Do I really have to feel my feelings?

A few weeks ago, I saw an ex-boyfriend, we broke up on good terms. We had dated on and off for five years- our relationship was a huge part of my development.  It just wasn’t a good fit – we collided over and over again, repeating well-worn patterns until we decided to do something different and break up for good. It was a relief for both of us when it happened.

We texted each other after he departed and said a word of gratitude for the lessons we had learned during our time together.

He was in town for work and asked if I wanted to grab a bite.  We met up, ate burgers, and talked about our lives since our split: dating, family, work, and future plans. We were both happy to see each other doing well.  We texted each other after he departed and said a word of gratitude for the lessons we had learned during our time together. It was nice to catch up and to see someone who had been such an huge part of my life for so long.

 I checked in with myself. What was I feeling?  Was it about my ex?

I woke up the next morning and was feeling off.  It was a mixture of feeling ungrounded and anxious.  I checked in with myself. What was I feeling?  Was it about my ex?  It wasn’t regretting our breakup or wished we were still together but I didn’t feel like my happy self.  I prayed and asked the Universe to move the energy.   I wrote it off, plowing ahead with my day, assuming that when I started moving the energy would move as well.

I didn’t feel like my happy self. 

But, I found myself distracted and agitated.  Everything was fine, I insisted. I worked, I meditated, I boxed, I prayed, and then my mom called.

I felt stupid and mystified, why was I crying?

The hard part about being in a family full of intuitves is that we all know when something is off even if you don’t want to admit it.  When I told her about seeing my ex, I got teary.  I felt stupid and mystified, why was I crying?  I was happy.  My life was peaceful and I was having fun being single.  I’d grown to love my freedom and I was enjoying using this time to get to know myself outside of a relationship. Between my parents’ traumatic divorce and the constant fighting with my ex, it was the first time in years I’d had room to reconnect to Sonia.  

Those feelings were uncomfortable and I had been in so much discomfort for so long that I was over it.

When I sunk in a little deeper, I realized that since seeing my ex, I had been pushing away the not so comfortable emotions that seeing him brought up. Feelings of disappointment, of being vulnerable,  of the mix of anticipation and anxiety about the future, about dating,  about life.  I didn’t want to feel any of those things. Those feelings were uncomfortable and I had been in so much discomfort for so long that I was over it.

We scramble and do whatever we can to try and feel better.

We’re quick to do whatever we can to try and shift out of our feelings that are hard: sadness, pain, fear, vulnerability, the list goes on.  We scramble and do whatever we can to try and feel better. Years ago, I once ran 10 miles to try to suffocate my body from feeling anxious. I hadn’t run in years and what I was actually trying to do was run out of my body and outrun my anxiety.  

Funny things about feelings, unless we process them, they follow us. 

 I didn’t want to feel sad because it didn’t match with how I felt about my life. Funny things about feelings, unless we feel them, they follow us. 

The energy moved, my heart no longer felt burdened.

Once I stopped resisting and just let myself feel what my intellect told me was illogical (why am I crying?!?!), everything shifted. I had a moment, shed some tears and acknowledged what was emotionally real for me. After allowing myself a release, it felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. The energy moved, my heart no longer felt burdened. I felt better. I wasn’t playing hide and go seek with myself.

If we don't try to preemptively brace ourselves from being uncomfortable, we can get to the root. 

 We play dumb when it comes to our feelings.   We are masters of disguise.  Our intellects act confused “why are you feeling weird today?" But, if we don't try to preemptively brace ourselves from being uncomfortable, we can get to the root.  Most of us haven’t had good role models when it comes to feeling anything other than happy.  Boys are told to “man up”, girls are told they’re being too emotional or needy. 

It’s not easy to trust that hard emotions will move.

However, we need to reprogram this thinking, starting by being gentle with ourselves.   It’s not easy to trust that hard emotions will move. There is a part of us that doesn’t trust that we have room in our body to encompass all of it, simultaneously. The intellect wants it to be all good or all bad – all happy or all sad. When it doesn’t match up with our experience, we come up with a million different ways to escape our feelings. We rationalize, we intellectualize, we get angry, we check out, the list goes on.

The elephant in the room doesn’t go away.

The elephant in the room doesn’t go away. We can pretend it’s not there and try to live in the spaces in the inbetween but after a while, it gets pretty cramped.  We have to remember, we can trust ourselves. We can trust our bodies and with our not so comfortable emotions – especially sadness, vulnerability, fear and trust that we won’t get stuck.

