My Journal

Ant Mode

Are you a disruptor? An agent of change?

Those who are attracted to my world are also disruptors and change agents.

Yet, even with that disruptor mentality at your heart, it’s still really easy to go into ‘ant mode’. This clip from Waking Life* is the best description of what I’m talking about, I’ll let it explain.

I am consistently looking for where I’ve allowed myself to go into ‘ant mode’. Where am I just going through the motions without experiencing life to the fullest? Said another way, where have I slipped into Survival Mode? Because I don’t want to merely survive my life, I want to experience it fully! I strive to live and operate in AntiSurvival Mode.

If I slip into ‘ant-mode’ I can easily look right past those little moments and celebrations that make it all worthwhile. I can ant-march right past the experience of accomplishing a goal or miss an opportunity to collaborate with someone all because I’m ant-marching on to my next task.

Operating in ant-mode can also lead to accidentally creating limitations for yourself.

What a great visual, right?

I challenge you, take 5 minutes and look at your life and check in. Where have you put yourself into a box (or circle)?

Where have you gone into ant-mode, failing to be fully present? Even juicier, where are you staying within limits that are made up, like the ant above? Where has an imaginary line been drawn that you’re honoring and now has you feel trapped?

If you want an outside perspective to help you identify where you’re living in ant-mode, I’d be happy to help. Sign up for the Life Strategy Assessment that is designed to do just that – get you out of ant-mode and thinking strategically. It involves a 20-minute online questionnaire followed by a virtual session with me to get customized feedback, recommendations, and support. Let’s get you out of ant-mode ASAP.

The SubConscious Value of Time

How do you determine the value of your time?
Not just monetarily, but in the grand scheme of your life and your priorities?

dali clock

So often people place a higher value on the time and energy they invest at work than what they invest in the rest of their life, typically because it’s balanced out by a paycheck. But what about the other forms of energetic balance? When you invest time with your family you receive love, affection, affinity, and connection. When you invest time in your soul you receive a deeper connection and understanding of the Universe/God. When you invest time in your body you receive a deeper sense of self-worth, endurance, and vitality.

I recently received a harsh reality check about how I invest my time.

At the beginning of 2016, I was really sick. For months. The kind of sick that takes over your world. Having conversations about scary things like organ failure. I spent about 6 months on bed rest, often times sleeping 18+ hours a day. (I’m much better now and if you want to know more about my health journey, just ask.)

Here’s what I learned from that experience:

I had been taking my body for granted.

I exercised, ate healthily and got the average 7ish hours of sleep regularly. But I wasn’t listening to my body. It had been trying to tell me things for months, years even, and I was ignoring it, taking for granted that it would just keep up with me.

I’d been craving more sleep for about a year, but I had a business coach who kept telling me that I could condition myself to need less sleep and that I need to put in my dues. I’d had a small voice in the still small moments of my meditation telling me to stop consuming alcohol, all alcohol, but I love craft beer and a lot of my social time centered around trying new breweries.

My Mind kept ignoring my Body and Soul’s gentle nudges, so eventually, my Body went on strike. My liver functionality was dangerously low, one of my kidneys was also in trouble, my immune system was on overload. Healing required that I stop drinking (hmm) and I needed lots and lots of sleep (huh).

Any entrepreneur will tell you, it is damn near impossible to keep momentum in the first few years of your business in just a few hours a day. Some days it was painful to sleep so much. But it was far more painful to consider the alternative. I am not ready to leave this world, it’s not my time, I have far more to give. I had to shift my perspective and relate to my time resting as productive – it was producing invisible results inside the system of my Body. My Body is necessary for me to continue to run my business so…it gets priority.

mind puzzle

Even now that I’m much, much healthier I have a constant conversation with myself about the value of time. Reprogramming my Mind to consider all of the results produced when I invest time in different activities – and not just that quantified with dollars or tangible things.

In a culture that places a high value on money, reprogramming can require some patience and intentionality.

This conversation we have with ourselves about time as a resource – it’s subtle, almost in our subconscious. I assert that to truly have a life that you love, you have to be willing to inquire into this conversation, break it apart, and make some intentional choices about how you will relate to time, how you invest it and the value you place on the results that investment produces.

Reprogram Your Thoughts

You know that voice in your head that’s going all the time?

You may think of it as your thoughts, though for some of us it feels more like a sentient being bossing us around. For some, it often turns into a big bully that you can’t escape from.

I typically refer to these various inner voices as The Monkeys and they have a massive impact on your life, your health, your actions. They have even been shown to change brain chemistry and circuitry which results in real physiological and cognitive outcomes, such as less fatigue, lower immune system reaction, elevated hormone levels, and reduced anxiety.

