My First Attempt to (Sort Of) Sugar Detox

sugar cubes

Give mama some suga? No ma’am–not for a week!

Lately, I’ve been falling back into some unhealthy old habits, and have been totally overdoing it on the sweet stuff. Fortunately, it’s more so out of laziness than the strong pull of addiction, which I experienced when I was in the throes of Binge Eating Disorder a little over five years ago. (I’ll get into that in another post.) I know I have the tools to make better choices, but a bit too often I’m just like, “Fuck it. I could get off my ass and take a walk or grab coffee with a friend, but that takes effort, and I’m tired. That triple chocolate cake that’s in the fridge right now sounds fantastic though, and it’s RIGHT THERE, so whatever.”

While my binges are nowhere near as frequent or as large as they used to be, they occur enough to sabotage my productivity (excess sugar makes me EXHAUSTED) and potentially jeopardize my health over time. I’ve heard over and over again that sugar is the devil (haven’t we all?), but I think I’m finally ready to start listening.

Generally, I’m all for everything in moderation, but at this point I’m not sure if sugar is something I can only have a little of. I’m okay when I’m at work and enjoy one chocolate kiss or cookie, but if junk sweets are in the house? FUHGETTABOUTIT. Game over.

I should mention that I’m not trying to cut out all sugar— Continue reading

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Forgiving Myself After Succumbing to My Ego

forgiveness

I came home (to my parents’ house in Jersey) this weekend for a close friend’s wedding, taking Monday and Tuesday off as well to really soak up the quality time at home. I was excited to see close friends, hang out with family, spend a little time in nature, and leisurely write and research my career interests over the four days. I saved today (Tuesday) for the latter part, knowing I’d have some quiet time with both my parents being at work.

I woke up this morning in a sad, grumpy mood. I often used to feel this way on Sundays (the day before work) at home, and sometimes still do at my new apartment. It’s like I’m counting down the hours I have to be completely free and do whatever I want before having to head into the weekly rat race again, and it depresses me. (Sound familiar?) There’s also the pressure of having to be productive and use those precious hours wisely.

Because I’m really trying more than ever to work on curbing my ego to advance myself towards my dreams, I said, “No, Erica. Don’t start this again. Nothing bad has happened. You have no reason to be sad or grumpy. Let’s just go make the best of this beautiful day.” I was happy that I had at least convinced myself into a five minute meditation, but this positive mindset didn’t last for long. I was irritable with my mother and we got into the kind of argument that we haven’t had since I moved out. I didn’t feel like exercising, even though I felt gross from eating lots of junk the night before. I was just feeling annoyed with a tinge of hopelessness.

Long story short, I ended up watching The Wendy Williams Show, Bethenny, and Wendy Williams’ aftershows and hot topics videos ALL. DAY. LONG. in my lavender bathrobe, something I used to do often, just wallowing around in my grumpiness and giving up on my plan to be productive. (Or the idea of running a comb through my hair, evidently, which ends up looking like quite the welcoming nest for a family of sparrows after a long day of lounging around sulking.) Continue reading

Powerful Contemplation on Happiness and Being Carefree

self-meditation

Sometime early on in college, I picked up a cute little book by Barbara Ann Kipfer entitled Self-meditation: 3299 Mantras, Tips, Quotes, and Koans* for Peace and Serenity near the checkout line at Barnes & Noble. I don’t remember being drawn to the cover (pastels are not normally my thing), but I imagine the idea of having so many bite-sized nuggets of positive, spiritual wisdom at my fingertips sold me on the purchase. (Sometimes the new-agey folk can be a bit longwinded. :))  It’s cool to be able to open to any page (since the tips, quotes, and meditations are in no particular order) and gain a little insight right before I leave the house or before bed. (Some of them can be a bit too thought-provoking pre-snooze session though, so I need to be careful or else I end up contemplating existential theories at two in the morning on a work night. Lol.)

Here’s one of the exercises in there that I came across yesterday, which I think could be quite revelatory. I’ll have to add the page number later, as I don’t have the book with me now.

Take in these three parts, noticing (without judging) what you think and how you feel upon doing so.

