Day 186 – By Comparison.

Money Spent: $0.  

I had never thought of Kundalini as a workout, but last night I was actually sweating, going into camel pose 55 times in a row. Walking home, I could already tell I’d have a hard time getting out of bed this morning. I basically had to roll myself off the matrass and crawl to the kitchen. I’ll be going to class tonight, though. My 30 dollar package at this point will makes four 7.50 dollar classes. It’s a steal already.

Something that has stuck to me after spending a good 6 hours of being a devotee to my practice, was how one of my teachers told us to stop comparing ourselves to others. I obviously “know” that I shouldn’t, and I tried to be less of a jealous person a couple of weeks back, but it is true that, in order to measure ourselves, we look around and measure the value of other people.

via Pinterest.com

via Pinterest.com

I Spy With My Little Eye…

she is thicker me – she is skinnier than I am. He wears Prada shoes, so he must be richer than me. Her shoes are even more worn than mine, she might even be poorer.

Throughout the day, we constantly judge – ourselves, and definitely others.

Yesterday, one of my co-workers wore a jacket that looked new. I immediately had my defense up: I’m 7 years older than her! If anyone should be able to buy a new jacket, it should be me! I was already fretting and fighting and attacking… turned out the jacked was her boyfriend’s, and since he never wore it, she had claimed it for herself.

We judge so easily, without checking the bigger picture. Had a just made a nice comment about how cool the jacket looked – because it honestly did – I could have avoided a 15 minute rant in my head.

I Envy the Green Grass in Your Garden…

The grass always looks greener elsewhere. When my neighbor all of a sudden drives a new car, I’ll wonder how he does it. When my friends – who just went on a trip to LA – book a vacation to Iceland, I’ll feel a little envious, because, clearly, they’re doing better than I do.

My neighbor might just have bought his car with a loan that’ll push him deeper into debt than I ever was. My friends just went through a miscarriage.

We all seek balance, and life offers just that: for all negativity, there’s an equal amount of positivity. It’s the Law of polarity: no light, without darkness. So, however good someone else might seem to have it, rest assured there’s some part in there life, with which you wouldn’t want to trade.

I have a friend who runs a successful business with her husband. They just remodeled and renovated their house, but got into a nasty fight with their neighbor during that time. I know that for a lot of people, it looks like she has it all – but she’s stressed out by her neighbor’s ongoing bullying, and they are now taking the fight to court.

The Other Way Around…

Comparing works both ways: you can put specialness onto other people, but you can also make yourself more special than the other. And nobody needs to see you on the pedestal.

If we’re going to see ourselves ‘less’ than the other, it’s only natural we seek out people who we feel better than. Your ego marvels in delight when you spot people less pretty than you – or when you find negative things in people prettier than you (sure… she’s cute… although her eyes are a little too close together).

So In That Light

However dark and gloomy your life might seem in comparison to others – there HAS to be a shiny spot somewhere. It is the law, and you should look for it.

It might be your partner, who goes out of his or her way to comfort you during your hardship. The friends who are able to make you laugh out loud. It might be the fact that you found courage to declutter your home. It is the fact that – even now you’ve acknowledge your debt and working your way out – you’re getting out of bed in the morning, to complete the task.

And then, in comparison, you’re just as awesome as everyone else.

 

PS: do you compare yourself to others? What is it that you envy most in other people?

PPS: My Article for today is a father’s opinion on Mind Body Green, as to why he needs a law to address all the photoshoppin’ we got going on, ruining his – and many other dad’s – daughter’s body image. I total advocate that. There’s a petition to sign at the bottom of the article.

PPPS: Last but not least… last week’s Giveaway. It was a tough decision reading about the miracles you seek. So tough, that I’m giving away 2 copies. The comments from Debbie from Debt Debs and Athena from According to Athena really touched me. Send me a mail at thepursuitofriches {at} gmail {dot} com, and I’ll be sending the miracles your way! 

 

PPPPS: this post is part of the Financially Savvy Saturday blog link up over at Femme Frugality. This week’s host is the wonderfully funny Mel from Broke Girl Rich!

Day 185 – In Which My Posse is Expanding (very much without my help).

Money Spent: $0.  

