share your gifts

There’s no use in hiding your talents or your expertise on a subject unless your goal is to be a hoarder of ideas.

Every piece of technology you use, clothes you wear and the knowledge you gain from reading an article or book has all been because someone decided to ship and share their thoughts.

Don’t rob the world of your gifts. We need you.

plant the seed and live forward

Former colleagues turned friends recently launched a lifestyle brand called Arrow that focuses on creating detailed and meaningful experiences to the community they serve. What’s inspiring about Dani and Gabrielle’s initiative is that they broke through “the norm” of working for others to work with others – on their own terms.

This morning they hosted the first networking event of a three-part series that focuses on health, personal and career development through connection and education. With over 20 women in attendance, we each had an opportunity to meet others in the health and wellness space.

What they’re doing isn’t entirely out of the box, but what’s important to note is that they’re actually doing the things they’ve always said they wanted to do.

They let go of the fear of starting and creating something that has yet to exist and did the damn thing. The important thing to note here is that the women who were breaking bread together were meant to meet each other. From there, we’re all able to connect and support each other on whichever ventures we want to take on.

on decision making

Soon after I finished my internship with the Heat, I was on the job hunt. I worked a few months in retail to cover basic expenses but was still drawn to working in sports and wanted to find my way back in the industry.

I applied and scored interviews with a few major league teams in South Florida, and if there’s one common factor about working in the sports industry it’s that everyone knows everyone – regardless of which sport you work for.

Blessed with being a libra and someone who wants to try everything at least once, at times I’m conflicted on what choice to make when faced with two great opportunities. #firstworldproblems

One day in Spring 2007, I received an offer to work for the Dolphins. The next day, my former boss at the Heat called and told me there’s a position available starting that June. Small world, indeed.

Filled with excitement mixed with anxiety, I remember watching an intense and close NCAA basketball game that evening talking through the decision with my then boyfriend on what team I should work for. Whatever team ended up winning (my memory isn’t the best), I’d take the Heat position.

Most choices I’ve been faced with have been decided in a similar fashion. Instead of over analyzing why one place or job or restaurant is the better option for me, I resort to a little twist of fate. Flip a coin or if XYZ team wins then I’ll go here, if they lose, I’ll go here instead.

Luckily the outcome of the game back in March 2007 helped finesse my most exciting career for the next five years.

start somewhere

I take pride knowing that I am someone that others seek for information and questions about self-care, spirituality, and most recently, yoga.

When articles pop up that seem out of the ordinary like cat yoga, goat yoga or trap yoga, I usually get a few messages asking for my thoughts on this new trend.

What I typically say is that as long as people are moving their bodies, by all means, label the class however you feel.

Meeting people where they are and what they’re attracted to seems like the best way to introduce a newbie to the benefits of a spiritual practice.

ease into it

We’re one month into 2017. It’s okay if your New Year’s resolutions have already dwindled down. The fun part about this whole thing called life is that you can begin again, you can direct the path of your next step and without getting into the woo-woo Jesus and universe stuff, you are the pilot.

I had zero desire to make any resolutions on January 1st. I rang in the new year on a rooftop watching fireworks, with a glass of champagne and a cigar. The best part about this night was that it wasn’t planned weeks in advance.  In fact, it was planned two days prior.

This scenario is pretty much how my life goes. Open to adventure and spontaneity, especially when it’s mixed with the feeling of “oh, this feels right” and “wtf am I doing.”

Although I wasn’t plugged into my timeline on Jan. 1, I watched the posts go up in the subsequent days after:
“2017 is my year!”
“Back in the gym, let’s get it!”
“New year new me”
“Backpacking through Europe by the end of the Summer #goals”

Meanwhile, I was casually doing what I normally do. Meditate, move my body, begin again with a fresh slate.

[Full disclosure – there’s nothing wrong with setting goals. What I want to iterate is that in my experience, goals are accomplished when they’re influenced by a feeling that I want to have throughout the process]

I think what people get caught up most around is the feeling of instant pleasure, instant gratification and a sense of “I need to be doing something at all times to feel fulfilled and accomplished.” I’ve had this mindset before, and it tore me apart after a few months of not feeling fulfilled. So, I decided to let go of this narrative.

