for One Step Away, philly.
sorry for the needy subject line,
it will make more sense in a second!
soooo, okay --
this summer, something really weird happened, or rather
something really weird was happening in my head.
I thought I was going to lose my legs.
As in have an accident, and lose my ability to walk.
so I rushed to get health insurance
and told my mom and few good friends to be ready for it.
nothing happened. (let's not jinx it tho)
It took a convo with a therapist for her to point out that...while i had managed to hang on to my means of transportation, I had chosen to strip my dog from his smell --- aka, his raison d'etre.
In his book, that is. (How Roscoe Got his Smell Back on Amazon)
--- I'm no great sorceress, yet.
It got me thinking about why my subconscious was going to such extremes,
what was it after?
AND today... it sort of hit me,
it was unconditional love.
As in, by me for me.
Bestseller or no bestseller.
Legs or no legs.
Do you ever wonder what it would feel like
if you stopped believing that you "had to fix" something
in order to deserve
I think I used Roscoe as an experiment, a vehicle to see... how he would make it through the other side... after losing what he thought defined him.
And the 3 things that saved him, at the end, were:
1. natures healing presence,
2. the unconditional love of his two friends,
3. and his willingness to let go of being invincible.
So when you find yourself at your saddest most pathetic moments...
just ask yourself... "do you love me now",
and if you can say,
You're a real hero.
And if you can't say yes,
just remember that it’s only a a matter of time.
this isn't to call you out or anything,
we all do it.
to some degree,
it's just that something felt especially weird about it today, and i thought it might help you to know why.
I live in a an 8 story apartment building. Having to walk Roscoe 3 times per day, means seeing people, often times, the same people, in the elevator and the lobby.
I'm embarrassed to say that I know Lucy, the french bull dog, but I do not remember her moms name. I also frequently, chat with the nice lady two doors down, and forget her name as well.
It might be Chanele. But again, I wouldn't risk saying it incorrectly.
And the same goes with me. Everyone knows Roscoe, but i doubt half of those poeple remember my name.
So this is where it gets interesting; I published a book the other week, right. A book that features my dog. An animal they see and love on every single day.
Did i tell anyone about it?
This of course got me thinking,
about me, (as in wtf is wrong with me)
but also about how we relate to those who live... literally next door to us.
If you are a creator of anything,
at least anything that needs the support of other people in order to be successful, you might relate to this even more:
Why do we think that we need to make it "out there",
before making it "right here"?
I'd love to hear if you share any similar feeling or concerns about the connection, or lack of, in your neighborhood or apartment building.
Because I think there is truly something important here to pay attention to; especially since "loneliness" is one of the leading causes of suffering in our time.
Why seek out validation and support "online" from people we barely know, or barely like,
when the actual world in front of us is filled with individuals and opportunities who are probably also as eager (and as scared) to connect with us?
what would happen if... we were all super straight up about our "disabilities"?
like you know, if it was common practice to casually share with others, what makes us feel sad, scared or worthless.
sounds like a Woody Allen movie, if you ask me.
i was inspired by something that happened at "church" today; the actual building is super old and hence there are no ways for people with disabilities to enter it. (that are easy and safe)
its no secret that in the early 1900s, those people were not really welcomed to public places, and were simply expected to stay home.
one of our congregants is Marguerite,
she is the only in her family who was born with a genetic mutation of sorts that has left her in a wheelchair. She is our resident comedienne, and is leading this fundraiser to build ramps and lifts to allow more people access to our church.
it made me sad to think of someone feeling unwanted;
and then it made me more sad to think of all of the ways in which we "unwant" parts of ourselves.
and how instead of building ramps to allow those parts access to our unconditional love, we keep them isolated and shamed.
i think people back then kept the disable at a distance because they didn't want to feel their discomfort or pain. Because that's how it works; in a way, we are each others arms and legs.
but rejection hurts more than a broken leg,
or a broken heart,
or a broken bank account.
rejection of pain, hurts more than the pain itself.
allow yourself to express the wholeness of your experience,
and help us learn how to build the ramps and lifts that you need.
first of all, hi.
we've been "together", what --- since 2015, I think? During these years i have shared my many projects, name changes, geographical moves... Things just keep on re-inventing themselves, you know.
