2022 Holiday Wrap

Happy New Year, friends! How are you feeling now that the holidays are over? I said this over on Instagram, but I always feel so many mixed emotions this time of year.

Gratitude, for the joy-filled memories, the carrying on of traditions, and the time to see family and friends.

Grief, for a myriad of reasons. Holidays often come with so many hopes and expectations, and it’s nearly impossible for all of them to be met. (If you’re feeling grief particularly strongly this year, I see you ❤️).

And then, once the celebrations all come to an end, I just feel exhausted for a while.

It’s interesting because I know all my body, mind, and nervous system want to do is rest, after the month+ of festivities; but I actually find it hard to do that. It’s not until I’m well into January that I experience all parts of me feeling the permission to slow down again, and embrace the deep calm and rest that I know I need. Anybody else?

The holidays bring with it a sort of buzz, and it just takes time for me to come down from that.

Anywho, are y’all ready for the annual virtual holiday card? As always, I’ll leave a couple questions at the bottom of this, encouraging you to reflect on your year. I really hope you’ll comment/email/DM your answers to me if you feel comfy, because hearing from you about your year is always my favorite part of this. 😌

January

Navy Pier, Chicago, Illinois, January 2022

Starting with January. Remember this view from last year? (This is the view from my covid-priced rental looking out onto Navy Pier and Lake Michigan). My lease ended at the end of the month, so I made it a point to soak up the views and the space as much as possible. Side note: moving is such a drag. If you’re moving this year, god bless you. You can do it. And I know it sucks. Shoutout to Dolly who made it all possible, on a budget.

February

I <3 short hair.

For anyone wondering if the buzz cut was an impulse decision (perhaps spurred on by an existential crisis?) thankfully, it was not. I’ve been wanting to shave my head for over a year, but hesitated because I thought I ‘didn’t have the face shape for it’ and ‘only certain people can pull that look off,’ which, I have now come to realize, is simply patriarchal BS. If you’re lucky enough to have hair, and to live in a place where it’s safe for people to have a variety of hair lengths (regardless of gender), then honor what you want to do with that hair. Confidence comes from within and honestly? I have never felt better. 😏

March

Sunset cliffs in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA

Mid-March, Dan and I escaped the seemingly never-ending Chicago winter and spent a week vacationing in Ocean Beach, San Deigo, CA. Aside from the steep California prices and the current and impending affects of the climate crisis on the west coast (💔), San Diego is arguably one of the best places on earth. The weather is mild, the landscape is perfect (beaches + mountains), tons of food for all dietary preferences, and OB in particular has so much character. It’s a quirky little neighborhood with big hippy energy.

April

Claude takes on Chicago!

My sister came to visit! It was her first visit out here, and it was so special to have her. She surprised me with the most relaxing birthday gift I’ve ever received while she was here, too, and took me to Aire Ancient Baths. My favorite part about the experience was when we sat under a waterfall meant more for viewing, and laughed hysterically as the water matted our hair; all while the couples in the pool just stared in disbelief. I also gifted her a pair of matching pants… almost as cool as a 90-minute spa experience.

May

We started a podcast!

Well, first I quit my job. Then I started the podcast. More on why and how in a future post, perhaps. But this was something I’d also been wanting to do for a while, and all I can say is: if you have the privilege to be able to make the time for things that you want to make (even if just for a season), simply because you want to and not because you need to – do it. Capitalism will try to convince you it’s not worth it – that your time is best spent producing in a way that will provide immediate monetary compensation. But there is nothing like making something and learning something new just because you want to. It’s liberating and empowering.

Also, is it just me or do these headphones make it look like I have cinnamon rolls on my ears?

June

The Narrows in Zion National Park, Utah

A college roomie trip! Two of us former roommates flew out to meet our third roommate in Salt Lake City, Utah for a week. The company was absolutely unmatched. As a YouTuber once said, ‘I love my time with my girls!’ The location was also unmatched. 🥵 Literally. The nature, of course, is unreal. Plus, I have to admit, SLC itself is hands down the strangest city I’ve ever been to, and I say that with no hate, and much respect. Have any of you been? What did you think?

Sadly, the girls trip was cut a little short due to a surprise visit from c*vid, but we all made the most of it (and are all feeling better now!).

July

Duxbury, MA

I spent July in MA and got to see some of the many beautiful humans I love there. Something I seriously wonder: will Claude and I ever stop taking handstand pics together? As unfortunate as it is that we’re not exactly vertical, I am impressed by our synchronicity.

This day was a really special one to me. We went to the beach with my nephew and I got to push him around on a boogie board in the water with my dad, and it was the most fun. This winter I asked him if he remembered when we played in the water, and he said ‘yes,’ and ‘maybe we can do it again sometime.’ So, yeah, I pretty much can’t wait for summer now.

(And if I’m being honest, I anticipate Claude and I will keep taking pics like this, as long as our bodies allow).

August

Smashed coconut in Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL

August was a relatively quiet month, which was much-needed after the active July trip to Mass. Lots of beach trips and lots of time outside, soaking up the beautiful Chicago weather.

One weekend, I went to a little meditation circle in Lincoln Park, and we did an exercise where we symbolically released some shit we didn’t need by smashing coconuts on the ground. Incidentally, I couldn’t bear to just throw away my perfectly good coconut afterward. So I contemplated eating it. But since it had been on public park grounds, I opted to carry it around with me for the rest of the day and photograph it in cute places instead. I even took it with me to the beach after, and we both went swimming. I suppose you could say this coconut became my pet for the day.

September

Good old Chicago.

More time outside! This view is from a park not far from our neighborhood. Dan and I love to come here and sit in ‘our spot.’ We bring a blanket to lie on, a book and some headphones, and just relax, talk, and dog-watch for a couple of hours. It’s one of my all-time favorite activities, and one of the few places by us that’s really quiet. Needless to say, I’m very excited for it to become warm enough for us to be able to start doing this again.

October

County Line Orchard, Hobart, Indiana

Okay, this was one of my favorite things we did all year. WE WENT APPLE PICKING. As a born and raised New England girlie, apple picking was a classic fall activity growing up. Every year we’d go, at least once. The last few years I haven’t been because I don’t have a car in the city. But recently, we’ve started using Turo (think: Airbnb for cars), and it’s been amazing.

We got up really early one morning, rented a car for a few hours, drove to Indiana, and had our picking done and apples in-hand by the time the crowds were getting big at the orchard. We ate a little lunch together afterward, complete with apple cider. And I baked, I want to say, 10+ apple pies this season, in order to use up all the apples we got. 😅 (Thank god for pre-made gluten-free Trader Joe’s pie crust).

November

Too Many Zooz Concert, House of Blues, Chicago, IL

Happy birthday, Dan! For Dan’s birthday this year, we went to a Too Many Zooz concert at the House of Blues. It was sublime. If you’ve never heard of Too Many Zooz, give them a listen when you’re needing a little pump up. As the kids say, the energy was LIT (… do the kids actually say this?). Truly, the energy was so good, and I left remembering the magic that comes from listening and bopping to music with hundreds of strangers. It’s something I hadn’t experienced since pre-covid and even though I’m not a huge concert person, I was surprised by how much I had missed it.

December

Wedding at La Brasa, Somerville, MA

My friends, Jenna and Mike, got married in December! This was a really sweet evening, getting to witness their love, along with all of their loved ones. I had never been to a restaurant wedding before – I loved the intimacy of it. Congratulations, Jenna and Mike. And shoutout to my mom for always letting me borrow her clothes so that I don’t have to buy a new outfit every time I’m invited to a special event like this (which is a LOT by the way) (jk).

Phew. Another year, come and gone. Thanks for journeying with me through mine.

