and avocado) in the morning gets the metabolism burning, offers long term energy and helps to put our hormones in check getting us ready for a full day.

I’ve also tried this in herbal teas with just water like Lemon Ginger and Green Tea Blends and really enjoyed it and it’s great added in to hot chai and adds a little extra umph to coffee replacements like teeccino.

Bottoms up xo

 

 

 

 

Anxiety is a Sorceress Bitch

nottospeak

Anxiety is a sorceress bitch

Soaking in thru the cracks of me

Seizing my body

Spinning and spilling me out all over

churning in my mind

Mixing me up with my hurts and fears

So I do my best not to speak

Anxiety is a sorceress bitch

and when she takes me over

I do my best not to speak

I light fancy candles

I soak in the shower

I listen to heavy metal

I sit in my underwear and drink tea

I do my best not to speak

Anxiety is a sorceress bitch

by whom I refuse to be bullied

from which I refuse to die

when I start to feel her grip loosen

I make my escape

I dance

I run

I drive

Anything to make my body mine again

&

I do my best not to speak

 

When You’re Lost Never Look Down

2013-08-04 18.14.18I get the impression that you’re under the impression that I know what it is that I am doing. So let me take a moment to bring you up to speed, I haven’t a fucking clue. In fact, I catch myself asking me exactly that on a regular basis.

“So, remind me again what it is exactly that we’re doing here? or today? or just in general?”

Turns out the best answer I can give any of us is, “I’m not entirely sure.”  It’s a scary thing to say and totally racks my nerves but despite my being in an almost constant state of discomfort, it is also the most relieving, liberating and exciting thing I have ever experienced. To just not know.

Most days I wake up with a full belly of anxiety about it, trying to anticipate or control the events that lay before me. So I have had to learn to just let it run in the background. I have gotten used to the strain of trying to foresee the next 24hrs while I put on my makeup and pay little attention to the tightness in my throat while get dressed for a day in which the contents are yet to be revealed. I depend on the the rhythm of the music that comes out the speakers on my computer to help me feel ready to put on my shoes, get out of the apt and onto the street. Because if I can just get there I forget all about the fear of not knowing and just watch with wonder as my day unfolds on it’s own. Once I open myself up to the idea that I really don’t know much about anything the world becomes magical and curious again.

Too many plans limit possibility. The best things are kept behind doors that can only be opened with curiosity and in order to really grow you need the kind of space only the unknown can provide.

When you’re lost, never look down -zola jesus-

6 Months Sober

I started this page with the phrase

“I have been clean and dry for 6 months”

Then I laughed thinking about how much more it sounded like a pitch for an adult diaper brand than a proclamation of sobriety, and so on that awkward note, let me start again.

Today begins my 7th full month of sobriety. I told myself I had to make it thru 6 before I really started to consider myself sober and so here I am and IT FEELS FUCKING GREAT.  It has also been the most miserable and painful 6 months I’ve had since the first time I got sober 8 years ago and although I spent one of those years not drinking I only considered it a ‘break’. The difference this time is it is 100% voluntary and for always.

dry

Right from the start I knew that I would struggle to really GET sober in Indiana so I immediately started putting together an exit strategy for getting out of this town. It wasn’t so much that I was worried about ending up at the corner bar with shaking hands and my lips on the edge of a plastic cup of whiskey as I was concerned about the emotional/behavioral challenges of sobriety. Getting depressed or down on myself,  being angry and cynical towards others, feeling bored or anxious about wasted time, these are worse triggers for me than sitting next to someone with a drink. Another big challenge for me is knowing that I have a huge pillow of support here, which would make you think this is where I should stay to get healthy but the way unconditional support and praise gets translated by my ego really just makes me tempted to see how far I can fall and still get back up. How many limits I can push and boundaries I can break and none really for the better. Fucked up I know, but my mind is capable of genius levels of self delusion. I can convince myself of most anything and once I’ve talked myself into something on behalf of my ego, it’s really hard to talk myself out of it.

So I’ve called upon the survivalist within me. The me that works best under pressure and is motivated by the challenge to navigate chaos and to overcome obstacles. I called her out and I challenged her to do more than just survive. I challenged her, dared her and bet all my money on her to thrive.

Because once I had made the commitment to sobriety as a life style and not just a temporary adjustment I got a good look at how little I am challenged to grow here. I can really feel how being in a place that I don’t have to try that hard to succeed or win the favor of the people around me is actually holding me back, making me lazy and stoking the flame of my arrogance.

