I Chose to Swim in November

Yesterday I woke up with the crazy idea that I could choose my life.  It was 6:30 in the morning, and I had 30 minutes of snooze time before I had to wake up for work, but I felt restless.  I just didn’t want to drive through traffic only to sit at a desk and try to avoid eye contact with my everydaymorehateful CEO.  I didn’t want to have to put on a cold face and a serious voice to hide what my boss calls “caring too much.”  I didn’t want to go, but that wasn’t why I felt restless at 6:30 am on a Wednesday.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that, despite how powerless I felt in choosing my life, I was in full control.  I couldn’t block the knowledge that each day I shape my day around a job and life I find meaningless, the more meaningless my job and life becomes.  I couldn’t ignore my responsibility in the whole thing.  I didn’t want to.  What’s worse after all?  Feeling like you can’t control your life, or feeling that you can, BUT?
So I didn’t go.  I woke up, got dressed like a normally would, got in my car, and went to get the mirror on my car fixed.  It had been bothering me a while, and I got sick of ignoring it.  I went to a yoga class, bought some delicious juice, and headed straight to the beach with a book.  I jumped in the November ocean and loved the rush of cold on my skin.  As I dove under a wave I thought, yes, I can choose my life, and I chose to swim in November.  In the solitude of a Wednesday in November, I felt more in touch with people than I had in a while.  After all, we live in our choices, and our soul is in our decisions, and I chose to dive into icy water and allow the oceanic lull to calm the adrenaline and I chose to be alive as me instead of survive as everyone else and I wanted to breathe in the water and live like a dolphin and exhale freedom and I wanted to swim away into the unknown and never come back…and walking back to my lonely towel I knew the truth – that this is why we move, this is why we progress, this is why we’ve explored new lands and discovered wonders and seek understanding – that we are powerful, and responsibility is personal, and eternity is a reply to the choices we make in the present.
I smoked and walked out onto the jetty.  The rocks were slippery.  That’s always my excuse not to walk out too far.  But there was a pod of dolphins were playing in the shallows.  The bigger ones were swimming around the surfers and the sun was setting.  A baby dolphin was swimming around the bigger ones until one of them ducked under the water and flipped the baby into the air.  The water was seafoam and orange.  The waves were white and silver.  The rocks were slippery, but those little decisions on where to place your foot next allowed me to experience instinct.  If I hesitated, I would second guess myself or take too long moving my feet and get off balance.  If I just walked, a rock was was always there.
I also had a bougie lunch at a nice restaurant with red wine with a drug dealer and his friends.  I meditated with a hippie and ate a pistachio macaroon.  I did a headstand because I felt like it would be fun to go upside down.  But most of all, it was November and I jumped in the ocean.  But most of all, I made a choice to be free of all the bullshit for a moment.  But most of all, if freedom is a choice, we are always free, and that’s what made the ocean in November feel so good.

I Stopped Believing in Myself – This is What Happened Next

I had been losing a lot of sleep.  I kept waking up in the middle of the night, worried about what I was going to do.  What if this is wrong?  What if I miss out on something else?  What the hell am I thinking?
I realize that it’s just too hard to believe in myself.  I’m as flaky as they come.  My mind changes by the week and my heart by the minute.  When I try to imagine the future all I find is uncertainty.  The more I dwell on the unknown the less I believe in my choice. Every word of encouragement my heart whispers is followed by two shouts of doubt.  I have been stuck in a storm of my own insecurities.  For years I have chosen the safety of stagnancy because I don’t trust myself in the ocean of the unknown.  It is hard for me to embark across the ocean when I’m afraid at the thought of a storm.  Because it is too hard for me to believe in myself, I decided the only logical thing to do is to believe in Something Else.  For me, that Something Else is God.
Because I cannot believe in myself, I decided to believe in Something Else.
So, I give away the trust in myself – it wasn’t working for me anyway.  Something Else can have it.  Something Else is in control and my job is to only accept.  I found that when I made myself the vessel instead of the Captain, a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders.  I found that the more I gave my control to Something Else, the more I was aware of Its presence.  The more power I give to the Captain, the less power I give to the storm.  I prayed that Something Else would take the control.  I prayed that a Captain would be willing to take over a lost boat.
When I got home that day, I had a letter waiting for me.  The letter is from a friend I met while in Italy.  We talk pretty often, and I had confided in her that I was afraid of leaving my secure life.  The letter was short.  “I hope you’re doing better since we last talked,” she wrote.  “If you are waiting for a sign, here it is.” 
I stared at the letter for a while and knew that my prayer had been heard.  I was filled with more hope and optimism than I had felt in a very long time and I was overjoyed with appreciation.
I slept soundly for the first time in days.  The ocean of the unknown was calm and I felt secure in my choice for the first time since I had made it.  After all, I  have the easy job now.  No captain wants to let his vessel drown.

Why I Decided to Go to Canada Alone

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September 17, 2013 3:00pm Central

Chicago, Illinois

I am sitting in Chicago’s airport waiting for my connection to Buffalo, New York.  Outside the window is land and sky.  From Buffalo I will go to Canada, to meet Jasmine in Toronto.  I don’t know what we will do there, but it is better than what I would be doing if I had stayed.  Maybe I can’t say that anymore.  Five days ago this was an entirely different trip, for a different end result, but I don’t want to talk about that now.

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Day On Avenida Paulista

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August 14, 2012 – 11:45PM SP time

Today I had classes all day.  I had a huge break between them though, so I was able to explore Avenida Paulista.  I wanted to go to the museum (MASP), but the line was CRAZY because it was free day.  I didn’t want to waste my time in line, so I decided to go to the case de las rosas, a museum dedicated to Brazilian poetry.  It was beautiful.  It’s weird how it’s just right in the middle of a huge shopping street.

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People Who Live in Sao Paulo, Brasil

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August 13 – 11:24m SP time

Had my first day of classes today.  They went really well!

The first girl, Fabiana is trying to get a job and learns English.  I teach her every day.  My second class was in a beautiful high rise apartment.  The view was amazing.  She is a lawyer and newlywed.  My third class was with a girl who is 24.  She designs jewelry.  Her best friend is actually Mariana’s cousin.  So after I try to teach her class (she doesn’t know much English yet) she told me she would introduce me to her friends.  They are all so nice.  One of them looked just like Holly.  That girl went to North Carolina for all of college so she is completely fluent in English.  It was super fun…oh they are also just like my friends.  Yeah.  That’s right.  I tried a Braziliian sandwich.  Two bites and I was full.

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Getting Home Part 2

9:00 AM, Italy Time

My nutella trick didn’t work.   WTH.  I still can’t believe that.  I need to work on my booby trap skills.

So after getting back I fell “asleep.” I woke up at 6 in Naples, then at 7 we got to Termini station in Rome.  I ate a muffin and proceeded to run to the Leonardo Express.  It was way easier than arriving.  At least my Italian can get me directions now.

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