Tag Archives: Lent

Attitude of Gratitude–I Stopped Counting–What Lies Ahead

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I landed in Warsaw this morning and I am currently sitting in a cafe at the Central Station waiting for my afternoon train to Gdansk. I will be here for the next two weeks on a 50/50 business-pleasure trip and I am looking forward to discovering all that this country has to offer.

Today I will travel north to Gdansk, a city on the Baltic, and spend Easter with a host family that I met on Couchsurfing.com. They have offered to host me through the holiday and share their traditional celebration with me. There are promises of a massive Easter breakfast, which can be compared to our Thanksgiving feast because of the amount of food. And on Monday apparently everyone throws water on each other…? Like a good dousing. Not sure how I feel about this tradition seeing as it’s cold as ice here, but I’m looking forward to the cultural experience nonetheless.

Right now I’m feeling excited and mildly prepared for what’s to come–which is how I like to travel. I like to have a general game plan, but also to let my journey evolve as I go. I don’t need (or want) to follow a set itinerary. I have always found that they best opportunities reveal themselves in the present moment, and traveling allows me to tap into that flow in a way that I don’t get in my everyday life. Traveling requires flexibility and a sense of humor. It can make me feel vulnerable in many ways, but it’s also thrilling. My senses–visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory–come alive and enhance the emotional charge of the moment.

It’s romantic, really.

I’m grateful today for this opportunity to travel and explore a new country from top to bottom. I’m grateful to the new people I will meet who who will share their culture with me. I am grateful for the ability to learn more about myself as a solo traveler and for the myriad possibilities that lie ahead of me in these next two weeks!

Stay tuned for pictures and more stories.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 34–Creative Process

The final countdown to Easter Sunday has begun, and I will admit that I find myself a bit relieved. This Lenten promise has been fulfilling for me, but I am curious to know from my readers how they’ve experienced my gratitude writings. Part of my reason for writing comes from an innate people pleasing place. I write because I love to, but I love to because I love what my writing does for people.I love to observe, digest, share and inspire with my writings and recently I haven’t quite felt like I’ve been achieving that.

Last year when I wrote about gratitude during Lent, my life was significantly more interesting. I had just moved somewhere new, I had a brand new job, and I was experiencing so many new highs and lows. This year, I feel like my life is a lot more predictable. I have a schedule that I follow and I can usually tell you where and what I will be doing a week or two in the future. Maybe every once in a while I have some SUPER AMAZING news to share that will make my readers feel inspired, but more often than not, I just living my Long Island existence…A.K.A. kickboxing and drinking wine.

Personally, I have felt a sense of boredom with my own words recently, and while I still give thanks everyday, I have found myself wondering if my little moments of gratitude are thrilling enough for my readers. Even more so, if the repetitive nature of my schedule and the gratitude that follows suit, will keep my readers engaged and interested. I have been doubting my writings because they feel monotonous to me.

So I guess I can say from a place of honesty that this year’s Lenten promise to write about giving thanks every day has been upheld in my heart, but that I am frustrated by the challenging of writing for an audience. As usual, though,it is the most frustrating moments that I am able to find the most interesting things to be thankful for.

This year’s gratitude promise has turned into a true challenge to my ego. The constant furrowing of my brow when trying to come up with a topic that I deem creative and interesting enough for my audience of 400 followers and my mom’s Facebook cohort, has created a few unwelcomed wrinkles on my face. I haven’t felt very in touch with the element of creativity that I need to drive my writing forward in this past year, but then again, is exactly why I renewed my Lenten promise. How can I be creative if I don’t practice?

I am thankful today for the process my writing takes. I am thankful for the moments where I have bursts of creative energy that inspire me and that inspire my readers. I am also grateful for the opposite–the moments that are dull and repetitive–the posts that have already been done before, whether by me or someone else. I am grateful for them because they too are part of my creative process. Maybe I have to write one hundred stupid blog posts to get one really worthy piece of writing. But one thing’s for sure, if I write nothing I will never produce that one worthy piece let alone a multitude of worthy pieces.

In general, I am grateful for my writing, which allows me to observe, digest, share and inspire others. I am grateful that I sat down today and plunked out nonsense until it turned itself into something that I am ok sharing with the world, and I am grateful to this space that the internet provides me to ramble on and on about the things that matter most to me. Last, but not least, I am grateful to those of you who’ve made it this far through my blog today– a gold star for you.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 14–Wine Down Wednesday

Every Wednesday for a year, I have celebrated Hump Day over a bottle of Malbec with the girls that I work with. It is our sacred ritual. Today I am grateful for our Wine Down Wednesday tradition, because it allows us to catch up on each other’s lives and laugh about anything ridiculous that has happened that week. It’s good for the heart and even better for the soul.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 8–Opportunities

I caught the travel bug when I was 15 years old on my first international jaunt to Geneva, Switzerland. The experience was so exhilarating and magical that I vowed to myself I would make it my priority to appreciate the far flung corners of this beautiful earth as much as I possibly could. Since that trip I have managed to touch my feet on the soil of 16 different countries and 4 continents, and have called two of these countries my ” home away from home.”

