an urban lifestyle + travel blog by liz norment.

Tag: inspiration

Spring (mental) Cleaning | Guided Meditations

in WORDS

let’s go into this new season with clear minds and hearts. a friend of mine recently spoke of meditation as feeling like you’ve thrown a house party and realizing you know none of the guests. we let so many thoughts passively infiltrate our minds that it feels like they become us, they control us, they occupy our space and grind up on each other inappropriately and leave red solo cups of stale beer on every single surface. let’s be deliberate about taking control and clearing that shit out. never meditated? start with these guided meditations and show those unwanted house guests the door.

all words and meditations below are from the enlightened gabby bernstein, shared with me by the lovely @hannahea88

enjoy.

 

The first meditation helps you tap into compassion. Learn how to dissolve all boundaries and clear space to attract love. Enjoy the Compassion Meditation.

My second meditation will help you make decisions with ease. Do you struggle with making the right choice? This practice will help you trust your intuition. Press play and enjoy the Decision Making Meditation.

The third meditation is going to rock your world! Are you ready to learn how to attract what you want into your life? This meditation will help you use creative visualization to cultivate a powerful energy that will make you a magnet for what you desire. Enjoy my Creative Visualization Meditation.

The final meditation will help you own your purpose. I often hear people say, “I don’t know how to find my purpose.” I believe it’s the opposite. Your purpose will find you! Practice this meditation and clear space for your purpose to come forth.

You Are a Lightworker Meditation.

 

 

<3L.

Rebel with a Cause | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS

I recently come across this piece in the Atlantic through my dear homies at the new stand and the title immediately grabbed my attention. “The Case for the Rebel,” Ashley Lamb-Sinclair, a teacher, talks about the inconvenience of the class clown, the trouble maker. Noting that over the years, although they gave her more grey hairs than anyone else, it was always the rebels that were the idea makers because they challenged the status quo. They were fearless and bold. Just as her colleagues, she noted, would “often intentionally break rules if it means a better education for the students in their classroom” [which of course recalls one of the greatest films ever made] yet didn’t recognize that the students who were doing the same thing were punished.

“Most teachers,” she said,  “noted that self-control and cooperation were the most important indicators of school success,” rewarding the so-called soft skills. This is the educational system we grew up in, and the workplaces to which we now sell our souls. Follow the rules. Fit the mold. Graciously accept this 2% raise because you’re lucky to have a job. Work late so they think you’re important. Leave your dignity at the door, you’ll get it back with your retirement package… you know, when you lack the audacity and energy to use it properly.
This piece gave me hope because this has always been me. A rebel with a cause, I’d like to think. Even now as an “adult”, I really fucking love getting in trouble. I crave mischief. I kept thinking this would fade with age, that the thrill of sneaking out of the house would dissipate once I no longer had a curfew. That petty theft would wane into no theft at all once I could fully comprehend the risk. That marijuana would simply be a gateway to not being tempted by drugs anymore. That a harmless game of spin the bottle would be the closest I ever got to cheating on someone.
If anything, this temptation has increased with age. If you don’t have a house to sneak out of, rules to disobey, class to skip, a fake ID to test…. you find edgier and more dangerous ways to cause trouble. When my dad told me that he held the record for streaking, “five dates in five days! never been beat.” I didn’t see it as a weird dad college story, I saw it as a challenge. I knocked it out of the park, streaking five states in one day, and I’m pretty sure that’s never been beat. (And yes, that is a challenge.) I showed up for a wedding last summer with paint still lingering in the creases of my fingernails. “Crafting?” someone asked. “No, I was tagging something at 4am this morning.” I was almost not allowed back in the country because I had a warrant out for my arrest for not paying a ticket I got for drinking a beer on the street because I thought the ticket was dumb. Still do. Still drinkin’ on the street.
I read this piece and finally I felt like my mischief wasn’t met with a disappointed stare from my mother as she picked up the phone and realized it was my teacher calling, again. Defiance should be encouraged. And no, I am not campaigning for complete anarchy here so everyone stop rolling your eyes. I’m just saying that the system only works because we buy into it. We were founded as a nation of rebels. Back then, the system didn’t work and so we stopped buying into it. Historically, we have always been encouraged by “troublemakers” who turn into leaders because no one is hanging onto the coat tails or following in the wake of a meek, compliant, nervous follower. Seek defiance. Shake things up. Because we’re meant for more than petty rules and mindless busy work.

