Sitting in the Village in Manhattan on a tiny patio at the Malt House Pub.
Outside, the sirens blare.
I’m drinking a pint of locally brewed Blueprint Toasted Lager backed with a shot of Jamieson Black Barrel (I think)… or is it the other way around? Which backs which?
I used to hate this city when I was in my early 20’s… Just like I hated Vancouver. But since then, I have come to love them both.
I think I hated them because I was afraid.
Afraid of the danger I perceived, real or imagined, in places I was unfamiliar with. Afraid of the fact that I didn’t belong there – or at least I assumed I didn’t belong there because I didn’t think I would not be “allowed” in.
And why is that?
I think it’s partly because I am so fiercely loyal – even to my home town – and partly because I don’t believe I’ll be accepted anywhere else… or maybe, the bigger truth is that I don’t want to risk how vulnerable it feels to want to be accepted anywhere else.
But, like anything in life, the more you allow yourself to experience the fear, the less it controls you and the more you are able to open up to a whole new set of possibilities.
I’ve visited NYC at least once a year over the past 6 years and it is beginning to feel so familiar and safe to me. I’ve had some pretty profound and memorable experiences here during that time, which I look back on with gratitude, even though they may have been difficult and felt less than ideal at the time.
So, it makes sense that New York is the backdrop for my most recent transformational experience… and the reason I am here now.
A few months ago, I was invited to participate in an on-camera panel discussion with a couple whom I respect and admire greatly: Imago Relationship Therapy Founders & Creators, Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. At the time, I was so honoured to be asked and yet I was terrified that I would not be able to hold my own in that unfamiliar environment with people whom I felt were much more qualified than me. I questioned whether I was ready or legitimate enough to engage in a peer-to-peer discussion with people who have decades more experience than I do and I worried that I would fumble and show how much of a fraud I was… at least that’s how my wounded self chose to see it :)
But, I’m happy to say that those thoughts simply drifted through my brain, from time to time, but really didn’t take hold. I was able to see them for what they were – an old, outdated, protective mechanism from my unconscious mind.
I’m so grateful that I was able to keep them at bay because, to say that this experience has been powerful, profound, validating, adventurous and fun would be a HUGE understatement. In a 24-hour period, I have connected with two members of my “soul group” (the other two panelists); had my makeup professionally done for something other than a wedding or bar mitzvah (complete with eyelashes!); engaged in intelligent, meaningful and paradigm-shifting discussions (on-camera!) with people I thoroughly admire and who also have (amazingly) expressed their appreciation for me… my views, my work and my energy.
And, on top of it all, this is taking place on a gorgeous, sunny day in a world-class, magical city!
Now that the taping is finished, I have so many options open to me. I can choose to hang out and connect with some really cool people; experience the countless amenities that this city has to offer; or simply sit somewhere to write and watch the fascinating world go by. What’s more is that the BEST part of it is that I now give myself permission to allow myself to BE totally and completely ME. In fact, the more “me” I am, the better it is. I no longer worry what people might think about me or how my self-confidence might land for them. I’m happy to honor all the parts of who I am… owning the weaknesses and celebrating the strengths.
I used to worry that self-promotion was a bad thing and that if you tried to convince people to believe in you, it would always backfire because they would get turned off. I’ve discovered that wanting to connect with individuals or with an audience on a professional level about something you are passionate about is a very tricky business. You put your heart and soul out there and if they don’t get it or, worse, they disapprove of or judge you, it can be devastating. But now, I realize that self-promotion is only a risk when Self-Love is absent. The more you accept yourself and radiate it naturally to the world, the self-promotion becomes more about just saying “yes” and agreeing with people from a place of gratitude and less about trying to convince them to recognize your value from a place of unworthiness.
There are big things happening right now for all of us and I’ll continue to share my experiences about it in the hopes that it will inspire you to notice it, too.
Time is speeding up and, as the old paradigms are shifting, I get that some of the things that are happening may feel frustrating, unjust or even tragic, on a lot of levels but, if they are happening to you, they are only there to show you something important, if you are willing to step back from suffering long enough to get a glimpse of the bigger picture.
As I sit here, the crowd in this little pub grows. Happy hour has begun and the voices become louder with enthusiastic chatter and hearty laughter.
The wind is blowing through my hair and I am at peace… in gratitude for this moment.
Because, this moment is the only truth.
And, this moment, as I embrace it, shows me, once again, that miracles are, in fact possible.
I used to hate this city. Now, I love it.
Somehow, from my early 20’s to now, a shift has occurred.
And, I’m here, by myself… rockin’ false eyelashes, in the village on a Friday night.
Now, that’s what I call a miracle.