Live Your Best Life: How To Be You + Be Free.

{ Manhattan Square Park in Rochester, NY at Party in the Park, Thursday, 6/23. }

BE YOU

live your best life.

BE FREE.

Freedom is many things. It is an innate right, + it is incredibly oppressed. It is sought after, + it is sabotaged. It is died for, + it gives life. It is exciting, + it is terrifying. Freedom is elusive. Freedom is precious. Freedom is essential to living our best lives. Freedom should be as natural as it is innate. But Freedom, is not. Thankfully, given the right circumstances, Freedom is attainable.

Because even when we live in “lands of The Free,” our own lifestyles, emotions, thoughts, actions, relationships tear this freedom down, instead of reinforcing it. Building it up.

I’d like to share 3 tips for how I am discovering + uncovering my own freedom.

trauma can happen, + it does not have to control our freedom.

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Walking to Party in the Park Solo at the newly opened Inner Loop, Rochester, NY.

Helllll nah, I was not always this free. The freedom I speak of in this post? It’s been a lifetime in the making. Just recently, it’s truly spread its wings. You’re going to have to wait for the publication of my memoir{s} before fully understanding the trials + tribulations I have endured throughout my life. For now, I’m going to highlight 3 choice experiences.

The goal is to show you that trauma can happen, and it does not have to control our freedom.

1. Food By Oppression. I started counting calories around 1997, when I in the 7th grade. This evolved into carefully portioning-out my food. About 2004, the Disordered Eating manifested into an Eating Disorder my sophomore year of college. It wasn’t until 2008, when I had a major mental breakdown my 2nd semester studying graduate school at Columbia University, that I fully began to heal.

  • how does this limit freedom? Your mind, body, + soul are trapped in a set of beliefs + actions that prevent it from enjoying everything. You are riddled by guilt, shame, fear, self-hate, + a slew of other deamons that have 0 place in your heart + soul.
  • how am I doing now? Much better. I attribute this to therapy and lots + lots + lots of work on self-love. As well as the mental breakdown, because tbh y’all, my mind started itself back-up in “safe mode.” I know not all of us are lucky enough { see what I did there } to endure a mental breakdown. But for me, it truly was a beautiful thing.

2. Assaulted + Charged with Assault. April 20, 2012 I went to the Fun. concert at an establishment I will not name here, but one that has a past riddled with sketch + shade. I was with friends. Not doing drugs. I’d been drinking, but we also took a cab, + I was 27, so. Unfortunately, I’d been separated from my friends the majority of the night. Long-story-short, by the night’s end, as the concert let out, I was afraid + alone + tiny skirmishes started to break-out. That’s when a huge man came up behind me, grabbed me, + started dragging me back into the hall. I panicked. I 100% believe I was going to be raped. I struggled. Another man accosted me from the side. They beat the shit out of me. I felt excited to see the police standing before me. Until the police threw me to the ground, yanked my arms akimbo behind my back, + shoved my head through the back of a cop car. I’d been assaulted by 2 bouncers who then charged me with 3rd degree assault. I’d just been hired into a new job the day before. I lost that job. I was also per diem substitute teaching at the time. Not only did I lose those 2 teaching jobs, but apparently, when HR in education reads — 3rd Degree Assault { b/c who really knows which is worse, 1st or 3rd } — they call you up, personally, to chew-you out, as well as write you very mean letters. I spent my full-savings on a lawyer. When the DA, who was also a young woman, saw the pictures I documented of my bruises + contusions, she assured me that, under no circumstances, would I be charged. The bouncer who pressed charges never showed-up to court. The establishment refused to furnish video footage. I endured 3 separate court appearances across the next 5 months before I was cleared.

  • how does this limit freedom? It makes you feel unsafe everywhere you go. It makes you feel like you have 0 right to be anywhere. It makes you feel you will be accosted, accused, charged, fired, ridiculed, + drained of all your money, even when you do nothing wrong. It seriously tugs on those Victim strings.
  • how am I doing now? Recently, much, much better. I have transformed . { Because of the tips I promise I’m about to share! }. But I can say it still affects me. In October, 2015, I saw a Joywave concert at Anthology. I don’t consider myself to have PTSD, but for whatever reason, 3 years later, I flashed back to the old venue. My panic attacks where so severe that I could no longer recognizes people’s faces. I felt too scared + vulnerable to walk home alone or to even call a cab. That’s what fear does. It takes away all of our choices + all of our options.
    • { post-edit} … And now — today this day, over 1 year later — instead asking — Hey, were you okay? — I just get a lot of passive-aggressive, underhanded comments + side glances. { You know who you are. } That makes you look insecure + pretty ignorant, quite frankly. Not me.

