Letting go of my story

The stories we tell about ourselves are powerful. They provide a frame for our lives and support for our ambitions- or not.

This is not a particularly original idea, any therapist or Buddhist koan will tell you as much.

But actually engaging with our stories and letting them go is really hard.

In fact, in my case, I feel like once the initial shock wears off or once I feel comfortable to tell the story, I tell it again and again, hoping to find comfort and answers, but I just grind it down more deeply into my mind and heart. That’s often not a good thing.

Right now I am going through a particularly blocked period in regards to my apartment. It is really overflowing and messy, but large enough that it still feels spacious and there’s enough floor to find what I need.

I’ve gotten used to the story of me just being a messy and disorganized person. It is part of my identity. I’m reading the THe life-changing magic of tidying up now though so I hope to change this.

Idon’t know if the problem is really that I have too much stuff- though I’m sure I do-

but I do just feel afraid to put it in order.

For a long time now, I’ve just been living out of a suitcase.

There’s a ton of freedom in that.

In an ever changing world, we shouldn’t get too comfortable, comfort is for the weak-

But I’m actually full of shit about that. Stability can be for the strong, however much it may be an illusion.

Building something, even though it will eventually decay, is true art, and courage.

Living though you will eventually die is courage.

In my case I am eager to just unpack my bags and settle for a while. Maybe wanderlust will take me again; maybe it won’t.

I feel satisfied, and I feel like this is the place I always want to go back to.

You know my stories though, and how hard I have struggled with this.

WIth doing something that is so inditutively clear but really assaults my logical senses. But no matter what my brain says- and now I recognize my so called “logic,” is not actually that logical, it is just ego monkey mind posing as truthin order to self sabotage me.

I think there’s a lot of stories I need to get rid of and put in order.

One is about my ex boyfriend, and all the things I told myself that made it doomed from the beginning and just pure stupidity ever to have been with him. Not because I ever hated him, though I do have moments where I finally feel mad, and finally feel like I can be trusted to stand up for myself. I think that is a main reason why I have remained single. It’s not all independent woman girl power, or finding myself mojo.

No, I think the real reason is that I didnt trust myself not to be lost if I started to love someone else.

And to have been with the ones I tought I loved, that woul have taken a big chunk out of me.

One of them, in good faith I believe, set me free.

Not because he didn’t care, but perhaps because he did. ANd he maybe didn’t care about me the way I hoped he would, the way I expected he would, but he gave me what I needed.

He helped me be my own hero.

He abandonned me, and I almost hated him and completely doubted myself, but just now I realize, I wasn’t wrong to put a bit of trust in him, and he did love me. He loved me enough to let me go and force me out of a cage I built for myself.

ANd I like to think that helped him let a part of himself go free as well.


Well that story perhaps has a different ending than I realized.

The hero steps off his pedestal, or perhaps was never on a pedestal at all.

And I stop slouching down and take my place, right where I belong.

He’s no more and no less than human, and I’m no less than a heroine in my own right.

Good thing I blog.

I really do see relationships as the mirror of our internal lives and satae of consciousness. My ex was chosen by a person who can’t even properly be called “me” at this point. She is so much the sae but so completely different.

And the so- called bad guy in my life, who jerked by strings/chains like a mmarionette, he too contributed to my liberation, and I took the chains back.

NO, I am not a victim, yes, I am sometimes in need of a rescue, of a little outside help. But I don’t need to be any less than I am in order to find my hero.

And yes, I have come upon my home world, peut etre. But there will be other worlds to explore. I don’t need to tear myself down or nail myself or get bogged down or tied down, in order to be loved or whole or to find a home.

I can be loved, not simply with an extra weight and some fat and a bit of extra barrage an dmessiness and bad habits, but I can also be loved without it.

I don’t need to say, “I don’t want to be a CEO,” or “I can’t be a writer.”

I can just be them when the opportunity comes.

I have not sacrificed even one meter of one verse of my life to anything less than


I went to business school so I cold live in the world, understand it, and lead it- to love the world.

I left France because I was still curious.

I got depressed because I was in fear. I gained weight because I stopped paying attention. I became nasty to myself as a means of protection and punishment.

I isolaed myself beause I didn’t honestly think any one wanted .

Ad most of all, I am a font of inherent goodness, and beauty. We are all eternal.

Discipline & Creativity


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This year, I’m going to make it a focus to create space in my life for creativity, and also pursue my goals with discipline and fun.

If I wake up just an hour earlier each day, and use the time to write, edit pictures, or do meditation and exercise, I think that will be a total game changer.

While my career is of course really important to me, I’m looking forward to enjoying my job and a little bit of stability. I”m sure there will be a lot to learn and do and for the moment, I”m pretty happy with what I have.

This is huge for me.

No more trying to “escape.”

When the time comes, I’ll leave, but I”m happy to be where I am.

And this is giving me the possibility to really pursue my creative goals.

I just set up a facebook page where I will post all my inspirational quotes and interesting articles. Hopefully I can generate some interest and spread the love beyond facebook and friends.

I want to set up a blog specifically about my life in France, and to publish the book of essays I”ve already written.

There is a lot of room for improvement but I think I need to just get something out there.

I”m hoping that my creative endeavors can also provide a bit of a supplement to my income.  My feeling is that it’s providing people a way to provide value to me since I work to provide value to them. It’s not in any way obligatory but maybe there is someone out there who wouldn’t mind buying me a cup of tea, and if there’s enough someones out there I could buy a new camera lens or fund a trip.

I don’t think it’s offensive since I”m still providing a public good- or so I hope- free of charge. Feel free to share your thoughts on this.

SO yes, it’s healthy eating, going to bed at a reasonable time, and more writing and less Facebooking for me- because I love myself enough to do it.

Speaking of which, it’s now time to clean my apartment…

I want to own a piece of Paris…


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When looking up a new apartment to rent, I found that I could buy an apartment not too different from the one I live in for a price that was reasonable, much more reasonable than I ever imagined, and have a mortgage less than or equal to rent in the area.


Add to this the fact that I have a permanent job and I work for a financial company that gives preferential treatment to its employees.

I could own a piece of Paris.

The idea immediately seized me, and I started wondering if I could swing it and well, if I would be in Paris long enough to make it worthwhile.

Later the same day, I learned that with the restructuring of my company, it would be both easy and advantageous professionally to move to London. Salaries would be adjusted accordingly.

I knew immediately I didn’t want to do that.

The next day I booked a big trip through Central Europe which I’ll do during my break between contracts.

I was euphoric.

I went to my habitual Lebanese sandwich shop and bought a guidebook on Romania near St Michel, and tried to find a not too hot place to eat on the Seine. Unsuccesfull, I found a park bench not far away and inhaled my sandwich, taking a look around me, and realizing, this is as good as it gets.

I created the life I want, through the grace of God.

I love what I am experiencing, and the person I am becoming.

And the idea of owning a piece of Paris is very, very attractive to me.

I did some research though and real estate prices have dropped (though more in the affluent areas), and the historically low interest rates won’t necessarily make up for that. You really have to own for 6 years to have a chance of recuperating your invesment, let along making money. Rent control laws have been passed recently, and property taxes have increased.

Still, I’ll have to see how the cookie crumbles.

I really want to find myself a home. Something made completely to my taste.

Yes, I hope to have a significant other, but at this point in my life, one of th ebenefits of being single is that I don’t have to share.

The idea of having a space perfectly tailored to my needs, my own chez moi, a place I don’t have to leave- that would be really really awesome.

I hope I find my own space soon.

I like the little slice of the universe I’m on.

However, maybe by letting it go, it all gets down.

And I’ll find a way to paint my walls anyway, perhaps.

And I want to have customized storage and DIY projects and all that jazz.

What I think I wanted most, and can only give myself, is permission to stay, in a place where I’ve found bliss.

Yes, I can do that.

I don’t need a reason to stay.

Joy in the Journey

Originally posted on Morning Story and Dilbert:

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
July 29, 1998

If you have ever been discouraged because of failure, please read on.

For often, achieving what you set out to do is not the important thing. Let me explain.

Two brothers decided to dig a deep hole behind their house. As they were working, a couple of older boys stopped by to watch.

“What are you doing?” asked one of the visitors.

“We plan to dig a hole all the way through the earth!” one of the brothers volunteered excitedly.

The older boys began to laugh, telling the younger ones that digging a hole all the way through the earth was impossible.

After a long silence, one of the diggers picked up a jar full of spiders, worms and a wide assortment of insects. He removed the lid and showed the wonderful contents to the scoffing visitors.

Then he said quietly and confidently, “Even if…

View original 201 more words

Choosing not to have problems- Defining Success


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Now that the problem of what I iwll do for work next year and where I want to be have been solved, praise be, my tendency is to want to pick other areas of my life to improve, or rather, get up to speed.

Because everything is a problem.

Becuase there is some fixed ideal of how I should be.

Because life is meaningless without something going wrong that I need to make ight.

Because my ego wants to cling to the idea that “I” know what’s best for my life and that the means of achieving it are all within my power- related to this being the belief that anything that is “wrong” is a reflection of my lack of worthiness and the fact that I “don’t deserve it.”

Well, Ifinally recognize that this is not the answer.

Achieving goals is not what gves my life meaning- life is meaningful within itslef.

I don’t deserve happiness because I achieve something, I deserve happiness because I  am a child of the light.

I”m not talking about living a life of denial when something’s really wrong. Or being ocmpletely without hopes and dreams.

But desie can be quite empty.

And seeing everything in your life as a project is really exhausting.

Living my life as a problem to be solved or a question to be answered isn’t eally working for me.

So let’s try something else- being happy and going with the flow, and not making my “results” my identity.

Because ‘m a whole lot more than that.

Well, I recognize that living like that is not the answer.

Satisfaction and Peace- Changing the inner landscape


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So, as mentioned, I do love France, and I feel at home here. I haven’t lost my spirit of adventure, but I’m not looking to leave anytime soon, and if I do leave, I would like to be able to easily come back.

Not everything is perfect in my life, and I am far frmo a perfect person.

But despite my imperfections, I am satisfied.

My life is realy full.

Like I said, that’s not to say ther’s no room for imrovement.

But hey, that’s part of life.

And “m happy, and not looking to be anywhere else or change my life in any particularly dramatic way- except finding love, btu that’s something I really give up to GOd.

I’ve finally come t othe conclusion that no mater how many wants or dreams I achieve with the grace of God, there will always be more. And many times when you get something you want, even though you love it, there will be moments you kind of hate it to.  But it’s worth sticking with.

That might be the most valuable lesson France has taught me.

And somehow, dreamer of many dreams that I am, this is the dream that I least expectedly to come true, least expected to stick  with, and least expected to love so deeply.

Yes, love.

I don’t know what the future holds, and I do hope to continue traveling and maybe one day finding a temporary home.

But you know what, this is it.

I don’t want to say this is as good as it gets, but I do hve to say, in an imperfect world where there’s no where that’s Heaven on Earth,  I have found my little hexagon of preferred residence.

For now, and maybe forever.

And that’s really something.

THis is  huge change to my inner landscape

TO all my “plans,” and schemes

And also, to the false gods of materialism and fashionable pessimism

To melancholy and excess and being a spoiled child.

I can’t go back to th eperson I was, either.

I am truly changed.

Always adaptable, but really not the same, never the same person.

And I dont

This is a big change for me.

It doesn’t show up on my miles logged, but it does feel like I’ve found a completely new wrld within myself.

And this has forced me to see the place that’s now becoming famiiair, and dear, with new eyes.

ANd I”m not tired of it.

Going with the flow, and self acceptance


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For a change, I’m not trying to swim agains the current and buck the tide.

I’m actually overall pretty happyw ith the direction of my life.

