Am I the Only Person Who Gets Randomly Accosted by Crazy-Pants McGhees at Connecticut Bookstores?

One thing I really like to do with my life is watch Super Soul Sunday on the OWN Network every weekend and then immediately haul ass to the New Age section of my local Barnes and Noble in order to impulsively buy every book ever related to that day’s topic while telling myself that it doesn’t count as spending money because it’s food for my spirit, and spirit knows no money so I’m good. Or something.

Anyway. So this is what I was doing recently when, out of the fucking blue, some random dude tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I don’t much care for it.”

If you’re craving a little more context right now, here’s the set up:

  • Me: Wearing a dark gray hoodie-tee-shirt (yes, I dress like a tween on the weekends) and a Patriots hat. I have an open copy of The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav in my hand and, up until the aggressive shoulder-tap from the rando in aisle seven, am reading it with zeal.
  • The Shoulder-Tapper: White male. Appears to be in his forties or fifties. Kind of out of shape but not necessarily fat. Wearing a blue sweatshirt, jeans, and Nike running sneakers. Is kind of twitchy but has the general look of a normal person.

One might reasonably assume that by saying “I don’t much care for it,” the guy was informing me that he had read The Seat of the Soul and was not a fan. Which is what I assumed (and took major offense to, side note, because anybody who “doesn’t much care” for a book that Oprah credits as changing the very direction of her life back in 1989 is clearly a bad a person and probably a hazard to society) at first.

But then he was like, “I used to live in New Rochelle.” And then he paused and took a dramatic breath in, and I was like…?

My first thought was that maybe he was going to say something about my Patriots hat – something along the lines of “I used to live in New Rochelle… and I too am a Patriots fan, so it was rough being in New York during that time. But then I moved to Connecticut and now people are slightly more open to my New England affiliation, but we’re still close enough to the New York border that, well, I don’t much care for it.“

But no.

Instead he followed up with “…until my house got flooded.”

So then in my head I was all, Okay so either he’s going to ask me to make a donation to his cause, or he’s going to murder me.

Help

“And then after the house got flooded,” he continued, “I left and moved to a really nice place up in the Catskills. It was beautiful, new, and surrounded by nature. But then that house got flooded too. So I got another house right after that, but then that one went up in flames and I was put in jail for two weeks until they were able to prove that the fire actually started from the dryer and I had nothing to do with it – which is what I told them all along, but nobody believed me.”

What I might have said in my head if I was as enlightened as I hope to someday be:

  • Aw, I’m honored that this nice man is sharing such personal details of his history with me. We’re all one, and I see myself in him. I sincerely wish him luck in finding a living situation that doesn’t involve catastrophe and disaster. I shall hug and bless him now.

What I actually said in my head:

  • WHY IS NOBODY COMING TO MY RESCUE?! OMG, I feel like Sarah Michelle Gellar in I Know What You Did Last Summer when the killer is like, maiming her with a hook by the large stack of tires and nobody knows about it even though it’s all happening in the midst of a busy parade and you would THINK that one couldn’t get murdered during something as public as a fucking PARADE but somehow there was no one else there in that little area with all the tires at the time, much like how there’s no one else here in the NEW AGE BOOK SECTION OF AN OTHERWISE WELL-POPULATED BARNES AND NOBLE.

What I said out loud:

  • “Oof. That’s rough, man. Sorry to hear it.”

And then he was all, “Yeah—” and then I cut him off and said, “Okay, well, take it easy!” and I immediately darted to the bargain books because there were a solid four people in that section.

I managed to avoid him for the rest of my duration in the store until I left to go have pizza with two friends of mine, both of whom were as confused as I was when I gave a dramatic retelling of the event.

“Why does weird shit always happen to you?” they both asked.

“I don’t know…” I replied. “Maybe because the Universe knows I’m always running out of things to blog about?”

And then we all nodded in agreement.

 

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The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received: “Be the Light”

Lately my spiritual journey has involved a lot of “Why am I here?”-ness.

Not the classic question of “Why am I here?” like, on the planet, though. Mine has been the other classic question of “Why am I here, ‘stuck’ in this place in life when I feel like I have a higher purpose and no matter how much action I take to try and fulfill that purpose NOTHING SEEMS TO BE HAPPENING, AND SO WHAT THE FUCK, UNIVERSE?

