Vision Board Synchronicity

“When you visualize, then you materialize. If you’ve been there in the mind, you’ll go there in the body.” —Dr. Denis Waitley

I’m in a coffee shop in my hometown, and this woman next to me is doing a vision board.  I comment on how I like her vision board, and she can’t believe I know what one is.  I’ve led many vision board workshops in my day, and have been doing them for nearly 15 years.  I take for granted that this is not part of everyone’s life and that the concept may be new to anyone.  But I appreciate her freshness about it and the excitement that goals can be manifested.  I offer some tips with regards to vision boards: to put images of herself in them, to do them with friends as they can enhance each others’ dreams and goals, and that it is a process. 

I want to also add that vision boards aren’t the only way to manifest and it isn’t always about the end result.  It’s not what we just want to achieve but how we want to feel.  And how attainment of goals doesn’t always make you happy.  What are your values and how do you want to feel emotionally and energetically? But this is a good start. 

She is surprised I have taught them and asked if I am a teacher.  I respond that I am a psychologist.  But perhaps in some ways I am a teacher.  I try to teach other people aspects of living a balanced healthy life, and I have transitioned from individual work to group work.  So, yes a teacher. 

I let her get back to her vision board.  This year I’ve already created two vision boards, because my life has been redirected.  What I thought I wanted has shifted.  I realize this is another aspect of goal setting.  Allow oneself to surrender to what unfolds.  Although we set goals and there is determination, there must also be fluidity and flexibility for this to shift.  This is something I am still learning.  This middle way of fluid achievements.  Let go of my stubborn nature to achieve, and give space for the universe to guide me.  Free will and guidance: how do we balance this?  This is what I am navigating.  

Observing her detailed interest in the manifestation board in front of her, I watch with a smile on my face.  She mirrors for me a reminder to seek clarity within in what I want to attain.  Could I today quantify my desires for the upcoming year on one board?  Perhaps.  Her vision board is on a cork board not glued down to construction paper, therefore malleability is possible.  Maybe there are some things I can learn from her in manifesting this next phase of my life. 

Luxury Latte

A coffee purchase has always been a special treat that wasn’t a daily task, but a weekly splurge.  This is different when I travel, and don’t have my own luxuries at hand.  I buy coffee frequently when I am on the road, as a way to merge with the time zone I am residing in, get wifi, or even as a way to bond with my mom over a latte.  

But what has happened to people and their caffeine purchases?  Starbucks drive thrus are the rage in American suburbs.  And when you enter the infamous facilities in NYC, there are less and less Starbucks that have tables.  People aren’t standing at an espresso bar taking their espresso shops with other customers.  They are taking their orders and leaving.    People have a mobile order, enter a coffee shop wearing headphones, search for their printed name on cups, and do not even have to greet the baristas or any other people in the shop.  Human interaction and engagement is limited.   

What has happened?  I think what many coffee chains have turned into is simply adrenaline stations. It’s as if everyone has morphed into zombies and this is a zombie station.  We travel to and from work uber caffeinated.  We are paying loads for a caffeine boost, but do we even taste what we are drinking anymore?  Although espresso has caffeine in it and it definitely fuels you, the point of drinking a latte is to drink it slow.  Mobile orders are the rage here in America.  The world is not immune.  I recognize people opt for Uber Eats deliveries at my local Parisian Starbucks.  

Is cafe culture dead? 

  If I could, I would sit in coffee shops for hours.  But it seems others do not look forward to this.  They want a packaged prompt drink, not a crafted experience that takes time to appreciate.  This is all an example of time poverty.  We may be an affluent culture that can spend money on luxury items, but many are lacking the luxury of time.  This is a concept in positive psychology called time affluence.  We feel we are abundant with time in our lives.  This concept is not reserved solely for the youth or the retired.  Anyone can have it?  It’s how you interact and engage with time, with your commutes, with your loved ones, and even with your latte.

So next time you order a latte, slow down and drink it, maybe even while sitting in a café.  

Softening your Traveler’s Gaze

What would happen if instead of viewing what went wrong in our day, we focused on what’s right?  I know many people have a gratitude practice, where you reflect either at the beginning or end of your day about what positive things have occurred.  But can we do this now in real time?  