The rebels in the world are often the ones who change it the most.

Quit your day job. We were not made to mindlessly enter numbers into excel spreadsheets that ultimately add up to a paycheck’s worth of hours spent working toward someone else’s dream. And hey, some people are totally fine with doing this type of work, and that is fantastic, and even enviable. To be satisfied in complacency isn’t something to look down upon. But if you were born with this fire in your heart, do something unexpected.
Buy a one way ticket. Shake up your lifestyle. Because if you don’t do it now, when will you? Go. Go now. Don’t wait for everything to line up perfectly before you commit. Don’t wait to be financially secured. Don’t wait for the perfect time in your life to go because that time will never come. Don’t ask people for advice because they will likely discourage you. Just go.
Do what they don’t want you to do. Because they only thing that has ever really culminated into is a fresh new crop of “they’s” anyway. Move up the corporate ladder, where every rung is well-worn! Get to the top and then look down, satisfied! Because this, of course, is success!

“I recently heard on the radio a state legislator speaking of the importance of developing “soft skills” for the workforce. He elaborated on the merits of understanding the importance of a firm handshake, showing up 10 minutes early, and being a “team player.” As I listened to him, I thought these were admirable traits—traits that my own father tried desperately to instill in me, which I generally ignored—but they were mostly values held by an older generation.”

Seek defiance, because you’ve come a long way, baby. Don’t stop now.
Oh, and get into some fucking trouble. Be a rebel with a cause, a mission, an unwavering belief that you’re meant for something more. And if you’re trying to find ways to get involved in some trouble… well… I’m accepting applications.

 

On Being A “Blogger” | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS
being a blogger never appealed to me, because it felt a bit soulless. isn’t a blog just one long-winded advertising platform? i didn’t see myself shamelessly representing products, curating lists with click-baity headlines, in reality i knew i was more of a writer than anything else.
and then i read this. garance dore is a photographer turned blogger, who is also a killer writer. ok and i’m underplaying this. she’s one of the best in the biz and what i learned from her is that you can have a blog and have it still convey your real voice, your thoughts, your words, your soul. when i came across this stunning post describing her grandmother’s funeral in morocco, it changed everything for me. i can have a space that is purely mine, whatever i want it to be.
read this by garance and let it move you, above everything else, to give you the confidence that what you create is yours alone. it need not fit into any mold or represent anyone else’s ideas or views of what it should be. you have created something where there was nothing before, so let it start by meaning something to you,

i cannot wait to see what you create.

<3L.

Put the Cart Before the Horse | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS
I think intentional is where our hearts best exist. with good intention, bursting out of our chests and beating with a forward motion and refusing to calm, to hush, to settle.
I’ve been thinking so much recently about the necessary ridicule of putting the cart before the horse.
Put your intention actively and forcibly before your action and movement. leap and the net will appear. Go confidently in the direction that you’ve setting towards with little to no preparation. Your willingness begets opportunity. Your determination will be a hand outstretched, a finger beckoning, a confident wink and a smile, that yes, yes, this is your next move. Just keep stepping before you see the path.
I’ve been lost within the folds of jim carrey’s success story since I heard it. he believed in his own success so much, daring himself to believe, with no official reason or plan and even less money in his bank account. He wrote himself a check for $10 million dated 5 years in the future and folded it up in his wallet. The knowledge of that challenge, the understanding of that requirement, the onset of that date, altered every move and thought and even hesitation just enough… that within 5 years he had the lead in ace ventura series, the mask, liar liar, and was billing $20 million per film.
What we could accomplish with just a little secret, an impenetrable intention, folded deliberately into our pocket.
A cart placed illogically before the horse.
Write yourself a check with way too many zeroes. Book a one way flight with no plan. Self-publish your novel. Choose a relentless accountability partner. Dare yourself and take bets against your accomplishments. Do not rest.
a horse before a cart is bridled and submissive. switch it around, start living the life you’ve been planning and move confidently into the future, and don’t look back.
nothing but a stubborn horse back there anyway.

<3L.

That Indie Hustle | Brooklyn, I’m Trying.

in WORDS
the hustle. that damn funky dance, in the fulcrum of the seventies disco era. it was a craze in a wave of freedom and love. it was contagious. it was something you did if you were with it and hip, to be seen and felt in the places that were with it and hip. not to be confused with the places just shortly after that were so obviously not with it or hip.
hustle. a phrase and command I heard so often on the soccer field, meant to ignite energy and excitement and movement on the pitch. and you did, you moved! lest not to let your coach down nor your teammates and especially not yourself. hustle up and attack and don’t give up, this game is yours if you take it.
This graphic. showing that among the sparkling and engaging falsehood of a Charlatan and the blindly sacrificial devotion of the martyr exists this strategic in-between, toeing the line between hypnotism and hypocrisy and laughing all the way to the motherfucking bank. this is the essence and plight of the hustler.

