Why you should share your story right now!

brene vulnerabilityWe all have dreams. Dreams that we would love to see come true in our lifetimes, but have no idea where to begin. Desires that burn in us so deeply, we just wish they’d happen already.

Desires aren’t just normal, they’re a healthy part of human existence. They help us move forward to where we want to go. They connect us to who we are, to who we are meant to be and to our greatest purpose in life. Desires = our ultimate destiny. They enforce big, important shifts.

The problem with dreams and desires is that they’re often accompanied by fear. We’re afraid that we won’t be good enough to achieve our dreams. We don’t know where to begin. We’re afraid that if we fail, we’ll be ridiculed. We’re scared that our desires may change over time.

And so, we keep them to ourselves.

We lock our dreams in our heads and hearts. We tell ourselves to aim lower. We silence our creativity.

But holding back on your dreams is one of the worst things that you can do in this life. Dreams don’t go away… they grow into regret.

I recently took a leap of faith. I have a dream to one day start a business that will bring women and girls on the journey to self love that I myself completed. I want to make this more accessible, acceptable, and sought-out. And I’ve started verbalizing this dream as much as I possibly can.

Here’s why I think that EVERYONE should stop what they’re doing and start shouting out their dreams RIGHT NOW.

1. The more you share you dream, the more likely it is to come true.

Manifestation 101- if you put it out in the universe, the universe works with you to make it happen. So don’t stop sharing what you want. Keep putting it out there, share your passion. The more energy and emphasis, the better. The world WANTS you to achieve your desires, guys! Let it work for you.

2. The amount of people who will rally to help you achieve your dream will astound you.

A few weeks ago I made the decision to invest in Mentor Masterclass as a first step to making my dream a reality. When I was first considering the class, it felt so “alternative” to me, nothing like the straight and narrow college to career path that I had taken my entire life. I was worried that I would be rejected for wanting to pursue this, that my family and friends would think I was off my rocker. I have been amazed that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Since I decided I wanted to take the class, I’ve found the most amazing of support from family, friends and acquaintances. I’ve had ex boyfriends, co-workers and Facebook friends volunteer to help or just share support. And most amazingly, my parents reacted in the exact opposite way I thought they would. They didn’t look at me like I was nuts, they didn’t try to talk me out of staying on the rational path. They supported me wholeheartedly. They smiled wide at the idea and they told me to go for it. They’re holding my hand through the process. The only person who thought that I was being crazy for wanting to do this was me. Support is all around.

3. More and more opportunities that will move you forward will arise.

Like attracts like. So, the more you make your desire into something tangible, a goal that you’re actually working towards, the more the path to achieving that desire will unfold. Tell one friend about your dream and bam! she knows of a class to help. Tell another and wam! he knows the perfect person to network with. And, verbalizing your desires helps to crystalize the resources that you’ll need to make it happen. The more you work through this, the more the path will naturally come to you.

4. You’ll realize you’ve had the power all along.

Nothing hurts us more than keeping our desires to ourselves. We hold back our creative voice, we tell ourselves that we’re not good enough to do what we truly want, we validate that negative voice in our heads that’s held us back for so long. In truth, the only person who can make your dreams happen is YOU. And 99% of that struggle is mental. If you believe you can do it, you will. This applies to absolutely everything in life. The sooner that you can learn to believe in yourself no matter what, no matter how big the dream, the sooner you will blossom into the life of your dreams.

5. You’ll master one of the most valuable life skills: how to sit in vulnerability.

Vulnerability. For many of us, we go to great lengths to avoid it. But as Brene Brown (one of my favorite human beings) teaches, vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation and change. Vulnerability brings our true selves into the open. And when we allow ourselves to be seen deeply, wholeheartedly, we call in love and joy. By showing yourself (all of yourself!) as you are, you’re inspiring meaningful change in your life.

 

What is one of your biggest dreams for your life? Tell me in the comments below and let the magic begin!

xx

Join me at #GlobeWanders this Friday!

Think about your favorite night out in a city you were visiting for the first time. For me, the excitement of traveling always elevates the experience- the new musical influences, meeting people who are interesting and like-minded in their wanderlust, and of course, doing something new.

Now imagine you could have that experience in NYC, in winter.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 4.58.04 PM

This Friday (Jan 23rd), #Globewanders is bringing the experience of music and travel together for a night of fun at the Hudson Hotel in NYC. The event is designed to bring together innovators and appreciators of world travel + world dance music + world culture to boogie to global dance beats and tropical bass spun by DJ Geko Jones of the wildly popular Que Bajo?! parties in NYC. Also on the bill: dance collective Cadny.org, and some of their capoeira dancers will be out and about on the dance floor to keep the party moving.

