New Week

Monday Mantra: Community Over Competition

Montauk Retreat at Gurney's

I had the best weekend ever! Fern Olivia’s retreat at Gurney’s Resort & Spa was everything I had hoped it would be…and more. I’ll be sharing a full recap on the blog later in the week, but today I wanted to talk about the notion of community over competition.

The inspiration for today’s post came when I was tagging the photo above on Instagram. After spending the weekend surrounded by so many impressive women—who each in their own way embody the definition of girlboss—I knew the hashtag community over competition was most appropriate. Each time I attend one of Fern’s events, I walk away with a renewed perspective and new friends.

From yoga instructors, reiki masters, history teachers, to entrepreneurs, bloggers, and wellness influencers, each of the women photographed above is leaving her own mark on her respective industry. They have each found a way to turn their passion into a paycheck, and are more than happy to share their knowledge and connections with a newcomer.

As a blogger, I am always learning something new and I know that there is always something new to learn. That is one of the things that I find so interesting about blogging—and keeps me from getting complacent. But I also love the sense of community that is fostered through blogging. I have met many incredible women over the last three and a half years. Some have inculcated new knowledge; others have inspired me on my own journey (even if only virtually, and without even knowing it), but all have encouraged me to pursue my passion—especially when the road looks bleak. The community I have cultivated has supported me, made themselves available to me, and are my cheerleaders. For all of those things, I am grateful.

In the age of social media, it’s easy to get consumed with numbers, or to feel that you are only as good as a number. Number of followers, number of readers, number of retweets—you get the point. I have never been a numbers person…that probably explains why I wasn’t good at math. But to me, blogging is not a numbers game. Okay, fine. I used to obsesses a little over my stats when I first started out, but mainly that was to see if anyone was actually reading my posts. I began this site as a creative outlet and resource for people with whom I could share my own experiences. Therefore, I want it to be organic and relatable. And I want to be someone who is approachable and willing to help other bloggers when they are standing where I was three and half years ago. To the women I met at the retreat, I was a blogger who was there to share a day of wellness with them. They weren’t concerned with my numbers, but rather the energy that I contributed to the day and how I shared the space with them. It’s not the number of photos I posted on Instagram, but rather the discussions we had throughout the day that I hope they will remember.

So when I am fortunate enough to attend one of Fern’s events, it reaffirms my belief that in doing what we love, we are all building our own communities. And in building your own community, you never know how you can help someone else build theirs.

What does community mean to you?

Monday Mantra: Embrace Change

flower

I haven’t written a Monday Mantra post in a while…and after the last few months, which have felt like a whirlwind of commotion, I figured I had the perfect topic for today’s post: change.

Change is a scary word for most people. Including me. I am creature of habit who thrives on having a consistent routine. Routines are like an old friend that comforts and cossets us. Yet these past few months have been nothing short of inconsistent, trying, and well, full of life changes. Between my health, stress level, heck, even a new season, and a soon-to-be change to what I have been driving for the last three years, change has come to be a word I have started to accept — whether intentional or otherwise. But is it really as scary as I thought?

As I have gotten older, it seems that change happens more frequently, or perhaps I am better equipped to accept it. In a couple of months I will be approaching the big 3-0. I know there will be lots of changes in store for me with a new decade, and I feel ready to tackle them.

So are we ever fully prepared for change? Yes and no. Sometimes change is invigorating; it infuses our lives with freshness and new challenges. Sometimes change tells us that our usual routine has become stale and no longer suits us or the times we live in. If nothing else, change can show you how strong you are — especially when you thought otherwise.

How do you handle change?

Monday Mantra: Life is a Journey, Not a Destination

Monday Mantra:  Life is a Journey, Not a Destination

Have you ever reflected on your life and wondered how you got to where you are now? Or thought, this isn’t where I’m supposed to be by this point in my life. I know I have. I often think about life choices and how they have brought me to certain places. Some of them have been good and well-thought-out, while others were rash and perhaps led me off course. Then there were those that were completely out of my control.

As humans, we want to be in control in all aspects of our life. For me, I am lost when something is out of my control. But as I start to think about future goals and paths, I’m reminded that life is a journey. There will be setbacks. There will be heartaches. There will be failures. But as long as you have goals that push you, drive you, and force you out of your comfort zone, you will be successful.

It’s easy to be consumed by where you are now, and perhaps you feel stuck in your current routine — like you are on a hamster wheel. We’ve all been there. The great thing about life though, is that it is constantly changing and through change you can find a new perspective.

So the next time you fret about your life’s choices, direction, or progress, remind yourself that life is a journey — and it is one that needs to be enjoyed and experienced with your eyes open.

Monday Mantra: Seeing the Light

West Neck Beach - Long Island

What a difference a month makes. I’ve been keeping a little secret from you, my dear readers. It’s not that I didn’t want to share, but rather I didn’t know how. The last month has been a trying time for me, one filled with feelings I struggled to name.

You see, I’ve had anxiety for as long as I can remember. And most of the time, I know what triggers it — a math exam, a long flight, a doctor’s appointment. Most of the time, my anxiety seems rational…at least to me. But for the last month, it was anything but. It consumed both my waking and sleeping hours, to the point where there weren’t many hours that I actually slept. I felt like a shell of the person I once was. I couldn’t write. I couldn’t concentrate. I couldn’t eat. And the slightest thought would send me into tears. My anxiety was completely irrational…even to me.

My mind played tricks on me day and night. My head told my body that something was physically wrong with me. The funny thing about anxiety (is any part of it funny?), is that your mind can actually torture your body — if you let it. And I did.

