Sunday, August 26, 2018

Where in the world is Natasha?

Short answer: I have made it to the motherland, Lebanon, after months of traveling through Europe. 

Long answer: I’m still working on processing how far I have come through it all. For I have transformed and learned far more than I ever expected to. Constant movement, being led where I’m meant to go, following the signs as they have led me. No plans and working on limiting expectations.

Explorations of self, falling in love with the world and discovering who I am more as I let my soul and heart lead me. Adventure and learning through 4 countries. There has not been time to digest, and share everything with the world just yet because I’m still processing this journey of discovery.

All roads and paths allow me to learn more about love, and to find home within places, people & situations. Home may not be a place, but instead home is where you feel the most alive and happy.

“The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to.” -Alain de Botton 
I have stayed true to myself and evolved along the way. At times I have felt like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. Following the signs and my heart as it directed me where to next. Traveling alone can be exhausting and not as fabulous as the world perceives. By the end of it all I will have traveled for 80 days, having loved ones meet me along the way.

I will tell more about each adventure after I have had time to recharge in my home. I am fully present through what I am experiencing. No social media on my phone and lack of wifi has me feeling grounded exactly where I am.

Where in the world is Natasha? She is with her mind, body & soul soaking up the Middle Eastern sun. Eating dates, figs and all the watermelon her heart desires. Touring the entire country to see all the Lebanese that are related to her (it’s A LOT). 
Until my next post, I’ll just be floating on through this adventure (at times a top the Mediterranean Sea).

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

happy birthday to me from Paris

This is the least amount of loved ones around me on my birthday ever. I have always been surrounded by love ever since I was born. Summer time and July have always been a season to celebrate. My birthday comes the day before the independence of America so it has always been a large festivity and I typically make it a week long palooza of sorts. I plan for it for months ahead of time and end up being more stressed by the time it rolls around. But that doesn’t feel like me anymore. 
I have no plans at all or expectations. 
We change. We evolve over time. Experiences, life, people, the journeys, they either change us or keep us stagnant. For me I continue to evolve into something different (like a Pokemon). Something more aligned to my truest self. I am finally letting myself be the person I’ve always secretly wanted to be. 
Connected, happy, & me. 
I have sought solitude. Being alone allows me to feel, recharge, and go off into the world ready. Being in a foreign country is an entirely different form of feeling alone. Instead I am observing, absorbing & seeing how others love and live in all their forms. Witnessing all the love around me. A city so in love with love. I am loving just being in the moment. I love love. I love seeing it, hearing about it, and feeling it. Even just being around it and this city is full of it! Public displays of affection are everywhere. Full on make out sessions by the canals. Ass grabs walking down the street together. I may not have loved ones are all around me physically but I can feel the love from them. As I read words sent from the states to me here. I can feel love afar consume my body. I don’t feel alone at all. 
Now I am on the other side of the world. Celebrating life, love & myself. I feel calm and at peace. As I celebrate my 28th trip around the sun, I am going to trust myself from now on. For I am love. Life, love, and inspiration all comes from within. Nothing is outside of me. 

Flowing through, feeling it all, and being exactly where i am meant to be. Savoring each moment slowly. Feeling the connection with myself, with the world around me & with love.

Monday, July 2, 2018

we learn | we evolve | we become |following my gut to happiness & realizing the love within

I follow my gut. It’s what I do. Or what I began to do a few years ago when I realized how unhappy and depressed I had become, I was so disconnected and far from my true self. 
Focusing on my wellness and my happiness became my priority. It has been 2.5 years of not drinking. 2 years of being single. Which has helped me realize my happiness and my truth, for it gave my the time I always needed to truly hear what I needed. My life that I am living is my own. I am doing what brings me joy. When I realize something is not aligned with my best self, I revaluate to realize what it is I need. I tune in to hear what what my gut is trying to tell me.

Before I quit drinking I was wary. Many around me didn’t support me and a lot didn’t think it was capable. A few months in I realized all my inner demons that I had numbed over time were surfacing, I had to finally face them. To be able to truly feel them, so I could release the grip they had on me. My body started to feel lighter and happier as time passed. I was treating my body like a temple. Giving it exactly what it craved and needed to thrive.
After a few months I realized I still wasn’t as connected with myself as I needed. A toxic relationship had to end for me to be able to learn to love who I was. My gut told me months before this that the time had come but I was scared. Scared I would never be loved again. Terrified that if this was my only opportunity for a man, that I might end it and be forever alone. Being single was what I needed the most. The fear of being lonely was better than pretending I was happy. I didn't want to escape to a man to be my happiness. I needed to be my own happiness. 
I needed true introspection of myself to love every part of who I was. When I ended it, I committed to not dating anyone for at least a year. I didn’t want to prevent myself from focusing on anything other than the relationship with myself. I wanted to give myself time, something I had never done before to be able to love. To fall in love with myself. But also to learn to love my body, my mind, my interest, my life, my family and my friends. To love in such a way that I could appreciate every moment. My friendships grew stronger. True connections where I was able to put my all into them. Hearing, feeling, and appreciating them for all that they were. Learning about love from all of them. We love in different ways, giving love, receiving love, and showing love. I saw how people loved who they were, loved those around them and love different things in their lives. We all love, appreciate and are amazed by so much. I wanted to learn and see through all their eyes. For all these friendships I had were supportive and kind. True friends who love, and love with all their heart. Each friendship its own. Each love its own.
I dedicated so much of my time to loving myself. Learning all forms of self love. Any and all forms of self care that I needed to feel my best. Cultivating a stronger yoga practice by doing it every day and through teaching classes. When I taught, I was able to share the movement that brought my body happiness. I could see and feel an entire room of people able to give themselves an hour to listen to what their bodies need. Breathing in inspiration and exhaling what no longer serves them. Yoga helps to release the grip that anxiety, fear, sadness and pain have on us. It forms in our bodies and when we breath, move and sweat it out, we are able to release its hold on us. We can recognize that it is not who we are or part of us. When we become aware of it, it can show us so that we can learn and evolve from it. But it does not have to continue grasping onto our hearts and minds.

I started to release my anxiety. Whenever I felt it coming on, I would face it. I stopped pushing away the pain so that I could figure out the true cause of it all.

All that past pain. All the fears. All the feelings of inadequacy. There was no way to numb, no relationship to escape to, there was me. I stopped over two years ago shoving those emotions down to avoid them. It resulted in me within a room of all my emotions and each day one will come up for me to learn from. By learning where it comes from I am able to work to release it. I listen to what it tells me. 
I went into what I thought was my dream job at a company I worked for a few times. From the first day I knew that I had made the wrong decision but I kept telling myself to give it time. I gave it a year. As the months came closer to the year mark my mental health and my happiness were diminishing. On Monday I would go to work ready to defend myself and shield myself from the toxicity of the environment. I did yoga, worked out, self-cared my ass every single day for me to be able to make it through the week without falling deep into sadness. Not appreciated for my talents or even valued as a person, it became draining each week. Breaking down by the end of the week and riddled with anxiety, I spent the weekends decompressing from the negative feelings to prepare myself for the poisonous combat I’d face every Monday. A company of women who bullied, harassed, and belittled, instead of being a force of empowerment. This was not my dream. This was not what I wanted to waste my vital energy and life doing. My happiness mattered more to me. I quit with no prospect of a job, because I finally listened to the screaming voice from inside that had been telling me for the entire year to leave. I realized my worth. As much as my environment tried to make me feel less than, I knew who I was. 
I left the job at the company that I kept returning to for good. I ended the chapter knowing I would never return again. This time with certainty I was doing what I am meant to.

Situations, experiences and life toughen you and allow you to feel emotions you don't want to feel. The low points, the uncertainty of yourself, and the anxious times can all lead to a place of you being true to you. Stop making excuses for yourself. For your unhappiness. Change what you need to. What you know you have to but avoid. Stop the awful habit that you feel destroying you. End shitty relationships that bring you more sadness than happiness. You don’t deserve to be crying more than smiling. Leave the job to pursue something that brings you more joy. Listen to what your gut tells you. As the anxious thoughts come up, as fear tries to creep in, I face them full on to see them for what they are. To be able to learn from them and release them with time.
For life is all a lesson. These opportunities, people, distractions, are all meant to teach me. They are bringing me closer to myself, and living my life for me.

