Archive | Believe in Yourself RSS feed for this section

Lessons On How To Dance To The Music Of Life From A 4 1/2-Year-Old

29 May

WRITEOUS CHICKS NEWSLETTER – May 2009

For the last few weeks, I was excitedly counting down to the season premiere of “So You Think You Can Dance” last Thursday, and planned to watch it with my friend who loves SYTYCD as much as I do.  We’ve watched the past two seasons together, play back our favorite dances repeatedly, and critique the dances as they are happening and see if what we have to say is in line with what the expert judges will say.  Cat Dealy and the judges have become like old friends I only get to see from May to August, and I was eagerly anticipating the two-hour television event.

My SYTYCD friend’s 3 and 4 1/2-year-old nieces were visiting from California and staying with her on Thursday, so she made the television event into a WYOT (Wear Your Own Tutu) Dance Party, and she said that every time she spoke to her nieces on the phone leading up to their visit and mentioned the Dance Party, they were so excited they would start screaming, and then the phone would drop to the ground.

So while “So You Think You Can Dance” was on mute most of the time and we missed many of dances last week, watching the season premiere dance party-style with a 3 and 4 1/2-year-old was way more fun and inspiring, in addition to requiring much more active participation.  And I quickly picked up some pointers on how to live more fully and dance to the music of life from Evelyn, my friend’s 4 1/2-year-old niece.

1)  Love Something With All of Your Heart

Later on in the dance party after Evelyn had performed several numbers as well as taught us some complicated choreography, we took a break from dancing and sat down to watch part of the show.  This episode’s auditions were taped at BAM, and during one performance, Evelyn sat at the edge of a chair, mesmerized and completely captivated by the dancer on screen.  “I want to beeeeee there,” she exclaimed, “their stage is so BIG!”  And later she elaborated, “I want to be a dancer in New York!”

She didn’t find reasons why this couldn’t happen or try to talk herself out of her dream or worry about what the critical response would be to her dancing, like so many of us do in adulthood.  As adults, rarely do we allow ourselves to have that kind of pure love for anything we do, whether it be because of practicality, self-doubt, or fear that if we pour our whole selves into something, we will be met with disappointment or rejection.  But Evelyn did not let any of these things taint or complicate her passion for dancing – she just purely loved it, and with all of her heart was certain that she wanted to dance across a big stage just for the joy of it. 

2)  Know Exactly What You Want and Ask for It

When we were kicking off the dance party portion of the evening, I asked Evelyn what kind of music she wanted to dance to and she immediately responded without any hesitation whatsoever, “Music for a Princess!  Do you have The Little Mermaid?”

As grown-ups, when someone asks us what we want, we often don’t even know because we haven’t allowed ourselves to explore our own preferences, wishes, and desires.  Or, we know, but we want to be low-maintenance so we say something like, “It doesn’t matter,” or “Whatever you want.”  Or we doubt ourselves or feel guilty for wanting something and spiral into indecision, unable to make a clear choice.  Evelyn had no doubt and was so completely in touch with her preferences that she could express them in a milli-second if asked.  Music?  Princess!

3)  If Exactly What You Want Is Not Available, Go With the Flow and Embrace What Is

As it turned out, my friend who is in her 30’s did not happen to have a copy of The Little Mermaid Soundtrack lying around.  The closest thing I could think of to “Princess Music” were the ballads on 106.7 Lite FM, which is what I selected for the dance party tunes.  Evelyn did not express any disappointment and instantly embraced the ballads as “Princess Music” worthy of her dance moves. 

In adulthood, this is another place we tend to get stuck.  If things are not going as we want them to, we have a very difficult time embracing what is, and spend much time and energy resisting and wishing things could be different; energy that could be better spent, perhaps, on a dance party.  Especially if we went to the trouble of expressing a preference, wish, or desire, and it is not met, we can take it as a rejection, and proof that we shouldn’t even bother expressing our needs in the future because they won’t get met anyway.  But this 4 1/2-year-old knew that when you don’t get real princess music, you make princess music out of what you have.

