The Ladybug Purse

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On my last trip home to Texas my mom's friend Kathy asked if I would come over to help feng shui her home. She was in the process of "Kondoing" each room after binging on "The Art of Tidying Up." When I arrived she offered me iced tea and we sat at the round kitchen table covered with a yellow vinyl tablecloth. The four chairs that surrounded the table were rolling desk chairs, not typical dining chairs. As we began to chat, I asked a few questions to find out what her priorities were and what she wanted to accomplish during our time together.

We started the feng shui process at the back entrance. My goal was to help her clear off every surface as much as possible and store things in their proper place or find a better way to organize or display it. If the item no longer brought her joy, we would thank it and put it in the donation pile. Room by room we went until we got to her closet full of vintage clothes. She used to live in NYC in the 60's and pranced around town as if she was Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's. She remembered where she got every dress, every handbag, every pair of shoes and the stories associated with where she wore them. When we got to a wooden purse with red and yellow ladybugs sprinkled on the front, my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. I was in love! It was made in Japan and had a cream silk lining on the inside. My nickname is Ladybug and it has always been a symbolic and spiritual meaning for me. I secretly coveted the purse but didn't dare ask if I could have it, nor did she offer it to me.

We then had to wrap up quickly to leave to meet a group of my mom's and Kathy's friends for dinner. I kept thinking about that purse, wishing it were mine but then would dismiss the thought because if it were mine by divine right, it would not pass me by. That's been my mantra for everything these days - jobs, income, relationships, my home, and now this purse.

After dinner, my mom and I were getting ready to leave and Kathy said, "I don't know what I was thinking, you must come back to my house before you go home so I can give you the ladybug purse. It's time for me to let it go and give it a new home, and of anyone I know, this purse belongs to you." I was elated! I've been practicing the art of detachment and letting go for quite some time now, trying not to get caught up on things being a certain way, and at this moment I felt I had made progress. In the end, the purse WAS mine by divine right, and it did not pass me by! I will carry it with pride!

Detour

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In an attempt to live a more fluid life and go with the flow, I find myself having many opportunities to put that concept into practice. Recently I was on my way to a Saturday community yoga class at CorePower where a friend was getting her final hours in for teacher training. As I made my way to Union Square on the 6 train in my yoga clothes, and dropped off my compost at the farmer’s market, I got a text from a friend saying there was an extra ticket to a brunch that several of our friends were going to, and it was mine if I wanted it. 

What an exciting opportunity, I thought! The only problem was, other than deciding if it would be ok to ditch my friend’s class, and the fact that I didn’t shower after my bike ride through Central Park that morning, was that it started in 15 minutes. All I had with me was my yoga bag, no change of clothes, and no makeup. Should I go, I thought? I don’t have time to go all the way home to the Upper East Side and back down to Park Avenue and 26th Street where the brunch was at. I also didn’t want to spend money to buy clothes and shoes. Makeup was easy. I could go to a Sephora and use their testers for free, as every New York woman does when they’re in a pinch and need a touch-up or a spray of perfume. 

I was inclined to turn down the offer but then my solution based mind came through and I thought, “I can go to Gretel’s on 23rd Street and 7th Avenue to borrow clothes, shoes and makeup!” I called her right away to see if I could raid her closet. As soon as I got the ok, I kicked my speed walking into high gear to get there. We’re the same size in everything, other than bra sizes. I’m much smaller in that area! Luckily I was wearing my cleavage enhancing sports bra that was perfect for the black, V neck shirt I borrowed. Within 20 minutes, and a splash bath in the bathroom sink, I was transformed from a yogi to a lady ready to brunch! As I made my way across 23rd to the east side, I felt so much gratitude. Gratitude for my friendships and gratitude for the opportunity to be spontaneous and practice shifting from one direction to another. The brunch of 70 was full of great conversations and meeting new people.

It went from a cocktail hour of mingling, to a sit down meal, to dancing our butts off as a DJ played tunes, to an after party in the West Village on Charles Street at a fellow Texan’s apartment who displayed his Texas Aggies pride everywhere. Sometimes when you’re traveling down a road to get to a particular destination, a Detour sign pops up and you have to make a decision to go in a different direction. You’re not sure where it will lead you but you trust that it will get you to where you’re supposed to be. That day I thought I was going to yoga, but the detour led me to a day full of unexpected surprises! Life is beautiful!

