Tag Archives: spirit

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 27: N-om-ad

I don’t know how I made it through 26 days of gratitude without being grateful to the place I inhabit in the deep, dark enigma we call cyberspace. This blog has been one of the most surprising and delightful projects I’ve ever taken on. It has been a place for me to chronicle my travels, reflect on my life and grow as both a writer and a human being.

When I began this blog in August of 2011, I was preparing to move to France, and to live abroad for my first extended period of time as an English Assistant in a small French village. At that time, my blog was more for the people at home than it was for me. It was a way of letting my Mom and her friends know I was alive and for perhaps making some snarky comments on the differences between French and American culture.

By 2012, my blog started to become a place for me and my more academic thoughts, as I began to use it to make social commentaries on my new foreign home, Morocco. Here I found a place for me to carefully construct posts about Moroccan culture and identity. At this point, my blog developed into a space for me to hone my writing skills. Being recognized for my post, Mi-chemin; At the Intersection of Tradition and Modernity, by WordPress gave me a boost in my confidence, and ignited a passion for writing that I never knew existed. As my readership sky-rocketed I began to feel like my writing was reaching the far corners of the earth, and I knew that I was achieving what I always wanted, connecting with people far and wide, and sharing some of my learned wisdom on them.

When 2013 rolled around, I had soundly developed my social and cultural commentary, which lead to my spiritual growth spurt. In this time, my blog morphed itself into a house for my spiritual reflections. In the first three months post walking El Camino de Santiago, this blog became a crutch for me. It was the a place for me to purge all of the thoughts in my head into a word processor, and hope that said processor had caught each and every thought and transformed them into something cohesive. There were so many posts that came from the depths of my soul in that time, especially, Falling or Flying; Uniting the Yin and Yang of Life, which ultimately made its way into the Elephant Journal and solidified my quest into blogdom. This post was written as fast as my fingers could communicate with my head and my heart, and the result is something that I am incredibly proud of.

2014 started slowly, with blogs few and far between. My passion for writing remained, but my creative juices had become stagnant and I lost some perspective as I struggled to navigate a very vague transition with a very limited idea of my direction forward. At this time, my blog became a space where I could re-read and re-live. I was not creating, but I was living off of my creations. All of my thoughts, which had been so diligently saved in cyberspace, were easily a click away, and I often would revisit them in order to reap the boon of their wisdom. I also used them as a comparison from the then to the now.

My current project, Attitude of Gratitude, was taken on as my Lenten promise in order to reconnect with my Catholic faith, to get me back on track with my writing, and ultimately, to practice what I preach. These past few weeks have been unique and fulfilling,  as a result of the thanks I’ve offered daily. This blog and all of the gratitude I’ve expressed have helped me process an incredible life transition. These daily acts have increased my over all happiness and are steering me forward from this present moment into future present moments.

Thus today, I am grateful to my blog, N-om-ad, for it has provided me with a canvas to create my art, as well as a place to reflect and grow. I am also grateful to all of my readers; whether you are strangers, friends or family, thank you for taking the time to get to connect with me!  Fun fact:  N-om-ad has been read in over 110 countries and is followed by 333 (and counting) bloggers! And last, but not least, I am thankful to my ever changing life. Each day is a journey, and just as nomadic tribes navigate across deserts in search of fertile lands and watering holes for their herds, I, too, have been navigating across countries and, of course, across my soul–Can you keep up?

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 26: Health and Well being of the Mind, Body and Spirit

Being kind to ourselves is something that most people need to work on. For me, it’s always been extremely critical to keep a healthy working relationship with my mind and body, because the synchronicity of the physical and mental is astounding. When the body feels bad, the mind responds appropriately. For many women, myself included, we have lived our whole lives subject to the male gaze and under the thumb of advertising companies. Beauty magazines, diet fads, and wounding comments from our peers, both female and male, are internalized by our psyche.

I’ll never forget my first negative realization of my feminine form, when, in the 7th grade, one my male friends told me I was fat. Until that point, I didn’t have that kind of understanding of the fleshy form that my soul moved through life within. But that day, that moment, those words have never gone away. Ever. My adolescent mind played ugly tricks on me and I began to look into the mirror and see what was wrong with me, not what was so perfectly imperfect and beautiful. I began to devour hateful rhetoric against the feminine form, reading magazines like Cosmo and Vogue. I compared myself ceaselessly to others, and my self-satisfaction and esteem suffered as a result of the hate I ingested into my body. Because my mind corresponded so intuitively with my body, somewhere in that vicious cycle, I drew that energy into my bones, my tissue and my cells.

Unlearning all of this is a process–one that I work on thoughtfully almost every single day. A delicate balance of health and wellness must be kept, and if my body is feeling good, my mind feels the same. Healthy eating, exercise and meditation are the tools I use to keep the peace with myself.

Today, I woke up with sore muscles from yesterday’s yoga class. I got up, dressed in the stretchiest clothes available and walked to a Bar Method class. My muscles trembled and my legs shook like there was an earthquake taking place in my body as we pulsed through pliés and relevés, ab curls and arm weights. After class, I could hardly walk down the stairs, and I smiled knowing that I am going to hurt so good for the next 3 days… Honestly, if I can walk tomorrow, it will be an absolute miracle.