4)  Have Complete Confidence In Yourself

Several times throughout the dance party, Evelyn declared, “I’m a really good dancer!”  At one point she taught a dance lesson and warned me that “this part is really hard,” maybe so I wouldn’t feel bad if I just didn’t get it.  And she was a great dancer.  From watching reality dance shows I’ve learned that judges often comment on contestants’ musicality, and Evelyn had incredible musicality and a natural sense of rhythm.  My friend said that when they are driving and another car drives by playing music, she will start to move to the beat.  She was totally immersed in her dances, completely focused, and filled with emotion.  This is something she loved to do with all of her heart, and she did not doubt her ability in the least, nor did she expect unrealistic levels of perfection or expertise from herself. 

This is something that is really difficult to do after childhood.  As we grow up, we receive criticism from a wide range of sources, from teachers to peers to families to society, and it becomes close to impossible to maintain such a strong sense of self that outside forces never make our belief in ourselves waver.  As we are socialized we also get quite skilled in criticizing ourselves, and frequently place unrealistic expectations of perfection upon ourselves, mercilessly chastising ourselves when we don’t meet them.  Furthermore, displaying confidence in yourself and your abilities comes to be seen as arrogant, so we learn to downplay our abilities, fake modesty, and even diminish and put ourselves down so we don’t seem boastful.  But when you have confidence in yourself and aren’t bogged down by criticism or doubts, either from others or from yourself, you again free up energy to PLAY, enjoy yourself, and thrive.

5)  Sometimes Someone Will Bump Into You On Stage But You Gotta Keep Dancing

As Evelyn was twirling around on the “stage” between the TV, chair, and bed in my friend’s studio apartment, her 3-year-old sister Audrey was also twirling in sometimes competing pathways, and ricocheted off of her repeatedly.  Without missing a beat Evelyn said, “You have to be careful, sometimes someone will bump into you on stage,” as she continued to twirl. 

In life, people are always bumping into us, and it can stop us in our tracks.  At work, in our relationships, and even on the subway, someone bumping into you physically or emotionally can ruin your whole day, if not more.  We can get so upset by something someone else does or says that we completely veer off course and forget about our own goals and plans, and in our anger or our sadness or our whatever, we let this person or circumstance stop us from dancing.  Other people are not just an extension of ourselves, so we are not always going to like everything they do and say.  People will bump into us all the time, and we will have to set boundaries or let it go, but we don’t have to let it stop us from dancing to our own beat.

 

The day after the dance party, I ran into a neighbor on the subway who is studying Decision Making for his PhD.  I described the previous night’s events and asked him why we lose our faith and confidence in ourselves when we grow up, and why it is so easy to make decisions as children, and as adults even the simplest decisions can become something to agonize over as we weigh countless outside influences.  He said that as we get older, we gain several skills, such as the abilities for long-term, big picture thinking and weighing consequences, and in doing so, lose our childhood impulsiveness.  “Can’t we keep what works from our childhood decision-making processes, such as our trust in ourselves and what we want, and still incorporate what benefits us in adulthood such as big picture thinking and the ability to weigh consequences?” I inquired.  But he seemed to think that the two are mutually exclusive and that the gaining of these adult skills by definition requires the loss of the unwavering certainty in ourselves of childhood.

Obviously we can’t completely maintain our childhood innocence as adults, and we gain many benefits that help us effectively function in life as we mature.  But having a dance party with a 3 and 4 1/2-year-old reminded me of the wisdom, energy, inspiration, and excitement for life inherent in all of us in youth, and that we sacrifice too much of that spark as we acquire responsible adult skills.  So while we maintain the best parts of being adults, there is definitely room to break out that tutu, crank up the Lite FM, and DANCE.  There is a well-known quote that says “Dance like no one is watching,” but, as inspired by a 4 1/2-year-old, I’d like to modify it:  Dance like you are centerstage at BAM, you are the greatest dancer in the whole-wide-world, and EVERYONE is watching!

