Myths + Healing

WHAT IS A SOUL ARCHITECT: WORKING WITH NICOLE ADRIANA CASANOVA

Nicole Adriana Casanova, Soul Architect, a 200 RYT Yoga Alliance certified, a certified Reiki Master in the Usui and Karuna Reiki Riojo, a Human Movement and Meditation teacher, and Magical Awakening Practitioner. 

Nicole Adriana Casanova, Soul Architect, a 200 RYT Yoga Alliance certified, a certified Reiki Master in the Usui and Karuna Reiki Riojo, a Human Movement and Meditation teacher, and Magical Awakening Practitioner. 

As many of you know, I have been doing a lot of work in the last few years to examine myself. What that means for me is taking a step back from myself and my habits, and getting enough distance to take a second before I act, even when that action is thinking silently.

I have been working in service-oriented positions and living in the same house off Graham Avenue since 2005. I am a creature of habit and I gravitate towards wherever my place of work is. This seems like a beautiful accident of luck, being able to walk to work, work with friends, and spend time in my community. And it is. But it also invites a lot of automation. Thoughtlessness. Habit without intention. 

Underlying all of this are ways I have always seen myself: I am hardworking. I dislike confrontation. Or rather it makes me incredibly uncomfortable. I am “easy going.” 

These are the myths of myself I have told myself over and over and they stem from a very pure true place. I do like to go with the flow. I am happy seeing others happy. But when you reduce yourself to these traits, it is easy to slough off the responsibility of asking yourself what you want, and to run away from the privilege of going after what it is you want and immersing yourself in these wants wholeheartedly enough to find your limits, which is just another way of running away from your full potential. 

In doing this work, I have found so many amazing teachers, friends who lead by example, and gifted healers. (You’ll remember this journey began with an hour spent at my then-medium’s and now friend’s apartment in the neighborhood.) I have read countless books and taken notes and practiced, practiced, practiced, and the part of me that is Aquarian in nature is always wondering what’s next, before unpacking what’s now. (You can physically see this in my space, where I habitually accumulate before using in full, where I place things into containers to be sorted later.) 


In my most recent seasons of this fact-finding mission, I have met a wonderful powerful healer, Nicole Adriana Casanova. 

She calls to mind a passage in the Many Moons Workbook about soft power, “Soft power helps, heals, lifts others up. Soft power is non-hierarchical. She’s quiet - she does it for love, to experience the alignment with greater energies, larger messages, indescribable feelings,” says Sarah Gottesdiener. 

I met Nicole at a beautiful forgiveness workshop she co-hosted with my soulful friend Giselle of Known to Man. I hope to write about this experience in greater detail later on, but this is where I found that Nicole’s presence could enable people to be themselves in such an authentic and potent way that the experience of being surrounded by this sort of energy is at once-terrifying and elevating. It’s unfamiliar and powerful, but she gave us a soft place to land.

After four months of thinking about that experience from time to time, I was in a place of loss and struggle. When you begin to earnestly look at your life as a gift, a treasure, and a responsibility of the most sacred kind, you kick up a lot of dust and you call a yourself out a lot, you question who you are, and who you think  you are. These sort of questions are so incredibly obvious, but they take a really long time to answer, if you’re willing to answer them, to uproot the answers that feel false, and to know it’s up to you to replace them with something more true. 


These are questions like, “What does success look like to you, and who taught you that?” Maybe your father wanted your name to be known everywhere, or your mother wanted you to have the monetary security she believed would keep you safe. Maybe you learned if you were fun and well-liked, someone else would take care of you. Digging back into these notions and finding the roots, and then the seed takes a long time. And while we feel liberated at moments of joy, reconnecting with our five year-old or ten year-old self, whose love of reading or performance has been long left in the dust, we may hit moments of stuckness, or blockedness in which we need the careful and experienced guidance of someone else. 

And this is where the work of the healer comes in. It was during a moment like this that I reached out to Nicole, and she received me into her home for some one-on-one work. 