And then last week two of my awesome #SpiritJunkie friends and I had the honor of meeting the wonderful author/spiritual teacher/sassy guru Gabrielle Bernstein, whose new book Miracles Now is (a) like a big ol’ cup of chai tea for your soul, and (b) available here.

The energy in the theater during Gabby’s lecture was, in and of itself, a miracle. It was loving and open and just good and yes, I’m being sappy and trite right now because I can.

When the topic of feeling stuck in one’s current place in life came up, Gabby’s advice changed the game for me. She simply said, “Your job is not to be a [fill in the blank with your professional title]. Your job is to be the light.”

Be. The. Light.

gab1

Girlfriend is walking the walk.

I didn’t realize it until that moment, but this has been my mission statement in my writing (where I ultimately feel a higher calling) since day one. Whether it’s by sharing a funny story, opening up about something that really sucked for me, or simply making a weird/corny pun – the goal is always to inspire/heal/entertain/make someone’s day a little less shitty. In other words, the goal is to be the light.

While Gabby spoke, I realized that I’ve been saving so much of my light for some future moment that involves the title of “Published Author” that I’ve been missing out on opportunities to be the light in the present moment of my day-to-day professional life – because at some point I had declared the corporate/media world I work in to be totally void of meaning (which it kind of is, but that’s a whole other Oprah) and therefore decided that I didn’t need to show up with my best self every day.

But the problem there is that by sitting around thinking, Ugh. I’m destined for something greater than this, I was doing a few sabotage-y things to myself and those around me:

  1. Getting lost in anxiety over the future rather than cultivating gratitude for the present moment.
  2. Focusing on where I’m not rather than accepting where I am.
  3. Forgetting that every second is an opportunity to spread love.

In fewer words, I was basically an asshole.

I’ve learned that being discontented with the present moment is a sure sign that the ego is in control. Rather than setting aside personal concerns and doing whatever you can to enhance the lives of those around you (in other words, creating ripples of good energy, in other words, being the light), you’re focused on your own self-importance (in other words, creating ripples of crappy energy, in other words, being the darkness… and not the good kind).

So. I’ve been putting this whole “be the light” thing into practice since I heard Gabby speak, and I have to say that the change in my energy since has indeed been a miracle. Yes, I’m still working toward my long-term writing goals, but I’m also not tripping over the future anymore.

Instead I’m doing whatever I can to be a source of love and positivity for those around me right now. If that means addressing a work situation that I find to be ultimately purposeless in the grand scheme of life, I do it anyway purely because (a) it’s my job, and (b) not doing it would really make someone else’s day shittier – and do I want to be involved with making someone else’s day shitty? No. That’s not very light-y.

(Side note: I feel like normal people probably just stop at (a), which is a valid enough reason to do one’s job, really, but I’m obviously not normal. And if you’re reading my blog, chances are you aren’t, either. Which is a fantastically wonderful thing.)

In conclusion: BE THE LIGHT, NIC. BE THE DAMN LIGHT.

gab2

Gab + Nic = #Light.

 

Five Ways to Stay Zen When Life Seems to be a Total Dick

Lately, as a result of reading Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth, I’ve been really chill about everything in life.

My unprecedentedly Zen demeanor has the people around me kind of shocked.

“Wait,” they say after my bagel order is fucked up and I don’t shriek and/or fall out of my chair in a fit of hysterics, “you’re really not going to have a melodramatic breakdown over this?”

No, I will no longer unravel over bagels, because what are bagels anyways? They’re merely collections of molecules and energy – they’re form, and form never stays the same, and so trying to control or identify with form on any level (especially on the bagel level) is just silly.

But of course most of us are ruled by our egos (in other words, our thoughts), and it’s our egos that wholly identify with form – not just bagels, but our bodies, possessions, and even the thoughts themselves are a form (of energy) – and so THIS is why many of us are assholes. Because we’re trying to control circumstances and build our entire identities on shit that isn’t actually real or permanent.

So when we step back and become aware that the part of us that’s upset is often just a thought and isn’t truly who we are, we can watch as our egos go all “OMG this bagel was supposed to make all my problems go away and now it’s not even the right bagel!” and just laugh at the fact that our egos are big fucking babies.

This is the general approach I’ve been applying to all aspects of life lately, and it’s resulted in quite the shift.

