Making the decision to finally move to the big apple was not only the turning point in bringing me love and happiness, and career success but, I believed the move would help me get further along in my writing. Writer’s block has always been in my way since after elementary school when I was shamelessly (and fearlessly) writing about everything and anything outloud to classmates/family, or just in my sacred diary. The winter of January of 2013, age 27, I had the realization that nothing was going to make my dreams come true like the city of New York could. I had exhausted any excuse not to live up to my dream, and I felt as if no other experience could give me the inspiration I needed to continue my career as a writer. What the real “surprise and delight” ended up being is that I found my spiritual practice of yoga along on the ride.
When I first started NYC I could not touch my toes, I was in a lot of financial debt, I was heartbroken, and I was scared shitless. Although, I moved to Manhattan with a job, I did not move to the Big Apple with a big savings account or a clear financial plan. I kid you not: The 12-foot box truck that drove all my furniture and belongings from South Florida to Manhattan, the gas for my car to follow, the renter fees, apartment fees, lease-breaking fees, food and any miscellaneous moving supplies were all paid out of a $1,500 budget I had at my disposal. I’d be lying if I said my Nan didn’t stick a few bills in my pocket, and that my wonderful friends and family did not help me over this hump. I was showered with gifts, gift cards, and so many blessings and words of encouragement, but it still remains one of the top most anxious, and scariest times in my life. I questioned myself daily on my decision to move when I was experiencing such financial burden and so many weeks I had to stretch thirty dollars to feed me and transport me through one of the most expensive cities in the world. I truly believe it was only possible for me to do because of the experience and learning’s of my meager youth. Tuna fish, carrots, tomatoes, bananas, and mac & cheese, were my go-to budget food items, and with any leftover money I would buy myself a bottle of wine to keep me company as I wrote in my journal thoughts and goals to get out of this mess.
My first apartment at the Ritz was located in midtown and was SO BEAUTIFUL! I was lucky enough to get this “hook up” from one of my college best friends who previously lived in this apartment and was smart enough to hold onto it (and its rate) by sublets like myself. From my bedroom you could walk out onto a balcony twenty-nine floors high that overlooked Times Square to the left and Hell’s Kitchen to the right. The one side of my room was pure window, and I had beautiful wood floors where I propped my Gaiam yoga mat in the corner next to a standing mirror. This yoga mat placement, although I was still not a yoga practitioner, was placed with intent for the sanctuary I was trying to create in this stressful, fearful time. I will never, EVER forget the beauty of the city lights from my room and how I could sit out on the balcony and, if only for a second, remember to be proud of myself. I started to have visions of doing yoga gracefully on my Gaiam mat outside my large glass windows, and these visions started to become reality when I took out my mat one afternoon and turned on my yoga DVD. What was different this time around is that, after the first week, I didn’t stop. In my free time, I started Googling and searching YouTube for different yoga tutorials that I hoped to practice on my own.
After the first three months, I started to get a little more financial security as well as more knowledge of ways to spread my money more evenly and even save money. The first thing I did when I had a couple extra dollars a month was research and purchase a gym membership that fit my budget. With all of my fitness classes, I always wanted parts to be like ballet or hip-hop, and then I started to mix in yoga classes. No matter how hard it was to convince myself to go to class and be the “beginner” that I was embarrassed to be, I cannot recall one time that I did not feel an amazing sense of anxiety relief. I am always very thankful that I made it to my classes, and I always remind myself how thankful I am each and every time I practice because it has NOT been easy to get to this point of my yoga career. The goal I set in August 2013 was to at least make it to one yoga class each week, and that goal has evolved into a habit of searching for a yoga class to attend almost every single day. Spring of 2014 I was feeling pretty darn good, but not exactly where I wanted to be and the universe must of known that. In a blink of an eye the universe switched the ocean tide and forced me to seek a new way out when I was fired from my fancy high paying Manhattan job. Worried about my rent, scared this meant I would have to stay in the relationship I wasn’t happy in to survive, and that I had failed were more reasons I needed more yoga. With the extra time on my hands I have given myself my first and well-deserved yoga challenge and incorporated daily practices with my freed up time.
I turned thirty this year, I can touch my toes, I have finally achieved control of my finances, I’m ENGAGED to the most caring human being in the world, and writing is apart of my weekly routine. I have signed up for my yoga certification, and my yoga practice affects my everyday thoughts. It is how I am choosing to live my life. It is a way a perfect stranger can relate to me, and unlike when I was younger, I am fully aware that it is the best way for me to deal with any inner bullshit that is begging to come out. Every day in class, I learn something new about my body and about the different ways I can get myself into different positions. It frees my mind in such healthy ways, and keeps me from more of the drugs or booze I might have looked at to ease my mind in the past. It releases the hurt, the uncertainties, and gives me so much hope like nothing else in my life has been able to. Anytime anyone is going through anything difficult in life, I often think to myself, “they need yoga”. Inhale good shit, exhale bad shit. It has helped my decisions in my career, my writing, my relationships, and most importantly me.