It’s okay to slow down. It’s okay to take your time and map out your next steps. It’s okay to ease into each scenario you face.

So as long as whatever decision you make coincides with the feeling(s) you want to be conscious of along the way.

how you do anything is how you do everything

I’m pretty sure I heard this phrase in one of Tim Ferriss’s podcasts; or at least a version of ‘the little things add up to the big things.’

I paused the audio, wrote the phrase on a sticky note and placed it on a mirror in my closet that I see every day.

This has been posted for at least three months.

There were days that I blindly didn’t pay attention to the note, but I’d find myself repeating the phrase in my mind the moment I would reach for my phone instead of folding clothes. Or moments when the last thing I’d want to do is twist my hair (a process that takes at least 30 minutes), read a book or write in my journal.

“How you do anything is how you do everything.”

I’d pat myself on the back while shouting ‘yassss Sab!’ when I’d untwist my hair, look in the mirror and thank the natural hair based God for blessing me with a good hair day. Talk about a confidence booster.

The subtle habits of taking care of myself mixed with the practice of pratyahara – a conscious effort to draw away from outside stimuli and the external world (see: social media) – has helped me not only be more presentable when I’m out and about, but laser focused on making steady progress in all facets of my life.

The bonus is that I’m able to congratulate myself and celebrate the small victories that I’ve achieved along the way.

make the world a better place by letting go of your ego.

“Compassion is threatening to the ego. We might think of it as something warm and soothing, but actually it’s very raw. When we set out to support other beings, when we go so far as to stand in their shoes, when we aspire to never close down to anyone, we quickly find ourselves in the uncomfortable territory of ‘life not on my terms.'” – Pema Chödron

I read this quote at least three times the first time I came across it. It’s from Pema’s Living Beautifully, a book that I’ve been referencing often thanks to my fellow ruckusmaker, Tamara.

Not everyone is an empath or compassionate by default, but I believe it can be learned.

“Move consciously into the pain of the world in order to help alleviate it” – Pema, again. 

This takes courage and relinquishment of control. Not everyone is willing to do this, but the ones who are make the world a better place.

I Meditated for 90 Days In a Row. Here’s What I Learned.

  1. Stay the course. There will be shitty days. Even when you meditate. What I’ve come to terms with is that every thought and feeling comes in waves. Never get too high, never get too low – just stay the course.
  2. It’s okay to be selfish. The more often that I make sure my needs are met, the better I show up in the world. Yes, this means to be selfish when it comes to self-care. If you’re not happy, chances are others around you will catch the vibe and ultimately not be in the best mood either.
  3. Push through the discomfort. Twenty minutes in silence is no longer unbearable. Granted, there are days (see: when I’m premenstrual) where I fidget, where I’m cranky and focusing on breathing is the last thing I want to do – but that feeling only lasts for a couple minutes. When I allow the discomfort to pass, the process of meditating becomes easier.
  4. Begin again. There were a few days where I rushed to get out the door and didn’t have time to meditate before getting the day started. Instead of beating myself up over waking up late, I used tools throughout the day that I learned from Andy to help set the tone for a better mood and clearer thoughts over the course of the day.
  5. Create better habits. More often than not, I look forward to meditating each morning. Over the course of the 90+ days, I’ve created better habits that have significantly decreased my anxieties and improved my overall health. Habits like drinking water first thing in the morning, reading daily affirmations aloud, writing 10 things I’m grateful for each night, and ending showers with a 5-10 second cold water shock. Still getting used to that last part.
  6. Reality is a myth…or something. The jury is still out. Meditating is a gateway drug to understanding your consciousness. The more I began to acknowledge the thoughts that arise, the more curious I became to figure out how the mind works. This led me to visits to the library where I read and checked out Life Visioning, Living Beautifully: With Uncertainty and Change and Waking Up, as well as read dozens of articles related to religion, spirituality, and meta physics. It got weird and interesting quickly.
  7. Silence is golden. Listen intently to everything. A TV doesn’t always have to be on, music doesn’t always have to be in your headphones, driving in silence can actually be therapeutic. Absorb the silence around you and let it fill you with calmness.
  8. Listen with purpose. Conversations with friends, family and people I interview have been more constructive because I’ve learned to listen and be fully present in each convo.
  9. Speaking up, especially when you’re not okay, is key.  Prior to having a consistent meditation (and gratitude) practice I used to wallow in guilt and shame, thinking that everyone knew my thoughts, and I’d hide as a result. Now, I speak up if I’m feeling a type of way and go about my day knowing that I am not my thoughts or feelings. This comes from making a connection to what thoughts come up to what feelings arise from them, and not letting those feelings consume me.
  10. There is no rush. About two years ago, I purchased a pendant to remind myself to slow down. What I didn’t know at the time, and up until recently, is that I’d become more aware of surroundings, people and situations that came up as a result of slowing down actions and thoughts. Life has always been pretty good, but now it’s definitely more enjoyable – even in the mundane moments of silent meditation.

