Sunday, March 31, 2013


I am a fire sign. Not just astrologically (I'm a Sagittarius), but also my ayurvedic dosha. I want to do all the time. Resting is the complete antithesis of my natural tendencies but it has become clear to me in recent months resting is of the utmost importance.

My latest interest is growing my self-love tree, which means loving me on an even deeper level. Christine Arylo, the author of Madly in Love with ME, advises every morning asking, "What do I need today?" or "What do I need to receive today?" Every day for months now the answer has been "rest." She also advises conducting an energy check-in to gauge how full your energy tank is. My energy level today is a -30. Christine says don't give of yourself unless your energy tank is at 75-100. Whoops.
I need to be like the butterfly and cocoon.
I say "whoops" like it's an accident I'm so depleted, but it's not. I've pushed myself so hard to do everything, anything. As soon as my energy tank gets even a little full I empty it completely. Guys, this is not sustainable. My temporary relocation to Washington, D.C. was supposed to be an act of radical self-care, and it was, but I need more than a little time out; I need a full-on hibernation. Actually, I need a cocooning.

When I was in Europe I kept seeing butterflies everywhere. Not live ones, decals. On my hotel door, on the window. Yesterday I saw one on a girl's dress. I think the universe is constantly communicating with us, so of course I looked up what butterflies meant in shamanism. One of the most obvious is transformation. I want to be transformed. I want to be full of energy. I want to break free of all the mental prisons I've constructed for myself. I want liberation from the darkness and I want almost everything about my life to change, so of course the butterfly is showing up. Like the butterfly, I want my magnificence to shine brightly. I want to flit from place to place, soar high in the sky, and dance with other butterflies. However, in order to become a butterfly I need to cocoon.

I need to shore up my energy, allow myself time to rest, to say no to things that drain me. I need to focus on myself so that I can become a butterfly. So I can help other people. So I can be of service. So I can live the bright and exciting life I've always dreamed of.  It's incredibly difficult for me to cocoon, to withdraw my energy from the world, to concentrate on me and only me for a change. It feels wrong and selfish and uncomfortable. If I don't do this, however, I'm going to remain a caterpillar and I don't want to remain one.

I'm writing this blogpost because I'm sure there are other people out there like me who run themselves ragged, who are burnt out on doing. Listen, you and I are important. We deserve to rest because we are not machines (and even machines aren't running all the time). We deserve to receive as much as we give. We deserve to take time out. Sometimes we need to cocoon so we can serve the world in an even bigger way.

I dream of a world where we all take time out to rest when we need it. A world where we balance giving and receiving. A world where we love ourselves so much we treat ourselves with care. A world where we know in order to turn into a butterfly we have to go into a cocoon.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Public Declaration of Trust

When I was in college I took a music appreciation class, which was held in a large auditorium, affording me the ability to easily overhear other people's conversations. One of the women, Caroline, caught my attention because her life sounded so magical. She relayed a story to a friend of hers that while traveling in a foreign country she had a music lesson. She lost the slip of paper with her teacher's address, had no way of contacting him, but took it on faith she would get to her music lesson without any trouble.

On her train ride over, the train lurched and Caroline stumbled into a seat where, guess who, her music teacher was sitting. The friend listening to this story shook her head and said, "Only you, Caroline."
Cool stuff seems to happen on trains.
When I heard this story I bristled with unknown-to-me envy. My first reaction was, "Pbbbt. I can't believe how flakey she sounds. She lost the piece of paper with her teacher's address and didn't have his telephone number?" But underneath that I was insanely envious because I wanted that. I wanted to be able to live a life of total and complete faith that I would be taken care of. That I didn't have to be in control all the time. That I could let go and not worry.

On Friday I spoke to my lifecoach about all this and he said, "Will you make the commitment to trust your higher power?" I hemmed and hawed, and said, "Can I commit to working on trusting my higher power?" He wasn't having it. "You can commit to whatever you want but you know and I both know what you really want is to be able to trust like that. And the only way to do so is to just trust." That is so not what I wanted to hear. I wanted to play it safe, to commit to wading in the pond instead of diving into it. But you know what? I'm tired.

I'm tired of fretting about my life and where I'll live. I'm tired of trying to always control all the outcomes of my life. I'm tired of constantly being "in charge." I'm tired of trying all the time. And I'm tired of living in fear of what's next. I want what I perceive Caroline has -- faith and trust in the universe that everything will be OK without the need to worry all the time. I want to feel at ease in my life because I trust in a power greater than myself. I want to let go of my rigid control.