I have to share my usual disclaimer: this is fully a highlight reel. (Tears, lowlights, struggles, sleepless nights, and anxiety not pictured). AND, I recognize the incredible privilege I have, to be able to have experienced all of these things, and also talk about them. I am continuously blown away by the complexity, beauty, and injustice of this world.

So, tell me.

How was your 2022? What’s one thing that happened that surprised you last year (whether in a good way or a challenging one)?

And/or, if you’re more into looking ahead: what are you looking forward to in 2023? What’s one thing you’d like to do this year, just because you want to (and not because it’ll make you money or look good on a resume)?

Email me at bibs@bibs.live. I mean it when I say I would love to hear from you!

Talk soon,
Bibs

2021 Highlight Reel

Hello friends! It appears this blog has turned into a virtual holiday card of sorts. 👀 How have you been since I sent over my ‘2020 year in review’ post? What did you get up to in 2021? What were your highs and lows? I would love to hear from you. 🤗

Here’s a little summary of my year…

Note: it’s important to acknowledge that there were many challenging, ‘darker’ aspects of 2021. Things that happened on a personal and/or collective level that have been omitted from this reel. That’s not to discount the importance of these things, but I did intentionally keep this ‘light’ for the purposes of this post. I typically (not always*) talk about things with a bit more substance over on Instagram. Still, I hear the privilege in this statement and in this blog post and I’m committed to continuing to navigate the best way to show up in the world given the position that I’m in. I welcome thoughts or advice on this topic if you have any.

January // Baby gets her first apartment.

Started the year off with a bang. I rented my first ever apartment (solo), in Chicago, Illinois.

Covid was raging, vaccines weren’t a thing yet, and as a result, I lucked out and found a place in the heart of the city, for a price that was about one third what it normally would be.

Biggest personal takeaways from living alone during covid: solitude is glorious. Loneliness comes and goes, and living alone provides you with space to face that loneliness and honor it in a way that living with others often does not.

It’s also empowering af to prove to yourself that you can count on you to take care of you (and that includes knowing when to ask for help from others when you need it**).

February // Yoga with Bibs is born.

About a year into the pandemic, I started my own virtual yoga studio, Yoga with Bibs. Teaching these classes has quickly become the most rewarding thing I do and one of the things I’m most proud of.

This was taken back in India in 2019, when I did my YTT, but the spirit of YWB is there!

Takeaways: I love creating spaces for people to be, to breathe, and to honor their bodies together.

Starting something is HARD and imposter syndrome is real. I remember crying in the shower the morning before teaching my first class thinking, what the FUCK am I doing. I’m grateful I did it anyway. And I’m deeply grateful that people continue to trust me to co-create this space with them.

Quick plug: If you are reading this, I would love to invite you to try out a class. Email me or fill out this quick form and I can let you know when we have upcoming classes. ☺️

March // I turned 28. And it went really well!

It actually really DID go well. 😂 I know these photos may concern some, but as you can see by the words on my tear-stained shirt, I am indeed a sensitive creature, and crying is as natural (and beneficial!) to me as breathing.

The backstory is I got up early on my birthday to journal, started reflecting on the beauty and brutality of life, and not long after, my partner walked into the living room to find me staring out the window, like so. Honestly, I couldn’t think of a more on-brand way to start my birthday and while I can’t recall what I was processing, I’m glad I processed it. 🤷🏻

EDIT: pretty sure I was writing this at the time of the tears.

April // Vaxxed and visited.

In April, I got the vaccine and had my first visitor in my new, big kid apartment! Seeing a friend and leaving my apartment to go places other than the pharmacy or grocery store (even masked!) felt wild and reckless, but was so incredibly fun and also so nourishing for the soul.

May // Outdoor fun.

Anyone that’s lived in Chicago knows that May in Chicago is just the absolute best. The city comes to life again, everyone emerges from their six-month-long winter slumber, and the vibe is just JOY. All around.

June // First dip(s) in the ocean.

Dan and I visited our families in Massachusetts, and also visited the ocean quite a bit. There is just nothing like going in the ocean in the summer time. Some days we’d walk to the ocean and even go for a swim before or after work. Cannot recommend this enough if you have a body of water at your disposal.

July // The one month that things were normal.

I stayed in Massachusetts for several weeks and got to see so many humans that I love. This was during that beautiful post-vaccine, pre-variant stretch. It was surreal to be able to hug and have meaningful conversations with all of these people (not all are pictured). I hope we have more times like this in the future where things are safe(r) than they are now. 😭

August // A little bit of everything.

August was a nice litte mix of things. Lots of walks outside. A much-needed haircut. A visit from my other friend also named Sarah. A night out to see Meg Stalter perform. And that photo in the upper right, idk what exactly was happening there. It was after a long day at work, I remember that much.

September // The start of a 4-month long wedding season.

It seems that everyone rescheduled their 2020 weddings for Fall of 2021. Pictured below is the first one I went to. It was so sweet to celebrate the people getting married. And also kinda cool to put on real clothes for the first time in 2 years.

October // more odd ‘n ends.

October was a solid month with unseasonably warm weather. Flew through ‘Somebody’s Daughter‘ by Ashley C. Ford (excellent read). Went apple picking. Bought vegan Doc Martens (psa: they’re not comfortable). Got brunch with friends who were in the city for the Chicago marathon! And saw one of my OGs, Rob Bell, live. Grateful for each and every one of these good timez.

November // mini high school reunion + more weddings.

That middle photo was just a typical post-wedding glow-down moment. Yk I like to keep it real.

December // dodging covid.

December included one wedding in PA, two Christmas family gatherings, two covid exposures, and one wedding in RI to close out the year. December was probably the most stress-filled month tbh, but was also filled with lots of sweet moments that I’m so thankful to have experienced.

I am utterly exhausted after putting this little post together. Maybe it’s because I started it at 5am and it’s now 10am. Or maybe it’s because 2021 was just a wild year and I think maybe we’re all a bit tired…? Tell me. How was your year? I would love to hear from you.

I hope you and your people are healthy and safe. 🌱

Sending love to you,
Bibs

P.S. Link again to sign up for yoga class info is here. 🕉

2020 in Review

Dear humans who are still subscribed to and/or interested in this very sporadically posted-on blog,

Happy 2021! Whew. What an effing YEAR.

I wanted to write a little something to first and foremost, check in and see how you’re doing. I hope that you are well and your people are well. If you or someone you know has been affected by covid (and/or other health concerns or hardships) know that I am thinking of you and am sitting with you, in whatever you may be feeling or experiencing. If there is anything I can do to support you, please please let me know (by texting or emailing me at bibs@bibs.live). 💙

Second, I thought it might be nice to share a bit about what we’ve all been up to this year, similar to what I did last year. A virtual holiday card if you will. I always get so sappy this time of year; I love a good opportunity to reminisce and reflect.

A couple of things I want to acknowledge first:

One, part of me is hesitant to put this out there because I don’t want the contents of this little note to come across as minimizing or diminishing any of the truly horrific things that have happened this year (that I’ve experienced, that you’ve experienced, or that we’ve experienced collectively). I recognize I’m coming from a very privileged position and to that end, it feels inappropriate to just share a highlight reel of my year without fully owning that.

Even so, while I will spare the details of my personal ‘lows’ of 2020, it has been a challenging year, and as important as it is to sit in the grief, heartache, and pain of it all (which I have and continue to do), for me, it’s equally important to talk about all of the other stuff that happened this year, too. Even if only to help myself remember it wasn’t all bad. So consider this a wildly selfish act, but here’s a bit of what my year looked like.