 

lover, fighter, raconteur // hustler, fighter, entrepreneur. 
Brooklyn I’m trying… to what? to fucking hustle. because this is why we live here. living ain’t easy and this city is far from a launch pad. it’s a sink or swim, make it or break it, love it or leave it, pushed out of the nest, training wheels off and you’re still back there right mom??!, it’s the penguin being pushed off the iceberg to see if anything below is hungry. it’s the hustle. It’s contagious and energizing and hypnotizing and us. it’s in us and that’s why we’re here in this town. for the conversations and inspirations we have and hear every day. for the way we learn people are living and the why we know they are staying. that indie hustle baby.

 

So how do you find yours? 

 

Recognize that it’s all in your hands. in this is the era of self promotion, use your power for good and not evil. use it to spread and create, not to scroll and breed hate. recognition is integral to the creative entrepreneurial experience, and it’s all literally at our fingertips. you have never been more accessible nor your dreams more impressionable. create it, believe it, produce it, express it.
Identify and fight resistance, actively and aggressively. Because if you’re of this insatiably creative mindset, you are being fought actively and entirely by resistance, or anything that keeps you from meeting your goals. it’s entertainment, it’s leisure, it’s sex, it’s distraction. recognize what is tempting you from creating and building your best life. build your defenses. deliberately and relentlessly fight against it. all work and no play makes jack a dull boy but you were born of radiance. fight this resistance by being above it.
Demolish first step. eliminate it. because “the first step is the hardest” isn’t a euphemism, it’s the truth. trying to simply start feels nearly impossible, so defeat that step actively and purposefully. step all over it with your eyes closed. write the first word, sing the first note, paint the first stroke, schedule the first meeting. order business cards and sidewalk stencils. start, because
inspiration doesn’t gracefully fall upon you and opportunity comes to those who are prepared.

Own that shit. I had the opportunity a few years ago to see Cheryl Strayed, a hustler who turned her emotionally challenging past into an addictive advice column that then gave her a strong voice and confidence to go on to become a bestselling author… i had an opportunity to see her speak in brooklyn and she recounted a story that fell somewhere along that path between emotional challenges and novel-turned-blockbuster that will stick with me forever. she was talking about the power of permission. how if we are pursuing and believing in something other than what it says on our college degree or our business card then we often feel like we aren’t allowed to own it as ours. “i’m a digital strategist and i write on the side” or “i’m a server which takes away from my time to audition for broadway… which i guess is why i ended up in new york.” how simple and empowering all of these scenarios would be if we gave ourselves permission to let our passions drive our lives and conversations. to be the hustle. “i’m a writer working in digital marketing,” this is me. and it’s hard to say because you’re always worried about the next question – what are you writing now? what have you had published? ms. strayed recounted a story of her meeting with a colleague and he recognized her desire to be a writer, and didn’t really understand what the hold up was. “what are you waiting for, someone to give you permission? cheryl, you’re a writer. ok? you are. there, i gave you permission.” this passive-aggressive jab was empowering, ironically enough. she began to call herself a writer, believe in herself as a writer, and live her life as a writer. she owned that shit, and then reese witherspoon was nominated for an oscar for her portrayal of cheryl in wild.

Recognize, honey, that if you were born with the hustle in your heart you are one of the lucky and burdened few. you can’t rest but your waking hours are something to beheld. so behold and be strong and be more than you think you are and more than they can handle. do the hustle and hustle up, you charlatan-martyr you. I can’t wait to see what you create.