3. Creep Factor. I cannot even begin to describe to you the number of creeps I’ve encountered. What’s more, these 3 experiences pale in comparison to other stuff I’ve endured. Here we go: 1) My 1st semester in NYC 2007, I went on a date with this guy who very seriously engaged me in intimidation tactics. He even carried a duffle bag that he said was filled with batting practice equipment. When I told him he could not come back to my apartment, he followed me into the subway and yelled at me the whole time as if we were long-lost lovers. 2) Around 2012, a UR PhD student took me on a date one summer. I wasn’t feeling the vibe, but one night he still insisted on walking me home. When I refused to let him in, he pressured me by reminding me how nice it was he walked me home in the 90 degree heat + insisted I owe him a glass of water: that I must let him inside. He did not get a glass of water. 3) Most recently, I walked down Goodman Street one weekend night about 1 month ago. I was nearing Monroe Ave between Park + Monroe. A younger guy crossed the street. We made eye-contact + said a simple hi. He walked-on, only to double-back, slap / grab my ass, thereby hiking-up the hemline to my underwear. He then ran away.

  • how does this limit freedom? Feeling unsafe everywhere, at every time of day. Not being able to do what you want or go where you want when you want to. Having to be resilient enough to shrug-off people’s judgements when they make horribly base assumptions, which really reinforces their ignorance, about what you were wearing + what you said, etc.
  • how am I doing now? Almost 0 fear. In a responsible way. { See how I had to qualify that. } How was I a few months back? A mess. I work with the public day-in, day-out. It used to be that 1 wrong look from a client sent me shame spiraling. Well, no more.

be well. be free.
trust yourself. trust your life.

I truly am living the best life I know, right now, in this moment. This past week I socialized with friends, I went to a bar by myself to watch the Copa game — unafraid + uncaring of others’ judgements — and I even let myself shoot a few hoops at 1AM { gasp! } on a Wednesday as I walked back to my apartment from Good Luck. My point? I finally, finally, have the framework + infrastructure to do what I want, when I want. I trust myself. I trust my life. That is freedom. Here’s how to do it:

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Playing hoops solo at the Merriman St. Playground around 1AM on Wednesday.

I finally have the framework + infrastructure to do what I want, when I want.

1. No Judgement. At the root of all of this — we have to stop judging ourselves. Why? Because only when we self-love { which means being judgement-free }, can we make the best, most pure choices for ourselves.

  • counterpoint: Should every woman walk alone to a bar or Party in the Park or shoot hoops at a city park at 1AM? No. Duh. Absolutely not. Just as every woman shouldn’t get married or have babies or backpack the world alone.
  • point: We have to be comfortable + confident making our best decisions given each moment + circumstance. We are capable of this.
  • recommendation: Read The 4 Agreements. Practice it as you read. And then read the Companion Book. Practice that, too. Really, truly practice it. Live it.

feed your feelings healthy “foods” / thoughts.

2. Practice Every Damn Day. People go to the gym regularly. People make it a habit to eat healthy. No one questions this. People talk about this every single day, all of the time. So practice doing these same healthy, holistic habits with your mind + soul. Some of my favorites:

  • recommendations:
    • Sing in the car. Unabashedly! Loudly! Freely! If you cannot express yourself freely while driving in your own, separate vessel … then when can you be free. Anyone else who is near you is driving by, anyway. They are gone from your lives forever. Be free. Sing.
    • Journal. It is not a 4-letter word, frands. Quite literally. It is a very simple practice.
      • Make lists.
      • Draw pictures.
      • Vent.
      • At the very least, practice gratitude.

Really pissed about something? Make a Gratitude List. It does not mean that you are not allowed to be pissed or upset! Yes, you are. Feel. Feel everything. Feel your full range of emotions. What it does mean is you still get to feed yourself positivity, even when you are negative.

  • Toast Yourself. Fill your cup with milk, or whatever, Cheers to you. Acknowledge what you have accomplished. Celebrate it. Big or small.
  • Smile at Yourself. Step 1) Look in the mirror. Step 2) Smile. Optional) Put your hands on your hips, breathe deep, peel those lips. Smile. Recommended) Do a butt-wiggle. Bonus points?? Compliment yourself.