The underlying fear I see often is that if I let myself feel anything other than good, I’m weak

 The underlying fear I see often is that if I let myself feel anything other than good, I’m weak and I’ll won’t ever feel better. Couple that with our social media saturated world that promotes this manufactured life that looks perfect all the time and we strangle the depth out of our own experiences. Where there is light, there is shadow. We have room for both and we can trust that it’ll move if we allow ourselves to feel.

The funny part is avoiding just feeling makes the experience even more intense.

Being vulnerable is tough especially since no one told us it was okay, it’s not weakness but strength.   Feeling uncomfortable feelings is scary – especially when we’re avoiding them.  We’re strategic and skilled – the amount of energy expended and smoke bombs thrown to avoid the emotional wave is incredible.    The funny part is avoiding just feeling makes the experience even more intense. It’s like when you get up on the high diving board –peak over the edge and think jumping. Thoughts make the jump scarier and scarier - how long of a fall it is, how cold the water will be, what if I belly flop, what if I hit my head and drown. The longer you stand up there, the scarier it is to take the leap. Yet, if you stop thinking about it and trust yourself and jump, you might feel scared as you fall. But, once you’re in, you’ll be happy you trusted yourself to take the plunge.  

 

 

::New SuperMoon in Taurus::

Image from Babe Majora and astro crush, Chani Nicholas. 

Image from Babe Majora and astro crush, Chani Nicholas. 

Supercharged new super moon in Taurus has lots of important energy for us. Although we can’t see new moons, think of the new moon like a seedling. We plant them underneath the soil, invisible to the naked eye but -- they’re growing. They know what to do.  All we have to do is water them, give them some sunshine and trust in the process.  Little by little, our new super moon in Taurus seedlings, blossom when we come full circle with the full moon in Taurus in November.

 

The energy of this new moon is to ground everything out.

 

The energy of this new moon is to ground everything out and bring some magic to the process. We need that right now.  Taurus is the first earth sign in the Zodiac- it’s the foundation. Solid foundation is key to a solid house. You can build whatever you want on top of it. This moon invites us to work on our foundation.  Taurus rules the throat chakra so use your voice and get rid of those dust bunnies. Especially, if you’re not one to speak up. 

 

This moon invites us to work on our foundation.

 

Taurus energy is slow and steady, practical and stabilizing. This new moon wants you to take good care of yourself – making sure that you have your greens, that you move your body and do things that are in integrity with your Spirit so that you don’t feel like your hair will fall out because you’re so stressed. Think foundation. Where in your life do you need to make changes that will support your health and wellbeing? Take a minute to think about it and set the intention. One of mine is to do 20 minutes of yoga every day and regularly check in with my feeling body so I can respond before I’m feeling flooded.

 

Where in your life do you need to make changes that will support your health and wellbeing?

 

Taurus also love nice things but in a practical way - they might not be into the diamond encrusted manicure but they’ll love a cashmere blanket (warm, comfortable and lasts forever). That also extends to the $$, so think about where you want to invest, spend less, and simplify. Last but not least, Taurus will also invite you to look at where we can help support the planet. Take stock of how ecologically friendly you are to our OG Mama, Mama Earth. As you plant your seeds of intention, what would you like to reap in the harvest?   Share with us! We love hearing from you! 

Being Right Kinda Sucks

 

Hello noodle babies! I can’t believe that it’s already mid-MARCH. Where has the time gone? I celebrated a birthday, traveled to Costa Rica, taught some workshops and Sabrina and I are planning our book release. Holy moly. It’s happening. (May 30th. You can even pre-order it on Amazon That's the realness.) 

But even with all these awesome things going on, I’m still not feeling 100.  

Maybe you’re like me,  feeling a bit….what’s the word, stressed? Freaked the fuck out? The world feels like a coo-coo bananas right now.

There are days where I feel like I'm going to fall in the abyss of “HOLY SHIT, I’M PANICKING WTF”. I have to walk myself back off the ledge and remind that part of myself that everything is going to be okay. 

 

**aggressively whispers to self “everything is going to be okay”**

 

With all this division going on right now, it’s hard to believe that we’ll ever find a middle ground.

 

That is a seductive place to land.  Like, nothing is going to change so you can just throw your hands up and say “fuck it”, marathon Ru Paul’s Drag Race and eat two giant ice cream sandwiches. Because…who cares anymore?!