I was scared about money. I was scared I was overindulging. Nicole was kind and helped me work these logistics out, and understood that getting the time and work together was more important than figuring out the how without pressuring me in any way. 

So I showed up on a rainy day, and we began the way many healing sessions begin. She asked what was going on. What did I want to work on? 

My throat always becomes tight when I answer this question, “I want to understand my finances. I’m scared about my business. I don’t always know what I’m doing. I’m uncomfortable with my body. I don’t always say what I mean…” the words tumbled out ineloquently. It was not long before my breathing became labored and my nose began running. I became self conscious and hot.

Nicole works with many methods. In her space, there are quartz bowls, rattles, gongs, a censor she uses to burn copal resin so that it smokes around you. She fans you with a handmade smudging fan with feathers. She talks to you very clearly and carefully. She cracks a joke when you don’t expect it with only the half sliver of a smile. In this particular session, her eyes went very wide as she took the ponytail and bandana out of my hair and my bracelets off. With my eyes closed, she sang over me. She looked at me and said, “You put a lot of curses on yourself.”

This rang true for me, and the tears slid down my face. How many times did I remember my grandmother saying to me that what I was doing was hurting my mom and dad, or think about how I tricked my little sister into giving her birthday money to our art club, or see a homeless person in the street and think, “It’s not fair, I don’t deserve what I have, I don’t deserve good things. I should pay for what I did as a kid and a teenager.” How many times did I see someone in pain and run to their rescue and wish they could feel better thinking that maybe I could take it away from them, or throw myself into work because someone else needed rest, thinking that I didn’t need those things. More times than I could count.

After performing her smudging ritual and singing traditional songs, she asked me to lay down on a blanket and she did a combination of reiki and other healing techniques.

I laid there quietly thinking and then very gradually falling into a massage sleep. I lost track of time in my body and also in my mind. I dreamt things but couldn’t hold onto the the images. I drifted off to somewhere else and came back with the sound of Nicole quietly saying, “When you’re ready, deepen your breathing and move your fingers and toes and come back into the room..” 

As I quietly sat up and took a sip of my water, she asked me how I was doing. I didn’t have much to say, because I didn’t feel good or bad or really know what I felt just yet.  While I was gathering my thoughts Nicole shared some messages she had received. “I am seeing that maybe you need to wear lighter clothing in the store, and protect yourself. I get a sense a lot of people talk at you and you absorb it,” she paused. This is something I had known for some time. I love very much when people open up to me, but I don’t naturally put up boundaries. 

She continued, “I'm hearing that it would be good if you wrote about myths and mythologies on your blog, that it would be good for business.” And then she paused to laugh softly, “And I'm seeing that you’re lighting a lot of palo santo in your store to clean the energy. I feel that it would be helpful for you to know that white sage or copal is better for clearing because palo santo grounds and seals the energy.” 

She was right about these things. I had been furiously burning palo santo in the shop, praying for my irritation and negativity to clear, for the post-election retail recession to be over, for the shitty weather to stop ruining my foot traffic, praying to feel more connected to the work I had to do, the big decision making, the exchanges with customers. I was just so tired and felt like I was running in every direction to react to everything in real time, never slowing down to clarify what it is I was doing or why. 

She told me she would hold me in an integration grid for a while (if I remember correctly) because there was a lot to do, and we talked about continuing our work in the future. She told me to be gentle with myself, and as she has always advised me since, to drink a lot of water. (Other healers like Marcella Kroll point to this as the easiest way of cleansing your energy, and it certainly can’t be bad for you.)

You can read all about Nicole Adriana Casanova on her own website. Her own journey from studying yoga and finding out that when she put her hands on people they told her they felt better. That she used to lay hands on people as a child, or how many teachers and teachings she has immersed herself in. These are all beautiful informative things, but it is so difficult to explain and describe her presence in real life. This is a person who is full of joy and takes all things seriously and treats her practice with great reverence, all the while being fully able to make you comfortable with her grace and ease. This is a person who can tell you the history of Reiki while throwing in a Youtube joke. Someone who can burst into song in a group full of anxious people with such earnestness and confidence that when her voice cracks, it somehow makes the experience more powerful. She sails on to the next note. Time moves more slowly somehow, while the vibration of the whole room gets higher and higher. You felt held in her presence. 

