Thoughts on Being Antsy.

Well, there’s no way around it.

Everyone around me is moving.

No literally…it feels like everyone.

Los Angeles. Philly. Tennessee. Portland. Hawaii.

The list goes on and on and on.

I can’t help but feel a little bit antsy. After all, it is my dream to travel the world. Shoot, I want to make that dream my life. I want it to be my full time job.

I think I’ve posted about this subject before…the subject of being antsy. I think I touched on it during an earlier post, but I’m coming back to it now.

I keep reminding myself that everything will happen at just the right time, just as it’s supposed to. Everything will (and always does) fall into place.

It’s not on my time. It’s on God’s time.

Though I am antsy to get out (I have a trip planned every month until October), and my friends and I find the time to talk about our dreams at least once every conversation (oh, hello, mid-20’s!), it occurred to me today that this ‘resting/waiting’ period in my life is not insignificant in the least bit. I am not just sitting around (…okay, that’s nearly impossible for me to do at any time in any place). Things are happening.

I have been wanting to sit down these past few weeks to make a list of what I have going on in my life. Since there is always so much, I felt it necessary to see it all on paper (or my favorite dry erase board). I think this is the time where I sit with what’s in my life and narrow everything down. Do I really need to be focusing on so many things at once? Or can I teach myself how to focus on a few things and really take the time to put my heart and soul into it?

Opportunities keep popping up, and now’s the time to wake up and realize the truth within myself. What am I here for? What is my purpose? What skills can I work on during this ‘resting’ period that will help me better myself and bring me closer to my dreams?

So…though I watch my friends fly/drive away (with saddened/proud eyes and hopeful thoughts of seeing them again real soon), I know that this is where I need to be. This is my place, right now. This is where my lessons are.

And soon, the time will come where it will be my turn. But for now I will soak up the moments that I have here.

Everything is significant.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

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How ’bout unabashedly balling your eyes out…

I sit here in my bed alongside a box of fridge-cold Girl Scout cookies.

Tagalongs to be exact.

There’s a lump in my throat. A little ache in my heart.

And it’s not often that I write two blog posts in a day…but I pretty much felt it necessary after the events and emotions of tonight.

You see, when someone comes into your life and they deeply affect who you are as a person…well, it’s something very, very significant.

I have been blessed enough to know some of the most incredible people who inspire me with their words and actions. I am lucky to have spent a good amount of time with them, too.

Time is a precious gift. When someone gives you their time, that’s when you know they really care. And you never, ever forget that.

I clearly remember the day that I walked into Lisa Rapp’s class. My first Jivamukti class. I had no idea what was coming. I had fair warning that this class was going to be a challenge, but what came of it was something that blew my mind. I like a challenge in yoga but boy, this was a completely different level. I was panting.

But there was just something about that class that drew me in. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I wanted more. I remember going back as much as I could, and I remember the day when I finally introduced myself to Lisa. I was nervous as all get up, like she was some kind of celebrity or somethin’.

I continued to practice this Jivamukti craziness, and soon enough, I found myself training under Lisa as well, which meant that we had one sit down after the next. She cracked me open, she held my hand (…no seriously, she had me crying my eyes out in a coffee shop!!!!). She was with me through so many internal struggles and helped guide me through those so that I could see the light. But most importantly, she made me aware of the strength and beauty that was within myself (..list form, people. like, she really gets me.), and gave me the courage to change what I could. She celebrated with me when I found out that the dreams I had of going to Haiti were coming true. She is the definition of a true teacher, a true spiritual guide.

Tonight, I had one last practice with Lisa before she makes the BIG move to the beautiful island of Hawaii.

And I thought I had gotten all my tears out just a few weeks before when she had her last class at another studio, but I was so wrong.

As I gave her a big hug (one that will have to last me a while…le sigh) and blew her a kiss, I started walking away and could feel the tears forming in my eyes. Then that uncontrollable lump showed up in my throat and within seconds, I was done.