And so here are five responses (all inspired by A New Earth) to common issues to help you remember that nothing in the material world is worth stressing out over. Ever.

(Note: If I sound like an asshole in any of these, it’s because I’m mostly talking to myself.)

1. Oh, that e-mail pissed you off? Well, how about the fact that if there was no electricity in the first place then your computer and/or smartphone would merely be a shitty piece of plastic and metal that takes up space, and so are you really going to allow a shitty piece of plastic and metal that takes up space to fuck with your energy like that? Plus, whoever it was who sent the annoying e-mail probably sent it from the same ego-based place in them that is now flaring up in you and getting all pissed off over a SHITTY PIECE OF PLASTIC AND METAL, so CHILL. (Love you.)

2. That guy doesn’t like you back. Hmmm… and what, exactly, is it about this guy’s perception of you that matters, like, at all? Are you going to be upset over the fact that someone else’s mental image of you isn’t one of total adoration and worship? I mean, even if this guy believed in his heart that you were gross and unlovable and Shrek-esque, what would that really mean? And if he believed that you were hot and brilliant and perfect, what would that really mean? Either way, you are who you are. The reality of the present moment is never going to be any different because of one fucking dude’s thought of who you are.

2a. Wow. Isn’t that shit freeing?

IMG_20140402_072402

3. Your train is late. Unless you plan on becoming a sorcerer of trains and personally controlling all the trains in all the land and putting an end to train delays for the rest of forever, getting angry over this could be a waste of energy. Maybe.

4. You’re 26 and haven’t yet reached any of your major life goals. Okay, so our society is all about ambition! And hard work! And life milestones! And accomplishments! And other shit. Great shit, sure. But there’s plenty of misery in identifying entirely with shit – even if it is great. And yet defining ourselves by our accomplishments is exactly what many of us are programmed to do – we compare ourselves to each other (#Facebook) relentlessly. We calculate our importance, worth, and lovability based on superficial things like job titles, homes, cars, clothes, lifestyles, whatever. But at the end of the day (when we’re all dead, for instance), what REALLY matters? Our external qualities (AKA form)? Or those parts of us that were never identified with form to begin with (AKA our simply Being and connecting and loving)?

5. They fucked up your bagel order. See: the beginning of this post.

 

26 Words to Live By for My 26th Birthday (AKA NicRiah Day)

Today is the anniversary of Mariah Carey’s and my respective births, and why this isn’t a federal holiday yet is beyond me.

But I mean, I’m sure it will be someday, because Catholic people are always in the midst of lent during this time and so they’re likely very irritable for having given something up that they love (unless they’re that guy who’s all “I give up Sprite!” when really his drink of choice is vodka and/or crack – can you drink crack? – but I digress) and so they kind of need a day off from work to help deal with all their Sprite vodka crack withdrawal fits, and so I’m sure a moment will eventually come when the Pope is all, “I have an idea! March 27th is the perfect day for a holiday and it shall be called NicRiah Day” (because why wouldn’t the Catholic church spontaneously create a new holiday in honor of a large-breasted pop diva who loves to be almost-naked on stage and a wacky tall dude from Connecticut who loves to be fully-naked…in beds with other dudes…?), and then before you know it the U.S. government will catch on to the trend and be like, “Well if all these damn Catholics are calling out of work for this new holiday anyways, then why the hell not just make it a thing?” (I think this is how Christmas happened.)

So basically when the future is here and it’s March 27, 2025 and your Jewish coworker is all, “Thanks for the freebie, Catholics!” I hope you’ll turn to the guy and say (in a stern voice), “Don’t thank the Catholics; thank Mariah Carey and Nicolas DiDomizio.”

You’re welcome.

NicRiahDay

That’s me perched upon Mariah Carey’s left ass-cheek. (Side note: That’s me perched upon Mariah Carey’s left ass-cheek — I think this is the sentence I was born to write.)

In totally unrelated and slightly more spiritual news, here’s an unabashedly redundant, cliché, and (seemingly) trite list of 26 words I plan to embody in my approach to life during my 26th year:

  1. Presence
  2. Awareness
  3. Gratitude
  4. Simplicity
  5. Peace
  6. Truth
  7. Stillness
  8. Serenity
  9. Laughter
  10. Ease
  11. Consciousness
  12. Meaning
  13. Energy
  14. Laughter again
  15. Healing
  16. Forgiveness
  17. Laughter again
  18. Absurdity
  19. Transparency
  20. Growth
  21. Trust
  22. Faith
  23. Love
  24. Sprite
  25. Vodka
  26. Crack

KIDDING ABOUT THE CRACK. I HAVE NEVER DONE CRACK.