Yesterday, waiting for an elevator, I received a whatsapp message from my youngest brother. It read ‘Hey Auntie!’, while below a picture was loading. I was expecting to see my niece pop up, but started wondering why the picture was so darn blurry. Then I realized I was staring at an echo of what will be niece (or nephew this time?) numero quarto. I gasped a loud “oh my god!”, which led to some obvious stares and me trying keep my emotions in check. Nobody wants to deal with a sobbing woman in an elevator – even if she’s crying tears of joy.

Coincidentally, I had read an article the previous day that had me thinking about my own ideas about motherhood and starting a family. In an interview, Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks – featuring a working mom on the show – explained she’s not really up for playing that role in real life. Speculations about her and hubbie Geoffrey Arend about to multiply, were most unnecessary.

She ended the interview with a “never say never” attitude, leaving the door open with “a very small chance she’ll change her mind”. Which is exactly how I’ve been addressing the topic, for many years now.

Under Pressure.

Society puts a lot of pressure on women to start and raise families. While I was with my boyfriend for six years, some of our friends started families. And since we were living in a 5 bedroom mansion, people started to suggestively eyebrow-flash us by occasion. Back then, and for a minute, I actually thought about having kids: we had a house, we were together for quite some time – it seemed like the conventional next step… but it didn’t feel right. We broke up shortly after that revelation.

The biological clock everyone likes to refer to, is still not ticking – and I’m happy for just that: I’ve seen girlfriends of mine go from bitter to bezerk over the topic, putting even more pressure on them to land the guy who’ll rush them to the altar and start that 5-year-plan in 5 minutes or less.

via imgur.com

via imgur.com

I’m glad I remember to keep livin’ and enjoying it – however tough that sometimes is.

The Cost of a House.

Don’t get me wrong: if you want kids, and that a dream belongs to you: go for it! Forget about the costs, you’ll make it work!

But don’t forget about the costs, though: a kid is mad expensive. From birth to the age of 18, your offspring has been worth the same investment. My youngest brother and I used to joke that we’d never have kids because we’d rather have the house instead.

At this point of my life, I’m obviously not even thinking about having kids – being relationshipless and all – so the money is not really an issue at this very moment. I’ve grown a lot since that conversation with my brothers – who soon both will have two little houses running around. Back then, I thought about all the money I wouldn’t be spending on myself if I had kids. I’m definitely less selfish now.

How Much Lovin’ Do You Got?

If you state you ‘don’t think you want kids’, people assume that, therefor, you hate kids. That is false, people.

When my niece Julie was born, I rushed to the hospital to see her. But I didn’t pick her up or hold her that first time. A week later, when she was home, I went for a visit again, and that’s when I first held her – and knew I would love this little creature until eternity. I sometimes think I’m imagining the bound she and I have, really, and I was a little scared that – when Michelle and later Mila were born, I wouldn’t have enough love left.

But Oh. My. God.

Loving these little girls so much, freaks me out: these are not even mine. I cannot deal with more love, people!

I love them a whole lot...  via etsy.com

I love them a whole lot…
via etsy.com

I’m fairly good with children, and I don’t mind having them around me. But I love seeing them elsewhere, you know. I love being the cool aunt, showing my fridge, my window, my bed and my bathroom (aka a 3 second tour of my apartment), every week on skype. I do feel responsible for them, but I can be in charge of the more irresponsible things. I can give them the ‘yesses’ where their parents have to tell them ‘no’. How awesome is that?

Yeah, I dig my role in their lives, a lot.

It’s OK…

As I said, I’m so happy this is actually a topic I’m not stressing about. And – like Christina Hendricks – I’m not putting it off the table, especially – in my case – since I don’t want to step into a new relationship ruling things out.

Whatever happens, happens. It’s OK to want different things in life. To dream of travels and to want to invest in your own growth instead.

And meanwhile cruising the flow of my life, I’m awaiting another little wonder. Isn’t that something to look forward too?

PS: Do you agree that kids aren’t for everyone? Is ‘money’ a good reason to hold off on kids?

PPS: I have been thinking about exactly the topic Maria from Adventures In Frugal discussed today: What Would Make You Love Your Job – it’s a great read, and one that had me thinking about my current job, and what I would like to aim for.

PPPS: I’ll be announcing who can send me an email with their address tomorrow, so there’s only hours left to get a copy of Miracles Now! 

