Sautéed kale and garlic with tomatoes, cracked pepper and almonds with today’s juice: Apple, kale cucumber, lemon, ginger, celery, parsley, cilantro, carrot and apple cider vinegar. Cheyenne pepper sprinkled on top for an extra kick 🔥 #greenjuice #veggies #juice #yum #kalesalad #greenmachine #vegan #organic #healthyfoodporn
I’ve made it no secret that I believe that nothing leaves you until it’s taught you what it was meant to teach you. I just as firmly believe that you are not revealed anything until you are ready to receive it. This couldn’t ring truer for this year. More and more I believe in the ebbs and the flows and trust in their presence - night and day, black and white, winter and summer, hot and cold, joy and despair, laughter and tears - where would one be without the other? It wouldn’t exist. I would never have appreciated how wonderful my home was and the people in it if I hadn’t moved away - now a place that I wanted to escape for years becomes a place I can refer to, talk about, think fondly of, and reminisce about with gratitude; kind of like you do an old friend. Everything seems to feel much more familiar once it leaves you anyway. I would never have been able to grasp what true inverted joy feels like. The social addict in me craves human interaction and, if I’m being honest, was probably hiding in it for a long time. Because it’s safe there. When you are laughing so hard your ribs hurt you aren’t thinking about pain, you aren’t imagining the world you truly want to invent for yourself. You are stimulated by the joy of others, and as a result you can become a bit blind to the essence of your own heart. I sure know I did. But had I not come out here, the cycle would have continued and continued (day to night, day to night, day to night, day to night) without any recognition of just how beautiful the song inside myself is. I’d never listened before. I never gave it a chance.
From a rural farm town to the NJ pine barrens to the biggest city in the world - there’s very little I could do to describe how it felt. The first month was so electric. I felt everything - the current of the city, the unfamiliar mixed energies of relaxed self-assurance and the hyper-vigilance of the dreamers that come from all over the world to be part of this town. And they really do. There’s a strange cohesion in a city where everyone is from here but not from here. Everyone belongs here but is a wanderer. Everyone is here for a dream but is just fine as they are. We want to be in this enlightened skin forever but also want to transform. Day and night, day and night, day and night.
It was beautiful, until it became scary. Many realities started to settle once the social desire kicked in and the roaring laughter that I shared daily with friends back home became dull and I forgot what it felt like: I knew very little of what I really wanted, I hated my job, the city intimidated me, and I was (in the purest sense of the word) so terrified. I’d say that lasted for 3-4 months of my time here. I won’t share those details of how painful that time was, all you have to do is scroll down and you’ll read it. I may not have come out here knowing what my dream was or knowing what I truly wanted out of life (and to be honest, I still don’t entirely know, but I at least know better), but I knew it wasn’t what I was doing.
Nothing leaves you until it has taught you what it has meant to teach you. nothing reveals itself until you are ready to receive it. One of my yoga teachers told me (right when I needed to hear it) that when we feel lost, it’s okay, because the cracks are where the light shines in. And that “when you feel lost it’s okay, it’s what change feels like. Sameness is comfortable, and you weren’t comfortable before, so why would you want to stay there anyway?” The very next day my other teacher said that “when you feel lost, just fill yourself with what you love. Keep filling your heart, and when you are tired and feeling like it’s not working, fill it more.” And it was somewhere between those two days that I realize that I’d never really asked myself what that would look like - what did filling myself with love mean? What would it look like, sound like, taste and feel? Would it be color? Would it be a song, would it be a career? What about a place? Fill with love? How? I’ve always had love. In friendships, in relationships, in family, in experience - but I had never looked inward. It’s not as if there was a void in my heart, but there was an apparent unfamiliarity with it. Like someone you think highly of and they like you too, but you don’t know each other’s secrets. You can’t make them blush. You can’t make them cry. You can’t make them see. You can’t make them heal. You can’t change their mind. And I know it’s not an uncommon phenomenon to be disengaged from your heart. All you have to do is look outside and you’ll see a world that tries to take you away from it, put distance between your body and your soul as if it is even possible for one to be present without the other.
What I’m trying to say is that I listened.
I have had a tattoo for a few years now. It’s a Winston Churchill quote that wraps from my ribcage to my spine saying in beautiful script “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” At the time, I felt like I had truly come out of trenches and found happiness and that happiness was the victory. But I don’t really believe that anymore. I think existing at all and finding joy even within the despair is where the real victory lies. And the quote speaks to that as well. It all falls on the words “keep going.” Keep going. Whether day or night, keep going. black or white, keep going. Summer or winter, keep going. Even in happiness, keep going. Keep existing. Keep feeling.