My body is a temple. My life is my own. I will live it to the fullest, following my gut and listening to my heart. 
I don't move through life aimlessly with the past pain weighing me down or trying to escape emotions or feelings. I am able to live my life for me. 
Lessons are learnt. 
We learn. We evolve. We become.

Monday, June 25, 2018

dreaming with eyes wide open at the masterpiece in front of me & my wildest idea yet

I’m living and dreaming with eyes wide open. Seeing everything around me for what it has to offer. 2017 I fell in love with myself. 2018 I wanted to discover who I was even more. To be the very best version of myself, I have to challenge myself and get entirely out of my comfort zone. Internally I have been doing the work on myself. Learning more of what I want. 
Now I can go to find what I want from the world around me. There are so many things in this world that I love. There are so many more things in the world for me to fall in love with still.
I took time away from social media because when I finally was brave enough to quit my job, I was given what I always wanted. Time for the deepest introspection of myself. Time to learn more. Time to feel alive. And to create. 
I deleted all social media off of my phone. The more my face was glued to it, the less I was able to witness each moment in front of me. I wanted to be able to feel all the time I had. Every moment I was given. To be fully present so that I could experience it all.
For all moments eventually come to an end, nothing will last forever. I want to feel every one that I can. Especially after I finally was able to remove the things in my life that were taking away from my flow. So I felt each day. I didn’t plan. I let things unfold. I surrendered to the process. No need to rush or force. Knowing that everything that is meant to happen will.
I created. I felt all that I needed to feel and made art. All kinds of art. It flowed through me. Inspiration is all around and I was able to finally see it. I put more intention into my actions. More purpose into my art. More dedication to becoming.
I learned more. Reading, researching, writing and being curious about whatever made me feel something. I wanted to absorb all that inspired me. Art comes from creators trying to express what is inside. The time had come for me to allow all my insides to come through in paint, pencil, pen, photographs, words, connection, experiences, creation in every form. 
Life is art. When it is fully lived it becomes your best masterpiece.
A few days into a brand new year I had my wildest and craziest idea. I told my mom my thoughts and she responded without hesitation, agreed and told me what route she thought I should take. She knew just as I did that this chance would never happen again. I will never be this young, single & have the time to roam. An indefinite amount of time to discover who I am and create along the way. 
My wanderlust nature itched at me more and more as the days went on. But I knew I needed to surrender. It did not need to be rushed or forced. I knew I was going to eventually go. I felt it. Just the way to get there and how would be slowly figured out when the time was right. I just let the excitement brew inside me.
I've dreamed about it ever since I was a child. I assumed it would be with a love, but I think with where I am now it makes more sense that it is not. Slowly signs began appearing to lead me there. Last year I roamed around the Art Institute of Chicago, admiring all forms of art. Standing in front of the “Water Lilies” by Claude Monet admiring the serenity of the colors next to each other. A stranger standing close saw the way I was looking at it and said “if you ever have a chance to go to France, there you can see the painting in a panorama”. In my heart as she said the words I knew I would go. I had never felt more certain about something said by a stranger. 
Things began appearing. It kept becoming mentioned. I knew I would go to Paris. I felt it in my heart. It has always been a dream but I wasn’t meant to go at any sooner date than now. Than today. To see the art of all the greats. To be in the home of fashion, love & creation.
So as I am writing this from my friend's apartment, steps away from Notre Dame. I bought a one-way ticket to Paris. With no plan. With no expectations. All I am certain about is I am meant to be there. I am dreaming with eyes wide open. Seeing life in its true form, as it is the masterpiece around me. Finally, able to realize that I am art myself. I am a masterpiece trying to master peace. Bon voyage!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

