A Small Change I Made In My 30s That’s Been Awesome

A little over three years ago, I moved from NYC to LA. And it’s not an overstatement to say that it was the biggest adjustment of my life. I strongly disliked LA for at least a year, mildly disliked it for another year, and finally started to really dig it in my third year. Now, I’m pretty in love with this city of Angels. It’s warm, there are lots of open spaces, people here love their dogs so much, and the pace of life is slower than New York.

But when I left New York, I remember feeling heartbroken at leaving my mom and my friends, friends who I had known since as early as elementary school. So, when I was having my final hangouts with friends, I remember we all felt very emotional.

A shift happened when I was leaving. I decided to start telling my friend in earnest, “I love you.” Not the quick, “Love ya!” when you’re hanging up the phone or “xoxo” in an email, but the real deal, looking them in the eyes and saying “I love you.” Making everything slow down for a brief moment. It made me kind of nervous to say it to friends, because I got afraid they wouldn’t reciprocate or that I’d look like a crazy person. But it was reciprocated and it felt really good.

There’s something very special about genuinely acknowledging the love between friends, especially as we get older. And we should all remind ourselves that it’s a honor to have friends to say it to.

Hope you are all enjoying your holidays, and telling those you love, that you love them.

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The Beautiful Holidays of Your Thirties

No matter what holidays you celebrate, or where you are right now, I want to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for being here with us. Holidays have meant even more to me in my thirties than they ever have before, because I’m simply so appreciative of the time I get to spend with my friends and family and loved ones. I feel lucky that the holidays are a time when I get to come home, and when the ones I care about are home with me as well.

More than ever, I appreciate the time I have with people who matter to me, and I realize more and more that life is short but beautiful because of the amazing people in my life.

So for a moment let’s slow down the fast paced work clock that ticks constantly at our heels, and allow ourselves to enjoy what we know really matters. Have a wonderful season, enjoy what matters to you in your heart, and lets bring the holidays into our lives as much as we can all year round.

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Charity In Your Thirties

Ten years ago, I saw a movie about Guantanamo Bay that completely incensed me. It was called “The Road To Guantanamo” and it was based on a true story about three Muslims from England who were captured by the US while on their way to wedding in Pakistan. They were mistaken for members of the Taliban and were sent to Guantanamo Bay and tortured for two years. Afterwards they were released without any charges. I was beside myself with outrage and disbelief during and after the film. How did this happen? How could we not know about this?

Then, after a few days, the movie faded from my consciousness. It was never completely gone, and although I still remember my response to it 10 years later, I also remember how helpless I felt to do anything against injustice like that. I told a few people about the movie, but that was it. I don’t even know if they watched it.

Right now, I’m having a similar devastated and equally unuseful feeling in my heart in response to what’s happening in Aleppo, Syria. Reading about children that are being ruthlessly shot on the streets, along with gunned down innocent men and women of all ages, while Syrian citizens reach out for help and to say goodbye on social media channels is horrific to the point that it doesn’t feel real.

The sad truth about what’s happening in Syria is that it’s awful on such a tremendous level that it’s hard to grasp. In Western Aleppo, 70 percent of buildings have been destroyed. Social media messages are going out stating truths that are too horrifying to fathom.

“Abdulla Saleem, 39, a doctor who is living in the bombed out remains of a building, said via WhatsApp, “They are killing everyone. … My friends are doctors, who were providing the only possible medical care to the injured. Now they are butchered. Everyone is dying. I will soon die, too.”

“Where are our supporters?” asked Radhwan Salem, 60. “Believers in humanity, I don’t understand how can the entire world watch this and do nothing. Oh, God, help us.”

As part of the world that is watching, what can I do? What can we do? I received an email recently from Marie Forleo about how horrified she and many other bloggers, authors, and activists including Glennon Doyle Melton, Elizabeth Gilbert, Cheryl Strayed, Brene Brown, Rob Bell and more are feeling about the atrocities in Aleppo. She mentioned how she and they had joined forces with a group called The Compassion Collective. The group has a specific action plan in place to help the citizens in Aleppo:

  • We’re going to purchase and fully equip two ambulances with medicine and medical supplies for 6 months, and enable The White Helmets– 100% VOLUNTEERS- to rescue children and vulnerable people trapped in the rubble;

  • We’ll equip the mobile hospital — which is arriving in Aleppo on Christmas Day — with medicine and supplies for serving the injured;

  • We’re going to help Independent Doctor’s Association fund the planning of the first pediatric hospital in the region; and

  • We’re going to continue to fund the work of the Help Refugees volunteer network devoted to delivering people to safety.

