Namaste New York

Namaste New YorkNamaste

“I can’t imagine a way of life for me other than the yogi life”- Steve Ross

Recently an old co-worker, now a friend, told me that I seemed like one of the happiest people in the entire world. Smiling over that compliment I closely start to access everything that has happened to me in the past three years while living in New York City. It’s a pleasure to be able to finally congratulate myself for becoming that “happy girl” I have always strived to be. In one of my favorite songs, “So Damn Lucky,  (an oldie but a goodie) Dave Matthews Band sings about being dizzy from a whole lot of spinning, and I can say that in my life I have become extremely dizzy from it all. I also consider myself pretty damn lucky to be blessed with all of the different life experiences bringing me to finally finding a place in my life for my best friend, yoga.

Before I entered kindergarten I was writing fantasies about my life and who I was going to become. The fall of October 1992, I had just turned seven, I wrote a list of everything I was good at: Singing, acting, dancing, writing, reading, talking, and signed it off with –See you on Broadway! Three years ago, I moved to New York City to find love, success, and happiness and was determined to make all my dreams come true. I moved into the center of it all (midtown) into a beautiful apartment one block from Broadway. I got there because I said I would, and I believed that I could. I followed through for the little girl who dreamed of a better life for herself, and for the little girl that just kept going.

Difficult situations never surprise me because in life I have learned to expect them. As hard as life can be I have learned that when disorder and fear show up at my door I can’t let it frighten or distract me. I just need to fasten my seatbelt and stay focused on where it is that I am trying to go, no matter the amount turbulence. As I pack my things preparing to move with my fiancé to California after three weeks in Costa Rica becoming a certified teacher training I take a minute to reflecont on that. All of this is happening because of the dedication I put forward and attention to my dreams. I was a child who was a ward of the state who barely had lunch money at times, but was able to put myself through college and work my way up to a job in the city. I have accomplished everything I set out to do here in the rat race and now it is time for me to move on. Breaking up with toxic relationships, unexpectedly losing the job that got me to Manhattan in the first place, feeling exhausted and overwhelmed , were all events that forced me to find a way to keep going.

From the earliest day’s of being a writer I had made the decision to focus on writing a memoir about my life. Every diary entry from the past has always been about me and what I was going through. In some way, I have always written out a set of goals for myself and have been really great about noting and following up on them. April 1995, when I was ten, I started a “requests” column in my diary where I wrote out all of my requests/goals . For example, I would request to finish first place on the mile run, good grades, and to make up from a fight with Granny. I would than follow-up a couple of days’ later and report how I did on each of these requests. “I came in first place! It took me 7 min 11 seconds, I received a B+ on my test, Granny is still mad at me.”

The generation gap in my up bringing caused many teenage spats between Granny and I. Since Granny was stricter than my peer’s parents were I was always comparing myself to that. This would continually make me feel sorry for myself and made me feel like I was missing out on something. Granny grew up in a time period in the 20’s where children were brought up differently and her father believed in stern punishment. Therefore, she  didn’t hesitate to break out any old school habits she learned from her parents. I remember many afternoons being smacked soooo hard and sometimes I would run as fast as I could to get away from her chasing after me with a broom. Also, listening to her cry herself to sleep after counting her penny jar at night caused me to have constant anxiety and worry that she regretted taking us in. I struggled with depression and I always craved more love and would write about this alot. I also wrote about who I loved and who I hoped loved me too. These emotions as a child were hard to swallow but in the end it has made me who I am and a lover of love. I made the goal to find love in New York City and until I met Geoffrey, (my now fiancé) I never felt confident that I was worthy of it fully.

I’ve asked myself what about my journey to finding love right now would resonate with others? Why would anyone even give a shit what I have been through and what I have overcome? Who is my audience? What am I trying to accomplish with them reading what I share? It would resonate with them because I believe that everyone also loves love. If they do not, I think it is because they need more of it. I first met Geoffrey in my dreams two weeks before I actually met him. At that time in my life I had turned up my yoga practice to distract me from another failed relationship that I was trying to pull myself out of.

Listening to my inner self and practicing asana’s filled with different sequences of heart opener’s, I became more vulnerable to sharing my feelings that I once covered up. I promised myself that I was never going to settle again in love and that I deserved more than the relationships I was staying in.  I than started to invision my true love fantasy and what it was I was looking for and even had the most vivid dream confirming it could happen.  I joke about putting a “sweet love spell” on Geoffrey by tricking him to fall for me as quickly as he did. Our relationship is my favorite love story and he is so precious to me.

You

“I met you in my dreams, your touch was so soft and your body was so warm. You held me so close that I knew no one could ever come between us. When I woke and you weren’t there I still found comfort that you were out there. I could not wait to meet you because I knew that I loved you.”

*{I wrote this the morning after I woke from a very vivid dream of finding my one and only two weeks before meeting Geoffrey}

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 was in debit to my ears with different retail credit cards I racked up ranging from furniture, electronics, and clothing. I was putting minimum payments on them and I was barely making my student loan and car payment from the fancy car I bought after college and the massive amount of student loans I was offered and mistakenly took.

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. My company who moved me offered me that moving allowance and I was showered with gifts, gift cards, and so many blessings and words of encouragement. It still remains one of the most anxious, scary times in my life and I questioned myself daily on my decision to move when I was experiencing such financial burden. 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. Working paycheck to paycheck, and finding the resources I need to get by has been something I have been working on mastering since my first job in 6th grade as a dog walker.

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. The one side of my first room in the city 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, anxious 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. With the loss of my job after my first year in Manhattan, I had some extra time on my hand and gave myself my very first well-deserved yoga challenge. I started to seek a class to attend every day while also deciding my future would involve becoming a certified yoga instructor. I continued to write, I continued to go to yoga, and I continued after my goals.

I have finally achieved control of my finances, and I am so committed to my relationship with yoga. Every day in class, I learn something new about my body and about the different ways I can get myself into different positions. Previously in life I was the little girl who envied my best friend’s who all had the money to be enrolled in dance classes that made them graceful and flexible. I couldn’t touch my toes, and now I am standing on my head. It frees my mind in such healthy ways, and keeps me from all 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”, and now I am educated and experienced enough to be able to say it now to people out loud.

Living in New York  I was able to pay off my debt, and find a career that supports my newest life fitting endeavors. I am going to marry my best friend and I am so in love. So as I put together my final plans for leaving my dream city I am realizing that I am overwhelmed with happiness. Following my dreams made that possible and there is nothing better in life than accomplishing what you have set out for.

Thanks for the tough love New York!! You will forever hold my heart!

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