true & real connection with women | it's a vibe

Becoming myself and being able to feel this confident in my skin has made me value myself in an entirely different way. Time is precious and appreciated.
I am connecting with people in a different way than I have ever before. The connections and time spent seem more meaningful. Being more present, to be able to fully emerge in all relationships.
We are vibing together now. It is no longer just interacting and seeing what happens. My time is valuable. Once I started to love myself I realized that I didn’t want to spend any of my energy on people that will not bring me to my happiest self. The people I want to surround myself with are the ones I am constantly giving my energy to. I’m working on relationship boundaries and giving love, timer & energy to those I truly want to.
The women that have come into my life are strong. It shows in their confidence to be who they are. To rise from life’s struggles and make the most of what they have been given. They show me parts about myself that I fear showing, for they hold them with pride to let all see. Which in turn allows me to shine those hidden parts. They give me the strength to be who I am even more.
We learn from each other. We teach and show our crafts, interests and likes. Our interests aren’t all the same but we want to hear what the other is passionate about and feel their experiences with them.
The people in my life are all here for a reason. I no longer put energy into things that I don’t feel good about anymore. I put energy towards connections that feed my soul. The connections where we are growing, and we grow together. To watch each other flourish and become the person we were always meant to be.
Those are the people you want to surround yourself with. The ones that support you. Who look at you with eyes full of love wanting the very best for you.
I don’t have an intimate relationship with a man right now. But the women I have surrounded myself with have shown me how deeply they love. That love can exude from us all. We have the capacity to love fully and with our whole self. Love does not have to only come from a significant other.
It’s within you. It’s around you. 
At times you may not be able to see it. 
Be open to feeling it. 
For a bond between people riding the same wave length can be felt. It is exciting and refreshing to know that you have found those that like all the same weird shit you do. Spend time with the friends in your life that make you feel something. 

& be present with them to vibe together.

Friday, June 22, 2018

find friendships that reciprocate the same love

I give love. I always have. To all those around me. It’s how I am, I can’t change it. Regardless of if it comes back, I still give it.
My best friend told me in college “no one has your heart, no one loves like you”. It was something she would tell me when I felt broken or sad about a person or situation. She knew how much energy, love & dedication I give to those around me. She saw my soul and never tried to change it. Even though we didn’t see eye to eye on everything, we always gave each other the room to be ourselves. Giving and receiving the same love and friendship to each other.
Friends should challenge, inspire, and push you. They want to make you feel special, loved & alive.
I want the best for everyone I meet, and people I haven’t even met yet. I want to see them succeed, to live, and to love. At times this causes intense heart break for me. I trust easily and have trouble with relationship boundaries. It’s something I’m always working on.
In college, I had Alyssa to be there for me. To tell me when I was going too far down a path that she could see pain ahead. She knew how intensely I put love into people. We were always so honest with one another and I never questioned her judgement because I knew it all came from love.
My heart has been broken time and time again. It takes time for me to heal because I feel a lot. I used to be ashamed of this, the amount I felt. I no longer shove the feelings away or mask them. I feel a lot, its who I am and it is because I love a lot. I wouldn’t change that for anything now. But with each heart break I learn. My first immediate reaction is to close off to everyone and think that others will make me feel that low, not enough or uncomfortable in my body. But I don’t want to close off to the entire world because people may not feel as much as I do or realize the hurt they are causing. I learn that we all love in our own ways. I appreciate those around me. I am learning to surround myself with those who put the same dedication into maintaining friendships as I do. I don’t have Alyssa to watch my loving energy being dumped into people that don’t care and to heed a warning from her anymore.
It’s about finding those select gems in your life. The ones that reciprocate the same amount of love back. That give the quality time towards a friendship to have it grow. Friendships that understand the levels of your heart because they feel the same.
People come into your life at all different times to teach you. Some may leave and it can hurt. Once they leave there is space that is created. Space for friends who will love you deeper and are more aligned with the person you are. They come at the right time to show you. Love is there. You deserve all the love. Surround yourself with only love.
If a friendship or romantic relationship seems toxic. If you feel judged for who you are or bullied by them. That is not a friend. It is not love. You should never feel uncomfortable in your skin around them.
You should feel comfort, ease and bliss to be your most authentic self.
When you are your youest you. Those who want to be around you will appear.
Be you. Your vibe and who you are, attract people towards you.
You should have friends that give perpetual support and honesty. Who are there to lift you up when you have fallen. So in the end you can stand fully in your own power and know truly who you are.
Friends who will forever love you. Who look at you with the same eyes through time. Eyes of kindness and wanting to know more about your heart.