I don't really know how to do that but I'm pretty sure it starts with saying, "I commit to trusting my higher power." I'm pretty sure it starts with at least having the willingness to let some other force take care of it. I'm also sure it's important for me to write about this publicly so I can't take it back. So I can be held accountable. So when I'm flipping out I can remind myself or you can remind me that I committed to trusting the force that guides the stars.

I dream of a world where we all let go of our reins. A world where we take inspired action but we understand we don't need to micromanage our lives. A world where we trust everything will be OK in the end; and if it's not OK, it's not the end. A world where we say, "I can't handle this anymore. You take over."

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Still in the Flow

I didn't intend to write this today because I'm on vacation; however I'm stuck at the Zurich airport waiting for my flight, which thus far has been delayed by four hours due to a mechanical failure. I said something last night at a group meditation I realized I feel strongly about: "I'm learning 'being in the flow' isn't always a pleasant and easy experience; sometimes it's like kicking upstream in a river -- you're facing a different direction, but you're still in the flow."
This is a picture *I* took of a place I visited in Switzerland. I thought it would be cooler than a picture of a river. . .
I used to think "being in the flow" meant ease, grace, synchronistic experiences, and something akin to driving in the city hitting nothing but green lights. This topic is on my mind right now especially because a year ago I traveled to Italy and had the most grace-filled experience of my life to date. I saw Michelangelo's David for free because I "happened" to drop by on International Women's Day and women didn't have to pay admission. I caught all my trains on time, met up with friends I didn't even know where in Italy, and understood when people spoke to me in Italian or German (I was in Austria the week prior). I was connected to everyone and everything. It was magnificent and an experience I treasure.

This year, however has been a different story. Partly I think I've had a more difficult time traveling because Mercury is in retrograde, meaning the mechanical failure my plane is experiencing now is more common. I keep comparing this year with last year, lamenting I'm not "in the flow." That this trip isn't magical and easy and smooth. When life isn't that way I think I'm to blame. That I'm not "aligning my will with the cosmic will." That I'm not thinking the "right" thoughts. That I'm not grateful enough. That I'm not meditating properly. That I've fallen out of divine favor. I say that's baloney.

Here's the thing -- everything has still worked out. All of my needs have continued to be met. Yeah, I've experienced a ton of strife -- I went to SIX stores to find a replacement battery for my cellphone, the Bern airport temporarily lost my luggage and found it within 10 minutes, etc. -- but everything still came together in the end. In October I wrote about seeing through the eyes of love. Part of that process is seeing how I'm always in the flow. I can't get out of the flow because that implies I'm not alive. Life is flow because life is movement. Just because I moved four times last year, I'm currently a gypsy, and life has been extremely challenging, doesn't mean I'm not in the flow! All of these things have worked out in the end for my benefit. Everything has come together. All of the "bad" stuff has led to "good" stuff.

Just because life isn't full of rainbows and kittens doesn't mean it's wrong or needs to change. I am still being guided when I'm crying just as much as when I'm smiling. That's the point of faith and spirituality -- acknowledging there's a divine presence at all times. Life won't always be easy, but it's not supposed to be. Just like in a physical river, there will be times the current is moving so fast you won't have to do any work. At others the river will be placid and you'll have to swim a bit. Sometimes you'll hit a rock or get tangled in weeds. Regardless of the circumstances, each situation is temporary, but you're still always being pulled in the river's current.

I dream of a world where we all realize we're in the flow all the time, whether our experience of life is easy or hard. A world where we understand everything works out in the end and sometimes a little patience is required at some intervals more than others. A world where we know everything happens for a reason in our best interest. A world where we're easier on ourselves regarding our challenges because we understand that's what it means to be alive. And to be alive is to be in the flow.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Dog-Help-Dog World

I don't often write while I'm on vacation, but I'm not on vacation even though I'm traveling so you're getting a blogpost! AWIP (Another World is Probable) is a very introspective blog, obviously. I'm an introverted person, so usually I write about things we can do individually to make our lives better and make the world better. This week I'm taking more of an outward focus.

When I interviewed for a potential sublet the woman asked me what is most important to me in terms of living with someone else. My immediate answer was, "being considerate." That's really the heart of it for me. Being considerate means thinking of other people, means selflessness instead of selfishness. My absolute pet peeve is when someone is being inconsiderate. I'm getting up in arms just thinking about it.