Lane Merging

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I'm an avid full moon observer and the only plan I had for Friday night was to meet a friend for the Open Center's full moon circle. Being part of an active group of friends in NYC, there is always something going on, so I was also invited to join a happy hour beforehand. I was hesitant about going since they were meeting in Soho (west) and the Open Center is in Nomad (east). That meant I would only have about 30 minutes to hang out. It also meant I wouldn't have time to eat dinner before the circle. After coming up with excuses on why I couldn't go, I finally decided the heck with it, grabbed a banana to throw in my purse, and rushed out the door to meet them.

When I arrived to Banter, the bar we were meeting at, I noticed @senzaglutennyc Cafe & Bakery next door. I thought this couldn't be right. Surely this wasn't an entirely gluten free bakery? Oh but it was!

I popped in to eye the selections under glass domes while taking in the aroma of delicious baked goods. There was so much to choose from that I felt overwhelmed with options. The woman behind the counter said the almond-ricotta-orange bundt cake was their best seller and I was sold. Then I saw the sign that said "Cash and American Express ONLY." The music in my head came to a screeching halt. In 2019 it's rare that anyone has cash, and if so, it's not much. I'm probably one of the few that doesn't have an Amex either.

I reached into my purse to get my wallet, somewhere under my banana, and as I pulled out the little cash I had, I asked how much a slice was. $6.50, she said. I had $3. My joy soon turned into disappointment. I put my wallet back into my purse and thought "at least I have a banana and won't starve." The woman could sense my defeat and quickly offered to give me a slice for free since it was my first time there, and encouraged me to come back with friends. I was elated and assured her I would be back!

The full moon is a time for reflection and a time to let things go that no longer serve us. One thing that I've been working on to let go of is a mentality of scarcity and instead embrace abundance in all forms. This was one of those times when I felt abundance out of my seemingly scarcity of cash on hand. It's a reminder that my lane of scarcity is coming to an end and merging into the lane of abundance, I just need to keep showing up and keep my eyes open to the abundance that appears before me.

The $25 flower bouquet

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When I left my apartment Tuesday afternoon to go for a walk, the owner of the deli below my building was standing outside the vestibule. The two doors were propped open with buckets of water that typically hold fresh-cut flowers and he said he was airing out the building because of smoke caused by the deli. He’s an older Korean man whom I've never met so we chatted for a few minutes, exchanging pleasantries and learning more about each other. I found out that he moved from South Korea to Staten Island 32 years ago and opened the deli on the Upper East Side because it's better business in the city. He said his neighborhood in Staten Island is “too quiet.” When he does come into Manhattan, his commute is an hour and a half each way.

I asked if his wife also worked there because I see an older Korean woman at the cash register often. I never knew her name until that day when I asked. "Kim. Her name is Kim. I'm Son. S O N." He wanted to make sure I knew the correct spelling of his name. He asked if I lived with my husband and I smiled and said "Not yet, but soon" and made the sign of the cross, as if I were Catholic, and silently said “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.” thinking that would somehow seal the deal with God for my future husband.

At the end of our conversation he wanted to give me flowers for “being a good neighbor.” I was touched. He told me to pick whatever I wanted and in an attempt to not seem greedy, I eyed the $7.99 flowers but then decided to ask him to pick something for me. Son quickly went over to the bigger bouquets and chose one with white roses and Casablanca lilies, a $25 bouquet.

Screech... tap the breaks! This man, who I just met, saw me as valuable. Worth the $25 bouquet. I saw myself as only worth the $7.99 bouquet. It triggered me in a way I didn’t expect, and right there in that instance, I had an ah-ha moment.

Sometimes in an attempt to not outshine those around us, or to not seem greedy or as someone who takes advantage of generosity, we dim our light and lessen our value. But why? If we are meant to brighten the world, to bring joy to those around us, shouldn't we know our "blue book" value? Or are we willing to trade in the amazing person we are for a version less than our worth?

The Oak Dining Table

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When the large, oak dining table arrived to our brick house on a cul de sac in in Indian Hills, a subdivision in Waxahachie, Texas, I couldn't wait to begin creating my Barbiesream house underneath. The legs reminded me of Corinthian columns and the slots beneath that held the extra leaves were ideal for a multi-level mansion, modeled after the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. At least that’s what I imagined in my head. I was delighted that our family got my great grandmother, MeeMaw Bassie’s table after her passing. I would spend hours interior designing the heck out of every nook and cranny, using different pieces from around our house. It was impossible to have family dinners at the table except for holidays and special occasions.