Traveling provides priceless growth opportunities. Opportunities to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, meet new people, learn a new language, eat different foods and invites time for self-reflection.

When I chose to study International Relations in college it all boiled down to that feeling I felt the first I traveled–the exhilaration, curiosity, confusion, magic. Those who study the workings of the world can attest that the reason is due to a genuine desire to call it our home. We want to make it accessible. We want to break down the barriers of language, culture and geography. We want to impact the world and leave our marks on it.

And so when I would get the question, what do you want to do with your studies? my answer my answer was pretty generic. “I would like to find a job that would allow for me to travel.” (Unless I was talking to my dad..then, of course, it was because I wanted to be some high profile diplomat, yielding immunity to traffic tickets and paying off my student debt…)

Today, as I booked my first international work trip to Poland, I thought to myself, “ya done good, kid!” Not only am I doing a job that is fulfilling my need to learn and grow, but I get to travel too!

So today I am grateful for the feelings of excitement I get when I start to plan a new voyage. I am grateful for the opportunity to travel and explore a new part of the world, to my company, Education First Cultural Care Au Pair, for encouraging it, and I’m grateful for all the roads that lead me to my home.

“May your trails be crooked and dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.” Edward Abbey

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 7–Dream Team

Today I will be brief. Not due to a lack of time, due to a lack of words. I do not think there are possibly enough to describe how lucky I am to work with such an amazing group of women. Today I am most grateful to my team… my posse…my clique. I am grateful for their creative ideas, their support, their humor and most of all their commitment.

I have learned so much from them this past year, and I continue to learn from them each and every day.

We push each other. Why? Because we’re pushers.We push people.

Brittany has taught me how to be calm in the midst of chaos. Kristin has taught me to ask questions until the answer becomes clear. Maura has taught me care for the whole being.

Today I am grateful for my dream team of pushers and the lasting impact we are having on our au pairs and the future of the Training School.

Where ma dawgz at?

WOof!

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 6–Therapeutic Pain

I was raised in a household that mostly followed alternative medicinal practices. We were never rushed to the doctor for a sore throat or a fever. We were made to gargle with salt water and sweat it out. You have an earache? Pulsatilla. Hormonal? Ink of squid. Flu? Oscillococcinum. Naturally, as I aged I had an ingrained sense of distrust in any western medicine and pretty much avoid going to the doctor at all costs.

Luckily, I am young, fit and healthy. Over the last few years, however, I’ve developed chronic pains in my neck and shoulders, knees and ankles. I’m a total oxymoron of a yogi, tight as hell in some places and loose and limber in others. While everything is connected, the problems with my knees and ankles stem from a lack of muscle strength, while my neck and shoulders are the opposite, overly tight (some would say strong) muscles. When you add stress to this mixture, it can tip the scales from manageable body pains to downright terrifying pain.

This summer I suffered a bout of stress and my neck and shoulders seized up so tight that I could not turn my head. I left the chiropractor after my bi-weekly routine session and got into the car and cried my eyes out wondering why my body just wouldn’t function the way it was meant to. During that particular session, my chiropractor said to me, “you’re so stressed out, what on earth is wrong?” Before I could say anything, she prescribed me a bottle of wine and said, “you need to drink more.”

Now I know she was kidding, but it was a particularly low moment for my physical well being to be told by a doctor that my only relief would be the bottle.

A few weeks later a friend of mine recommended a massage therapist in Sayville, Pete. He runs a business called Massage Rx, and he has been changing lives with his hands for decades. Pete. Changed. My. Life.

I went in to see Pete for the first time crippled in pain and even more skeptical than ever that someone could help me out. He sized me up from the moment I walked in the door and called me out for my pelvic tilt, my protruding head and my clenched jaw. He could see the physical raise of my left shoulder that was keeping from turning my head, and he told me that he could help.

I layed down on the table, and and hour and a half of curse words and tears later I had my body aligned properly for the first time in months. Over the course of the next few weeks and months I began to make seeing Pete a part of my personal maintenance regime.

So today as I layed on his table, I fully surrendered to the pain. At one point I said to him, “It feels so good, and it hurts so bad.” Which is when he told me about therapeutic pain. That thought stuck in my head for the rest of the session as he nearly broke my jaw off in his hand massaging out years of clenching. The pain was searing hot, but I knew that it would be worth it for the ability to chew a bagel tomorrow.

What’s more, I really like the idea of therapeutic pain on a grander scale. We often run from things because we fear the pain they will bring to us. That bottle of wine prescribed by my chiropractor is such an example. Health, whether it be physical, mental or emotional health, has a price and it is usually painful–the kind that hurts so good, not the kind that creates scar tissue and further trauma. We have to face the things that we know are going to be tough head on because our health is our true wealth.

Today I am eternally grateful for my massage with Pete at Massage Rx. It is the perfect way to reset my body so that I can continue forth on my journey, and it is a wonderful reminder of the benefits that self-care can have on our overall health.

