One thing I do know is that every word that comes out of our mouths goes straight into the universe. We can never take it back. What’s said has been said and it’s something we can never undo. Kind of fucking scary if you really think about it.
I’ve destroyed more relationships, friendships, and did I mention relationships? with my sharp tongue and word vomit than I probably even realize.
But I never realized, until recently, that I also destroy myself with that same word vomit.
Words are powerful things. Negative words are really powerful. But the good news is, so are positive ones.
So where does that leave us? Well, I’m thinking, if we catch ourselves now and then, before we let our negative mantras out into the universe, we’ll take back some of our own power and turn our course towards the positive. Towards the hopeful. Towards the light. Here are five phrases I’d like to take out of my vocabulary, from here on out.
1.) I should. You should. We should. He should. My mom should. Should.
My friend Melissa told me to cut the word “should” out of my vocabulary on July 2nd, 2012. I remember the exact date because a show I was in had just closed the day before outside the city, and I had those all too familiar post-show blues. Back to the job pool. Back to the grind. Back to unemployment. Back to that comforting, yet ugly voice in the back of my head saying “you might not be good enough to work again.” So I walked to I Melissa’s on July 2nd for a few beers, and we started talking life. We weren’t even that close then, but she offered me the one piece of advice that’s stuck with me ever since – even though I constantly forget to follow it. Cut the word “should” out of your vocabulary.
We should do a lotta things. We should do laundry. We should cut our hair. We should watch the news. We should vote. We should take baths. We should be thankful. We should count our blessings. We should eat organic lettuce. Yea, we should do a lot of things. Do any of those things sound tempting to you when the word “should” is in front of them? Not really. “Should” is like a mixture between a grandmother’s scolding and a personal guilt trip (like the kind you get after lying, or eating your roommate’s Nutella) and the smell of garbage when it needs to be taken out. See? Garbage NEEDS to be taken out. “Should” is not a strong enough word for garbage. NEED is the word for stinky garbage. That shit needs to be taken care of. So why not replace “should” with words like “need”, “want”, “could”, “will”, or “try” in all the other areas of our life?
should could do laundry today, but I need a day of rest. So I’ll try to wash my jeans tomorrow, but until then, I want to rest.”
should could go to that party and network with a bunch of bigwigs, but I will have a better week if I spend some quality time with my best friend tonight and catch up on life.”
“Should” sucks. You shouldn’t do anything. You could do it. You might need to do it. But “shoulding” the task at hand isn’t going to get you anywhere closer to finishing it. Take the garbage, and the word “should”, out to the curb where it belongs.
2.) Well, it can’t get any worse.
Oh but like, it can. It can though. This week alone, I missed a phone hearing that I knew nothing about with NY State, I locked myself out of my apartment for the first time ever in my life LIKE EVER IN NINE YEARS OF LIVING ON MY OWN, my car doesn’t start, I burst into tears in front of my boss over a scheduling conflict, and I had an emotional breakdown on Friday night that lasted so long I blew snot into an entire roll of toilet paper. It rained every day in Hawai’i this week. I kept saying, “hey, it can’t get any worse.” And IT JUST KEPT GETTING WORSE. And my worst, is like not even close to being some of the world’s worst. There’s a lot worse than what my worst was this week. But it still didn’t feel great.
I think by saying “it can’t get any worse”, we are almost challenging the universe to send us more things to make us appreciate how good we really have it. Locking ourselves out of our apartment is not the worst that can happen. Instead of focusing on how terrible life is when we have no way of getting back into the house to pee, we could say to the universe, “it can only get better from here.” This is a constructive, positive affirmation we can use to reassure ourselves – because chances are, no one’s around to hug us (because we just left our apartment) and like, who’s home at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon? We better just take this moment to reassure ourselves (while we try to unlock the door with a credit card for the fourth time) that it can only get better from here. It’s almost a moment of taking back our power. We could surrender to the feeling of failure and loss with the phrase, “well, it can’t get any worse”, or we could find the gratitude in the humbling moment at hand and remember that it can only get better from here. Thinking in this manner will only help us in the end.
It might sound cheesy, but choosing to look up and notice the sunshine while we’re locked out of the house waiting for a ride to work, thanking God we didn’t leave the hair straightener on, instead of crying over the snacks we were really looking forward to later even though we don’t know how the hell we’re going to get inside to eat them, is literally a life-saving form of mind over matter. Mind over matter, dude. I’m terrible at it 99% of the time but I KNOW it’s a thing. It’s a thing that can save us all. Positive mind over negative matter will win every time if we just fucking LET it. Say it with me. No matter what has happened this morning, this week, this month, this decade, IT CAN ONLY GET BETTER FROM HERE.