1) Imagine what it may be like to have no fear, no worry, no stress, no confusion, no one to be angry at, no pressing matters, and nothing to wish or wait for.

2) Invoke an image of yourself as a baby–innocent and carefree.

3) Bring that image and feeling into your life. Look at your life and the people in it without any worry.

Keep in mind, this is merely a contemplation. I don’t believe it’s realistic to think we will never be fearful or stressed.  BUT, at the same time, if you have the ability to ENVISION a carefree, happy you, that means you have the potential within you to be this way. I do believe in the Law of Attraction, which to paraphrase, means “what you think about, you bring about.” So while our lives will never be peachy-keen at every moment, I believe we can skew the ratio in our favor by reframing the way we view life.

We don’t HAVE to become jaded as we get older.

We don’t HAVE to look at life as unfair.

We don’t HAVE to be uptight and stressed out all the time.

These are all choices we make.

Just somethin’ to think about. Too deep for a Friday? 😉

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Peace, love, and glamour,
Rika

*In case you’re wondering what the heck a koan is, Dictionary.com provides a solid definition: “a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning to provoke enlightenment”.

Train-ing Myself to Have Some Patience!

crowded train

I’ve always loved riding the New York City subway. It’s just classic New York. I like the grittiness of it, the ample people watching, listening to people playing music on the subway platforms, and the time it gives me to zone out and think. But before I actually moved to the city this August, I only rode the train occasionally, maybe twice a week at most when I went to college in the Bronx. Now I take it twice a day Monday through Friday, and sometimes on the weekends.

And it ain’t so cute anymore.

*WARNING: RANT UP AHEAD*

First off, the 1 train is ALWAYS crowded, no matter what time of day it is. People walk into the car and just stand by the doors. UM HELLO?!–MOVE IN SO OTHER PEOPLE BESIDES YOU, THE QUEEN OF MOTHEREFFING SHEBA, CAN GET ON! Men sit down before offering their seat to a woman. People blast their music loudly. You’re wearing headphones. WHY do I still hear your music through MY headphones?!

People lean against the pole so that NO ONE ELSE can hold onto it. Men take up two seats because they simply MUST have their legs open at AT LEAST a 120 degree angle. Young women wearing flats sit down in the last available seat even though they see another young woman (ahem, me) wearing heels, completely breaking sisterhood code #73. When getting off the NJ Path train in Hoboken, these Hobokenites don’t have the common sense to WAIT for the people currently ON the train to get OFF of it. They just barrel on in.

Oooooh. My blood boils just thinking about this.

“F*$!ing idiots!” I say in my head, rolling my eyes and clearly expressing irritation.

Not very “peace and love” of me, huh? HA. I know. Continue reading

Channeling Overwhelming Excitement When Beginning New Endeavors

starting line

My passionate nature is one of the things I like most about myself. When I’m interested in something, I soak it up like a sponge, studying it to death, reading about it, tweeting about it, listening to it, talking to people about it, dreaming about it, etc. etc. etc. I love this fire in me.

The only downside is how much it really DOES feel like a FIRE in me. When I care about something wholeheartedly, when something excites the heck out of me and ignites my soul, when I have a project I’m working on that really speaks to me, this feeling of dizzy, overpowering joy punches me right in the gut. My throat and chest tense up, my heart races, and the butterflies in my stomach are something RIDICULOUS, often bringing on a lovely case of nausea.

While I’m psyched about whatever it is I want to embark upon, I get overwhelmed by determining where to start, how to build and maintain a routine to make progress, who the right people to talk to are, and how to balance this project with my fulltime job, errands, personal development routines, and having at least a tiny morsel of a social life so that I do not become a hermit.

I know that much of this stems from perfectionist thinking of mine that things must be done a certain way, in a certain order, at a certain time. This can be paralyzing due to fear of making the “wrong” move. So instead of making progress, I end up researching the hell out of something only to burn out and end up more confused due to the various (often conflicting) sources of information out there. This can leave me feeling defeated and deflated before I’ve even done anything! Research is good, but if you don’t jump in and just do SOMETHING after a certain point, you’re not getting anywhere.