Every single time you look in that mirror, say something nice. You said something critical, too? No worries. Let that go. Follow-it-up by saying something nice. 

if you cannot express yourself freely, while driving in your own separate vessel … then when can you be free?

3. Root Yourself. This is a bit higher level, + that’s why it’s #3. Progression. What is Rooting Yourself?? It is taking ourselves from all of the assumptions + what-if’s. It is coming back to our minds, our bodies, our true light, + our present moment. Rooting Yourself is placing yourself within the present moment.

  • recommendations:
    • Practice Mindfulness. I talk about it here. You can start by reading it here. Very simple. Very solid. Very whole.
    • Practice Chakra Healing. This has been 1 of the most transformational elements of my life these past few months. I really enjoy the affirmations + information on this website. When I am stressed or fearful, questioning or critical, I quiet that destruction + replace it with the wholesome “food” of chakra affirmations.
    • Affirmations. Chakras not your thing? Come up with your own phrases to say over + over + over again. Re-hone and refocus. Quiet + heal.
    • Be a Kid. Walk barefoot in the grass. This is very healing + rooting. If you practice chakra healing, you know this balances the Root { grounding } + the Heart { childlike spirit + connection with nature } Chakras. By being a kid, we honor + practice our most root freedom.

Swing on a swing. Play a sport. Go to a park. Do bounce ball soccer or trampoline exercises. Climb a rock wall or play some volleyball. In Rochester, alone, there are a million ways to honor your inner-kid.

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Swimming in Lake Ontario at Charlotte Beach, 1 of my favorite places to get away + go alone.

Thank you for taking the time to read with me + about my experiences today. I’d love to continue this conversation + hear what you guys have to say! My thanks for your energy.

#bewell.

#belocal.

#befree.

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Secrets to Unlocking Mindfulness in { Not So } Secret Urban Gardens.

{ RMSC Gardens. Clockwise from Left: Tulips that smell of juicy-juice. Primrose herb. Lungwort herb. The RMSC Herb Garden is my favorite secret getaway in Rochester. }

BREATHE IN.

The RMSC Herb Garden

BREATHE OUT.

No science. No stats. No scholarly articles. While documented proof exists, I have none to offer to substantiate this post. Which is exactly proof enough for why mindfulness works! { See that logic trip I took you on. } This mindful-gurus, I’m sure, you already know. Mindfulness — living within the present moment + practicing sustained awareness of our senses, feelings, thoughts, + sensations { my definition } — is an ancient art, lifestyle, + method of healing that increases quality of life.

Guaranteed.

By me. I guarantee it. My personal testimony??

  • The Illest. I have at least 3, arguably 4, chronic illnesses.
    • 1 is incredibly highly stigmatized, + while I do talk about it, I won’t name it here because of its misunderstood qualities.
    • 3 others are: migraine, hypothyroid, and anxiety { if you want to separate it from the above }
    • 2 food allergies: gluten + a corn. { I miss you, popcorn. }
  • The Memoir. To know the rest? Read my memoirs. They will be published. ‘Til then…
    • 2008: Had to drop out of grad school at Columbia, for which I had a scholarship, due to severe chronic illness.
    • 2011: Decided not to be a teacher { identity crisis! }, snubbed a $50+G education, + found a way to rebrand myself.
    • 2012: Got physically assaulted … and then I got in { big } trouble for it … before I didn’t.
    • 2014: Worst year of my life. 2 lay-offs was the least of it.
    • 2015: Hospitalized due to chronic illness.

This timeline doesn’t include life’s “regular” ups-and-downs, like changes in friends, relationship woes, money, apartment life, moving, and spending $1,000s on doctors and healthcare { which, okay, I guess isn’t totally “regular,” }. Prescriptions, M.D.s, G.P.s, therapy, yoga, acupuncture, exercise, eating healthy, vitamins, supplements. There is a lot I do to maintain my physical, mental, emotional, + spiritual health, and because of that, I lead a { somewhat } “normal” life.

  • Career Woman. I’m a Lady Boss who gives advice to other Lady & Men Bosses!
    • Over the past 4 years, in spite of the above, I’ve gained success as a Career Advisor in the government, non-profit, and corporate sectors … even though I deceptively looking 18.
  • Writer About Town.  Projects, risk-taking, humility, + learning-on the go.
  • Financially Independent. This might sound simple but recall …
    • I spend $1,000s/year { in addition to the most expensive health insurance I can buy } on doctors + healthcare.
    • And I have crazy grad school loans with a job that doesn’t require a graduate degree { put 2+ 2 together }.
    • Plus, with the # of chronic illnesses I’ve incurred, financial independence is { a huge f-ing struggle } pretty remarkable.