Or you can maybe you’re feeling the other side, where you’re just filled with rage and pissed. Maybe feeling overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do. Maybe you swing back and forth between the two. Maybe it’s just me.

Right now, I’ve found that it’s really easy to start to otherize and be reductionist about people who don't share my point of view, especially politically.  And that’s dangerous.

 

When we disconnect from our hearts, from seeing people as people, and get into our egos we make the world a place that’s me against you.

 

The outcome of that fight is we all lose. And right now, there are a lot of us in that spot.  The whole feeling of : “I’m right, you’re wrong and you’re an idiot on top of it.”

We all have gotten into a disagreement or a fight– you’ve probably had the experience of someone saying a variation of that sentiment to you. I definitely have been both on the giving and receiving end. (Sidebar: there is a whole story about that very tug of war in our new book, You Are Amazing.)

What’s happening in the world can also be looked at through the microcosm of our own relationships but with the volume turned way down.

 

Just recently, I was on a family trip in Costa Rica. I was being a typical big sister jerk and accused Sabrina of using my hairbrush and not putting it back where I left it in the bathroom. I think I said something along the lines of “God SABRINA, where did you put my brush?! If you’re going to use my stuff, PUT IT BACK.” (FYI: Sabrina didn’t touch my brush. I never actually took it out of my suitcase and I’m a goober.)

Sabrina fired back : “You’re so disorganized”  And voila, we were in an argument. If you’re wondering how me being a stinker about a hairbrush has anything to do with any of this bear with me for a moment.

The truth of the matter is, before I even opened my mouth, I was in my ego.

My lovely ego was in the driver’s seat and feeling righteous in a really familiar story - anyone who has a sibling knows the tale of “you touched my stuff”.

Before I could take a moment and check myself or just ask my sister, the person, instead of “my sister who always moves my stuff”, I was ready to attack. I was greeted with defensiveness and a counter attack – “you’re disorganized.” 

Later, when we were talking Sabrina told me I hurt her feelings. At first, there was part of me that wanted to tell her she was over-reacting: “get over it, it’s not that big of a deal, it’s just a brush.”

But, that part of me is a jerk.

 I shouldn’t listen to her because she’s not that nice and is really bad at apologizing.  I was not seeing my sister, a person whose feelings I hurt.  I was more tied to the story of “you didn't’ move it this time but it’s usually you so you should be sorry anyway.”  (Um, hello ego!) When I finally got into my heart space, everything shifted.  (To be honest, I needed a time-out because my ego was on over-drive that day over a brush)

On some level, it’s easier to fight and “be right”.

We’re hard wired to protect ourselves against a perceived threat – even if that threat is criticism and not a saber-toothed tiger.   Being right, in reality, kinda sucks.  It's easier (it’s not my problem, it’s theirs) because it’s less work in the short term. 

Rather than getting away from the story and connecting, we take a bypass. It takes availability to listen, to understand, to empathize, to have compassion and, to get away from “what really happened”. It takes a lot of patience and self-control. Like “please excuse me while I count to 10 and breathe deeply so I don’t murder you.” 

We have to drop into our hearts and listen to what’s under the noise.

When we’re triggered, those things can feel next to impossible. 

The solution?  We have to practice. We have to practice listening to what is underneath what is being said and attending to that. When we listen with our hearts and connect person to person, we find that we share more in common than we first realized.

As if by magic, our hearts soften and things shift.

One of my favorite examples of this is a black man by the name of Daryl Davis, a professional boogie woogie pianist. He was playing music at a honkey tonk bar one night when a man from the KKK was in attendance. The Klansman was so impressed by his piano playing that it started a dialogue.

That dialogue and inroad led to many more, and eventually Davis befriended over 20 Klansman, who through their conversations and friendship, left the Klan, giving Davis their robes and hoods - including the Imperial Wizard. When summing up his experience for the Daily Mail; he said:

“Establish dialogue. When two enemies are talking, they're not fighting.”

It’s an incredibly remarkable story – you should totally listen to it.

Davis in my mind, is an actual super hero. He sat down and talked to people in the fucking KKK. Mind blown. I could hardly talk to my sister about a brush. But he's an incredible and exquisite example of getting below the noise. And the noise he had to endure was hateful, racist, and violent.