In addition to causing me to get stuck, this overwhelming feeling often makes me want to distract myself (with food, with Facebook, with a sudden, odd obsession with cleaning out my entire wardrobe), which further puts a delay on my development.

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Here are a few things that help me center and calm myself when I feel my mind spinning out of control at the start of a new endeavor:

  • I imagine myself trying to find my way out of a dark tunnel. No matter how far I shine my flashlight, it would be impossible to see all the way to the end. It makes more sense to focus on shining it a mere three feet in front of me (i.e., breaking goals down into bite-size chunks, working with what I know now) and going from there. This idea is comforting because it takes the pressure off trying to figure everything out now.
  • Closing my eyes and taking 10 slow, deep breaths helps put my body at ease. My muscles loosen up and my heart rate to slow down a little.
  • Exercise helps me channel all my happy slash nervous slash excited slash confused energy. I can beat the shit out of a punching bag or go for a run and come back feeling so much mentally lighter and clearer.
  • I ask myself “How will I feel when I go to sleep tonight?” Life shouldn’t just be about doing and accomplishing, but making sure that I’ve done at least one small thing a day to advance myself towards my goals makes me feel like it was a day well-spent.
  • I plan on tracking my steps on a calendar so I can actually look back and see what I’ve been doing to turn dreams into realities. This is to keep me accountable as well as give myself credit for what I’ve done so far.

Beneficial Affirmations and Reminders:

  • Just go! (As well as Just Do It—thanks, Nike!)
  • This is not a dress rehearsal. Your life is happening now. Stop dwelling.
  • Make it happen.
  • It’s not that serious. (Reminds me to loosen up and not take myself or my life TOO seriously.)
  • I’m going to have fun today!
  • I have everything I need to start now.
  • I’m ready.
  • Bring it on.
  • GO!
  • My energy is calm and focused.
  • Everything I do comes from the heart.
  • Just start somewhere.

Do you experience the same feeling of giddy nervousness about taking on something you’re passionate about? How do you control this energy instead of letting yourself run away with it?

Peace, love, and glamour,
Rika

Two Hurdles to Expect When Pursuing Your Dreams

hurdles

We all know that pursuing big goals will not always be smooth sailing, and yet we freak out when things aren’t going exactly according to plan. Sometimes we need someone to tell us stuff we may already know (but can’t see through a cloudy mental state) in order to get the ball rolling again. Well, here ya go! (Oh, and would you please be sure to send me this link when I’M in a funk? Thanks—you’re a doll! 😉 )

1. Waning Motivation

Sudden lack of motivation for something you’re normally extremely passionate about is likely just a result of putting in so much time and excited energy into thinking and working on the project, and so you’re a little burnt out. Or you may be analyzing to death what was once just something you loved to do for fun in order to make it work as a business. (Something artistic types sure go through a lot.) Either way, totally normal.

When dealing with a lack of motivation, I find I either need to get closer to my source of inspiration, or even further from it for a little while.

  • You know what gets you inspired regarding your topic of interest and pursuing your goals. Read about it, go to a workshop, chat with someone who happily and successfully does what you’re trying to do, create a vision board—just expose yourself to whatever gives you that pot-about-to-boil-over feeling of joy and excitement every time, without fail. You’ll get back to being pumped up in no time.
  • Give yourself a little break (a few hours, a day, a week) from the project. Get involved with other interests, volunteer, exercise more, get more sleep, or relax with friends. This will likely rejuvenate you, and even provide new perspectives and ideas regarding your goals. Absence often does make the heart grow fonder.

2. Momentary Self-doubt

Even the most confident among us have days when we question whether or not we have what it takes to do xyz, even though yesterday we felt like we were sitting on top of the world. Maybe it stemmed from criticism from a coworker, a family member asking when we were going to get a “real” job, or just our lovely egos being their natural buzz kill selves. The point is, self-doubt happens sometimes, but we can’t let it drag us down.

  • List all the reasons why you would be good at what you’re trying to do. Recount the progress you’ve made thus far, no matter how small, and give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for that. Tape this to your fridge, bathroom mirror, forehead…wherever you’ll see it often!
  • Try to look at criticism as objectively as possible, and do your best not to take it personal (even if you think it is). Just be real with yourself about your shortcomings, and figure out how you can improve at those.
  • Make a commitment to yourself not to be swayed by certain peoples’ negativity any longer than a moment. Forgive them for judging and making ignorant comments—they’re either doing so because they care and want what’s best for you, know nothing about the field you’re interested in, are not very happy with themselves, and/or simply have no home training! 😉
  • Our egos are really good at sneaking up on us when we’re finally making progress towards our goals. So if you start to hear Debby Downer in the back of your head, just tell her, “Thank you for sharing, but I GOT THIS!” in your BEST George Lopez voice.

Whatever you do, do NOT let these moments make you feel like perhaps you chose the wrong path, because they have happened to everyone who has ever made a living by doing what they love.

So go on and forge ahead! Expecting a few occasional bumps in the road such as waning motivation and self-doubt can actually make them a lot easier to deal with when they inevitably happen.

And they say Pisces aren’t realistic or logical. POW! 😉

Peace, love, and glamour,
Rika

Quote

All growth and accomplishment involves taking a risk,
jumping from one cliff to the next,
leaving your comfort zone,
and leaping,
at least temporarily, into the unknown.

–page 75 from Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know by Barbara de Angelis, Ph. D

My Purpose Brought Me Here

purpose path

Welcome!

Two years ago, when I was 23, I hired life coach, Christine Faucher-Kelley, founder of Luminance Coaching. It was just over a year since I had graduated from college, and I was feeling stuck. I had always felt that there were big things I wanted to do with my life, but I wasn’t sure what those things were. (I had given up on my lifelong dream to pursue a singing career a couple years prior to this, and I was NOT loving the corporate environment I had slipped into due to the sheer need to generate income and begin merging into adult life. *Vomits*)

Yes, in an overwhelming world full of endless options, not knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life at age 23 is not too shocking these days. I could accept that. But I wasn’t okay with not knowing how to articulate what I felt I was brought into this world to contribute. Having always been a self-help junkie, I knew that I had to determine the overall “what” and “why” before I could figure out the specific “how”. I knew I first had to understand my life’s purpose, what I felt the world needed me for, in order to create my most fulfilling life.

Through lots of listening, gentle nudging, and asking some pretty powerful questions, Christine did end up helping me come to realize my life’s purpose: I believe I am here to bring more love, peace, and positivity into the world in a fun, inspiring way. Hey, it might be cheesy, but it’s the truth!

I’ll get into explaining why I feel my purpose is what it is in another post, but for now, just know that it’s lead me to want to create this blog as one way of carrying it out.

 

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So what’s the blog going to be about?

Setting aside my perfectionist qualities for once, I’m sort of just diving in here. I’m not 100% sold on the name which is why I do not have a .com for it. I haven’t designed the layout exactly how I want it. I’m not even entirely sure yet about the content structure, but I’m fairly certain it will contain the following:

  • My thoughts, observations, stories and questions regarding happiness, confidence, spirituality and other life topics
  • Tips from my own experience on how to celebrate and live one’s best life
  • Self-improvement book reviews
  • Powerful quotes
  • Poetry
  • Heck, might even throw in some video clips of me singing, simply because singing gives me joy!

The blog will be honest. It will be open. It will probably be kind of funny. It will not, however, be preachy. I’m a positive person, but I’m not someone who pretends to be happy every second and force-feeds New Age philosophies like some Stepford zombie.

I just believe in a cosmic consciousness. I believe that if more people radiated love, if more of us felt confident and happy within ourselves, treated others with kindness and respect more often, learned to view the world in an overall positive light, and realized that we can ALL shine at the same time, the world would change for the better. The more of us who do this, the more noticeable the change will be.

I would love the blog to be as interactive as possible, so your comments are completely encouraged! All I ask is that you do as Aretha would and keep it respectful. 😉

Talk soon!

Peace, love, and glamour,

Rika