In her book, The Intention Experiment, Lynne McTaggart says “Evidence suggests that human thoughts and intentions are an actual physical “something” with astonishing power to change our world. Every thought we have is tangible energy with the power to transform. A thought is not only a thing; a thought is a thing that influences other things.”

With the Monkeys being such powerful things it makes sense to invest time and practice to Train the Monkeys. However, you may want to start by targeting a specific habit, conversation or thought pattern. You can reprogram your thoughts.

You can make your brain a No Parking Zone for specific conversations.

It’s not a quick process but it is fairly simple.

1. Pick the conversation you want to disappear.

Start small. Don’t go immediately to something that has been a thought pattern most of your life. Rather, start with something small that is a recent addition. For example, I’m no longer going to relive that awkward moment from the meeting last week.

2. Decide what you want to replace it with.

It’s nearly impossible to simply ‘stop thinking about it’. You have been developing and growing neural pathways around this thought pattern and it’s crazy to attempt to simply shut it down. Instead, redirect things. Choose something you want to invest energy in. For example, Instead I’m going to think about the vacation I’m taking next summer.

3. Notice when you’re back on the conversation you want to replace.

Living an Intentional, Choice Driven Life in antiSurvival mode is all about noticing. Simply notice when you’re having that conversation again.

4.  Redirect the conversation.

Simply stop the conversation about the meeting last week and start thinking about your vacation.

Now, many people add a step here that doesn’t exist.

Many people add in a step to ‘Beat yourself up for thinking about that thing yet again‘, but that’s not a step here. No need to beat yourself up for being human. Think of your inner voices like a bunch of children, ideally, how do you handle a child who is learning a new rule? Do you yell and berate them for forgetting? No! You lovingly remind them of the rule and redirect their attention.

This is not about bullying yourself and beating yourself up. Depending on how long you’ve been having the conversation it may take a very long time to disappear it. In the case of the meeting from last week, it’s only a week old thought pattern so it may only take a day or two. If you’re looking to disappear a conversation about your curvy hips that you’ve had since you were 15 years old, well, that may take weeks, months, years and honestly, may never completely disappear.

Always remember that you are human. You are perfectly designed. The goal is never to become perfect, rather to practice. To Choose.

*Sources:
Huffington Post
Nature.com
The Intention Experiment

The Egg

I’ve found myself referring folks to this short story recently and it’s become increasingly hard to find on the web. So, in the interest of preserving the story, I’m sharing it here.

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.

It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.

And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”

“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.

“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”

“Yup,” I said.

“I… I died?”

“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”

“More or less,” I said.

“Are you god?” You asked.

“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.

“What about them?”

“Will they be all right?”

“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”

You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”

“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”

“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”

“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”

“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”

You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”

“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”

“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”

“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”

I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.

“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”

“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”

“Oh lots. Lots and lots. And in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”

“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”

“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”

“Where you come from?” You said.

“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”

“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”

“So what’s the point of it all?”

“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”

“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.

I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”

“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”

“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”

“Just me? What about everyone else?”

“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”

You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”

“All you. Different incarnations of you.”

“Wait. I’m everyone!?”

“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.

“I’m every human being who ever lived?”

“Or who will ever live, yes.”

“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

You thought for a long time.

“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”

“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”

“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”

“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”

“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”

“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”

And I sent you on your way.

 

Doses of Joy

joy
noun

a source or cause of delight

We are a society of productivity. Of busy. We’ve all heard the saying ‘work hard, play hard’ and ‘laughter is the best medicine’, but how often do we really talk about joy?

When is the last time you were the source of joy for yourself?

I don’t know about you, but I can experience joy in just a moment and it’s often the small things that bring me the most joy. However, I don’t often hear people talk about bringing themselves joy. We talk a lot about taking care of other people, concern for how other people are doing. I suggest that you start with yourself.

Investing energy in causing joy for yourself will have a subtle, yet profound impact on your life. It starts to shift your thought patterns and relationship to the world around you.

Give yourself a dose of joy on a regular basis.

Define your Joy-Makers.

Make a long list of things that bring you joy, that cause delight.

My list includes things like:

  • the smell of rain on a warm day
  • the feeling of a rose petal between my fingers
  • a hug from Mom
  • my favorite song on the radio
  • knitting
  • watching my best friend laugh
  • cuddling a puppy
  • a good pun
  • sand between my toes at the beach
  • a good stretch

Notice some of these things are super simple and take very little time.

Do a Joy-Maker a week.

Set up a reminder for yourself to take a few minutes each week and do one of the things from your list. If you really want to dive into this, go crazy and do one a day.

