The Best Laid Plans

A lot has happened in a year, but more importantly for me, a lot has happened in 26. In all the attention I try to give being mindful, it wasn’t until a few days ago, realizing my birthday was approaching, that I really took a moment to reflect on turning another year older. And let me take a moment to speak about reflection: whether you regularly keep a journal, or regularly force yourself to “snap out of it” anytime you notice your mind losing focus on a task at hand, you should always make time to reflect. I would never encourage “dwelling” on the past, but rather, I truly believe the best way to grow in our present is through analytical and respectful acknowledgement of the experiences from which we’ve come.

I digress.

As I reflected this past weekend, and as my thoughts really started to marinade, I was able to remember so many pivotal moments from over the past several years. Despite seeming so small and insignificant then, these moments have contributed majorly to so much of my surroundings today: loving who I am as a person, taking pride in being 100% my own biggest fan, and overall just being happy, healthy, and strong. But just over a couple years ago, I didn’t feel this way. I was depressed, pretending to be content with complacency, and I was as chalk full of fears as I was of excuses. I was trapped on a cliff, considering staying there forever instead of jumping into the unknown water below.
One of my favorite quotes, I’ll always say, is Ghandi suggesting that, “not everything you do in this life will be significant, but you must do it anyway.” The beauty about real life is that usually the cliff is just a metaphor, and hopefully you’re jumping in the direction toward something that’ll make you happier. I’ve had some pretty specific instances in life where I’ve had no other choice but to go with the flow, and when the opportunity to make a decision presented itself, I tried to run backward, or at least jog in place for a really long time. I disguised myself with avoidance because even though the water seemed inevitably deep, the threats it potentially contained were too great a risk. Plus, even if I did survive, why should I believe in myself enough to safely swim ashore?

I think I’ve discovered that in actuality, the most difficult position to be is on that cliff, staring down below. Some of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make have turned out to be some of the best. I owe so much to where I’m from, especially because of the sentiment it carries in this journey. There were many cliffs I’ve turned my back to over the years – I certainly didn’t face them all. In fact, I’ve probably faced very few at this point. But that’s exciting to me because it means there are even more to come. More learning to happen, and more growing to take place.

My advice to anyone staring down their fears, unsure of what could happen if they took the leap: a little faith goes a long way. Believe in yourself. Give yourself a chance. Then acknowledge that feeling – I mean really feel that feeing of being afraid. Feeling afraid means you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, and at the absolute very least, you’ll learn something new about yourself. So own it, and be proud of it, and then, “do it anyway.”

Jump off the damn cliff.

Dat New New Is Coming!

Eeek! I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Should I be excited? I don’t know, to be honest, but I am! I remember when I was really little and first learning about the Solar Eclipse, and I remember thinking, “Wow, not another eclipse in the US until I’m in my 20’s?! I’ll never get to see it!” LOL (Fun fact: Solar Eclipses happen every year – almost – their visibility just differs across the globe). This year is the first TOTAL Solar Eclipse in almost 100 years though, making it an extra special event. Even with less than typical amount of sleep for a Sunday night, and despite Monday’s usually being a rest day for me from the gym, I woke up FULL of energy! I literally jumped out of bed, and the next thing I knew I was in the weight room for a full blown leg-day! Had to use my energy somehow!

Anyway, whether you’re feelin’ extra froggy today like me or not, a quick few words on today’s eclipse from yours truly: I have no qualifications whatsoever that entitle me to speak about the Zodiac, Astrology, universal energies, or even science, but I have always allowed myself to be open-minded, and wildly intrigued by this side of curiosity. My birthday actually happens to be this week, on the first day of Virgo, but today’s eclipse will be rounding out the end of the Leo pathway. What does this mean, and why does it matter? Well, it may mean less or more to you than to others depending on your sign, and your relationship with the universe…but I won’t get too deep into all of that…

In general, eclipse periods coincide with endings and beginnings and in some cases can feel like starting a whole new chapter of life. The effects of this supercharged new moon can still manifest over the next several months to follow! Today’s Total Solar Eclipse is especially exciting because it’s an opportunity to accept the energies of the universe as a powerful PUSH in the direction of all our hopes and dreams!

Bear with me…As the energy of the cosmos align in a way which can bring into sharp focus any potential blockades – emotional, spiritual, physical – we are able to lean into this energy and face any fears that may stand between us and whatever it is we need to do in order to fulfill the visions we have for ourselves and our lives.

In a sense, we are being invited by the universe the go beyond what we otherwise would consider “limitations.” We are able to pursue our passions, open our minds, liberate our hearts, and ultimately discover a place within ourselves of total emotional clarity – a place which will allow us to understand our true purpose, and truly begin living.

This is truly an amazing moment in the scope of our humanity, and if you’ve never attempted before to live a mindful life, I encourage you now, more than ever to set an intention to strengthen your energy, and connect with the world around you! IT’S THE FREAKING BEST!!!

