This is the post where I dive into unpacking all the cryptic “New York and August were hard” writing you’ve been reading on social media.
The truth of the matter is that I could have written about this as it was unfolding but it wasn’t that kind of unfolding where I was allowing it due process and acting as an observer. It was the kind of unfolding where my claws were dug deep into the fabrics trying desperately to keep it all together because of my refusal to surrender.
I’ve spent a lot of time writing on the subject of Surrender trying to explain the process and feeling of it. My dm’s are filled with “can you expand” and “i don’t understand”. So instead of going into another long essay on Surrender, I’m going to give you a simpler version of it through my “New York and August were hard” experiences - realistic, tangible examples - which will hopefully aid in your desire to understand.
If you’re impatient and want to get straight to the takeaways — scroll all the way down.
I decided to relocate to New York for the summer.
This idea was implanted in me in April of 2018 while I spent two weeks in the city hosting workshops and meeting new figures in the “wellness” industry. Detroit had been good to me but I knew that if I wanted to take this business to the next step, I would need to access and test the market in a larger city. I had connections and friends in New York. I knew the city like the back of my hand. I was confident I’d find spaces to host and attract new students looking for self-betterment. It’s New York, after all … everyone’s looking to enhance their daily experience.
I arrived shortly after my Road Trip. My schedule was nicely packed. Sitting on a panel in front of 200 women to speak on ‘body confidence’. Filled up Men’s and Women’s Workshops. Private Workshop for NY entrepreneurs booked. Social invitations lined up for both personal and professional reasons.
I landed on June 19th and left on July 1 barely hitting the two-week mark. Umbilical Hernia. Immediate surgery. So I flew back to Detroit. Got myself operated on and began my six-week recovery to heal my bellybutton. The first 8 days I was able to do little to nothing. My existence felt exactly how it felt when I began my Eating Disorder Recovery — trapped in a body that was unwilling to cooperate and to function normally. I was devastated. Another f’in setback!
while in recovery, I had used my downtime to fill-up my schedule for July. Yeah? Setback? Well, I’ll show you!
(still not sure who the ‘you’ was/is in this sentence but it was probably me)
However, upon returning to the city, I was hit with an additional three snags.
1.) Finding a place to live
After packing up from one friend’s apartment, I moved in with another simultaneously hunting for a space I could rent through the rest of the summer. I had workshops to do and meetings to take and people to see. I couldn’t just leave. I had committed to New York. In time I found a space in Fort Greene, Brooklyn which presented it’s own series of manageable difficulties (no a/c, 4th floor walk-up and my inability to carry heavy things).
2.) Doors Closing on My Business
Canceled workshops. Low attendance. Postponed opportunities. Collaborations falling apart. This fed into my mind that I was doing something wrong, that I wasn’t good enough, that my plan and business were stupid, that I am a failure, that nobody wants this or needs this, and that I made the wrong choice to leave behind a stable career for some silly passion project. I felt worthless, a fraud, and like a fool.
3.) The New York Heat
I have mentioned before that as part of the damages done on my body from my Eating Disorder, I have a difficulty adjusting to extreme temperatures (heat in particular) because of a weakened and fragile circulatory system and the traumatization of the normal vascular constriction and dilatation. The healing process for this is TIME but also, sleep, healthy eating, no alcohol, balancing the nervous system ie; little to zero stress, etc. Most importantly, gradual temperature changes which when it’s 95 degrees in New York and the humidity sets in becomes nearly impossible.
The side effects that set in for me are migraines, headaches, severe dehydration, disorientation, extreme fatigue, and an easily spiraling depression which stems from the “another setback?” and “fuck, i hate being trapped in my body” and “will this ever fucking end” inner-dialogue.