It occurred to me this week just how important it is to think of other people. We (in the West) often have this view of the world and how it's "dog eat dog." There's this idea you have to take what's yours, be selfish, get your own needs met. That's true to a degree but it's imbalanced. You know where "dog eat dog" gets us? Just watch this video on the distribution of wealth in the U.S.
I covered my eyes for parts of this video. I couldn't even look at the infographics. I am so horrified, I can't even tell you. ONE PERCENT of Americans have FORTY PERCENT of the nation's wealth. ONE PERCENT. And 80% of the nation has to split up 7% of the wealth. Guys, that's messed up. And you know how we got that way? Because everyone was looking out for themselves.

There's a concept in yoga, a social norm, called aparigraha. It means living with the minimum necessities. I've struggled with this concept for years. My parents and I would talk about what it meant. Does getting a flat-screen T.V. fall under a minimum necessity? We would agonize over this, somehow believing it was an internal thing to live by. It's not. What I mean is aparigraha is a way of ensuring everyone gets their needs met. It's the opposite of hording. It's freeing up resources. When aparigraha is not followed we end up with the inequitable distribution of wealth in the U.S.  

I've been hesitant to talk about this because I don't want to offend anyone, but part of the problem is this law of attraction idea that if you think about becoming a millionaire then you will. Well, yes, you may attract all that money to you, but the idea everyone can be a billionaire is a load of phooey. Energy is unlimited but money is not. Money comes from trees, or silver, or gold, or nickel, or whatever, and that means it's finite. There is a limit to how much money can be printed. So no, everyone cannot be a billionaire. And everyone cannot be a billionaire because while someone is practically wiping their butt with money, there's someone else who's scrimping for change. That's just the way it is.

Other people far more intelligent than me have written about solutions to all this, but a great place to start on the individual level is with the notion we live in a dog-eat-dog world. We don't have to you know. We blame society but we forget we are society. We change all this. Sure, we change our policies and the like, but it's also important to change the underlying mentality. There is enough for all of us but it starts with being considerate of other people. Of noticing what's going on around us. Of compromising to ensure not only my needs get met but those of the people around me as well. I don't know about you but I'd much rather live in a dog-help-dog world.

I dream of a world where every single person gets all of their needs met. A world where there is a more equal distribution of resources. A world where we think about the people around us, which means you're thinking of someone else, but they're also thinking of you. A world where we share what we have without differentiation as we all move as one together.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

There is Enough

When I sat down to write this blogpost, the only phrase that came to mind was, "There is enough." There is enough time, money, energy, resources, and food. There is enough of everything. This is especially important as I'm wrapping up my life in Washington, D.C. I leave for Europe on Tuesday and when I come back I have about three weeks before I fly to California. My first impulse is to cram as much as possible into that time period, but I have to remind myself to put me first.

I think that's what a lot of what the past few months have been about, putting me first. I have a tendency to say "yes" to other people or activities without thinking about how it will affect me. I love my friends so much I want to say "yes" to every social gathering but I can't. Sometimes I need to say, "No."
I searched for ages to find an appropriate image to illustrate, "There is enough."
 On Saturday a friend texted me and asked what I was doing that night. I told him I had to rest and to pack. I so wanted to say, "Nothing! Let's hang out!" because I don't seem him often, and I wanted to make up for lost time. Also, when I was a kid, I spent many a weekend by myself, so I wanted to make up for my childhood. Because of my scarcity thinking and my past, these days I go in the other direction and want to binge on friendships and social activity. I want to say, "Yes" all the time. Reminding me there is enough of everything keeps me balanced. I don't have to worry about my friendships because they are strong enough, deep enough, _____ enough to withstand saying, "No."

Scarcity thinking is really another name for fear and I'm banishing fear from my life and my body. I'm choosing to believe there is enough of everything. That even if I don't get to see every single person I want to see and visit every single place I want to visit, that's alright. There is enough time to do it later. Some other visit. Some other trip. Some other year.

I guess what I'm saying is I'd rather trust in my creator, knowing all of my needs will be met. I'd rather strike a balance between activity and inactivity, between alone time and social time because there is enough of everything. I don't have to force anything and can instead let it flow and see what develops. I have that wish for others as well.

I dream of world where we all know there is enough of everything. A world where we share our resources to ensure that's the case. A world where we take care of each other and ourselves. A world where we say, "No," when we mean, "No," and, "Yes," when we mean, "Yes." A world where we trust all is well.

Another world is not only possible, it's probable.