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Passing through the funk

The last couple months, give or take, I’ve not been myself. Or rather I’ve not operated the way in which I’ve operated let’s say the last 8 ish or so years. I lost a job that I wasn’t happy at and although I’ve been sending out requests to the Universe to help me break away from the organization I didn’t expect it to happen at the time it did and the way in which it did.

Funny how that works.

You put out your desires and it always comes back. The Universe may not answer your requests in the way that you predicted but it certainly responds.

To be fair it’s not to say I wasn’t grateful it happened.  To paint a picture I’ve got a metaphor. Those are always good to help visualize the situation.

Let’s say I was a pinata hanging off a tree in a pretty park. Getting fired was the last crack of the bat swung by the Universe that hit the pinata and now there lay all my life’s contents on the floor along with my cracked and broken pinata shell. What do I see you ask? Right here’s a reminder that I have a credit card bill coming up. Oh look, there’s a ‘go-get-’em-tiger’ well wishes card the Universe left me. Oh what’s that sharp ugly thing? Oh that’s my pride. And there, there are the dreams I have for my future career. And look, right here, I see my savings. Aww, there’s a picture of all the people that love me. Oh, here’s the shit I didn’t want to deal with but now how to face; fear. Somewhere in there is opportunity but it seems to be hidden underneath all these fun sized rainbow colored emotions.

Sensory overload and I didn’t know which to pick up and open first.

To further play on the metaphor I was being greedy and tried to open them all at once. As if one could stomach all that at once right?

So not right.

In turn what ended up happening was a magnificent sense of feeling overwhelmed and lost and frankly, sad.

I was navigating through the shock of being fired. The relief I no longer had to work for a boss I couldn’t respect and an organization I was checked out of. The gratitude directed to the Universe that it heard my plea. The confusion of not knowing what I wanted to do next but knowing I wanted to do it (whatever it was). The anxiety of no longer having that “stability” (i.e. healthcare benefits, monthly metro card, bi-weekly paycheck, unlimited PTO etc) and having to figure out logistics of living. The loneliness of not having my core supporters enveloping me in a big empathetic hug.

It’s been a tough couple of months. I spiraled. To be fair I also had bouts of good and motivation but it was really more of the I don’t need to shower it’s not like I have fun plans I am going to lay in bed and binge watch whatever I want while eating mass amount of Trader Joe’s chicken tacos with melted cheese on top and not think about how I have to let Huxley out to do his business at the minimum of 3x a day and run the risk of seeing my neighbors variety.

I tried to come out on top numerous times and to be honest I was getting pretty angry at myself. I was mad I felt some of these things when this was my clean break. Feeling lost and overwhelmed felt like I was lacking control. And that’s always been hard for me. The not having to control since most of my upbringing I was controled.

But I realize sometimes that simply a funk is a funk and a person may need to be funky.

It’s important to grieve. In this case I was grieving a job I took pride in and worked my ass off at. I was also grieving this career I made for myself over the course of 10 years. I was grieving a dream I envisioned and fulfilled in moving and living in New York. I was grieving for a part of me I was struggling to let go.

All the while procrastinating..

Procrastination is such a bitch. Seriously, it’s the worst.

Tell me why it’s so easy to procrastinate a dream, a goal, a desire? It shouldn’t be but alas here it was. Procrastination staring at me in the face and it was ugly and whispered very sinister things at me.

I had all these ideals that I couldn’t move forward unless I knew exactly what I was going to do career wise. I wanted to go from 0 to 60. It was just like me to turn my head to all the gray area.

I was feeling that if I wasn’t there (there being a insert job title here in this awesome new career at a fantastic non profit living a fulfilling meaningful life) immediately then I would be a failure.

Ok, unrealistic expectations much?

It’s a lot right? Yeah I put a lot of pressure on myself. And when I didn’t meet the pressures I was even harder on myself.

Cue back to I don’t need to shower it’s not like I have fun plans I am going to lay in bed and binge watch whatever I want while eating mass amount of Trader Joe’s chicken tacos with melted cheese on top and not think about how I have to let Huxley out to do his business at the minimum of 3x a day and run the risk of seeing my neighbors.

So.not.fair.

I feel like I’m at a turning point. Yay. I’m starting to feel more like myself. It’s a very welcomed feeling.

Here’s to uncovering the clues for beautiful opportunities!

 

 

 

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Morocco bound

At this exact moment I am drinking a Brooklyn Lager with a pastrami sandwich in front of me and Stevie B on the sound system waiting for my flight to a faraway land called Morocco.

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Almost ready to board!

