Tag Archives: Gratitude

Present Over Perfect

So I’m reading this amazing book “Present Over Perfect” by Shauna Niequist and it’s really got me thinking. I was drawn to it because lately I’ve been trying to practice and be in the present. It’s always been difficult for me to live in ‘the now’. I tend to live in the future because I’ve always operated from a get shit done mentality. However, when I’m sad or lonely I revert to nostalgia and my past. 

I’m only a quarter through this book and holy shit I feel like a lot of it was written through me. Ok, maybe not the parts when she references being a mother and her kids and husband but damn. 

Here’s the thing… there was some divine intervention that happened in February. I lost my job and was forced to slow down. Slowing down made  sure the ice that we’ll call numbness melted. The ice was the shield of anything that got in the way of me operating at a gazillion miles an hour. With it melting it made me look at what was left underneath the water of the melted thick block of ice. It truly made me take inventory of where I was currently at. So where was I? Let me remind you. I was lost, scared, confused, lonely, sad, grateful, relieved, stressed. I was all those things and then some. My world felt pretty bleak and so so gray.

It’s now about to be September. I’ve felt even more emotions since then if you can believe it. But where I am now.. presently I’m in a place that feels new and true and challenging and beautiful and bright and authentic and right. This is where I need to be. I’m in a place of acceptance and love and openness and growth and curiosity. I’m digging in deep of the crevices of past hurt that I stifled for so long. I’m grieving. And in doing so I’m cultivating new ways of being. What used to serve me no longer serves me. 

I liken it to the metaphor of a snake shedding its skin. I want to rid myself of all this old skin, these parasites (ideas, behaviors, habits) that don’t serve me. It’s a rebirth of sorts. 

I’m really excited to get back to who I really am and who I want to be. I’m finally ready to start loving myself in all my perfect imperfections and I’m so grateful to be able to remake my life from the inside out and unfold all the goodness along the way. 

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A life I love

Here’s the thing. People have expectations of you. They want to label and put you in a box because it’s easier to understand you. It’s not coming from a mal-intentioned place. These people may truly love you and want the best for you. But it’s hard when people’s own shit (ie their own insecurities, hopes, dreams, flaws, judgement, expectations of your relationship and self etc) gets in the way of how you want to live authentically to who you know you are.

This is more an elaboration on my last post but I’ve been thinking about this a lot these days. I’m starting to really feel like I’m coming into my own. Meaning; I’m practicing daily the person I know I want to be, I’m choosing who and what I want to do with my precious time, and I’m learning the reason why I am here on this earth so I can truly honor and fulfill my life’s purpose.

That’s it. It’s not easy but surprisingly because it’s in my truth instead of labeling this shit hard it’s now a beautiful challenge that I’m enjoying and has allowed me to be at peace with where I am at in my life at this exact very moment. It’s allowing me to be present and mindful.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have moments lacking self love (which btw is really just another name for insecurity but in a seemingly more compassionate way). Being vulnerable can be tough but it’s fucking courageous. For example, the other day I was having drinks with friends and we were talking about my future plans and where I want to move to next and when it would happen. I have some ambiguity around it which can feel like lack of control. Couple that with feeling misunderstood and not truly being heard got me emotional and all of a sudden I’m in this dark place of not being good enough especially not being good enough to be heard and have a voice. It took me back to the root of the very shit I’m working through; having a voice and using it with the intended motivation of love and understanding and acceptance.

My beautiful friends gave me the space to truly say what I was feeling and I actually told them what I was feeling. They gave me permission to cry and be heard. They shared with me their perspective of the situation that just unfolded. These moments are not easy but these moments mean I’m actively practicing what I want to overcome and allow for me to step into my truth. For that I thanked them. They are my sisters. These are a couple of strong beautiful women who make me better. They truly don’t have an agenda. They don’t judge me or get upset if I don’t fit what they need me to be. That’s love.

Every day I do something for myself that brings me joy. It can be something as small as a longer walk for me and Huxley, wearing a bold colored lipstick, buying a beautiful bouquet at the bodega, eating more veggies instead of crap, or as big as spontaneously booking a trip to The US Virgin Islands, South America or Paris. It can be writing here on this blog. Texting a friend I love them. Giving gratitude daily for my cute apt or my weekly paycheck. It can be seeing friends for dinner or listening to a podcast that’s inspirational. It can be anything as long as it brings me joy.