Lisa really gets me.

I mean, she really gets me.

I don’t even have to say a word and she knows what’s going on in my head. Do you know how special that is? She has taught me more than I thought I could ever know. Books are torn up now and it’s all her fault! 🙂

I hope that I can carry on some of the lessons that Lisa has taught me. How to be humble, how to stay true, how to resort to God in every situation. And how to simply just be.

Lisa has been a big light in our community; she has made her mark and she will be missed. She gave her all to the group of us 500 hour TT’s and we will carry everything that she gave us in our hearts for forever and a century.

So, this one’s for you, Asha. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for deeming me ‘Bhramamayi’ or Little Wise One. Thank you for giving me your time, even when you were so busy with your own life. I will think of you each and every time I hear Lauryn Hill, Sade (you know!), Wu-Tang, and Alannis.

I love you to the sun and the moon and the stars and back!

[End sappy rant here. Ugh. This is what these people do to me!]

Thoughts on Imperfections.

a quite dinner for one.

It’s funny how much people comment on the ways that I change after I go on big trips or have crazy life experiences like the Global Seva Challenge.

I don’t really like to call it change, because I still feel the same. I’d rather call it ‘soaking it all in’. You know, life is really short. And if we don’t soak it all in and make ourselves receptive to the world around us, it’s gonna be quite dull.

Don’t know about you, but I’m not for dull!

This past trip to Pennsylvania was just another one of those trips that made me a little more aware of something in my life that I had putting to the side. Seane always, always seems to trigger something different and it astounds me.

It’s kind of nice to come back home with some self work to do.

Here is a true fact: I have never once had a boyfriend. There have been a few ‘almost’ relationships, but for some reason they always seem to fall through the cracks moments before it seems like the definition of ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’ is going to be put on whatever we had. Before a few months ago, I would have blamed it on the boys and all of their flaws, but I think it’s time to take a look at mine.

God bless the man who decides to marry me.

I’m impatient. I’m needy. I’m broken and in need of unconditional affection. My girl brain gets the best of me every five minutes and then I say things that I want to take back moments later.

But most of all…most of all, I have this fear of commitment. And I look back at my whole life and see that trend. I was never one to play a sport or dance or any of those things, simply because in the back of my mind, I was ‘not good enough’.

Whatever that means.

Anyways, I would quit after one, maybe two times of trying, not considering that it takes a little bit of practice before anyone is good at anything. Thank God for yoga. Yoga has taught me that the only definition of ‘good enough’ is the definition you give yourself. You don’t have to be ‘good enough’ for anyone, ever. You just need to be comfortable with you.

Another tangent. My train of thought has momentarily ran off the tracks…

So seeing this fear of commitment come to surface in Pennsylvania gave me a lot to think about on the six+ hour drive back home. Things need to start shifting.

I keep telling myself that there is someone out there; someone who maybe is looking for me but hasn’t found me yet.

But how they heck am I gonna know it’s them if I stay so guarded and in fear for the rest of my life?

I’ll have no idea. Take the blinders off, Elisa. Let this one come into fruition.

I just so happened to start reading the book Tattoos on the Heart the other day. Let’s talk about perfect timing, shall we? It’s like God was looking at me and saying ‘here, read this. right now. it’ll make perfect sense’.

Geez, louise.

“God’s unwieldy love, which cannot be contained by our words, wants to accept all that we are and sees our humanity as the privelaged place to encounter this magnanimous love. No part of our hardwiring or our messy selves is to be disparaged. Where we stand, in all our mistakes and imperfection, is holy ground. It is where God has chosen to be intimate with us and not in any way but this.”

Acceptance.

The one thing we all long for. Acceptance from friends? family? Yea, maybe. But most of all, acceptance of ourselves. Sometimes its hard to accept our flaws. Sometimes it’s hard to accept the circumstances that fill our lives, but we must learn to take what we have for what it is, instead of sugar coating or masking it as something else.