 

 

Morocco has been on the top of my list to visit for a few years now. That along with Turkey and India. I originally booked a trip to Turkey but with all that was happening this year I decided i wouldn’t feel safe traveling there. With India being ridiculously hot this time of year, Morocco was the winner.

I’ve desperately been needing to get away. More specifically I’ve been needing to adventure and broaden perspective.

I bought a nifty backpack that can transform into a duffel. I packed modest and loose clothing and toiletries and proudly did so at a minimum. Years of travel have really taught me that overpacking is another undue burden I put upon myself that I have the power to alleviate. Small yet big wins.

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I’m excited. I need this. I expect this to be an impetus for something already festering. Good things are a coming. I’m throwing it into the universe and the universe always has a way of realizing dreams when you do so.

See you soon New York. I promise to be back a better me.

Identity

I’m sitting here in downtown Manhattan in the middle of a crowded DMV. I’ve lived here for more than 2 years now. I’ve had 3 home addresses. I’ve had 2 jobs. But for some reason renewing and changing my license from California to New York feels more permanent.

It’s as if I’m committing to New York all over again. This time my glasses aren’t rose colored, they’re slightly foggy and vision isn’t clear.

This time there are no expectations. There is only reality.

Frankly, I don’t quite think I’m in the right headspace for this emotional endeavor. I guess I didn’t think it would be such a big deal.

But alas, this is where I find myself. I’m sitting here and a part of me feels like my identity is being stripped from me. I don’t know how to describe it but it’s unsettling.

I am well aware I made the choice to move to New York. And I’m also aware I made it happily. and willingly. and on my own.

So much has happened since I first touched down in New York that hot July day in 2014. So much.

I am still me. But maybe I’m a more refined me. I’ve shed some parts of me while bringing in new layers of skin to help serve as protection and defense against New York’s sometimes harsh, yet (if you can see it) beautiful realities.

I can’t help thinking I may have also lost a little bit of me that I loved. I’m struggling to understand what that may be. I haven’t quite put my finger on it. Could it be the blind optimism I outwardly projected in every circumstance? Maybe it’s the knowing there was an unknown I had yet to discover.  I don’t know..

I’ve been told a lot that I carry myself like a New Yorker and people can’t tell I’ve only been here for a mere 2 years. In response I have mentioned that I’ve toned down the Cali pleasantries. (It’s a real thing.) But it’s more than that. I’m still well mannered and friendly and I still smile at strangers. But maybe a little bit of me has hardened and closed itself off. Maybe the naïveté and beginners luck has worn itself non existent.

I feel like I’m saying goodbye to something I now want desperately to hold on to. My identity is changing here in New York. I’m saying goodbye to California and the life I used to have. I already feel out of the loop with my best friends back “home”. And I know, vice versa. A lot of them don’t even know how I live out here or what a day looks like for me. It makes me a bit sad. I’m disconnected.

This is a goodbye to California. It’s real. And it feels more real since I already have a life here. I’m not starting over this time as I say goodbye. My life here is established. I’m just moving on this time. It’s hard. I wasn’t prepared for this.

I’m at an impasse. My heart is in stalemate and I’m not ready to say goodbye.

Wait, what now?

I can’t believe it’s about to be a new year. The years are flying by faster as I continue to get older. I wish it would stop. There’s just so much I want to do.

No time for a lengthy post. Just wanted to share the incredulousness…

Oh, and I cannot, I repeat, CANNOT wait to be home. It’s been a year since I’ve seen family and friends and breathed in the Cali air.

It’s gonna be fantastic.

These beautiful kids

When signing up for CCS and going over the website there is an abundance of information available. It can get a bit overwhelming. There is info on the homebase, the staff, info on what to pack, there’s a forum for posts on past alumni with tips and shared experiences etc. When you fill out the forms you’re able to highlight your skillsets and request specific volunteer opportunities. I knew when I signed up that all I wanted to do was work with the younger kids. I love being around children, they bring me so much joy. It’s amazing how all they require is love and patience and they are so content and happy.

Prior to leaving for Africa I knew my placement was at Presbyterian nursery school. I was aware that the kids would be from ages 3-7. There was not too much else I knew. I found out during intros and orientation that 2 other volunteers would be at the same school. It was helpful that after our orientation and lunch we were introduced to some of the teachers at the schools to become acquainted and help establish a relationship and talk out any concerns while setting expectations. It was great that we did so as us volunteers were quite a bit nervous and had no idea what to expect. We met one of the teachers, Mama Frida, and her son Ahobokile who helped assist at the school on occasion. Mama Frida didn’t speak fluent English but her son was able to translate. The main take away I got from our meeting was that we were to focus on English and basic math/counting and that there would be lots of singing! Mental notes of old nursery songs ensued..