So, The Passion Whisperer is my latest distillation. If you're curious to know more, I dished all about it here: http://thepassionwhisperer.com/katerina/
now let me get to this week's story:
On Monday, I was walking to work, running late of course,
and I bumped into Jeff Greene.
He was the first person i interviewed from the homeless paper, and by far the most intriguing. He recently won a Lifetime Achievement Award for being such a beacon of love in the community, and was visibly moved about it.
so, i asked him where do you find all this love?
and he said: "I'm fearless. When fear leaves the body, love comes in."
isn't that beautiful?
Then he went on tell me about this "white guy" who became homeless a few days ago, and how he was helping him get his footing. He had this specialized job of some sort, and once they let him go, he couldn't find anything else and fell through the cracks.
Death by specialization.
Jeff was like, people don't have life skills anymore. I grew up knowing how to fish, cook, cope, garden, have a conversation. People these days are like robots, they know one thing very well, and hope to god it's not taken away from them.
(Men especially ignore the value of emotional intelligence and lose their will to live, if they can't support themselves financially.)
It just made me think.
Don't let society treat you like a disposable product. You have many talents, abilities, and opportunities. And just because nobody is telling you that they are "valuable", doesn't mean they aren't.
last Thursday I almost missed out on the event of a lifetime because of a zit.
then again, it's always easier to find an excuse to not show up --- especially when your gut is screaming YES, but your mind is whispering MAYBE.
i went up to the 51st floor, also called the Pyramid Club, to volunteer at a fundraiser for the local paper. I believe in their mission, and my goal this year has been to align my actions with my beliefs.
naturally, I tired after a 9-5, but the idea of finger food and potentially meeting someone super interesting kept me from b-lining home.
the reason I'm sharing this you is because as soon as i got there insanely serendipitous things started to happen.
who reminded me a lot of a bald version of Woody Allen,
came up to me and started asking me a lot of questions about my life. No sooner than you can say i'll have another, he knew that I was a lawyer who wanted to be a writer but who was struggling with the how.
him: "You know... there's an Author's Event happening tonight, right across the hall, right?"
me: Uh, no.
him: Come with me.
he whisked me to this incredibly nice lady, who also happened to be the organizer, and told her who I was and what I needed. God had somehow sent me my very own PR person, and I was just sitting back enjoying the ride.
Long story short, I got into the event,
met with women whose lives I want to someday have,
took tons of notes
shed some tears of gratitude,
and last but not least, also WON the raffle for a gigantic basket of baked goodies.
i had not planned for this to happen---- but I was definitely ready for it.
And that's maybe how it goes;
if we keep showing up where our gut directs us, life might just play her hand,
and you might just be left with holding a straight up royal flush
when all you had a second ago, was a pair of fives.
why hello there,
after many months of being a bum i've decided that it's time to get my beach bod ON.
i walked into a new yoga/pilates place today not expecting to be hit with a slew of juicy blog insights; but as anyone who writes knows: material is not only endless, but it also likes to strike when it's impossible to record.
so here I am,
about to walk into this crammed tiny little room,
where lo and behold,
i do not fit.
what i mean is, nobody made room for me.
I even made it a point to linger as to incite some yogi decency, but it was in vain. i walked out, but was then escorted back in by the instructor who shook her head at me and grinned --- (which i did not appreciate.)
As soon as they saw her come in with me, they parted like the red sea and proceeded to make small talk to ease their guilty conscience.