<3L.

straphanger

a straphanger’s tale.

in WORDS
the relentless anxiety that pours in, wondering if this train will be mine as it is approaching the station. I size up everyone- boy appearing not to give a shit about anyone else, with skateboard. where will he put that skateboard? we won’t have space for it. man looking nervously important, with briefcase. he is worried about getting to work on time, I can tell. and he probably showered this morning. I’ll stick near him. woman holding child’s hand, using it as some sort of free pass to the front, pushing and prodding expectantly. I feel sympathetic while also wondering if there is some sort of child rental service for situations like this. I feel guilty for thinking that but also highly entertained. shit’s funny man. besides, on the subway platform we are all the same. we all deserve a spot and don’t deserve a spot. there are no rules here, no lines. I feel the thought creep into my head- I’ve been here the longest, they must know. I dismiss it just as quickly. no one cares. i don’t care.
an automated announcement dictates what the countdown clock tells us- 9 minutes until the next train. NINE MINUTES. it’s an eternity. I must get on the next train, the one that’s coming barreling down the tunnel and I don’t dare scoot back, risking my coveted spot on the edge. I realize if I had been blessed with my mother’s breasts I would likely be nicked. I’m momentarily grateful as the whoosh of wind hits me and i lean slightly into the other penguins standing upon the ledge, i don’t care, i won’t budge. I’m betting that the doors open exactly in front of me. I know if it’s just a few inches off I’ll be pushed back too far.
a muffled announcement tries to calm the mounting anxiety. “there is another train directly behind this train! do not try to get into this train! there will be another train approaching the station immediately behind it.” no there won’t be man, stop lying to us. we all saw the clock. we believe the clock. it’s nine minutes away and we will all be fired in that nine minutes and I am getting on THIS train.
the doors open and we all hold our breath and squeeze in. we grumble. we cling tighter to our items. it closes and we exhale, knees and stomachs and shoulders filling the gaps as we expand together. we choose silly things to hold on to for dear life. I am pinching an inch-wide sliver of plastic on the ceiling and have my chin nearly resting on my neighbor to steady myself.  everyone smells of coffee and their own apartments, it’s familiar and invasive and someone is smelling you. you wonder how you smell to other people.
i make eye contact with someone 15 bodies and three feet away. we both exchange the exact same look that says,”this is fucking ridiculous and no one should have to stand this and there must be a better option and this is the most efficient public transit according to whom and I think that guy’s back hair just went in my nose and I don’t even want to go to work! and we live in the greatest fucking city in the entire fucking world.”
and then the train lurches to a stop and everyone collectively groans and the doors open and we spill out like bats from a cave and we all move intentionally and rapidly forward and up, ascending, together.

<3L.

to be an explorer of the world.

in WORDS

Brooklyn, I’m trying… to inspire the adventurous soul, to mobilize wandering feet, to stimulate the curious mind, to ignite the restless heart. to move you, quite simply. and to help you maintain your mindset as an explorer right where you are, which is often during those times between arrivals and departures.

when you travel, all of your aspirations feel like they are right at your fingertips. your sense of self is so tangible that you reach a certain clarity about what direction your feet and your life are moving, of chances to take and turns to make, of what your talents are and how to use them.
you are confident, you are worldly, you are curious, you are inspired.
it’s a feeling that overcomes us when we travel but often can be painfully fleeting as soon as the plane touches down, dropping us back into the mundaneness of familiarity. to find that inspiration no matter where you are, and harness that energy to carry it with you everyday can be an active decision as intentional as packing a suitcase. below you will find your very loose and subjective packing list- get to it.

start moving.

literally, just move. the difference between an explorer and a non-explorer is one simple step. one is accepting the world exactly as it’s presented to them, day in and day out. the other is constantly seeking. recognize that we are not meant for mundanity. you, in particular- you are not meant for repetition, for mundaneness, for mediocrity. recognize the power of movement, whether it’s an overseas flight or simply a walk down the street. stagnation is the enemy here, and fighting off that beast is as simply as getting up and going.

free up some mental space.

tap into the energy you are to tuned into when traveling- which is, of course, not waiting for you to land at the airport, but is always there floating around in your mind. you just need to find a way to harness it. however, this is impossible to do with a mind crowded with nonsense. when you travel you seem to have so much more mental space and time- you aren’t filling every moment with noise and influence that is being fed to you, you’re seeking. you’re expecting, you’re allowing yourself to be surprised and inspired. free up that mental space by taking a quick inventory of what you are voluntarily filling your head with during the day, and gauging the effect it has on your spirit. now visualize yourself even taking half of that time and putting it towards things that do give you energy and inspiration. try intentionally devoting time to those things and i guarantee you won’t look back.

find some mantras.