I can see how feeding my addictions while trying to stay above average had become an unconscious game I was playing with myself to stay interested, awake and test my fate. But average isn’t that high around here and I don’t care how good you are,  when you start to let your demons lead, UP is not where you’re headed. So away is where I went.

NYC2(photo courtesy of BlackBirdJones )

So after many trips here already this year I’ve found myself drawn in by the wonder of New York City. The East Village to be exact

stmarks(St. Marks Place)

I feel like this is the place that will really challenge me in the ways that I WANT to ‘grow up’ in. and one of the key parts of my personal recovery program has been to ‘create a life where addiction just doesn’t fit’. To create a life so full of interesting, places, people and things that it would become less exciting by partying and to work everyday to strengthen the power of my heart and spirit and lessen the strength of that arrogant asshole that lives in my head. It’s a daily battle, so my focus has been to stay humbled and curious and that has proven it’s self hard for me to do in this small midwestern town….So new york it is and humbled and curious I am.

Xo

Cheers to growing Upward.

Chia Hemp Breakfast Pudding

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3 TbS Chia Seeds (I used Navitas Raw Organic Chia)

1/2-3/4 C. Hemp Milk (or your preferred dairy alternative)

Fresh Berries

*stir or shake well. Let sit for 15 or more minutes.( I’ve been making it at night for the morning) Stir/shake again, add berries and get your spoon.

Chia seeds are one of many ancient super foods that are making their way back into more and more foods and understandably as these little nutritious nuggets have ounce for ounce as much omega 3 as salmon and a pretty impressive count for vitamins, minerals and protein. They are also very interesting on the tongue. enjoy.

 

No One is Immune to Self Pity

self pitysource

Did you know that the average person’s pity sack (located in the brain behind the self delusion gland) can hold up to a lifetime of festering grievances, excuses and regrets? And that once something enters inside this space it immediately begins to reproduce with itself and grow onto anything else that gets added, quickly morphing the contents into disformed adaptions of what it even began as. Gross isn’t it? What’s even worse is that as the sack fills and swells the more it consumes and pushes against what’s around it. This slowly begins limiting and retarding our ability to use the parts of our brains that determine real responsibility, problem solving and ultimately, self worth.

The long term effects of carrying a full sack of pity can be debilitating and the longer it is given to thrive the more Rx and time is required to purge it. In some cases, whole life spans can be lost to feeling completely helpless to ones circumstances and in really severe cases this helplessness gets paired with a sense of entitlement that demands to be treated as a wounded victim. These are the highest risk carriers, as wallowing becomes highly infectious via enabling. This is how it spreads through families, between friends and lovers and in the workplace.

How Do We Prevent Our Pity from Becoming Active ?

The likely hood that at some point in life we will all experience some level of Pity, either for ourselves or others is quite high. In fact there is a good chance that we will be faced with it, in varying degrees, over and over. That being said, it has been shown that in most cases of developed self-pity it’s simply been a result of not been properly diagnosed or directly named. One of the characteristics of this affliction is it’s ability to disguise it’s self as many other things and with the superficial effects always changing, it can be a complicated process to get to the root. This is why it’s such a slimy bastard, but still the best prevention Rx is identifying it directly and as soon as possible. Typically, it is most easily identified in others or by looking at ourselves in hindsight. But with the help of doing regular and focused work to improve ourselves and our situations in current time, we are given much greater odds of stopping it before it starts. The sooner we can call it out then the sooner we can get it out.

Contact with Someone Who Feels Sorry for Themselves

As mentioned before, the easiest way to identify self pity is by seeing it in someone else. Some obvious signs are

*Constant complaining without plan for resolve

*Never being at fault

*Turning down solutions or help when offered

*Being negative towards or passing judgement on others who are growing

*Always wishing they were anywhere other than where they are

*Operating below their proven potential

and so depending on how long they’ve been carrying it, simply and kindly sharing your observations with them can be the help they need to begin to heal. In situations that they’ve been holding onto their sorrows and wrongs for sometime it can be increasingly harder for them to accept what otherwise seems so clear to you. So tread lightly if it becomes obvious that they are attached to their woes, it can cause an adverse reaction if not handled carefully. But the most delicate situations are the ones where we allow our feelings for someone who is suffering, to turn from compassion and empathy into enabling and condoning.

Once we begin to pity another not only can this exacerbate the other persons experience, but it is also the way that it becomes contagious. For to believe that there is nothing someone can do to help themselves, we open the door to believing the same for ourselves.