Namaste to you too.
said teacher then began to talk about.... how it was a beneficial thing to be simulating a sardine experience---
being "so close to our neighbor, we can hear them breathe, and that will encourage us to breathe, too".
while I think more breathing space would have been nice,
she had a point.
i found myself inhaling and exhaling with way more gusto (at times to annoy my converted friends but others simply because the collective vibe was so contagious.)
being close to others physically makes us feel closer to them emotionally.
i guess it's why concerts, sports games or other group things can feel so intimate even though we don't really know the people next to us.
so, if you get a chance to invade someones space, i encourage you to do so.
it will feel weird and then it will feel good.
are you up when the eggs have stopped crackling
are you up when the fear is still heavy asleep
when the body's still weary
but that voice is no longer willing to weep
It is here where I meet you,
It is here where I forget there’s no point
This blessed hour of amnesia
Where finally a break from the smoke
i sleep to wake up here,
to forget about the blindness of day,
i need to wake up here
to hear you say my full name
why is the noise so noisy
why does their stare bring me no peace
why is the picture so fuzzy
why does my heart enjoy not the race
i walk to your whisper
let it cut through the pain
i breathe to your promise
that soon we'll be home again.
days where muscles barely contract
days that slept
when the sun was shining full staff.
in this time, my confession
i see now all the barren displays
please Day, accept this confession
when I wake, you too will have caved.
the other day, someone asked me: why do you write?
and I replied: because it helps me "hear myself", and putting this "Self" into words makes me feel real, like... it makes me feel like i exist. Otherwise, I'm just a consumer zombie."
I initially wanted to title this blog 'the dangers of not being creative". Because the truth is, unlike popular belief, I dont think creativity is just a talent or a luxury, I believe it to be a lifesaver.
When I say creative, I dont necessarily mean "make art". I mean, literally, being the "originator" of something.
The thing is, to originate, you have to step out of the "matrix".
but it has become increasingly easy to consume versus to create; to follow versus to lead; to comply versus to imagine.
I for one, consumed way WAY too much data this week... and as a result feel like a "consumer zombie" today. It's taken me twice as long to write this, and I still feel like it's not coming out quite right.
I dont want to tell you the cliche stuff like "take a tech break" or "take a walk in nature"; I just wanted to point out the obvious (how we're all, for the most part, in a collective trance); and let you decide what you'd like to do about it.
I might not be able to leave you with an inspiring message today; but I'm about to go to the park, (phone is staying home) and I promise to try again next week.
every two years or so I get an itch for a perm! (poodle like hairstyle)
yeahhh.... I know, you're probably thinking, people still do that?? And the short answer, is yes, people still do.
Anyhoo, as Josephina was twirling up my locks, I found out she was about to take her U.S citizenship test. Per her words, she was by nature an "anxious" person, so we were joking around about needing Valium to relax, and other silly things.
until she said, in her thick Italian accent, 🍕
"look-a, I know-a who I am-a".
Growing up in Greece I am familiar with this sort of fatalistic approach to one's destiny- "people don't change" used to be my most dreaded saying that was thrown around a l o t.
The thing is, people do change.
In 2010, I started an email in my Drafts folder the day I realized how much I was changing. It's subject is "all the ways I've changed", followed a by a list of... well, all the ways I've witness myself change over the years.
For example, I used to try to persuade people of things. Not anymore. I used to believe that homosexual people needed fixing. Not anymore. I used to be incredibly shy. Not anymore. I used to think good things are followed by bad things. Not anymore.
And the list goes on.
We often find solace in our comfort zones; the way our family or culture "does things"; or who we are expected to be. And there is nothing wrong with that...
but there is definitely more; if you want more.
I felt bad that Josephina felt shackled to her own diagnosis, but it was definitely not my role to tell her that she can be more than who she "thinks she is".
Allow yourself to change.
Allow others to change.
Life feels juicier when you know how to hit refresh.
ps: thank you for checking in with me about my book. The back cover was approved and we are finally.... cooking with grease !!!!!
there's always going to be someone who tries to make you feel lesser than. (and we'll get to why in a sec)
it doesn't matter where you are, what incredible things you're doing, and how amazing your credentials: dicks abound.
and im not talking about physical ones (even though those abound too), I'm talking about personalities that poke, probe, and protrude.
Like when you're a well intentioned, published author (and attorney) offering your writing services for FREE, at a church function,
and a poking, protruding, voice says:
"but you're not a publisher, are you?
are you even an editor?