I don’t know who invented this exercise, I just know it works to slowly, but deeply shift your perspective. Mark Manson, wrote an article called Screw Finding Your Passion, in it he suggests that we don’t need to ‘find our passion’ we already have it we’re just choosing to ignore it, judging it as unproductive or finding excuses to avoid it.

I believe that remembering what your passion is begins with rediscovering and experiencing joy.

Try it for yourself and let me know what you discover!

FAQ with Sunni

For my birthday in July I asked my tag-along adventurers, friends, and connections on social media to complete an online survey for me. (Thanks to everyone who participated!) My goal was to understand the impact this blog, my email updates etc were having.

There were 3 questions asked many times. So, here you go, answers!

Common Question #1: How do you afford your life?

Answer: Video response!

Common Question #2: What can I do to help you? (or) What support do you need?

Answer: Connection and connections.

Connection

I know it seems like I’m always busy, but I’m really not. I keep busy with work and clients, but because I’m on the move so much it can get pretty lonely. Getting feedback from people on how/if my sharing impacts you, having friends reach out to stay in touch and send virtual hugs – these things are super valued by me.

Connections

I choose to be nomadic because it allows me to meet so many new people and experience so many new cultures. To fully immerse myself, and keep my life affordable, I barter for lodging wherever possible. I trade my strategic services for lodging which allows me to serve people who may not otherwise be able to afford my services. I’d love to trade with someone in Arizona, New Mexico or California for the Jan/Feb/March time frame. If you’re interested in bartering with me, or know someone who might be, you can click here to learn more. I’ve done this many times, so I’ll guide you through the process, ensure we have clear boundaries and agreements in place, here is what some of my past barter clients have to say about the experience.

Common Question #3:  What exactly do you do for money?

Answer: I work. Duh. 😜

Okay, for reals, I do several things.

I freelance as a Project Manager and Operations Manager for larger companies.

I apply these same skills when working with Entrepreneurs and Small Business owners to define a growth strategy, gain more clients and run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

As an Intuitive Strategist, I mentor people on a journey for self-discovery. So many people operate in survival mode, reacting to the things around them, acting out of obligation. I support people in intentionally and proactively designing a world that they love. One of my clients recently told me that I’d helped her to meet her true self for the first time. (#squee!)

Meltdown (or I miss my Mom)

Earlier this week I had a meltdown.

It’s been about 6 weeks since I left Orlando. Last year when I flew everywhere I didn’t go for more than about 6 weeks without a pit stop in Orlando to swap clothes and get cuddles. So it kinda makes sense that it’s at this point that I start to really miss things.

I really missed my family. Which makes sense and I can wrap my head around that because they’re real, I can touch them, they exist.

I also had a fiercely miss my home. This one is more confusing to process because that doesn’t exist, I don’t have my own space in the traditional sense. I haven’t for over a year. I am missing a place that does not exist. As I sit with this it starts to become clear that I miss an idea, rather than a place.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had these urges.

There have been several occasions where I considered a return to ‘normalcy’ a return to a standard stable lifestyle. Shoot, I sort of had that the first half of the year when I stuck around Orlando to support family.

Here’s the thing, I know that if I were to honor these feelings, hop in the car and drive back to Orlando to settle into a ‘normal’ life…it wouldn’t take but a couple of months before I was antsy, craving the travel life again.

These thoughts, these feelings- they are just that. They are coming from my Monkey Mind, from fear and as a result of living in and being with the very edge of my comfort zone. They were created by my Mind.

I don’t allow my Mind alone to dictate how I live my life. Nope. My Soul is driving that bus.

This is just one more scary moment to get through.

And it’s okay for me to be in the moment, to be scared, to miss my Mom, my Girl, my Guy, my brother, my bed (which is on end in a storage unit) and my coffee table (which is amazing). It’s even okay for me to decide to turn around and drive back to all of those things. If that is what my Soul truly wants.

As I spent the day in my meltdown and eventually processed what was happening and moved through it, I realized that I haven’t been sticking to all of my daily rituals. In the last 3 weeks I slept in 5 different beds and I didn’t sage or ground in any of them. I also haven’t been honoring my commitment to exercise daily and, if I’m honest, I have been resisting the level of meditation my Soul is calling me to. These are all rituals and commitments I’ve put in place because they support me in declaring each new place as my home, in that moment.

No wonder I haven’t felt at home! No wonder I’m feeling home sick for the idea of home, I haven’t been creating it!

Before writing this I spent some time saging the home I’m staying in. I spent time with my grounding point. I invested the afternoon in a long stretch, a good work out and a long bath meditation. I do feel better, more grounded. But I’m still uneasy, there’s still a huge part of my Mind (and Ego?) that are annoyed about how things have been going. I still miss my Mom. And that’s okay.