I went on that day after our one-on-one session to complete two incredibly difficult tasks I had been frustrated with for months. I did them with ease and happiness and felt satisfied and moved. I have since then taken a Reiki 1 Attunement class with Nicole, and participated in her Light Body Twerkshop for my birthday as well as attended a Sound and Light sound bath event she co-created with Madeline from The End  Brooklyn, a cafe filled with healing plant-based creations, and Anna Toonk, a gifted intuitive tarot reader and Reiki practitioner. If you want to get in touch with yourself, or feel the radiance of someone with a soft power who can help and heal and guide you to being more in tune with your own truth and your own authenticity, if you’re ready to face your fears and call yourself out on your own bullshit, then seek the teachings of Nicole. There’s no wrong answer. There’s no wrong time. 

Nicole has generously offered our Mythsfits 10% off Soul Sessions for the month of June with code XENIA. You can book one here.
 

I Like Watching Tall Dudes Cheer on Tiny Girls: Mitski at Brooklyn Steel

Mistki, Photographed by Ebru Yildiz.

Mistki, Photographed by Ebru Yildiz.

 

I don't know if you have listened to Mitski’s records or found yourself replaying her songs so you can review a lyric, but if you haven't, you should.

I found Mitski in a vacuum of sorts. It was a match made in Spotify Weekly heaven, Mitski and me. I didn't have the opinions of friends or ideas of who her fans were or where they came from. I just knew her melodies had a pop sensibility, which is to say that they stuck in your head. They sounded like they were written in her bedroom. All of this rawness and ease was counterbalanced by another quality, the nuance of someone studied and masterful. Beneath the softness of her voice and the audible emotion, there was a technician. You could hear both equally: the garage-guided girl and the disciplined music academic. Not that those two characters are always two separate ones. Think Winona Ryder, controlled enough to channel the rawness of all the feelings.

I saw Mitski play at Brooklyn Steel on Saturday night. It was the first time I had gone to a show alone in two years that didn't involve a friend's band or Bjork.

The Bowery Presents new venue had just landed in my neighborhood. We have sleepy streets and know our landlords. People buy fresh bread from stores that make their own mozzarella. This venue being here is like having a Skyscraper in a suburb. What place does it have among Catholic churches that still have very small parades on weekdays? The fact that the second largest all-ages venue in Brooklyn was supposedly down Withers if you just kept walking was was something I had to confirm with my own eyes and ears.

I got there right as Mitski was about to go on. It was quiet, even sleepy just outside the main space’s doors when I grabbed two tall boys to and made my way in. As I stepped into the dark space, I sort of felt like Dorothy when opens the door to Oz and the other side is not only filled with a yellow brick road, but is also in color. It was like opening the door and suddenly being in Manhattan.

To my left, handsome, well-dressed guy stood about a foot over me. (Or I imagine this is what he looks like. It was dark and I didn’t make direct eye contact with anyone, because this whole scenario brought out the middle school dance-goer in me.) Opting not to go further into the crowd, I found myself about halfway to the stage. The spectacle of lights and smoke made me feel like I was dreaming. The place was filled from end-to-end with folks I had never seen before. And to my surprise I wasn't the oldest one there. (The vulnerability of Mitski's voice and lyric that had led me to imagine that everyone in there was some other age at which being emotional didn't have to be a secret.)

The drummer came out first and he wailed on his drums from a minute. The sound was crisp and clear and bizarrely resembled what comes out of my headphones despite the hum of a thousand people cheering "Go Mitski!!" at the top of their lungs. You could feel the kick drum vibrate in your heartspace without having your eardrum blown out. The tall guy on my left started to cheer fanatically. "Woohoo!... YEAHHHH WOOOOOHHH!" This surprised me; I don't know why but  when I was younger we thought it was cool to act perpetually unimpressed. But I can get down with these twenty-one year-olds.They have hope. They get excited.