In other words, your Friday night is officially exotic. Which is tough to come by in January.

To sum up:

#GLOBEWANDERS

NYC’s Hudson Hotel Half & Half Arcade & Dance hall

7:30pm to 11pm, 21+ only

Free with RSVP subject to venue capacity.

 

For more information and to rsvp, visit www.globewanders.com.

 

P.S. The event has also teamed up with 20 innovative co-sponsors in travel and music including DubspotMi Casa Holiday#NMDN Alternative travel conferenceTurntable LabJournySparkplugNY MusicTechTravel 2.0, Travel Massive NYC, and Fantrotter.

 

See you there!

x

 

 

Healthy Eats & Getting Over my Food Fears

I’m gonna get real about my relationship with food for a minute. Today, food and I are lovers and friends. But it wasn’t always this way.

In college, I really struggled with eating. This manifested itself in an incredibly restrictive diet, ocd amounts of exercise, and a short but real bout with bulimia. Which was really, really not okay. And hard to get over. But with lots of work and honesty and resources, I got through it. I realized I had a problem, and that I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable and anxious and gross and unhappy with my body all the time. I wanted to change, I went on a journey, and eventually I did. It all came down to not feeling good about myself, and wanting to control my personal perceptions of “good enough” by being the skinniest person in the room or at least feeling “in control” of my weight. Not quite the best way to define your self worth (UNDERSTATEMENT).

Seven years later, I’m so, so grateful to be in a much healthier and more balanced place in my life. I never thought I’d say this, but I rarely struggle with eating fears anymore, though body image issues still creep every once in a while.

I feel better than I ever have in my own skin, I exercise in moderation, and I eat basically whatever I want (though I try to be pretty healthy most of the time).

Which leads me to today’s post on incorporating more nourishing foods into my diet.

How are these things connected?

In college, I was incredibly restrictive when it came to food. I was all about low fat, low calorie. I started using only skim milk, I thought lean cuisines and diet coke were the jam, and I would inhale cereal and baked lays or 100 calorie packs of shitty snacks like it was my job. If it was low-cal, it was a-ok. I had brain-washed myself in a big way.

I knew that what I was eating was pretty empty food, but at the time I thought that it was what I was supposed to be doing. My friends were eating similarly, low cal/no cal was still all the rage, and I didn’t really care as much about my health as I cared about being thin. The result was a really terrible way to live.

Over the following years, I basically had to let go of my food obsession and learn to allow myself the freedom to make choices and eat real food again. I had to ward off of all restrictions. I worked with a nutritionist to learn which foods were healthy and nourishing and which weren’t, but I found that what worked for me at the time was not overly obsessing about any one thing. I had to learn to let go of food habits and rituals and crazy planning and dieting. And I did it.

The only thing that continued to nag at me was that as a result, I became afraid of making any major changes to my diet. I was afraid to do anything that could translate itself in restriction, comparison, and ultimately spiral back into fear.

This year I’ve been working really hard on body image, thanks to some amazing guidance and tools provided by Caroline, and I feel the strongest I ever have. Not only that, I have started to really crave nourishing foods and to crave kicking chemicals, etc. I’ve started to make some small, healthy tweaks to my diet that are not limiting, but rather things to add in or swap in when I feel like it. I’m in no way restricting, and still letting myself eat whatever I feel like.

Instead, I really feel like I’m listening to my body and what it wants to thrive.

Here are a few of the things I’m working on incorporating or eliminating:

  • Cutting out caffeine- Caffeine was a really tough one for me. For years I’ve had a HUGE coffee or two in the morning at work, and felt like I couldn’t get to lunch without it. Then, I’d have one or two diet cokes. Now, I have a tea in the morning, sometimes with a small bit of caffeine, and no more diet cokes. It was super tough at first, but I feel so much less anxiety and more alive. It feels great to shake that dependence.
  • Apple n Greens smoothie from Jamba Juice

    Apple n Greens smoothie from Jamba Juice

    Adding in more greens- whether through adding in spinach when I’m making dinner or throwing some kale into a smoothie, I’m trying to get in as many new greens as possible.

