Sunday, May 28, 2017

New York City I think I love you

It has been a few months since I have gone on a journey outside of my state. On the flight there I could feel my heart racing for what was to come, the unknown adventure with endless possibilities. The times I have traveled I have realized the best way is to go with no expectations and allow the city to guide you.
There is no city that can compare to New York City. It is completely its own; a city of hustlers and doers that all cohabitate in crammed spaces trying to make their dreams come true. Numerous individuals living their lives and relentlessly moving forward.
The city makes you stronger, it teaches and challenges you. It is not an easy lifestyle. The ones that survive are a diverse spectrum of people with drive and desire. They all came to the city to follow their path, and they do so in rampant speed.
The life and energy in the city is so stimulating and continuous. A city that does not sleep does not even account for the fact that the city does not stop walking. While I was there, I realized my walking speed was not quick enough when people were passing me with the same aggression they give towards mothers with strollers.
91,100 steps in the span of 5 days, that is 44 miles!
Walking from the West Village, to the Hudson River, towards lower Manhattan by the World Trade, across the Brooklyn Bridge and to Dumbo. Gallivanting through Central Park, to Lincoln Center and to Lower East Side. Wandering through Coney Island with my old college friends and dancing upon graffiti walls. Making my way to the Cloisters in uptown Manhattan and all the way to Forrest Hills.  These little legs have never felt more alive and happy to be constantly moving and grooving.
Time seems unreal because of the amount of visual stimulation and movement. You can never be bored.
The women I stayed with showed me the parts of the city they adore and the reasons for why it brings them so much joy. I got a tour of all their favorite places mixed with unexpected turns for tasty bites and coffee.
There are so many different areas in the city, with all their own charm. Each part is beautiful through its architecture and people. The city provides an area for every type of person. Bushwick was the grime, grunge and hipster area, a place made for Sonni.
For me, the most magical part would be Central Park. The only thing in my eyes that makes living in the city possible. We did yoga on Sheep Meadow upon the luscious grass as the tall buildings of the city surrounded us. Green trees encompass the meadow where we lay and the city watched from the outskirts of the park. So many movies and stories have taken place here, and as you walk through you can see it all come to life.
The city intrigues me. Metro rides brought me pure delight as I sat and stared at all the people wondering where they were going and how they got here. Accents, languages, hand gestures, the amount of diverse dialect are unaccountable.
Realizing we are all so different, and it is okay to be different, the city gives you permission to just stand out. Because being extra is never looked at as strange.
While standing out takes courage and bravery, so does performing your form of art. Art can be expressed in many ways and in all locations. From the metro ride, to Central Park, and to all the hole in the wall bars, talent is abundant. 
I ended up at a show in a small bar where a girl I have only viewed in videos was performing. She told me about the event, which featured multiple artists singing. There was a band featuring a keyboardist, drummer, saxophonist, guitarist and bassist, and the singers would rotate after a few songs each. Each singer was better than the last. The entire show featured such astonishing talent, of people doing exactly what they are meant to be doing and you could feel it.
One of the girls that sang brought the room to silence. As she begun her solo, the entire bar went silent. No one moved, no one blinked. You could feel the entire bar going still to be able to hear every single note. She moved the microphone away so that she could project her voice into the room. She was singing from her soul and her voice could be felt by every person. The goose bumps washed over my entire body, and as all the hairs on my arm stood up they did not go down until I left. Camille Trust was the singer I came to see. Her voice captivated me through YouTube videos and I wanted to see her perform live. She was as saucy and energetic as I expected, but her energy in person was magnetic. When she was singing the entire room woke up and was dancing with her. The show was lively and had the whole bar dancing from their soul. It was music that makes you stop dead in your tracks and allow the groove to take over you.
Watching music is intimate; it is your connection with the band and you. When music makes you feel something, then the art was received. My entire trip was receiving different forms of art. I went to see The XX at a tennis stadium in Forrest Hills with my old college roommate. We watched the sun setting over the stadium as The XX performed. The colors of the show and the music entranced us. There was no better band and no better person for me to be experiencing this show with.
Then there were the performers in Central Park that just want you to hear or see them regardless of the venue they are at. The choose locations based on beauty and acoustics. All of the performers expressing their art and letting you receive it in anyway you feel.
Without the artists in the city, what kind of city would New York really be? The people and their passions are what make the city so enchanting.
No shoes are adequate enough for the volume of walking. And as hard as I tried, I always seemed to be so sweaty and dirty by the end of each day. My legs ached, and my feet were covered in blisters, but the drive for me to see it all and walk it all kept me going through. Personal space does not exist in such a crammed city and forces you to make connection. With the endless options of things to do, and so much going on I noticed that no one takes the time to look at their phone as much. This city is unlike anything else.
I have always liked the city when I have come to visit. But this trip I absolutely fell in love. Thank you to Suzie & Sonni for housing me and showing me all the parts of the city they love, because it allowed me to fall in love.

Monday, May 15, 2017

live, live, live life

The world today has a tendency to forget to appreciate the smaller things in life. Our faces are glued to our devices and we are too focused on the lives of others and emulating their lifestyle. What we see portrayed on social media captivates us at times but also can create comparison and anxiety. It takes us away from where we are in our own life and creates this idea that we need to be somewhere else. We obsess and envy those who seem to have their life put together. 
We are not present. Not even a little bit. We are in another world of constant worrying about why we have not figured life out yet. Why we have not figured out how to travel the world, get married, or created a business for ourselves.
We will all do what we are meant to do in our own time. We must stop focusing on where we should be at our age and the ideal life plan that is constantly shoved at us. Be happy for those who have followed their path. Your time will come.

But until then, we must live. We must live for ourselves and not for how this could appear on social media. I go through moments where I delete all forms of social media off of my phone because I can not stand the grasp it has on me. An addiction to social media is real. As much as you try to deny it, I know if I suggested you should delete it, you would create a long list of excuses why you can not. With all of the excuses and reasoning you would create for your desperate need of Snapchat, you truly DO NOT need it.
Delete it all off your phone for a week. See how you feel. Notice how your anxiety decreases. How the feeling of not being good enough weakens. The false stories you tell yourself of not being where you need to be slowly start to diminish.

You do not need fifty likes on a selfie to realize your own beauty.
You do not need to post a status about you going to yoga to experience the true bliss of the flow.
As badly as you want to tell the world your narrative of your day, why not try journaling about it instead? Put your thoughts on paper for only you to read. Express everything you would want to say with no filter just for you.

Without the consistent checking and scrolling, I can better appreciate the now.
As well as appreciate the smaller things in life that we make a habit of forgetting.
Growing up in Florida, I am a sucker for a good sunset on the beach. But with work, responsibilities and weather, seeing a sunset on the beach every day is not always possible. This past Wednesday was a full moon and I know exactly the spot on the island to be able to watch the sun set into the water and the moon rising from behind the palm trees.

Full moons look different from every part of the world. From the light pollution, to where you are, it can change the luminosity of it. I have made it a habit to appreciate every full moon. To bring attention to it in my life wherever I am, when I am at home or on the other side of the world. The full moon rising and shining above us happens everywhere. We all have the capability of watching it. But we need to give ourselves the time to walk outside and look up. Gazing at the moon from my driveway, or on Captiva Island, the magic of how beautiful this earth is still amazes me. 
Chasing glorious moments of the sun diving into the horizon, I drove an hour from work to watch the sunset on Captiva. Once the sun started to descend, I swam out into the water. Swimming until my feet could not touch the ground and swimming even further into the depths of the gulf. As I swam in the direction of the sun, I spoke out loud. Speaking to the water, and myself what I wanted to release from my life that has been holding me back. As I spoke I kept swimming closer to the horizon and realized I had made my way far from shore. When I completed saying all that I needed to, I dove into the water letting the chill take over my body and swimming deeper. Once I opened my eyes I could make out the sun shining through the murkiness of the green. I swam towards it and as I came up for air, the weight of all that fear fell off of me. I floated on top of the water and felt at peace. Feeling the current take my body in the direction it pleased, I closed my eyes and inhaled the present moment.
The sun dove into the horizon and we watched as the colors of the sky changed from an array of orange, yellow, red and pink to a deep blue. As the sun went to sleep, we watched the moon slowly rise up behind us. Gazing at the radiant moon, I took a deep inhale to fully devour this moment.
Appreciate the smaller things in life, like the sunset and moon gazing.
Enjoy the moments you have with your best friends out in nature. 
You have the opportunity every single day to realize the beauty of this earth.
It is time that we put our phone down and see what is in front of us.
And at the end of the day, live your life.