Mitski came out looking very much like the goddess of so many of these young fans' dreams. She sang out her first lyric and the perfection of her pitch and the power of her belt was sort of shocking coming out of this small radio of a human.

Mitski doesn’t just sound good on a record. She’s a true vocalist. Hearing her sing live had the same effect on me that Beyonce’s did when I was sixteen and that Bjork’s has on me always. When she lets the note out, people shut up. They feel it in their tailbones. Mitski fills out the wavelengths of her notes in full. It's powerful. It's feminine. It's soft and scary and natural but also supernatural. It's surprising and mythical. And it's technically masterful.

On the record, the drum machines have the meticulous tick of being digital. Played live on the rims of a snare, they are instead snappy. The guitarist had the familiar vibe of my awesome almost-dorky best-friends from middle school. They were all the type of guys who looked shy and as if they are always concentrating, but when they is suddenly got on a stage to slay a solo, all the girls could easily project all their fantasy narratives about what kind of boyfriend he would be based on his Purchase t-shirt, glasses and which pedal he chose for which solo.

All of this is couched within the context of the crowd's epic reaction. Everywhere I turn the whole crowd knows all the lyrics. They lose their minds when I Don't Smoke or American Girl or basically any song begins. Because there is no moderate Mitski fan. Mitski is Friday Night Lights. It's My So Called Life. It's a moment of perfect vulnerability while you're discovering there's other kinds of music out there. But it's still accessible. It's still natural. Because the feeling of seeing Mitski on stage isn't academic and cerebral, no matter how astute the lyrics are. It's emotive and dramatic. It's instinctive and raw but sounds familiar because it tells the epic tale of your feelings: the discovery of heartbreak or the realization that you’re angry. It’s Puberty…. Part 2.

And towards the end of the set  when she says she'd like to do a couple of songs alone, she sings about telling her mom she is sorry because she can't always pay her rent and can she sleep on her couch. This moment isn't just about how someone who is talented enough to sell out shows in every major city in the USA and also in Europe can't make enough to keep her apartment in Brooklyn while she's on tour. The moment isn't just about Mitski. It's the story of every artistic kid who feels in their heart they might be a genius, they might be an artist, they might be a historian or a poet or a healer, and the anger and confusion of discovering they live in a world in which their creativity and vulnerability resonates with so many people, but will likely lead to couchsurfing, but will end in a place where only dreams are allowed: in the smoke-filled arena among hundreds of strangers who know all the words to the same songs. 

 

The Hierophant: How to Reconcile Your Career, Identity, and Civic Responsibility

Photography by Mike O'Shea, one of my talented best bros. 

Photography by Mike O'Shea, one of my talented best bros. 

I have as of late, been really digging into myself and asking what I want. 

I think for most young people, especially in New York, owning your own business, especially if the business has a physical reality, is a dream. It's a privilege, a creative outlet, and for sure a test of accountability. The part of you that always thought you could creatively direct, financially steer, and of course, have an inner compass and light to be a good team creator as well as a team leader, when you open your own business, all these parts of you puff out and say, Yes! It's my turn. 

As employees we all let this part of us talk shit; as employees we are more in the position of the critic than we are of the creator. We all did it/do it. The IT to which I refer is the sometimes-silent criticizing of business owners. We always think there's something that can be done better. If we are trusted and responsible enough, and/or liked enough, and if we work for owners who have the courageous power to let go a little bit, then we become managers. But for the most part, none of us will ever know what it was like to be the person who we are criticizing. I for my own part, when I managed a bar, found that the owners with whom I worked most were so quiet about all the work they were doing that none of us ever even realized that certain things were being done, until I was doing it myself and making a point to always let people know wtf I was up to purposely debunk any myths of effortlessness or ease.

