Surviving was so 2013 – Bring on the Living, 2014

I believe that God created bikinis to give women good old-fashioned reality checks, even if we didn’t request one.

I mean really, is there anything more humbling than standing in front of a fitting room mirror that’s very close and covered in fingerprints from small children and trying to figure out if the bikini bottoms are giving you love handles, or if the underwear that you have scrunched up underneath the bikini bottoms are creating the love handles, or if there’s no help and the love handles would be there whether you were bottomless or not?

Precisely.

A good old-fashioned, humbling, reality check.

Reminding me of lesson number 3,678 I learned this year:

There is no escaping reality, even in paradise.

Moving to a tropical place and reading self-help books help, but they don’t fix everything. There’s always work to be doing. Always.

See, the thing about moving to Hawaii is that I fell into a trap where I thought everything would be perfection.

Pineapple-flavored, sea breezy, easy, beautiful, Cover-girl skin-looking, coconut-smelling perfection.

The thing that still catches me by surprise every time I expect this perfection though, is that Hawaii is actually a real place.

Like, it’s on a map. And it’s part of a country that requires it’s residents to pay taxes and use turn signals.

People still have to work to make the money to buy groceries and sometimes…it even rains.

And so, maybe, I ignored all of the real stuff, and instead imagined my highlighted hair blowing behind me on my motorcycle while on my way to the black sand beach where I would read a book that has nothing to do with compulsive eating and coat myself in coconut oil for a perfect tan.

But the reality is, is that back-ne and taxes are not just things for the mainland to deal with.

We have them here, too.

Along with really steep hills not condusive to walking, laws stating that you have to have a permit to drive any moped over 125 cc’s, and believe it or not, really expensive health food.

It’s like, in New York City, we accept these laws and these prices and blame it on NYC for being a shitty, expensive city.

But raw cacao and hemp seeds are expensive anywhere, not just NYC. And people have to pay taxes and get motorcycle permits everywhere, not just NYC.

And the lesson to be learned is, you can run from the hard stuff, and you can leave NYC, but you can’t hide.

The constant sunshine and the salty air definitely help matters.

But again, the reality is, whether you live in Montana or Honolulu, when your landlord lives above you and is completely renovating her deck for a week over the Christmas holiday, the noise is bound to drive anyone a little bonkers.

Even if you live in paradise.

It’s almost as if (gasp) I have to live real life, here, in Hawaii, just like the rest of my friends and family.

For some reason, this was a really hard concept for me to grasp.

Since leaving the yoga retreat and moving to the other side of the Big Island, I haven’t done a single yoga pose.

I no longer eat vegetables with every meal. When given a choice between cooking dinner or eating chips and salsa for dinner when my boyfriend, Johnny, is at work, I choose the chips and pineapple salsa about 80% of the time.

Going from living on a yoga retreat where everything – and I mean everything, from the coffee in the morning to the toilet paper all day long – was provided for me, to living in an apartment stocked with food to binge eat and a television to binge watch, has been a lot more complicated than it first sounded.

And after two weeks of moping over my lack of moped skills, crying over the weight I’ve gained, complaining about the landlord’s hammering and sanding, and snapping at Johnny for every single joke he’s made, I had to get myself together. I just had to. I was literally a weeping, snotty, hormonally-imbalanced wreck of a woman.

After taking the time to wash my hair and two week’s worth of laundry that I had simply strewn all over my closet, I started evaluating shit.

First and foremost, binging on shredded cheese and chocolate chips no longer holds the allure it once did. But trying to find solace in it once again while watching an NCIS marathon in my pajamas for the third day in a row was a great reminder of why I’m here. What I’ve done. What I’ve learned. What is next. All that stuff any therapist would tell me to journal about.

Secondly, after Pinterest-ing and Etsy-ing and Upworthy-ing and YouTube-ing Gregory Hines videos until my coffee buzz made me so shaky I had to get up and walk around, I ventured outside to attempt walking the 90 fucking degree hills steeper than a Six Flags roller coaster that make up our neighborhood. I nearly passed out, and my chest hurt so bad I felt as though I ran the Brooklyn Marathon sans training all over again, but it got my heart rate pumping. And thank God for that.

Next, I got back on the saddle – of my moped that is. In Hawaii, everyone rides mopeds, but they normally don’t go above 35mph and they are driven on the side of the road, instead of in traffic. Because my moped is closer to being a motorcycle in power, build, and speed, learning to ride it has proved more serious than I thought it would be. I have to actually be careful. And get a permit. And use turn signals. After a scary incident with a dog crossing my path very suddenly (no one tell my mother, seriously), I totally freaked and wouldn’t go out on it again, confining myself to the apartment without transportation for days. But enough was enough, and I picked up the motorcycle book to study for my permit, started practicing my U-turns again, and drove off through the neighborhood – much to Johnny’s surprise – who nearly had a heart attack when I went past the stop sign for once and disappeared for a full five minutes of almost 35mph driving.

After that, I made a smoothie.

And then, I finally started writing things down that I could be doing with my time outside of NCIS marathons that would actually benefit my well-being.

Writing.

Paddleboarding again.

Yoga again.

Dancing, even if in my living room.

Reading. Anything. Not just self-help. Sometimes fiction is the best thing ever.

Researching smoothie recipes.

Learning to play the guitar I bought myself.

Push-ups.

Basically I made a vision board.

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I cut pics from mags and I wrote down goals, practices, and dreams – even the ones that feel a little out of reach financially (i.e. nutrition school and a trip to Italy) – and I glue-sticked that shit to the brightest posterboard I could find.

This, is my vision for 2014.

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And I’m a week early.

Ain’t nobody got time to wait for the first of a year to start living out dreams.

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There’s not enough NCIS to cover the hours until January 1st arrives.

So I just, started now.

I am continuously reminded by those I love that I don’t have to finish it all right now.

My mother always says, it didn’t take me two months to binge, so how can I expect it to take me two months to stop binging. Now, she said that like, four months ago, but, the sentiment still applies.

My vision board is now a constant reminder of what I could be doing with my time instead of moping.

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Like, I don’t have to walk twelve miles today. I could just walk twelve minutes. And it might not be the recommended dose of cardiovascular activity that my body needs today, but it certainly isn’t going to harm me to walk for twelve minutes.

I don’t have to learn about every superfood today, but learning about one today, is good enough to start me off towards a healthier diet this afternoon when I make my first smoothie with raw cacao.

Six months ago I laughed at my friend Freddie who tried to explain to me how to use raw cacao.

I said, “That overwhelms me, excuse me while I finish this Reese’s.”

Look at me now, comparing raw cacao prices in the health food store.

The final lesson that I am taking with me every time I look at my vision board is about my writing.

My goal is to write something every day.

Just, something.

And I have to accept that all of the “somethings” that I write are not going to be blog-worthy, elephant journal worthy, or viral-sensation worthy.

Writing, just like everything else, is a practice.

And when I find myself checking the stats on my blog or taking it personally when my most avid readers stop sharing each post on Facebook, I have to come back to the basis of why I started all this in the first place.

This is my safe place. This is my therapy, too. And each week, as long as one person reads the post and relates, then my job is done.

Because not only have I helped myself by expressing what’s up, but I’ve helped one other person know that they aren’t alone.

And that is exactly what it’s all about.

So I just wanted to say that whatever our resolutions are for the new year, whether they be writing, using raw cacao, or laughing more, may they be full of hope and purpose for our better well-being.

I won’t preach about how none of us should set diet goals. And I won’t preach about making massive to-do lists for 2014 because honestly, I’ve thought about it.

I’m not completely healed of the whole losing weight thing. I mean, people, I tried on bikinis yesterday. That’s enough to make anyone want to go gluten-sugar-dairy-meat-alcohol-calorie free come January 1st.

But I will just say this.

Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in 2014, just remember to also give yourself a pat on the back for surviving 2013.

My friend Brooke – 22-year old guitar playing Brooke from blog post 10, not sisterfriend Brooke from NYC – inspired all of us at the yoga retreat in her final week by telling us her personal story of finding Hawaii for healing. The thing that stuck with me the most was her final message.

She said that for as long as she can remember, the goal was always to survive.

But now, after learning and healing and living in Hawaii for two months, she no longer wants to survive.

She wants to live.

There’s a difference.

So if you lived your dreams in 2013, then cheers, and here’s to a beautiful 2014 for you and yours.

If you spent some of 2013 in my shoes, just trying to survive, and barely enjoying the moments where you could surface and breathe in the fresh, non-depressed, non-anxious air, then join me in making one more resolution for the new year.

Fuck this “just surviving” shit.

Surviving is for the birds in the winter.

Let’s live.

Live, live, live, live,live!

Whatever it takes – whether it’s a vision board or it’s a move to a new state or it’s reading a new Geneen Roth book – give yourself ample time to figure out what you need to surpass survival mode, and live.

Happy New Year, my beautiful people.

See you on the flip side – living, learning, and roaring in 2014!

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The New List: Re-creating the Media’s List of Do’s and Don’ts

‘Tis the season to be bamboozled.

Everywhere we look right now, there is a headline or a Tweet from every major magazine about what to eat and what not to eat this holiday season.

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Lists, and calorie counts, and ideas for vegan muffins, and how many different holiday cocktails will make us fat.

Every day, from Halloween to New Year’s Eve, this is what we see.

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And that’s really great and all, but, do we really need the magazines to tell us how many calories are in a margarita?

I mean, c’mon, you and I both know that there is no nutritional value to a margarita.

Margaritas are filled with fun and lime-flavored decisions that normally have consequences.

That’s pretty common (sometimes awesome) knowledge.

Do you know what happens when we read that list of cocktails that we should avoid?

Our brain thinks immediately, “Oh, add that to the list of things I can’t have.”

And it’s just like the old saying goes: “If I tell you not to think about the color red, what color are you going to think about?” “Red.” (Is that an old saying? I mean, people say it a lot, so…)

Basically, by trying to get the masses to NOT focus on food during the holidays, the media and the magazines and even our friends on Facebook have done exactly the opposite.

The holidays are officially about food.

Whether we realize it or not, the media is doing an excellent job of preparing us for the next big boom in WeightWatchers memberships and Paleo-diet book sales.

By putting these cleverly-titled lists of food in our faces every day – whether they are “good food” lists or “bad food” lists – we are constantly reminded to eat and drink.

Whether we are hungry or not.

On top of that, every morning, amongst the political memes and constant flow of engagement and baby pictures on our Facebook newsfeed, our friends’ pictures of last night’s salmon/bok choy/chia seed/coconut oil/alfalfa sprout creation is staring us in the face. I know we’re probably all on different levels with understanding chia seeds, but because I still haven’t grasped the concept of using them and I’m pretty content that I can finally make my own green smoothie and be satisfied with it, pictures and articles about food on Facebook overwhelm me.

It all overwhelms me.

Because we are all still, as a whole, making it about food.

The diet industry has gotta love this.

In between Instagram’ed meals of vegan cornbread and Pinterest recipes for Paleo lasagna, the diet and fitness industry continues to have a leg up on us.

Because the more overwhelmed we get, the more willing we are to try whatever hits us in the face first

And if that’s a new diet, or a new fitness video that costs us a hundred bucks come January 1st when we don’t like what we see on the scale, then the diet and fitness industry scores again.

Because we’ll excitedly try the hundred dollar juice cleanse and the newest dance fitness TRX trampoline kettle bell video for a month, get depressed at our lack of motivation to keep it up, and slump back into our winter blues until spring rolls around, when, naturally, the magazines post the best bikini workouts for 2014.

It’s an endless cycle that is actually extremely well-planned on their part.

And the people who have trouble with food the way bingers, or addicts do, are their biggest supporters.

Because until we become aware that we have a problem with binging – until we finally come to terms with the fact that we are not just weak or we are not just stupid – we keep trying the newest fad.

We keep the diet and fitness industry in business, week after week, month after month, year after year.

So this week, I say we give them a run for their money.

This month, I say we give them the cold shoulder.

Dare I say it – this year, this upcoming year – I say we try to figure out what we should and shouldn’t eat on our OWN.

I mean, do we really need Jillian Michaels to tell us which greek yogurt has the most protein?

Can we just read the labels for ourselves? Do we even like greek yogurt? Are we just eating it because it’s the “in” thing?

And, let me just ask this: Do we really need Self to teach us how to do eight different kinds of push-ups?

What if we just started from the beginning and tried doing five old-fashioned push-ups a day until we work our way up to eight, ten, fifteen, and twenty?

What if we, (here we go), I know you know I’m gonna say it, take BABY STEPS, on our own, without the help of glossy pages and airbrushed models demonstrating for us?

I think we might find that we are smarter and stronger than we’ve been led to believe.

This Christmas, why don’t we make our own lists?

Lists of things we’ve accomplished this year.

Lists of things we’ve accomplished in the past five years.

Lists of things we are grateful for.

Lists of friends who supported us this year when we couldn’t find the light at the end of the tunnel on our own.

Lists of places we’ve traveled, lessons we’ve learned, or books that have changed our lives.

Lists of our proudest moments.

Dare I say it…

…what if we made a list of our OWN highlight reel, instead of scrolling everyone else’s on our social media feeds?

Mind you, I’m not asking you to make a list of goals for the new year. Or a list of new foods you want to try. Or a list of things you still haven’t finished in 2013.

We all have things we didn’t get to this year. We all have things we thought would happen. Maybe life got in the way. Maybe we got distracted. But this isn’t what I’m asking you to focus on.

Let’s focus on stuff that’s happened. Stuff that we did get done.

By making a “gratitude list”, like my friend Christina taught me to do, we might just end up outlining how all our “distractions” led us to accomplishing things that we never even had on our to-do list to begin with.

This blog, and Roar, and my amazing relationship, and teaching dance in Hawaii, are all results of the “distractions” in 2013. I might not have ran the marathon, and I might not have booked a Broadway show, but I also influenced hundreds of thousands of people this year AND I can now get through a movie without holding a spoon and a jar of Nutella in my hands.

My own baby steps have allowed me to take one giant step towards recovery, growing up, and loving who I am.

And I wish the same for you.

In the restaurant world, when someone doesn’t want something in their meal, we let the kitchen know by putting “86” in front of the food. Like, “86 chicken sub tofu”, or “86 whipped cream”.

I say, let’s fucking 86 all of the lists of things that we should and shouldn’t be doing, and let’s sub the lists that really matter:

The gratitude lists. The accomplishment lists. The “shit I got done” lists.

These are the lists that we deserve to be bombarded with every day.

Let your lists be your gift to yourself this year.

I keep mine on my desk and add to it every day.

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I’m so grateful for all of you, and the gifts of support, love, and encouragement I’ve received this year.

Have yourselves a merry little Christmas.

 

Next week’s posting:

Resolutions Schmesolutions


This Is Live Theatre, Baby

Last night, for the first time since moving to Hawaii, my friend Ethan visited me in my dreams.

Ethan was from the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and he passed away in his East Harlem apartment very suddenly when he was 23 years old.

Ethan and I went to the same musical theatre conservatory in NYC, but didn’t really get to know each other until my theatre company produced a production of Lucky Stiff in 2008. The musical is a hilarious story about a man whose dead uncle has left him six million dollars and he can only have the money if he takes his dead uncle’s corpse on a vacation to Monte Carlo. If he doesn’t, all of the money goes to a charity instead. Basically, just know that there is a man who is trying to acquire a fortune by pushing his dead uncle around in a wheelchair pretending that he is a alive and chaos ensues.

In our production of Lucky Stiff, all of the roles in the show were cast by August of 2008 except for one.

The dead uncle in the wheelchair.

That’s when Ethan contacted us and said he’d like to do it. Not to be morbid, but he was the best dead character I’ve ever seen in a show, ever.

He didn’t just sit in the wheelchair and play dead. He bounced up and down when the characters were on a train and he fell over when the train hit the breaks, like a dead body would if it was merely sitting in a wheelchair. He had his head and limbs move loosely when he was wheeled around and he literally stole the show. He had people doubled over in laughter – especially when he came to his nephew in a dream and tap danced as a ghost.

When I first found Kalani, the yoga retreat I volunteered at this past fall, and found out it was in Hawaii, I knew that it was right. I had always felt a pull to come here, especially once Ethan passed away. I wanted to see where he had come from, and to see where all of his closest friends had traveled to in order to celebrate his life in the summer of 2009.

The entire time I’ve been here, I’ve thought of Ethan often, when I’m alone looking at the ocean, or when I have one of those spiritual moments at the end of a yoga class.

But last night was the first time he visited me in my dreams since I arrived here on August 1st.

In the dream, we were doing Lucky Stiff and for some reason, Ethan was wearing a mask. Under the mask he had a ton of eyeliner under his eyes – in black and white – and he had ridiculous red lips.

He went missing halfway through the show. The actors were cueing Ethan and the actor who played his nephew onstage, but Ethan was no where to be found. In the dream, since I was offstage watching the show, I went to look for Ethan.

I found him in the backstage area trying to put his mask back on, but for some reason, the eye holes of the mask were glued shut. So every time Ethan put the mask on, he couldn’t see anything.

We both tugged and pulled at the eye holes to get them to open up and they wouldn’t budge.

So, I took the mask off and looked at Ethan. His face was full of fear.

“What if they see my face? They shouldn’t see my face if I’m supposed to be dead. What if my eyes flutter by accident?”

I looked at him and said “Honey, it’s just a show. All we can do is our best with the circumstances we are given. This is live theatre. The unknown of it all is the best part.”

We wiped all the makeup off his face (why the hell was he wearing makeup?) and he went back on stage and tap danced his face off in the ghost number, maskless.

After waking up from the dream this morning, I remember almost every detail of it. I remember what the black box theatre looked like, what his dressing room looked like, and most of all, what his face looked like when he turned from me to go back on stage.

He went on stage as though he could care less what happened, but yet he loved that part of what he was about to do. He was ready, and fearless, and excited.

I feel incredibly calm this morning, for the first time since I returned to Hawaii after my two and a half week visit home to the east coast.

I think Ethan was trying to teach me a lesson.

First of all, the whole mask thing with the eye holes being closed?

Simple lesson. Take the mask off. Take the hard shell off. Let the guard down and be vulnerable. Shutting life out is not the answer.

Since I’ve returned to Hawaii, nothing has gone right. I almost set the apartment on fire this morning, I had only one student in the hip hop class that I taught on Saturday, my boyfriend and I are sharing a car that I don’t know how to drive (fucking stick shift man), and I’ve felt extremely lost and confused, wondering if I’m doing the right thing.

So I clench up and hunker down in my cold-hearted, New Yorker shell that I brought back with me without realizing it, and pretty much snarl at anything that comes within a six inch radius of me. Including my beautiful roommate – the man I love.

First lesson of the dream is to open my eyes and take in whatever is happening – even if I don’t like it at the time.

Second lesson: life isn’t a movie.

One of my directors used to say, “This is live theatre, baby. If you want predictable perfection, go to the movies.”

Life is live theatre, guys.

Sometimes, people are gonna forget their lines. Sometimes, zippers don’t zip in a quick change. Sometimes, we trip over our own two feet because we were too focused on the next scene instead of staying right here in the present one.

And finally, today, with the help of Ethan, I woke up from my obscene obsession with perfection and laughed a little bit over the smell of burning plastic in the kitchen.

It’s like, dude, we have to laugh.

Okay, so there’s traffic and you have to pee really bad before work. (No, just me?)

Okay, so the milk in the fridge is sour so you have to drink black coffee and it’s horrible. (No, just me?)

Okay, so you’re only back in Hawaii for less than two weeks and already want out because everything isn’t dreamy and tropical and easy like you assumed it would be. (Yea, probably just me.)

But dude, in the next five years, will any of it matter?

This isn’t a movie. It’s real life. Shit happens.

Five years ago, Ethan and I were putting together Lucky Stiff. Naive, young, and full of hope for what the future would bring.

We literally never, ever know what tomorrow will bring. So we have to live today.

Right now, I’m lucky enough to be living in Ethan’s home state, just trying to do the best I can while I’m starting a brand new chapter from scratch, with not a clue of what I’m doing. I’m just going off my intuition.

My gut tells me I’m supposed to be here, so I’m figuring it out one day at a time.

I want to honor Ethan this week by spreading the message I think he was trying to share with me.

Stop expecting perfection, and just move through your day the best you know how.

One of the four agreements in Don Miguel Ruiz’s book, The Four Agreements, is simply, “do your best.”

Just do your best.

Today.

I guess, this is my newest mantra.

Life isn’t a movie, baby. This is live theatre. Shit happens. Hiccups occur. We trip and fall. And as soon as can, we gotta laugh about it.

So, Ethan – man oh man, mahalo, my friend, for visiting me in my dreams last night and reminding me that it’s all gonna be okay. You are deeply missed, madly loved, and forever appreciated.

Mele Kalikimaka, everyone.

And to my entire Company 1B family – my Lucky Stiff family from days gone by – look at how far we’ve come. Know that five years ago, we were naive, young, and hopeful. I hope all of us still have bits of those traits in our hearts even now, as we grow older. And all of you – no matter where you are across the world – are always in my heart.

 


My RSVP To The Misery Party

It has never been cool to be “alright”.

As we grow up, moving into our twenties, all we hear from our friends a few years older than us is that our “twenties will be a shitshow”, and we “just have to get through it” and then we will be golden.

We are warned of the heartache and the financial woe and the depression before it even arrives. And when it shows up at our front door, we practically welcome it in saying, “Ahhhhh, I’ve been expecting you.”

So we join the masses of anxiety-driven twentysomethings just like us and think to ourselves, “well, at least we have each other.”

Because misery loves company.

So in our twenties, we find ourselves making friends with the people who are “going through it” just like we are, because they are the only people who “understand what it’s like” to be in a dark place like we are.

But what if we weren’t warned about the shitshow to come? What if we weren’t told to expect failure and heartbreak?

What would happen if we experienced the joy that comes with being single and free in our twenties without knowing that doom was lurking just around the corner?

I mean, honestly, I don’t know the answers. I’m legitimately asking you.

What if we went into our twenties blind and ignorant?

Would we still come out alive?

Most of you who read this are beyond the stage of warning. You’ve already been told what to expect and you are bracing yourself for the storm that awaits as you round each corner of your twenties – just trucking through each year until you reach the golden light at the end of the tunnel – thirty.

I was always told that thirty was it. Thirty was gonna be the change. The sigh of relief.

So I’ve been waiting for that. I’ve been crawling through the trenches of 24, 25, and 26, wiping my Pinot Grigio laced tears out of my eyes hoping to see through the dust that 27, 28, and 29 will bring, knowing that if I just keep crawling, I’ll make it to thirty and everything will be just as it’s supposed to be.

Well. Fuck. That.

I am sick and tired of being told what my life is going to look like. I am sick and tired of having this miserable picture painted for me from the generation ahead. And I am sick and tired of waiting until I am thirty to feel alright with my life.

Yea, the economy sucks. Yea, the job market sucks. Yea, student loans fucking SUCK. But do we really need to be told those things as we grow up? Couldn’t we just as easily find all that out on our own and let it do the damage to our lives that we each allow it to do, instead of having it consume our thoughts immediately after graduation knowing full well that we are “in for a rocky road” in this day and age?

What if, all of us, in our twenties, accepted that where we are right now in life, is alright?

Actually, let’s expand that statement.

What if, all of us, seriously all of us – no matter what age we are, accepted that where we are right now in life, is alright?

What if we didn’t seek out other miserable people to spend our time with?

And what if we started supporting our friends who make baby steps towards happiness and health instead of scorning them for making it out of the trenches before us?

In Hawaii, I’ve learned to use the term Pono. In simple terms, Pono is rightness and balance.

“When you are Pono, you have a feeling of contentment, wherein all is good and all is right. Pono teaches the attitude of positivity. Life itself excites you. Those who are Pono are optimistic and full of hope. All they see in their future is that things can only get better. Keep your life in balance. Do what is right.”Managing With Aloha by Rosa Say

What if we all found the feeling of Pono in ourselves – the feeling of contentment – even amongst the world’s wars, hate, and crisis?

I think if we found the Pono in ourselves, we would encourage others to do the same. Because I’ll tell you what. When I ask myself if something is Pono – is it right – and I follow my gut, it brings me to a place of balance. I feel rooted in myself, and in my decision. And so nothing can sway me. Not even the negativity of those around me.

And so even though misery loves company, I no longer participate in the party.

Meaning one less person is contributing to the negative world, and taking a stand for the positive one.

And that feels Pono to me.

So this is what I am asking you to consider.

When your friends find something that mean something to them – even if it sounds boring to you – is it Pono for you to razz them about it?

When your best friend decides that after six years of bourbon blackouts and tequila hangovers that he wants to try sobriety for the sake of his health and his sanity, what is Pono? Teasing him, or supporting him? C’mon man, support his ass. Yea, it totally sucks that you lost a drinking buddy. But maybe it gives you an opportunity to look at your own drinking habits and check in with your own body. Maybe you could use a break, too.

When your best friend thinks she’s met the love of her life but you think he’s a total loser, what is Pono? Preaching to her or supporting her? C’mon girlfriend, cut the girl a break and support her anyway. She isn’t going to listen to your advice no matter what you say – you probably know this by now – so just humor her when she tells you the one nice thing he did for her this month. Be with her until she wakes up and smells his bullshit. And take an opportunity to observe why you hate her loser boyfriend so much. Does he remind you of someone you’ve dated who you still haven’t forgave?

See, the thing is, is that there’s always shit of our own that we can focus on working out instead of razzing our friends about their choices. It’s just easier to tease them than to look at our own shit in the mirror.

Here’s the thing.

Life does not have to be about the fear of failure. Life does not have to be about how far we have to go before we can celebrate making it to 30. Life can be about the shit that’s happening right now.

Observing the shit now, feeling the shit now, conquering the shit now, moving on from the shit now.

Just love the shit. All of it. It’s life, baby. This shit is what makes up our lives. It’s here now. So might as well love it.

In a world that teaches us to become better all the time – get a better body, grow better hair, be better in bed – it’s hard to accept that what’s happening right now might just be alright.

But beautiful girl, if you didn’t see that magazine on the street today about the five best Keratin treatments for long hair – would you have even been thinking about your four split ends?

If you didn’t see that book on your friend’s shelf today about the Best Sexual Positions for Businesswomen in a Hurry in 2013 in New York City, would you have even been wondering if your sex life is boring?

Every day, the world throws negativity at us. Telling us we are not good enough right now.

Well I say, wake up and smell the coffee that you’re brewing right now and take a good strong look in the mirror.

Find something that you fucking love about yourself in the mirror and adore it. Now. Right now.

For me, it’s my legs and my waist. I have strong legs with fierce calf muscles and I have a waist that curves in at the right spot. I have learned to love these things over the past four months after my friend Nadia told me to make time in my day for looking at them, accepting them, and believing that they are awesome.

What do you love about yourself? There is absolutely something. Come on. Don’t be shy.

Once you find it, love it. Give it some love every day. Admire it. What does that body part do for you? Do what you need to do for yourself to love the parts of you that you are fine with right now, and do not let any magazine tell you that you need to change it.

Every time you and I do something that’s Pono – that’s right with us – that’s right for us – we change the world. We become one less miserable figure in the scheme of things, even if it’s just for five minutes. And slowly, but surely, we can inspire others to do the same.

“Are you content? You may feel there is much to be done, however a feeling of contentment is possible when you feel the path ahead is one that is right for you, one where you will enjoy the journey. It may be a difficult journey, but because it’s the right one, it’s the best one, and you take it willingly, eagerly. Contentment dishes up feelings of being at peace, of being calm, stress-free, and tranquil. For the moment there is no striving.” – Rosa May, Managing With Aloha

I just want to take this moment and tell you that it’s alright, to be alright.

It’s okay to be content, even if no one around you is content too. It’s okay to feel calm, stress-free, and tranquil, even if everyone around you is going batshit over wrapping presents and baking cookies. It’s okay to like yourself. Hell, dare I say it, it’s okay to love yourself.

You guys. The world around us is always going to tell us to be better.

It’s up to us to find our contentment no matter what the magazines and Twitter feeds tell us.

And it’s really important for us to accept that being Pono, being content, is alright.

This holiday season – take some time out of everyday for yourself. It’s important that you find out what you need – because the more you take care of yourself, the less misery you bring to the party. And maybe, just maybe, once we stop waiting for thirty to come, or perfection to come, or success to come, we’ll realize that being right here, right now, in this moment, is pretty fucking awesome.

And after a while, the misery party, complete with it’s tantalizing cocktails and it’s newest diet-trend-approved hors d’oeurves, won’t even exist anymore.

“Being Pono becomes our best preparedness for the certainty of change. When people are secure in who they are, they do what they do best. They have that positive and optimistic attitude that comes from doing what they love to do in the best way possible. outside forces do not shake them up too badly. They are centered, they are balanced, and so they are resilient and strong.” – Rosa Say, Managing with Aloha

You, my bad ass friends, are resilient and strong.

Find your Pono – your feeling of contentment.

You deserve it. Honest to God, you do.