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.

 

Advertisements

Three Things I’ve Decided About the Search for Love

I recently came across a half-serious/half-bitchy article on Esquire‘s blog that addressed the myriad ways in which my soul sister, Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City, has allegedly corrupted the belief systems of modern women. Within, the author kind of says — no big deal — that my entire life’s work is bullshit. Also, the reason I’m single.

Specifically:

7. Portraying Yourself as Someone Who Can’t Find Love Will [Not] Find You Love. Publicly crafting yourself as a person who can’t find love will not encourage anyone to love you. You should resist every urge to make your dating horrors into a cottage industry. Do not blog about them, do not indicate them in your status updates, and don’t you dare read your personal essays at even one open mic night.

This makes scary sense, doesn’t it? Like, when I first read it, I was all, “Shit, my Internet writing! My blog! I have destroyed ALL chances of ever finding a husband. Should I purchase an impregnated cat now? Or?”

But then I breathed deeply, closed my eyes, and thought to myself, You know what? No.

Because for me – someone who has been healed and inspired by the writings of many a confessional memoirist – writing is all about transparency. And with that, honesty. And so yeah, I’ve written quite a bit about being unable to find a decent man over the past three years (interestingly, just about the amount of time that has elapsed since my last serious relationship… Coincidence? No? Holy shit, it’s not! That article is totally on point and I’m steadfastly getting closer and closer to dying-alone-with-nothing-to-show-for-my-life-but-a-Netflix-account-and-a-freezer-full-of-ice-cream status with every word I type, huh? Wait. NO. I am going to stand in my truth on this one! I’m also going to finish my thought, as I’m pretty sure this parenthetical tangent happens to be in the middle of what should have been a cohesive sentence but has now just become a long schizophrenic ramble about nothing) but at least I’ve never tried to pretend I’m perfect.

With the above in mind, here is my list of three things I have learned about the search for love this year:

1. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved (or to love yourself).

I used to bitch a lot about the concept of self-love being a cliché crock of shit perpetuated by assholes who were already married and therefore never had to put their money where their smug, supposedly self-loving mouths were. But then I devoted this year to my inner journey and realized that maybe I was a little full of shit, too. I read up on spiritual principles, developed a relentless zeal for Oprah’s brilliant series-for-seekers Super Soul Sunday, and adopted a meditation practice. And I realized that I, like everyone else, had some healing to do. So I started reflecting, forgiving, visualizing, and meditating even more. I was doing pretty well. But then I developed a mindset that was all, “Okay, so after enough hours of meditation I’m just going to be perfect and completely healed and self-loving and awesome one hundred percent of the time, and then I’ll be able to allow love into my life. Right?”

IMG_20131202_201754

Sorry, Nic of a few months ago, but no. The path to self-actualization never ends. The only thing that really matters is that we’re making progress and loving ourselves through the process. I’m choosing to believe that my romantic match will agree with me on this. He won’t be perfect himself, and he won’t expect me to be perfect in return. And if he does? He’s not for me. (And furthermore, he’s probably a total douche canoe.)

2. Trying to control outcomes is exhausting and – oh! – pointless.

At the end of the day, Life (capital L, y’all) is gonna do what it do. So I’m going to say that Oprah has it right when she says that love, as with everything else, is all about a) setting an intention (i.e. “I want to meet a quality man who is basically a thirty-year-old version of Nick Jonas except gay and willing to get married and shower me with affection on the regular”); b) taking intuition-led action on that intention (i.e. “I totally just meditated on a love-affirmative mantra, updated my OkCupid profile, and went to a gay bar!”); and then c) surrendering the intention to the universe (i.e. “Okay God, so this isn’t my problem anymore. I’m trusting you to hook me up with my future husband, mmmkay? Thanks!”).

Needless to say, that last step is the hardest part, and yes, I’m still working on it. (Clearly. Or else I wouldn’t be blogging right now, as I’d kind of be busy giving my gay thirty-year-old Nick Jonas husband an epic blowjob.)

2a. Was that last parenthetical TMI?

Probably. But again, writing is all about honesty, right? On that note…

3. Portraying yourself as anything other than someone who can’t find love – when you, in fact, are looking for love and haven’t found it yet – is pretty fucking dishonest.