In any case, I can tell you now as a business owner with only a little over two years under my belt that this shit is fucking hard. I have worked for small businesses my entire adult life. It is not some purposeful decision I made (in fact, I would take the time now to confess that I haven't felt strong enough in my mental capacity, nor strongly enough in the knowledge base until very recently to develop any solid ethos beyond "Be Nice.") My education in small business was a 100% intuitive, which is to say, not-on-purpose. Things fell into my lap, and I always demonstrated a desire to learn, a sort of perfectionism that bordered on workaholism, and above all, a desire to be liked that at times became a need.

For all of the parts of my life that I have filed into the "distraction" or "failure" folders of my memory, there is one common thread it would be hard not to see. I have filled positions as a first-timer at least four times in my career. That is to say, I was a manager when one previously did not exist. I ran an office that was just born, was a Senior Fashion Writer at a magazine that never had a permanent employee. I was a person who struck out into territory for which there was no map. Repeatedly. I was often self-taught in the professional field I entered (I was hired off the sales floor during what I considered to be a temporary job to be a buyer at one of most industry-respected boutiques in New York), and I often had no idea how to measure my success, or in fact, what my goals were.

For all of my 'laid-backness', which I can tell you shows itself most in social situations, I still  have an Aries ego with a truly Gemini moon. What does that mean for those of you who hate or are not up on the more lofty topic of astrology? My mind never stops. I listen to media as I fall asleep. I wake up and open a window on my computer to a documentary and then start reading something. I am amped up 100% of the time until I literally almost fall apart at the seams. My capacity for intake is so high that it is exhausting just to be in a room with me while I passively consume things. 

So what that means for someone like me, is that if you hand me an opportunity, I will not only corral all of my will power for you, I will corral my physical might (lifting half kegs of beer using sheer will), my mind (I will try to better a system once a week, that needs no bettering), and my heart and soul (I will become my job.) Which is great for you. And is a total disaster for me. In every way.

Let's face it. We are not our jobs. We are not our houses. We are not our friends, or our families or even our spiritual practices. This is because of one simple thing. Words are a construct, as our these labels and roles. Careers are for sure a construct. And even for the most enlightened of us, it's rather hard to take power back from the society in which you find your purpose as a friend, as an active member in a relationship or organization, or in which you feel safe, or from the language in which you have expressed and learned and understood the worlds of the exterior as well as the interior.

So if you're not Richard Branson, and you want to be a writer and a business owner, or spend a year writing a novel, or want to learn tarot, herbalism, ceramics and choreography, then you're going to be called a drifter, a hippie, a person with ADHD. You will be called unprofessional, directionless or worse, "not serious". Maybe someone will tell you you lost the plot. And I'm telling you as someone who has invested so much time in healing, from reiki to tarot, past life regression, meditation, buddhism, saging and who knows what else, the words that ring the truest are rather hard to swallow. They are often cliche. (I'll say this 1,000 times, cliches keep surviving for a reason.) They are open-ended, and they leave the brunt of the work on you. How to get in touch with you authentic self. "Get quiet and practice listening." How to find out your soul purpose. "Slow down often enough to ask yourself if you like what you're doing and then be compassionate enough to let yourself explore the things that feel the most 'you'." 

I keep getting the card the Hierophant in my tarot readings. What is this card about? In my tarot workshop with Lindsay Mack, as well as in my reading with one of her students Sarah M. Chappell, I learned this card is about institutions and belief systems. It asks you, Where do  your beliefs come from? Inventory them and ask. I know this is the next task for me and I am having a tremendously difficult time sitting down to do it. Oddly enough, my copy of The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, has been missing for about a year and a half, and last night, I found it on the shelf where I thought it was, and have looked for it over five times, just sitting there in plain sight.

This book was recommended to me by my friend and favorite healer, Hank Hivnor. The book is about how every word is an agreement. I mean that in the most academic and objective way. I remember reading in a linguistics class many years ago that there are 50 words for snow in Eskimo language, because their survival and culture holds the snow to be of utmost importance. By knowing the words, those who speak that language are agreeing on their importance. In the political climate in which we live, I don't think there could be a better or more important time to inventory your belief systems. What does "conservative" mean to you. Or what does the word "highly-educated" make you feel when you hear it. There is so much stigma, so many falsities and sweeping feelings involved in words these days, that it seems like they mean everything but their definition as of late. We can not longer agree on what a "fact" is. We find the word "science" or the word "expert" divisive. 