  • Finding more nourishing breakfasts- I’m a fan of cereal, but it may be the least nutritious meal out there. I wanted to find an option that actually made me feel like I was fueling my body. Lately I’ve been turning to gluten-free oatmeal with chia seeds, cinnamon, and some fruit. Today, I made my first mason jar steel cut oats.
  • Swapping in brown rice or quinoa pasta- Italian cooking is huge in my family and I’m no exception. I’ve been doing whole grain pasta for a while, but recently was turned on to the idea of cutting out unnecessary gluten by trying alternative pasta types. Turns out, they’re just as good! And they make me feel better.
  • Whole Milk- this is a really tough one for me as it’s been ingrained in my mind that skim milk is the only way to go if you want to be fit. But, since I’ve been eating healthier breakfasts, I have been using less milk and trying to just put a bit of whole milk in to cut down on hormones and processing. So far, so good.
Leaving the oats out to cook after 3 minutes of simmering.

Mason Jar Steel Cut Oats: Leaving the oats out to cook after 3 minutes of simmering. The next morning I added milk, cinnamon, chia, blueberries and bananas.

The finished product- delicious!

The finished product- delicious!

For me, it’s all about small, simple changes and moderation. I’ll still have plenty of days where I eat regular pasta, or have cereal for breakfast because I feel like it. But I feel great knowing the foods that I’m choosing are contributing to my well being in a big way.

And it feels amazing to have kicked such a big food fear in my life.

x

P.S. it’s tough for me to talk about my past eating disorder, but it’s also incredibly important to me to be honest, vulnerable and to own my story. If you or someone you know is looking for help, here are a few incredible resources that helped me:

  • Life Without Ed- an amazing book that is eye-opening if you’re in the midst of or recovering from an eating problem.
  • Mary Dye- a wonderful and caring nutritionist in the city
  • Erin Cohen- A counselor and great listener, whose support helped me to work through a lot of my early 20s anxiety.

The Coachella Line-Up Is Here!

coachella

In a strange twist of events, the Coachella gods dropped the 2015 line-up on us today.

That means no time for anxious line-up speculation. It also means that we now have a very real line-up to lust over for the next 3 1/2 months.

Either way, I’m in love with the choices Coachella made this year. It might be my favorite line-up yet.

So as we prepare for the love/hate moments that make up this annual tradition, let’s explore some of the highlights after the jump: Continue reading

Crafting a new definition of beauty

Ocomparisonne thing I’ve come to learn in all of my soul searching over the past year or so is that comparison to others is a quick way to ruin your own life. For me, I’ve struggled most with comparison when it comes to my appearance.

Our culture is the most connected and consumptive of its kind, and because of this, we’re constantly inundated with visuals of society’s idea of the perfect woman. And, she feels more accessible than ever thanks mostly to social media. We’ve created a very narrow box for what beauty can mean in our society, and most of us don’t quite fit the bill.  There is nothing wrong with this type of beauty, however there is everything wrong with rejecting other types of beauty in favor of this particular mold. It breeds a comparison culture, and a culture of self-hatred and shame. We spend hours upon hours each day working to achieve an ideal that we may never reach, berating what makes us different, and putting ourselves down. At least, I know that I have, and sometimes still do.

I’m ready to break free of the need to compare myself to others. I’m ready to kick any and all body image garbage to the curb.

Caroline suggested that I take some time to re-write what I’ve told myself for years is beautiful, mostly influenced by my ideas of what society thinks is beauty. So, I’m writing a new ‘manifesto’ for what beauty really means to me.

Here we go.

The Blissed-Up Beauty Manifesto

Beauty is not just a symmetrical face, free of lines and wrinkles, an unobtrusive nose, a pinned back pair of ears, a slightly defined but not too defined chin, and eyes that are perfectly shaped with lashes that flap like fans.

It is a contagious smile, an inner light that shines out for others to see in the glimmer of an eye. It’s creases and laugh lines and sun burn, the things that we gain from the experiences we have. It’s the differences that make us who we are: our grandmother’s noses, our father’s lips, our mother’s cheek bones.

Beauty is not just a perfectly sculpted body, all jagged and angles and bones, with long legs and a size zero waist, a flat stomach, and just enough muscle definition without appearing bulky.

It’s a body that shows up with confidence, wherever it goes. It’s a softness and warmth, smooth lines rather than angular, inviting to the touch. The kind of softness that implies youth even when youth is gone. It’s well cared for and loved. Beauty is a body that is miraculous and strong- it does things both great and small to propel us forward in life, to help us to fulfill our greatest desires and to help others, too. It is the fact that our bodies are ever adapting and changing to meet our needs, our greatest champion and supporter. That our body works as life’s vehicle for our dreams and our destiny.

Beauty is a feeling. It’s an aura of self-love, a look directly into the eye. It’s a proud display of the inner soul and the outer being, a welcoming gesture, an inviting posture. It’s a glow that you can feel, an energy that pulls you in. It’s kindness, it’s joy, it’s connection. It’s in our propensity to show up and honor ourselves and those around us.