From a young age I was an avid watcher of All My Children, thanks to my Nanny, and this was the basis of the storylines that I created for Barbie and Ken, although my Barbie’s name was Sandy, and Ken was Jake. They had a beautiful love story filled with romance and exotic travels. They owned a Corvette, a Jeep and an RV. They enjoyed lounging by the above-ground pool, taking long walks through the artificial rose garden, and talking about their deep love for one another. Sandy loved getting dressed up for Jake, wearing peep toe heels, sultry outfits for date nights, and Jake loved taking care of Sandy and making her feel special by opening doors, buying her sweet surprises, and complimenting her regularly. 

Life was fun and easy under that oak dining table. Little did I know how challenging the pursuit of love and partnership would eventually be in the real world. Sometimes I wonder if my Barbie dream house set me up for disappointment and a consistent longing to find the perfect love. I could control the storylines of Sandy and Jake, but for myself and the men I dated, it was impossible to control. On the other hand, I wonder if it actually taught me the value of not settling and to cherish the values of southern gentleman, and that my Jake was out there somewhere, waiting to find me, scoop me up, and drive off into the sunset. 

This is the story of my journey to find love, to only in the end be found by that love. I call it the story of ladybugs.

North 7

North 7 road sign

On February 7th I submitted my resume for a position I thought I would be an ideal candidate for. After months of going through the interview process, and references being called, I found out on May 7th that the position was filled by someone else.

The Saturday before receiving the news was the Kentucky Derby. I knew nothing about the horses before the race began so I asked myself "what does your gut say about who the winning horse will be?" I chose 7 and felt so strongly about that being the winner. Sure enough my instinct was right and 2 minutes later Maximum Security, number 7, was declared the winner! Then 20 minutes later he was disqualified for crossing over into another horse's lane due to being spooked by the crowds. I was saddened by the results but didn't understand why. It's not like I was losing any money on the horse! After the race I left Sweetwater Social in Soho and headed towards Aster Place to board the 6 train with Annemarie. As we sat on the subway heading north, something triggered me. It was the realization that this year, 2019, I have consistently felt strong about something being one way, then another thing happens. As if my intuitive meter is off.

When I got the email on May 7th informing me the position had been filled by someone else, I was disappointed but surprisingly, not emotional. That is until my mother called that afternoon. I tell ya, mom's have that 6th sense to know when somethings up!

Before I told her about not getting the job, I let her lead the conversation. She said she wanted to share something with me but first needed to know if I liked yellow gold or white gold, and if I prefer 18" or 20" necklace chains. She was being cryptic and said she would tell me part of the story now but I would have to wait to find out the rest of the story when I was home in June. In an effort to "Kondo" her home, she remembered that she was paying for a safety deposit box where she was keeping all of her valuable jewelry that she collected over the years. When she went to get her things and close it out, she discovered that she had tucked away $7k in cash in case she ever found herself in a bind to pay property taxes.

She also found something that her uncle Bill gave her, something that came from Arizona and was wrapped up in something that told a story. That's all she would tell me about that "something" and said I would find out the rest this summer when I was in Dallas. She did mention that she had taken this "something" to a jeweler and is having something made for me and that it would be both my birthday and Christmas present since it was costing her $700.

At the time of our call I was in an Uber heading from Chelsea to Midtown East, and as I listened to her, tears began to flow. There it was again, the number 7 showing up in my sphere. I told her I found out that morning that I didn't get the job, and how the number 7 was coming up in so many places. As she said "I'm sorry, I've been praying for you" I could feel her hugs through the phone. I was also reminded earlier that day by my friend Alison, that 7 is considered God's number. Maybe there's a reason why 7 keeps popping up for me? Maybe it's to remind me that God is with me. That he's my North 7, leading me down this road, and while it may seem bleak at times, it's exactly where I need to be. For now.

Mother of all speed bumps

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Today, as I was listening to Tara Mohr’s  book, Playing Big, she talked about taking leaps. To stop over-preparing, over-researching, over-analyzing waiting waiting waiting, before sharing our ideas & launching our projects. It got me thinking about how I have started and stopped started and stopped... and on and on and on... working on my memoir because of an underlying fear. Fear of pouring out my heart and soul on paper, fear of criticism, fear of not being good enough. Well today I'm crossing over that MOTHER OF ALL SPEED BUMPS and taking a leap by creating an instagram page to share my reflections on what I want to write about in my memoir, "Caution, Speed Bumps Ahead." Thank you for joining me on this journey.

(posted at Mount Sinai Hess Building for Science and Medicine)