3.) It’s always something.
I think maybe this has been my mantra since I’m 19. It’s a joking statement that flies out of my mouth whenever things don’t go my way. Whether I almost get run over by a car on 44th and 9th because I’m talking shit on my cell phone about my last audition and walking through traffic, or I get another letter from NY State about my unemployment claim from 2009, my mantra has always been, “it’s always something.” Because it is, right? I mean everyone’s getting engaged or pregant and I’m just over here 5,000 miles away like, I love to tap dance and hike volcanoes with my boyfriend, and every time I scroll Facebook I say to him “it’s always something.” I fight with my mom, or I get a guilt trip from a friend I haven’t caught up with in too long and I get off the phone and I mutter, “it’s always something.” My car breaks down, or more likely, I forget to get gas before work, and I’m just like, “it’s always fucking something.” The profanity makes me feel a little more in control of my sarcastic mantra, you know? Really inspiring. Because it’s ALWAYS SOMETHING.
But the more I say that, the more I realize that I’m inviting, well, something more to come along and ALWAYS be there. I’m inviting something to always happen because I’m literally stating, in a sentence, that “it is always something.” I’m stating that, out loud, literally inviting the universe to make sure there is always something. Do I deal with pain and inconvenience and hardship with humor? Absolutely. Always have. But if I can just figure out how to turn my mantra into something like “I am strong enough to handle this situation right now because I have no idea if anything else will happen to me that will require such strength and so for now I will focus on the situation at hand and get through it with my determination that’s gotten me through everything up until this point” and then figure out an appropriate acronym to tattoo it on my wrist for reminding, I think life would seem a lot more handle-able. And fun. And like, uplifting.
It’s a work in progress for me, this one, but I do know that I’ll see change in my life immediately once I stop feeling sorry for myself and calling out “it’s always something” whenever I fall down, trip, or break out in excema on my right eye. There might always be “something”, but focusing on the “somethings” instead of the “right now things” is going to cause all of us to miss out, worry too much, and totally miss the party that the three-year-olds are having in my pre-ballet class whenever I play Frozen. Seriously you guys. Enough with the “always something” pity party. It’s time to let it go. (Get it?)
4.) I don’t know.
Okay, hear me out on this one before you lecture me. “I don’t know”, has become the new “like” and “um”. Every time I have an idea, I say “I don’t know” about forty-six times before I spout out my idea as fast as possible in hopes that the person listening won’t actually be able to understand my English. My “I don’t know’s” come from a place of insecurities more often than I actually do not know something. You know what I’m saying? We do it when friends ask us to hang out. They’re like, “Let’s go to this way too expensive restaurant with mixed Yelp reviews for dinner, ya?” and inside, you’re like, “That sounds terrible”, and yet what comes out is, “I don’t know, maybe”.
Now, when friends ask me what’s next in life, I honestly say “I don’t know.” I don’t know what I want, I don’t know where I am in my journey, and I don’t know what’s next. But that doesn’t mean I have to be shy about it. Saying “I don’t know” and owning it, literally admitting that I do not know, is almost a relief. A beautiful release of admittal and fear.
I’ve learned that this is different, however, than the “I don’t know’s” I use during a brainstorming session with my Restore Your Roar partner, Olivia, or with my boss at the dance studio. Those “I don’t knows” come from a place of “this idea sounded good this morning but coming out of my mouth right now I feel like you’re totally going to think I’m so crazy”. And I think that this kind of shielding and filtering – this “I don’t know” guard we keep putting up – is holding us back from the innovation that this world so desperately needs right now.
Saying “I don’t know” because we are afraid that our idea sucks, or our decision is boring, or our words are not what another person wants to hear, is treading a dangerous track in my opinion. We mask our fear with “I don’t know” instead of just blurting out the honest facts and ideas. In reality, what is brainstorming but a place to present crazy, impossible, ridiculous ideas? Why is the “I don’t know” shield even necessary in such a session? Does that make sense? I just think we should all be aware of it. I just think crazy, impossible, and ridiculous is absolutely beautiful, and that the “I don’t know’s” taints that unique beauty. That’s all I have to say about that.
5.) I wanna do that someday.
“There are seven days in a week. Someday is not one of them.” One of my favorite quotes. Not so easy to live out when there are things like expensive flights to Thailand, work schedules, and noncommital boyfriends in the mix right? Like, Johnny, I’m not specifically talking about you, but like, your work schedule is killing me and I feel like I will never save enough money for us to go to Thailand and so like let’s save our ideas for a rainy day. Like NO. No.