hang them on your mirror, behind your desk, tattoo them onto your arm. repeat them to yourself. talk about them with passion. but above all, find a few that work for you and believe in them.
here are some that swim around in my head most days.
there is not enough time for hating yourself. too many things to make. go.
from the limitlessly wise and creative mind of miss tavi gevinson. who seems to have an endless supply of creative energy. tap into it here, and repeat that mantra to yourself if you ever dare to be tempted to settle into a comfortably numb state of self-doubt.
tavi-mantra
partido a partido.
words repeated so often by one of the greatest soccer coaches in history, diego “el cholo” simeone. this is often his answer during press conferences, when asked either if the momentum of winning is getting to his players’ heads, if pressure is mounting after a series of losses, is the noise in the very competitive landscape of spanish soccer inhibiting their capacity to play- partido a partido, game by game. force yourself to take a deep breath and be patient. concentrate on one challenge at a time. visualizing a goal as one large untouchable vision in the distance renders you, the achiever, immobile. partido a partido. is how you win fucking championships and become one of the greatest football clubs in the history of mankind. and how you become the self you are in the stands of the calderon along the manzanares in madrid.
chance favors those who are prepared.
do not fool yourself into thinking success is just going to drop in on you. there is no replacement for hard work- however, tapping into your own self-confidence and working to create, seeking inspiration, intentionally moving, and being open to the beautiful energy around you- often creates fortuitous happenings that can only be explained because you believed they would, because you were searching for them, and yes- because you were working to begin with. take simply the first step. recognize that inspiring creativity is a muscle- and as soon as you start using it, it will get stronger. and it won’t be so hard the next time. so just simply start. right now.

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why we travel… reason #8.

in TRAVEL
to seek, find, lose, and rediscover love. in all of its captivating complexity.
because stagnation is so definitively isolating, we move, we travel, we seek love- in a city or person that will deeply connect to our souls, immediately and relentlessly. and to find this is something unique and unshakable. you hold on to those moments where your heart is warmed, your soul is illuminated, so much so that you can only put your hand to your chest so it absorbs the energy and keeps it from nearly bursting. those moments, that inexorable magnetism of the soul, the insatiable curiosity of the mind, the often fleeting nature of the heart- that connect us deeply, if often momentarily, to a kindness in a person, the exactness of a place, a sight unseen that we will always crave again. it’s those moments that that move us so viscerally that we know our hearts and bodies will never leave.
but as explorers we are, travel on we must. and to leave, to experience this melancholy of departure is a pain that is all too familiar to lovers and travelers- sharing one last look, one last touch, a few final words that will inevitably seem to fall short. the beautiful tragedy of goodbye. be it to a person or a place, a moment or an opportunity. and the only tangible thing left in your hand and your heart is the inevitable uncertainty as to when you will feel that next- what road you will be on that it will hurt so badly again to have one last look, one last inhale, one last goodbye. and the hopeful certainty of returning is often the only thing often that keeps our feet moving forward.
and to finally return, to that city or those arms, after being apart for an indefinite amount of space and time. a boarding pass in your hand, a once-familiar destination in your heart, you’re filled with the desire to embrace the experience still containing that same wide-eyed curiosity, exploring every enticing curve and stubbly imperfection of a cobblestoned street or lovePhoto (1)r’s skin. and you can’t help but desire to relive the love you had- to walk down the same streets, hand in hand. to witness sunsets from such great heights, to taste food, to sip wine, to gaze endlessly at intangible vistas or into familiar eyes longing to dive in or to sit and absorb the view from afar, with your heart and your mind only slightly ajar. while retaining a deep, impenetrable connection that is transcendent, always, of a moment or a distance.
and even months later, to get a roll of film developed and realize that you know every angle that lies steps beyond the narrow view of what the shutter captured, or just how a pair of shoulders feel beneath a t-shirt now draped in black and white emulsion. and equally with a melancholic longing and a satisfying warmth in your heart, you know that no part of it will ever leave you.
and that, is why we travel. to seek, find, and rediscover love. to lose ourselves and find each other in the process, in the ebb and flow of insatiable exploration. to leave a part of our hearts in each place, knowing that it has also gained so much, that it can only move on stronger than before. and that finally our heartbeats will populate and empower so many city streets, so many strangers’ chests, so many nights and days and moments and lives that our own will exist to seek cadence beyond our humble chests.
for love. is why we travel.

why we travel… reason #3

in TRAVEL

    Travel! Set out and head for pastures new-
Life tastes the richer when you’ve road-worn feet.
No water that stagnates is fit to drink,
for only that which flows is truly sweet.

 

in FOOD

     there are things you do because they feel right and they make no sense and they make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.

-brian andreas