I’m learning to really love myself. I’ve loved aspects of who I am but fuck if I’ve ever really loved myself truly and completely. I’m working on it. And in doing so I’m creating such a beautiful life I love.

Thank you to those who understand and support me through my changes. If who I am becoming is hard for you to understand or accept I wish you well and want to thank you for being a part of my journey. I know I have learned from you and I will be forever grateful for that but I no longer want to continue making space for what doesn’t serve my truth.

Thank you.

3 year love affair

New York and I are celebrating our 3 year anniversary today. It’s been an amazing 3 years with so many incredible ups and a fair share of downs. We’re still learning each other me and New York. But wow, what an amazing time we’ve had.

Because #lists here are a few highlights…

Awesome New York’y things I’ve done:

  • Opera at the Met
  • Watch the balloons for the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade be blown up
  • Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
  • Karaoke in K-town
  • Dumplings in Chinatown
  • See the Rockettes holiday spectacular during Christmastime
  • Philharmonic in Central Park
  • Watch the SF Giants play the Mets at Citifield
  • Yankees Games
  • Islanders vs Rangers at Barclays
  • Picnics in Central Park
  • Summer Movies in Bryant Park and along the Hudson
  • Staten Island Ferry
  • Dance on a float for the PRIDE march
  • Attend Protests in honor of democracy, equality, and morality
  • Walk the entire length of Summer Street
  • Cheer on friends run the New York City Marathon
  • Eat at incredible restaurants
  • Live in 3 neighborhoods in Manhattan and now 1 in Brooklyn
  • Eat at Smorgasburg
  • Amazing shows on Broadway (Jersey Boys, Lion King, Curious Incident of a Dog In the Nighttime, The Humans, Kinky Boots, Les Mis, Aladdin, On Your Feet, A Bronx Tale)
  • Shit shows on Broadway (School of Rock, Oh Hello, Fully Committed…)
  • Attend more shows/performances off broadway – Hasan Minhaj’s ‘Homecoming King’ was a big one to highlight, Opus Cactus by MOMIX was another
  • Go to comedy clubs and have a star make a guest appearance (Jim Gaffigan at New York Comedy Club)
  • Go to the Sakura Matsuri cherry blossom festival at the Botanical Garden
  • Live jazz at jazz clubs in the village
  • Montauk
  • The Hamptons
  • Random street fairs

Awesome New York’y things I’ve still to do:

  • Endless list of eats
  • Billy Joel at MSG
  • Helicopter over the city
  • Shakespeare in the Park
  • Walk around the Cloisters
  • Picnic on Governors Island
  • Attend a live taping of a show
  • Watch a movie at IFC, Paris Theatre, Nitehawk, Foreign Film Art house Cinema
  • Transit Museum
  • Upright Citizen’s Brigade
  • Bushwick Graffiti walking tour
  • Sunset drinks on the Met rooftop
  • Check out St John the Divine Cathedral
  • Double decker bus tour
  • Manhattanhenge
  • 9/11 Museum
  • High tea at the Plaza
  • Rolffs for drinks at Christmastime
  • Watch the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center
  • Ice Skating in Central or Bryant Park
  • More amazing broadway shows (Dear Evan Hansen, Hamilton, Beautiful, Miss Saigon…)

In addition to the above so many amazing things that have happened since I’ve lived here. Too many to list out for now. But trust me I am grateful and loved.

Tonight in honor of me and New York I’m having a dinner with a handful of my favorites then hitting a rooftop bar. I’m toasting this beautiful relationship I have with this incredible city. It brings me joy to celebrate so that is exactly what will be happening.

Thank you for enriching my life and helping me grow New York. I love you.

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!

 

 

 

Whoa..

Time is really escaping me in this wonderful crazy fast paced city. I didn’t mean for it to take this long for me to update. There has been so much happening and so much I’ve wanted to write about since I last posted.