(I don’t know why I felt the need to scream that. My apologies.)

…Okay, so this post is supposed to be over, but it felt weird to finish with a parenthetical just now. Especially a parenthetical that basically says, “I’m sorry for joking about crack and then screaming at you with caps lock afterward about how I was joking about crack.” That crack joke, really, was just a horrible idea. And now it seems to be holding me hostage. In my own blog. ON MY BIRTHDAY. WTF. Is this what they were warning me about in D.A.R.E. when I was too busy singing Mariah Carey songs in my head to pay attention? Ooh! Mariah. Full circle. Okay. Happy birthday to me. Byeee.

 

It’s Those Damn GED Commercials That Are Making America Fat

Lately I’ve been trying cut back on my bagel intake because summer is approaching, and because carbs.

Also, lately I’ve been having existential crises where I feel like I’m not trying hard enough to succeed in life.

And so now I do this thing where I’ll get all depressed and start watching TV, and then I’ll see one of those commercials for “GED pep talks,” where C-list celebrities like the mom from That ’70s Show are literally paid to motivate people (via telephone hotline) to get off their asses and work towards a GED.

And so then I ask myself, “How the fuck do I feel inadequate when there are these lazy-ass fucks out there who need to be pep-talked into getting a GED?” but then I realize what an elitist snob dickhead I must be for even having a thought like that in the first place, because “Those people couldn’t just casually graduate from high school and go to college and grad school like you did, Nic. Their circumstances were likely adverse growing up, and sometimes they probably couldn’t even eat proper meals,” and so then I just say, “Fine, fuck it,” and figure that I might as well practice gratitude and take advantage of my privilege and just eat a fucking bagel already.

And so basically I’m failing at that whole “cutting back on carbs” thing and my chances of having a six-pack (or really, an any-pack) in time for beach season are nonexistent, and IT’S ALL THE MOM FROM THAT ’70S SHOW’S FAULT.

What a bitch.*

Bagel

*Kidding! She’s delightful.

And Here’s the Douchiest OkCupid Profile EVER

In case you missed it, I recently wrote about how I advertise the fact that I’m a fast pedestrian on OkCupid because it seems like the least douche-y option for my “I’m Really Good At” section. But then just for ha-ha’s I went on this whole tangent about what I’d put in that section if I were a total douche canoe, and it was kind of the best thing ever.

I mean, this:

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.16 PMBecame this:Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.04.04 PM

I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but coming up with that second one was actually the most fun I’ve had in about a fortnight. And so with that in mind, I thought it’d be awesome and probably a little revelatory to sarcastically remake my entire profile in the voice of the Biggest Dick Ever* as part of an imaginary game show I just made up in my head called If I Were a Douche.

Douche

Shit. I just realized I got so carried away with all the O’s that I forgot the U in “Douche.” I’d fix it, but lately I’ve been trying to do this thing where I embrace my imperfections. (Thank you, ekgo.)

So here we go.

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 11.57.34 AMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 11.59.42 AM

Me: Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.00.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.03.08 PM

Shit. Did I just learn something new about myself?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.03.44 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.04.00 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.05.03 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.06.23 PM

Wow. I’m never starting a sentence with the word “also” in a dating profile ever again.

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.06.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.07.55 PM

Okay, Me as the Biggest Dick Ever* is getting kind of annoying – and also a little nonsensical. Chimneys? WTF?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.08.47 PM

Me as the Biggest Dick Ever*:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.02 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.28 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.09.48 PM

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.11.01 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.13.49 PMListen, Me as the Biggest Dick Ever,* you can stop filling out this profile at any time. No one is forcing you to carry this task out to completion. Also, did you just ridicule my entire career as a blogger?

Me:Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.16.54 PMMe as the Biggest Dick Ever*:

Screen shot 2014-03-16 at 12.18.46 PM

OMG but seriously, remember the AOL-butt?

*I realize that, if taken out of context, the name “Biggest Dick Ever” takes on a whole other meaning. So I thought that I should asterisk it every single time it came up in this post. Just so you know that I know.