 

Wishing you pure child-like joy as you incorporate more of what makes you DANCE into your life!

Lots of love!

Jen xoxo

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Garam

Advertisements

NO-NO-NO-NOTORIOUS

21 Jan

My deep and passionate love of all things hip-hop & R&B prompted me to see the movie “NOTORIOUS” this weekend.  I went with a friend and felt slightly bad that perhaps I was dragging her to all these hip-hop movies (the last time we saw a movie I had suggested “The Wackness”), recognizing that not everyone shares my musical preferences, or um, obsessions.  However, during a scene where the Lil’ Kim character is performing, my friend surprised me by singing along to every single word, revealing her own hip-hop love.

At the end of the movie, Biggie is described a storyteller.  I love the stories that music tells, and the ways in which it tells them; different than a book read or words spoken, how it reaches out in its own way and connects with people, weaving them into its beats and rhymes. 

One of my favorite things to do is have dance parties for one in my apartment.  I turn on R&B or hip-hop and turn it up, loud, and groove around the room.  My Facebook status update is often something along the lines of:  “Jennifer is rocking out to Girl Talk” or “Jennifer is basking in “The Light” by Common,” or “Jennifer is listening to Beyonce & ready to take on the day!”   Dance parties for one are a surefire way to lift my mood and get my energy pumping.

And sometimes, I get so overwhelmed with my desire to MOVE, that I will take my dance party on the road, and bring it on the subway during my rush hour commute, or into the streets, in a contained way on the exterior, but in my mind, I am full-out rocking out.  Since seeing “NOTORIOUS” on Sunday night, the song “Notorious B.I.G” feat. Puff Daddy and Lil’ Kim has been playing in my head on a continuous loop.  I was walking/dancing-in-a-contained-way around my Brooklyn neighborhood singing it under my breath all day on Monday, and that afternoon, I had a lunch at a cafe, and then found myself mid-move, shakin’ it as I was drying my hands under the hand dryer in the bathroom, and I hadn’t totally realized that I had been dancing, nor had a made a conscious decision to start.  I just could not help myself, what with No-No-No-Notorious playing in mind.

On Tuesday, I emailed some friends that if I did not go dancing soon I was going to explode, and we are now planning a Girls Night Out to take this dance party to the dance floor.  I sent them YouTube links to Biggie videos while I danced in my chair and one of my friends wrote back, “I’m glad Biggie got you thinking Big…”  I asked my nearby co-workers if it was OK with them if I played “Notorious B.I.G” out loud on my computer instead of with headphones on and they said yes, turns out they have their own love for hip-hop, too.  You just cannot sit still, you cannot be in bad mood, when you listen to this song. 

I looked up the word “notorious” on Dictionary.com and it is defined as “publicly or generally known, as for a particular trait.”  And the chorus of the song goes:  “No-No-No-Notorious, we are, we are, No-No-No-Notorious…”  What if we could be notorious in our own lives, known by those near and maybe even those far, for…our creativity, our boldness, our chutzpah & courage, our thinking-outside-of-the-box-ness, our dancing-in-the-street-ness, our refusal to be confined, our rejection of limitation, our fierce determination to follow our bliss and live juicy & large and never settle for less, our extraordinary commitment to ourselves, our absolute dedication to living our lives, creating our existence, exactly in line with our pure pulsating spirits and our most authentic alive selves, designing our days to shimmer with excitement and glow with possibility, being the way we want to be, and not the way someone, or someones, or society says we should be, never defaulting exhaustedly on auto-pilot, but rather revving up our own engines to the tune of our blasting internal radios, moving our bodies energetically to the rhythm of the beats and the rhymes, telling our own stories, in our own voices, in our own ways, in our own sweet time?  Why then, we truly would be, No-No-No-Notorious.  We are.  We are.  No-No-No-Notorious.