I’m flawed. I’m so flawed. So imperfect, but I have to remember that these flaws are what make me beautiful. God made me this way. He made me this way and He loves me JUST how I am.

And I must…I must continue to be receptive to the situations and people around me, so that I can continue to grow as a person and learn more about the way that I work. Because if I stop growing and start ignoring, what good is that gonna do?

“You may not think the world needs you, but it does. For you are unique, like no one who has been before or who will come after. No one can speak with your voice, say your piece, smile your smile, or shine your light. No one can take your place as it is yours alone to fill. If you are not there to shine your light, who knows how many travelers will lose their way as they pass by your empty space in the darkness.” -Ashley Turner

Regrounding.

I have been itching to get away and go on a roadtrip for weeks.

It seems like the Universe has really been testing my patience lately, and I am trying to take that all into stride. Everything will happen when it’s supposed to, just need to wait, Elisa. Wait…

But I have really wanted to get away for weeks now…and I can never find a way until I actually plan something.

(Goal of the summer: destination nowhere roadtrip)

So I was excited when my mentor Megan told me that Seane Corn, one of the co-founders of Off the Mat, Into the World (an organization that’s super close to my heart for various reasons), was coming to her yoga studio. We took it as an opportunity to get together since I had never met my mentor and she had become a very good friend of mine through the Seva Challenge this past fall (she saw me through a lot, and I’ll never be able to express how truly grateful I am to have her as a mentor and as a friend!).

So there. It was set. I would drive to PA (because airplane tickets can be absolutely insane sometimes, am I right!?) and take the 2 day workshop with Seane.

On Monday morning, I set off early to avoid traffic. My GPS ended up taking me on a very scenic route that was full of beautiful bridges and fields. I soaked up all the glory and goodness during that drive, and found myself talking (out loud) to God about life. One good hour of spilling everything to the One who always listens.

Six hours in and didn’t get lost once! That’s an accomplishment. Arrived at my mentors house and had some time to lay low before the workshop. Naps are a great thing.

my mentors pup, Horatio. cutest. thing. ever.

Then, it was off the The Yoga Loft for a 2 hour teachers intensive and a 2 1/2 hour yoga practice. I am extremely grateful for every opportunity I get to practice with Seane. It is very special when you find a teacher who resonates with you (I’ve been lucky enough to find three already). Every time that I see her, I learn something completely new and completely different. Even if she is giving the same lecture, I’ll pick up on something that I hadn’t before.

So, after 2 hours of discussion and 2 1/2 hours of sweating profusely, we headed back to the house. My Off the Mat friend Maura was also in tow.

Now, I have to take a minute here and explain the uniqueness of relationships within the Off the Mat community. While OTM does an astounding job in making sure that all members of the community have the support that they need whenever they need it, they are also great at helping cultivate relationships between the members., which may or may not be due to the fact that a lot of the members go through extreme experiences together. At the Off the Mat Intensive that I went to last July, I established great, lifelong connections with people from all over the world who cared for and about issues that had to do with our environment. Maura was one of them, and I was excited to reconnect with her during this workshop!

We had planned on a slumber party beforehand, but ended up that we were all so tired that we went to sleep almost right after we got home.

Tuesday morning we woke up refreshed…and sore. Then it was time to get ready for brunch with Seane and a few other members of the OTM community in Bethlehem. It was a great time to get to know each other better, and the fact that Seane took the time to be with us that morning made it even more special.

me, my mentor Megan, Seane, and Maura at brunch!

The afternoon was full of naps and for me, productivity. I often find that I promise myself not to work on trips…and then I always do. Oh well. At least I came back home with less to do, right?

Tuesday night was another workshop and 2 1/2 hour practice that focused on the chakras (go look em up).

Then I felt blissed out/yoga roadkillish.

Wednesday morning I headed back to Virginia, sad to leave (I wish that trip could have lasted an entire week!) but feeling refreshed.

