How Do You Really Want To Feel?

I just want to start this off by saying Happy New Years Eve! Thanks so much for reading and being part of this! We appreciate it immensely and we can’t wait to hang out here with all you guys in 2015!!

So, I’ve been thinking about resolutions for awhile and what they really mean. I covered my financial ones in the last post, but I have some different resolutions I want to share with you here.

Two weeks ago, my workload finally started to lighten up and my holiday time off began. This should have been a time for celebration, but instead it provoked a time of anxiety. This always happens to me- I somehow thought my thirties would start off differently, but they didn’t. My to do list filled up quickly with all the items I hadn’t been able to do because I’d been working out of town. All the major projects (write my one woman show, learn to code HTML, take 6 new classes, find new sources of income, see every friend I’ve been wanting to see plus family, etc) I’d been thinking about came to the forefront and made their way onto my to do list. Plus, there were all the little to-do items like clean the apartment, get laundry done, make more to-do lists, and other small things that still take up time.

At the peak of my anxiety, my roommate casually asked me how I was doing. I told her that I should be doing great, because I have all this time off, but instead I was just worrying more about all the random things I “have” to do. My nerves were fraying when they should be resting.

My roommate told me that she used to get anxious about things like that, but a few years ago, she started concentrating on how she wanted to feel instead. She picked four feelings that she was really after, including feeling alive and abundant. When she started getting anxious or obsessed with to do lists, she went back to her feeling list. Was she feeling alive? If she wasn’t, she simply concentrated on her breathing. When you’re really concentrating on your breathing, you truly have to begin feeling alive- breathing is the literal definition of being alive! It’s at least a great start.

When she was feeling down, she remembered how she wanted to feel abundant. So she made lists of thing she was grateful for and good things that had happened during the day- they could be as small as ‘my apartment is warm. I’m so happy to have my coffee today.’ There’s always something that can make you feel abundant. Most of us live in first world countries- true abundance!

So I’ve stolen her idea (well, she generously gave it to me.) She even said I could use the feelings she chose. So I took ‘abundant’ for myself and you can too if you like. This year, my goal is to go back to the feelings I want to feel even if I’m feeling blah or anxious. Even when I haven’t done it for awhile. Even when I’ve forgotten for weeks. I don’t have to stay down- I can choose to feel differently.

For 2015 I’ve chosen to feel present, abundant, joyous, and radiant. It’s a lot to bite off at once, I know. But I will concentrate on one at a time.

I know it’s hard. I know it doesn’t always work- sometimes sad and anxious feelings take over, and that’s okay. It’s good even. Let them in! But you don’t have to make them permanent guests. Go ahead and choose abundance!

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My Roommate Talks to Strangers on Subways

When we’re both in our kitchen together, my roommate and I tend to have very in depth, funny, and deep conversations. I’m extremely lucky to have her as a roommate- we were strangers who met through Craigslist and we get along extremely well.

We’ve known each other only three months but we talk about everything from meditation to relationships to street harassment to retirement accounts with an equal degree of ease. Our roommate relationship can only be described as a rare personality click.

The other day she described the conversations she has with random people on the subway. I was surprised to hear this- she doesn’t seem like the sort to have impromptu conversations with strangers on public transportation. She’s a fairly quiet and unassuming girl, tiny and thoughtful- a 29 year old english professor and writer who listens to calming music and chills in her room a lot.

She thinks that people probably open up to her because she enjoys hearing their stories; they may sense her friendliness and feel a green light. It’s true that she always gets me opening up, so I guess her energy works with subway people as well.

I recounted to her that as of late I rarely talk to anyone in transit- even though I travel all the time. I used to have lots of conversations with new people at airports and on planes- in fact that’s actually how I met my ex-boyfriend. But lately I’d been using the old ‘kindle and headphone’ trick to stop people from talking to me before they started. My job involves a ton of talking and lately the last thing I wanted to do on a flight to or from work was to talk.

Sometimes while I'm traveling I'll look up from my Kindle to take a funny photo of fellow travelers, but I've rarely talked to them anymore.

Sometimes while I’m traveling I’ll look up from my Kindle to take a funny photo of fellow travelers, but I’ve rarely talked to them anymore.

But after my roommate told me her subway stories, I began to crave conversation with fellow travelers again. “Just be open,” she said. “They’ll sense it.”

And they did.

Once I felt open to listening again, people began to talk. It was like magic. I turned off my kindle and took off my headphones and I met the LA shuttle driver I talked about in my last post. And on my flight from LA, I met an accountant who used to sell time shares and lived in Cancun. There was a young mom chaperoning a crew of girl scouts on the way back from Dallas, various folk from New Orleans, Vancouver, and Hungary at a recent hostel, and a really cool travel blogger named Jo (Indiana Jo) who apparently travels 9 months out of the year and lived in a cave for awhile.

Both being an open listener and a closed privacy-craver have their pros and cons. I heartily enjoy hearing stories and learning about other places and lives, and travel conversation is a great way to do so. But I haven’t yet talked to strangers on the subway…maybe I’m just not open to that yet.

Sometimes, though, it’s nice to just sit quietly while in transit. Like now, I’m actually sitting and writing this on a bus to Philadelphia, while the man next to me sleeps soundly against the window. We never said hi to each other. By the time I got to my seat he was already tuned out and closed off with his kindle and his headphones.

I understood.

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