Just press PLAY, and start to rock your life…

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Garam

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been…”

2 Jan

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting my blog, I am grateful for your interest in Writeous Chicks!  Writeous Chicks was born/hatched 3 years ago next month, in February 2006, and I am so excited to be entering into my fourth year of teaching classes & workshops.  Stay tuned for lots of fun & exciting things to come this year & beyond!

 

 

I love this time of year.  I love the feeling that I can let go of everything that was weighing me down and holding me back, and leave it behind in the year that has just passed.  I love taking time to reflect on my past year, and set goals and get excited about the year to come, filled with the hope and possibility of what’s yet to be created, what’s still to unfold. 

 

The problem that most people face is that after the first few weeks of January, their goals dissolve, dreams disappear, and hope fizzles away into the pressures, stress, and obligations of daily life, and things return to status quo.  Once again you feel like you are stuck and confined, sleepwalking dispassionately through a life you were so excited about only weeks before.

 

So here’s a little 2009 challenge for you – this year, hold on to your dreams, to your hopes, to your expansive possibilities.  Hold onto them today, through March, into August, and all the way to next December, and let them carry you into your next year, too.  Don’t just create your goals and dream your dreams this week, fold up that piece of paper or that corner of your mind, tuck it in the back of a drawer, and forget it about.  Post it up somewhere you can see it daily, re-read it often, review it mentally, check your progress, make adjustments when you are veering off-course, share your accomplishments with your friends and family, and celebrate yourself.  Truly live the life you want to live, the one that is strongly aligned with your deepest dreams and most passionate desires.  Allow yourself to dream big.  Wait, a little bigger.  And bigger still.  And then, above all, HOLD ON.  Do not let the practicalities, obligations, and limitations of the world take your dreams away from you.

 

Let this year be the year you stand up for your dreams, stand by your self, and take a stand for your life.  Let 2009 be the year you value your own stories, express your full authentic self, and let your voice be heard.  And may your greatest creation of all be your big, dreamy, passionate, exciting life!

 

Wishing you a year filled with unlimited possibilities, even greater than you could have imagined!

 

“And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been…”

     -Rilke

 

With lots of love,

 

Jen xoxo

 

Copyright © 2009 by Jennifer Garam

When You’re Crying On The Bathroom Floor (Literally and/or Metaphorically)

19 Dec

WRITEOUS CHICKS NEWSLETTER – December 2008

 

But can you believe now

When you’re on your knees now

Begging and pleading now

Can you believe

When all that you’ve got is doubt

And no one to pull you out

When you heart is slowin’ down

Can you believe?

 

-Robin Thicke, “Can U Believe,” The Evolution of Robin Thicke

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaGDX13SAko

 

I’ve noticed that a lot of prominent self-help experts have one Dark Night of the Soul when they hit Rock Bottom, have some Great Realization, and then quickly and permanently turn their lives around, whereby they write a New York Times Bestseller, buy a mansion, meet the love of their lives, and vacation, frequently, in tropical destinations.  I’ve had, like, 87 Dark Nights of the Soul, and I don’t have any of those things.  Each time, I keep hoping that this will be the last one, that I will finally “figure it all out” and “get everything together,” and commence living a life filled with only joy and ease.

 

I cried on the bathroom floor long before Elizabeth Gilbert popularized that particular pastime in one of my favorite books Eat, Pray, Love.  Reading about some of her experiences, I found an “Oh, I’ve been there!” recognition, and comfort.  In early 2001, I wound up tear-soaked and slumped on the tiles of my Upper East Side bathroom floor after months of having been broken up with my ex-boyfriend, still feeling like it was only Day 1 post-break-up and I would never get over him.  One night this summer, when I was crying myself to sleep in bed, I dragged myself to the bathroom floor to really go for it and get the full dramatic effect.  At the beginning of this week, I plunked myself down on the floor in front of my refrigerator, but it wasn’t nearly as effective.  The bathroom floor is where you go when you hit the bottom and break, and simply cannot take anymore pain.