By the way I would really love to hear what you’ve been up to and how you’re feeling after this year if you’re up for sharing, too. Community and connection are so important right now (now more than ever), and while emailing isn’t quite the same as sitting across a table from you and catching up (which is what I’d really like to be doing!), I will take what I can get. 🙂 I miss you!

2020 Highlight Reel

January 2020: I visited my fam.

At this point in the year, I was preparing to move out of Chicago and do some traveling starting in February. Before I hit the road, I took a trip back to Massachusetts to spend some time with my family, including my (most adorable) nephew. It was a grand time.

Face of nephew not shown due to misunderstanding of where to look at time of photo being taken (which incidentally works out great for privacy purposes).

February 2020: I published my e-book, and traveled to Puerto Rico to help build earthships for 2 weeks.

Earthships are self-sustaining homes made of recycled materials that encourage autonomous, communal, and sustainable living. Participating in this project was one of the most life-giving and empowering experiences of my life, and I’m so thankful for all that I learned and all of the beautiful humans I got to work alongside and get to know there. I never knew pounding tires and building bottle walls could provide such a sense of purpose! I hope to help with more earthship builds in the future. ⚙️If you ever have the opportunity to participate yourself, I highly recommend it! They do these builds all over the world. And if you have any questions on it, let me know!

I also published my first e-book, all about holistic healing and how to enter the world of natural health in a healthy way. 🤓 If you’ve read it or do read it, I’d love to know what you think!

March 2020: After Puerto Rico, I spent a week in Panama.

This trip was supposed to be a couple of months long, but ended up being cut short due to some differences in expectations between us and our host. It ended up working out because the day I flew back to the States (on my birthday, actually) was right around the time that lockdowns started happening due to covid. Had we not flown back when we did, we may have gotten stuck in Panama! I do hope to go back someday when things in the world aren’t so crazy. Panama is a beautiful place. ☀️

Standing in a farm in Panama, watching the sunset.

April 2020: I spent some time in the state of Colorado.

There is nothing like the sun shining in Colorado. I am grateful for the time I had here to familiarize myself with ‘quarantine life’ while also still being able to take walks outside (since we weren’t in a super city-ish area). Can’t wait until the next time I can visit.

May 2020: I traveled back to Chicago and felt many, many feelings.

I was going through some stuff in May. I took time to retreat, grieve, go outside as much as possible, and take lots of moody selfies. It was lovely to be back in Chicago and meet up with folks I hadn’t seen in-person for a while, and give myself space to feel.

June 2020: More time outside and more grieving in Chicago.

I stayed in Chicago for the majority of June, and spent more time outside with people I cared about. More importantly, June was the time that the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and countless other POC came to light. While police brutality against the black community is certainly not new, this was a month where many of us (finally) opened our eyes to the reality that we are living in a country in which systemic racism runs deep, right alongside colonialism, capitalism, and white supremacy. 2020 has served as a potent reminder that we have so much work to do, in 2021 and beyond, in moving the needle towards real, lasting equality.

July 2020: I spent the month exploring in Colorado with one of my best friends.

It was so special to spend a month in a nature-filled space with Sarah, who was one of my old college roommates and is one of my very best friends. We spent a lot of time hiking and talking and eating home cooked meals. There were lots of animal sightings, along with doing laundry by hand, and beautiful sunrises and sunsets. There may or may not have also been a few hikes that ended with in me in tears, begging Sarah to help me make it through the hike. Sarah is an expert hiker and I… not so much. She was such a good sport, helping me through the extra steep parts and encouraging me as I screamed for my life intermittently. Bless you, Sarah. 😂

August 2020: I saw family and friends (socially distanced) in Massachusetts.

It was so special to see my nephew and other people who I hadn’t seen since January of that year. There were lots of walks outside, along with talks of how our years have been so far.

September 2020: Back to Chicago.

I spent this month doing more of the same: lots of walks outside and time spent in nature. That’s one of the things I love most about Chicago; you can’t travel too far without running into some sort of park or body of water. You get a nice balance of nature + city life.

October 2020: You guessed it… more time outside in Chicago.

The pictures speak for themselves. So thankful for the time to be in nature, especially before it got more wintry. We had some really warm October days this year!

November 2020: A 2020 attempt at flying home for the holidays.

It was a successful attempt, thankfully. I made it to Massachusetts on November 22nd. There was a slight change of plans since I was supposed to spend Thanksgiving with my family, but was unable to due to covid. I ended up spending Thanksgiving down the Cape instead though, which was lovely, and my family and I had a belated Thanksgiving later on in December. ❤️I will say, trying to get a rapid covid test on short notice around the holidays was not easy (it was an 11-hour affair that started by getting in a line at 4:30am and waiting there for hours in the pouring rain). But alas, I got my test eventually, and it was negative. 🙏🏼

December 2020: Christmas in Massachusetts.

I spent the rest of the year in Massachusetts, so I could avoid flying twice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. The holidays always seem to go by so quickly. I spent Christmas with my family. It felt like a particularly big gift this year, with all that’s been happening in the world. I was also able to go on some walks with friends that I haven’t seen for ages, and was reminded of how glorious it is to be able to go a year without seeing someone and catch up like no time has passed. So thankful for to time to connect amidst these crazy times.

If you’ve make it this far, you are a champ! Okay. Now your turn. 😊 What have you been up to this year? If you’re not sure how exactly to answer such a broad question, here are some things I’m particularly curious about. 😉

  • What is one thing that you are proud to have accomplished or gotten through this year?
  • What is one moment that brought you joy this year?
  • What’s one lesson you’ve learned this year?
  • What’s one thing you’re looking forward to this coming year?

Shoot me a text or an email (bibs@bibs.live) if you’re up for it! I would love to hear from you. 🙂

Wishing you so much goodness this coming year. I know it has been a challenging one… if no one else has told you recently (and even if they have), you are doing a great job, and you are so so loved. 🌱 Happy new year to you and your people. 💛✨

Love, Bibs

Happy 2020, Friends

Hi everyone,

Bibs here. 😊 Long time no speak! Happy, Happy New Year to your and your people. 💚 I wanted to send you all a quick note to ask how you’ve been doing, and to share a bit about what I’ve been up to this past year and a half.

It’s crazy… the last time I was consistently writing to you all was in the summer of 2018, and in so many ways I feel like a different person than I was then. It’s hard to believe so much can change in so little time. Here’s a little of what I’ve been up to…

In 2018, I was working remotely for a start-up in Oakland, California and was living in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The cute lil’ nook in my apartment in Lexington.

In June of 2018, I sold most of my stuff, left my apartment, and began living the “digital nomad” life.

I started by living by the beach in Danvers, Massachusetts for a couple of months with two college boys. Living with them reminded me of how different life is in college versus out of college — it was a lot of fun. 😊

Beach in Beverly, MA

In August of 2018, I made my way to Cambridge, Massachusetts to stay with my college roommate and her husband for a couple of months, which felt like the good old days all over again, only somehow even better this time.

My college roomie Maggie and I drinkin’ some smoothies in Somerville, MA.

In September of 2018, I started staying with my high school friend Miki. It was a dream come true to be roommates for a bit, and to be so lovingly welcomed into her and her family’s home.

I regret not taking more pictures with Miki, but man, isn’t this bed beautiful?

In October of 2018, I flew to Iceland and met my remote teammates for the first time. I had an absolute BLAST and thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the amazing people I got to work with every day face-to-face.

The Suiteness crew, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018.

I also met a very special human on that trip – we’ll call him Larry – who you’ll notice shows up quite a bit in the rest of the places traveled this past year…

Fun fact: I met Larry precisely as I was snapping this selfie.

In November of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Ocala, Florida with my friend Jerica and her family, whose love and encouragement and honesty was so healing — I can’t even begin to explain.

Hangin’ with Jerica’s fam was the funnest.