Day 184 – Is That a Package Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

Money Spent: $0.  

Unrelated note: my title got me thinking about dating… and how I should be doing that again. Weird. 

Good News Show: My youngest brother my sister in law are expecting their second kid!! In November, I’ll be aunt for the 4th time!

Last night, completely Zen and late-night snacking a sliced green apple with a spoon of peanut butter – I started thinking about the brilliance of ‘The Introduction Package’.

I’m sure you have seen them at gyms and yoga studios near you, too. It’s an ideal way to attract the curious yet undecided: a cheap trial for two weeks? Worst case scenario, you hate it and you lose about 30 dollars… right?

EXTRA! EXTRA! SOMETHING NEW!!

Oh, the wonderful world of work-outs! We mostly follow the lead of the celebrity into the next best arm-toning! Crazy-abdomen-muscle-shaping! Thigh-fat-crushing! Routine. I don’t care how old you are, but if you were old enough to witness the 80s happening, you remember Jane Fonda doing squads on TV. My mom went to BBB like a fanatic in the 90s. I Zumba’ed to Salsa tones in the new millennium like I was livin’ it up in Brazil. Trends come, trends go. Before diving head first into the latest thing: see if there’s a package available and try it out first.

via s1015.photobucket.com

via s1015.photobucket.com

No Big Deal?

I started Bikram Yoga, because I was new in the city, I had nothing to do at night and there were no Zumba classes near me. And it was the cheapest work out I could find, next to running over the Williamsburg Bridge (note: I lived in Williamsburg back then). The studio didn’t offer a package, so I invested in a 75 dollar 10 classes package.

Here’s the thing about bikram yoga: it’s hot. Imagine a hot, sticky summer in Manhattan… and then TRIPPLE that experience. That first class, I honestly thought I would die. My head had a color red I can’t define – and I studied art. Sweat – literally – poured out of my pores, and I was sitting down trying to hold it together most of that first class. I HATED every second of it. But I had just bought 10 classes. On top of the head, you have to get used to the smell: imagine hundreds of people dripping sweat on a carpet, all day long, times forever. Yep.

So I went back the next day – I just wanted those 10 days to get over and done with, and decided to go for a streak – but by the 5th class, I noticed I started to manage. By the time those 10 classes were over – I was hooked.

The Curse of the Bargain.  

It’s all fun and games to try something new – and knowing me, I root for just that! – until you start to goddamn like the class.

Back when life was affordable, I – without hesitation – didn’t mind investing in the recreational part of my life. My bikram unlimited monthly fee, was 145 dollars, and I took an average of 3-4 classes a week. Then I had to give it up because it didn’t fit into my budget anymore, and I was devastated.

A package works like a teaser: you’ll get to taste a sample – and the sample is always “the good stuff”. Once the spoon feeding is done, the habit has been created, ‘the new’is  now part of a daily or weekly routine. The dealer has done the job: You’re hooked. Addicted, and you need more.

For the budgetary conscious among us, that means it’s decision time: can you afford to keep investing in this gym/classes/studio?

Get Creative!

I’m closing some sales this week, so I’ll be having some extra money to spend, but regardless, there are ways to keep working out.

Follow up with the gym/class/studio you attended: what deals do they offer? Compare prices if you can: I like to work out close to home, but consider a commute if prices are better elsewhere. The fancier your training, the more it will cost: Soulcycle, for instance, seems super cool, but it’s also expensive.

I have nothing left to cut from my life, but see what ‘addictions’ you have: two soda’s a day adds up to 60 dollars a month. A daily Starbucks breakfast easily amounts to 225 dollars – which is a membership and some extra savings a month.

‘To Want’ Sometimes Means ‘To Need’.

Working out is important, and both your physical health as your mental health benefit from it. And sure, there’s a lot of work outs you can do outside of a gym/class/studio. Personally, I ‘need’ the company of other people – especially in yoga: the energy of the room helps your practice.

In Conclusion:

Packages are great – but when you’re on a budget, you need to consider the chance that you won’t continue whatever it is you started, and be OK with that.

Or have a little more patience, because – you know: this too, shall pass.

PS: Do you get an introduction package to try something out? What class(es) would you love to attend, but can’t right now?