If you want to read some more good juju on today’s happenings, I’ve linked some of my favorite articles/tidbits I’ve come across over the past few weeks below, including the best places to catch it in NYC! Don’t forget your sunglasses 😎

How To Watch The Solar Eclipse – New York Times

What You Need to Know About the Solar Eclipse – Well + Good

Astrology and the Solar Eclipse – Well + Good

The Eclipse and Your Horoscope – Women’s Health

What the Solar Eclipse Means for Wellness – ChalkBoardMag

Why I Hate Tuesdays

Anger and sadness are not the same feeling, of this I am sure…but at some point I decided it’s okay to handle all negative emotions such as these in the exact same way: to breathe through them.

As cliché as it sounds, I’ve found moving my body without much focus on anything other than just “being” to be the most therapeutic experience of my life (so far).

So naturally when today’s Monday felt like a Tuesday, I sighed a heavy sigh at the fact that I lost my metro card, took two wrong trains, and ended up missing my evening yoga class – and instead of giving up, I decided to just give in.

I had to walk…so I walked. Then finally back home, I sank my hips to my heels, shut everything off, and just breathed.

I have always loved Mondays. I could go on and on about all the reasons why – but more interestingly enough, Tuesdays have always been my least favorite day of the week. Today was especially discouraging because of how much I love Mondays! Whyyyy Monday, why would you ruin this for me?! If it were Tuesday, I wouldn’t have even blinked an eye. Tuesday’s are notoriously the worst. In college I worked two jobs, held a student governing position, and was way more involved in the social scene than I probably should have been. However it happened, a typical Tuesday for me consisted of 4 classes, 2 split shifts at my on-campus job, and then closing the bar I tended off-campus for “Tini-Tuesdays.” Needless to say, it was a long, usually rough day…two on a scale of one to ten, if you will, (i.e. Twosday).

The “idea” of Tuesday being a pain kind of just stuck because of course if we try hard enough to find it, a crack can be found in almost everything. And now as I sit here and think about shrugging off what a terrible day I had today, I am overwhelmed with all the positive that happened, too. Actually, a fair amount of positive that I otherwise just let be overlooked. Is this how I normally behave on Tuesdays just because I expect them to be bad? Today, I made it to the gym and had a great workout this morning, made my favorite breakfast, and was on time to work. I spoke to friends, and family, and I was even prepared with my umbrella, which almost never happens for me on a rainy day!

There’s a lot to be said about having a positive attitude, and I don’t think it’s much of a secret anymore that most happy people create their own happiness. I am a really freaking happy person, but clearly everyone can have a bad day – the bad days can stretch for weeks, months, or maybe even years if you’re really in a pickle…I’ve been there, believe me. But when I think about those bad days and bad moods and bad ways in which I attempted to “cope,” I don’t think it’s ever going to be all the bad that defines a person – in my opinion, it’s what you do after the bad that matters more.

Anyway, enough about good vs. bad and enough about me. If anyone else out there ever has a lil’ case of theMondays (any day of the week) check out some of my favorite stress-release poses below:

#1. Child’s Pose

 

Who doesn’t love child’s pose? I personally prefer putting my arms back along my legs in child’s pose when I am really looking to relax, because it takes away from the “activity” of the pose. The resting posture helps to quiet the mind, especially when it is almost always associated with relaxing, or taking a break in a traditional yoga practice.

#2. Eagle Pose

Eagle pose is a little bit more empowered, as it does take some focus and presentation. Concentrating on your balance, however, is good for reducing stress because it improves this focus, and can help to clear your mind from other things. Plus, the asana releases tension from your shoulders, legs, and back – all catalysts for carrying negative energy.

#3. Extended Triangle Pose

 Triangle pose is one of my favorites because as simple as it appears, it’s a full body stretch! the subtle hinging it involves may lessen anxiety.

#4. Cat pose

 

Again, the back is a large space which manages a lot having to do with our bodies, including our emotions. Cat (and cow pose) are a great sequence to work into your practice to help ease the back into a neutral, more relaxed position, reliving any stress stored in this area.

#5. Dolphin Pose

Something about this super funky cousin to the downward dog helps to quiet my mind every time I enter it. Again, a stress and anxiety reliving pose, Dolphin aids to the shoulders, neck, and spine where negative energy may be hiding out.

#6. Hurdle Bend

Finally, the hurdle bend helps to relax your whole body, similar to that of a forward fold, or any kind of full body fold. Exhaling as you drag your heart toward your sacrum helps to calm the brain, which is beneficial for tons of potential ailment such as feelings of depression, anxiety, fatigues, and even menstrual discomfort and insomnia.

 Of course there are plenty more options when it comes to movement that can be beneficial for stress relief. Heck, isn’t any movement better than none? Whatever you decide to do, just don’t let Monday (or Tuesday) get you down. Today I took back my Monday…tomorrow, maybe I’ll do the same for the good ol’ Twos.