Later that month, I took a trip to Chicago, Illinois to visit Larry, which was really wonderful and lovely and amazing and beautiful in every way.

Here’s a cool pic from a rooftop in Chi-town.

In December of 2018, I spent a few weeks in Germany, where I was able to connect with my dad’s side of the family and soak up beautiful quality time with them and with friends.

At the end of the year, I spent a few days in New Hampshire with Larry, and got to spend Christmas with my mom’s side of the family, which is always a party.

On New Year’s Eve, I got on a plane and began a 24-hour trip to Mysore, India, where I spent the month of January getting my 200-hour vinyasa yoga teacher certification and learning what it means to live in community with beautiful people from all across the globe.

In February of 2019, I flew back to Boston to visit family and friends.

A couple o’ beauties I am grateful to call gal pals.

Later that month, I flew to Chicago and moved in with Larry.

Chicago is a really cool city, but is it cooler than a comfy-looking bed?

In April of 2019, Larry and I flew to Colorado and spent a few days there.

Later that month, I flew out to Oakland, California for a work on-site, which, similar to Iceland, was also a blast and so awesome to be with teammates in real life.

After that, I went back to Boston for a week to visit family and friends before flying back to Chicago.

In May of 2019, Larry and I went back to Colorado for his sister’s graduation, which was a great time.

Posing with Larry’s van.

In June of 2019, I went to Fort Lauderdale for a week to spend time relaxing on the beach and catching up with two beautiful friends, Angela and Pam, who I hadn’t seen for quite awhile.

Work biddies 4 life.

This isn’t travel-related, but later that month I got laid off and was able to spend the warmest months in Chicago fun-employed, hanging with beautiful people in the city.

Peace ‘n love yo, peace ‘n love.

I also started teaching yoga this year.

I clearly don’t enjoy it very much.

In July of 2019, I went back to Boston for a few days for my nephew’s first birthday party, which was just the best.

I love him so much. 💛

In September of 2019, I had a solid week of quality time with friends and family in Boston. A HUGE shoutout and thank you to everyone who made time to get together and who hosted me. I love you all more than I can say!

My friend Sarah scheduled her layover in Boston and got up hella early to meet me for a few minutes one morning before I flew back to Chicago. 😭

I got a new remote job at the end of September, and in October of 2019, I went to Boston for a few days before flying out to Miami to meet my new teammates. It was so fun to get to put real faces to the little avatars I talk to every day on Slack.

A couple of my teammates. 🤗

In November 2019, Larry and I went to Colorado to visit his family for Thanksgiving, and in December, we went to Massachusetts to visit my family for Christmas.

This brings us to January 2020. I’m currently in Chicago, but just for about another month before I pick the nomad life back up again. Details on that to come. 😉

PHEW. So this is where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing! I’ve taken a step back from social media and blogging in an effort to be more present with the people in front of me, but I do hope to keep things a bit more active here this year, and to post when it feels right to. 🙂

There’s a lot more I could share here, about personal evolutions and experiences, and other things that have happened, but I’ll leave that for another time. For now I’ll just say, a lot has changed, but one thing has stayed the same…

I’m still doing my best to keep things weird. ✌🏼

Anyway, ENOUGH ABOUT ME. How have you been? I’d sincerely love to hear from you. What was one of your favorite things about this past year? What is one thing you’re looking forward to in 2020?

Comment below, DM me at @bibs.live, or email me at bibs@bibs.live. Can’t wait to hear from you!

P.S. Remember that e-book on holistic healing I said I was going to have out over a year ago? Well 2020 is the year… I’m actually going to publish it. (Honest.) Stay tuned!

“I’m gonna get out and give you a kiss now. And then I’m gonna show you what I keep underneath the floor of my trunk.”

// Words from My Lyft Driver

Taking a break from the existential questions and holistic healing stuff and telling a story today instead.

I don’t take Lyft rides very often. I almost always take my car when I’m going places, and I’ll sometimes take public transportation but I’ve only ever taken an Uber or Lyft maybe 10 times in my life. I know, I know… What kind of millenial am I?

A few months ago though – scratch that – a year ago now, I was hanging out with a friend in Gloucester and found myself in need of a Lyft ride home to Lexington.

It was around 11 PM. I was pretty beat (those of you who know me know my bedtime is usually closer to 9 or 10 PM 👵🏼) so I figured I’d just hop in the back seat and not say more than hi, thank you, and goodbye to the driver. Alas, the Universe had different plans.

Do you ever have those moments that feel like there’s some sort of divine force orchestrating the situation you’re in, and somehow you wind up having a wildly deep and profound conversation with a total stranger?

THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE MOMENTS FOR ME. I don’t remember who started it. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if someone told me God herself came down, tapped us both on the shoulder, and whispered in our ears to get the convo going, but my Lyft driver and I wound up talking about all things faith, God, and spirituality throughout the whole ride home.

And it was amazing. I even heard about his wife, who I saw a picture of (she’s beautiful). And I heard all about how he’s working hard to provide for his family. And on the weekends (get this) he sings opera at a church in Rhode Island. And not only that, but he was so excited to tell me that a guy who knows how to professionally record music just happened to walk into the church he sings at a few months ago, and now he’s recording his first opera album with him. COULD THIS GUY BE ANY COOLER?