This is a time when the moths are flying out of the closet and we are being forced as a society to say, wtf have we been locking away and repressing for all this time. And as any healer would tell you to an individual who is going through that same process on an individual level, the first misstep you could make to healing a wound, is to deny that the thing you would rather not see is there, and the second step away from healing you could make would be to demonize and "other" that shadowy part of yourself or your society, rather than compassionately attempt to understand it, so you can address and ultimately change it. 

Listen, I'm a fucking immigrant. I wasn't even born here. But I don't think that the people who have lost their manufacturing jobs or are afraid of Muslims and trans people are mean, evil or stupid. I think they are being manipulated in a truly unethical way by a media means that have no inner sense of responsibility for reporting the truth, and that their fears are being played to because they only know about the "idea" of something. They've never encountered the reality of that something, and so their minds are easily manipulated. They've never met a muslim. Maybe they've never talked to a moderate Democrat. It's a lot easier to say you hate or are scared of a word than it is to walk up to a human being who introduces themselves and picks their child up from school where you are also picking up your child, or patiently waits with you at a doctor's office, and say, "I hate you, I don't want you here. You scare me." 

A more whole representation of the groups of people the current president is attempting to other and fear monger around could change and shift the world. If I had the ability to produce my own television show, it would be about the realities of the middle class. What is it like to live in a suburb and never see a black person and then be called upon to talk about race? What is it like to teach at a public school in the Bronx and have your Muslim students in tears after being bullied and harassed? Or to be a regular citizen trying to understand all of these policies and the best course of action while taking your kids to school and going to work everyday. What about that story? What about our story? (For the record, the best work I have seen being done this way are the PBS series Frontline and the POV documentaries.)

A million digressions, but again, my whole manifesto in starting this piece of writing is that, I am not one thing. You are not one thing. No person is. I am not a label or a word. My mind is poetic and scientific and I am a business owner, a concerned citizen and a writer. I am here to share my story as often as I can and I really encourage you to share yours, too, because I"m listening.  Sifting out our individual identities will help transform our society. If we are to find out why we hate or fear or have knee-jerk reactions about certain people or subjects, then we can come clean with ourselves about the work we have to do as individuals and how that work could change the world. We need to proceed with great strength and caution, but first, clarity and knowledge of who we are and what it is we are fighting for. 

Organization

Why Decluttering Your Space is Gut Wrenching

I have been trying to purge my belongings for the past four years.

I have thrown out at least ten trash bags worth of clothes, donated heaps of books, sent packages to my nieces, and all of that. I have been gifted the "The Art of Tidying" by Marie Kondo twice. I am now reading it for the second time. 

I tend to breeze through books as I am an especially fast reader. But do I actually internalize the information? Yes and no. The thing about the KonMari method of organizing your house once and for-all forever: it's nothing complex. It's actually just a really simple method of curating your space with the author's common-sense details to help you avoid the most common snags and energy-draining traps in the process.

I am about 1/5 through the second reading of the book. I am now reading it more slowly and have unearthed so much emotion in myself that just writing this sentence makes me want to pass out. 

What do we keep?

What Marie Kondo says is that when we clean our spaces we should do it drastically and thoroughly by category over a relatively short period of time (say six months), and that we should think not about what to throw away but what to celebrate, what to keep,  what brings us joy when we hold it in our hands. 

All of the images I share in this post are from Pinterest, where dreamers spend more of their time making inspiration boards than actually getting rid of anything. This house looks so zen but also unrealistic for us New York apt-dwellers. 

All of the images I share in this post are from Pinterest, where dreamers spend more of their time making inspiration boards than actually getting rid of anything. This house looks so zen but also unrealistic for us New York apt-dwellers. 