And then, I taught class this morning. And I noticed the difference in my voice. I felt firm and grounded, something that I have not felt in ages. Since I’ve done the Seva Challenge, and especially since I’ve gone to Haiti, I’ve kind of been floating. Everything has been everywhere, and I haven’t been able to find my footing.

So to actually feel so grounded again feels better than anything. It reinspires me to practice and study and pray more and more so that the feeling of groundedness won’t go away.

I am lucky to have people in my life, especially such great teachers, who help guide me to be a better human being. Who awaken my thoughts and awaken my spirit.

Faith into fear. Remembering that God is within every experience.

Gentle reminders these past few days that God is so incredibly good.

Living in a Place of Cultivated Dreams.

dreamy sky.

So, I’ve said it before.

Ghent is kind of the place to be right now. At least that’s what it feels like.

Good things are happening every second…honestly whenever you turn the corner. Little businesses popping up that truly believe in creating a sense of community and greeting each person who steps in the door with a kind, warm smile (which usually ends up in a twenty minute conversation).

As I sit here this morning, trying to find some motivation to put my laundry away (this motivation probably won’t creep up until later on tonight, oh by the way), I realize that I am sitting within a little dream world. Not only in my apartment, but within the five mile radius of my house. The Ghent Bubble, as I sometimes like to call it, serves as a safe haven where dreamers can dream crazy dreams without criticism but rather with ‘that sounds good, let’s try it!’s. Dreams are supported. They are believed in. And things are really starting to happen around here.

As I sift through my list of contacts in my phone, trying to find someone to wander with me (oh look, another distraction from laundry putting awaying<–I just made that up), I realize everyone is busy busy with their list of things to do. Yes, people, I have found a group of friends who are busier than me. Their planners probably beat mine by leaps and bounds.

The community around me is young, and we all want to go places. We have dreams of big, successful, happy lives. It’s good to be in such a transient place like this. We have so much joy for each other when our dreams cultivate themselves. It’s exciting to celebrate with friends as you see them glow and bask in what they really want out of life!

Last night, at one of Ghent’s hot spots, I say the Bob Marley movie, which reinspired me to live in my dream and surround myself with people who believe in the same thing (also, I suggest everyone see this movie, cuz I learned a heck of a lot of fun stuff about Bob Marley).

Over the next few weeks, I hope to introduce you to some of these lovely Ghenties who are really making things happen. I’m lucky to have them as my friends and I want to shout to the world just how wonderful they are!

Okay, ten more minutes of productivity before nanny life starts. Own it, Elisa! PUT. AWAY. THE. LAUNDRY!

A Post About a Whale.

Currently, the only thing that I can think about is the fact that I have to be up to teach a yoga class in less than 6 1/2 hours.

But alas, the [other] lingering thoughts…that needed to be placed somewhere…prevail.

You know how sometimes you just need a good drive with the windows down and the music cranked up real loud?

…Or a really good drive with the windows UP cuz it’s freezing outside (AGAIN..!?) and the music down because you’re listening to the wise words of a friend who’s thoughts end up being better than any song lyrics?

Yea. That was tonight.

These past few days have been full of heavy, rollercoaster like emotion, and I’ve been trying to cope because I’m not really the most emotional person in the world. I don’t USUALLY cry at the drop of a hat, but if you would have shown me a picture of a puppy today, I probably would have lost it.

What the heck.

I’m in an interesting & transitional place, and Ariel put it into great perspective tonight when she said that sometimes waiting is the best part of the growth. Ever since I stepped on the plane to come home from Haiti, I’ve wanted to turn around and go back. But that’s not really how it works. So here I am, back in America, reliving my routine…noticing that everything looks a little different.

While I was in Haiti, I was living my life fully on purpose. And it felt magical. I had never felt so complete.

And now, more than a month later, I’m going through the process of re-entry.

And um, if you haven’t experienced re-entry from a third world country before, it’s sort of rough. Because you never know when it’ll show up in your life.