PPS: OH MY GOD – I completely forgot this lady’s birthday and I can hit myself in the head with a pencil over it – but I won’t. Please go check out her post ’20 under 20’ at Shoeaholicnomore! Meanwhile, I hope this open paragraph of apologies suffices as penance!

PPPS: I’ll soon be making the very tough decision as to who should be getting 108 ways to create miracles in their life. If you feel like making it a little harder on me, you can still participate in my Giveaway. I guess it’s clear I’m very proud I’ve got something to give away.

Day 183 – Try ALL the Things.

Money Spent: $30 – on my 2 week trial Kundalini classes.  

I used to walk on high heels all day round, until one tragic day, I sprained my ankle on a cobblestone (damned medieval European villages!). I was hurrying to a meeting, and afterwards my foot was a little sore, but nothing too serious, so I ignored the entire happening, and kept stilt-walking through life.

via failblog.cheezburger.com

via failblog.cheezburger.com

Then one day, on my way to a dinner party with a friend, I had to stop in the middle of the street: I was in so much pain, I just couldn’t walk anymore… not in heels, at least. A doctor’s visit later, the verdict was “complicated surgery” – and I never took the risk of losing a foot. I just accepted I – why yes – from now one was a ballerina girl and heels were for special occasions including (cab) rides. Not that it stopped me from buying shoes, mind you. To look at, mostly.  Don’t, worry, I don’t cry about it anymore  that often.

So a little annoyance last night as I got down to meditate: two sore-ish ankles – one worse than the other – not painful but definitely swollen. I shrugged, lifted the matrass a little so my feet where elevated during the night, and went to bed… only to wake up with the exact same problem. I panicked mildly and turned to the internet for help – which is always the worst idea, because 5 minutes later I was dying and/or about to lose half of a limb.

Then it hit me: I went running on Sunday! A couple of minutes later, Leslie from Leslie Beslie and Stephanie from The Broke and Beautiful Life – both avid runners – confirmed my distressed tweet for help: completely normal after a run! Ice it! Elevate it! Tape it!

But I was just so relieved that I didn’t have anything more serious going on, and so I did none of the above – but mostly because I was at work and there’s no ice there. Or a place to rest my foot.

Anyway.

No running for me tonight, as I went to my first Kundalini class. The Studio is near my job, and since Kundalinis isn’t a ‘sweaty’ work out, I don’t mind having to commute home afterwards.

I knew a little about Kundalini – a once sacred practice, the seal of secrecy broken by Yogi Bahjan, who brought it to the west to prepare us for the Aquarian Age…

I was the only newbe in the room. As the teacher informed us we were facing a meditative class, since the power of the moon had been so strong, I knew I’d fit right in. When we were instructed to open our mouths and stick our tongues out, I did glance through one eye to check if I had understood correctly. But at the “now breathe like a dog for good immune system” – I decided to just go with the flow.

90 minutes of meditation later, I can tell you I’m totally diggin’ this.

Worth every dollar.

PS: have you ever tried something new that immediately resonated with you?

PPS: We all know I’m (still) on a (secret) jobhunt right? That’s why I loved Mel’s post “How to Get Hired and How Not To Get Hired.” – perfect tool for me now! Jobhunting? Check Broke Girl Rich!

PPPS: I got introduced to Kundaline by – why yes! – the lovely Gabrielle Bernstein (people are going to start thinking I’m either her best friend or I’m getting paid every time I mention her – but no, I just love her). So if you’re eager to find out more, and learn some great Kundaline meditation techniques: let me know what miracle you need, to get a copy of “Miracles Now”.

 

 

Day 182 – A Picture Says a Thousand Words.

Money Spent: $0  

Holy Crap! I don’t remember starting to write a post at 11.35pm at night in ages, but here I am, yawing and well on a Monday Night.

It was an interesting start of the week here in NYC, with a “goodbye and greetings in the motherland!” – lunch with my friend/teacher who once thought me how to write funny romantic stories. With some last motivating words and some helpful insights for the book I’m planning to write, I waved her goodbye. And then it was back to business.

 

Which obviously meant I had to put a sticky note on the N train back downtown….

 

 

Mental Note: Remember... To Be Courageous.

Mental Note: Remember… To Be Courageous.