I immediately donated what little I could to the Compassion Collective’s cause, and I shared the information I received from Marie on my Facebook. Hopefully this blogpost will inform you guys about some ways that you can help aid efforts in Aleppo. Don’t feel useless, and don’t think you can’t do anything. Even if you can’t donate any money, which I absolutely understand, simply sharing information  on your social media networks about the Compassion Collective or The White Helmets is helpful. Here are some tweets that are being shared- feel free to copy and repost:

If we’re truly committed to a more loving and just world, we must ACT. http://bit.ly/2hCoOiz @MarieForleo @GilbertLiz @Momastery #Aleppo

 The healing of the world is in our hands. http://bit.ly/2hCoOiz @MarieForleo @GilbertLiz @Momastery @CherylStrayed @BreneBrown #Aleppo

You can also share this article about what anyone can do to help in Syria no matter where they live: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-help-aleppo-syria-what-charities-to-donate-to-2016-12/#contact-your-lawmakers-4

And if you’d like to donate to the Compassion Collective you can Donate directly using this link. 100% of funds received will go directly to aid in Aleppo.

Thanks so much for reading and for being caring and compassionate.

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Syria in 2010

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Syria now

The Feeling of Being In Your Body In Your Thirties

Maybe it’s the meditation. I’ve been practicing for almost two years now so perhaps changes are happening that I don’t even realize. But sometimes, suddenly, in the middle of the day, or late at night, I’m suddenly very aware of the way I’m holding my stomach. My breathe is so shallow it barely reaches below my shoulders, and I’m walking around with an extreme amount of tension. And sometimes, suddenly, I let it all out. Do you ever feel like that?

Do you ever feel, suddenly, amazed to be in your body? I feel like this especially after recovering from being ill or from being hurt in some way- that’s the easiest time to feel it. If you’ve ever had a headache for forever, you might know the grateful feeling after the pain is gone. If you’ve twisted an ankle, or injured your knee, the sudden happiness that comes over you when you start to walk and feel better can be akin to nirvana.

But sometimes I feel this way randomly, without warning. I feel the walls of my apartment- bumpy on my fingertips, the wood floor underneath my feet-cold and indented.  Sometimes when I’m outside I feel a nervous pang as I let my stomach go, realizing I’ve been holding it in for awhile. And then I feel my breathe rush deeply into my entire ribcage.

It’s kind of fascinating and strangely new to feel my body, even though it’s always been there. I’ve already had 32 years with my warm shoulders, my darting eyes, my bony feet. Yet it’s taken this long to scratch the surface of unfurling my numb senses and letting myself be.

Does any of this sound familiar to you guys? Do you also feel you’ve just scratched the surface of “being aware of what your body feels like” or does that not sound familiar? Are these sensations important to you? Have you been working on becoming aware of how you feel in the moment? It’s one of those things that was never a priority for me before, so I’m wondering how others feel about it. Do you feel like awareness is something that’s come to the surface more in your thirties? I definitely do…I wonder if it’s because in our twenties we’re way more consumed outward appearances to others and not nearly as concerned with how we feel within ourselves…

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Unpacking After a Trip In Your Thirties

I just red eyed home after a thirty day work stint in New Orleans, LA, and San Francisco. I feel like the great warm state of California and the incredible city of New Orleans should have left me feeling refreshed but instead I feel in need of a break. A home break, not a travel break.

When I get back to New York after a work trip, I always feel excited and relieved. But I feel especially excited and relieved during the holidays, in December, when my little studio apartment feels like a box of love and light.

This morning, my body kind of ached to stay in my apartment and do nothing. The want was strong for money to just flow to me so I don’t need to travel for it anymore. My unpacked suitcase looked so neat in the corner of my home- I usually unpack right away, but this time I left my bag and slept.

I lit a candle tonight as I unpacked. I removed my items slowly and mechanically from their balled up state. I moved slowly through the evening, my body heavy. I wasted a lot of time attempting to bake a lone sweet potato that didn’t cook through. So I made a mess of things attempting to mash it. This sums up my time in my little bachelorette apartment. The remains of my laundry stayed on the floor as I shoveled sweet potato in my mouth and rushed out the door to see a play.

The evening is cold and bright. Holiday lights sparkle on balconies. My winter boots and puffy jacket are wrinkled from summer storage but they’re so warm and feel so good. I wonder where I put my winter hats.

There’s a lot to do and I need a break. There’s a lot of work ahead. Some good work. And a lot of people ahead. All good. A lot of holidays ahead. And I feel relieved. I feel overwhelmed. I feel dazzled. I feel distinctly New York.

And I have unpacked. I am home. This is what melancholy is to me. And I’m filled with surrender. Im filled with joy.

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