Haiti has a big pull on my heart, and while other things have factored into the 238 reasons I’m emotional right now, it could play a big part.

It’s hard to look at this culture without bitterness and anger, because when you go to a third world country and come back to a place that is so overabundant that it almost seems like greed, it makes you take 10 steps back and look at the way that you are living.

On the way home from my drive, after I had dropped Ariel back off, I turned on my current favorite car CD, Big House Hallelujah, and chose a more mellow song ‘Belly of the Grave’ by Miss Olivia.

Woah.

That was good timing.

I got home and turned to Jonah and read the little preface that my study bible has to the chapter (I was actually gonna read more but I think this was enough to fill my heart tonight).

So basically Jonah was this guy, right? This guy who got eaten by a whale.

Because instead of loving the city that God commanded him to go to, where there might be people who were considered his enemies, he ran away. He caught a boat going in the opposite direction, not knowing that his choice would have him in the belly of a whale for three days.

….Okay, that’s one to think on. Definitely don’t want to get eaten by a whale tomorrow. Thanks for teaching me that lesson, Jonah.

Reading this made me stop and think…I know that I should feel it all out and let it process, but the anger and the bitterness that comes along with this re-entry…do I really need to hold on to it?

No. I need to see that this country is one that God also loves. He has hope for America just as He has hope for Haiti. All countries are ripe for change, just like Nineveh was in the Bible and just like any other country is now.

I thank God for putting people in my life who support me, understand me, and guide me to think about things like this. I sometimes forget just how lucky I am to know so many angels.

I’m going to work on that.

Ghent Girls Dinner & Craft Night

There are some Mondays that just get me.

Yesterday was one of the days. The whole day dragged itself along, and when I looked at the clock, it had only been 5 minutes since I had looked at it before.

Ever had one of those days? Where every task just seems tedious…and endless?

Blehk.

I was very happy to have the thought of girls night & craft night; these things always seem to show up at just the right time (along with a Grande Chai Tea Latte….).

I had invited some of the ‘Ghent Girls’ (aka all my neighbors & the honorary Ghenties) over to my place for dinner and craft night, inspired by Elsie’s INCREDIBLE/inspiring/jaw dropping/why can’t I be that crafty, dang it blog, A Beautiful Mess.

Cuz who the heck doesn’t love wall art?

I just had no idea it was SO easy to make. And so much cheaper. I mean really, these wall art pieces are reachin $40+ at places like Urban Outfitters…why not just make your own for less than $10!?

I think I have found my craft.

Here’s what happened.

Well first, we stuffed our faces with spaghetti and incredibly chocolatey chocolate cupcakes.

wish you were here

Then.

We got to work! We were all working on different projects, but I was DETERMINED to take this one from start to finish.

First, I painted a bunch of colors on a canvas, because I sometimes don’t have the patience (ah, that word..) to do a paint by number in on sitting.

Then, with the help of Pinterest, I came up with a way witty quote to put on my canvas, and used these nifty reusable vinyl letters.

so much wit, i couldn't stop gigglin.

And then, I simply painted over it with white acrylic.

Painta painta paintaaa.

(Sorry for the really low quality pictures…)

Then I waited for the paint to dry, and peeled off the letters.

Hoooly. Crap. WOAH! POP! BAM BOOM!

Excited, Elisa? YES.

THIS IS THE COOLEST CRAFT EVER.

All day, every day.

Bam. Done. How much fun is that! It was such a simple and easy craft and took no time at all. What a great gift idea, too!

Here are more pictures from the night, and I’ve also included a really, really good music video from a beautifully talented band I discovered last night known as kindlewood. They are magical.

                   

So there you have it, the first Ghent Girls Night of I’m hoping many.

If you have any suggestions for fun and simple crafts, please feel free to share!

Here’s that video I was talking about. Take a minute to watch it, it’ll start your day off right!

Happy May Day, everyone! Until tomorrow.