 

Earlier this month, during Dark Night of the Soul #88, it felt like the holidays were compounding everything, but truthfully, I felt so raw that someone sneezing would have compounded everything.  Life can be difficult, painful, and disappointing, and I am a very sensitive person, and this combination lands me on the bathroom floor, literally and/or metaphorically, from time-to-time.  But as I’ve moved through these periods in my life, I’ve become aware that there are always gifts present in pain; it is challenging to find and unwrap them when you are in the middle of it, but they are surely there.  Honestly?  If I could choose?  I would prefer to always learn my life lessons in happy, easy, gentle ways, but I can’t deny that so many gifts have emerged out of difficulty.  For instance, feelings of sadness and loneliness have contributed to compelling me to write and teach, and to use writing to connect with and heal myself and hopefully help others do the same. 

 

When you are in the middle of your own Dark Night, and you find yourself crying on the bathroom floor, literally and/or metaphorically, it can feel like the pain will never end, and at these times it is soothing to:

 

Believe that something larger than you is supporting and guiding you

Accept how you are feeling – resisting will only make it hurt more, and last longer

Pray for peace, in your mind and your heart

Trust that things will shift, they always do

Hope for your pain to transform into a radiant gift

Know that you are not the only one who feels this way

 

Here’s another thing I’ve learned from pain – sharing it with others softens it, lessens its power, and diminishes it.  We move through life working so hard to hide our frailties, wounds, and perceived imperfections from others, and then feel like everyone else has it more together than we do.  But this is because we are all working overtime to keep up this front, and it leads to us feeling isolated, alone, and like the only one who feels this way.  When we have the courage to stop burying bits and pieces of ourselves, we can find the strength wrapped up in what we thought was weakness, and the bridge that connects us to everyone else.

 

I don’t think we ever reach a point where we “figure it all out” and just coast through the rest of life, flitting between mansions and tropical vacations, having permanently graduated from experiencing all pain and suffering.  We can learn to navigate difficult times, and perhaps they will come fewer and farther between, but they can’t be stamped out, and they are too valuable to lose altogether; when the darkness starts to lift, their precious gifts become illuminated.  Sometimes you just have to wait it out a little, so when you feel confused and lost, know that you will be clear, and found.  When you feel alone, know that you are not.  When it is the hardest, and you simply cannot take anymore pain, even then, can you believe?

 

In her book Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow, Elizabeth Lesser writes, “When your heart is undefended, you make it safe for whomever you meet to put down his burden of hiding, and then you both can walk through the open door.”  Carrying their weight is exhausting, let’s put down our burdens, and together we can travel lightly into the New Year…

 

Wishing you a holiday season filled with warmth, compassion, nurturing, and love, especially generously given from yourself, to yourself.

 

Lots of love!

 

Jen xoxo

  

Copyright © 2008 by Jennifer Garam

4 Minutes To Save The World

11 May

“The time is waiting/We only got 4 minutes to save the world/No hesitating”

4 Minutes, Madonna f. Justin Timberlake & Timbaland

I was listening to AT40 with Ryan Seacrest this morning while I was getting ready to go out for Mother’s Day brunch, and he was doing a phone interview with Madonna about her new album “Hard Candy,” among other things.  When I was brushing my teeth, Madonna started talking about what it was like to collaborate with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland, and/or Pharrell on songs like “Four Minutes (To Save The World)”.  Specifically, that the first thought that came into her head when she had an idea for a lyric or a melody was:  “I don’t wanna say it, I don’t wanna share it, ’cause they might think it’s stupid.”

I ran out of the bathroom with my toothbrush clamped between my right bicuspids to write this down on a post-it.  I’ve had this thought many times.  But, dude, she’s Madonna.  I love when famous people cop to having fear and insecurity.  Because it’s like:  it’s not easy.  Success is often propped up as this perfect, gleaming finished product and you don’t see all the hard work underneath it, which makes it look like some people are meant for success and others aren’t.  You either got it or you don’t, Baby.  But underneath all the shiny success is a big ol’ mess, made up of fear, insecurity, vulnerability, self-doubt, others-doubt, and most likely underneath every really big success story, is a really big mound of failure that was necessary to endure to get there.  The mistakes that had to happen to get it, finally, right.

How many times have you almost said something, almost wrote something, almost did something, but in a flash, worried what others would think of you?  Worried that they might think it/you were stupid, or worse, that it/you might actually be stupid.  And as a result, didn’t say/write/do anything at all…

If Madonna can feel vulnerable and be afraid that people will think her creative ideas are stupid, and still accomplish all she has, it shows that it’s possible to move through your fear and say it anyway.  Write it anyway.  Do it anyway.

I have so much to say.  And I’m tired of keeping it to myself. 

We all have so much to say, so much to contribute, and I’m guessing that every day there’s a million ways, big and small, that we hold ourselves back.  Bite our tongues.  Keep it inside.

So let it out.  The time is waiting.  Say it.  Write it.  Do it.  Someone might think it’s stupid.  A lot of people might think it’s stupid.  But then again, if enough people share what they really think, and who they really are, no hesitating, we just might save the world.

My Trip to the Post Office

8 Nov

club-med-pool.jpg 

Club Med Sonora Bay

WRITEOUS CHICKS Newsletter – November 2007

 On Saturday afternoon, I sat down to pay a stack of November bills when I saw that my Con Ed bill was due on Monday, November 5th, which was in two days.  I thought that my Con Ed bill was always due on the 8th of the month, so this caught me by surprise, and I realized I had to get that sucker in the mail THAT DAY to even stand the slimmest of slim chances of it arriving on time.  I wasn’t sure what time the post office closed on Saturdays so I gave it a shot and headed to the closest post office 2 blocks away with my Con Ed bill in hand.  I had also mapped out the rest of my afternoon and all the errands I would do and in what order after I slid the bill into the mail slot. 

When I arrived at the post office is was 2:45, and the sign said it closed at 2:30.  There is another post office about 10 blocks away but this totally upset my map and threw off my whole afternoon of errand efficiency.  I read The Secret and I know all about creating your reality with your thoughts, and having a positive attitude of gratitude.  So I faked a mental monologue that went like this:  “Isn’t this GREAT?  It’s a gorgeous, sunny, crisp, cool fall day and I am just taking a leisurely stroll in my beautiful neighborhood.  Thank God the post office was closed, because it has given me this wonderful opportunity to slow down, give up my agenda, and just enjoy the day!  On my nice, long, leisurely walk, 10 blocks out of my way!”   

But my subconscious wasn’t buying it, and I’ll give you a glimpse into my REAL, deep down inner monologue, which went like this:  ” *@$^&%!!!!  @*^%*^%*^%*@!!!!!  I am going to f-ing walk 10 f-ing blocks out of my F-ING WAY, and when I get there, I am SURE that that motherf-ing post office is ALSO going to be closed, and it will be a complete waste of my time, I will have thrown my whole day off, I won’t be able to get any of my errands done, and my Con Ed bill won’t even get there on time so I will get a late fee tacked on on top of everything!!!!”

So you can imagine my surprise when I got to the second post office, and it was open, and everything was just…easy.  I plunked the bill in the mail, it would likely arrive at Con Ed on Monday, and I went on my merry way to Target.  Piece of cake. 

But this really alerted me to how I have come to anticipate struggle and expect disappointment.  In something so small and insignificant as a trip to the post office.  In day-to-day things like trying to catch (and missing) a subway, ordering meatloaf from my favorite neighborhood cafe on a cold rainy night only to learn that they just ran out, needing to print something out right now when the printer jams.  But also, I have grown to expect disappointment in the bigger things, from my relationships to my finances to my career to my life purpose.  I have grown to believe that I won’t get what I want and need when I want and need it, so why even bother?  

