Breathe: lessons from a year in New York City

Riding with Peace

A year ago today I moved to New York City!

I have learned many lessons over the last year since I moved to New York for it has been a challenging transition of many transitions.  I’ve moved five times, had three storage units, experienced being homeless for a month and I’ve mastered the sport of sofa surfing.  Furthermore, I’ve been scammed out of an apartment and had my most valuable work tool (my iMac) stolen from my storage unit.  At the same time, I have been thriving in my tap dance lessons and furthering my career objectives.  I have successfully started a couple radio shows, scored a couple movies, learned the ukulele, written a number of new songs! I am also in the process of writing my first book and planning my next album.  Yet through it all (good and bad) I have maintained a balance of sanity and serenity because of the spiritual bond with my recovery family here in the city, the continued connections of family and friends from elsewhere, and most of all, my practice of meditation. Now, I don’t think of myself as an overachiever for I am not out to prove anything or to be better than anyone else.  Though I am human and I do have a competitive streak, my intention is to be better than no one, but better than I was.  I do not want to be complacent.  I want to expand my life as much as humanly possible, and with the force of my Higher Power working through me, I am empowered to produce way beyond my comprehension. For me, it’s okay and necessary to take rests and enjoy the rewards of accomplishments, but once I get restless, I know it’s time for me to get moving and shaking again.  It is now time to make a choice of how I am going to channel my energy: to create or mis-create.   I spent most of my adult life mis-creating and sabotaging most every one of my successes before they came to full fruition.

Lately, my mind has become cluttered with so many ideas and projects that it is sometimes easy to feel suffocated by my own goals and dreams.

I love to produce and I thrive on juggling projects because when I get blocked or bored with one, I have something else to stimulate my over active brain.  To counter this and keep a grip on potential mania, I have learned that I must keep up a healthy practice of meditation so that when I do get lost in my mind, I can find my way to serenity.  As soon as I become complacent with my Spiritual practice, I begin to channel my energy in old behaviors that do not serve me or anyone around me. Last Sunday, after attending a powerful and enlightening spiritual discussion, I was riding peacefully on my bike to meet up with a friend. Peaceful, that is, until a man driving a utility vehicle crossed over the bike lane right in front of me nearly causing me to crash into him. He then rolled down his window to call me a few choice words in that stereotypical New York fashion.  I’m sorry to say that I reflected his hostility perfectly and I missed a great opportunity to retreat to the quiet space I find in my meditation. So what happened?

In a New York minute, my thoughts went from peace to poison. 

I realize now this wasn’t a scene that came out of nowhere.   In the weeks preceding this incident, I found myself  becoming short tempered on my bike commutes barking loudly at people to get out of my territory: the bike lane.  I was building up steam.  I had thoughts of having an accident and became increasingly afraid.  I was conscious of these thoughts and actually tried to turn them around, yet I could not let go of the justification of being boisterous because, after all, I was in the right. Pedestrians think of the bike lane as an extension of the side walk, and vehicles use the designated bike lane to double park. I began riding offensively rather than defensively.  My mantra of “I ride for the safety of everyone” was forgotten. Instead, my mantra became “get out of the bike lane @$$#%/&!” I had not only visualized an accident in my mind a hundred times, but I was expecting it.   When this man in the utility truck cut me off, it pushed the button and I was ready.  AHA! I had reacted upon that which I was meditating! I had been PRE-Meditating a face to face conflict with someone who was going to run me off the road. I was contemplating aggressive reactions more than safety and spiritual resolutions.

THE SOLUTION

My spiritual mediation has become second priority of late.  I have not been doing my meditation morning pages but a few times a week at most.   This has been a ritual that  I have maintained for the last couple of years which allows me to write a stream of consciousness without judgement.  These pages often lead to an AHA! moment that help me resolve negative thinking, make decisions that honor my highest good and are respectful to others.  I have also slowly reduced my daily reading of Spiritual texts, my time of silent meditation, and my prayers of affirmation.  Now, this is not something to beat myself up about, for shame would just lead me the feelings of unworthiness and therefore put me in the mind set of the “F-it’s”. What I am grateful for is the awareness of the solution to these mood swings.  I know that I am currently medically and mentally balanced, so therefore I can also know that my solution is Spiritual: The prescription is to up the dose on my medication of meditation.

The Ultimate Lesson that became a blessing

The lesson I have learned from this experience is one of the greatest ever in my 46 years: My life’s purpose. Yes, I can do ALL things through the Love that created and strengthens me. All the music I want to compose, all the shows I want to produce, all the books I want to write, all the stages I want  I want to perform on, I can and will manifest in due time.  However, I do not need to stress over how much or little I am doing to achieve them at any given time because these goals and dreams that I am so passionate about are not my life’s purpose!  MY LIFE’S PURPOSE IS TO BREATHE.  AHA! Just breathe and simply BE. What a concept!   To live is to breathe and to breathe is to live. I cannot do anything if I am not breathing.  All my aspirations are possible only if I inhale Love and exhale Peace.  The Breathe of Life  cleanses my thoughts and carries away the resentments from my heart carving out the DIS-EASE. It is in this emptiness that Spirit has the space to fill me with creative thoughts that heal my soul and energize my physical body  to be of service to others and carry out the manifestation of my chosen life’s purpose: to inspire others to aspire to their greatest good. The breath is my connection to Spirit.  This is why we are instructed to focus on our breath when we meditate. It reminds us to be present in the NOW. Just as when we are instructed on the airplane to put on our own oxygen mask before we help another, so I must remember that I must take care of myself first.  Everything else will fall into place if I just member to breathe. My life will be peaceful when I stop holding in the poison of fear and resentments and just breathe in the Love of life. For all the times I could of lost my life due to drugs and mental instability, there is a greater purpose that allows me to still be here.  Today, I get to remember that my breathe is not only a necessity, it is a luxury. I get to accept today that I am worthy and that the Universe wants me to have this priceless gift so much that it provides it for me in abundance.  So before I even think about reaching for the stars, I get to remember to fill my tank with oxygen on a moment to moment basis and premeditate my peace, joy, success, and serenity.

Everything I need right now at this very moment is given to me in this next breathe.

What a breathe of fresh air.

On September 1st, 2013, posted in: Aha Revelations, Uncategorized by

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