Instead of reacting, he stayed grounded and listened. He heard fallacious arguments, saw what was underneath them and used their own reasoning to change how they thought. The conversations between Davis and the Klansman changed everything. It disassembled their racist ideology. It was his wise heart that captained that ship. He saw that these people were afraid and how that unchecked fear and ignorance was poison. He acted as an educator. Davis said:

"If you don’t keep that fear in check, that fear will breed hatred. If you don’t keep hatred in check, it will breed destruction."

Davis's courage and wisdom is a beautiful and profound example of what we can do when we move beyond story. Davis, by the virtue of being who he is, a powerful, wise , curious and opened hearted man, changed their world view. Once they got to know him, it was hard for them to maintain their prejudices. Talk about a healing. Damn. 

When we get underneath the defensive ego and connect heart to heart, we can do what our heads deem impossible.

Daryl Davis is my hero. He is an example and role model for all of us. Obviously, you don't'' have to subject yourself to the violence Davis did. But we can learn from his example and use it in our day to day.

Letting our righteous and easily wounded egos drive the conversation ends in disaster. Let's drop into our hearts fight fear.  Now, more than ever, we need to practice finding these connections so we can start healing and remember the power of the human Spirit.

"If You Don't Love Yourself, How the Hell Are You Gonna Love Somebody Else?"

I’ve never been someone who is good at not knowing things. As a kid I can remember always flipping to the end of the book looking for the resolution to the problem, too anxious to wait and see how something unfolded. Letting go and letting things unfold naturally has never been my strong suit.

 

But here’s the real issue with this personality trait, life is packed full of the unknown. Over the last three years, all major pieces of my life collapsed. My parent divorced, we sold our family home in Chicago and I broke up with longtime boyfriend. Everything around me crumbled into a massive pile of the unknown, and what had been stable for so long was now a puddle on the floor. My life had dissolved into memories, and anything that I had taken for solid was now gone.

 

From the rubble of our lives, my mom and I decided to move together to Paris and we began the long journey towards rebuilding a sense of normal life in a foreign country. Now, everything around me was unknown. I didn't know how to grocery shop (French people had RULES for shopping.) I didn't have any friends or know where to find any friends. I didn't know if I had made a terrible mistake leaving my boyfriend or if I was going to live with my mom forever, Grey Gardens style and we would slowly dissolve into madness together.

 

Learning how to deal with the feeling of being in the unknown was absolute torture, because all I craved and yearned for was stability, but everywhere I looked I felt like I was just jumping from lilly pad to lilly pad, barely keeping myself going. So what did I do with all this unknown? I obsessed about people and relationships. I obsessed especially about my new on and off again relationship with a man who put me through the ringer emotionally by breaking up with me, and changing his mind about said breakup, every time the doorbell rang.

 

I obsessed about the future and I obsessed about choices I had made. I obsessed and obsessed to the point of exhaustion, and then I would obsess a little more.

 

I see this so often, this pervasive and powerful feeling motivating most of our modern lives, where we’re constantly in a fearful state of self doubt and doubtful of a loving Universe. A lot of time I felt left behind by God. As if I was somehow abandoned and alone in this state of the unknown was a real feeling of emptiness.

 

So what did I do with this feeling of hating the unknown? I wish I could say that I developed a healthy meditation practice and learned to manage my obsessions with mindfulness. The real story with that I decided to move to Former Yugoslavia and tried to make it work with my profoundly (comically really) unstable relationship.

 

Do you know that saying that if you keep ignoring the signs from God they just get bigger and louder? I finally woke up the day I fell off a flight of loft stairs in my Croatian apartment and almost died.  I literally tumbled out of the loft to the concrete floor below.

 

That day was the day I realized, “HOLY SHIT WHAT AM I DOING?”  and began yet another journey towards really waking myself up.

 

Something in me shifted that day, because after returning to my little apartment after a crazy adventure to the Croatian hospital (definitely a story for another time) I realized how profoundly I had let my fears and obsessions make my choices, and how far away from truly taking care of myself I had wandered.

I cried. I cried and cried. I was emotionally and physically broken. I realized that the thing that I had been trying to avoid was how scared I was. And how obsessing and over thinking was just a shitty way of trying to avoid feeling how completely unloved and rejected I felt.