So, okay. I’m a firm believer that every word we put out there is an energy-carrying affirmation that is likely to manifest itself in our lives in one way or another, so on that level, I’m all about not being whiny and woe-is-me towards love. But I’m also a firm believer that I would be a total asshole if I tried to downplay my struggle over the past few years and cover it up with affirmations like, “Quality men flock to me and love is easy and I’m just, like, flawless! Yay!” (I’d also have absolutely no material, but that’s neither here nor there.)

At the same time, though, I’m not trying to repeat history. And so here is the affirmation I plan to take with me into 2014: “I am grateful for the many valuable lessons I’ve learned from my past romantic misfortunes, and I now know that I am deserving of a healthy partnership with a like-minded man. I trust Life to know when to bring us together. (And until then, I will fucking rock the single life.)”

3a. So now that my inspirational/uplifting moment is over, can we just talk about my gay thirty-year-old Nick Jonas husband character for a second?

I mean, honestly. How perfect would that be? We would be Nic and Nick!

NIC. AND. NICK.

 

I Ingested Windex and Lived to Blog About It

So, the other night I found myself in a familiar position: Windex-ing my bathroom mirror while getting ready for a date.

(Note: This was not because I planned on having the guy over to my place – we were, in fact, actually meeting in his town. I just enjoy having a streak-free shine on my bathroom mirror at all possible times. Plus, as any of my ex-roommates can attest, I have this problem where my bathroom mirror always gets inexplicably filthy for no reason.)

(Or maybe it’s less “for no reason” and more because I brush my teeth like a coked-out toddler, but whatever.)

(…are coked-out toddlers a thing? I really hope not.)

Anyway. As I waxed-on-waxed-off the reflective surface with a fresh Windex wipe, something (and I have no clue what, which clearly goes to show how important it was) startled me – causing me to abruptly jerk my hand toward myself. Then, in the midst of the hand-jerk, my finger got stuck on an innocent-looking-but-actually-very-dangerous corner of the mirror… AND IT WAS SLICED OPEN. (Or just slightly cut, but still.)

Frazzled, I instantly put the bleeding finger in my mouth for some nurturing self-licking…

…only to find that THE WINDEX WIPE WAS STILL IN MY HAND!

And so before I knew what I was doing, I licked it. I licked the Windex.

I licked. The fucking. Windex, y’all.

IMG_20131106_213653_669

Possibly the worst reenactment ever, because a) I had an ACTUAL wipe in my mouth, not just the package, and b) the look on my face was about ten times more terrified than it is here, but c) I’m posting this anyways because I look skinny and that’s really all that matters in the end.

After my life quickly flashed before my eyes (mostly a montage of Mariah Carey, football, cheesecake, and sandwiches… oh, and friends and family), I suddenly went into survival mode and started scrubbing my tongue and rinsing my mouth (with water, Listerine, and – inadvertently – tears) and spitting vigorously into my sink while internally repeating the Sanskrit mantra Om Namah Shivayah (“I honor the divinity that resides within me”… I know this thanks to years of earnest Hindu study Eat, Pray, Love) to myself until I finally felt like a human again.

Then I looked down at my cut finger and saw that it wasn’t even really bleeding, which led me to remember how a phlebotomist recently accused my blood of not flowing, and so then I proceeded to fall into an emotional spiral of panic about how I must be dead inside. (Or something.)

But then I closed my eyes and gave myself a few more meditation/affirmation/breathing minutes – my new this-time-in-English affirmation being, My body restores itself to its natural state of perfect health.

(It should be noted that I was going to go with something more like, My blood flows like a fucking river, but then I thought it might be too specific – because what if the lack of blood-flow was the result of a greater health issue? And so I figured that My body restores itself to its natural state of perfect health was a much better catch-all blanket affirmation, as opposed to the original, which would have probably just been the blood-flow affirmation version of a Band-Aid.)

And it totally worked! After a few minutes, I felt calmer and more relaxed, and I even started to bleed a little, which, in this case, was totally a win.

And so then I put an actual Band-Aid on my finger, and the whole thing ended up being a bit more anticlimactic than it would have been if I had never snapped myself out of my HOLY-SHIT-I’m-DYING spiral in the first place. Which, actually? Was a refreshing change of pace. I think maybe I’m going to try “not flipping out over small things” more often now.

Maybe.

(Although on second thought, is ingesting Windex really a “small thing”? OMG no, it’s huge. I totally underreacted.)

 

%d bloggers like this: