Thursday, June 14, 2018

removing the exterior to go deeper into me | Ramadan thoughts

I have been fasting from dawn to dusk. Fasting from food, water, and negative cycles of thought. A cleanse of the mind, body & soul. From a new moon to a new moon, a full lunar phase of fasting to be able to appreciate what we have in our lives. 
It is not a punishment or a sad lonely time. It is growth. It is a time for introspection. To be able to value what you have. To put your awareness on what truly matters. So that you can cultivate gratitude for everything around & within us. 
It influences me to become an even better version of myself. A shift in my life where my routine is changed. My will power grows and I develop a greater sense of self control. I look forward to the personal growth and the time to just be. Without food and water, our energy levels are dependent on rest and the food we nourish ourselves with during the evening. I give my body what it needs. Creating meals that my body craves to survive and hydrating through the moon lit hours of the night.
Some days it wants slow fluid yoga movement. Other days as the energy piles up within me it needs a run outside to release the stored-up tension. I give it the chance to be heard. My body craves movement to survive. I continued to teach during this time, to take classes, and to workout. But I listened, I stopped when I needed to without feeling guilty or shameful. I focused on my meditation practice. Feeling more connected, lighter and present.
Our bodies and our minds are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for. We create excuses, numbing methods, and toxic thought patterns to keep us stuck and avoid ourselves. Judging, fearing, shaming & pushing our truest selves so far from us.

We are always so busy to notice. Always trying to get to the next place, to not feel, to numb, to avoid. We gobble down our meals. We chug drinks upon drinks. Without even a thought of what is coming into our bodies. We smoke, we gossip, we talk negatively about ourselves, we rush passed our lives, numbing and avoiding. We don’t feel. We don’t take the time to breath. To listen. To feel what it is that our body may need.
There are days where I feel weak, tired, hungry, irritable and exhausted. During those times I can appreciate what I have. That a meal will be there when the sun finally dips down. For so many people in the world, they do not have what we have. Food, water, shelter, the luxuries we see in life are not as abundant for everyone. We fast to understand what the world feels like, what people who are hungry and without feel.

I can appreciate life so much more than before.
Every moment I get.
Every breath I take in.
Each sip of water.
Each bite of nourishment I take. Fully tasting it.
Feeling the days unfold slowly to be able to feel each moment blossoming.
Present in my body. Grateful for all that I have.
Ramadan takes away all the exterior that we are focusing on to go inward even more.
We give our energy, our kindness and love to ourselves and those around us.
A time to detox from bad thoughts and negative emotions. 
To be in our bodies & realize what is important. 
With little energy through the day; you aren’t wasteful with it.
Many distractions are removed.
Our constant want to snack, fill, and consume are gone. 
So that we can be faced with life. To celebrate it! 
It puts things into perspective

Saturday, April 14, 2018

to the West Coast to be inspired

You know when you do something drastic after you get out of a seriously bad relationship. You want to feel different and changed to be able to go back into life ready for whatever it has to throw at you. You typically need to take time in between your next similar endeavor to heal from the toxicity of what you just went through. The healing takes time and can be done in many ways according to what you feel is needed.
You know when you’re in it that it doesn’t feel right. You don’t feel good in your skin and slowly can feel yourself losing your luster. Growth and inspiration are no longer happening. Feeling drained and exhausted by going through with it every day.

Then you end it...hopefully. Knowing that you deserve better and that life can be lived fully without this toxicity.These bad relationships can be an intimate relationship or a bad experience you are ready to end.
When the final chapter of your draining experience comes to a close.
Take the time to heal. To feel in your body what it needs.
Dying my hair turquoise would not suffice as a drastic change this time.
I booked a two week trip to California three days before I left for it.
No plans, no expectations.
Deleting all forms of social media off of my phone.
To be able to be fully present.
To feel.
To see.
To be inspired.

I’ve dreamt of California ever since I was young. Now I was able to go for an extended period of time to be able to live the California dream. The timing of life always works out. With no plan, everything worked out exactly as it was always meant to. My eyes consumed so much beauty in two weeks. The inspiration was flowing out of me. Writing, sketching, feeling, & movement just came through. There weren’t any blocks anymore. Experiencing new things with friends & watching as many sunsets as possible.
Sometimes you’re unsure if you should make that drastic change and end something that no longer serves you. Ending anything unconstructive to who you are is difficult. When I no longer felt alive and existing, that change needed to happen.
All experiences whatever they may be grow you. They teach you things about yourself. They challenge and push you to change. Sometimes that change is for the better. Other changes may not be who you are.
Regardless you learn from it all.
Realize when you deserve to be happier and realize your strength.
My growth in my current circumstances had come to an end.
I left my fashion job & flew across the country to the West Coast.
The first night at dinner, the waitress took our orders and asked if we wanted to hear the question of the day. Looking up at her as she says “are you transforming?”

I feel transformed. Into my happiest & most alive self.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

When do you feel the most alive & existing?

I quit my fashion corporate job. Ending a chapter that I have been writing for some time. It wasn’t the experience I dreamed of, but it taught me.

It surrounded be my women for me to learn from.

I was able to connect with women of all ages from all over the world, and they came to my hometown. I was able to hear their stories, and experience how they came to be here. You are at work more than you are home through the week. Some days aren’t as bright as others. I wanted to know when they felt their best. & learn about when they feel their happiest and truest self.

I asked each women that I connected with… 

When do you feel the most alive & existing? 

Every experience provides you with opportunities to learn and grow. They may not be right in front of you, but take the time to fully understand people that are around you.

Because we are all different. We need to see each other for who we are. 
With no judgement and hear one another to better understand. 

I have many moments where I feel alive & existing, and I am constantly exploring new ones. I am following the direction I am meant to go in. For me that’s feeling more alive and l I don’t know exactly where that’s going to lead me but I know I’ll be aware of how I feel to guide me.

Realizing when I feel the most alive & existing and doing more of it.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

releasing habits in the new year to become your happiest self

New years have been pivotal moments in my life. I decide to quit habits that are not conducive to bettering me. Sometimes they are goals I set on new years day and it becomes a new way of living after enough time has passed. They don’t need to be considered a new year’s resolution. They can be set at any time because each new day poses as a new start.
When something becomes a habit, it is difficult to let go of. Habits range from nail biting to remaining in unfulfilling jobs. They are routines or behaviors we become accustomed to, such as repeating fearful stories to ourselves, a drinking habit or continuing in toxic relationships
Ending a part of your every day routine causes a shift. When you or others repeat words of doubt or negative stories they become part of your thoughts and you begin to believe it. Changing a habit or a lifestyle can be chosen or at times sprung upon you. Regardless of the way it occurs, it affects you. It is not easy! But these shifts become transformations of growth. By shifting to a new way, you are challenging yourself with new circumstances. You start discovering more about who you are and your capabilities.
Your current state is not your final self. Your mindset is always changing. You will not want to be around the situations or people you may be around now.

& it will be entirely okay. You can change. You are meant to.

I create big shifts, which in turn causes great transformations.
It begun when I realized I deserved better. I wanted to be my best & happiest self. Which involved trimming all the dead ends in my life from ways of thinking to habits that no longer made me feel happy.

I decided to start living my life for me. The relationship I needed to focus on was the one I had with myself, because that will be the one that remains forever. I needed time to heal. I quit beating myself up with negative stories of self-doubt and failure that had been engrained into me. I let go of a drinking habit. I ended toxic relationships. I removed processed sugar, meat and dairy out of my diet. I quit thinking of my self-worth so minimally.
I was finally able to give myself time. Time to discover me. Learning more of what lights my soul on fire. Being fully aware of the shift in emotions that occur and how much more alive I feel. This power, this strength, this is me. It’s always been inside me and now I’m letting it fully out.

My life is mine. I am living my life for me. Stop asking permission for your happiness.
I wasted too much of my life being unhappy and not liking the person I was. The people that surrounded me years ago never made me feel good in my skin. Working on falling in love with myself is an every day, in the moment journey. For old beliefs and ways of thinking tend to creep up and try to bring you down. Doubt and fear are loud and want to make you believe you don’t deserve to feel this way and question your worth. They can become too loud and cripple you with anxiety.
I am able to face them as they occur. Realizing the buried pain that stemmed the anxious thoughts. Observing the emotions as they occur. Then being able to face the demons head on without numbing the pain to be able to release it. Letting go of the stories I’ve grown to believe about the pain. Through the process realizing its okay to be a work in progress and let go of judgment towards myself.

Feeling the emotions as intense as they are. Growing from releasing what no longer serves me to be able to move forward. Clearing out the fear can push us beyond limiting beliefs that held us back before.
You can reach your full potential. Over time we slowly let go of the things that weigh us down and take us away from our true self. Whatever nasty habit, routine, or relationship in your life that needs to be released for you to reach your happiness must be done. Change is scary and the shift can result in unwanted emotions that you must face to be able to release. But you deserve to feel happy. To get there you need to let go in this new year of what no longer serves you. Give yourself the time to heal. While you heal and focus on your relationship with yourself, you’ll discover who you are in a whole new way. By granting yourself the freedom to live life for you.

Stop dimming your light. 2018 is ready to see it. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

a week off to cleanse & leave 2017 behind

I requested off the entire last week of 2017. To be able to spend time reflecting on the past year, and prepare for another. From now on I will try to make sure I have this week off every year so I can start off on the right foot. Time off and relaxation was all I had in mind, but this week ended up being far more than that. I feel entirely restored and ready. 

Twelve months happens quickly. So much transpires and it feels as if life is flying by. We need a break to just be and look back. Give ourselves a mindful pause to realize our growth, accomplishments, setbacks and all the ways to improve into the next twelve months.
I needed a pause to catch my breath before beginning yet another year. I needed time.

To be able to give myself more time I deleted all social media off of my phone. It is a time thief that robs you of the present moment and what is around you. It can fully envelop you whole throughout the entire day. Your few second scrolls become hours piled up at the end of the week. As social media swallows you, you begin to compare yourself. We become so aware of everyone else’s lives that we forget to pay attention to the moment in front of us. I gave myself time by being able to fully be present for my week off.

This past year was all about growth. Transforming and becoming my best self involves a lot of change. When change occurs there are parts of you or your surroundings that will no longer need to remain. This week was dedicated to cleansing in all areas.

It began with cutting the dead ends out of my life, starting with the mass amount at the end of my long curly mess. It always feels like a shedding of layers when I go to see my hair stylist and dear friend. She performed what felt like an entire baptism and I could shine even brighter. I felt beautiful inside my skin, as if all the growth I had made over the past year internally had finally shown on the outside.

Cleansing commenced in my bedroom. What started as a small reorganization of my closet turned into a full room purging. Through time we change, as do our bodies and styles. My closet and room had become too much. Drawers, cabinets and hangers filled with items I will never use. We keep things out of guilt or aspirations we will be able to wear it some day. Stories attached to garments are what keeps us staring at some things unsure we could rid ourselves of it. I no longer wanted to remain holding onto anything just because of the story attached to it. Nothing remaining would be just taking up space without a purpose. Minimizing what I had, to reveal what I actually owned. Purging things that just occupied room created so much more space.

My weeklong retreat continued with a trip to Miami with my childhood friend. We grew up together trying to learn who we were and taking different paths to get there. We were always considered sisters when we were children because of our brown hair, small size and loud mouths. We were very different girls who evolved down our own paths but always remained friends and loved the other. Through all this time, we have become incredibly similar in our beliefs. Our love for life and how we want to experience it makes me realize we are more sisters now than ever.
She always gives me the certainty to never doubt myself. She has assured me since I was a child that I was capable. A best friend who has stood by me through all of life as we both grew our own way. Who has watched me go through all my awkward phases into who I have become now and has loved me every step of the way.

We explored Miami in our own way, which included healthy food, yoga in the hotel room and being present with each other. We had both deleted social media off our phones. We were able to be free together and give each other undivided attention.
Our morning began with a plunge into the cold Atlantic Ocean to cleanse ourselves. We reflected on the past year and the all that we wanted to leave behind in 2017. Taking time to digest what could change in the new year and ways to improve. We looked out onto the water knowing the chill that will take over but knowing it was necessary. We sprinted in, submerging completely into the turquoise water. My heart beating ferociously as I fully plunged. The cold water couldn’t be felt because of all the excitement that was taking over me in the moment. This moment with my long time friend leaving the sludge of the year behind me and feeling refreshed.
Together we are sisters. Constantly pushing the other to be independent, strong and happy. We let our wild curly manes be free after our ocean swim. This was us at our truest selves.
Living this year with no expectations has been the most exciting life I have lived. My week ended with me in Miami again to celebrate New Years. I’ve always placed so much on this day and what it needs to involve. This year I have worked on releasing control and allowing things to happen. That means releasing expectations on a day that is always fully loaded with them.
My last meal of the year was a quick stop into a Middle Eastern kitchen. My belly was full of hummus and I couldn’t feel more myself. My hair was in full form with the beach wind to make it even bigger. Big hoops earrings and thigh high boots, this is the way I wanted to walk out of the year. Feeling my strongest and most true self.
Being fancy and over the top is not always our scene. We felt fabulous in our furry coats, and Miami views. We witnessed fireworks on the balcony of the party at eye level. The clock struck midnight and they erupted in between all the tall buildings celebrating a new year of possibilities to come. We laughed contagiously into the New Year. The laughs and love that surrounded me was all I needed. But the caviar that I added on top of my beets was the cherry on top.
As the rest of the group went out to party, I stayed back by myself. I went on the rooftop in my comfy clothes and make up free. All the buildings standing tall encompassed me. The full moon peering down with all the stars shining as bright as they could. Music could be heard from all the nightlife of the city.

A city is so alive and full. A roof top party of one that was so alive and full. I danced barefoot alone with the music of the city into the beginning hours of the new year. This is the way I wanted to start my year.
The next day I laid in the pool looking up at the huge tree that shaded most of the yard. Watching how the vines wrapped around the trunk and every branch. Seeing all the different leaves and plants that had come together to hug this massive tree. I watched the birds and the planes flying over the city making their way to warmer places. I floated feeling the effects of the past week of restoration. With each breath I felt present and grateful. I could appreciate all that was around and above me. My mind clutter had been cleared out.
This week I gave myself time to restore. Solitude had become far overdue. Life, routines, relationships and careers pull us in every direction possible. We need to take a moment to just be. In the stillness we can be able to fully feel what is happening. Know when you need to stop and remove the clutter. Take the time for yourself.

Pause & take a breath.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

falling in love in Chicago

I have learned to appreciate moments with the humans in my life that I value as friends. I appreciate the connection we have and how it differs from any I have with anyone else. Friendships can be as strong and close as family or a romantic partner.
Some friends are your soulmates. You have those that come into your life at the exact time you were meant to meet. Some move to new places but when you are both in the same city, you make each other the top priority. Friendships can be romantic in a sense. They are relationships where all you feel is love and wanting pure happiness for the other. I have learned to value all these connections and the time we spend together.
Spontaneity got the best of us and we planned a girl's trip without hesitation. The tickets were affordable and the weekend completely free for all three of us. No research was done or agendas created for the trip. Nothing was planned and we enjoyed every second of it. Each day unfolded with delicious food, long walks through the city and being present with each other. The city revealed to us all we needed to see. Art galleries lured us in with their colors from the streets. We all walked through in silence, appreciating what we saw and realizing the emotions it made us feel.
That is what art is. It’s created to make you feel something.

As I sat in the middle of a gallery in the city, I looked around at the art that surrounded me. The paint had made its way off the canvases with the soft fluid movement onto the walls and consumed the space it was in. Feeling calm and alive, I was certain I was exactly where I was meant to be. Detached from the world but so involved in what's in front of you
We were three Florida girls in the windy city experiencing winter with the opportunity to truly feel Christmas. The streets glistened with lights covering every tree, light post and window. Music playing everywhere you went to get you in the spirit. Even the shrubbery was decorated with pinecones. It was a complete holiday wonderland with chilly weather to match. It was the most amount of clothes I have worn all year and the most Christmas spirit I have felt since I was a child.
We have moments in our lives. Moments we don’t forget that stick with us, the ones that make you feel something. I was able to have alone time with each friend, which gave me a chance to adventure with each in our own way.
Becky and I explored Wicker Park making stops wherever struck our curiosity. When we needed to refuel, we stopped into a coffee shop with large cozy leather couches that we sunk into. Sipping on our caffeine while Beyonce played through the speakers, I couldn’t be happier with the moment in front of me. Our day ended with a gluttonous romantic pasta dinner. As I looked over the table during the multiple entrees we shared, I realized this was one of those moments. I was truly present appreciating our friendship and realizing how much it had grown over time. I fell more in love with her in this new city we were experiencing together. We have friends that we instantly connect with and over time we fall more in love with. This moment and the entire day will be part of how our friendship grew.
Kristen and I spent all of Sunday together. The sun rose lighting up the city through the buildings as we walked to breakfast. We sat at a French café with big cups of hot frothed beverages and discussed the future. Giving each other outlooks at where we saw the other and ourselves. Walking through the park in the morning light, I found a patch of grass that looked far more delightful to lie upon instead of having my feet take one more step. When I suggested the idea Kristen joined me on the ground. Starting my playlist up, we both listened and moved our bodies without speaking. I lay looking up at the cloudless sky realizing that not all friends will just silently do yoga by each other in different cities together. We understand the other and can flow without feeling the need to fill in space with words. 
We made our way to the art museum where we were the complete opposite of silent. Linked arms, roaming through all the rooms of the Art Institute discussing the art and laughing at the amount of nipples one museum could have. A day like this filled with ab inducing laughter and breathless cackles together is how I fell more in love with her. We were able to see a new city together and appreciate the morning light shining through the tall buildings.
Friends remind you of who you are and let you know that it’s entirely okay to be that way. They bring out the childlike soul within you and know exactly what to say to make you fall over in laughter.
Each soulmate comes into your life to make you feel happy and loved. Seeing you for who you are and knowing your strength. Wanting only for you to become more and be greater. You experience different things in life together and no two friendships are ever the same.
This girl’s trip was planned on a whim. Gallivanting a new city together all bundled up; I fell more in love with my friends and realized that we are soulmates. Appreciate the moments you have with each friendship. Realize they are all unique and each brings out different emotions within you. Surround yourself with only love and make to be present to feel it all.