 

But through the tears and moments of real pain, I heard that night something emerge from my depths of my own soul that sounded something like “GIRL, you need to sit your ass down and learn to love yourself. You came to Croatia to be in a relationship with someone who’s unstable, and instead you need to get good with yourself first. Love your own damn self. Stop ignoring you. Stop pushing yourself so hard. Get grounded.”

 

Seriously. No joke. A strong independent woman voice finally emerged from my crash and I couldn't ignore the powerful truth of what she was saying. From that night forward, something in me shifted. Falling off the stairs was the best thing that ever happened to me, because it stopped me in my tracks and actually forced me to get in touch with my feelings. Instead of feeling sorry for myself though, I truly felt compassion for this young woman who was trying so hard to feel loved that she was willing to Zagreb alone in the middle of the winter. I mean, that shit took courage. Even if it was totally insane.

 

I left Zagreb and began to actually heal that impulsive behavior by learning to be more patient and calm with my own emotions. I listened to my fears and anxieties, and honored them with a “Girl, I understand,” sort of approach instead of letting all those feeling make so many of my choices. I might have moved to Croatia to fall in love with someone else, but the real gift it gave me was the lesson of falling in love with myself.

 

Learning to let go of needing to know the outcome was the best gift I have ever given myself. There were beautiful gifts on the horizon for me (I know that now looking back) that I would meet new incredible people and find powerful and stable love in my life. But the most important shift that happened was I learned to hold the tension of the unknown and not freak out. If I get caught up in obsessive thinking, instead of trying to control it (that shit is like trying to heard cats, it doesn't work,) I place my hand on my own heart and whisper a little prayer to God that goes something like, “I feel scared right now. Thank you for comforting me in this moment of the unknown. I am so grateful.” 

Heart Telling You to do Something? Don't Ask Your Head

This is Sonia, back from doing some solo traveling in Chile for the past six weeks. I got the intuitive hit to go to Chile during the summer of 2015, when I first saw a picture of Torres del Paine.  

These are the towers that inspired my trip. I got this picture on the internet but click it and it'll take you to the site I got it from. 

These are the towers that inspired my trip. I got this picture on the internet but click it and it'll take you to the site I got it from. 

 

Once I saw it, something deep inside me told me I needed to go.  My heart was 100% on board but my head had other plans. Actually, my head wanted all the plans- it wanted to know every single detail of the trip that didn’t exist yet. 

It had all sorts of ideas such as ‘You need to vacate your apartment and go traveling indefinitely.”

But, that didn’t sit well with the rest of me.  “Romantic as that sounds, that feels terrifying,” my heart argued back.  

My brain wasn’t going to give it up and the more time elapsed, the more complicated it made everything until traveling felt…impossible.

Head: “You’ll have to put all your stuff in storage.”

Every other part of me and also another part of my head “But you love your apartment, so what if you hate your trip and want to go home? And now you have no home to go to because you got rid of the apartment you love because I told you to do that?”

Head : “Still, I could totally be wrong. Why are you listening to me?“

It was a shit show. I got so confused that I decided to put my whole trip on the back burner until I could get some space “figure it out.”

(IRL, one year)

 

My heart and intuition knocked again, saying “umm… hello, are you going to Chile or not?”

My head piped in  “WE NEED TO MAKE A PLAN.”

Then the paralysis of analysis kicked back in and I did nothing. I didn’t buy a plane ticket (step #1) or map out my trip. I did tell every one who would listen my grand- imaginary plans to go traveling. I even roped my friend Brant into traveling to Cuba with me on my way to Chile.

Spring became summer, and then September rolled around.

I knew I needed to do something but my head made it so… scary.  I did nothing.

 One night, I was at dinner, drinking wine with my Godparents and talking about my imaginary trip to Torres Del Paine again. With a little liquid courage in my system, I thought, “I’m doing this. I’m buying tickets right now.” 

I called Brant on my bike ride home and said “Let’s buy our tickets to Cuba – right now. Come over.”  He was all for it and met me at my house. The minute I got home I got out my laptop and bought our tickets--his to Cuba and mine to Cuba, then continuing on to Chile, finally! 

My brain got turned up again. “Now- we’ll make the plans.” But, that didn’t work the first time around. My brain just scared me and made me think of way too many things. So, I did the opposite.  I pushed back. I decided I wasn’t going to make plans. Except go to Torres del Paine and backpack the W circuit to see the towers.

And that’s what I did. I showed up in Chile with no plans. It was awesome. I could tell you all about all the amazing adventures I had on my journey (climbing a volcano, buying the smallest and most expensive hat in the world, learning to be alone, making a bunch of wonderful friends). 

