Adventures of a Growth Junkie

When’s the last time you did something that was WAY outside of your comfort zone?
 
Have you ever experienced a moment leading up to something like that? For me, it feels like my body is preparing for something epic, my ego is screaming at me to stay put, while still some weird sense of calm takes over.
 
That’s how I’m feeling today. I’ll be leaving in an hour or so for my first ever meditation retreat at Peace Village in upstate NY. It’s called “Spirituality in Motion” – deepening understanding of what it means to be a soul in a human body.
 
The retreat is 4+ hours away, on a clear day.
 
It’s raining/flooding outside. It’ll be cold and rainy most of the weekend. So many parts of me want to stay put, snuggling under blankets with my man and my dog all weekend.
 
I know I’ll have to share a room with maybe multiple strangers, and the introvert in me is wary – especially in the context of doing deep personal work.
 
I don’t often meditate in the traditional sense, so meditating all weekend feels pretty ambitious.
 
I’ll be eating on the vegetarian food that’s put in front of me by the Brahma Kumaris running the retreat. (Honestly – I’m mostly excited for this part, but I’ll still pack a couple of emergency snack just in case)!
 
AND! I’ll be disconnected from cell service/internet while I’m there.
 
All said and done, there’s no part of me even considering backing out, despite the fact that these retreats are totally free and funded by donation. Don’t get me wrong here – I WILL be donating – but in this moment I have not financially invested at all into this event.
 
However, registering for this retreat was inspired by one of the biggest “YES”s my intuition has ever given me. With a nudge like that, I’m certain – I’m GOING to this retreat. Hell or high water, nothing can stop me.
 
Plus… don’t they say, outside of your comfort zone – that’s where the magic happens?
 
I suppose I’ll have to report back. 🙂
 
I hope you all stay warm and dry today, and enjoy the weekend ahead. I’ll see you on the other side.1021161209

If You’re Successful but Not Happy, Read This

Tony Robbins has often said, “Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure”.

Haven’t heard of Tony? You can check out this article, or his Netflix documentary “I Am Not Your Guru”. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked in no time.

It’s sad but true – lot’s of folks seem to “have it all”, when in reality, they truly don’t. At the end of the day, they’re feeling unhappy, worried, frustrated, overwhelmed, or silently battling addictions and suffering in their relationships.

Maybe you can relate to this. Maybe, no matter how much money, power, or status you achieve, real happiness is something that eludes you. Maybe you’ve all but given up, concluding that this is life, and that’s just the way it is. 

Well… I beg to differ.

No matter what your life looks like now, no matter what age you are, or the details of your situation, I’m certain that a life you LOVE living is totally possible for you. Individuals like myself (and of course, people like Tony Robbins) teach others how to get closer every single day. More importantly, we continue learning how to get closer ourselves. (Even the happiest people around have SOME challenging and uncomfortable moments).

So then, how can we keep reaching for that ever-elusive happiness and fulfillment? How can we bring ourselves back to the path when we’ve fallen off track?

Along with the practical suggestions and tips listed in the linked article above, I’d like to offer some questions to get you thinking:

What do you believe about the possibilities that exist in your life? Are you aware of the endless possibilities around you, or do you feel limited in what you’re able to accomplish?

Do you fully know/accept how much you deserve success and happiness? Or do you feel guilty and ashamed, letting events from your past determine what’s available to you NOW?

Do you feel connected to yourself physically, as a human being on this planet?

Do you exercise? Do you do it in a way that feels really good? Or do you use it as a punishment for yourself?

Do you listen to the signals your body sends you? Or do you take every action you can to suppress it’s signals?

What’s your natural energy level like? Do you know how to bring your energy up when you need to? Do you allow your energy to recharge when it dips?

What’s it like for you when you experience different sensations in your body? Are you comfortable with sensation, or does it make you a little uncomfortable?

What energy do you bring to the table during your interactions with others?

Think about your answers or write it out if you have the time. Stay open as much as you can. Your answers will give you at least one good clue to follow, so you can have more of the life you’re after.  The steps you take to get there are up to you.

On a final note, I recommend getting familiar with the following questions, so you can hold onto the image they conjure when the going gets tough:

What do you really, truly want to experience in your life? What would be possible for you if you actually experienced that every day?

As always, I’m happy to help, and would love to hear how this goes for you.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy your weekend!img_0076

One Girl’s Rock Show Experience – Lessons Included

0918162020_hdr-2Have you ever been to a music festival?

They’re one of my favorite investments. The vibe in these places is almost always fantastic. You’ll see people of all shapes and sizes and colors, from all walks of life, joined together for a weekend-long adventure full of live music.

For me (and many fellow concert-goers), music is an essential nutrient. It’s always my favorite way to connect to something larger than myself.

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I got tickets to a festival in Philly with a heavy rock lineup, including two bands he’d been dying to see. Last month, we trekked to the festival, and the experience was epic to say the least.

Usually we hang in the back for these types of things, where there’s plenty of room to move around, and an unobstructed view of the stage for me. (Josh is tall, so his view’s always clear)! This time, though, we worked our way up closer to the stage to watch *THE* band we were there to see. (Volbeat, in case you’re into that type of thing).

We found our spot, then we waited for the band to start. We felt the crowd thicken, and we made friends with the people around us.

As more and more people pushed their way up, I noticed something about being a short woman squished together in a primarily male ocean of people – it felt really intimidating. The anticipation was building in the crowd, people were starting to get antsy. I’m prone to anxiety anyway, and I hadn’t done this in a while, so horror flick reels of safety issues and threats started looping in my head. The buildup was killing me. (Luckily, I used this as an opportunity to make a friend – who agreed, the anticipation was killing US now, and he shared a nervous laugh with me).

Just then, the band finally started playing. But, my fear only escalated as the crowd surged forward – throwing us all into each other towards the stage. As a crowd, we looked behind us… then we looked at each other… and the coast seemed clear. We shrugged our shoulders, and turned our attention back to the band.

Nope. Again, we jolted forward, and immediately recognized we’d need to accommodate several mosh pits forming around us. Yes, I said mosh pits – plural. Not one… not two… but three mosh pits formed in our immediate vicinity. About thirty of us were stuck between mosh pits on all sides, with a crowd barrier to our left.

I looked nervously at Josh. Luckily, I really trust his judgment in these situations. He’s military trained, and he can scope out the scene much easier at his height. We exchanged a glance, “we’ve got this”, and I was instantly comfortable to turn back and enjoy the band (rather than keeping my eye on the closest mosh pit). 

The first song set ended, and the lead singer started talking to the crowd. The mosh pits stopped, everyone calmed down. The lead singer asked, “Are you happy today?”…

Anyone who knows me, knows I immediately gave loud, high pitched WOO in response. This time, at this show, I was the ONLY one. Apparently I’m more psyched about happiness than your typical hard rock enthusiast.

So.. The lead singer actually responded to me! He said he was happy to make me scream. (HA)! My night was made. They started playing Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire”, nice and slow, and the whole crowd melted.

Not for long, though… the lead singer then requested as many crowd surfers as we could send. As a group in the crowd, we gained an extra obstacle, so we sprung into action. Navigating the mosh pits, AND the crowd surfers, who were now constantly coming from behind us. (When you’re not paying attention to crowd surfers approaching, they DROP)! The friend I’d made earlier suggested sending ME up towards the stage, while Josh worked hard to keep crowd surfers up and mosh pit contained. I nervously laughed and declined, even though I’d been considering the option myself… How amazing would that experience be?

Eventually, we’d had enough, and Josh whisked me back to safety, where the obstacles weren’t absent but a little less frequent and intense. I felt my adrenaline start to down shift, as I felt proud and grateful for his protection. I felt admiration for the crowd dynamics, the human experience, plus, I remembered… the lead singer TALKED to me! Did you HEAR THAT? 🙂

Great story, right? I just had to share it with you.

Throughout that show, I learned so many lessons, and experienced a side of my human-ness I hadn’t quite felt before. The story wanted to be told, and I can’t help but share the golden treasures with you. Here were some of my takeaways:

1. The ability of people to come together towards a common goal is astonishing. Communication can happen seamlessly and wordlessly when it needs to. That night I watched countless strangers come together as a well-oiled machine to serve the well-being of the crowd, myself included, on multiple occasions. In those moments, I knew that even though we can’t always predict our threats, together we can overcome anything.

2. Anger, especially male anger, doesn’t need to be demonized and shamed like it is. We should be more concerned with finding healthy expressions for anger (like a friendly mosh pit, for instance). Josh told me later, he knew we were safe when he observed the moshers respond to falls in the pit – they’d immediately stop and help their fallen brother up to safety. How cool is that?

3. Finally… Sometimes the high-risk choices are worth taking, and sometimes they’re not. You never know where your choices will lead. Every choice we’re presented with is a doorway to possibilities. Don’t ever discount that, and don’t take yourself out by believing in your limits more than your dreams. Follow your intuition and make sure you’re walking through doors you actually WANT to go through.

For instance… maybe at my next rock show, I’ll say “yes” to crowd surfing (after making a contingency plan with Josh).  You only live once, right?

What do you think? I would love to hear what this story stirred up for you – maybe your favorite music festival/concert experience? Tell me about it in the comments.

Wishing lots of success and love to all of you. Thanks for reading.