Firstly, I’m surviving and well (enough). Since the last you’ve heard from me 2 months ago, I’ve been to Chicago for a work trip, Puerto Rico for a girls trip, SXSW in Austin for an alcohol/drug fueled get away from New York trip, worked more of my ass off, moved to the West Village with a roommate, been on a few dates, became a certified Life Coach, gotten a new boss, my company raised series C funding, been back home to Cali  to say ‘goodbye’ to a lot of things I love including family, gotten a raise, and  booked my next big trip to Turkey for the fall.

Whoa..

Things ya’ll. Big things and I’m still trying to figure out the time to process it all. It’s hard.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve come this far because I haven’t had time to process or maybe even possibly because that I won’t allow myself to. Huh. Food for thought..

I digress.

Life moves very very quickly here in New York. My 2 year anniversary is fast approaching and so much has happened since I said farewell to being a Cali resident July 2014. I’ve really solidified some really amazing friendships I have here. I will cherish forever these people who have been a part of my new life; who btw probably don’t or won’t ever even understand the magnitude of their contribution to my life. It’s crazy.

When I set out to move to this city I had so many ideas and ideals of what my life would look like.  So many personal goals I set myself to accomplish. So many dreams I thought would remain unrequited and just what they started off to be… simply dreams.

I’m somewhat stupefied, yet somehow simultaneously not at all amazed that I am where I am today. In some ways I really surprised myself but in others I always knew that I could be capable of anything I set my mind to.

Could I be more vague? hah. Get at me if you have questions.

I am proud and unbelievably grateful to be where I am in the place that I am. I worked very hard to be the person I am today. I went through a lot of life’s shit already. I survived it. I’m still here and I’ve experienced many wonderful things, some really sad things, and some things I sometimes wish I didn’t but because I did, I gained perspective, appreciation, and gratitude.

When I packed up my life in California to live in New York City I really wanted to be living in the West Village. Besides that I  longed to be working in a start up that I truly believed in, that had leadership I could admire and get behind, that was headed somewhere substantial, where I could grow and learn and showcase the skills I’ve acquired thus far, where I made solid friendships, where I had a lot of fun, and that truly appreciated my efforts. Is that a lot? I didn’t think so. I also wanted to fall in love again. That’s really hard for me to admit. I’m being very vulnerable right now admitting to whoever reads this that I wanted to fall in love again and that frankly, I have been ready for it.  {*Sidenote: Man, it really does make things so incredibly real when it’s ‘said’ aloud (or in this case written) out loud.}

I really put in the energy and time the moment I landed in New York to get to where I am.  2 out of 3 major things accomplished in less than 2 years ain’t bad right? Besides, along the way I stumbled upon Life Coaching and so many other truly wonderful things and experiences and people.

Thank you for those who believed in me and sent me your support silently or that cheered loudly along the sidelines. Clearly, your efforts have not been ignored! It’s funny though how writing things all out seems like whoa, but in my head and my heart things kinda end up feeling like I’m living by either surviving or not. This must be why it’s important to process. Huh. Imagine that.

Regardless, it’s nice to be able to pause for a minute.

Like, whoa…

 

 

Those things called feelings

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s mainly because I haven’t set time for myself to do the things I want to do. But it’s also because I’ve been so caught up in work. My work days are long. I get in anytime from 8:30 – 9:15, work through lunch at my desk, and leave anytime from 6:30-8PM. Some nights after work I have clients. Those days are extra long.

I haven’t been able to find a balance between work and my coaching certification program and it’s bumming me out. This program costs a lot of money and has provided me such value in so many ways. It’s changed my perceptions on a lot of things. I’m sad I’m not able to give it the attention it deserves especially because it’s so important to me.

I’ve been a bit out of sorts the last couple of months. I”m struggling to find balance and feel grounded while dealing with the loneliness that has crept up out of the woodworks. I had to cancel a trip to go to Tahoe for a wedding that was planned the end of this month. Durring that trip I was going to layover in the Bay and visit with my people. Although it wasn’t the impetus for feeling lonely it was the impetus for being homesick and hasn’t helped. I haven’t seen my friends and family since last Christmas. This is the longest I’ve been without them.

I’m realizing New York is a tough place to build solid connections. I’m realizing the type of friendship some of the people I was close to can offer to me is not one that satiates my needs. It’s not the same kind of friendship I give. So, I’m reevaluating some things. It’s neither right nor wrong. It’s just reality and it’s unfortunate. But in that conviction there’s strength in setting boundaries. Silver linings.