Bonus lesson: Pay it forward. I meditate for you. Life isn’t always easy, nor is it always fair. A lot of people are suffering all over the world and I realize that I’m fortunate enough (you are too) to be able to breathe, to write, to express my thoughts to help someone else along this journey.

Because of this 90-day streak and milestone, the makers of Headspace have graciously gifted me with a free 3-month subscription, which I will generously give to a lucky reader. If you like what you’re reading, been a follower for some time, or randomly came across this blog (hi!), subscribe here to get the latest scoop on my random musings, and a chance to win 3 free months of Headspace. I’ll pick the lucky winner on Monday, January 16th. Already subscribed? Thanks, I love you. You’ll be part of the drawing as well.

exposing truths and facing reality

There’s a deep sense of somberness that I felt all day today, the day that Donald Trump has officially been elected as the next President of the United States of America.

Today, I was much more cognizant of my surroundings, the people I interacted with, the modes of transportation I took and being very intentional with truly seeing everything for what it was in the moment.

Instead of driving to the city, I decided to take the train. I wanted to be upfront and feel the presence of others around me, see their faces and read their emotions instead of focusing on being behind the wheel.

The majority of the people on the train were black, and I wondered what they felt. Some folks looked despondent, younger kids with their backpacks hung their heads with headphones in and the most engaging group of people I saw were communicating with each other through sign language. In essence, it was more silent than usual, and you could feel a sense of depletion as everyone just tried to put one foot forward and continue on with their lives.

People are just trying to survive. To make it. With any support that they have.

Maybe the fact that DT is the new President Elect hasn’t affected everyone. Maybe this was just another day for most people, and I’m a bit jealous of those with political apathy.

Watching the results come in last night with my dad was tough – as he laughed and gained excitement as the shock came over him that more states turned from yellow to blue to red, permanently. His definition of a ‘good time’ is different from mine, especially when it comes to politics, but what I’ve come to terms with is that I’m very grateful that I was able to watch this unfold with him. In a past life he was a political journalist, possibly a president, and the turn of events during every part of this election and each campaign has made this an exciting time for him. There wasn’t enough wine for us to come to terms of the reality of what transpired at 2am (or 3am? I can’t remember), but what I know to be true is that the results put a stamp on what America was built upon – greed, racism, bigotry, white supremacy.

I believe the results of this election has exposed everyone and everything. All cards are out on the table for all to see, and there’s nothing left but to fight in order to heal the wounds. The wounds exposed of the underrepresented, marginalized and unheard. It’s not easy, and compromises have to happen if the end goal is for us to be better, together – no matter what our differences are.

I’m grateful for the friends and family who’ve reached out to me – a support system is ever so needed during times like this.

So what do I want to say?

Life is hard. There are terrible people out there, and now more than ever we have to remain courageous and be resilient if we ever want to get to peace and unity for all. It may not happen in my lifetime, but it’s worth striving for – for our future generations. It’s not about us. It’s about what’s possible.