Trust me. Mindfulness works.

Without Mindfulness, I wouldn’t be Me. The bright, bubbly, resilient, innovative, silly, effervescent, energetic Barbara Ellen that you know. Without Mindfulness, I’d be a shell. And probably a Victim. By adding Mindfulness to my health repertoire and lifestyle, I’ve become even healthier despite the past few turbulent years. Take a look:

Always On the Mend. My health, though chronic, has vastly improved:

  • 3-day all-out, debilitating migraines that happened 1/month for 4 straight years have all but ceased { woohoo!!! }.
  • 4-6 regular Rx medicines have decreased by about 50%.
  • 15 lbs lost over the past 2 years.

Mindfulness is an-all-in-1 spa, gym, + detox
for your mind, body, + soul. 

Mindfulness requires commitment, don’t get me wrong. Commitment in terms of minutes { you will have to consciously + constantly redirect yourself } as well as days + months. Just like resume writing + interviewing, no one is naturally good at Mindfulness; Mindfulness is a skill, + it requires regular practice. Which is good news! Because — Phew! — pressure’s off. With Mindfulness, you never, ever, ever, ever have to be … perfect. { 4 letter word. }

Here’s how it works!

You can practice Mindfulness all day, erry’day. To get started, pick-up Buddhist Monk + Nobel Peace Prize nominee Tich Nhat Hanh’s collection “Peace Begins Here,”. This was my 1st introduction to + practice with Mindfulness { thanks to a solidly progressive Creative Writing course my senior year at Pitt }. Until then … Here is what you do.

  1. Find a { Not So } Secret Garden. Big cities. Small Cities. Non-cities. They. Are. Everywhere. Promise. When I lived in Manhattan, both Central + Riverside Parks where very not-so-secret, but they also had idyllic secret nooks once you explored. Rochester has a ton! Here are 3 within 2 miles:
    • First Unitarian Church of Rochester. 220 S. Winton Rd., Rochester, NY 14610. They have gardens + meditative walking mazes, + anyone can enjoy them.
    • Rochester Museum & Science Center Herb Garden. 657 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14607. Herbs, tulips, rose bushes, flowering trees, benches, side gardens, + lots of green grass for walking, picnicking, sports playing, dog walking, jogging, meditating, + relaxing.
    • Historic Gardens at Eastman Museum. 900 East Ave., Rochester, NY 14607. Almost right across the street from RMSC, Eastman Museum has gardens for passersby, tours for those who want history, + Garden Vibes summer concerts 1 Wednesday each month, June-August.
  2. Just Breathe. Inhale. Pause. Exhale. Pause. Repeat. Since you have to breathe anyway — might as well hone + harness it. Instead of just oxygenating your lungs, think about the idea of oxygenating every single cell in your entire body. 2 simple steps:
    • Pause. As soon as you arrive to a comfortable spot within the garden, plant your feet. Look around. Notice the color of the sky. Feel the air. Smell nature. Pause and breathe normally. Say to yourself, At this moment in this time, all I have to do is breathe. And then, when you breathe as per usual with your normal breath, feel proud that you have accomplished all you need to accomplish. Feel proud that you have nothing more to do in this very moment.
    • Slow Down. Once you have enjoyed a few regular breaths, let your breath slow down. Do not force your mind or body to slow. Allow your slowed breath to be a natural guide for the rest of your body. Slow your breath in whatever way feels most comfortable. I like to start by inhaling a bit slower + deeper and pausing at the top of the inhale; and then exhaling with the goal of releasing more slowly than I inhaled, and pausing again at the bottom of my exhale.
  3. Let Go. Release your thoughts. Stay present in this moment. Easily the most intimidating part of “mindfulness,” as this part starts to invoke meditation. But both are actually very easy + natural once you try:
    • No Pressure. The goal of letting go, and so meditation, is not to be free of thoughts. It is to be free of the burden of thoughts. Practicing letting go, and therefore meditation, is actually quite freeing because all you’re doing is granting yourself permission to … let go. To say no. To say, Thought, I see you, and I hear you, and I say goodbye to you. Let thoughts come into your mind. In fact, welcome thoughts to do so. The more thoughts that enter, the more practice you have saying good bye.
    • Visualize. Most of us will vastly struggle with letting go of thoughts, at first. A happy bridge to full-meditation is the prop of visualization and/or mantras: both will help you say goodbye to thoughts. What do you visualize? Nothing. Because you visualize your breath. Focus on the air, the space between. Focus on a part of your body that needs more breath. Breathe to this space. If this doesn’t work, try a mantra. What do you say? Something very simple. Positive. Truthful. I am safe + secure. Flowers are beautiful, just like me. Sunshine feels happy. I believe in my values, + I believe in me. Say the same phrase over + over + over, again. Promise, you won’t be thinking 1 thing.