He also is around 65 years old (I’d guess), has a heart of gold, and is one of those people who you can tell has been through a lot, yet STILL has this relentless optimism that just emanates from his very soul. I wish I could remember everything else we talked about… At one point he even gave me his number in case I wanted to visit his church. But the bottom line is, this man was an angel. Had the stars not aligned in the way that they did, we could have very easily sat in silence the entire 40 minutes to my house. I’m so glad we didn’t, and I’m so grateful I got to talk with the kind-hearted, hard-working, cute* Lyft-driving opera singer from Rhode Island that night.

~~~

Oh right. The title. DOY. I almost forgot the end of the story. So when we finally pulled up to my house, he said all these really kind and encouraging things to me – which made me promptly want to weep – and then he said, “It was so lovely talking with you sweetie. You’re a good woman. Keep the faith. I’m gonna get out and give you a kiss now. And then I’m gonna show you what I keep underneath the floor of my trunk.”

Now, this was one of those moments where I had to really check in with myself, because the paranoid part of me that watches the news and also took that line out of context told me to run for the hills. But the other part of me (my core) didn’t feel threatened or unsafe in any way, so I didn’t run – although I will admit, I was wondering what the EFF this guy was keeping in his trunk.

So we both got out of the car and he gave me a hug and a kiss (on the cheek guys, geez), and then he walked around to the back of his car and opened his trunk. This was the critical moment for me… the moment where I was either going to be kicking myself for trusting in the goodness of humanity, or I was going to be pleasantly surprised. THANKFULLY, it was the latter.

The cute old man lifted up his trunk floor, I hesitantly peered in, and I saw….

A Bible.

A BIBLE YOU GUYS. He told me he never goes anywhere without it. I almost threw my arms around him again. As if I didn’t already think he was adorable enough.

So that’s it. I don’t really have anything more to say except: sometimes it is okay to trust in the goodness of humanity, and as long as you really don’t sense you are in harm’s way, I think it’s good to have a little faith in people. I don’t know where the Lyft driver is nowadays. I never did call him or visit his church. But I sincerely hope he’s loving life, singing at church, and well into recording his second opera album by now.

Thanks for reading! Have you ever had an experience where you have a conversation or interaction that seemed extraordinarily sacred or divinely orchestrated somehow? I want to hear about it!

*(in a dad/grandpa kind of way)

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Withholding Joy… Why do we do it?

I’d like to bring you back to my junior high days for a second. Allow me to paint you a little picture of a classic “Bibs in junior high” scenario: I’m sitting in class, and the teacher is handing back our tests from the week before. My palms are sweating, my face is anguished, and the narrative repeating over and over in my head is,

“I failed. I failed I failed I failed I failed. I knew I failed it. I’m prepared to fail. I can’t believe myself. Why didn’t I study more? Maybe if I had studied more I wouldn’t have failed! UGH HOW COULD I HAVE FAILED AGAIN???”

This is all running on a loop in my head until the teacher comes to my desk and puts my test face down in front of me. I pick it up and as I begin to flip it over the thoughts in my head are going strong,

“I failed. I failed I failed I fai– a ‘B’! I got a ‘B’! Holy crap I didn’t fail! How did this happen? It’s a miracle! It’s a true Christmas miracle!”

This happened every time I took a test in junior high. (And I do mean every time). And actually also throughout high school, and even a lot of times in college. (Anyone else???)

Basically, I spent the majority of my younger years expecting the worst in not only my test grades, but in most areas of my life if we’re being honest. 😏 It’s like I was so scared of being disappointed that I would preemptively disappoint myself whenever possible, just so I could avoid the potential of disappointment (and be “pleasantly surprised” if the outcome ended up being good). In other words, I was the poster child of a Debbie Downer 💁🏻‍♀️ even in situations where, in the end, I had no need to be disappointed (i.e. Had I just expected a non-failing grade on my exams, when I got a non-failing grade back 90% of the time, I could have bypassed the disappointment stage altogether!)

Why do we do this to ourselves? Brene Brown talks a lot about the topic of suppressing joy. (So does my therapist incidentally. 😄) And they both come back to this question of, “Why do we pretend we’re not invested in something, when we’re clearly already invested?” Or, “Why do we prepare for the worst when what we’d like to do is hope for the best?” It could be something as simple as a grade on a test, or something as big as wanting that job you interviewed for, or to date that person you like, or to get pregnant, or to get that clean bill of health (or a million other things in between)…

If we’re being truthful with ourselves, for all the times that we prematurely prepare ourselves for the worst and pretend not to be invested in things that we actually care about deep down, what we’re actually doing is refusing to grant ourselves the opportunity to hope and experience joy, even if just for a time. Because at the end of the day, we’re either going to be disappointed in the outcome or we’re not. The only difference is, with premature disappointment, we will find ourselves either disappointed for a whole lot longer than just the actual period of disappointment, or for no reason at all if we do actually get the outcome we were secretly hoping for.

So I guess we get to choose really. Do we want to experience true, immeasurable hope and joy as we anticipate the outcome of things that matter to us (with the potential for true disappointment in the end)? Or do we want to experience feigned disappointment as we wait for the outcome of things that matter to us (with the potential for true disappointment in the end)?

I’d like to choose hope and joy more during the waiting periods of my life. To hope is just so much more fun that to willingly and pointlessly dive into a pit of disappointment before I even know if that’s where I belong yet.

Why are we so afraid of negative outcomes anyway? Why can’t hope that is either fulfilled or not still be GOOD and celebrated and enjoyed regardless of the outcome? My hope (lol) for us humans today is that we wouldn’t be afraid to hope and celebrate HOPE as one of the very things we want, rather than just certain outcomes. Because more hope is what keeps us moving forward and upwards. And we’ve been taught to fear disappointment, but I think it’s actually what makes us strong, and resilient — the combination of that with hope (and of course, some positive outcomes along the way).

I mentioned in my last post that our hearts were made to be break. I think it’s still sometimes a foreign concept to me, that it’s possible to experience immense, intense joy, and also experience immense, intense sadness and heartache, sometimes within the same day, sometimes even within the same minute. Incoming sadness does not take away from or need to cause us to fear any preceding hope. I wonder why I so easily forget this.

Another way I’ve caught myself withholding joy is when I’m enjoying one area of my life and not another. Let’s keep it super general and say I’m really finding joy in my job, but experiencing disappointment in the area of a friendship — all hypothetical. So I’ll find myself enjoying my job but then as I’m working will think, “Wait, I forgot things with my friend are really sucky right now. I can’t be happy about this!” and I’ll actually try and suppress my happiness about my job by re-membering (over and over) the situation with my friend almost as if to imply that if I did dare to be happy about the work situation, I wouldn’t be honoring the sadness of the friend situation.

Now, as always, there are exceptions to everything. For example, I would say that if I was ALWAYS focusing on how happy I was in my job, and pretending that the thing with my friend didn’t exist (otherwise known as denial) then it probably would make sense for me to spend a little more emotional energy on the thing with my friend. (As I’ve mentioned on Instagram, living in reality is important) BUT regardless, that still doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy my job situation as it truly is.

I guess my point and my note to self here is everything in life doesn’t have to be good or even mostly good for us to feel really GOOD in a certain moment in time. We should all dare to experience joy and hope even when not everything around us points us to doing so.

3 takeaways:

 

  1. Get comfortable with disappointment. Don’t expect it, but acknowledge before you begin to hope, that if your hopes are dashed, you are more than capable of handling the heartbreak and disappointment that will come with that, and you are strong enough to fully and truly grieve the loss of what you wished would be rather than pretending you weren’t invested in it in the first place.

 

  1. Get comfortable with joy. And get comfortable with it coming and going. Don’t view it as something you have the right to “have” all the time (it’s not a commodity that you own), but view it as something you’re gifted with along the way, as you continue in your journey. This way, you can let it come and go with a certain lightness and gratitude for it in your heart, knowing with certainly that even after it goes away, it will always come back to find you again.

 

  1. Have the courage to hope. Not with the expectation that you’ll definitely get the outcome you desire, but with the intention of giving your desires the space to make themselves known honestly. Not only does it tend to sway things in your favor (and minimize the cynicism that is rampant in this day and age), but it also allows you to live a more honest life, and not pretend that you actually like expecting the worst all the time. (Nobody likes a Debbie D).