And then practice what I preach and go to a Kundalini class.

 

Except that I didn’t do that. Because I forgot my yoga mat and I didn’t want to spend 1 dollar on a rental.

 

But tomorrow is another day and a new chance to show some courage and try something new.

 

PS: shortest post ever! I’ll make it up. Also… anyone had to file their taxes last minute?

 

PPS: my favorite post today, was Financially Blonde’s Music Monday… the theme today was bad financial habits, but it was the fact that I could retweet the post with a “But I thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean in the end!” that had me humming ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’ for the rest of the day.

 

PPPS: just in case you’re wondering: I’m an excellent hummer.

 

PPPPS: No need to ask my colleagues for an opinion on the matter.

PPPPPS: by now you know I adore Gabrielle Bernstein, right? I’m giving away her Miracles Now! So if you’re in dire need of 108 tools for more flow and less stress in your life… go see how to enter! 

Day 181 – Summer is Coming!

Money Spent: $0  

There’s a quote from the French writer Albert Camus “au milieu de l’hiver, j’ai découvert en moi un invincible été”. It translates that ‘in the midst of winter, I discovered within me an invisible summer.’I always liked those words, but I never really felt the urge to, say… ‘tattoo them on my body’. But I realize that they unmistakably belong with me.

The weather has been so beautifully soothing and warm this weekend – a first wink of summer –  and the tree in front of my window is popping it’s little white flowers who’ll then turn into leaves. When I went for a run this morning, that quote popped up in my mind: it has been a very long winter. Not only physically, put also personally… but, I too, have found within me an invisible summer.

And a lot of determination, as I’m almost midway my 365 days of blogging! That’s right: LIKE A BOSS!

All kidding aside, it’s Sunday, and so it’s time to review my weekly goals:

  1. Career & Money: I have put quite some items on Ebay after my closet cleanse, but there’s room for some more. I’m trying to make an extra 250 dollars this month. Career wise… it’s time for some soul searching.

SUCCESS! Cleaning out my closet brought me 168 dollars so far! I have done a little soul search. I wrote this week how I’m not going to limit myself to New York anymore, which is why I’ve applied for a job… in San Francisco.

  1. Health: I want to introduce one new and healthy ingredient or dish to my menu this week.

SUCCESS!! I always like guacamole, but I never made it myself – let alone that avocados were on my menu. I introduced them in my salads this week, and I love it!

  1. Relationships: I may have been leaning on my secluded group of friends, while ignoring the opportunity of expanding. Completely in the style of The Happiness Project, I’m going to ‘make some new friends’ – but I’m inviting my ‘old’ friends to The April Manhattan Adventure.

SUCCESS! I met three women at the Gabrielle Bernstein launch last Friday, and I’ve actually followed up with all three of them. New friendships in the making with likeminded people?

  1. Personal Growth:Acceptance. I think I’m going to practice that a little this week.

SUCCESS!! Although it’s always been a dream to live and work in New York, I’ve accepted that – if I truly belong here, all roads will always lead back right here. (or the trail will never leave the city, that’s still possible, too)

  1. Fun & Play: next Saturday, me and some of the NY PF bloggers are going Easter Egg Hunting. To be continued.  

SUCCESS! Dave from The New York Budget, Mario from Adventures in Frugal and yours truly, hunted down 40 eggs in Midtown Manhattan. It took us about three hours and we were exhausted – so kudos to the people who find them all 250. (40 eggs is a lot though… so here are my favorite ones! 

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  1. Contribution: I have some clothing that I won’t sell, but instead donate.

SUCCESS! I donated some pieces to Housing Works.

 

I tend to make these Sunday posts a little longer, but I’m having a late birthday dinner with a friend who’s taking me out, and I need to hurry a little if I want to go to bed on time also, I need to get this show going.

