Inner Peace in a Busy World

I always had this idea that I should be better than I am.  I think a lot of us have these thoughts. We say to ourselves: “I should focus more. If should live up to my potential. I should be more like that other person.”

These were the thoughts that buzzed through my head on my commute to Harvard in the Fall of 2015. I was a Masters student at Brown University and an exchange scholar at Harvard. I’d commute twice a week from Providence to Boston. The commute would last about an hour. I’d leave my house around 9 am and return about 9pm.

A couple of weeks into this routine, I noticed my brain became extra busy. Like really busy. With assignments from 5 classes piling up. My internship. My job on campus. I felt scattered.

I judged myself because there were people on the train who’d been doing this commute 5 days a week for over 15 years. To me, the thought of commuting like this for even a week exhausted me.

So…. what did I do about it?

I started experimenting.

I got some earplugs. I’d put them in and I’d sit in the subway people watching, wondering what their lives were like analyzing their facial expressions. It seemed like they were happier than I was. They seemed to be at peace.

I thought the earplugs would afford me peace and quiet, but my thoughts got louder and more chaotic. I felt trapped in my head. Truthfully, I never fully realized how trapped in my thoughts I really was.

I was hard on myself for feeling this way. Why couldn’t I just sit in this train and enjoy the ride? Why couldn’t I just enjoy the journey??

It seemed like a deeper metaphor for life.

“Enjoy the journey.”

Late one night while surfing the internet looking for solutions … I discovered meditation.

Like a lot of us, I’d heard of meditation, rolled my eyes at it, and was unwilling to give it a shot. I didn’t think I was one of those people who could do it. I really thought I had a busier mind than most, and that meditation couldn’t help me.

But, I was desperate, so I gave it a shot.

One of the meditations I started with were mantra meditations I learned from Gabby Bernstein. These are meditations you do while repeating a phrase in your mind.

The one I started with was, “peace, begins, with, me”, “peace, begins, with, me.”

After trying it out for a few minutes, I instantly noticed my mind became more calm and at ease. I wondered, “whoa. Is this working?”

Meanwhile on my commutes to Boston, when I noticed my anxious thoughts take over and my fears begin to creep in I would do this meditation both with my eyes open and closed.

“Peace, begins, with, me… peace, begins, with, me.”

A couple weeks into this practice, I felt more at ease. I felt like I could control my anxiety, which otherwise seemed to creep up out of nowhere. Like the boogyman waiting to scare me.

After doing this practice on my commute, I decided to begin waking up earlier and meditating in the morning while I was still at home. What I noticed was that I felt better even before I got to the train station.

….

Here’s what I learned from my commutes to and from Harvard:

Feeling grounded doesn’t come from being in a specific place, with specific people, or doing anything in particular.

Feeling grounded comes from a deeper sense of knowing that you are safe, and at peace wherever you may find yourself.

My scattered thoughts were there before I commuted. I simply projected my anxiety and fears onto my experience on that train.

I encourage you to observe your world and see where you are projecting chaos.

I encourage to forgive yourself for not being present, for not being focused.

I ask you… can you feel rooted and at peace regardless of what is happening around you?

 

 

 

*my commute to Harvard on video.*

 

California Part 5: A Long Weekend in Long Beach

I recently traveled to Long Beach, California and… I loved it! Have you ever been to Long Beach? I was first of all pleasantly surprised to arrive at an indoor/outdoor airport.

I stayed at an airbnb 4 blocks from the beach. Palm trees. Sunshine. Warmish/Coolish breeze. Friendly people. Fresh veggies and avocado on everything. Yes! I especially loved the Shoreline Pedestrian Bike path which stretches for several miles along Long Beach.

I also loved that my morning walks and runs included passing a neighborhood park with exercise machines. A little morning walk is a game changer! It’s such an easy way to implement exercise and movement into your daily routine.

Some photos from my travels below.

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Feel free to reach out. I’d love to hear any recommendations you have on Long Beach!

The Path of Least Resistance: The Secret Chinese Tea House

Have you ever noticed what happens when you feel inspired? It’s wonderful isn’t it? The adventures you go on, the things you discover, the people you meet.

I encourage you to become aware of the beautiful things that happen and unfold in your life when you’re in a place of joy, inspiration, and happiness. When you act out of those feelings, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the beauty around you.

One cloudy-rainy day my husband and I went on an adventure to the Marble House Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. This seemingly uneventful day turned into the most beautiful adventure. We discovered a beautiful historic Chinese Tea House next to the Ocean that we had no idea existed. We’d never heard of it and it still feels like the best kept secret of the area.

It’s beautiful what you’ll discover when you’re curious and willing to step out into the world, even when it doesn’t seem like it’ll be awesome.

I encourage you. When you’re in that good place, seek what is calling you, what you’re curious about, and I am certain you’ll be excited to see what you find.

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stay curious my friends.

xo!

P.S. If you’re in Rhode Island, here is the address to the Tea House:

596 Bellevue Ave. Newport, RI. 02840

Baby Goats and Remembering Our Truth

It’s so important that we don’t forget who we are. what we love. where we came from.

I wasn’t raised on my grandmother’s farm in Venezuela but it continues to be a place of comfort. I can remember how happy I was as a little girl running around after baby goats, not caring how dirty I got, or how silly I looked.

Remembering what you used to love can be helpful for finding what your passions in life are now. I am an advocate of living in the now, but looking back and remembering how far you’ve made it in life will give you so much hope and inspiration to keep moving forward. Like Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” 

I reminisced the other day about where I came from. How lucky I’ve been in life to even just have the basics: full stomach, warm safe place to sleep, and the ability to learn and grow. You know, these simple pleasures are not a guarantee for many people around the world.

It made me realize that gratitude is a choice we need to make everyday. We should be grateful for the simple things, because isn’t that all there is? So, I am grateful for my dad’s love of photography which caused him to take this photo. I am grateful for my grandparent’s goat farm for they gave me such lovely memories. I am grateful for you, readers, for allowing me to share who I am with you.

I have come far in life, and so have you. I say, let’s make our time on this planet count.

Let’s make the things, and write the words, and speak our truth. Let’s be grateful for what we’ve been given and start from there. Let’s forget our excuses and leave our insecurities and fears aside. They don’t serve us. That’s not who we were as children and not who we should be as adults.

Today, I tell you the same thing I would tell the little girl in the photos below:

Do your thing kid. Run around with goats, wear your snoopy shirt, and smile proudly, for happiness is being true to who you are.

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P.S. If you’ve been looking for a sign from the Universe, this is it. Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams. xo!

California Part 4: Art Meets Wine Country, Napa Valley

Rolling green hills, clear blue skies, vast views of vineyards, and the most vibrant wild flowers. I’d imagined Napa would be like this, but in person the beauty hits you like a ton of bricks.

Have you ever traveled somewhere and wondered: how did I get here? I mean, clearly you traveled there but, that deep feeling within you where you’re just in awe of how different that place may be from your day-to-day? I felt that way in Napa. It was just so beautiful. I mean, it’s like you-don’t-want-to-blink-because-you’re-scared-you’ll-miss-something beautiful.

I couldn’t get enough of Napa. I’ve also heard wonderful things about Sonoma which is another wine country not too far from Napa.  The photos below were taken at The Hess Collection which is both a vineyard/winery and art museum. Hands down one of the coolest places, inside and outside.

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P.S. That’s an 1800’s typewriter with fire coming out of it. So rad!

P.P.S. If you’ve never been to Napa or Sonoma I’d be happy to share with you some recommendations, or if you have, I’d love to hear about your experiences + recommendations!