My friend, Chicken, who I brought as a travel companion and the smallest and most expensive hat I've ever purchased. 

My friend, Chicken, who I brought as a travel companion and the smallest and most expensive hat I've ever purchased. 

 

The biggest thing I got from this trip is that I can make shit happen when I decide to make it happen. All you need to do is decide.

You don’t need to plan everything in advance in order to follow your heart.  Your head might tell you otherwise. Mine did.  But, too much talking just muddies the waters. (Okay to be completely honest, Chile is a very long country and a littttle planning could have helped) but going without plans was an exercise in trust- trusting in myself, in the Universe, in others, and in life. And, it totally worked out.

It’s easy to make things complicated. We convince ourselves that it’s impossible to follow our hearts without having a plan.

It’s so easy to believe that things can’t happen because of “xyz” or writing off what we want because “that’s reality.” I know I can be tempted to believe I need a million “game plans” or whatever before I follow my heart.  That’s how I wasted a year.

Still, my intuition and my heart felt the call, and never let up. My mind just didn’t listen. I’m so happy that I finally tuned out my head and jumped off the diving board and followed my heart without a plan.

I got filled to the brim with awesome experiences that I could never have planned to have.

Once I decided to go, I no longer ran every decision through the gauntlet of “let me think about this for another year and then I’ll decide if the time is right. “

I encourage you to decide to go do that thing your heart has been telling you to do. That one that you’ve been itching to do for so long but got pushed to the background because life had decided that everything else is more important.

Get your creative juices going, tell your intellect it can sit this round out. Decide to just imagine what experiences you want to have. Then do it. Buy a ticket. Make a move.

So make a decision, get out of your own way and have a magical experience in 2017.

Pablo Cohelo said it best “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

Sweaty and exhausted at the base of the towers but so happy. 

Sweaty and exhausted at the base of the towers but so happy. 

SetTing Your Intentions For 2017

Hello You Beautiful Magical Human!

2016 is over and what a intense non-stop year it was. This was an intense year to be alive. We are glad we both had a healthy meditation practice to keep us grounded and centered. It was a year of twists and turns, ups and down, and a whole lot of “what the heck is happening?”

 

 

So, here’s the deal. 2016 was a number 9-year in numerology. That’s a year that calls for ending. Anything that wasn’t in alignment with your Spirit needed to go. This meant a lot of ends - ending toxic relationships, and ending all outdated ways of relating to people in our lives and not so useful ways of relating to ourselves. It meant raising our level of consciousness overall, (whether we wanted to or not) because only when we are able to see something for what it is, can we begin the process of transforming it into something that does serves us. All of this was hard work. I like to think of the 9-year as the last mile of a long distance marathon. That final push feels like the longest mile. 2016 felt like a long ass year for many of us.

BUT GOOD NEWS Y’ALL!

After all that shifting and moving, here comes 2017.  This year is going to be a really powerful one as numerologically it breaks down into a 1-year. (2+0+1+7= 10 or 1) This is the energy of new beginnings and powerful transformations. It’s a year that invites feeling good in your own skin and being soundly on your path. This year you’ll be able to manifest your deepest desires as 2016 cleared the way for new seeds of your deeper yearnings to start to sprout. 2017 is a year to really bust out into the world and let those around you know who you really are without apology.

And all this newness energy is really freaking exciting.

 

 

Take some time for yourself to set some powerful New Year's intentions. Write these intentions down on crisp clean sheet of paper. Dare to dream big this year.  What would you really love to experience? What would make your heart sing? What would be healing and transformative?

 

 

Bringing light onto this planet is more important than ever. Focus your energies at the place of your heart and listen for what it’s yearning to create. Have gratitude for what was cleared away and be open and excited about the new beginnings that are starting to take shape.

 

This year we are focused on experiencing more balance, feeling more alive and having more fun!

 

We love you. You are Amazing.

 

 

Sonia and Sabrina

 

I Am Dramatic. Enter Meditation.

Drama runs deep in these Romanian veins of mine. (Technically my sister likes to point out we are more Irish than Romanian, but for the sake of this story, lets say I’m one hundred percent dramatic gypsy Romanian.)