But in order for us to even get to what’s possible, we have to face what is directly in front of us. And that means facing fears, having difficult conversations, and exposing truths – whether you agree with them or not.

So what helps getting through times like this? Taking time to sit with your thoughts and feelings – and understand that these do not define you. Acknowledge the joys and pains of what’s happening when you’re silent, and know that you’re not alone in these thoughts. They’re all valid. What’s helped for me is that taking the time to sit in this silence, to disconnect from the media, to meditate (and not fighting what comes up) is ever prevalent when I go through tumultuous times. Using the tools that I know from an app like Headspace, or books like Deep Work and Waking Up, this is what it’s for. To navigate during the difficult times and being able to not only see the light ahead, but become the light for others to see themselves.

Also, action cures fear forever and always. Take the time that’s needed (#selfcare), but also use these setbacks as more drive that lights the fire within to create work that you care about, work that helps others be better people to others.

Change can be hard, but it’s the only thing that’s constant. We might as well learn how to navigate the trenches thoughtfully, by being kind to ourselves and by developing a sense of empathy so we’re able to cultivate a promising path for those to follow our lead.

the 6 best moments of year 31

Spinning off of last year’s post, I decided to write out the highlights from another turn around the sun.

Maybe I’ll keep this going through this decade, who knows. But it feels good to reflect on what I accomplished, who I helped and who helped me during these 12 months.

I’ve maintained keeping track of thoughts, deadlines, goals, and tasks in my planner and journals. If it weren’t for these, I probably wouldn’t have remembered half of the things that happened this year.

This year’s subliminal theme was all about slowing down. Shortly after I turned 31, I began to pay attention to the physical aspects of my body – why I couldn’t lift as much weight or do certain exercises how I used to. In the middle of conversations with my therapist around November of 2015,  she told me to take it easy on myself. Stop forcing things to be as they were – in the literal form of exercise and expecting similar results, and metaphorically – allowing change to happen.

I stopped doing all the things that I had been doing for 6+ years, and just tuned in to sensations and emotions that came up when I sat still instead of feeling the need to “do” something to occupy time and space.

Little did I know what would come up when I just stopped resisting, everything.

The 6 best moments that happened this past year were: 

Major takeaways from each:

  • There are a handful of people that truly know what I’ve managed to overcome throughout the years. I’m stubborn and often times hard-headed, but I know what I’m capable of accomplishing and creating. These same people helped me remind myself how dope I am :) I took another leap, and am now in complete creation mode – working on projects that will make our world a better place to live.
  • Being able to share my skills and donate my time to two local organizations that are literally changing and helping lives of our future generation, has been a tremendous honor. Focus on our youth – they absorb everything and we have every resource and tool to help them succeed.
  • Slowing down also meant feeling – everything. I stopped CrossFitting religiously, actually, entirely. Protecting my body from more physical damage has been my main goal, and working with a physical therapist has proven to be life-changing. Aside from the physical benefits of gaining a bit more mobility, I’ve managed to jump into a rabbit hole of connecting chiropractic care to mental health. Everything (almost) makes sense now :)
  • Yoga, mindfulness and meditation are all buzz words now. The self help industry is an $11 billion – yes billion – dollar industry. In the U.S. it feels like everyone is trying to “find happiness” in the midst of what seems like a complete clusterf*ck of ideas, people and policies. However, what has helped me reclaim my sanity and create work from love instead of fear, has been my consistent meditation practice. When in doubt, focus on your breath.
  • With that said, clearing my mind allows for space to create. It took me over a year to announce and manifest #tanthemat into something tangible, and here we are. What felt like a small project at the beginning, manifested into something completely different than what I expected, and I have a network of beautiful humans over the world that are not only inspiring me, but are healing communities through their work.
  • #somanybabies. 2-3 years ago, four of my closest cousins/brothers/sisters got married. These same people popped out babies this year. The world is so much better now that there is a generation of women [smile] with roots from Haiti, India, Cuba and Singapore. #diversitymatters. I’m incredibly grateful to be an aunt and role model for them!

32. I welcome you with open arms. It’s my magic year – let’s do this.