The other extremely frustrating part of it is having to send this text or email “hey sorry, i’m going to have to cancel. i just have to put my body first and it’s not doing so well right now” over and over again. At a certain point people just stop believing you. In fact, they just stop inviting you all together because you’re not going to show, and you’re a handicap. Even for the most introverted person this is an excruciating feeling. You LITERALLY cannot leave. And so you’re stuck with your thoughts of inadequacy focusing in on all the things you do not have and all the ways in which you’re failing and letting people down.
I know I lean negative so this spiral is very easy for me to access.
The key is to intercept the negative spiral.
Sometimes it’s done via someone’s “get your shit together”. Other times it’s done via oneself (meditation, exercise, writing, etc). In my case it’s mostly done via my body shutting down as I will not admit defeat until I’m near my death bed.
so, my jaw popped out of it’s socket from the amount of clenching i was doing in my sleep due to the stress (and resistance).
Resistance to what? The circumstances.
This was when I truly hit a low point (this story is for another time) as I felt that I CANNOT CATCH A F’IN BREAK. In hindsight, the truth is that I WAS catching breaks .. over and over .. I just wasn’t taking them for what they were.
THE BREAK WAS: TAKE THE DAMN BREAK!
But I didn’t. As per usual, I found a temporary solution in order to keep me going. The positive note is that this situation allowed me to find a magical acupuncturist who healed me back to life. In a twisted way it gave me permission to slow down because I couldn’t do as much talking, walking, and exercise (small movements — I was still on the surgery recovery). I had to be gentle with my jaw and cautious of my stress-levels. It also required me to listen to my body. If it felt tired, he asked that I listened and cancel anything that I had in the day that I didn’t have to do, in order to prioritize sleep. So I did - I slept a lot. And due to my freed up space, I made time for someone I had been putting off.
Andrew Kippen aka The Hypnotherapist whose session jumpstarted The next chapter of my healing and my journey to personal discovery .
Technically, it’s due to me because these answers sat within my subconscious but he helped me get there so I’ll give him credit. The subconscious is mostly shut tight unless we are still enough to access it. This can be done with a dutiful meditation practice and/or ability to be still to hear one’s inner thoughts.
I had known that this thought was within me but I was TOO AFRAID TO SAY IT OUT LOUD. Ironic, considering I facilitate a space for people to speak out their fears. But perhaps that is also one of the messages: I can’t do everything…maybe I need a facilitator as well.
As soon as I left my conscious and went into my subconscious, the first thing that came out, loud and clear was: I NEED A BREAK. My body shuddered from this disgusting, weak, and failure-like statement but because I was in a space of truth and clarity, I remained present.
I brushed away my inner-critic and allowed Andrew to guide me further into this particular truth:
Break from what?
From everything. I can’t talk or listen. I need space to hear me. I’m exhausted. Spent.
Where is this space?
I see Moscow. I see my grandma’s country home.
What are you doing?
I’m writing. I’m cooking. I’m laughing. I’m sleeping. I’m finding me.
The hypnotherapy continued and within it
I found many truths.
As soon as I came back to and after I shook off my judgmental feelings here is what I realized:
I have been DOING so much that I’ve forgotten how to BE
I never took time off to properly heal and to really feel through my Recovery, as I’ve been building a business since Day 1
I give so much to others and hold so much for others — i’ve left no room for me
I am tired, exhausted really, and rest is what I need
and most importantly: i’ve shed SO MUCH OF MY OLD SELF and now I’M READY TO FIND THE TRUE ME
The last realization clicked, especially after going through a reiki healing where I was told that my root chakra was completely out of balance.
Yeah - no shit. I don’t have any roots. I’ve moved 35+ times in my life and have been living out of a suitcase for an eternity with half of my life in storage in LA and the rest in Detroit.
However, what I saw with Andrew was that the issues of my lack of roots wasn’t necessarily a lack of connectivity to a missing PLACE but a missing PERSON.
And that person is ME.
The question from me
to self is:
who are you?
What i’d like to focus on right now is what I’ve come to realize during my 2 1/2 months in New York.