Okey doke. That’s my brain dump for tonight. Happy hoping, y’all. ✌🏼 As always, let me know if any of this resonates with you (or not)! Always interested in your experience.

“May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!” Romans 15:13

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

Let’s talk about BODIES.

Something weird just happened. I was sitting in the car with my friend. We’ll call her Light. Light’s driving and she’s telling me about how she’s going away with her boyfriend to someplace warm and she’s going to be going to the beach a lot (#jealous). I asked Light if she was excited and she said she was, but she told me that the thing that was on her mind the most, of all things, was her body.

It’s funny, because a few years ago I would have been right there with her. I would’ve nodded my head in agreement, said something like “I hear that” and would’ve moved right along with the conversation… because what she said was very normal. And before I discovered (and promptly proceeded to drown myself in) the body positivity world a few years ago, thoughts about my body were totally commonplace. Especially if I was about to go someplace where I was expected to wear a bathing suit. 👙

Anyway, back to the conversation. After Light told me that her body was on her mind, instead of nodding in agreement, I asked her why it was on her mind instead. I was curious. I wanted to hear her take. And I was surprised actually, as someone who is newly acquainted with getting angry, at how unexpectedly pissed I found myself, as I realized how NORMAL Light’s comment was, and how just a few years prior I would’ve done nothing more than nodded in agreement… and in the process also affirmed that YES, Light was right to keep using a significant amount of her brain power worrying about what her body was going to look like on her vacation.

I wasn’t angry at Light of course… How could anyone be angry at Light herself? 

But I was angry that this is the world we live in. One where women are expected and encouraged to spend large amounts of their precious time and energy worrying about how much physical space they take up in the world. That fact to me is infuriating. And the fact that it’s not infuriating or even questioned by so many men and women actually only makes it that much more infuriating.

So I asked Light why and we went on to have a great conversation… about how we both are very aware that society has warped our views of bodies. And this is not how things should be. But how it’s still hard to live from a place of having genuine love for our bodies because of how we’ve been conditioned.

It made me sad and mad and most of all MOTIVATED to do something about this. What can we as women do to change the world we’re living in? (Serious question). How can we say with our actions that enough is enough already? We refuse to waste another ounce of our energy focusing on the size of our bodies and we pledge to start celebrating bodies, our own and our sisters’, for how inherently beautiful they are.

I know there is a lot we can do when it comes to activism and really making our voices heard in big, loud ways, but I think the most revolutionary thing we can do every day is so so simple.

✨✨✨

It is to stand in our bodies, out in the open, just… proud. As is. And say HERE I AM. Look at me if you want. Or don’t. But look at me with eyes of RESPECT. I look different than every single other person on this beach (and on this planet) and I LOVE that. And you don’t have to love my body if you don’t want to, but you DO have to respect it. And you are not allowed to shame me through encouragement or complacency of body hatred, objectification, or anything of the like.

✨✨✨

I’ve done a lot of work the last few years…. Through therapy, immersing myself in the bopo world, positive affirmations, prayer, etc. and I have only recently come to a place of TRULY loving my body, and TRULY loving everyone else’s bodies. Of course I am not perfect, but I am so happy (and proud and grateful) to be able to honestly say that the first thing my mind jumps to when it comes to my body and others’ bodies is not judgment. It’s beauty and appreciation and celebration, which I think – I REALLY THINK AND BELIEVE – is how it ought to be, and dare I say is how it WAS once… for all of us… before we first realized that our society categorizes bodies into fat, skinny, good, bad, healthy, unhealthy, worthy, unworthy… There was a day before our minds were tainted, when there was a lack of judgment when it came to our bodies. And I think I’m coming back home to that place. And can I just say that damn it feels GOOOOOOD to be home. And it’s for that reason that it makes me infuriated and heartbroken when friends like Light (when I ask them what they’re excited about for their vacation with their partner) say to me that they’ve actually been thinking most about their bodies.

Mind you, I recognize that I am coming at this whole topic from a place of immense privilege, being on the relatively small side. It makes me ALL the more infuriated to think that my friends of size have not only been subjected to this societally fucked up world where thinness and smallness is praised, but also where they are bullied, harassed, looked down upon, and judged openly, verbally, and cruelly because they are not what mainstream media/culture has deemed ideal this century. It’s beyond heartbreaking that this is the reality we live in.

✨✨✨

With things like the body positivity movement, I do still have hope though. And I believe that things are changing when it comes to bodies and body image, slowly but surely… just as I believe they are also changing (again, slowly but surely) when it comes to the rights and treatment of women in general, minorities, people of color, LGBTQ+, the underprivileged, the differently abled, ++++. I think this is right in line with all of that and I PRAY this conversation looks worlds different in 5, 10, 15, 50 years from now.

STILL. There is a lot of work to be done. And I LONG for the day when all of us know and LIVE from a place of knowing that size does not reflect health or goodness or worth. Some of the healthiest (and HAPPIEST) people I know are people of size. And vice versa. Small does not equal healthy. Large does not equal unhealthy. Skinny does not equal better or prettier.

Beyond that, I long for the day when we ALL, ALL PEOPLE, live in a world where each unique, different body (big, tiny, and everything in between) is revered and appreciated and seen as the unequivocally, undeniably, absolutely BEAUTIFUL creation that it is.

If we keep taking up space unapologetically, I have hope that our world will soon see:

cellulite,

big butts,

small butts,

bellies,

six packs,

rolls,

thigh gaps,

acne,

chub,

arm fat,

jiggles,

bumpy skin,

freckles,

dark skin,

brown skin…

as PURE and UTTER BEAUTY!!!!

This is the world we are headed towards. I feel it in my bones. This is the world we have the power to create. NO MORE WASTING our precious time and thoughts on what we look like, or how we can become smaller, or how we can try to make our already BEAUTIFUL body look like someone else’s body.  

Your creative energy is worth way too much to be wasted on trying to take up less space in such a big world.

And your body is only beautiful if it’s YOURS.

Sigh. I could go on. But for now:

I love you, just the way you are. I hope you know how beautiful you are. (Yes, you, reading this right now).

P.S. Sending love to all the men out there. I know that men have their own set of body expectations (and not all of you are contributing to the objectification or shaming of women’s bodies), but this has just been my experience as a woman, so that is what I can speak to most easily.

P.S.#2 What has your experience been like (man or woman) with body image stuff? Does any of this resonate with you? Not so much? Would love to hear about what it’s been like for you. 🙂

 

Photo by Alexander Krivitskiy on Unsplash.

A word on grief

“The truth has legs. It always stands.” (Rayya Elias)

Rayya passed away at the beginning of this year. I love this line of hers. I don’t know if anyone else has felt this, but it feels like there have been a lot of deaths lately. Lots of friends and family members I know have experienced loss of some kind, and it just has me thinking a lot about grief… It’s such a weird thing, isn’t it? It’s the worst. On the one hand it is the absolute WORST. Grief is horrifying and tragic and I hate it and I wish it didn’t exist.

But on the other hand… I kind of need it. Maybe “need it” isn’t the right way to say it. I desire it? That doesn’t sound right either. I’m not exactly sure how to put this into words. Grief… I benefit from it — I guess. It’s like this:

The death of a loved one to me, on its own, is the worst thing ever. Period. It is in one word:

hell.

At least for a time.

Here is the difference maker:

To me, death without grief is hell without hope.  

But death with grief… it’s hell with hope… it’s a temporary hell (if you will).

Death + Grief —> Hope….

Hope that someday things will be better.

That someday it won’t be so hard to do the simple things that feel so impossible to do in the midst of loss: like get out of bed, or go to work without crying, or respond to “Hi, how are you?” with “I’m fine, thanks” without feeling like the biggest bullshitter on the planet.

It leads to hope that someday we’ll meet again… somehow… the person I’ve lost and me…

Hope that all that I’ve been through with the person who is gone wasn’t for nothing. Hope that it all had a purpose.

Hope that all the loose ends that weren’t tied up,

all the things that I meant to say when they were alive and didn’t,

all the things I wish we did together,

and all the regrets…

they’re all okay… they’ll all somehow, someday, in some way be resolved.

It leads to hope that the person who died is not really dead,

but alive in a new way that I haven’t totally figured out yet.

Hope that there is a good God out there, and that He’s somehow going to use this whole fucked up mess for something freakishly beautiful.

Grief to me is the bridge…

from dead to alive,

from hopeless to hopeful,