I mean... I'm good with words too, but..."
you get my... point. (pun intended)
Funny words aside, these type of comments can hurt. And if we let them, they can dissuade us from doing great things.
Share who you are, because someone, somewhere needs it.
And if anyone challenges you for no good reason, just know it's because they admire you, and simply dont have the courage to admit it.
Come on, $5 for a whole month?!? Who does that.
WELL, some actually do.
A few months ago I helped out the local social justice paper by selling their issue on the street. No training, no suggested pitches. I just stood outside of Reading Terminal and yelled out whatever came to mind.
I heard another vendor yell out "Only ONE dollar, help the Homeless!",
so I did the same.
People withdrew their gaze and my voice started to crack. I wasn't even there 5 minutes and I wanted to go home.
As the rejection seeped in, I figured there must be something more inviting I can say to spur some interest...
so then I went with "Happy Friday, Help the Homeless!"
I got a few smiles in return, but no one really stopped to take a paper.
The more comfortable I got, the more my ego shook itself off and my brain started to churn.
then came magic attempt #3,
" Local Heroes, be Inspired by the homeless!"
People started to show signs of curiosity even disbelief; how could a "poor person" without a home have ANYTHING to offer them?
12 papers and 40 dollars later, I had my pitch.
Inspiration sells, asking for pity doesn't.
What aspect of yourself have you been selling short?
how can you flip your narrative to come out as someone who has something to OFFER, despite your circumstances ?
May you find your riches, and may you share them generously.
there's a lot of tragedy and collective heroism in the forefront these days.
as I watched footage from today I noticed they're were several instances where "moments of silence" were observed: for the student lead- anti gun March in DC, and the deadly Florida bridge accident.
Emma Gonzalez held the silence for nearly 4 minutes.
At about minute 2 you could tell the crowds were getting restless, confused and sort of wanted her to resume speaking. They chanted and called out her name, but her gaze remained present, and her mouth remained shut.
No one likes to be with the silence of something difficult.
Our inner "crowd" wants rage, noise and most of all, answers.
No one has the time to "feel" the situation. No one wants to.
It's almost as though through feeling it, we are being "defeated" by it.
But what if we listened just a minute or two longer. Would that surrender open up a new channel of communication?
I am so proud of this young girl for making everyone "feel" the silence of this tragedy we are all part of. The intellect cannot answer wounds that have infiltrated our collective psyche. Only the Spirit has access to the raw power that is required to become "more" than we've ever been.
Id like to think that when something hurts me I take the time to be silent with it.
It's tempting to want to talk it out, get advice, write a blog on it etc. And of course there are times when expression and communication are needed.
If silence scares you, take a deep breath and pretend that we are holding hands :)
Welcome in the fullness of who you are to understand you, heal you, and change you.
you're leaking. we all are.
especially if you're a woman.
im talking about energy,
let's start with a fun fact:
"Plattsburgh -- a city of 19,780 wayyyyy upstate in New York -- has become the first US city to temporarily ban cryptocurrency mining."
at some point this year, this thing called cryptocurrency will be disrupting our financial system as we know it. many already know this, and have been setting up camps developing these digital forms of "money" ---- and, while there are a lot of positives to be said about this new form of value-exchange, there is one very VERY alarming thing about it:
the amount of energy that is consumed in order to sustain it.
so alarming in fact, that the city with the weird name above, has decided to ban it.
because energy is invisible money.
i know i write a lot about energy; its just striking to me how easy it is to squander.
we will budget our pennies to the T, but waste our energy on mind-numbing situations, toxic relationships and self-defeating ideas.
so the other day i called this old neighbor up to check in --- even though s(h)e is extremely negative, and at times even provoking, but... s(h)e also lives alone, and is older... so,
it was just sort of something i had decided was the right thing to do...
when i decided that feeling depleted is no longer the right thing to do.
and that feeling pity for someone is not the right criteria when evaluating whether or not energy is expended.
