Tag Archives: time

Attitude of Gratitude–Day 28–Painting Friendships

One of the hardest things about moving to a new place is feeling alone. In the last seven years I’ve moved four times and have had to start my life from scratch each time. But moving somewhere new can be exhilarating for me, because it is like having a blank canvas  in front of me with endless opportunities to paint something beautiful–like friendships.

Painting friendships is not easy. It requires patience and perspective and many different shades of color to capture the the light and the moment just right. The mediums may always be different, but a skilled artist learns over time that laying strokes of colorful moments onto a blank canvas will capture light and time and leave you with something incredible and tangible.

In this sense I am an artist and my studio is filled with canvases. Some of them are masterpieces–framed and displayed and fill me with pride when I look at them. Some of my paintings have faded over time and others that were a messy experiment. Some of my canvases are half-painted, and I have many still that are blank, just waiting for the moment when my brush meets the pallette.

Today was a special day because I came back to an old painting–one that I had left two years ago when I moved away from Morocco. This friendship had potential to turn into a masterpiece, and was left to the side in order to pursue the natural movement of time and space. Meeting up with my friend Ioana today, after two years had passed, was a wonderful reminder of the power of friendship and connection. My canvas, while it was only half covered, still existed, and the colors I had left on it were as vibrant as ever. Sure, my perspective on the painting I’d started two years ago had changed slightly due to natural growth and age, but coming back to this friendship, it felt like it was only yesterday that we hugged goodbye in the Rabat medina on the last day of June, 2013.

I am grateful to have had such a wonderful person come back into my life today, and for the lovely day we got to spend romping around Queens together, reminiscing about Morocco and catching up on each other’s lives since we last said goodbye. I am happy that she is here in the United States and that the painting I started two years ago has the opportunity to become a colorful masterpiece.

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Slow down for what?

Recently the days, weeks and EVEN months have been passing as quickly as a flip book. If I dare to blink, I risk missing it all due to the sheer velocity of which the pages travel.

It’s October now, and I can hardly even recall the past four months. I could blame it on work, and the hectic nature of our busiest season, but ultimately I am the one to blame for letting the present moment slip away from me so effortlessly. I recall sitting at my desk at 8pm on a Wednesday night and wishing for there to be more hours in the day, just so that I could complete everything that needed to be done.

However, because I believed there was not enough time to get everything done, every action that followed this thought came with a sense of urgency. I began to eat my meals standing up in the kitchen…because let’s face it, who has time to sit? I stopped working out…because that’s a luxury for people with time. Writing? Who has time for something you love when you have no time to read all of your emails? Meditation? Ha! Sit still for fifteen minutes everyday?! You’ve got to be kidding me.

I could feel myself burning out and kept telling myself, “push through, next month will be better.” But as the days turned to weeks and the weeks to months, I realized that it wouldn’t get better unless I slowed down. What’s more,  I was solidifying a dangerous pattern into my psyche that is very hard to unlearn.

I began to think in terms of lack rather than abundance.

Not only was there not enough time, there wasn’t enough money, not enough love! On this slippery slope, I began to slide. The slide wasn’t fast and it wasn’t without resistance. I saw what was happening to myself, but I ultimately couldn’t control it.  Until I finally took a deep breath.

(INSERT DEEP BREATH HERE).

AH, there it is, the key to it all. A conscious deep breath is an acknowledgement of the present moment, in which we always reside whether we are aware of it or not.

So now that I am breathing again, how do I make a 180-turn around from lack to abundance? Here are a few steps I am taking to bring myself back into alignment and achieve abundance in all aspects of my life.

1. Fake it til you make it. When we have functioned with the idea of lack in the back of our heads for a significant period of time it is hard to believe that you are enough and will always have enough. So, fake it until you begin to see some results.

If you don’t think you have enough money, give away the last 5 dollars in your wallet.

If you don’t think you have enough love, send someone you love a handwritten note proclaiming your love.

If you don’t think you have enough time, sit down and, as slowly as you can, drink a hot cup of tea.

2. Give thanks. Gratitude is a huge factor in how we perceive abundance in our lives. A gracious mentality will shift our energy field from negative to positive, and in doing so attract like-minded thoughts, people and events into our lives.

Today I am grateful that I was able to sit down and write this post. The satisfaction I receive from writing is so much more than than the satisfaction of checking off items from my daily to-do list. Laundry? Sure it needs to be done, but hey, I’ve got time …and 2 more pair of underwear until I actually NEED to do it.

3. Take a time out from your screens. I, like the rest of humanity these days, am addicted to my cell phone, my computer, my social networks, etc. etc. etc. Commit to powering down every now and then. It will help you to manage the sense of urgency that technology creates for us to be (in the words of Daft Punk) harder, better, faster, stronger. The world will not stop if you turn your phone off periodically. In fact, by taking some time away from our handhelds I would argue that we will increase our productivity. The world will continue to spin and we will be more present to the beauty and opportunity around us in the moment.

4. Make yourself a priority. When everyone else’s needs come before your own, you can be sure that you will become resentful. Do specific things for yourself everyday that contribute to your mental health and well-being.

Go to the gym. Read a book. Cook a healthy meal! Go for a nice walk in the woods. Create something beautiful. Meditate. Dance. These are just a few things that make me happy and restore me. Ask yourself what makes you happy, and make doing it a priority!

At first, slowing down means more routine, because it takes a bit more planning and commitment. However, the ultimate goal is to turn it into ritual–the more positive and spiritual counterpart of routine.

Slow down for what? 

Slow down for your health, Slow down for your well being. Slow down so you will reap the bounty of abundant gifts from the universe.

lil john\

Lil Jon agrees.

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