Beauty is in our uniqueness, the little things that one day will be irreplaceable to someone else but for today are yours and yours alone.

Beauty exists in all of us, and once we learn to celebrate what’s beautiful about ourselves instead of criticizing what we think needs to change, that beauty will radiate for all to see.

 

In the wake of the UVA, Rolling Stone scandal

Like most rollingstoneUVA students and alumni, I read Rolling Stone’s account of an alleged gang rape, a misogynistic campus culture, and a lack of justice with horror. I loved my time at UVA and still very much love the University as a whole. But the article was troubling, and for the first time, I felt ashamed of dear old UVA. Not because as an institution it stands alone in its decision to inadequately handle rape cases, but because UVA is a place that is supposed to be BETTER. We have a honor code, after all! But, I must admit, though I felt a lot of shock and horror reading this brutal account of sexual assault, I wasn’t all that surprised. Unfortunately, this account was conceivable to me, and it still is.

In the weeks that have followed this account, things have taken a turn from terrifying and sad to sceptical, sensational, and downright damaging. What was initially a step in the right direction, forcing meaningful discussion at UVA and elsewhere about campus policies concerning rape, has now turned into a battle of he-said, she-said, a smearing of credibility.

This week, after a Washington Post article set out to refute many of the claims made by “Jackie,” the victim in Rolling Stone’s story, Rolling Stone did the worst thing that they could have done: they balked. They accepted the discrepancies provided by Phi Psi as truth, they shunned their piece, and they shunned Jackie’s account as a whole. Instead of taking blame, they blamed Jackie, saying “…we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.” And, a positive discussion about steps needed to make change across campuses regarding rape has turned into mud slinging, calls for retribution, and a backwards discussion about journalistic integrity. Worse still, Rolling Stone’s thoughtless decision to write off the story and brand Jackie as a liar in effect reverses any of the positive impact of the first story, now bringing more light onto stereotypes that rape victims are not to be trusted. Women who were once afraid to tell their stories will now be even more hesitant, lest they be branded a sham by not just their communities but by mass media and the public at large.

What’s shocking to me is how quick the community at large has been to throw stones, in many cases at the wrong individuals.

Against Jackie. A brave victim, or a woman who cried wolf (though likely, somewhere in-between – a traumatized individual). Regardless of whether or not her story was entirely accurate, the issue remains. Hers is not the only tale of campus rape that would send us into uproar. The article’s intentions were sound.

In support of Phi Psi. I would like to preface that I am absolutely pro-fraternity. I was a member of the greek system at UVA, I attended many a frat party without harm, and I would hate to see UVA or any other university lose these institutions. But, taking the word of a Phi Psi lawyer as the ultimate truth is foolish at best. And in the end, this isn’t about fraternities. It isn’t about Phi Psi. It is about the poor choices some individuals make, the crimes they commit against others, and the improper handling these victims receive. It is about the fear victims have to face, the injustice of their attackers walking free, and the sheer insanity of Universities turning a blind eye to these crimes. Is it fair that Phi Psi has been slandered, that names are circulating the internet unfairly? Of course not. Which is why the continued focus on this one fraternity and this one story must stop.

Against those who “fell for” the story. Sign into twitter or read the comments on any of these articles, and you’ll see a collection of trolls doing their “how do you feel now that you were wrong to believe a rape victim’s story?” song and dance. I myself have been receiving a handful of tweets to this effect, and I have to ask: why? Are these people so entrenched in the need for skepticism that they cannot accept that there are often grey areas in issues that matter? Are they so pro-fraternity that they cannot stand that one frat’s name has been slandered? Are their intentions so deeply misplaced that they cannot see they too are fully propagating the idea that rape victims shouldn’t be taken seriously, that they should bear the burden of proof,that women lie about being raped for attention?

For me, after reading Rolling Stone’s apology letter, the only thing that has changed is that I feel anger towards the publication. The issue still persists, the changes that will come in the article’s wake are still necessary, and I don’t doubt that something like Jackie’s story happened on grounds.

I also continue to applaud the many men and women who are using this to continue to speak openly, bravely about these issues. In the wake of both the initial article and the apology, an incredible amount of honest first-hand accounts and thoughtful opinion pieces continue to speak to what’s important here, and what can be done, rather than slinging mud.

I encourage you to read, retweet, and support these pieces, and continue the dialogue towards change.

Laci Green’s intelligent analysis on the inconsistencies presented.