Although the nursery school is under the church it is open to all children of different religious beliefs and was established in 2010. It has 3 classrooms of up to 150 kids total during the school year. The kids are to wear purple uniforms but some families may not be able to afford them so some kids wear what they have. While I was there 2 teachers were present, Mama Frida and Madame Eva, and there was probably around 45+ kids in attendance depending on the day. The classes are divided into the ‘baby class’ and the bigger kids who were 5-7. Some days I was with another volunteer, Kelsey, in the baby class in one classroom. Most days I had the more advanced of the younger kids, the 4 year olds in my own classroom. I’ll get into that craziness another time… Every day there is porridge served around 11AM.

While it was our summer it was nearing the end of their winter rainy season. Given that most of the kids walk to school not everyone was in attendance as the rain deters. Unfortunately, the biggest need is during their summers as there are more students but there aren’t that many volunteers.

I was hoping that by the time I arrived in Tanzania the sun would be ready and consistent. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case as it rained on and off. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t ideal as when you have with a lot of kids at such a young age the want is to play and to especially play outside in the sunshine.

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The educational system is Tanzania is as follows:

  • Nursery school/pre primary: 4-6/7 year olds
  • Primary school: 7 – 13
  • Secondary: Must pass an english exam to be eligible for Secondary school, 14 – 17 year olds
  • Secondary Advanced: 17-19
  • University: 3 or more years

Our workdays started early. We would leave homebase at 7:30 am. There were 24 volunteers and 2 big vans. A larger group than I expected. Typically school starts at 8 AM and ends at 12PM. Because we had such a big group of volunteers some of us would get there before or after 8  depending and get back after 12.

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Can I just say I’ve never taught before. With that said I’ve been around kids a lot of my life. I don’t have a big immediate family but I have a huge extended family. My mom is the oldest of 11! And although they’re for the most part in the Philippines growing up there were always a lot of kids around. Teaching kids though? A whole ‘nother story in it’s own.

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The first day we were doe-eyed and eager. We met Eva and were so relieved to know Mama Frida. The kids showed immediate excitement when we arrived. They were already in the classroom and in the midst of songs. The greeted us with wide beautiful smiles and such happy faces eager to please. Every morning as the school day begins Madame Eva says a prayer, has the children join her in another prayer and goes over a verse from the bible the kids recite throughout the week.

My first day I had a very special moment. Let me preface this by saying that although I grew up catholic and attended a private school from kindergarten to 8th grade I don’t consider myself to be a very religious person. I do consider myself to be spiritual. My beliefs are that of my own and I probably lean more towards a Buddhist way of religious thought if any at all. I don’t believe in the need to advertise or preach to others one’s own religious/spiritual beliefs. My relationship with God is that of my own. I am openminded to other’s beliefs although I feel religion separates. Which given history seems to be the purpose. I don’t feel that we as humans need more ideas of thought to separate. With all that’s going on in the world right now what we need is compassion and unity. Anyways, that’s neither here nor there.

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Back to my sentiment..

That morning on the first Monday of volunteering at my placement I felt something so beautiful and so much more powerful that I can explain. I’ve felt this before. The best way I can explain it is that I felt so humbled to the fact that in that moment I felt that there was a divine power so much greater than me; so much greater than I could explain. It was comforting and full and overtook me. I guess what it felt like was pure love. I don’t know how to explain it better than that. It was love and it was incredible. Eva was leading the kids in prayer in swahili and everyone had their hands up to the heavens and I was getting teary eyed as I did the same. In that moment things felt right. There’s a certain peace in succumbing to the fact that I am just a tiny spec in the universe and that there is a greater power so much bigger than me and so unexplainable.

These beautiful kids and my very short time in Tanzania thus far were already teaching me so much. I couldn’t wait for more of what was to come.

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And here I go!

The super shuttle picks me up in 2 short hours. I’ve just finished packing and cleaning about to do my nails when I receive an alert via text of possible fraud. Awesome. Yup, some fuckface jerk has taken my credit card info and is going on a shopping extravaganza through midtown. They’ve hit up Saks Fifth, Nike Town, and Zara to name a few. What incredible luck that the day I leave when the only credit card I own is mandated to be cancelled due to fraud. Blaugh!

I’m woosa’ing as I type..