I’m going to write it from my perspective. So, please use the above story to put in the missing pieces and then apply it to your own life. My experience is no different than your experience. The only differences are the places, the people, and the specific circumstances, but the experience and the takeaways are applicable to you, too.
Release your Plan. I decided that I had to go to New York for the summer to build a foundation on which I could extend my lease through December and by January 2019 commit to a fully “rooted” year living my dream in my dream city. This type of thinking is so tunnel-visioned and narrow-minded that I wasn’t seeing the truths all around me, which is why SO many roadblocks came up. Roadblocks that I saw as a “i can’t catch a break” which in fact were breaks that I was unwilling to see! Yes have a plan but understand that your plan isn’t always aligned with the plan, and the more you hold on to something the more it resists. Release. And see what you’re missing.
Listen to Your Body. Our body’s reaction to things is our Intuition. Umbilical Hernia? In my story, it was clear that it was time for me to cut my cord and “life support” to my mother. I needed to stop relying on her advice and suggestions and feedback and validation, and to start living ME. My jaw popping out. Release the tension, babe! Stop doing so much. Stop stressing over something that isn’t the path for you right now, anyways! Even in our dream worlds — I had one where half of my tongue fell out. Why? Because I wasn’t speaking my truth to the individual who was in the dream with me. Pay attention. Listen. Our body is always speaking to us, guiding us through the moments where things seems unclear.
Leave the damn door closed! I’ve been the person to fuckin’ break down the door when it isn’t opening. The result is often filled with disappointment, exhaustion, a separation from self and truth, and a room full of people wondering why and how did you get in here? There’s something to this idea of working your ass off - but it’s not to be confused with an ignorance to the fact that if one door is closed, it doesn’t mean that you MUST find a way through it. Again, expand your vision. Look around you. Go deeper, further, wider…see what it is that you’re missing because you’ve been too focused on this one particular move. SIT BACK FOR ONCE. Be still! Stop creating so much movement. One cannot access clarity until we give proper time to sift through all the residue. Once the dirt is grounded, you’ll be able to see that there are other doors around you, and that perhaps this one that you’ve been focused on isn’t meant for you, or for right now.
Busyness IS laziness. So many people are fearful of being called or labeled or seen as lazy. We live in a world (mostly in the U.S.) where we pride ourselves in being busy. But what happens in the busyness is that we lean heavy on what is just another coping mechanism. WE FEAR STILLNESS BECAUSE WITHIN THE STILLNESS WE ACCESS SILENCE FROM WHICH ALL OUR HIDDEN TRUTHS (AND FEARS) EMERGE. So, we get busy. Busy in order not to hear. Busy in order not to work on what needs the most work, aka LAZY. In fact, WE ARE SO LAZY in our BUSYNESS because we are so unwilling to work hard to hear our truths.
Mirror Me. Our culture is one where we’re constantly mirroring ourselves. Via selfies, instagram stories, social media profiles, the way that we feel we are perceived vs. who we really are (read: who is drake?). It’s very rare that WE STEP IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR, WIPE OFF THE DUST AND THE DIRT, TO STAND NAKED, VULNERABLE, AND RAW, without posing, or editing, or filtering, or putting on face, and JUST LOOK AT OURSELVES FOR WHO WE TRULY ARE. Because we no longer do this WE’VE BECOME SO FAR REMOVED FROM OUR CORE, OUR TRUTH, OUR BEING. I work hard at being authentic in my web version of me but I too am guilty of falling into that trap. Of seeing myself as a Bitmoji of sorts and buying into it, slowly losing track of who I am inside. Did you hear? I’M GUILTY OF THIS TOO and I work hard at being transparent. Until I figure out whether or not I want to be an online person, I am going to post what I feel to be the Truth. A full MIRRORED ME. Even if it’s weird, scary, non-traditional, non-conforming, makes zero sense, and did I mention weird? And yes, it’s really scary.