I used to grasp at moments of my life filled in bliss and euphoria, not realizing that the same chemicals were firing at my saddest, my loneliest, my most confused. The same electricity was flowing through me when I was lost and didn’t have a friend as it has when I’m with the people I feel closest to. The same blood, the same heart. In “Eat Pray Love” the author, Liz Gilbert, speaks about a conversation she has with Ketut, a medicine man she befriended in Bali. (please withhold the reservations, this book became popular for a very powerful reason). I’ll let this quote sum of the point of this whole rant:
“You have been to hell, Ketut?”
He smiled. Of course he’s been there.
What’s it like in hell?”
Same like in heaven,” he said.
He saw my confusion and tried to explain. “Universe is a circle, Liss.”
He said. “To up, to down — all same, at end.”
I remembered an old Christian mystic notion: As above, so below.
I asked. “Then how can you tell the difference between heaven and hell?”
Because of how you go. Heaven, you go up, through seven happy places. Hell, you go down, through seven sad places. This is why it better for you to go up, Liss.” He laughed.
Same-same,” he said. “Same in end, so better to be happy in journey.”
I said, “So, if heaven is love, then hell is.. ”
Love, too,” he said.
Ketut laughed again, “Always so difficult for young people to understand this!”
Life is a circle. As above, so below. You end up at the same place anyway. The end becomes a culmination of how you traveled there. Travel in joy and gratitude, arrive with joy and gratitude. Travel in jealousy and despair, arrive in despair. Keep going. If you’re going through hell. Day and night, heaven and hell, summer and winter, black and white. Keep going.
Needless to say, today there is more to be grateful for than I can write in my gratitude journal, so I’ve broken the rules a bit lately - instead of just writing 3 things I am grateful for every day, I’ve written 4 on a few occasions! Craziness! When just a few months ago I was so lonely that it ached and pulsed through my whole body. But it’s not just the presence of these new things, it’s my reaction to them. It’s pretty difficult not to be excited and even a bit surprised when wonderful things come about, but my thinking has changed recently. I have rediscovered an unshakeable belief that everything we want is possible, so when they began to reveal themselves it was more of a “welcome home” than a “wow is this really happening to me?” type of response. Not to say that I have a sense of entitlement, I just believe in the magic of life and I choose to live there no matter what outside looks like - day or night. I believe that it’s all coming, everything is on its way, including the answers to the questions we can’t even articulate but keep us up at night. Voids we can’t see but feel. Longing and desire that we can’t explain but pull us in strange directions or have us make strange choices and then we arrive at a strange place - and we stand in awe at the miraculous and endless chain of events that had to have happened in order for this enchanting moment to be possible. It’s unreal, isn’t it? Can you feel it? I can. I can feel feel it all because of the choice I made to feel it in the first place, instead of fight. Sit with the pain, make friends with your sadness - it will leave, and then it will (and I say this with certainty of everything on the planet) come back again (day and night, day and night), so we might as well treat it like a friend. For when it leaves and ultimately comes back again, it will be nice to be on good terms. To greet it like you would joy. “hey there old friend, I see you, I understand you, I know you’ll be here a while, and then you’ll leave. And without you, Darkness, I couldn’t feel light with all the gratitude it deserves, so thank you for being here. Enjoy your stay.”
I once heard that when you die, you will have all of the good things that happened in one hand and all of the bad things that happened in the other - and in the end you will thank them both. And right now here is a brief list of everything I am grateful for as of lately - the good and the bad. The day and the night.
Hot tea with lemon. Shirshasana. Cliff jumping. Disco music. Taco trucks. Group chats. Indian food. Accents. Paranoia. Long car rides by myself. Music. Super smash brothers. Writing. Floral. Feeling so full (of joy) that it scares you. Fall. Minimal sleep. Honesty. Ellen DeGeneres. Baes. Random, thankless acts of kindness. Bobs Burgers. Wine. My sister. My brother. Rose water. Coconut oil. Ardha Chandrasana. Being sick. Not needing medicine to get better from being sick. Vertigo. Dizziness. Solitude. Handwritten notes. Outdoor movies. Guacamole. Oreos. Oreos. Oreos. Magic. Vulnerability. The new. The old. Feeling, feeling feeling it all. Letting go. Becoming whole. Becoming. Wholeness. Oneness. Thank you.