According to Tich Nhat Hanh, this is called Walking Meditation. You can do it anywhere. A room in your apartment. The pavement on the street. Halls at work. Aisles of the grocery store. Walking Meditation, + so Mindfulness, can be achieved anywhere we step foot.

I hope you enjoy trying. Let me know what you think!

#mindfulness

#bepresent

#belocal.

Essay. Because of She. Roc Tattoo.

This is Eve.
When I grew up and something went wrong–my parents fought or someone got in trouble–I used to wonder. Why’d she do it? Why did she have to do it? All of it. All of the horrible, evil, sinful things. If only she didn’t do it… It boggled my mind. How close we, the human race, were to perfection.
Why did Eve have to ruin it??

Imagine what this does to a little girl. Wondering why a woman had to go and bring sin upon the world. Being so infatuated with the idea of perfection, it made the little girl question the rationale and validity of this woman, and so probably of most women. What does this do to a little girl who grows up in this not-so-little-girl world?
Strength & Vulnerability.
Back in December, I had an episode. For one entire weekend. In the midst of it, lung-splitting sobs & skin-searing tears. I decided I need a woman. A woman to whom I can relate. A woman etched into my skin, who clings to the back of my heart. I need her for forever’s sake.
Kundalini Serpent Goddess.
Tattoos for me are stories. Cave etchings, if you will. The indelible scars turned ink inscribed upon our legs, backs, arms, torso, wrists, toes, breasts, and face. Tattoos are blood. Smeared into new life. Tattoos are for us, and maybe for those who might care with us.
Before & After. Raw.
{Karrah Teague with Lucky Lotus Tattoo.}
Eve for me means so many things. Immediately, she means strength. The strength within her to continue life in spite of having created sin. The strength of me to bring her to life & to carry her upon my back for eternity’s sake. She means vulnerability. The realization of being naked, and so ashamed. For me, being sad, and so exposed. She means spirituality. The Kundalini-goddess, a serpent crawling up her leg & mingling within her hair. Becoming a part of me as I, too, become more aware.
Spirituality & Love.
As Eve has evolved, from concept to line-work to tattoo, so has her meaning. To society, the story of Eve and her depiction upon my back most likely reflects temptation. Sexuality. As noted above, to me it characterizes something different. And so, Eve takes on this duality. She means one thing to you and to history. Perhaps something completely different to me. Karrah Teague, tattoo artist at Lucky Lotus Tattoo, drew-up & inked this Eve. The shading–completely the product of Karrah–took on a black v. white quality. Notice the furls of hair that cascade down her back. Of Kundalini, the serpent-goddess {as opposed to daemon-snake}, who coils up her calf and thigh. Black and white. Truth and lies. Mine and yours. And so, the duality of Eve.
Every single day, I thank Eve. For biting the apple.
♥.

Auld Lang Syne. Happy New Year’s Resolutions 2013!!

Here’s to Auld Lang Syne.
And Here’s to New Year’s Resolutions!
1. Practice Patience.
2. Journal Nightly.
3. Yoga & Dance Regularly.
4. Free Range Meat Only.
5. Meditate Daily.
Ronk (Rocky) & Klonk (Klondike)
patiently waiting to ring in the New Year. 2013.
To see what these all lead up to….

Practice Patience. I’m either in a hurry, or I’m in a hurry, and there’s no such thing as not-in-a-hurry. For me, when something exists in this extreme where it lacks even its opposite as a balance, I’ve found that only 1 approach works. The Opposite Approach. Whenever I feel the urge to hurry, I will do the exact opposite of hurry: no ifs-and’s-or-but’s. I will calmly take my time even if I am late for work. For one (and for me), taking my time doesn’t mean wasting it. For two, I bet that I make it to desired destination just as quickly and, now, with a clearer mind. Why Opposite Approach is so crucial? Because if I practice patience wholly and without making excuses, I surmise that it will wholly permeate my every thought & action so that patience becomes second nature. (Think on how, in athletic endeavors, I’m now left-foot -dominate, despite being right-handed, because of wholly playing Left-D in soccer every single game throughout my high school career.)
 