People here are focused on making it, whatever that means to them. Because the sole focus is self serving it’s difficult for real empathy or depth.

It’s strange and not directly tied to competition but I do think there is a correlation. Because of the self serving factor the competition here in New York is one of a different kind. It’s not comparing yourself to Joe Shmoe or keeping up with the Jones’. It’s more of an undertone that is self imposed. Since the focus is primarily on getting ahead and ‘resume building’ there’s no time for human connection. To build relationships with real substance I truly believe one needs to possess empathy and self awareness.

Maybe the struggle of self awareness and empathy in a city so big are the determining factors in a balanced life here in New York. If you can make it here you can make it anywhere. How many times have you or I heard that saying? New York City is like a jealous lover continuously testing to see how far it can push you to the edge. It’s temperamental. Sending you so many good omens one day causing everything to feel seamless. The next day it’s making you feel like the ground is shaking from under your feet knocking you down while taunting you to get back up again.

That electric buzz that this city pulsates is feeling more to me like a burning energy to keep pushing. Everyone seems to be creating the same type of energy and in someway it manifests itself as New York City’s vibrancy.

I’ve bore witness to how people approach relationships and it seems to be very surface level. There are a lot of brilliant entrepreneurial people with crazy grit in the start up world. It’s why I enjoy being in this space so much. I love to feel like I’m part of the movement. As if I were invited to the party exclusively.

Yet, somehow along the way I’ve lost my footing and I don’t quite feel like I belong.

There’s a lot surrounding that.

I’ve been battling feelings of ineptitude and anxiety. In coaching we use the term saboteur a lot. It means one’s self sabotaging inner voice; the inner critic, if you will. My saboteurs have been working overtime ever since I started this job. I have such a strong need to persevere and feel accomplished. I don’t know what I’m trying to prove to myself but the idea of it is looming over me. I realize I’m the hardest on myself. I don’t always champion myself when I need it the most.

Isn’t it funny how that works. I have a great sense of pride in what obstacles I’ve personally had to overcome yet sometimes I just don’t feel like I’m good enough. It’s absurd. I’m narrating a story to myself that I’m giving truth to where there is none.

I wanted to share with you all where my head is at. Apologies, if this post is scattered or hard to follow. Things aren’t always easy. I’m in a pretty deep funk at the moment. I needed to write. When you get things out of your head they don’t seem as weighty anymore. This is why writing is such a great release.

Life ebbs and flows. But the one thing about change is that it’s always constant. So although I may feel this way right now I can change my perspective tomorrow. One thing that will forever remain are my feelings of gratitude. I continue to make choices for myself. Not everyone gets the privilege nor the right to do so.

I’m taking love, good vibes, and virtual hugs. They’re not for nought. When you send them I feel them. And should any of you be so inclined to visit or want to grab a drink and meet to build I would be more than happy to do so. There’s something really beautiful about human connection and building.

Thank you.

Life updates

So life..

Life has been lifin’ and unfortunately I haven’t had much time to finish my Tanzania posts. I just wanted to give a quick life update.

I reached my 1 year anniversary with this beautiful city. It’s been a fucking ride. Time is escaping me and I don’t like it.

A few things have come full circle. Some things are still in the works. And other things need to be tended to.

I started a new job. It’s at an awesome tech start up. I feel  like I now have a little bit of home incorporated into my life. But I also feel mad anxious. There’s so much pressure to perform and produce that I might be giving myself an ulcer. Time will tell.

I also started my coaching certification. There’s so much to it I can’t even begin to start to explain in the little time I have to update you. (I’m going to meet up with some friends in a bit across town for drinks and a pretty view). It’s causing me some anxiety as well if I’m going to be honest. I’m looking for a few more clients so please get in touch with me if you are interested in coaching or want to understand more about it.

It’s hot as shit and humid as hell right now in New York. It’s disgusting.

Huxley got fat while I was in Africa. I put him on a diet. He’s still cute and lovable and is so happy to be around people. I got a new walker for him since I work long hours and get home now around 7 or 8. We’re both adjusting to our new schedule.

All around me there are things happening. Not all good things but I’m grateful for so much. Please continue to send your good vibes my way.This second year of New York living is gonna be a crazy one.

xx-lei