I am at the airport flying to the states for one month.  Travelling can always bring about stress for people.  Everything has to align up perfectly for you to take your flight.  My friend Isabella arrived yesterday from America to Paris to watch my dog for the next month.  There were many mishaps that could have occurred but all was well for her journey, which in turn impacted my journey.  I pre-booked an Uber for this morning at 5:50 am.  The driver could have cancelled last minute (as has happened before), there could be traffic, or an accident.  But he was on time and friendly.  I was surprised to find a bit of a line at the airport at the check in area, but I chose to listen to a meditation when in line.  I closed my eyes and surrendered, I gently peaked my eyelids open at times to ensure if I needed to waddle several steps forward.  As I met with a staff member to ask questions of why I was in Paris, I was calm and peaceful.  She even inquired of the details of my book.  It was as if the universe was continuing to nudge me to get back to writing.  Another staff member who printed my ticket and complimented the color of my luggage.  Since my flight is nearly full, she offered to check in my carry on for free.  I obliged.  It’s always a pleasant turn of events when things line up.  I couldn’t help but compare it to last week’s flight to Spain, where there were so many missteps.  But we still landed on time. 

When we can focus on what goes right as it is happening, versus taking it for granted, there is beauty in this.  We can enjoy life as it is occurring, not just in retrospect. We can also show appreciation for those we interact with, friends and strangers, in real time.  Look them in the eyes and say thank you.  Giving out these Puzo/Bella gratitude cards (which you may have received once if reading this) helps slow me down during this process and be present with who is in front of me.  It reminds me there is an opportunity to be grateful and personable at any moment.  

Perpetual Decluttering

“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” ― Barbara Hemphill

Over the past several years I have gone through a constant process of decluttering.  Last year it culminated in me getting rid of 1000 items in one year.  That was everything from pens to a wedding dress.  I was moving from a four floor house in the UK to an apartment in Paris that was less than 300 square feet.  This year I stopped calculating.  I knew I could not keep excessive items, because there literally was no space for them.  But today I gave away several items, and I felt a tiny sting.

One of these items was a backpack, which I have worn the past two years on the Camino de Santiago.  These were walking pilgrimages that lasted for days.  It held significance for me, and I would have kept that backpack for longer, but it began to fall apart.  I also gave away a tank top, which I wore on many first dates this past year.  It was a flattering color, but I admit it has seen better days.  I parted with a light sweater which brought warmth on numerous trips. 

I realize for me decluttering is an ongoing cleansing I must do.  Certain items are easy for me to get rid of, but others I have been putting off.  I want to keep these items until they must be disposed of.  But I can’t help but wonder why.  Why am I waiting till these items are in torn conditions?  Don’t I deserve more than this?  I am not struggling.  I have more items to utilize.  These items do not have to last forever, so why do I wait until they are totally worn to release them?  I wonder “What does that say about me and how I value myself?” 

How am I trying to show my value and worth to the world if I continue to wear these clothes to the ground?  If I keep everything, there is no space to let in new experiences.  Having these thoughts, I wanted to make a different choice. And with that I let them go.  

“Clutter is anything that does not support your better self.” ― Eleanor Brownn

me, my bookbag, and my friend Isabella on the camino

Missteps of a Traveller

Last week, while my mom and I were on the Parisian metro from the Opera to the 7th arrondisment, where I live, she was robbed.  It was the only time on the metro where she was not standing next to me.  These two twenty something women created a distraction and when my mom tried to walk towards me, they told her to stay there.  She listened. Within one stop they were on and off the metro, and when I was next to her again, things were different.  I noticed her wallet was out of her purse and in her shopping bag.  Gone was 100 euros in cash. The wallet was empty.  We were both in shock, as we only had five stops on this metro in total.  Immediately we both shared the positives in the situation: they didn’t take her passport, credit cards, ids, purse.  She wasn’t injured or threatened.  Simply the cash was taken.  

I repeated the scene over and over again, wishing my mom hadn’t brought so much or having had her pay instead of me treating that day.  In that case, at least we would have used more of her money.  I questioned why she didn’t stand next to me.  I didn’t want to blame the victim, and knew that this is what was occurring in me.  These girls were professional criminals, and we simply were the ones on the path that day.  

Hours later I said to my mother, “I can’t believe you are handling this so well.”  I was impressed. I would have been any one of the following emotions: furious, frustrated, sad, self-critical, or anxious of future crimes.  She said “I’m handling it well, you are the one who won’t let it go.”  She was the one who was robbed and I was the one stuck with the upset emotions.  It was true.  I couldn’t believe we were violated. I wanted to protect her, but this still happened.  

When she said this, I realized I had to check my own emotions.  Things had to change if we were enjoy the remainder of our trip.  And with that, I allowed myself to let it go.  

Sometimes when we travel, this stuff happens.  People take advantage of those that appear to be tourists, who are wide eyed or speak a different language.  There is a trust we have in the world and those that are in our environment, but we have to be more discerning and on guard.  But perhaps for me a greater lesson is that I need to learn to let go of events that have happened, particularly to others.  If it is not bothering or concerning them anymore, why should I be the one to carry the burden?  

Are you carrying unnecessary burdens in your life? 

Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.
Herman Hesse