Tea Talks: My Love Affair with the City

I have been in New York for ten months now. TEN months! That’s nearly a year. I can’t believe it.

Since I have been here, I’ve really had a love/hate relationship with the city. I don’t know that “hate” is the right word, but definitely something along the lines of “OhMyGoshWhyAmIHereIShouldJustGoHome.”

It’s not easy living here; it’s almost like having another relationship – you need to work at it. Crowds. Pollution. No personal space. Filth. GoGoGo. Rats. New York is not an easy place to love – but it’s possible.

I basically preach that if you change the way you think about things, the way you think about things will change. And after my initial honeymoon phase of living here, it’s been a constant effort to make this city (and this time in my life) the absolute best possible experience for myself.

Springtime is usually seen as a time of rebirth, and oh man, has it ever made me see New York in a new light! For the past several days, I have had the same thought at the end of the night: New York, I love you.

I don’t care that the subway is crowded and I don’t have a pole to hang onto – I’m so grateful I live in a city that can get me from Point A to Point B (mostly) seamlessly. Yeah, rats rule the underground world here and trash flies all over the place, but I have an apartment to go home to at the end of the day.

The pollution makes my allergies go wonkers, but I’m thankful that I have accessible healthcare that makes it easier to deal with. And when I’m feeling overwhelmed by the beast that is grad school, I can go walk to the East River Esplanade, clear my head, and be grateful that I’m receiving a world-class education.

I thought fall would be my favorite time in the city, but spring has definitely stolen my heart. It makes me feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. I feel unstoppable. Motivated for more. Inspired to do my best.

New York, I love you.

Tea Talks: Embrace Your Challenges

Last weekend, I decided that I needed to get out of my apartment and see more of the Upper East Side. I’ve been around the area where I live – the stretch between 86th and 96th Streets from Lexington to First Avenues – but I wanted to see more than just my neighborhood. I went down to 68th Street near Hunter College and checked out some of the shops there, and I, of course, had to check out the Upper East Side branch location of one of my favorite NYC bookshops – Shakespeare and Co. While I was there, I found a book written by Miranda Kerr (which I mentioned in this month’s [currently]). You know her, right? Super-gorgeous Victoria’s Secret model with a super cute baby and an equally gorgeous (soon-to-be-ex) husband.

kerr

Anyways, I picked up this book of hers titled Treasure Yourself: Power Thoughts for My Generation. I’ve always appreciated her positive outlook on Twitter and Instagram (she often posts about how grateful she is for everything in her life, etc), and I thought that her book probably carries the same attitude.

While I’m still in the early stages of reading her book, I can already say that I’m very pleased with my purchase. One of the recurring ideas throughout the book seems to be “embrace your challenges.” Her affirmations are not only delightful, but seem to be realistic when she places them in the context of her own life. And if that’s not encouraging enough, she contextualizes the ideas even further so you can apply each to your own life.

She starts the book off with an introduction of sorts titled “You.” Here are a few excerpts that I found to be particularly powerful:

“What if we nurtured ourselves to the point where
we discovered and experienced our own greatness?”

“It is our thoughts that determine our experiences,
not only of ourselves, but of our world and of others…

Too often we fail to see that at any given moment we have a
choice to alter our lives, our existence.”

“Look forward and dream of what’s possible for your life…
and remember that the only thing limiting
you is your thoughts.

Only you have the power to change your thoughts.
Alter your thoughts and you alter your world.”

Over the past several months, I faced several personal challenges that have made me step aside and decide what I really want to make out of my life. Not necessarily what I want to do with my life, but what kind of person I want to be. I realized how unhappy I was as just another cynical, bitter New Yorker (even though this extends to before I moved to NYC). I was losing control of my emotions and the feeling of anxiety was beating down on me more than I had ever felt before. I don’t know that I’m in a place where I feel ready to go into more detail, but I wasn’t happy with who I was becoming. I knew that I had to change myself if I wanted to change how I was feeling. To change my outlook. To change who I am.

I’m not a saint, and I’m definitely not perfect at practicing exactly what I preach. I still struggle with keeping my thoughts clean and uplifting. I still have days where all I want to do is not talk to anyone and definitely not put a smile on my face. I think everyone has those days. But the more and more that I change my inner dialogue, I’m finding that it’s changing my outward actions.