I encourage everyone to find some form of therapeutic pain today. It might be a meditation that brings up a lot of emotional blocks needing to be released or a massage to reduce stress. It could be a session with a therapist or a particularly sweaty thigh burning session on the dance floor. It does not matter. Whatever it is that helps you through your day with more ease, do it now. Do not wait! And always remember, that it must hurt so good!

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 5–Sunshine

In yoga savasana is considered one of the hardest postures because it is requires you to relax our ultimate body part, the brain. It is also one of the most loved postures, because we relish the rarity of giving ourselves 15 minutes of total relaxation. In our culture it is frowned upon to slow down. Slowing down costs time and money, and in a society where we are always searching for more of both, it can seem utterly impossible to pump the brakes.

Winter is the savasana of the seasons. It is a time to rest, absorb and repair.

Which is why, for many of us, winter is the ultimate test.Can we think of it as a time to rest and relax, or is our monkey mind already on to the following season? With these past few days of record breaking cold, I’ve felt particularly exasperated by my inability to move my body. I’ve been cranky and emotional and bored and uncomfortable. So when the snow last night threw a wrench into my plans, I felt betrayed for the umpteenth time this month by mother nature.

As in a yoga class, there are many times when forces outside of your control make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe your balance isn’t perfect that day or you have a particular thought that is dominating your mind and keeping you from concentrating on your breath. The feeling of imperfection in a yoga class is comparable to the feelings I’ve been experiencing these last few weeks. A judgment of sorts of how I like it best or how it should be.

Today, though, was a different story. I woke up and it felt like spring was in the air. It was a balmy 45 degrees outside and the sun was shining. It was literally a breath of fresh air and a reward for struggling through the last few weeks. Not wanting to miss any of it, I put on my snow pants and coat and walked through a field of calf-deep snow out to the ocean. It felt so so so good to walk and even better to bask in the sun.

So today I am grateful to the sun, for providing me with a healthy dose of vitamin D and for the nice nature walk to ground and center me. It reminded me that I can be both still and active, and that finding a proper balance of the two is truly the only way to be.

Salute to the sun!

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Attitude of Gratitude–day 4–Mood changers

Today is going to be brief because I’m running out the door to avoid driving too late in this snowfall.

Today I am grateful for the things that take me from negative to positive. A healthy night’s sleep, a good conversation, a badass workout, and some happy tunes to name a few. All of these things remind me that I have the capacity to choose my mood, to live positively, to see the glass half full and the sunshine behind the clouds.

(In my best Long Island accent) Go get auntie Lizzie a wine coolah and she’ll let you play with her mood ring.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 3–Productivity

With all of the winter weather we’ve been experiencing these past few weeks, it has felt impossible to accomplish anything. This week was the first week we haven’t had a disruptive snowstorm to throw a wrench in my workweek since the end of January. It took me a week to catch my breath from the full throttle around the clock work schedule I have been working for nearly a month, but today was one of those days where I planted myself at my desk and got some actual work done.

There is nothing as satisfying for me than the feeling of being productive. The last few weeks have taken a toll on my emotional health, and I was about to throw my hands in the air, and say to hell with this. But things moved forward today in a manner that I can truly be grateful for, and I am glad to feel some relief from the emotional havoc and fatigue caused by the massive disruptions to my routine.

Today I am grateful to my laundry list of things I’ve been wanting to get around to, and even more grateful to say that I have made some good headway into them. I can thoroughly enjoy the weekend with a light heart!

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Attitude of Gratitude — Day 2 — Soul people

I’ve always thought myself lucky to know so many good people. I have a family that extends far beyond my blood’s limits, to whom I can always count on for a genuine affirmation, a listening ear, a love-filled hug. From one corner of the globe to the other, I can reach out at any time and tap into my network of soul mates.

When someone hears the term soul mate, they automatically think in terms of a romantic life partner. In my experience, however, my soul mates are people, both men and women, wise with age and ripe with youth, that have connected with me on a molecular level. People with whom, when we’ve looked into each other’s eyes have recognized ourselves within.

This recognition is more than just our commonalities. Of course we share interests, but what I am trying to describe goes beyond that. They are the kind of people you feel you knew in a past life, and who, with no explanation, understand and accept your entire being.

Tonight I am grateful to have had the privilege of spending time with James and his wonderful girlfriend, Anne — fellow beautiful soul people. Mr. James Birney came into my life a few years ago, and our soul connection was evident from our first conversation. James told me soon after we had met each other that we were going to know each other for a very long time. I, however, knew we had already known each other for an eternity.

Soul mates are people who unite you with Source. They are human reminders of the divinity that lives within us all, that which unites us all together as one.

Tonight was a night filled full with soul. Just a few truly good people sitting together around a table, blessed with good food and a healthy conversation.

I am especially grateful for this connection and to all of my soul mates past, present and future.

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Amen, right on shalom, salaam, namaste!

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