I did it! At the beginning of this month, I made the move from NYC to western North Carolina. I am currently staying with my folks in the beautiful town of Brevard, starting some new projects with a few local organizations, and taking some time to focus on my personal health and wellness. So far, the change has been great, I’ve slept better in the last two weeks than I have in years! Having the opportunity each day to experience the majesty of nature, just by going in my backyard (we’re on a mountain, so I guess it’s not really a yard, but I’ll call it that), can be either calming or rejuvenating, depending on what I need at that moment. I have already met with so many people who want to help support me and my vision for these new projects, and I feel inspired and encouraged to embark on these new adventures. And the luxury of spending time with my parents, cooking dinner, watching our favorite shows or playing trivia at my dad’s pub, has felt like finding the missing piece in my life. Their love and support has always lifted my spirit, but their presence has truly enhanced this feeling.
The above picture is of a Mala I made, at the suggestion of my teacher. The process was long, but incredibly enriching. I was so fortunate to have my best friend staying with me during my last week or two in the city, and I was super fortunate because she knows all about beads and jewelry! Although she’d never made a Mala before either, we decided to each take it on. From buying the beads, to researching how to make it, to sitting up for hours stringing it sharing stories and laughs and memories; it was a blast. Regardless of the fact that I did have to completely start over and I didn’t finish it until last night! The whole process, from buying the beads to finishing it, took almost a month, but it was so important to go through that process because I truly cherished it. I will always have that memory of doing this with my friend and I felt the utmost satisfaction once it was completed; I felt I really stuck with it and the result was beautiful. It really reflected where I am at this point in my life; working hard, staying determined, being open to change and new beginnings, and ultimately accomplishing my goals. And not only that, I think the most profound thing I learned from this (and I know this was the reason my teacher suggested I do this) was to enjoy the process and experience the moment, rather than keep such a laser-like focus on the end result. I feel so much gratitude towards my teacher and my best friend for going on this journey with me, and I feel so rewarded that I finished it by myself.
I kept the Mala at the top corner of the mat as I practiced this morning, then used it as I recited my mantra at the end. It was a very calming and grounding experience, and it was enhanced by the presence of the tress and mountains around me. After my practice, I immediately wanted to wear it, and didn’t take it off for quite a while; it almost felt like a little hug 🙂
In moments of turmoil, extreme change or distress, we seek comfort in a variety of ways. Some of these ways may be incredibly helpful, but others can unfortunately exacerbate our discomfort. There’s a lot of information out there, and sometimes people (some with the best of intentions), and especially the internet, can overwhelm you with their suggestions. How can you weed out the things that are unhelpful and find what makes you feel comforted? I have been trying this myself, and for me, it has been helpful to take in all the suggestions I get and then explore each one that resonates with me further. Some I threw out immediately, others I really digested and tried to incorporate into my ever-evolving routine. I have always been someone who plays by the rules and wants to do everything right; this experience has taught me that while that is important and will always be part of how I do things, I have given myself the freedom to adapt the rules and trust myself enough to try something different. Sometimes it leads you (seemingly) nowhere, other times you stumble upon something great.
I won’t make any suggestions here, but I want to encourage you to find what things bring you comfort and peace and practice them. Be open to the possibility that things will change and you will need something different all the time. Your practice is for you and no one else. Have fun; be flexible; and no matter what, no matter what outside forces are tugging on you and trying to tear you away, stick with it just DO IT!