Ask for Help. Whether that’s seeing a therapist, attending a workshop (come to mine if you do — we’re online now), booking a one on one (selfish plug), or seeing multiple specialists - as in someone like a hypnotherapist to jump-start the exploration of a hidden part of yourself - the point is to see ‘asking for help’ as a courageous movement, rather than a bout of weakness. Yes I have hosted 55 workshops, done many one-on-one’s, recorded podcasts, engaged in conversations with specialists — meaning, it seems that I’m feeding ME. But the truth of that matter is that most of these moments are based on ME feeding OTHER. If I want to feed other, I have to feed myself. That does not make me weak, or uneducated, or a fraud, or anything else. It makes me human. It makes YOU human. Ask for help. Book that session. Talk to a friend. You’re stronger for it - i promise.
What if this is as good as it gets? I mean it. What if this is as good as your health gets, as many followers as you’ll have, as much money as you’ll make, as nice of an apartment as you’ll have, etc. What if this is the top of the top? Meaning, if instead of what you don’t yet have, you paid attention to what you do have, how can you start living your best life right now instead of waiting to begin living once you get ‘that’ or there’. It’s a good way to see the glass half full — instead of always seeing your life through the eyes of not enough.
Surrender Your Force. In the same light of ‘leave the damn door closed’…stop forcing things to happen that are not naturally occurring. I will use the example of relationships since I come across so many single people who’ll complain to me that the other person is ‘not making time for me’, ‘not answering but i see them on social media’, ‘will say they like me but they won’t commit’, etc. etc. STOP FORCING THAT WHICH IS REQUIRING MORE WORK THAN EASE. Relationships especially, should be based in the foundation of TRUTH. If you feel yourself forcing a different part of your personality to align with someone else, that isn’t your person (right now, maybe ever). Things that are meant in your life DO REQUIRE WORK but work and force are very different. The work should be done with ease. It should be based in Truth, in Love, in Communication, in Reciprocity. Anything but needs pause. Needs Surrender. Needs letting go of. If it’s meant for you — IT WILL SHOW UP.
Be Kinder to Yourself. Right now, I really want to keep going and writing more lessons and takeaways because this list seems short (inner-critic). But, I’m not going to! Because I’m practicing kindness and I will allow myself to step away from my needs for perfection, to see that what I’ve done is already good enough. I don’t need to FORCE anything more than what I already have.
Journey Back to You
Finally, I realized that as much as I’ve been on a journey, I’ve been on a journey to better understand humanity, the human condition, and the world at large. This is wonderful, really. I’m proud of myself and inspired by the people I’ve met and the stories I’ve collected along the way. However, as an extremist, and a type-a personality, I often forget that I will not be able to journey if I do not take care of my vehicle.
My vehicle is me. And I haven’t really given it the amount of love and attention it needs. In fact, I don’t really even know it’s model. I know it was made in 1987 in Moscow, Russia. And I know it’s driven on some really heavy, windy, dirty roads. It’s popped tires, broken down a few times, and nearly came to complete stop (helllllo junkyard). The last 17 months I’ve been polishing it from the outside. I’m shiny, sure, and I look ‘well’ but, I’m not sure I fully know ME. The intimate parts of me. The insides. The inner-workings. The soul of my vehicle.
As much as I’ve enjoyed my journey and will continue in some regards, I’m about to embark on a different leg, or road if you will, to explore The Unknown of Me.
This will be the most scary part of my journey because it will be #MIRRORME. I will not be able to run or hide from myself, or create busy in order not to feel, or see me clearly. This is intentional. It’s part of my growth and my education, so that when I feel the gas tank filling, and I sense what I’m assuming will feel like FULL, I can return with much more wisdom, clarity, and stillness.
That’s as far as I know — because I’m not forcing. I’m just Surrendering into THE UNKNOWN of ME.
p.s. yes. i am going to moscow.
but that’s a post for another time (soooon!)