But I am grateful—so grateful—for that stiff, sore, achy feeling in my fatigued muscles because it’s a reminder of the hard work that goes into the process of unlearning, which I need to maintain a healthy balance between my body and mind. This year, in particular, I’ve committed to slowly and mindfully breaking down all the barriers to Self-love that were the direct result of various adolesccent traumas. Little by little, I am peeling back the layers of self-dissatisfaction that have built up throughout the infinite lifetime of my soul, and especially in this lifetime, where my poor mind and body have taken a significant bullying from society and, admittedly, from myself.

My soul, however, is more transcendental, and has taken this healing quest upon itself in order to learn some valuable lessons. I’ve learned that comparison is perhaps one of the most useless forms of self-disparagement. Each and every one of us has our own set of trials and triumphs, strengths and weaknesses. It’s more productive to work with each other, than to constantly strive to be like someone else. Our uniqueness is what makes for a more healthy social order.

I’ve also learned that self-awareness is a practice. It’s not something that you achieve, but something that you constantly work towards maintaining. It’s perfectly normal to forget how good you felt after yesterday’s run or the hour-long meditation you did. Life is constantly changing and throwing new situations at us. We have to roll with the punches, because the punches are what makes life a  fun and challenging learning experience. Through constant self check-ins, we can help up keep the fine balance of mind, body and spirit.

Thus today, I am grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and will inevitably continue to learn. I am also grateful to my body and mind, and for the balance that I have cultivated through exercise and healthy eating in the last two days. (I’ll have to remember to be extra thankful tomorrow when I try to get out of bed and my glutes, traps, biceps, abs, calves, and thighs scream like the chorus of a Slayer song.) And, of course, I am infinitely grateful to my inner guide and closest companion, my spirit.

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Attitude of Gratitude–Day 24: Unexpected Connection

Yesterday, after work, I went with some colleagues to have a few drinks at the bar. Being that I am just visiting the Boston office, and I am new to the team, getting to know people in a more casual setting is a nice way for me to put faces to names and build my connections. The night took an unexpected turn towards amazing, when I struck up conversation with a young woman named Bethlehem.

As our conversation evolved from the typical, what’s your name? where are you from? chitter-chatter, we both began to recognize that we “read from the same book.”  Our conversation was a journey of self-discovery and the bar around us faded into the background. The only indicator I had to denote the length of our conversation was the 3 empty glasses of Malbec. Our conversation flowed from travel to spirit, spirit to conflict, conflict to identity, and finally identity back to spirit. We discussed books and critiqued philosophies; we talked about religion and about God and our role prophetic models, Carl Jung, Christ and the Buddha.

As the after work crowd began to dwindle, we came back into our surroundings and mingled back in with our remaining colleagues. Together, we felt like a force of wisdom, strengthened by the old age of our souls. We began to talk with one of our co-workers about relationships, and we completed each others thoughts and nodded vigorously as the other spoke. Upon leaving, Bethlehem, a stranger two and a half hours prior, said to me, “I feel like I am talking to myself seven years ago.”

Upon hearing this I to stopped and acknowledged the feeling of unity and oneness of all beings. If she is me, seven years my senior, I am excited for all of the spiritual growth yet to come. And thus, I am grateful for an unexpected connection, and the reminder that continuing to feed the soul with deep analysis and discussion is how I will ultimately continue to grow. I am thankful for my spiritual community and for all the people in my life who nourish and push my spiritual boundaries.

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What is Love?

With Valentine’s Day just around the river bend I have found myself thinking about love. I was feeling like I was shutting down and being bitter about it all, and so I asked myself what would be necessary to keep my heart open and the love flowing freely. I went around in circles until I realized I didn’t know what love actually was. Sure I have felt it, but I’ve never tried to define it. It’s one of those feelings that isn’t exactly easy to pin-point because it varies in degree. However, like any type-A person, I knew I had to try to hash out what love meant to me, and I, of course would do so by making a nice and accessible list.

I wrote “LOVE IS…” and then let the pen flow.  But before I tell you what came up, can someone please cue the Haddaway music?

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Love is ego-less. It doesn’t compare or contrast. It doesn’t need an identity. It is everything and nothing. Love just is.

Love is communication. It speaks from the heart. When the heart feels deeply it shares its sentiments with the world.

Love is spirit. It is the uniting force that threads the universe together. It is an omnipotent energy with the power to create and destroy, to re-create and re-destroy.

Love is vulnerable. It expresses all of its deepest and scariest truths.

Love is intimate. It brings people together physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

Love is a kind act. We express love through action. How we treat others is ultimately how we treat ourselves. Through kindness to others, we bestow love on ourselves.

Love is trust. Love knows best. Love knows all. Love sees the bigger picture and it trusts the journey.

Love is reciprocal. Give it. Take it.

Love is real. Love gets real. Love is not a mythical unicorn. We’ve all experienced love’s many truths and lessons.

Love is non-attachment. It doesn’t need to control or be controlled. It allows itself to flow freely in non-resistance.

Love is passion. It is the driving force within us that allows us to create and support life. Love is music, art, food, travel, politics, sports, religion, work.

Love is healthy. When given the proper care, love grows and blossoms like a beautiful flower.

Love is barrier-breaking. Love sees no borders or boundaries. It knows only one language, that of itself. It makes no distinctions of race, class, gender or creed.

Love is soulful. It emanates from the deepest part of our being and seeps from our pores.

Love is unique. It differs from friendship to friendship, family to family, couple to couple.  It is colorful and funky. It wears polka dots and floral, suspenders and bow ties.

Love is you.

YOU are love!

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