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.

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….

Freedom from Obligation

A theme that’s been emerging in my world is the difference between Obligation and Commitment. For some people, they may be synonyms, but to me, they definitely are not. I’ve been doing one of my word studies to dig in and get them clear for myself.

com·mit·ment noun
the state or a quality of choosing to be dedicated to a cause

ob·li·ga·tion noun a course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound

 There’s one keyword that delineates them, to me.

Choice.

The more I dig into the etymology, history and meanings of the words, to me, commitment is choosing to bind yourself to something/someone and obligation is a thrust upon you and often feels like a burden.

This is important because I look at my life through the lens of choices.

Whenever I begin to feel obligated to something I pause to check in to see, is there anything about this ‘thing’ that I’m actually committed to? Can I connect to that commitment strongly enough that the feeling of burden lifts?

I find when I’m doing something out of obligation my heart isn’t in it, whereas if I can do it out of a commitment, it’s all heart.

One example is that I often skip buying presents for my friends on their birthday. But I’m known to randomly send gifts, cards etc when I feel inspired. I’m committed that they feel loved, but not obligated to do it in any particular way or on any specific timeline.

A small shift perspective can have a huge impact.

Another example. In March 2017 I’d been living a nomadic life for a couple of years and was starting to feel a bit like a fraud because I’d been in one place, my hometown no less, for several months. I was feeling obligated as a nomad to get back on the road and really pushing myself to make this happen. Funny thing is, when I related to it that way, as an obligation, I wasn’t able to get any traction. Everything I had planned didn’t come to fruition. This all became super clear when, three days before I was scheduled to finally leave town and go to Europe, My Guy experienced a major tragedy in his family. He said to me ‘don’t feel obligated to stay behind, you can go Europe‘ and my first thought was ‘hell no! I’m committed to you, I’m staying!‘.

That same conversation taught me another lesson, about my commitment to myself. Traveling and nomading is not an obligation – I chose this life and if it stops feeling juicy and awesome, if it starts feeling like a burden, then I will choose a different life. Once I again started relating to my lifestyle as a choice and commitment rather than a burden and obligation things started magically falling into place. By June 2017 I was back to traveling in a new and exciting way.

I wrote about Priorities and it’s still totally true. I continue to evolve and this conversation of Obligation and Commitment is just another layer to the onion of this round of evolution. My hope is that by sharing it with you, seeing my journey, will allow you to more deeply connect with your own.

Does this relationship between Obligation and Commitment ring true for you?

Are there things you’re doing out of Obligation that you can look for what you’re Committed to as a way to shift your relationship?

 

Just be love darlin’

One of the things I love about my life are the conversations I get to have. I recently had an especially impactful chat with this amazing woman.

This is Miss CeCe, she is 84 years old and grew up in Harlem in the 30’s and 40’s. She radiates love and gives the best hugs.

Me: It was so frustrating Miss Cece, I want to help but anytime I open my mouth I’m made wrong. They’re making me wrong for being white because my ancestors made them wrong for being black. It feels like one a big unbreakable cycle. I can’t make my white privilege go away. In the meantime, I want to be an ally, what can I do?

Her: Oh honey, you have such a big heart *gives me one of those amazing hugs of hers*

Her: White people don’t need to do anything but love. Just be love darlin’, love the world. You’re right. You can’t help or change your white privilege anymore than you can change history. Just love everyone. For your generation, racism isn’t your problem. At this point racism is going to have to get fixed from the inside out and for that to happen we need lots of ‘privileged’ white people loving the world and holding space for us black folk to transform our nonsense. Just keep being love darlin’.

I am honored to friends with this wise young woman. I cannot express to you the profound honor I felt in having this conversation. Her answer has given me much to think about. There is no truth in the conversation about racism, it’s all perspective. There is no right answer.

I did recently stumble on this amazing article on how to be a white ally to marginalized communities, which I love. But in the end, continued conversation, inquiry and being love is all I can offer.

I’d love to hear about an especially meaningful conversation you’ve had recently.