The great news is that today I leave for Tanzania! It feels surreal. I have zero expectations besides gaining new perspectives. I’m sure it’ll hit me once I’m on the plane. I’m a bit nervous but in a really exhilarating way. The same kinda nervous when you know something big is gonna happen to change you. It’s the same feeling I had when I ran and jumped off a cliff to hang glide. Crazy and exciting all the same.

My beautiful amazing friend Cy is watching Hux while I’m gone. I’m so grateful for him and Huxley loves him, so I trust him implicitly.

Once Huxley saw the suitcases he was on to me. Suitcases cause him great anxiety. He knows. Poor pup. I’m gonna miss this lil monster so much.

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Thank you all that have wished me safe travels and an amazing experience. As always I am humbled by your support. I won’t have my laptop but I will try to update via mobile when I can.

Here’s to making the world just a tad bit better!

xoxo

Life Coaching

There’s a huge misnomer on what Life Coaching really does. Contrary to popular belief it is completely different from therapy. But I don’t want to get into that. If you want to know more of the difference please reach out. I can talk about that for hours. What I do want to do is tell you where I’m currently at. In the figurative AND literal sense.

I’m currently being trained in co-active coaching through the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Co-active coaching holds the belief that the person being coached is naturally creative, resourceful, and whole; that the ‘coachee’ is fully capable of finding their own answers for any challenges that they face. Co-active coaching is that both the client and coach give 100% to each other. It’s a leveled playing field.

Some of the reasons why I chose this program are because CTI is the first program that has been accepted and accredit by the International Coaching Foundation (ICF). It’s the largest and oldest in-person school for coach training and it’s the only program that teaches co-active coaching. CTI has coached thousands and thousands of people over 20 years. These people have gone on to start their own business or have decided to be leaders in CTI. It’s fucking legit. Life Coaching is a real thing. It’s a career. It’s a legit business. Organizations even see the value this has and is bringing it into their businesses either by way of hiring consultants to coach their employees or ensuring their current employees go through training to establish a cultural mindset. Executives for Fortune 500 companies are also employing their own coaches to help them in leading their companies.

Again, you guys, this shit is fucking legit.

This program I’m in is a highly rigorous program. It consists of classes over the course of 5 months which I am finishing next week. Throughout the 5 months I have been coached, coached others, taken on actual clients, started a brand, and learned so much about who I am and what I stand for. This is all experiential learning. Which means we are physically doing and from that we are learning.

Besides a new career direction I’ve gotten so much personally out of this program. I’ve felt bouts of inspiration. I’ve felt empowered in different ways. I’ve learned to name things that get in the way of who I really am. I’ve broken down and was made to be completely vulnerable. I’ve cried in front of a room of 20-something people. Those same 20-something people have helped uplift me and made the space comfortable for me to be me. I’ve met wonderful people who are my tribe and my family. I can say with the utmost conviction that I am a better person because of this program.

I start the 2nd portion of the program, certification, when I return from Africa. During certification over the course of 6 months I will further deepen my coaching skills with even more rigorous training consisting of weekly calls with those in this group, working with my own life coach and coaching 5-7 clients to attain 200 hours of coaching.

Like I said this program is really freaking rigorous and at the end of it there is no doubt that I will have the capability and wherewithal to do what I came to realize here in New York is a huge passion of mine.

Some people call themselves a coach with zero training. It’s those people that give coaching a bad name and make it sound hokey. Those people are not equipped with the right tools and may just give you advice on what their own beliefs are. They may steer you in directions on what they feel you should do. They are holding their own agendas of “being right” as opposed to eliciting tools within you so that you can empower yourself.

That is wrong.

When I coach I do not coach from a place of my own opinions on what is happening in your life. I don’t need to be right. This is your life. Again, I coach from the co-active standpoint. We both give 100% to each other in this relationship. I will ask you deep powerful questions. I will listen to what you are or are not saying. I will help you take action on what you want for your life. I have no agenda besides to hold you in a safe space. I am not here to be right. I am frankly just here to help empower you with the tools to dictate your own life and show you that you have the means and creativity to do so.

For once in my life I know what I want to do. I’m really excited you guys. I want to share this with all of you. I wish you could all go through this journey with me. It’s so fucking dope and really ignites a fire in me. I have been blessed in many ways but finding this program has allowed me to truly live in my life’s purpose. I’m learning so much about myself and shedding things that don’t serve me. It’s such a liberating awesome feeling.

Thank you for uplifting me and being supportive in my journey. If you are at all curious and want to know more or want to learn better skills to empower yourself I encourage you to reach out. This is for everyone. This is real life shit. There is a reason why it’s called ‘Life Coaching’ after all. 😉