So without further ado: here are my goals for the coming week!

via the-healing-nest.tumblr.com

via the-healing-nest.tumblr.com

 

  1. Career & Money: After my dinner with my former Creative Writing teacher, I started working on the outlines of a book idea I got out of our catching up. It’s going really well, and all that’s left to do… is decided which language I’ll be writing it in… and then fill the chapters.
  2. Health: This week, I’m just going to keep doing what I was doing: eat healthy, stay mindful, work out.
  3. Relationships:It seems to be Strong Female Role Model Week in my life: a former teacher and a book idea, Gabby Bernstein’s wonderful guidance and it doesn’t stop! This coming weekend, one of my Facebook friends is coming to town. I actually never met her, but she moved to Boston with her family around the same time I moved to NYC. We got connected by a mutual friend. Not coincidental, this woman is super spiritual. Looking forward to getting a hug!
  4. Personal Growth:Tomorrow is my first class in Kundalini Yoga class, and I’m super excited!! Since this a 2 week trial I’ve given myself as a gift for my B-day, I want to get the maximum out of it, and try to go at least 4 times this week!
  5. Fun & Play: Heard at the Miracles Now Book tour: “I measure my success by how much fun I’m having”. I plan to have a lot of fun developing this book!
  6. Contribution: This one is always the hardest thing to think about. Last Friday, I got 3 copies of Gabrielle Bernstein’s “Miracles Now” – on top of the copy I got for myself. I’m giving one away here, and I need to find two other souls ready for a shift in perception.

I’m all geared up for this week. I hope you are too!

PS: Have you felt summer in the air!?

PPS: My favorite post of today, was “The day I first realized I was expensive’ over at NZ Muze, about when she first realized she was expensive as a kid – and no more than any other kid, mind you, but just the overall realization that we cost our parents money. I still cost my parents money, but let’s not put my on a guiltercoaster here… just go read the post.

PPPS: why yes, you CAN still win a “Miracles Now!” copy!

Day 180 – Empty Drawer Obsession.

Money Spent: $39 at Trader Joe, $8.5 at the fruit stand and $14.90 for laundry.  

A week or two ago, I decided to spring clean my apartment and closet. That has brought me 160 dollars in profits so far, let’s all ‘Yay!’ for that!

Then – last Tuesday, I went to the second (free) Feng Shui class of three. And – I’m just gonna say it: I don’t believe in coincidences. The class was about clutter, and how it affects your life. But most importantly: what is says about you, and guess what? It ain’t good stuff.

I felt pretty confident. After all, I had just cleaned up – and rather thoroughly. But at the end of the lecture, I was basically OCD, as clutter is not just a pile of magazines. It’s that one book on the shelve that you didn’t put back in line. It’s that black cable that you don’t remember what device it belongs to (note: none) and so it moves all around the apartment, working on your nerves every time you see it. It’s the pants that tore and that you can’t let go of. It’s the magazine you were supposed to read five months ago.

Clean the clutter you keep behind doors to create more flow in your life. If the doors in your life don’t open with ease, they might reflect your ‘being stuck’. The clutter on your desk is unconsciously choking your thoughts from finding valuable solutions. Obstacles in the pathways in your house, might obstruct the paths you walk in daily life.

We were given some ground rules of how to deal with clutter:

-          Do you have stuff lying around that you borrowed from someone? Give it back.

-          If you have not used or wore something in nine months, you should sell it or give it away.

-          Things that are broken should be thrown out. Unless they can be repaired (but then: get on with it!)

-          Unless it adorns your home, and pleases you: get rid of it!

And – our teacher preached – the singles in the audience might benefit from half an empty closet! After all, nature abhors a vacuum, and the universe will work its magic to fill whatever emptiness there is. Then someone yelled this was New York and there’s no such thing as an empty closet, and we all laughed and nodded in uttermost agreement. But the idea stuck.

I had read about ‘the empty drawer’ in Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project” a couple of years ago, but never had I succeeded in making room for anything. But today, I was determined to create space. And so I embarked on a second round of spring detoxing my apartment… and – can I have a drumroll –

I have an empty drawer.

And one of the larger ones in the apartment, I might add.

On top of my own personal victory, some of us NY bloggers went Easter Egg Hunting on this beautiful first day of Spring – We found 40 of 250 eggs, and I’ll show a compilation tomorrow, but this one had money on it – and although it’s all pennies, I saw it as a sign that a reward for my empty drawer is upon me.

DSC_0048

 

 

PS: Do you believe clutter can block our lives from flowing? Do you have an empty drawer in the house?

PPS: between Grocery shopping, the creation of an empty drawer and an Egg Hunt, there was little time for reading… but you can still participate in yesterday’s Giveaway, so there’s that