In most cases the best way to handle someone who is wallowing is to give them a genuine ear for listening and an equally genuine  “well shit, that really sucks, but I believe in you”  All we can really do is plant the seed that they are capable to find the better way and then support them by staying consistent in that belief and being an example through our own reactions to life and circumstances.

Sometimes it will feel like we should really do more, but the way we live our own lives is the most effective tool we have to influence others. For the better or worse so stay awake.

I Think I Might Have It. What Do I Do?

If you have enough awareness to think that you maybe, might, could possibly have self pity brewing in you or that you’ve playing the victim card…. even just a little, than you probably are. Some ways that you can tell are

*Feeling like NOTHING EVER works out for you

*Being jealous and restful towards other people

*Finding yourself having the same conversation about the same problems over and over

*Loosing your willingness to even try to feel better

*Believing that there is no one that understands what you’ve been thru, have to do, or feel.

* Settling for less than what you really want

If any or all of these things are things you feel, try saying it and see how it makes you feel. Admit it in your head, say it out loud in the car or tell someone.

“I am feeling sorry for myself”  “I mean really really sorry for myself.”

No connection to reasons, no rating how bad it is and no judgement of yourself. Just keep it plan and simple. Just feel it. There should be a little wave of relief just to admit it and then maybe a surge of motivation to do something about it. But then get ready, the next part can be really tough because by slicing into that sack of self pity, all that has been kept in there comes oozing out and it can be pretty fucking rank. But considering that the alternative to getting rid of it is to keep it around thickening and spreading, seems far more unbearable. But really it’s up to each of us individually to decide how to get thru to the other side. The process is what makes it lasting. The experience is what makes it our own. Not to mention it  wouldn’t be very liberating to just be told how to solve the equation. But there are a couple of things to ask ourselves as each of these squirmy little parasites steps up to challenge us.

How is this serving me? Is is helping or hindering? Am I ready to let this go?

Eventually this series of questions (or your own variation of them) can become our default thought process when faced with a challenge or change. It will get easier and quicker to discern the sick thoughts every time we run thru these questions with ourselves and when we’re really paying attention, nothing should actually be allowed in to settle without passing through this first. This is a very effective practice but can take some time to master, so in the mean time we must just remember

The most important rule of survival is that self pity just doesn’t work.

A Start Over Girl

doomngloom2

I am a start over girl. A table clearing, burn it all, leave in the night, kind of girl. It is a  dysfunctional by-product of anxiety, perfectionism, curiosity and restlessness, but as of late I have been feeling like there has to be a better way. Sometimes it’s mild, like re-writing my To-Do list until I like my handwriting, or changing the color of my hair. Other times it’s more drastic, like in a fit of fashion frustration, putting everything in a bag as it comes out of the dryer and driving it straight to Goodwill. Once, I even got in my car and left for work, only to drive straight past it and never look back. Now somethings are meant to be wiped clean, as that job was at a Bob Evans, but the point is more that it was a decision made from compulsion rather than a conscious and intentional change. An option that, as I mature, only seems to carry greater loss. So this feeling I’ve been having, this desire for an uprooting” of sorts has me in a unique situation. Unique because, somehow after years of compulsive starting over, taking few things seriously and doing my damnedest to not get attached, I have still managed to find myself with a collection of pretty great circumstances. Great enough that I am not willing to just walk away from any of them. Great enough that I am pretty well attached and yet, my insatiable wanderlust and rumbling hunger for brand new surroundings, anonymity, adventure and variety is far from curbed.

But with decisions about careers, relationships, family, dreams, money and friends looming about, I can totally see how this is where so many people get stuck. Either surrendering to the idea of settling down, making commitments, signing contracts and growing old or deciding to never care about anything. It’s easy to feel like it would be selfish, or irresponsible to walk away from any of it or risk instability just for some curious desire to know more but for me it’s equally as heavy to consider this as being the best there is, no matter how good it is. But my default to take the easy way, to sneak out and bail, doesn’t feel right to me any more either. Goddamn adult hood.

So what I am left with is accepting that there is not going to be a clear path when it comes to changing course or picking a new direction.and I am encouraged when I remember that no decision is more right than the one made in love and no love is more important than that which we feel for ourselves. That those of us who live with courage in our hearts will be bound together always, and those who do not…..well, that’s their problem. The “rules” of growing up are all fucked up anyway and as far as I can tell doing things traditionally isn’t going to  bring me anywhere close to what I want. I envy none who have followed the marked trail and am inspired by those who forge their own way. I will gladly be a single feather loose in the wind and live committed to being free, finding comfort in the truth that there is always more to be and that those who are able to understand us, do so because they understand themselves.