Last year when my sister started meditating every morning, I told her that I hoped that she wasn’t going to turn into one of those annoying meditating people who talk about how great meditation was all the time. And the truth was, I was secretly (or not so secretly) annoyed with her for being able to commit to meditation. Mediation was something that I only told people I did, a little spiritual white lie if you will, but really had never partaken in.  Meditation was in the same category as Soul-Cycle, eating raw, or drinking green juices.

I wanted other people to think I was partaking in regular meditation, but had never really committed. Frankly, the very thought of meditating scared the crap out of me. It felt like an insurmountable brain puzzle.

I believed meditating would mean that I would have to learn to stop thinking, and gosh darn it, that felt impossible. Absolutely impossible. Frankly, ludacris.

My dad likes to tell the me about how when he taught me to ski as a kid, he could hear me talking to myself the entire way down the mountain. Just a fast, constant commentary from a four year old on life, the trees, my boots, the snow, how well I was doing, how great I felt. Anything and everything, I was born to talk.

But this gift of gab could turn on me into the terrifying clown that cackles in your nightmares, because sometimes I just could not get my mind to relax and calm down. It was like the rotisserie chicken, spinning around and around, on high speed, day and night. And a lot of my thoughts were useless, harmless ones that came and went like little puffy clouds, but others thoughts would terrify me to no end.

This is an except from my brain:

Wow. It’s nice today. Oh look at that ladder. Don’t walk under it or you’ll die. Don’t be dumb, you won’t die. Don’t be dumb about ladders, you’ll die. Also, you might never find a boyfriend. Why do you need a boyfriend? Boyfriend can be nice. Or terrible. Are these thoughts creating my reality? Oh shit, Deepak says that my thoughts create reality so now I’m going to die under a ladder without a boyfriend.

You get the idea. Managing my brain has often felt to me like herding cats. All different thoughts going different directions, and I would get sucked into the under toe and panic, waiting for the things I feared most to come true.

So when we went on vacation to the South of France this summer, my mom, my sister and I, I watched in amazement as my sister reacted just a little bit differently what could have been a major family drama chaos meltdown. (We’re all Romanian, and thus, all dramatic.)  We got stuck in horrible bumper-to-bumper summer traffic and were rushing to return our rental car to catch our train back to Paris.

My mom and I were basically beside ourselves in a full sweat, out of our minds with panic over the fast approaching time and train, but my sister remained calm but alert. She drove in and out of traffic and never once clapped back at us for panicking.

 We missed our train, but my sister remained poised throughout the chaos. This meditation thing might actually work I thought to myself.

 Somehow meditating had made her more flexible. And I looked at her with amazement as if she had grown a goddamn pair of angel wings and had learned a synchronized angelic dance routine to my favorite Beyoncé song. (Side note, my favorite song is Grown Woman. It’s my anthem. Get it. Not right now, but after this, go download it.)

So I decided to start meditating too. I downloaded and App called Headspace and started with their free beginners pack.

The first couple of days, I followed the directions, and wondered when something would start happening. I would leave the ten minutes sessions feeling about the same as when I had started, with the addition of feeling accomplished for sticking my headphones in my ears and sitting my ass down in the chair for ten minutes. (Go me! Go me!)

Now, the first time I truly noticed a real change was about month into the process. I got into a fight with my mom and was acting like a total crazy person. I believe the argument I had started with her was about me believing that she had cut into a sweet potato improperly. Crazy shit, really. And instead of doubling down on my insanity, as I normally would have, I had this felling of “pause” in my brain. It felt like someone had handed me a remote control.  I finally felt like I had more space in my brain.

Slowly over the next few months, I would leave my mediations feeling somehow lighter. More focused. Less anxious and more present to what was happening right in front of me, instead of only preoccupied with what was happening in my head.

I now see that meditation, much like eating my vegetables, isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. Meditation has become the real nutrient for my brain that keeps me grounded and healthy. It’s what allows me to not flip out at the people I love, or when I do flip out, be aware enough to come back and not get sucked into the under belly of my own thoughts. I recommend committing to meditating for 40 days, every morning, and really being open to seeing what shifts for you. I highly recommend using a guided meditation in the beginning. Just like when I started going to the gym, having a trainer to give me clear directions and encourage me, made me less self-conscious and less anxious over all.

I’m not going to lie, I can still feel totally self-conscious and overthink meditating, but much like at the gym, over time I am starting to see that it’s not just what happens during the exercise itself, but how I react to my life after that truly shows me the benefits.