integrity has a way higher vibration than pity.
and thus a higher return.
things that fortify energy: inspiration, compassion, generosity, courage, play.
may you honor your energy the way you honor your coins; and then some.
so I'm an inspiration junkie.
how else would you explain agreeing to run/walk 6 blocks , in 30 degree weather, (every other day) in order to interview (non paid) previously homeless individuals. on your. lunch. break.
yeah, its bad.
they think i'm doing them a favor, but no; im just getting my fix.
so let me tell you what went down today; Jeff Greene, a sixty five year old man, who is a street vendor with this Philadelphia city paper (One Step Away) was the definition of a breath of fresh air.
he was soooo comfortable to be around.
there was something so freeing about his way.
when I asked him to elaborate on his life lessons from selling papers to strangers on the streets the following statement had me stunned:
"Im not selling a paper; im giving myself away. And I have learned how to give myself away without being afraid."
this is what I took from Jeff's statement: Jeff is implying that his presence is something of value. And that something is what he chooses to gift others with; without fearing what will come of it.
When you feel rich, you are naturally generous.
I know that sounds like it could come off creepy, lol, but i was in his presence for a good 15 minutes and could not get enough -- he was for real. Unlike many who aggravate, drain or feed off your energy, he brought his energy to the table, like a beautiful platter of ripe fruit, and allowed me to delight in it and get a flavor.
How would your life be if you acknowledged yourself as a gift, and then chose to generously "give it away", without fearing rejection?
that's what i want to know.
I have a feeling you'd shake, rattle and roll.
perhaps even get written up in a blog, by some random girl out there.
maybe even totally make my day.
So last night i stayed in (with tea and lots of tissues) and watched YouTube videos. And this is what occurred to me: you and me, we are great at making difficult things, worse.
Don't ask me why, we just are.
For today's crumb I wanted to share something i heard on a clip last night that felt like it could bring some love into this little knot.
It's a brilliant, short of an hour talk, on the taboo nature of intimate relationships. If you have some time, Esther Perel does an incredible job at telling us things we already know in ways we've never heard them before.
So at minute 40:51, she is asked a beautiful question by a man of color, about some seemingly challenging African American stereotypes and how they are effecting his chances at committed relationships, as opposed to the relative ease of coupling met by his white friends.
Her response is what inspired my below confession.
Remember when I said we make things harder than they have to be? Well this is what I meant:
We all have our issues that we think our "unique" to us. And instead of reaching out to others and seeing who we can relate to, we internalize them, pathologize them, and hide them.
Let's take me for example, if I could write an ad campaign for my "unique" issue it would go something like this:
female trying to harness the necessary energy and creativity for success, forgoes the many benefits of intimate relationship--- and sometimes feels incredibly shameful about it.
(lol, you now know me just a weeeee bit better, doncha)
But for real though, how many of you think that "issue" is "unique" to me?
And how does me thinking it's "unique" to me help me process my difficult feelings about it?
It doesn't help much, on the contrary, making it a secret or something "personal", makes it heavier than it needs to be.
As a why the hell not activity, try writing out a similar ad campaign for the issue you most struggle with and share it with someone.
We need to be honest with each other.
Because it is through each others honesty that we gain the strength to become bigger than our fears.
there are a few things I really, really wish would materialize pronto: My book, a certain someone from the past, and a sustainable job that aligns with my passion.
(And notwithstanding the rightness or wrongness of those wishes, these have been desires I've worked HARD on, for at least the past 3 years.)
So..... what is one to do in the meantime?
What is one to make of these "in between" phases where we live without having
what “we want”?
Are we to be unhappy, until their blessed arrival?
(cause that sounds horrid.)
So, the idea for this blog came to me yesterday while I was in choir practice. Here I am, 3 hours in, voice getting hoarse, and tolerance for humans getting low.
When it occurred to me to ask myself: "what the hell I doing here"?
I'm not advancing any sort of "goal"; I'm not getting "paid", and it's my last free day before re-entering the routine of desk life....