My friend Mandi saved money for six months and her ass is leading elephants around Thailand RIGHT NOW. My friend Carly saved her money for four months and flew her ass to Hawai’i to visit me for nine days and we hiked through a lava tube and chanted and drank so much liquid aloha at Kona Brewing we were hula’ing in the back seat of the car ride home. There are people out there who turn their “someday’s” into “right now’s”. I still don’t know how to be one of them, but I really am interested in learning.
I know it’s not easy people. I couldn’t fly to Thailand right now – I can barely afford to buy a Thai lunch special – but I do believe there’s a difference between daydreaming and doing. I’m not exactly putting money away in a “Thailand Trip” piggy bank. I get distracted by tattoos, and new tap shoes, and tapestries for our new apartment and before I know it, I’m eating carrots and blue cheese for dinner because that’s all that’s left in the house and a trip to the grocery store is just not in the budget today.
I believe there is a WAY to make our “somedays” into plans, I just think we haven’t developed the skills to do so yet. At least I know that I haven’t. In many ways, I’m stubborn and I think I know everything and that applying for a new credit card will fix all the things. But I do know that people like my thrifty boyfriend, my elephant-loving friend Mandi, and my money-genius friend Carly have picked up on some skills over the years that have allowed them to do things I might never get to do if I don’t start asking questions and learning from them. You wanna make your somedays into right nows? Ask questions. Be humble. Be open to feeling dumb. Be open to money lectures. Be open to help. Be open to a second job. Be open to praying, and positive language, and cutting the word “should” out of your diet. Sorry, did I say diet? I meant vocabulary. It’s just engrained in me to have “should” and “diet” in the same sentence. Again, something I’m working on.
Someday, I mean, I don’t know, I just think, things can’t get any worse, we should could all, I don’t know, take control of our words and our thoughts when we can, I don’t know, there’s always gonna be something that keeps us from doing so, because that’s what life is all about, isn’t it? I don’t know, I just think that, I don’t know, all these “mean” and “stressful” and “unfair” obstacles, are teaching us everything we’ve ever needed to know, and if we just started accepting them, and if we start to look at them with some gratitude, things should could get better. I don’t know. I don’t always know what I’m talking about, and I don’t always follow my own advice, and I don’t always feel empowered, or fully alive, or even fully sane, but I feel like it’s time to embrace my flaws and start to bring a new mantra in my life.
Here are two phrases that are making me smile more, and reach for the Nutella less.
Everything is temporary. A mantra that has gotten me through this week in particular.
And in the words of my dear friend Rachel Shane Brannen, I will make better mistakes, tomorrow. A mantra that allows me to laugh at myself a little bit for taking life so damn seriously. It has that lovely twinge of sarcasm that I love so much, but it’s a hell of a lot more comforting than my normal pity party chant, “it’s always something.”
So excuse me, while I take my pessimistic, “should-this-should-that-I-don’t-know-but-it’s-always-something” attitude, and this nasty smelling garbage, out to the dumpster where it belongs.
If you don’t know the story of how I ended up in Hawai’i, let me just fill you in quickly. I needed a retreat. I needed rejuvenation. I needed a second chance at life. But I didn’t have $2500 to dish out to Geneen Roth for five days of therapy. The only opportunity I had for healing was to volunteer at a retreat center. In exchange for my service, my housing, meals, and yoga classes were provided for me. This amazing opportunity allowed me to quite literally, re-boot.
Volunteering at Kalani Oceanside Retreat on the Big Island of Hawai’i changed my life forever. The beautiful people, the aloha spirit, and the freaking apple-bananas have opened my eyes to a life that I will forever claim as my own. Food, depression, and New York winters do not have a hold on me as much as they used to. I have restored my sanity, self-love, and confidence, and I am inviting you to do the same.
It’s time for you to restore your roar. It’s time to dance your joy, face your fears, and fall in love with the skin you’re in right now.
It’s time. This is re-boot camp. And we are calling all souldiers.
When you arrive on the Big Island of Hawai’i on January 15th, 2015, you’ll be greeted by premiere Shrink Session sweat therapist, Olivia Petzy, and of course, yours truly. You’ll find yourself surrounded by magic. Known for some of the cleanest air in the world and lush, colorful jungle that you have to see to believe, the Big Island is known for it’s healing powers. After all, that’s why I ended up here in the first place, and look how far I’ve come.
What will we be doing for six days in Hawai’i? (Besides picking fresh mangoes and getting a tan?) You can expect daily movement sessions, featuring Shrink Session and other creative, accessible, and empowering forms of movement designed to express your unique sense of self and sensuality. We will spend time in guided writing exercises and journaling as we dig deeper into cultivating self-love, for both what we see in the mirror, and how we feel when we move our perfect-as-they-are bodies. You’ll have plenty of time to release and rejuvenate by relaxing and taking advantage of Kalani’s pools, yoga classes, spa experiences, Hawaiian culture classes, and more.
