happiness

On My Mat, 365

Today, I set an intention of being present.  While I strive to find presence in each day, I was extra aware of it today.  Simply for the fact that this is my last week with my students.

As a teacher, I have many first days, first weeks, last days and last weeks in my future.  It was this time last year I had my very first last week of teaching, last day of teaching.  This year, though, is different.  This year has been special.

I swore off teaching at my first year.  After living 10 months of constant stress, an overly ambitious and eager attitude, I knew I couldn’t live the next 10, 20, 30+ years like this.  If this was teaching, I thought, I did not want to be a teacher. So, I took a leap, changed paths, and created my own happiness.

Little did I know that my journey would lead me right back into the classroom.

My second year of teaching has been completely different.  What changed exactly?  Me. I changed my attitude.  I created new habits.  I shifted my perspective.  Teaching was no longer this exhausting career because I made choices that kept me balanced.

And it all started on my mat. Yoga became my escape during my first year of teaching.  The heat, the mantras, chanting ohm. I loved it all.  What started as my escape soon became my home.  When I step foot on my mat, I become grounded.  I become reminded of the power within myself.  The power I have to create a greater balance, a greater good.

I look back and am amazed at the mental and physical transformation I’ve had on my mat.  The struggle was real when I would attempt downward dog.  My tight muscles matched perfectly with my tight mind.  But, overtime, it all lightened and loosened up.

As I reflect on my journey over the past two years, I am surrounded with gratitude for the growth and the experiences.  However, everyday is a new day.  We will always be newbies, beginners in this life of ours.  I want a part of each day, of each journey to be spent on my mat; to be grounded by Split Pea.

There’s no time like the present to practice presence.  So, join in me #onmymat365.  Get on your mat once a day, every day to find the bliss, the gratitude, the happiness in your journey.

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Shout out to my forever friend Erin who helped get me started on my yoga, soul searching journey.

Something Old, Something New

A year ago today, this happened.

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This day symbolized so much more than getting tatted up.  It represents creating my own happiness.

This tattoo represents my decision to quit my first teaching position. I would finish the year out and then discover other passions, a new path.  Little did I know, my new path would lead me back to my original passion, but with a lot more balance.

I throw the word balance around a lot.  Balance is a life style and a mindset. It is so much more than eating right, exercising, or practicing your hobbies. Its the ability to be present.

How do you achieve presence?  By letting go of expectations and external sources of happiness.

There are many people who claim work-life balance is a myth.  However, I respectfully disagree.  The power of that work-life balance is a power within yourself, the result of your choices.

Think about it: what motivates you? Is it praise and approval?  Is it recognition?  Where does it all come from?  While receiving these from external sources can be highly motivational, they can be toxic. What’s the point in constantly working for applause rather than a cause?  What’s your purpose?

I thought my purpose as a teacher was to change lives.  It was to give my all to my school and my students.  Having this mindset, though, was exhausting. My first year of teaching was spent letting success get the best and rest of me.  Claiming to be a go-getter in all actuality was an excuse.  I thought my obsessiveness with perfection, with kicking ass at my job was the result of constantly being on the go, physically and mentally. No. No. No. No. 

All this did was result in restless nights, an exhausted mind and body, and the lack of a social life.

I can be am able to still dream big and conquer goals without the hassle of stress. It took practice, but I leave work at work, and  stopped thinking ahead.  This does not mean I stopped planning.  You can still be an avid planner, but be able to enjoy the here and now.  It just takes practice.

Now, I see my purpose as a teacher with completely different eyes.  My purpose is to provide my students with the example and tools of being an independent, life long leaders. In doing so, I practice what I preach.

Here’s some tips on the dos and don’ts of bringing balance to your life:

Don’t constantly focus on what went wrong. Do find a small success in every single day.

Don’t compare yourself to others. Do try to improve the person you were yesterday.

Don’t thrive off of external praise.  Do take the time to value your own hard work and success.

Don’t dwell and constantly plan how to change. Do seek opportunities to learn and grow.

Always, always, always, remember to breathe and take a long hard look at your surroundings. 

Because you never know how adjusting your sight can take something old and make it very new.

My passion is old, my vision is new.

Why I Tossed My Life Check List

Being twenty-something, there are a lot of expectations I feel used to feel like I had to meet.

Oh, you know, just the usual:

1. start your successful career

2. get married

3. have babies

Basically, have an epic life change before the age of 30.  And while doing all of these things in your twenties is wonderful, it’s also wonderful for them to not happen. Because…well…to each their own.

Being a Type-A lady who is overly organized and is OCD about planning, I had my life laid out since I was little.  Finish high school, go to college, become a teacher, get married, have babies, continue teaching for 50 years.

As the years went by I was able to check these things off my life list:

finish high school…check!

go to college…check!

teach….check!

live happily ever after…cue screeching breaks here.

You see, when I reached the teaching part of my “life check list,” it didn’t go the way I had planned. The 12+ hours day, the exhaustion, the lack of a social life, the lack of insanity all proved to be too much.  I knew teaching would be hard (duh), but when I looked back on my year of teaching a daunting feeling came over me: I have to do all of that again? I felt trapped. It just wasn’t for me.

It was at this point I realized I needed to stop focusing on my “Life Check List” and start focusing on me.

Here’s how I did it:

1. Embracing The Unexpected: let’s be real…you (probably) can’t predict the future.  I know I can’t.  I thought being in a classroom was my purpose.  Maybe it is.  But right now, it’s not. You have no idea if what you’re doing, or planning on doing, is going to make you happy.  And you know what? That’s totally okay.  Give it a try.  I gave teaching a try, and realized that right now it wasn’t for me.  Embrace the unexpected, enjoy the journey.  It’s all about creating who you are.

2. Focusing On Me: A big part of enjoying the journey is building a relationship with yourself. Rather than focusing on what you should be doing, focus on your growth.  Does it make you happy?  Are you feeling inspired?  Is your inner light shining?  When I was teaching, I felt out of relationship with myself.  My light was dimmed. I wasn’t inspired.  And, therefore, I wasn’t happy.

3. Set Goals Instead: Rather than set up a long list of things to accomplish, set goals.  Visualize how you are living your life in 10+ years.  What do you need to do to get there?  What do you need to accomplish? What gets you excited?  If your life doesn’t excite you…what’s the point? (Side note: your goals will change…again…embrace the unexpected). This really did it for me.  I looked ahead 10 years and realized I didn’t want every year to look like this one. It was time for a change.

Do I know exactly where I’m going? Not quite.  But there is one thing I do know: I’m happy. My inner light is shining and, right now, I feel so in-tune with myself.  I know my purpose is to inspire others.  I can’t do that if I’m not inspiring myself.  How did I start inspiring myself?

By tossing my life check list.

#GIRLBOSS

GIRLBOSS

So you want to be a #GIRLBOSS?  Sophia Amoruso bluntly lays out the ground rules for creating your own #GIRLBOSS lifestyle.

Before you  can become a #GIRLBOSS, it would help to know what exactly the lifestyle entails.

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In this book, Sophia Amoruso depicts how she went from high school drop out to the CEO and Creative Director of the multimillion company,Nasty Gal. She makes it very clear that luck played no role in her success.  Her story inspires you to realize that the ability to be a #GIRLBOSS is in you.  It’s a matter of playing your cards right.

Here are three of the biggest take-aways to help you succeed in creating your own #GIRLBOSS lifestyle:

1. Follow Your Passions

As much as Sophia Amoruso wanted school to be for her, it just wasn’t.  She couldn’t stand the mundane routine and structure of educational institutions.  It just wasn’t for her.  And you know what? That’s okay. Instead of forcing her energy into something she thought she had to do, she invested her energy in her biggest passion: style.  The most important thing about style is it has to be your own.  Going from punk, to goth, to disco diva, Sophia Amoruso focused on creating herself.  She let her passions guide her path.  Nasty Gal started as an e-Bay account to afford rent and turned into something bigger than Sophia imaged possible.

2. Work Your Ass Off

As  Sophia points out multiple times in #GIRLBOSS, luck has nothing to do with her success.  It won’t have anything to do with your success, either.  The only way to live your dream life is to create it.  And the only way to create it is by working your ass off.  Any job Sophia had (subway sandwich maker, shoes salesperson) she sought as a learning opportunity.  Was she always the best employee?  Not exactly.  Still, she has no regrets in the jobs she had prior to being a CEO.  They all led her to the path she’s on today.  When she finally started her eBay store, she obsessed over perfecting it.  She wasn’t working her ass off for herself; she was working her ass off for the people interested in Nasty Gal, for her customers.  She paid attention to every detail: pictures, descriptions, hot sellers, slow sellers, you name it.  She didn’t give into the petty eBay seller drama.  She focused on creating a company of integrity.  Seven years later, Sohpia without a doubt proves that working your ass off will lead to success.

3. Check Your Ego

Although #GIRLBOSSes know they are true bad asses, nothing is beneath them.  In order to be successful, you must focus on all the details that fall into your path.  Success comes from believing in yourself, believing in your community, standing your ground all while being polite.  Even in creating your own business, you don’t and won’t know everything.  Let yourself fail.  We all do it.  The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is accepting failure.  Rather than dwelling on what doesn’t work (or straight up ignoring it), learn from it.  Shit happens. Let go of your ego and roll with what life throws at you.

#GIRLBOSS is a great read for any and everyone.  I especially recommend it for people who are ready to make a career change.  Whether your fresh out of college, starting all over, or not taking the educational route, Sophia Amoruso will inspire you to bust your butt and create your life.

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So what are you waiting for? Get a copy of #GIRLBOSS and start changing the world.  Focus on changing your life and inspire others to do the same.  If you couldn’t tell, it’s without a doubt a #mustread.

10 Lessons I Learned From Sex and the City

Anyone who knows me understands that I have a few obsessions: Pood. Cuddles. Sweaters. Sex and the City.  Just to name a few.

Well, needless to say, I’m spending my day off indulging in them all.

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Clearly Pood is enjoying the indulgence as much as I am.

I fell in love with Sex and the City my freshman year of college.  Being in the peak of my self discovery days,  I often referred to it as my bible.  These are the top ten lessons I learned from Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.

1. Dress Fabulous, Feel Fabulous

Yes, I’ll admit, these ladies rocked some questionable outfits at times.  But, the point is they rocked whatever they wore.  They would strut around the city with confidence.  Any day that you wear confidence is going to be a good day.

2. Create a Career Based on Your Passions

Samantha turned her love of partying and socializing into a career as an event planner/PR specialist.  Being blunt and thinking critically is Miranda’s specialty, making her the perfect lawyer.  Living for art and sophistication, Charlotte found her dream job working at art galleries.  Starting as a columnist and turning into a successful author, Carrie allowed her love for writing (and giving sex advice) to become her career. Let your passions and your light lead your life.

3. Don’t Let Society’s Rules Define You

Being twenty-something, I’m finding myself surrounded by marriage and babies.  Well, I’m perfectly fine with saying to each their own. While others enjoy taking that path, I’m totally okay with the fact that I’m not. Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda aren’t wives and/or mothers until they’re in their late thirties/early forties.  Hell, Samantha is newly single on her 50th birthday.  Despite the odds, there are no rules we need to follow on reaching these milestones.

4. Be Your Own Source of Happiness

While relationships are wonderful, they can be toxic.  Whether its a significant other, friend, family, or boss/co-worker, it can be easy to let relationships define us.  Many times our relationships become our source of happiness.  While they play a vital role in living a balanced life, they can’t control our lives.  When Carrie first met Big, her life revolved around him.  Life was fabulous when he played the role of the perfect boyfriend.  On the flip side, anxiety took over when he switched up his game.  In the end, they were able to work out because Carrie didn’t depend on Big.  She created her own happiness.

5. Stop Looking For Love

Single people are often faced with the stereotype of being desperate.  The thing about searching for love is you need to stop searching.  The right guy/girl will come along when you least expect it.   Miranda met Steve at a bar after being stood up by Carrie.  Harry was Charlotte’s divorce lawyer.  Smith came into Samantha’s life during a ladies night at a new restaurant.  Carrie met Aidan when Stanford dragged her to an art show.  Aleksandr Petrovsky appeared when Charlotte and Carrie went to watch a woman on a hunger strike and called it art.  She first met Big by bumping into him on the street (and dropping condoms out of her purse) after sleeping with an ex.  In the end, Big shows up in Paris to announce his love for her when she least expects it.  Live your life and let love follow.

6. It’s All About Perspective

Let’s face it: life happens.  Your attitude can either create memories or wrinkles (due to excessive frowning.)  When Samantha is diagnosed with cancer and loses her hair, rather than being put down, she sees it as an opportunity to be more fabulous.  (Think wigs on wigs on wigs).  When Big decides to not show on the big day and Carrie is left to honeymoon with the ladies, she focuses on creating a fresh start.  Okay, so maybe a fresh start didn’t happen so easily, but hey, can you blame her?  It only took a few days to come out of her “mexicoma.”

7. No Good Can Come From Faking It

Love or orgasms.  Life is too short to fake your way through it.  Plus, who benefits from faking it?  Certainly not you.  If you’re not into a relationship, let it go.  I know, I know. Easier said than done.  Carrie loved Aidan.  And, when it came to wanting a marriage with him, she faked it for as long as she could.  In the end, the truth came out.  But, the pain is still there (and is slightly worse) even with faking it.  In season 2, Miranda is reunited with an old fling.  The flame quickly goes out after having to fake both orgasms with the guy.  Running into each other months later, she decides to give him another chance.  Despite Charlotte convincing her a good guy is worth faking for, Miranda realized orgasms are too good to give up.  Wise decision.

8. Communication is Key

The foundation of any relationship is communication. My favorite thing about Carrie, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte’s friendship is that they are real with each other.  They can talk about anything and everything (and I mean everything) without judgment.  Okay, maybe there’s some slight judgment here and there, but it’s all within reason.  And think about the failed and successful relationships.  If Carrie had talked with Aidan about her feelings rather than faking her feelings, maybe they would’ve worked out.  And where to begin with her and Big? Carrie couldn’t talk to Big.  He had control, and she was afraid to be vulnerable.  She let her fears build up until she exploded and they ended (over and over again).  By the time the second movie roles around, Carrie has a (major) oopsie and kisses Aidan. Despite how hard it is to admit, she tells Big and they talk like adults.  Amazing how communicating with each other can sort things out.

9. The Value of Girlfriends

Guys will come and go and sometimes come again.  The biggest mistake anyone can make is shove their friends to the side to make more (and usually, unnecessary) room for their significant other.   So maybe you’re with the one, but that’s more of a reason to see your friends.  You have the rest of your life to spend with this person, what’s a few hours here and there with the girls? And let’s be real, chances are he’s going to royally screw up every now and then.  You can expect needing your girlfriends.  Most importantly, you need to have your own life in the life you’ve created together.  Create that life with your gal pals.

10. The Most Exciting, Challenging and Significant Relationship Of All…

is the one you have with yourself.  And if you can find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.

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