My Body is much more content now that I gave it some attention.

My Soul is happy, aligned and in the middle of massive expansion.

My Mind is very, very happy My Guy will be here soon for a visit and that I’ll be flying home to the VonMutii in about two weeks.

All is well in Sunni’s World.

Road Trip Logistics

I have been on the road for 30 days and I’ve driven just over 1,300 miles through 9 states. I’ve stayed in 6 different cities with 6 different families. One of which was a client I’d never met in person until I showed up to stay the night.

So far and have spent $270 on gas and $350 on food, everything else I’ve bartered for or been gifted by friends and family.

Today I head out and will spend 12 days slowly making my way through the 1,500+ miles to Chicago. I’ll stop and spend time in 4 cities, staying with 4 different families, 3 of which I’ve never met before in real life.

Conklin, NY is to stay with a Reiki client of mine for 2 nights.

Then on to East Meredith, NY to meet a colleague and guest from #TabooTalk where I’ll stay for 3 nights.

Next is Pittsburgh where I’ll stay 2 nights with the high school buddy of an online friend so that I can spend a full day exploring Falling Waters (a bucket list item).

From there I head to Wapakoneta, OH which is where I have family I haven’t seen in ages and together we’re going to explore Cedar Point and ride some record breaking roller coasters.

Once I’ve had a chance to catch up with family I’ll traverse the final stretch to Chicago where I’ll be staying with the same clients I bartered with last year.

Managing this sort of trip is not simple. I have a spreadsheet where I’m tracking the hours, miles and people. Staying in communication with that many people, verifying dates, times, boundaries – it takes something. Add in the fact that my car has been throwing me curve balls which means everyone has to be flexible within a day or two and well – it’s complex.

But, there’s so much juice in it too!

I’ve wanted to travel my whole life. I actually got to travel as a child more than many my age thanks to Mom’s family being in Baltimore and Dad having family outside of Charleston. We made family road trips up I95 several times a year and they were filled with pit stops for homeschool field trips.

I actually got to travel as a child more than many my age thanks to Mom’s family being in Baltimore and Dad having family outside of Charleston. We made family road trips up I95 several times a year and they were filled with pit stops for homeschool field trips.

I always dreamed of far away places though. Rome, Russia, Thailand.

Since 2003 I’ve been to 48 of the 50 US States, 30+ countries on 3 continents. I’ve seen all of the sites, ate the foods, done the things.

With this road trip I’m shifting my focus to people. I’m visiting places and people that aren’t near major airports, that I wouldn’t otherwise see or maybe even meet. Instead of feeling pressure to hit all the big sites I’m meandering, stopping when and where I want to.

It may be challenging to coordinate, but the juice far outweighs the effort.

The Art of Philly

While Philadelphia is very gritty, it’s also filled with art. From graffiti to theater and murals.

I asked around and was told to check out the Grounds for Sculpture, which is just outside of Trenton, NJ about 45 minutes from Philly.

I spent more than 4 hours exploring this amazing space. The grounds were beautifully kept and there was quite literally art tucked into every corner. Often I would spot a foot path leading into a grove of trees or stand of bushes, follow it and find a hidden gem.

While I took lots of photos, it really takes video to do this place justice. Here’s a highlights reel of my favorite pieces.

My mom is often envious of my travels and wishes she could tag-along in person. She would have loved this place. I recorded about two hours of my explorations and then sped it up into a 20-minute walk-about for her, if you’re interested you can watch it here.

I’ve also enjoyed visiting salvage yards and thrift stores around the city – also full of funky, artistic displays and pieces.

 Check out the quick video full of seconds from my 2.5 weeks in Philly, including more street art.

I think my White Privilege is showing

For the past few weeks I’ve stayed with dear friends who I trust implicitly. I’d go just about anywhere to spend time with them and their crew. Their home is lovely, cozy and filled with things I would fill my own home with.

They currently live in Philly. Downtown Philly. The gritty part.

When they first moved here from Boston, and NYC before that, they told me that they chose Philly because of the grit. They love that it hasn’t been totally gentrified. They told me that they often feel like NYC and Boston are just doing a good job of hiding their dirty laundry, relegating it to the dark corners of the city and they wanted to live somewhere that went beyond not hiding the dirty laundry but didn’t even relate to it as dirty. Where the grit and the glory/trendy etc were all intermingled evenly throughout the city.

Now.