Late night phone calls, texts, and Skype calls with friends and family helped. But it was only temporary. As soon as I was on my own again, the what-ifs started. No amount of meditation would make them stop. No amount of telling myself they were irrational quieted them. Come morning, I was groggy, and by nightfall I was wide awake. This pattern seemed like it was never going to end. And then, just like flicking a switch, it did. It stopped. Without any further action on my part, my mind gave up. Maybe it got tired. Maybe it thought the battle wasn’t worth it anymore. But nevertheless, it stopped. It quieted. And it went back to doing what the mind normally does — it wandered. It wandered onto better and more pleasant things.

If you’ve ever dealt with anxiety issues, perhaps you can relate to this. If you haven’t, you are lucky. The last month was probably the hardest month I’ve had in a while. Being unable to combat a demon is frightening. Having people not understand what you’re going through is even more terrifying. But the scariest part of the whole experience was how much influence your mind can have over your body. How anxiety can completely envelop your whole life. I had never experienced anything so severe — and I learned that I need to focus more on quieting my mind through meditation.

Over the weekend, I found myself sitting on the beach. As I watched the water, felt the breeze on my skin, and zoned out with the sound of each crashing wave, I saw this beam of light come though the overcast sky. To me, it was not only beautiful, but symbolic. Just as I had started to physically and mentally feel better, this ray of light emerged — almost as if to say this too shall pass. From that moment on, I decided I wouldn’t let anything dim that light.

Why do I tell you all this? Because we all have things that upset us, make us anxious, or keep us up at night. Some of us are better at keeping these feelings in check than others. For the last month I’ve felt as though my brain has had too many tabs open, but unwinding seemed impossible. I found my ten minutes of meditation each night before bed more akin to torture than relaxation. And just when it felt like these feelings would plague me forever, they stopped. I’m not sure why. And I’m not sure how.

For now, I am enjoying feeling like myself again, getting back to a regular sleeping pattern, and easing into a meditation routine. After the experience of the last month, feeling like myself is not something I will ever take for granted.

Monday Mantra: Remember to Hit Pause

Monday Mantra:  Remember to Hit Pause

Here we are again. Doesn’t it feel like it was Friday a mere five minutes ago? It does for me. As I sit down to write this post after a whirlwind weekend, I’m struck by how fast time has gone. And I’m not talking about the past week or so. It seems like just yesterday I was making my New Year’s resolutions, and now here we are at the end of May.

Rather than saying I need time itself to slow down, which I say a lot (and it doesn’t seem to be working for me), what about if we made a conscious effort to hit the pause button every now and then? Life can get busy between school, work, social events, friends, family, and let’s not even talk about all those chores that come with being an adult. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know.

So, what can we do about it? I spend lots of time watching dates pass on the calendar, yet I remember precious little of what my week actually consisted of. My weeks can get busy making sure that everything on my to-do list is crossed off and that others are taken care of, and often I forget to make time for myself. Before I know it, we are at the end of the week or beginning a new one…and the cycle continues.

When I came across the quote for today’s Monday Mantra, it reminded me of the importance of hitting the figurative pause button in our mind. Life, by nature, is fast-paced. But only we can truly control our time — and how we spend it. If we move through our busy days with blinders — solely focused on what we have to do and what’s in front of us, we will inevitably miss those precious moments that make up our lives.

This week, I challenge you to do something special that makes you want to stop and look around. It could be taking a walk in the park on a summer-like day in May or grabbing a mid-week coffee at your favorite spot. When the week is over and you are reflecting, think of that moment and allow it to bring a smile to your face.

Happy Monday!

How do you hit the pause button in your own life?

Monday Mantra: Practice Gratitude

Monday Mantra:  Practice Gratitude

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my daily meditation (yup, my practice is still going strong!), it’s that there is always something to be grateful for. Perhaps it’s not so clear to see what you’re grateful for on a Monday morning. And maybe you aren’t feeling grateful at this particular moment. But take a step back. If you woke up with a roof over your head this morning and food in your fridge, think of all those who did not. If you woke up and felt well-rested and healthy, think of those who have lost their health and struggle to get through the day.

At the most basic level, we all have something to be grateful for. And gratitude will look different for each of us. Maybe we are grateful to have a job — even though it’s not our dream job. Or we are grateful that the sun is shining because it will allow us to go for a walk on our lunch break.

Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, what we should have, or what we could have, why don’t we look at what we do have? Through my meditation practice, I’ve become more aware of how much I have to be grateful for. Sure, my life isn’t perfect — and I have my health struggles. But I wake up every morning in a comfy bed, and I can start my day when and how I choose. Some days, I am grateful for those things alone. Other days, I feel grateful when I’ve been productive and crossed lots of “to-do’s” off my list. It’s easy to lose focus of what we have to be grateful for. But at the end of the day, remembering the little things in life is what it’s all about.

As we start a new week, I challenge you to find what you are grateful for. Let that gratitude inspire and guide you through the days ahead.

Monday Mantra: Be Happy, It’s Monday

Happy Monday

I never thought I would be so happy to see a Monday in my life. But when you’ve spent the weekend feeling less than 100% (and Googling every obscure ailment that pops into your anxiety-ridden mind), 9 am on Monday morning, when your doctor and his staff are back in, starts to look good.

So today, forgive me for not having insightful words of wisdom to share as I nurse myself back to health.

I hope the start of your week is a happy one!

I’d love to hear how your weekend was?