I will calmly take my time even if. 
 
The Book of Chakra Healing, Liz Simpson.
Daily journal, given by a great friend.
Journal Nightly. Throughout junior high, high school, and college, I was a huge journal-er. Not only did it keep me writing daily, which is crucial to the integrity of any writer, but also, it truly helped me to sort through the webs and annals of my brain. To confront the lies that crept in whilst I wasn’t a-watch. Journaling helped me through some of the most crucial and fragile moments in my life so that I could recover and, ultimately, heal. It had to be over 1 year ago that I stopped. A few months ago, when I began learning about and working on Chakras, I realized how integral daily journaling is to keeping me in balance. I’m excited to begin my journaling anew, using both a journal and my laptop to stay connected with the written word and my most tangled-up of thoughts.
 
I will journal nightly, even if it is just one word.
 
Yoga & Dance Regularly. Both of these, I’ve just discovered. Yoga, back around March 2012 and dance—or at least adult dance—as I began to listen to the whisperings and longings to move fluidly, once again. (Or, that’s the idea.) Immediately, upon my first visit to Open Flow with Caroline, I felt at home in the TRU Yoga Studio. Having practiced somewhat regularly for 9 months, I’ve found that Yoga has increased my muscle tone, particularly in my back and shoulders, my breath quality, as in how deeply I can inhale & exhale (and unfortunately not how freshly or sweet my breath naturally smells), and my flexibility so that my muscles feel both longer and more lithe. The anchor of calmness and rejuvenating qualities that yoga affords has changed both the way I move and the way I think. This year, I’ve realized that to attend yoga regularly is not to be indulgent. It is to be whole. Dance, where I will attend classes just across the street at Park Ave Dance Company, will be an exclamation to my newly setting routine. I cannot wait to combine the energy of Contemporary movement with the strength, balance, and flexibility of Yoga.
 
I will practice yoga & dance regularly so that I will be whole.
 
 
Free Range Meat Only. Okay, let us qualify this only. I will still eat cheese burgers, at least to start, even if they are not free range meat. And if your grandmother cooks some chix parm and invites me to dinner, I will eat grandmother’s chicken parm. All things considered, you know? Also, this is a huge dietary change for me; as long as this qualifier helps to guide me to totally free range, I’m okay with it. Why free range, you ask. Here’s the thing. I’m not interested in changing the meat industry. Right now, it’s not my calling. What I am interested in is energy. Positive and Negative Energy. Energy exists, both positive and negative, & energy is transferred. In my personal opinion, if any animal is raised or slaughtered inhumanely (and so with negative energy surrounding it), then that negative energy transfers into me when I eat it. (Again. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It has to go somewhere!) Okay, and the thought of these inhumanely treated animals makes me feel like a hypocrite if I continue to eat them &, yet, in any degree, disagree with the inhumane treatment of any other animal, no matter how large scale or small scale this treatment may be. I’m not saying anyone is wrong for eating meat. I’m just saying that I feel compelled to begin eating only free range meat. And I cannot ignore how I feel (even if another thinks I’m crazy or frivolous or inane or annoying or {insert judgment here}, and if you do care about what I eat, I implore you to ask yourself why. And then why again. Boom.).
 
I will begin to eat only free range meat. 
 
My first book
of meditation & mindfulness.

 
Meditate Daily. I began practicing meditation my senior of college while taking my first creative writing class with a woman who has grown to be one of my most favorite professors at The University of Pittsburgh. A highly accredited writer, Prof. Fiona Cheong explored alternative methods to inspiring creativity and centered her class upon meditation. She asserts that studies show that the same wave lengths emitted by the brain during meditation are akin to those generated during creativity. And so we breathed. At first for 5 minutes while beginning each class. Gradually working up to 10. We also learned. By following the mindfulness practices of Tich Nhat Hanh, this class implored us to fold meditation into our daily lives with activities such as walking meditation, washing dishes meditation, and oranges meditation. Since 2007, it’s taken many years and semi-routine yoga classes to build my mind’s muscles strong enough so that they can let go of all thoughts, moving or not, and breathe. While I typically meditate before falling asleep at night, I’ve found that folding meditation into my daily routines—much like those lessons taught by Tich Nhat Hanh and instilled by Prof. Cheong—centers me. So that I am me, in spite of.
I will meditate daily, in spite of.
 
My hope is that all of these will help me to trust my instincts more fully. If I cannot trust myself, then who or what can I?? 
 
 
Happy New Year 2013!!
♥.