I am a group-oriented person, or at least I was one for most of my life until recently. What that means is that I shift my personality so that those around me can get along, I become a connector, a smoother-over, an entertainer, whatever the whole requires. I'm genetically predisposed to this behavior. I was born in the Philippines where the mentality of operating as a whole especially amongst the females of the group is in our bloodline. (You think we can't carry behaviors in our bloodline, just watch your cat's behavior and tell me she wasn't once a huntress.) 

That means I think of myself as a sister, as a daughter, as a girlfriend, roommate, ex-girlfriend, etc. These relationships form the core of my identity and so the objects from each of these are like artifacts of myself. I have poems I wrote in the seventh grade when I used to watch The Doors movie way too often and subsequently wrote poems about turtle blood, and moonlight. I have the cassette mixes my friends made me when I was 19 and belts and old headbands my mom gave me. I hold these things in my hands and think about 1) how one day I could become this person again and miss this thing 2) how will this person feel if I discard this ? 3) and this is the heartbreaker for me, what if I forget a memory forever when this object no longer reminds me.

Marie Kondo addresses these issues. She says, you can think of when you got something and why you got it and how it has served you. And then to trust  and know that it has served you and wants to be released from its purgatory as much as you would like to release it. And she also addresses the objects we keep because they are heavy with guilt, sentimentality, memory and of course, the symbol of unlimited time and potential (after all we DIY types can basically make something out of anything.) 

So what does this mean for us? Why does it break us when we go through these objects? Well for one, we have to confront all of the change we have been through, and we are so prone to think of our lives in terms of loss rather than in terms of evolution.

From my Pinterest Board. I just want to get the point where my Inner Grandma looks more intentional than accidental. 

From my Pinterest Board. I just want to get the point where my Inner Grandma looks more intentional than accidental. 

I look at these shot glasses at my house, all mismatched and I remember we used to host parties. We used to have trays of shots on a red silver tray as our friends sat in our cozy living room and have since then slowly over the next ten years we watched our friends move out to Rockaway or the out of state to the south or to the west coast. We watched them opt to live in places that don't require so much of your heart, soul, and body. And as for me, I have since then become embarrassed that I don't have a cleaning lady or live in a West Elm catalog or that the soft spot in the floor has a tear in it, or that there might be old mouse traps lying around from before we got the cat. 

So we become stuck in these nostalgic loops of how we have lost that beautiful time of nonjudgmental obnoxious youth, and yet we do not have enough faith in the fact that we are responsible capable adults, and we hope with all of our hearts we will one day entertain again in our homes, either because we will have evolved past the point of embarrassment or because we will have enough money someday to redo the floors with tile like Chip and Joanna Gainesville on Fixer Upper have done two thousand times. 

And so this is where being in the present moment comes up. The more I go into myself the more I unearth cliches. And the things is how does a cliche sound when we hear it? It sounds trite, it sounds obvious, it sounds familiar. But just like we begin to feel about our mother's advice when we turn about 30 or have our first child, it sounds true, it hits a nerve, it stays in our heads. 

I have been looking at this shelf for a year and a half off and on. Decisive, I am not. 

I have been looking at this shelf for a year and a half off and on. Decisive, I am not. 

I recently watched these videos that stylist and business coach Hilary Rushford offered after doing some self-analysis during her four-month sabbatical, and found one of her exercises echoed sections of the Marie Kondo book. 

In this particular exercise Hilary recommends we sit in our own silence for ten minutes. We can be walking, but no headphones, no phone, no magazines, no books. She says the silence might help us realize what the anxious thoughts we are avoiding actually are. Similarly, Marie Kondo recommends that when we sort our belongings we turn off the music, the tv, the everything and actually confront the object in front of us. That we confront the feelings that rise up. 

It's easy to say who we were, and its easy to say who we want to be but who are we right now, at this moment? What are we living in and living with? How many of our belongings symbolize who we would be when we have more time, have more money, lose more weight? If we can get ourselves to continuously ask this question I am not sure what the outcome will be, but I am certain that something will happen, whether we tap ever-so-lightly at the jenga piece of our identity, or quickly see what happens when we shift swiftly if our gut tells us to.