During spring break of my senior year in high school, my aunt and uncle took me, my sister, and my cousins to Club Med in Sonora Bay.  I had an amazing week dancing poolside (the Club Med Sun Dance!), water skiing, spending my nights at the discotheque grooving to “Informer” by Snow, and walking barefoot on the beach with super-cute guys, splashing in the waves (there was “Gabe the Babe” who was a real-live surfer from California, and another cutie from Chicago.  I can’t remember his name anymore which is strange because I loved him for a week in 1993).  I even performed in the show that the guests put on at the end of the week, in which I got to wear a sexy costume and strut my stuff onstage.  With a feather boa. 

I came back home burnt to a crisp as a result of a last ditch attempt to deepen my tan that involved Hawaiian Tropic, high noon, and a latitude close to the Equator, and also, radiating confidence.  I had made so many new friends instantly on this trip and it soothed my nerves about starting college in the fall.  I now knew I could make friends wherever I went and take risks and try new things and it would all be just…easy. 

I was in the National Honor Society at the time, and a week or two after returning from my trip it was my turn to put in my NHS tutoring hours at the high school library, where other students could stop by for homework help.  Still radiant, I was talking a million miles an hour to the NHS Faculty Advisor about my trip, and how it had opened my mind to all these new possibilities.  The university I was going to attend offered a semester abroad program in Aix-en-Provence, so I had decided that I wanted to major in French, study in Aix, and then take a year or two after college to work at different Club Meds around the world.  I thought it would be fun, and hey, why not?  I had no doubt that I could, and would, do this. 

Then the faculty advisor said, “That’s not going to happen.  Things never happen like you plan.”  But I was adamant and defended my plan with the full-out unrestrained passion of an optimistic 17-year-old. My plan totally never happened.  Nothing even close to it happened (I took one French class in my first semester of freshman year, and attended one poetry reading at the International House, and then ditched the idea).  Other stuff happened, which was fine stuff, but the point is, somewhere along the way, I stopped believing that it could happen.  Or that something equally fabulous and magnificent could happen.  I started internalizing the rejection and disappointment that the world threw my way, dropped a hope here, a dream there, and resigned myself to living a life that is not nearly as spectacular as the one I had once so easily imagined for myself.  And now I steel myself against disappointment daily and brace myself for struggle – the post office being closed when I need it to be open, the subway pulling out of the station when I need it to be pulling in, the relationship not working out, my writing being rejected, the list goes on… 

But this isn’t how I want to live my life.  And the unexpected surprise of the post office being open when I needed it to be, of things going smoothly, going my way, gave me a huge jolt. 

When I was in high school and college, I used to think that things would go my way just because I wanted them to, I was smart, I worked hard, and I deserved them.  That isn’t the way my thinking defaults anymore.  It’s easy to lose hold of this belief in ourselves as we get older and move through a world that is not always (and sometimes it can feel like never) accommodating to us and our desires.  So I write this story to hopefully jolt you, even if just for a moment, out of any conditioned thinking you may hold, an auto-pilot belief that whispers things will be difficult, and inconvenient, and disappointing, and won’t go your way. 

Try to remember a time in your life when you believed you could have it all, no matter how fanciful or outrageous, simply because you wanted it.  Remember a time in your life where you believed you deserved it.  And hold onto that thought, even when day-to-day disappointments peck at it and try to chip it away.  Write it down.  Write your story about a time you believed in yourself.  And remember remember remember.  Even when the subway door slams in your face and your computer crashes and the printer jams and you can’t find a decent slice of meatloaf to save your life and things are just not going your way.  And keep holding on.  No matter what.  ‘Cause maybe your present will loop back and touch your past at that very place, and you will believe in yourself, unconditionally, once again.  

Lots of love!


Jen xoxo 

Copyright © 2007 by Jennifer Garam