I like to think of myself as very open minded, non-judgemental and what not. I’ve lived through some crazy stuff, spent time in not so nice sides of town, participating in questionable and not-so-legal activities. But always in generally safe cities.  I’m disappointed to discover that the grit of Philly is making me really uncomfortable.

First, allow me to define gritty. There is, from time to time, a grocery cart full of a homeless person’s belongings parked next to my car in the morning. The local street I’m parking on is considered safe because the neighborhood drug dealer spends his days on the corner two blocks down and ensures his home turf stays safe. There’s a cop two doors down. The local businesses all have razor wire protecting their property. People walk fast, eyes forward, on a mission. OR. People meander, eyes scouring for trouble or what they should be defending themselves from.

There is trash everywhere. Broken glass everywhere. It’s common to see a syringe, used condom or hair extension on the sidewalk. There’s a scrap yard a few blocks away and the several times I’ve walked by during the day there have been people lined up here, stripping cars and breaking things down. Once a guy addressed me as I passed by as he was pulling a piece off a minivan and proclaimed ‘it’s mine, I bought this‘ in my direction. Until he spoke up it hadn’t occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t his.

The grocery store only blocks away from me, is the only store within a several mile radius that has a full produce selection. Most people go in and shop for the month. When I went in today I was behind a woman buying three carts worth of food, one cart was full of chef boyardee, koolaid and those sugar water drinks you twist the plastic top off of.

This is what I mean by gritty.

Living amidst this grit has put me on edge. While I’ve never felt unsafe, never felt I was at risk, I’ve been perpetually uncomfortable walking around.

I’m uncomfortable with the source of my discomfort.

My discomfort surprises me because I have a habit of not noticing when I’m in what My Guy calls a “windows up neighborhood”. I typically seem unaware as to when I’m in an area where my guard should be up. I have stories of being in areas of Chicago and Harlem, places I shouldn’t have been alone, and a kind stranger took it upon themself to inform, protect and lead me out of their neighborhood. I was that oblivious.

In theory, I am totally onboard with my host’s perspective. In theory, I don’t agree with gentrification. I don’t think it’s right for rich (white) people to move into a neighborhood and impose their views and preferences on the whole neighborhood. For that matter, I don’t think it’s right for the US to move into a third world country and impose their ideals on the locals either, but that’s another subject entirely.

I’m reminded of the TV show Shameless (great show, but very crass) in which ‘the gays’ moved into their rugged Chicago neighborhood and suddenly tried forcing people to clean up their yards, plan community gardens and park their cars differently. When watching the show I identified with the locals and was ashamed by the actions of my (theoretically fellow) white, gay (albeit fictional) comrades.

Yet.

Spending a few weeks in the midst of grit, well, I’m just not loving it. Part of me wishes I fit better into this world, so I could blend and be confident. I’d like to be that badass chica who’s confident walking by the local drug dealer, people stripping abandoned cars for scrap metal, to be un-phased when there’s a gun shot in the distance.

Perhaps I need to conquer the grit of Philly like I conquered the pace of NYC.

But it’s all so dirty. Everyone always seems to be on edge. Out to defend themselves, even if it means hurting me. Does it take that much more energy to be nice instead of rude? To place your trash and waste in an appropriate receptacle? To find a bathroom to do your business in? It’s like everyone’s Give-A-Fuck broke.

But then, I also get that many people (not all) who live in this neighborhood are so squarely in survival mode that they can’t even imagine a life beyond putting food on the table. That being nice could make them vulnerable, that giving a fuck would mean they could be disappointed, rejected, hurt. And who am I to say that my way of looking at life, that anitSurvival mode is any better than how they live?

Maybe?

I think this is the first self-identified example I’ve found of my white privilege showing.

I guess it seems like it all comes down to priorities. The folks who make these neighborhoods gritty, they prioritize something else (not sure what) over things like clean streets, safe neighborhoods, respectful relationships. Do they have a choice though? Can one choose when faced with homelessness, life or death situations and no awareness of a way out?

Who am I to judge people for living this way. Yet, I do.

Gah!

At the end of the day, the people who live here are just that. People. And I wish I had more access to connecting with them. Because I love connecting with humans.

I definitely think everyone should spend time in the ‘gritty’ parts of their town. Be aware of how all of the humans in your home town live, what options they have, what their daily stressors are and most importantly who lives there. Humans. Just like you. Broaden your awareness of your community. I know I’ve not done much of this in my hometown.

PS. It feels vulnerable to share this publically in the age of social media. My heart is pure. I love humans. I want to see all humans be as happy as possible, whatever that looks like for them. I don’t mean to be judgey, ignorant or part of the problem. My hope is that by sharing I’ll get others thinking and maybe even shift some perspectives and open some new dialogs….