23.4.19

HOW I FEEL ABOUT THE
ENDLESS THINGS
TO DO IN LONDON


One of the realities — and best things — about living in a city like London is the endless amounts of things to do. It’s part of the reason so many people move here. Being someone who has always worked in public relations, I’ve always been fascinated by the way London is branded. This city attracts an insane amount of tourists every year so the branding, design, and marketing must be done well. 



I’ve never found myself lacking in awareness of what’s going on in this city. Mostly due to the weekly free and gorgeously designed Time Out London magazine, Instagram accounts like the not-so-secret @Secret.London, and the advertisements literally everywhere, London does a damn good job of making it's people and visitors know what’s up.

The first few months of picking up Time Out and anxiously scrolling through the pages to see what new cool thing is going on was exciting. Over time, though, I started to notice the feeling of FOMO rising up again and again. Does anyone say FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) anymore?


The reality of working and living in London is that most weeknights I’m pretty exhausted. Although, I know this is true of my Canadian friends and may just be an adult thing. So, let’s rule the weekdays out. On weekends is when I feel acquainted with FOMO the most. Making friends in a new city isn’t the easiest thing and I struggle sometimes to want to go out and do things alone all of the time. Certain activities truly require friends. One thing being the parks in the summer when everyone gathers in clusters with picnic baskets, drinks, music, and activities.


I’ve come to learn that the best thing to do in this city is: decide. Pick something to do and do it. Having a lot of things to do and see is not a bad problem to have; it’s too much of a good thing, really. But, when you’re single and don’t have a huge friend group just yet, it’s easy to feel like everyone has someone to hang out with and it can be lonely at times. I’m lucky in the sense that my flatmates are also my friends and we hang out a lot even if it’s just at home eating popcorn and watching a movie.



Another contributor to my FOMO is when I scroll through social media. When I’m home, it’s tempting to scroll social media and that doesn’t particularly help the situation. I just have to remind myself that most of social media is where people post their highlight reel and not their real lives, just as I admittedly do. I try to keep it a bit real but I’m conscious that my life probably looks dreamier that it truly is.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY IZZY

That being said, I still walk around this city with stars in my eyes and need an occasional pinch to remind me this is real. Everyday, I find something new and get to know this place a little better. So far, my favourite museum has been the V&A museum with it’s gorgeous marble walls and sculptures. I’ve been falling a little more in love with the Marylebone area everyday as that’s where I work. Every week it seems I walk by a new little shop or community centre that I’m surprised to find. I’m still learning on a hunt for my favourite clothing stores but I do enjoy a little Brick Lane vintage shopping. 

On my current to-go list is Portobello Rd. Market in Notting Hill, Hampstead Heath (for the gorgeous nature), Museum of Brands (nerding out!), Kew Gardens (duh), and various music festivals. I also want to spend more time in East London, my original love! 


What are your favourite things to do in your city? 



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10.4.19

WHY I AM GRATEFUL
FOR MY STRUGGLES




Being a human on this planet isn't easy. Everyone has experienced their version of pain, struggles, blocks, traumas, and breakdowns. I haven't had an easy ride. I've shared parts of my story with you and I always want to share as much as I can. The story I'm most free to share is my personal one because it's mine and I have learned to own it. I've shared my struggles with anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I've shared a bit about how I got through that time and how I stay well today. At the height of that struggle in 2014, I could've never imagined moving to London on my own and doing the things I've done. That was when I first tried meditation. When I closed my eyes for my daily one minute meditation (yes, that's how I started, can you believe it?) I could see a spark of the person I am today. Without being aware of what I was doing, I was visualizing myself happy, healthy, full of energy, and doing everything I ever wanted to do. 

This was the start of everything that I attribute my happiness to today. But it didn't start pretty. Today I want to share how facing obstacles has led me to inner peace and more happiness than I could imagine. 


The obstacles 

I wasn't always a positive person. In high school and college, I struggled a lot and cynicism became part of my personality. I was bitter about my circumstances. I had a lot of anger. I'd bottle up everything and explode unexpectedly. I'd drink, party, and date mean boys to feel better. I'd put pounds of makeup and clothes on everyday just to feel beautiful. I had a challenging home life and lost someone close to me. The ability to see anything positive in the obstacles I faced was a far stretch. A yellow brick road, you could say. 
The breaking point 

My breaking point was the time I had my first anxiety attack and first suicidal thought. I've shared the full story before but essentially I was at home and my heart started to race, my body felt really hot, and even though I didn't want to die, I felt a compulsion to jump off my balcony. Instead of following my thoughts, I picked up the phone and called my sister and then my parents, anyone who would pick up and listen. They came over and it took hours before I would calm down. Something inside me knew I had to reach out, sit with this feeling, and unpack what was going on. 


The uphill 

Healing from my days of severe anxiety and panic attacks took years. I learned to be open with my feelings with the people I trust. I did talk therapy and unpacked years of trauma and fear. I learned to take care of my body. I learned boundaries. And most of all, I found Kundalini Yoga. 


The solutions 

If I didn't have these huge challenges, I wouldn't have been in search of solutions. And within the solutions, I have not only healed my brain and body, I've discovered my dreams. My 'solutions' were not only helpful during the hard times, they've become part of my new way of living. This is why I have gratitude for the obstacles I've faced. If the need for something bigger and better than what I was feeling wasn't there, I don't know if I would've found it. Obstacles are not only life's greatest teachers, they remind us of our inner strength. There's something in all of us that wants to not only survive but thrive and go beyond. 

The cave I meditated in during my trip to Mallorca.

The spirit 

Yogi Bhajan, the Kundalini yoga master who brought this yoga to the West in 1969, says The question is, Are you spiritual or are you not? The truth is you are. The reality is you don’t believe it. I've always known I was a spiritual person but I never connected to it through religion and didn't know there was another way to do this. Kundalini Yoga is the way I've personally been able to practice spirituality on a daily basis. It's taught me what it means to be a spiritual being and I'm now able to bring this spirituality into my daily life. 

The humbling

I just spent a weekend on the island of Mallorca with Guru Jagat, a Kundalini Yoga master. During one of the classes, she said There is nothing more humbling than the human experience. My obstacles have kept me humble. They've taught me about compassion and empathy. I recognize that I'm very privileged, abundant, and blessed to be here and living in this time. I always try to treat everybody the same. I don't care if you're the CEO of the company I work for, I'll treat you with the same respect as the person who replenishes our tea baskets. Yoga has helped me truly feel and embody the fact that we're all one in the same. 


The not-so-easy ride

When I see my obstacles as teachers, as something that pushes me to go beyond myself and discover people, places, and things that enrich my life, I can make peace with them. I've also made peace with the fact that I can't make peace with some of the struggles I've had. Some of my experiences really broke me down and I wish I hadn't gone through them. But when I can see the positives in the outcomes of what I learned or felt that has helped me be a better friend or colleague, it helps me move on. 


The story 

I used to resonate with the phrase It's never too late to re-write your story but now I slightly disagree. I feel like it makes me feel ashamed of my past experiences moreso than it makes me feel hopeful of the future. I do agree it's never too late to make change but I've learned to see my story as something that has shaped my character and for that, I'm grateful. That being said, I'm ready to detach from said story. When I repeat the same stories over and over, I start to identify with them and it becomes part of my personal identity. I'm learning to detach my experiences from who I am because they're not one in the same. I used to relate so much to my childhood traumas and this translated into a victim mentality or almost a competition of judging people who haven't 'been through the same shit'. Everyone has been through something and I'll never know the full extent of that. This is why I try to treat everyone with the same respect and kindness.


The purpose

I'm a chronic over-thinker and I spend a lot of time in the 'What is my purpose' department of my brain. The answer to the question that I so often ask is that my purpose — and all of our purpose — is to live this human experience. To go through the obstacles. To be alive and present, here and now. To live and inspire. To share and create. This is it. 


Out of my head

One way I'm learning to get out of my head is to get into my body and my environment. Being in Mallorca was a sensory-overload in the best possible way. The warm humid air, the orange trees, the sea, the sun, and the people. These elements made it near impossible for me to chill for very long in my own mind. They're a reminder that there's so much more than me and nature helps me focus on something way bigger than myself. Regardless of what I've been through and what topic my brain wants to replay over and over, there is so much beauty happening all around me. Not just in Mallorca, but anywhere I go. 


Gratitude

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to travel. Visiting new places is opening my eyes and widening my lens to new cultures and environments. It's strengthening my trust in myself and also my reliance on all the wellness solutions I've discovered through facing obstacles. I've never needed and practiced yoga so much. I've never been so proactive in reaching out for help. I've never felt so alive and well. 








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