from “How will I EVER EVER be okay” to “Even though it is so not right now, someday, everything is going to be alright.”

What is grief anyway?

Grief; n. “keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.” (Dictionary.com)

Grief actually comes from the Latin word gravare, which means to “make heavy.”

This is the important part for me. The making heavy part. It’s taken me a long time to learn this, but to me to grieve someone’s death is to “make heavy” their death.

To experience the intense GRAVITY of their no longer being here.

To not try and do normal life like I did before they passed,

To not try and brush it all off and put a smile on my face when my insides are scorched for the sake of making other people comfortable,

To not make light of anything that’s just happened.

But to let the reality of the person’s death be as heavy as it is, which is always just way too heavy to bear. … And what happens when something that is too heavy gets placed on someone or something that cannot bear its weight?

It breaks. Naturally. It quite literally cracks under the overwhelming pressure.  

And that is the key:

The breaking. The cracking.

When we allow ourselves to grieve, we can’t help but break under the weight of it all… because it’s just too horrific, when we look death in the face not to, isn’t it?

It’s too unfair. It’s too brutal. It’s too ugly. It’s too gut wrenching. It’s just too damn much.

And it’s in this breaking that lives the hope that I’m talking about. Ironically. It’s in the shitty shitty brokenness that it seems we can begin to heal (and I mean REALLY heal and begin to be okay in our hearts, and not just pretend to be okay with our words).

The problem: We don’t like grief very much.

At least I don’t. Or I should say I didn’t…

For the first 20 years of my life I tried to convince myself that I was somehow above grief… that I could somehow bypass it. Like maybe if I just forced my cheek muscles into the shape of a smile hard enough and kept moving fast enough, I wouldn’t even feel sad about the fact that my grandmother died a slow, brutal, entirely unfair and horrific death when I was growing up (just one example).

The problem is we’re afraid to break. For me, I was afraid because I couldn’t possibly imagine a world where I let myself break and in that same world, would also have the capacity to someday be put back together again. I thought I couldn’t handle the breaking, and so I made it my mission to run from it.

The problem with the problem: We can kind of get away with not liking grief in this way.

We can actually delude ourselves into believing that we are above grief, and can outrun it if we want. The problem isn’t that it’s impossible to do that, the problem is more that when do that… how should I say this… it fucking blows. 😃 You can “move on” with your actions sans grief, but there’s this part of you that still feels unresolved inside because of it… unfinished, icky, bad somehow. That’s what my experience with avoiding grief has been like anyway. (Maybe it’s more pleasant for other people).

Grief as Friend

Anyway, I’ve been trying to welcome grief in as a friend in this season. To “make heavy” the loss that is around me, mostly, selfishly, in order to avoid the feelings of unresolved and unsettled-ness that come with dubbing grief my enemy…

And surprise surprise, throughout this process I am finding myself very much broken under the heaviness of it all.

And it’s awful.

But also wonderful.

It’s weird.

In the heartbreak I’m finding a strange type of liberation that I haven’t experienced any of the times I’ve disowned my grief. I am indeed seeing glimmers of hope.

I guess I’m learning that it’s only when we acknowledge the reality of what is that we’re able to welcome in the hope of what will be.

ALSO, as Glennon Doyle says, our hearts were actually made to break. There’s no need to run from heartbreak, because we were created to be strong enough to handle it.

Grief looks like…

I firmly believe that grief can and should look different for everyone. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to grieve. But here is what it has looked like for me recently (and at different times of loss throughout the past few years). Maybe you can relate.

Grief to me looks like

getting emotional in inconvenient places (and not apologizing for it).

Grief to me looks like

taking my emotions (or lack thereof) in stride. It looks like not beating myself up (and asking myself why I’m such a cold-hearted B) when I can’t seem to cry when everyone else is. 

Similarly, grief to me looks like

being patient with myself when I feel overwhelmingly sad about the loss long after I think I should be “over it”… Grief looks like recognizing that in the same way that I can’t rush grief along, I can’t slow it down either.

Grief to me looks like

locking eyes with death, and saying a giant F you to its face. (I can grieve, but it doesn’t mean I have to pretend I don’t despise death).

Grief to me looks like

going through old pictures, singing and listening to old songs, and going to familiar places that all remind me of the person who’s gone.

Grief to me looks like

appreciating my deep desire to take the pain away from those I love who are also hurting from this loss. At the same time, grief looks like me gently reminding myself that even though I’d do anything to if I could, it is not actually my job to take away the pain for them (nor is it possible for me to).

Grief to me looks like

being patient with myself, recognizing that in spite of knowing on a logical level that I can’t make the pain go away for those that I love, I will stubbornly still always try to (classic 🤦🏻‍♀️)… and then when it doesn’t work, I’ll inevitably try to blame myself for it, telling myself I’m not doing enough or saying enough to make the people I love feel better. Grief looks like constantly reminding myself that I’ve already done more than enough (showing up is my only job), and I can rest in that. I can stop trying to hold together what so desperately needs to break right now (my own friends, family, and self included).

Grief to me looks like

patience (always more patience), anger, confusion, tears, laughter, reminiscing, heartache, grace, pain, joy, and suffering… oftentimes all in one day, and sometimes all at the same time.

Grief to me looks like

viewing every aspect of my grief, no matter how ugly or painful, as an act of celebration of the person who’s passed away, and a palpable representation of my refusal to let them go without proper recognition.

Grief to me looks like

breaking, and then sitting in my brokenness. It looks like hitting Rock Bottom and letting myself stay there for a bit, feeling hopeless… knowing that my feelings don’t equal the truth (or at least the permanent truth) all the time.

{A tangent on Rock Bottom}

a metaphor for grief

A funny things happens when you’ve sat at Rock Bottom for long enough. Any of you who are familiar with Rock Bottom will know what I’m talking about… What I’ve found happens is, after some time (sometimes a LOT of time)… Rock Bottom actually begins to rise… without you even realizing it, because you’ve been so absorbed doing all these things (i.e. looking at all of the brokenness inside and outside of you, mourning with friends and family, missing the person you lost, being present with the heaviness of it all). It’s like suddenly you look up for a minute from all that is in front of you, and you notice a ray of light coming from up above you that wasn’t there before and that wasn’t previously within reach, but now kind of is. It’s small and it’s still pretty dim, but it’s definitely there. Agh. Am I making any sense? Has anyone else experienced this?

What I’m trying to say is:

Grief  = Sitting at Rock Bottom  →which leads to→  Light

Grief to me looks like

trusting that that light will continue to get closer to me and brighter naturally, with time, so long as I keep staying in the present, feeling the heaviness, and letting myself break when I need to. (I will continue to rise in the midst of the brokenness, I don’t need to try to make myself rise. The place where we surrender is the place that God steps in for us).

Wrap it up Bibs, wrap it up.

Okay last thing, which is really the only thing I wanted to say all along before I started sharing way more than just “a word” on grief…

One thing I’m always so starkly reminded of when someone passes away is the fact that virtually NOTHING matters in life…

except Love.

Nothing. Drama, questions, (first world) problems, wants…. None of it matters. Period.

“The truth has legs. It always stands.”

In times of grief, the ONLY thing left standing at the end of the day is Love. The truth is Love. That’s it.

May we never require an event as tragic as a death to remember this in our daily lives.

And to my grieving friends out there: may you know how loved you are, and how okay it is to let your heart break in such a heavy time as this.

Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash

I tried floating in a tank of salt water for an hour and it was kinda trippy (vlog)

Hello friends!

This month’s blog post is actually a vlog. 🙂 I took a mini “self care” staycation and decided to use it as an opportunity to try my hand at vlogging. The quality of the actual videos and video editing are below average at best, but I figured it was still worth just putting out there for fun. Hope you enjoy it!

One of my favorite things I did during my time off was actually go to a place called Float Boston. I talk about it in the video, but for those who prefer reading:

Float Boston is a place that allows you to “float,” and experience sensory deprivation. Sensory deprivation is exactly what it sounds like. It creates an environment conducive to stripping you of your sensory experiences. So the idea with floating is you become very aware of you; your body, mind, and breath… and that’s about it. So you don’t feel anything, see anything, smell anything, hear anything, or taste anything.

Practically speaking, what floating looks like is essentially walking into a walled in bathtub or “tank”, filled with salt water that makes you float when you lie down.

