Ruins and Wild Horses

Traveled to Cumberland Island this past weekend in quaint St. Mary’s — a small town in Georgia. The island is a smooth 45 minute ferry ride on St. Mary’s River.

The 35,000 plus acres of island is uninhabited and undeveloped, and utterly captivating. Cumberland Island is home to the famous Dungeness Ruins, a Carnegie family Mansion until it burned down.

I’ve never been this close to a wild horse and I must say, I was geeking out and blown away by the entire experience. The getaway was unusual, adventurous, and enchanting.

Realizing that often times the best adventures are uncomplicated.

California Part 6: Questioning Perspective in Berkeley

What are you noticing in your life? What are you focusing on?

Travel can be a great mirror for what we value. When I return from travels, I look back on the photos I took. What did I see? What did I stop to notice? What did I value?

As you’ll see from my travels to Berkeley, I took a lot of photos of flowers, art, and architecture. The sky is pretty gray for most of the day, which causes color to pop when you see it. The contrast of the gray sky made me appreciate color so much more.

This makes me question how I live my life when I’m not traveling. I realized that in my day-to-day life I rarely stop to notice, or take photos, of things I see. I realized that there are so many ways to incorporate adventure and inspiration into our daily lives. It doesn’t just need to be when we’re traveling.

So why don’t we?

What would our lives look like if we allowed ourselves to see it, and act on it, like travel or adventure?

Where is home?

I’ve spent years looking for the place my soul calls home. I know I’m not the only one. I’ve had many a conversations about this with my friends who love to travel.

I assume my personal restlessness comes from the fact that I’m a child of immigrants. The area which most of my maternal side of the family in Venezuela resides is arid and desert-like, so it’s no surprise then that New Mexico struck a massive chord within me. It reminded me of my childhood at my grandmother’s house playing with my cousins in the desert, and making clay from mixing water with dirt.

Even though it was my first time visiting, I felt a deep feeling of warmth and familiarity in New Mexico. The people and culture reflect care about entrepreneurship, food, art, nature, and spirituality.

This trip showed me that home entails more than just people and place, it encompasses values and nostalgia.

New Mexico:

Venezuela:

What about you?   Where do you call home?

 

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.

 long-beach_-2long-beach_-6long-beach_-4long-beach_-3long-beach_-7long-beach_-8long-beach_-10

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