I'm almost embarrassed to divulge how utilitarian my thought process has become; but how do you ascertain how to fill the gaps between where you are and where you want to be?
I'm imagining that for many of us these "in between" times are when we zone out on social media, watch tv, or submerge in any other activity that takes the edge away from rational and results oriented thinking.
And it's true, for those 3 hours, not once did I think about book editing or being on Ellen.
That future oriented part of me was on snooze, and my participation in the present moment defined how I was being successful.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that, we have the choice to make "unproductive" time actually still be extremely valuable.
It's kind of like going out to a nice restaurant, just for the food.
What about the time spent waiting for the food? Would the outing still be worthwhile if that time was a drag?
Try interrupting your "waiting" mode this week by finding something in your immediate environment that could give you some pleasure or meaning. How does that effect your sense of "progress"?
And between us chickens: writing for you is one of my favorite "in between" parts of my life.
alright, let's talk about this 1993 interview I just watched of Oprah's first live talk with Michael Jackson. (Frankly, I'm not sure how I ended up watching it, but we are in Pisces season. The proverbial veil is thin y'all, and the energy thus, very, very, fluid).
I've been thinking about what it means to be great lately. Like really great. To be known and loved for who you are and what you do. This interview sparked some crumbs of insight, so in the case you too are pondering the art of greatness ---- you're welcome.
Like most everyone I know, it is VERY hard for me to NOT dance when I hear an MJ song. And while most would credit the killer beat, I think it's the energy that animates the notes, that activates my inner dance-hall queen. My cells know inspired energy when they hear it.
Can anyone really hear "The Way you Make me Feel", and not.... feel it?!
And while the man himself remained a total mystery, his work communicated a value and transparency that was undeniable.
He was an "instrument of nature", per his words.
So what does this have to do with greatness?
Well, when Oprah inquired as to the star's notorious aforementioned dance move, and whether or not nervous moms around the world could rely on him to "tone it down" a little, he simply replied:
"Ask the music".
And that is greatness, in my opinion.
When you allow the essence of what moves you, to be your guide.
No filters, no justifications, no "pg versions".
People value the raw version of inspiration not the processed. (Think about the "farm to table" movement, the closer we are to the source of "things", the more we value them.)
So do you want your work to have a greater impact?
Try cutting out the qualifiers and let the power of your message speak for itself.
Don't try to tell us why we should like it; show us, why you can't help but love it.
I like attention.
I light up when receiving it and I live for giving it.
During my meditation this morning something really powerful happened that i thought held value, so I wanted to share.
I was completely quiet, eyes closed, breathing relaxed, and of all a sudden my entire being felt "noticed". like a big warm spotlight had landed on me and was acknowledging my existence.
i think i actually blushed, to be honest.
how many times do we feel we need to yell and shout to get noticed?
and even THEN
we only get partially validated. lol.
well, there's something quite magical that happens when we take the time to give ourselves the loving attention we so seek.
without a peep or a mention, the little child inside that wants someones attention fills up with self-approval.
in those few minutes of silence, our worth soars.
if you have any interesting experiences resulting from your meditation time, hit reply, id love to hear them.
I hope you get to witness your brightness.
And I hope you know its always there.
imagine if everytime an inner voice said something nasty to you, another one popped up and said "but i still love you!"
i know that's something id pay money for, lol.
a lot of us may not be be celebrating valentines "traditionally" today, and as the queen of doing things "guerilla" style, Im def not. While candlelight dinners, and fancy displays of affection are nice, I wanted to extend a practice that we could all do today, as maybe.... each others valentines?
i like to think of it as... "Cake for the Heart".
(0 calories, all the flavor)
you can do this as breathing meditation or include it in your mental process during the day.
Valentine medit❤️tion: breathe comfortably for 5 minutes. whenever a thought prances onstage, tell it I love you.
ex: you’re gonna be late —- ilu,
do I have enough money for the parking meter? ——- ilu,
I wish so and so would call me —— ilu.
and that's it!
cheers to micro-dosing on " i love yous'!
and thanks for being my Valentine ;)