There's a lot of walking and waiting in New York City. Walking to the subway. Waiting for the subway. Waiting on the subway. Walking to wherever you're going. Also, there are no backyards, so if you have a dog (like me) you'll be walking them several times a day too. This is really not a problem. I love wandering the city and people watching. I love getting in 10k+ steps per day. And I especially love having the time to listen to podcasts (shoutout to S-Town).
This past week, I've started listening to From the Heart, a new podcast from celebrity-bohemian-beach-bum-spiritual badass-yogi Rachel Brathen (also known as Yoga Girl). There are only a few episodes out, but the content thus far is primarily Rachel sharing personal stories from her zenful perspective. There are strong elements of enlightenment and spirituality, but more importantly a sense of authenticity and awareness. Because of this, I've appointed Rachel as one of my (many) spiritual guides. There's nothing that moves me more than a vulnerable and self-aware storyteller. Hashtag goals.
In a recent podcast episode, Rachel talks about manifesting abundance – focusing your energy on what you want to happen in your life, and trusting that it will indeed happen. She says, “Put forward what you want and trust it will happen.” This concept is more than just positive thinking of course – you have to partner thoughts with action. But the thoughts build the foundation; they create the energy from which to shape your actions. They set up the right vibes for you.
This past week, I found an old list of life goals I made for myself. Ever since my time at Teach For America, I have been really into goal setting. I've also become inclined to write everything in a Word Doc that I call "Sparks" - a casual, free-flow, journal slash daily log. I'd written this particular list nearly five years ago, in that typical early twenties post-college holy shit what do I want to do with my life period (which I’ve found doesn’t actually end). My goals back then included:
- Go back to school to get a master's degree
- Deepen my yoga practice and become a certified yoga teacher
- Travel frequently
- Work in a job I'm passionate about
- Maybe have a kid or two
- Write a book
Looking over this list, I'm amazed at how many of these goals have manifested in my life. I wasn't always consistently working towards all these goals. A lot of them I set, then let sit on the back burner and brought forward when the time felt right.
For example, I always knew I wanted to go to grad school, but I didn't know for what or when or where (the "for what" was the biggest one). Then a few years ago, I found myself in a job I didn't like with an unclear career path and lots of crying breakdowns - and I knew it was time. I studied my butt off for the GRE, did research about what degree suited my interests, picked a path, applied to seven schools, and got into five of them. I chose Harvard because the universe kind of made everything fall into place - the program was most aligned to my academic and career desires, my husband got a job in New York which was only four hours away, and two of my closest friends had a place in Boston where they would let me stay. And I mean, Harvard. During this time, everything felt right. It was like the universe was saying, here you go. Take it. My year at Harvard was highly impactful and exactly what I needed to shift my life in the way I wanted it to shift, leading me to a new job that I love and adding in some self-validation along the way.
The yoga teacher training was another goal I set years ago and only worked to manifest this past year. This was another timing slash intuition situation. At least three times a year for the past four years, I've looked up 200 hour teacher training programs. Something was never quite right - the schedule, the pricing, or the vibe of the studio. But when I found the one at Sonic Yoga in New York City, everything clicked. I loved the studio and the teachers, it was well-organized and high-quality, and plus one of my good friends was doing it with me. The training turned out to be one of my top life-changing experiences. I learned so much, met amazing people, built new friendships, and started down this beautiful path - one that feels so right for me. I was also surrounded by support and the gorgeous practice of yoga during the most difficult time in my life this past fall. The timing was divine.
I don’t have kids yet (I gave myself a way out on the list with the “maybe,” which cracks me up), but I have brought into my life everything else. I’m lucky to have a partner who’s as passionate about travel as I am and willing to prioritize the time and money to wander this planet (next up: Iceland in July!). I’m writing a book (I’ve only told that to two people; it feels weird and scary and kind of imposter-ish typing that – but I guess now it’s out there). I get paid for doing work that I really love.
But now once again, I find myself in a shifting space. This time I’m much more cognizant of the changes happening internally and externally and how I want to carry myself, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty about what this new path will look like. My old list of goals reminds me of the importance of deliberately putting out there what I want to happen. And so I’m being intentional – meditating on what I want to manifest in this life, thinking about what feels right and true to me, and determining what I need to do to make things happen. But above all I'm listening to my soul and to the universe, and trusting that what I want will come.
It’s time to start writing a new list of goals.