It’s been great to hear from you, my readers, about how you’re making positive changes to your own lives. It’s so great to feel this support system and know that the challenges I’m facing are not unique to me. Knowing that others are making the effort to change their lives for the better inspires me even more to create positivity in mine.

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I hope these Tea Talks are helping you discover more about yourself or leading you on the track to positivity. I think inner reflection is really important when taking the next step to living a positive life. Whether you take up journaling, meditation, or exercise, make sure that you make time for yourself to think about where you are in your life, what you’re feeling, where you’d like to be, and how you’re going to get there. And lastly, find a support system that works for you. Whether it’s connecting with people on the Internet (like me!), talking with your friends and family, or simply telling those closest to you about your new goals in life, it’s important to have the support you need to achieve the happiness you deserve.

Do you have any books, quotes, or affirmations that have been particularly meaningful in your journey? Feel free to share with me and other readers in the comment section below, or send me a private message and I’ll repost them anonymously.

Embrace your challenges, and be well for the rest of your week!

Tea Talks

It’s no secret that I love my tea – loose, bagged, hot, cold… do I need to continue? Tea has long since held the title of being the secret to achieving good health, happiness, and wisdom. In some cultures, it is entirely necessary to set aside time to drink tea every. single. day. Pretty cool, huh? Dostoyevsky and Emerson wrote about tea and some British workplaces have designated “tea breaks.” From the Boston Tea Party to the modern day Tea Partiers, to Alice and the Mad Hatter, tea remains a stronghold in many cultures.

And as tea is a cultural tradition, it’s also a social occasion. Whether you’re among family, friends, strangers, or even by yourself, drinking tea is a time to reflect, become inspired, and refuel your creative juices. And you might drink it while reading, before going to bed, while driving or riding the subway, or even with your meal. I drink a pot of tea at least once a day (sometimes more), and it always gets me thinking.

tea quote

I have recently begun a journey to achieve my own personal nirvana. I hope this isn’t just a phase because I’m pretty excited about where I’m headed and who I’m becoming. I’ve had several bumps along the way, but I’m finally starting to feel comfortable in my own skin. I’m planning on making small positive changes within myself to affect the bigger picture that is my life. It’s been a work in progress for a few months now, but I think I’m only just now realizing it. And with that…

I want to start the first in my series of Tea Talks – an outlet to create discussion surrounding ideas to inspire positivity and help others in their journey to personal fulfillment. It’s easier to make changes when you have the support of others going through similar experiences. And even if what you’re going through isn’t the same thing as what I’m going through, I hope we can learn from each other through our different experiences and see things in a new light.

My brother is a big believer in the Dalai Lama’s ways of life… and I’m beginning to understand why. So much so that I even purchased two of his books to read in the coming weeks! To start off my first Tea Talk, I thought I’d share one of his quotes I found on the Internet:

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I think really anyone can relate to this quote. Has there ever been a time when someone has really irked you and it just upsets you for the rest of the day or even the week? Or someone bothers you so much that it consumes your every thought? And doesn’t that just feel absolutely terrible! It’s so important to not let other people and their actions and behaviors ruin the way you’re living your life. If you let them get to you, they’ve won. I know this might sound petty to think of it this way, but what better way to make yourself feel good than not let someone else make you feel bad? There’s a few quotes that I love:

“Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

“That’s the best revenge of all: happiness. Nothing drives people crazier than seeing someone have a good f***ing life.” -Chuck Palahniuk

“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” -Dalai Lama

So let karma handle revenge. Don’t disturb your own mojo (in the words of Austin Powers) just to get back at someone else. Sacrificing your own happiness to bring down someone else only creates two unhappy people. And in a world that becomes more and more cynical with each passing day, we could all use more happiness. Focus your energies on creating positive experiences for yourself, which will only spread to others around you.

At the end of the day, you are responsible for your own happiness. Other peoples’ actions can cause you to feel happy or bad, but ultimately you are in charge of your happiness. Choose to be happy. Don’t choose to let others determine your happiness level for you. It’s easier said than done, but doing so will only bring you peace in the grand scheme of things.

I’m not a master or pro at this, so I don’t want you, my readers, to think that I practice exactly what I preach. I’m sometimes still bothered when people push my buttons. I still let it affect me. Like I said before, my journey is a work in progress. And there are bumps along the way. But I’m ready to accept that I need to change my thoughts and actions before I can really feel fulfilled and happy in my life.

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What do you think of my first Tea Talk? Are you on the track to changing your life for the better? I’d love to hear about your journey.