The water is perfectly calibrated to 98.6 degrees, the exact same temperature as your body, hence, why you don’t feel the water on your skin.

The tank you go in is sound proof, plus you wear earplugs, which is why you can’t hear anything (except for the sound of you breathing in and out, and any sounds you make while you’re in there with your voice or by splashing around in the water).

You don’t taste anything because what is there to taste except really salty water? Gross.

And there’s not really anything to smell either.

You can choose to stay in longer, but my session was 1 hour long, and I really loved it.

I was scared to try it at first, because it’s not totally uncommon for people to have hallucinations and/or hear voices that aren’t there during floating, BUT I didn’t experience anything scary like that. I DID however see a bunch of lights flying through the tank (along with these weird outer space-like contraptions), and felt like I was actually floating in outer space myself for a good portion of it, which I go into more detail about in the vlog. I walked out feeling VERY zen-y, relaxed, and super calm (chillest I’ve ever been, non-medicated). It was definitely trippy, but in a good kind of way.

I think floating is a concept not many people have heard of, but it’s something that, as weird as it may sound, is really really good for you! The idea of it is to get you into a state of meditation and deep relaxation (sort of in a similar way that yoga and normal meditation do, just much faster and without much effort on your part at all).

I’m pulling these from Float Boston’s site (thanks Float Boston!) but here are a few of the top benefits of floating:

  • Reduces anxiety by triggering your physiological relaxation response
  • Improves sleep (for days afterward)
  • Reduces pain from injuries and helps along the process of healing injuries
  • Improves mental focus
  • Gives you access to a less logical, more creative way of thinking (inspiration galore)
  • Can help you elevate your spiritual practice and give you access to an altered state of consciousness (think: savasana on steroids)

If any of you are thinking of trying floating, or are looking for a way to relax without having to TRY to relax, I highly recommend Float Boston! (Not sponsored). It’s a little bit pricy, but not nearly as bad as you might think. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about it, too. 🙂 Happy to go into more detail. See you all next month! For now, catch you on Insta and FB.

float

P.S. What do you guys think of the vlog thing? Yay? Nay? Would love to hear your opinion!

P.S. #2 Top Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

2018 // the year of truth-telling (in realtime), gratitude, & boundaries

Happy (almost) 2018 y’all! I love New Year’s… I know goal-setting can happen any time, but it always feels more official if you set a few goals (resolutions, if you will) at the start of the new year. Here are my top 3 for 2018:

Truth-telling (in realtime)

I have a lot of thoughts/feelings/reactions when I’m interacting with people… (as do most people lol). Something I’m really good at is expressing those feelings when they fall somewhere within the happy/joyful/excited range on the Spectrum of Human Emotions. I’m quick to tell the person I’m speaking with how I’m feeling and expressing that in whatever way(s) feel right. I’m actually also not half bad at expressing sad feelings either.

Something I’m not so good at though, is expressing emotions that relate to being upset, angry, hurt, or confused (conflict-related emotions). I experience these more uncomfortable feelings not all the time, but definitely sometimes in conversations that I engage in, but whenever it happens, I do this annoying thing where instead of talking about it right then and there, or expressing those emotions in the moment, I sort of shove them away somewhere. I ignore them and leave them for later. I think, “There’s not really any conflict here… Now’s not the time to say that.”

I do it as a way to avoid confrontation, and in the process, I try to convince myself that I can’t and shouldn’t trust my instincts when they tell me something is wrong here, that something other than happiness and good feelings needs to be addressed/expressed right now. Then I leave the conversation, and when I’m removed from the situation, I either journal about it alone or talk it through with a close friend or family member. And then one of two things happens:

1. I make excuses and tell myself to let it go.

I convince myself the situation/conversation/conflict wasn’t significant enough to bring back up again with whomever I was speaking with. I tell myself it would be weird if I resurfaced the conversation and expressed myself so long after-the-fact. Basically I tell myself some BS excuse as to why I should be A-okay with whatever happened. I tell myself to just forget it.

2. I get back in touch with the person I was speaking with and I express my feelings after-the-fact.

I’m bothered by what happened and how I’m feeling to the extent that I can’t ignore it. I call/text/meet the person, bring up the past conversation, and express my feelings and thoughts to them then. Up until and during the time that I’m confronting this person about my thoughts, I am nervous AF, thinking about how I’m going to do it, what I’m going to say, how I’ll come off, etc. etc.

More often than not, I opt for Option #1, because (even though I know that unexpressed emotions manifest in some NASTY ways) it’s easier in the short-term to just not say anything and take the easy/cowardly way out.

I’m just starting out, but I’ve tested the waters recently, speaking my mind/truth in the moment in conversations. It’s kind of amazing when I decide to go for it… When I do it I feel so light and real and honest. Issues and conflicts are put on the table and not ignored. They’re resolved right then and there, and they’re resolved so much more quickly than they would have been had I shoved them away and left them for later. And it’s never as scary as I thought it would be either. (Turns out waiting to process and then bringing it back up later is actually what causes a lot of the fear). So I want to do more of that in 2018. More truth-telling in realtime, even when uncomfy emotions/feelings are involved.

Gratitude

(n.) loving what is.

2017 was a year of discovering the power of gratitude for me. As cliche as it sounds, there’s a reason that gratitude is the thing that so many religious, spiritual, and healing people point to as the thing we need more of to be truly happy. So much of our quality of life rides on what happens in our heads. I spent so much time growing up moping around about what was not… I’m still learning, but I want to keep leveraging the power of gratitude in 2018, loving what is, working towards what can be, and not dwelling on what isn’t. (More on this in posts to come).

Boundaries

As a mentor and friend of mine likes to say, “Boundaries are to bless.” I want to make 2018 a year of greater blessing through greater boundaries. A few areas I’m setting boundaries in specifically:

  • The things I allow myself to say, both to and about myself and other people
  • The people I spend time with
  • The things I talk about
  • The shows I watch (both the quality and quantity)
  • The social media accounts I follow
  • The food I put in my body

I can be the type of person that accidentally throws out any and all boundaries in my life for the sake of making other people happy (whoops… any other people pleasers out there?), but I’ve gotten to the point where I really can’t (and won’t) allow that to happen anymore. For a long time I think I thought it was okay to do that, because I like to help other people and I really want them to be happy. (I also really want them to like me.) But it really depletes you after awhile, and I discovered that if I live my life in a constant state of depletion I begin to feel like I’m not actually living, but dying (a slow, steady, and resent-full death), and I don’t think that’s the way life’s supposed to go.

Something that’s really helping me as I continue to set boundaries (relational boundaries*) is looking to Jesus and the way he lived his life. It’s fascinating because for someone who healed as many people as he did, and spent as much time literally saving the world as he did, Jesus set a LOT of boundaries. He didn’t give himself away all the time to all people. He took time to be alone with God, to pray in the woods, to recharge and recoup. (“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16; “After He had sent [the crowd] away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.” Matthew 14:23). While there were always people who needed healing, he had to retreat sometimes, so that he could be filled up and FULL. This way, when he returned to the trenches he’d be able to give from a place of overflow, rather than lack, providing people not with pieces of his broken/depleted human self, but with God’s healing Spirit.

Too many of us are giving away pieces of ourselves, because we haven’t taken the time to breathe for a second and be filled up by God. We think we’re some kind of martyr for never saying no, or for allowing people (ourselves included) to constantly violate our own boundaries. And then we wonder why we’re exhausted and resentful all the time… There are a few select circumstances when making exceptions for certain boundary implementations may be necessary (in rare times of crisis), but a boundary-less life should not be the norm, and if it is, I think we have to make some adjustments. So this year I am making it a point to remind myself that there’s always more work to be done than can be done, and if even Jesus set boundaries (?!), then it’s okay for little old me to, too. Boundaries can be the difference between living from a place of abundance and living from a place of depletion. And the former just sounds so much more appealing to me.

Happy 2018 everyone. Let me know what your New Years goals/resolutions are in the comments below or via email! I’m always on the lookout for more good ones to implement myself… 🙂 Whatever they are, I’m wishing you all the best as you set out to put them into practice.

xo

Bibs

(Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash)