… is the fact that so many of these ideas which I held to be “on the fringe” … the dangers of chemicals in our food and consumer products, the idea that our egos chooses beliefs in an attempt protect us, the concept of writing down our desired outcome and having our actions adjust accordingly, and subconsciously … have long been accepted in this field. These truly are my people. And though I might take some of the ideas off to a more extreme place (specifically some of the persuasive communication theories I’m learning about), there’s something powerful to be said for a scientific-minded individual such as myself to finally be handed an abundance of evidence supporting that which she holds dear. I can’t say I hate it.
What a whirlwind couple of weeks its been. As I write this, I’m sitting on my not-quite-yet family members’ couch enjoying some solitude + reflection on what many of my classmates (and sometimes myself, although I’ve been trying to catch it!) are referring to as our last day of freedom.
By the time you read this I will be well into my first day of Orientation. I have no clue what my future holds and am trying to breathe deep and remember that it doesn’t matter because, at the end of the day, I’m not in control. I’m working on opening myself to all of the goodness coming my way…as well as the (perfect) challenges that will undoubtedly accompany them.
Challenges like saying goodbye to your love…again.
Challenges like getting back to being on a strict budget + schedule.
Challenges like having your power go out mere days before you are set to go back to school.
All of these and more I’ve experienced in the past couple of days (and two weeks). I’m currently staying with the beau’s cousins who have kindly opened their house to me so I do not melt and do have access to the internet which will really be critical because of that whole going-back-to-school thing. They gave me a key + free reign to come and go as I please + the downstairs (ridiculously comfortable and large) couch. Did I mention they’re getting married this upcoming weekend?
Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty blessed right now. Yesterday, between the power outage plus saying yet another tearful goodbye at a train/bus/plane station (yes I know…but airport didn’t really flow right there folks) I was not feeling too optimistic. Its amazing what three beautiful, loving pups, the kindness of near strangers, and a good night’s sleep can do for the psyche.
Today I chose to change my vision. I didn’t 100% recognize what I was doing until my yoga class this morning when my now fave instructor talked to us about this topic. She was quoting a story that quite frankly I can’t remember all that well. What did stick out to me was the choice we had: to change our vision or continue live in conflict. Each and every one of us has this choice. And this one not-as-simple-as-it-seems realization totally calmed my spirit + opened my heart to the lesson in this conflict (because, yes, there is always one)
Maybe the Universe wanted me to have a little extra support after the beau left + on my first days of school. Maybe it wanted to remind me that the simple life is the good one. And maybe it just wanted to say, “Hey girl…remember that you are not in control of anything but your reaction, your thoughts, your emotions. Choose to see this in a positive way and so it will be…because, hey, its already done.”
Yesterday I wrote this on my Passion team’s page that I needed a pick me up…that I felt ungrounded…that I only had my computer, my yoga mat, my toiletries, and a change of clothes. This morning I realized…what else do I need? Yoga is life…it is everything. So long as I have my mat + my essentials (clothes, toiletries, and my computer), I can not only survive but thrive. Looking back the Universe had been whispering these lessons to me for the past several weeks. Sometimes, we get so stubborn it needs to jog our memories with something more, *ahem*, electrifying. Like, you know, freak storms.
Lesson received Universe. Thank you.
This past weekend I had the honor to attend the JHSPH Open House for admitted students. It took a full day of travel to get to Baltimore (I left my apt at 10:15 and didn’t get in until 5:00…silly MA transportation) but when I arrived the sun was shining and I had no problems basking in it while I waited for my friend to pick me up. After getting me from the gorgeous Penn Station, we headed over to Patterson Park where Allison and her housemate play kickball competitively as part of the Kickball League of Baltimore.
After an intense game, we headed back uptown to Charles Village, one of the many neighborhoods that comprises Baltimore. Charles Village is described as liberal, quirky, and close-knit and after my visit, I can definitely agree with that assessment! It honestly reminded me of bit of Amsterdam, with the streets upon streets of thin-but-tall row houses. Obviously there were no canals or European charm or red light district but there was definitely a sense of the familiar. I love the charm and character of the older buildings, the easy accessibility to the JHMI (johns hopkins medical institute shuttle), the tree-lined streets, funky colors, and potential for some outdoor space (I had grand plans to grow tomatoes and herbs this summer…).
After throwing together a delish stir-fry for my host and I with her on-their-way veggies (asparagus, peppers, kale, onion), some brown rice, a can of black beans, a pinch of chili powder, and lots of 21 Seasoning Salute. <;– I seriously need this in my life. I'm writing it off as a "makes life easier" expense, just like I did with the cruet! I did some PP and blog work and then read food blogs until I was too exhausted to think. All-in-all, I was a nervous wreck. Every bit of insecurity and self-doubt coursed through my system. I skipped out on a trip to a local brewpub (yes I know, crazy!) so I could review the schedule for Friday + practice my response to “so what do you do?” + get to bed early. <;–you can guess which of those two things did not happen! I got about 4 hours of fitful sleep and woke up naturally (the best way) at 6:30 a with a massive stomachache and ridiculous amounts of adrenaline + cortisol coursing through my system. I didn’t need to get up just yet so I rested quietly, repeating whatever permission statements <;–what my coach calls affirmations came to mind so that I would have the strength to get othrough the day. Before officially arising, I called momma for a dose of motherly love + inspiration + strength (xo) and spent a couple more minutes doing deep breathing + repeating my permission statements.
Little did I know, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.
I made it down to JHU no problem, even meeting another MPH applicant en route. Within 5 minutes of the first presentation they started talking about PASSION. I almost burst into tears right then and there. I checked my phone at the end of that presentation and my bestie had filled it with just the words I needed to hear/read: I deserved this, hold my head high, I’m bad ass, change is difficult but I’m not navigating it alone, and, most importantly, she’ll be waiting for me at the end of the day to offer comfort and love in this time of transition. I felt wholly one with the Universe in way I that hadn’t in a very long time. Words cannot do justice to the beauty of those moments when I felt that I was right where I was supposed to be, having arrived at last. Suffice it to say, it was perfect.
I enjoyed a lecture on HIV Prevention in drug-using, sex workers (Pi Bags is the result of the research). I debated food policy with fellow future classmates. We had $2 beers at the well-attended Happy Hour, sponsored by the school’s water conservation group. <;–seriously, does it get more ME than this?! I chatted with financial aid, checked out the new apt complex (not as impressive as I would have hoped), and met people who have the potential to become life long friends. Most importantly, I not once felt that I didn’t belong…that I was any less worthy than anyone around me. The fact that I was able to sentence my ego/gremlin to time out for the day showed me how far I’ve come…
In a lot of ways, JHSPH reminded me of my alma mater. There was a close-knit feel among the current MPH students who described both faculty and their classmates as being the best of the best, but incredibly supportive. No one minced words regarding the intensity of the program but alongside that we were given practical guidance + tools for navigating the change. I could not have asked for more, except maybe better food in the cafe (seriously, no non-dairy milk?!). At the end of the day, everyone I met was mature, open, and kind. While there are still traces of fear about this next step in my life, overall I am feeling confident because I know with 100% that I am supposed to be at JHSPH, inciting huge changes in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome for my trip!
So what else happened? Well plans changed, I stayed in Baltimore an extra night, I popped my Chipotle cherry (I know, I know, its egregious that it took so long!), slept in until 10, cuddled with my friend’s puppy, ended up in the wrong part of town, chatted on the steps of a middle school, visited an urban farm (!), took the wrong train (twice…once to my $ advantage and once, not so much), got off the wrong shuttle stop, ate too many skittles, had the best portobello sandwich + sauteed veggies ever, chatted with the president of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, quoted Monty Python with fellow Amtrak passengers, rocked some hip openers in the back of the train (pink fuzzy socks included), and founds some inner peace + joy + relaxation among it all.
This was one of the best trips I had in a long time. I wasn’t drained at the end of it despite learning a lot (like to book my train home from Penn Station and not BWI so that I don’t have to get to BWI only to go back through Penn! #travelfail). I gained a decent grasp of the city I’m moving to <;–if I can brag one of my favorite talents! plus a deeper understanding for the program I’ll be a part of. I left with a sense of feeling blessed knowing that I have found my place at last. Plus beau was waiting to pick me up at the New Haven train station where I got to devour some delish food from Claire’s followed by beer from the Cask Republic.
Yes, I’ll say it was a pretty perfect first visit indeed!