Welcome to Beyond Spaces where I join my love for interior design with the pursuit of spiritual knowledge while living in New York City. I wouldn’t be a successful business owner in a city like this (or a sane person for that matter) had I not began my quest for something more than every day life as we know it. And while a beautiful building or interior makes my soul happy like nothing else, I am beginning to discover there is much more to life than our tangible world and the key lies in human consciousness.
My goal in sharing my discoveries and thoughts about positive thinking, being present, meditation, exercise, mantras and good habits in a simple, modern way, is for everyone on this planet (who is ready of course) to become more connected to nature, source and their true selves. It is my belief that the more we slow down, quiet our monkey minds and spend time in nature, the happier we will be in a way that has nothing to do with the material things that we think should make us happy – more money, cars, a house, etc. The type of happiness I’m talking about goes light years beyond those “things” to an ocean of happiness and magic that is waiting for all of us should we choose to “go there”. How do I know? Let me start by telling you a little bit about how I got to where I am today.
10 years ago, at the age of 30, I left the fashion company I had worked for for over 10 years (as well as a world of parties, international travel and excitement). I left for two reasons: one, I felt like I had learned everything I could in my position there, and two, because I couldn’t play the game of politics and politeness that most corporate positions require. (I am aware that not all corporate experiences are like this, but mine was, so here I am writing about it. Bear with if this hasn’t been your experience 😀. I didn’t understand how unqualified people who had no idea how to do their jobs and lead a team were promoted to senior positions simply because they were good at kissing ass, playing the game and all about smoke and mirrors (those seemed like some fucked up skills to be rewarding). Those two reasons were the only thing that pushed me to open my own company. I had no business plan and no goals other than to make enough money on my own to continue to live well (for me that includes lots of travel), have more free time to pursue whatever the hell I wanted to and to leave office politics behind.
My first client was The Peninsula Hotel on 5th Avenue, for whom my job consisted of designing monthly rooftop parties they held. I was hungry, ambitious and the word “intense” would be an understatement. Qualities like perfectionism, control and people pleasing ran rampant within me, and eventually the pressure of having to succeed on my own put me in the hospital for 3 days with an onslaught of a then undiagnosed diverticulitis. By this time at 30 I had read some books on Buddhism and the infamous, The Secret, so I was a somewhat spiritual person, but still consumed 100% with everyday life, not knowing there was something beyond.
My “turning point” was at 35 when my girlfriend of 9 years and I broke up. My world as I knew it disappeared in front of my eyes and I was left with… myself. And after being part of a couple for so long, I didn’t even know who “myself” was anymore. This was the major life change that spurned my spiritual breakdown-break-through. (Why it has to happen like this and be so tele-novela-like I don’t know, but powerful thinkers and healers such as Eckhart Tolle, Rob Wergin and many others all talk about a pivotal life changing moment that lead them on a more spiritual path).
Fast forward to the present moment; hundreds of books, workshops, meditation trainings, conversations with like-minded friends and white space to think has lead me to the following conclusions:
- Meditation is key. I would be the crazy person that I used to be, without knowing I was a crazy person (and that’s just scary), without meditation. Known and scientifically verified benefits include – more energy, reduced stress, more in touch with your intuition, increased creativity and ideas, reduced blood pressure and the list goes on.
- Exercise helps. I get up at 6AM Monday, Wednesday and Friday and run just 1 mile (even if I’m tired) and without fail it gives me sustained energy throughout the day, helps me design better, makes me feel great and calms me. I find 3 days a week to be a perfect amount for me.
- You are what you eat. Eating healthy improves moods, impacts state of mind and gives you more energy. (I used to be a sugar addict eating cookies and ice cream for breakfast- trust me, I know). We are given one body here on Earth and only one- why not treat it right?
- Be still. When you stop and allow stillness in your life (and by stillness I don’t mean sitting and meditating under a tree, I mean having no plan on a Saturday and waking up and following exactly what your heart wants to do), you quiet the monkey mind and get in touch with your soul and authentic self. The stronger that connection becomes, the more in sync you are with the universe and the less you have to struggle to get what you want in life.
- Stay hungry for knowledge. Read books on spirituality, take classes, attend workshops (my top 10 here!). We all think we’re doing alright until we are able to go deeper and realize that our parents and society have determined so much of who we are and how we show up, making it very hard to discover and be in touch with the real “you” and therefore to live a fulfilled and authentic life. Open your mind to new ways of thinking and disrupt your programming. When I was able to do this it lead to a big AHA moment for me. I discovered how much my perfectionism and people pleasing determined my decisions in life and therefore created my reality: a reality I didn’t necessarily want and awareness was the first step in navigating my way thru this.
- Travel, getting out of your day to day routine forces a hard stop of the hamster wheel because you are being exposed to new things. It disrupts repetitive thinking and creates a window of opportunity for new insights, AHA moments, and personal growth. It also intrinsically allows for more stillness since you are operating from a place of discovery and adventure and not a schedule. Just remember this isn’t enough because the minute you get back to your real life, the monkey mind or hamster wheel repetitive thoughts come right back 😀.
- Pay attention to your mental soundtrack. This means the thoughts you think. (This is a hard one because our minds are on autopilot going from one thought to another without us really thinking.) We think between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day and the majority of those thoughts are both negative and repetitive and do not help us in any way or form. And since thoughts become things, that’s a whole lot of negative and useless things we are attracting into our lives. So… if you can get to a point in your spiritual practice where you can be mindful of your thoughts and redirect them if they are negative or repetitive, you can literally change your reality. If this sounds amazing, but slightly overwhelming/impossible 😀, then I recommend signing up with one of the best and most intuitive, holistic transformational coaches out there. Hasani Reyes of Mamavida Wellness. She is a big part of how I got to where I am today and can guide you in creating powerful shifts-quickly.
- Create work-life balance. I know the new “in” thing is to have them both integrated but that just doesn’t work for me. If I am in work mode, I am in go mode. And if I am in life mode, I am in chill mode. I love and need both, but the two do not go together. For me, this means turning my work email off everyday at 6:30PM and on weekends. This began because as a designer, I recognized that for my creative brain to work on command, I needed time away from work and analytical and logistical business thinking for it to re-charge, so this was a very easy boundary for me to put in place. I know it’s a hard one for most people, but see # 4 and #7 above- YOU NEED TIME TO NOT THINK and if you’re answering emails at all hours of the night and morning you are robbing yourself of this. You might even be addicted to and get validation from “being busy” (more on this later, she’s a sneaky one 😀).
- Don’t judge people, things or situations. That’s just labeling something based on past experiences and how you have been formed by your parents and society, so it isn’t an objective assessment in the true sense of the word. Damn I struggle with this. My mind has lots to say and lots of opinions about EVERYTHING!!!
- Get out into nature. Breathe fresh air, touch the ground with your bare feet, look up at the sky and realize how special you are for getting to live this life. Marvel at the shape and texture of a banana vs. a blueberry and think about and give thanks to whoever created it for us and how fucking amazing and intelligent they must be. Nature brings us back to the present moment and is such a good teacher about stillness. It’s just there: beautiful and showing up – whether summer or winter, doing its magical thing every damn day. If this strikes a chord, I highly recommend an urban nature walk with my good friend Alex Soto of Urban Nature Walk. It’s about 3 hours long and he literally takes you on a nature walk that slows down time and really makes it easy for you to tap into the beauty and perfection of nature in a way I never thought possible. Truly “out of this world” experience.
This is a glimpse of what BEYOND SPACES is about and more. I hope you take what you need from it and join me on this magical ride we call “Life”.