There’s something I want you to know. Do not let the words “shrink sesson” scare you. By all means, we aren’t trying to shrink anything about you – except maybe fears or insecurities that have held you back. Shrink Session is an alchemical mix of cardio-dance, yoga grooves, kick-boxing and positive phraseology/mantras. You’ve literally never experienced a high like this in your life. This magical combination increases the effectiveness of your workout while you step into a more empowered and confident version of yourself. You’ll tone and tighten every part of your body, while you lift your mind, body and spirit. This experience is not about losing weight or a number on a scale. It’s not about looking like Beyoncé when you dance. It’s about looking in the mirror and loving what you see – today. It’s about feeling the freedom to move with joy – in your unique way.
Who is Olivia?
Olivia Petzy is a premiere Shrink Session sweat therapist, having trained directly with Shrink Session creator Erin Stutland. Olivia specializes in leading group fitness classes that allow and empower every person present to fully express themselves through movement regardless of their level of dance skill or athleticism. She loves to move her body, in any style or type of class. However, this wasn’t always the case– she used to be hugely insecure in her body and the way it moved. Four years at a conservatory program renowned for its dance program did nothing for her self-confidence, and she felt deep despair over her dance ability. She would literally be in tears before every dance class– and with up to four dance classes a day, that’s a lot of tears. There was no joy, no freedom, only insecurity and shame. After to moving to New York City, she stumbled into a cardio dance class that, no surprise, left her in tears. For the first time, though, they weren’t tears of frustration. They were tears of freedom and excitement. Addicted to the feeling of joy in movement, Olivia knew she had to share this bliss with others. Five years later, the girl who hid in the bathroom to avoid dance class spends her days not only teaching dance through Shrink Session, but loving every perfectly imperfect shimmy and shake. With a degree in musical theater, Olivia is an actor, improviser, writer and group fitness leader certified by AFAA.
Okay, great, now how much is this all gonna cost?
Because of my experience with the starving artist life, and my inability to ever attend Geneen Roth’s workshops due to the high cost, it is of utmost importance to me that this Restore Your Roar workshop is accessible to people like me. Twentysomethings who aren’t the best at saving money. Thirtysomethings who are saving for their kids’ college educations. Fortysomethings who need a break but don’t want to dish out $4000 right now. I want you to experience Hawai’i. I want you to be able to join Olivia’s inspirational classes, and eat fresh pineapple, and try Kona coffee, and hike the side of a real, live, active volcano. And like I said last week, I ain’t tryna get rich off it.
So you, my blog readers and Roar movers and dancers and New Yorkers and Australians and mothers and sisters and women of all sizes and ages (sorry boys, this time around is just the ladies), are receiving the Roar Rate. The Roar Rate of $985 covers your six day/five night stay, your three meals a day, your Kona coffee, your fresh fruit grown on Kalani property, your volcano hike, your classes with Olivia, your discussions with me, and a life-changing week of healing with other women who you will forever remember as your re-boot camp ohana. We are even throwing in a bonus so you can take your experience home with you and continue to cultivate your roar. Every participant will receive membership to the Shrink Session Digital Program, valued at $99.
I encourage you to watch this video, so you can get a taste for the Kalani experience before you even board your plane.
One last thing before you register. This workshop is about you. It’s about what you need. You’ll be surprised at what the spectacular views, the smell of the ocean, and the power of nature can do for your soul. So you can cater your week here to your needs. Attend our classes, ask questions, book a massage, take a nature walk, swim naked, and immerse yourself in aloha. I can guarantee you that you will return home a changed woman. And the reason I can guarantee that, is because I’ve been there. Trust me.
Restore your roar in 2015. I can’t wait to get the party started.
To register, and for more descriptive details, including Olivia’s bio, sample menus at Kalani, spa services, and more, click here. To view the itinerary we have specially planned for YOU, yes YOU my love, click here. And of course, for a very detailed list of Frequently Asked Questions, including travel advice and what to pack, click here!
*Space is limited to 14 participants. As of September 5th, there are only six spots left.
**Note: The Roar Rate is not listed on Kalani’s website. When you register, you must mention the Roar Rate in your email. The Roar Rate has been extended until September 15th, 2014. After September 15th, the Roar Rate goes up to $1085.
***There is also a Roar 2 Rate, because we believe in celebrating friendship. (Get it? Roar 2: The Celebration?) When you register with a friend, each of your Roar Rates drop to $925. After September 15th, each of your Roar Rates will be $1025 (down from $1085.)
****As always, you can email me questions at any time: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next week’s posting:
How I Cured My Excema Without Cancer-Causing Creams