Jessica Longo’s brave story and thoughtful take on the way forward.

Hannah Rosin’s piece on Slate.com — her focus on the wrongs done by Rolling Stone.

Wonkette’s snarky, in your face op-ed about how we’re focusing on all the wrong things.

Battling Impatience & Building Self-Trust

I received this email this morning from the lovely Jamie Greenwood, and it really speaks to a theme that I’m finding myself facing at the moment.

She wrote:

“Just tell me!”, I pleaded.

“I can’t, my love.  There’s no more thinking to be done,” she said.

“No really,” I begged. “There must be a structure, an outline, a plan to follow.
Others have come before.
There must be a right way!”

“Yes,” she said, “Others have. And the “rightness” of their path, as with each, is personal.
Not universal.

“You must venture out.
Test. Play. Slow. Sprint. Feel. Open.
Pray to the heavens
fall to the ground
come up with nothing and go again,
until the foundation under your feet firms
until the light rims the clouds as bright, golden thread,
until you weep and laugh, together, for nothing and everything,
until the voice, your divine voice, rises from the shelter behind your sternum,
golden itself to say,
‘I’ve been waiting for you.
Take my hand, my dear, and we’ll travel together the rest of the way.’

“And when will THAT happen?” I pressed.

“When you trust,” she said.

I think we all know that feeling: the challenge of WAITING for the thing you most desire to happen to you. Whether it seems that life keeps putting mountains in the way of achieving it, or you just feel like you lack control, it can be one of the most uncomfortable experiences life throws at us.

Most of my adult life has felt like an endless waiting room in line for my own personal ‘white whale': the love of my life. And as time goes on, it’s easy to replace what was once hopefuly exuberance with fear and impatience. I’m fearful of never finding the deep, lasting love I crave.  I’m afraid if I don’t, my life will be perceived as a failure- by myself, and by my peers. I’m afraid that I’m not doing enough, doing too much, and am generally unable to move myself forward.

In that fear, I feel powerless and volatile, easily thrown back and forth from faith to fear by external circumstances.

But despite my struggles with patience, I’m beginning to realize that it isn’t giving up or losing. It’s trusting in grace.

Last week I went to see an astrologer with co-workers, an outing that we had planned for “fun.” The two women who went with me are both solidified in deep, close-to-married relationships with their partners, and their chart readings matched up to that quite neatly. Mine, however, felt like a setback. The astrologer opened my charts and immediately asked me if I was single. After a series of concerned clucks, she mentioned that my “7th house of relationships” is plagued by Uranus until 2018, meaning that I will essentially not find a committed love until then. “I used to curse and curse and curse Uranus,” she cried. “but, better than to start a marriage that will end in divorce.” She encouraged me to work on myself (umm… haven’t I been doing that already?), and to watch out for people who aren’t who they say they are. Great.

To say this news wasn’t thrilling is obvious.

I felt at once both vindicated (ah, so this is why my ex wouldn’t commit!) and terrified (I have to wait four years to meet the one?! I’ll be 31!). My trust in the universe shattered.

I felt myself on the verge of complete panic at times. The universe was CONSPIRING to keep me from finding a mate until 2018. I was a victim! It wasn’t fair. How could I survive in “unconventional” relationships, or worse, ALONE, for four more years?!

Then I realized… I have a choice. Well, two choices in this case.

1. I can choose my beliefs. 

I can choose to believe the astrologer’s unhappy news. I can choose to believe that I am powerless to the universe. I can choose to be completely and utterly afraid that the next four years of my life are going to be difficult in love.

OR- I can have faith. I can believe in my own personal power, and the power of the universe to support me in my intentions.  I can go inward rather than defining my belief system by what others say.

 

2. I can let patience flow through faith and grace.

I can fight against my own impatience and continue to berate myself for not finding love yet.

OR- I can trust that love is coming, and find pleasure in the patience. I can let go of fear and worry that I’m not deserving of amazing love as I am. I can love myself fully and commit to the belief that a wonderful and loving relationship is coming to me, guaranteed.

 

It’s EASY to believe in what other’s tell you. 

It’s BRAVE to choose to believe in your story and to put trust and faith in yourself.

bebrave

So today, I choose not to believe in what the astrologist said.

I choose to believe in love.

I choose to have faith.

I choose to trust in me, and in a higher power that leads me to bliss each day.

Not in some limitations imposed by my birth coordinates and planetary… stuff. Not fear of the unknown. And certainly not fear of what others want me to believe.

I trust that when it happens, whether in one year or four or ten, it will have been for a real, true, and positive reason. It will be part of the perfect path of my life.

x