 

On Awkward Arm Positioning When Sharing a Bed with a New Person

So you know that feeling when you wake up next to a brand new guy and it’s 5:00 a.m. because your body likes to be a total dick sometimes for no reason, and then your mind starts wandering and you’re like, “Perhaps I should get up and pour myself a glass of water,” but you realize you can’t because your arms are so weirdly positioned under/around New Guy that you’re basically trapped and so before you know it you’re having a mental hissy fit about how your arms are assholes and THEY are holding you back from living your best life? And then you get briefly sidetracked as you randomly remember that you need to do your taxes that day, and so you make a mental note for later and feel irrationally accomplished for a good twenty seconds but then you suddenly have to fart and then you have to pee, but again, arms, and so basically the whole thing gets real Armageddon, real fast? And then you look over and New Guy is still asleep and therefore totally unaware of how hard your life is because even after everything that’s just happened, it’s still only 5:03?

That may or may not have been my life a few Saturdays ago.

I eventually sat down in front of my computer to do my taxes this past Saturday, but then I opened Paintbrush and an illustrated graphic of the other Saturday’s debacle just randomly oozed out of me like some kind of weird discharge that one would probably have to send away to a lab for testing if it happened in real life (but that I most likely wouldn’t because now I still haven’t done my taxes and so if there’s anything to be learned from this blog post it’s that I clearly don’t have my self-care priorities in order).

Note: I made the font for my thoughts extra fancy because that’s how they look and sound in my head. They’re British, basically. (In fact, I recommend you read them aloud in an accent as you explore the graphic.)

Sleeeeeep

I think the moral of the story here is that we all need to stop blaming our arms for everything and just accept that life is uncomfortable sometimes. Also, taxes need to not exist, because arms. Wait. Did I just blame my arms for taxes?

 

I’m a Fast Pedestrian with Angry Thoughts, but at the End of the Day I’m Spiritual So It’s All Good

One of the things I advertise on my OkCupid profile is the fact that I can walk really fast through crowded urban streets.

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 8.24.16 PMIt’s not that I’ve ever been particularly proud of this ability – frankly, there are many other, more important things that I can do well – but “walking briskly in New York City” was really the only answer I could think of for that question that didn’t make me sound like a pretentious douche bag who looks in the mirror on an hourly basis and probably has a pet name for his penis. Because that’s nobody’s type.

(Although now that I think about it, I have been involved with or know more than a few of those kinds of dudes. And they never seem to run into any problems getting laid. So maybe I’m wrong and that’s actually everybody’s type?)

(Holy shit. I think I just figured out why I’m single.)

(Hold on…)

Screen shot 2014-03-03 at 9.04.04 PMOkay, I’m ready for all the men to want me now.

(Side note: While the above answer is of course a joke, I did have to change my real-life profile to that for about twenty seconds in order to secure the screen shot. And it was the most anxious, frightening, and uncomfortable – and yet oddly invigorating? – twenty seconds of my life.)

Moving on.

Wait, where was I going with all of this anyways?

Oh, slow people. So I started writing this post from my seat on the commuter train, because basically I had to zigzag my way through an army of molasses-paced pod people at Grand Central Station to get there, and it was so fucking annoying because everyone loves to walk in every which direction while being all “I’m slow and I wear mittens” while I’m just internally like, “ARGH! GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE TALL GUY THROUGH SO HE CAN GO HOME AND DRINK WINE AND GOOGLE LYRICS TO NINETIES POP BALLADS AND FANTASIZE ABOUT BEING FRIENDS WITH OPRAH AND VENT ABOUT HOW SLOW YOU ARE ON HIS BLOG.”

But then I started writing, and then that whole OkCupid introduction turned into a way more involved tangent than I had originally intended it to be, and so by the time I was ready to get into how enraging slow people are, the frustration had worn off and my desire to angrily rant was (mostly) diminished. And then I reminded myself that having to deal with dawdling pedestrians is small. fucking. potatoes compared to the real issues in the world (potato famines, for instance), and we are all cut from the same divine thread of oneness and so really I need to be spreading love and light to everyone — even people with shorter legs than me.

Wow. I’m pretty sure this entire post just turned into like, a deep lesson in perspective, love, forgiveness, and the Golden Rule, all at the same time. You’re welcome for the wisdom.

Now move.

 

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