I’ve come to see my career as a string of beads with each bead as a unique experience, and not just about a destination. Yes, there is a comon thread, but ultimately each moment is beautiful in itself as well. ANd maybe I’m not yet all i want to be , but it is about the journey- because that’s what ife is.

I cn be fulfilled in my career even if I’m not doing anything and everything I think I might like.

I’m working from a place of satisfaction, allowing my cup to runneth over, and not lack.

I realize now that a happy life is going to have a lot of ups and downs.

The best decisions you make can still leave you guessing, and they are usually the easiest/hardest to make.

ANd now I am here.

And here is really, truly where I want to be.

I’m so blessed.

I have accepted my secret, even from myself, wish to stay in France indefinitely.

I accept that I found myself here, as an expat, and don’t really want to go back, thoughI Love my country and my family and friends.

I thank God for that, and remain open to the universe.

And so, so happy. A deeply satisfied heureuse, and not just a momentary contente.

Good vibrations


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So I went back home for vacation and to a wedding in North Carolina. I marveled at the space, at how cheap clothing and shoe are, at how happy and optimistic people can seem, and how I felt like I had taken five pounds weights off my feet I’d forgotten were there. HOw easy it felt, to be at home?

NOw that I’ve accepted a permanent contract in France, spending time at home doesn’t feel like a quick break to see family but rather a real vacation, something different entirely. Kind of the level of ease of sitting on the beach at an all inclusive resort all day. It doesn’t feel like going home, really, it feels like going to see my parents and family and friends where I grew up. Because I come “home,” to France.

I couldn’t believe what I put myself through on an everyday basis being in France. It felt kind of sadomasochistic to force myself to go so far in the name of growth.

But actually that’s a big fat lie, “m not forcing anything. And it’s not only for growth or to accomplish something that “m here. I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I do want to stay here longenough to be bi-cultural, but it’s not like I have a specific timeframe on a to-do list, except to speak even more kick-ass French.

I went to Philly, where I went to grad school after studying abroad in Paris and was miserable. Seeing it with fresh eyes, it was a cute little city with a fair amount of cultural stuff, a nice downtown, and wasn’t too expensive. Not a snooty place either. What’s not to like? I asked myself, why didnt I like living there? WOuld I try it again someday?

And the answer is, much as i enjoyed revisiting to my little haunts of an afternoon, I just felt a bit out of sync with the city. SOmething just felt off. ANd i could see how it was like trying to play a piano that was out of tune. THe vibration was just off. Ijust didn’t feel good there. WHile i can think of many potential explanations, the shseer fct tht was it just didn’t fit.

And I”m beginning to think fit is one of the most important things in life.

So I had another perspective on why I got so down in the dumps /I thik if I hdn’t already experienced Paris, or even DC, I might hve really enjoyed PHilly.OR maybe it was just never meant to be amy city, I don’t know. I di dhve some goo times there, but it just wasnt’ quite right and no amount of trying to convince myself would change the feeling.

I cme back to Paris, in my “populaire” neighborhood with concrete high rises and not just Hausmanien facades, and I felt good. I was really happy to be there.

When I went to go red a book next to the Canal, I felt the concrete welcome me.

Inexplicable, or t east, not entirely rational, but very real.

So her I am, loving Paris. ompletely aware of its flaws, swept up into the rhythms of dily life, having learned to coplain like the best of them, but here nd quite happy, and all me.

And I”ve accepted the fact that the center of gravity of my life, personal and professional, has shifted here.

And I’ve accepted myself nd the fact that I love it.

This has made a huge difference in my quality of life the last few days, realizing this.

Makes me feel a ton of gratitude.

And more confident in myself for having taking the leap.

And quite proud of myself in a way for having left to continue my studies. It was really brave of me to leave the firt place I ever felt truly at home and accepted, and I did it. I saw the the whole world and this is where I’ve chosen to stake my claim.

And someday, I hope, I’ll have the guts and opportunity to try something else for a little while, if only to come back. If only to make me appreciate more where I am home, and feel again the sweetness of first discovery.

But here is where I did it first,where I lived on myown as an expat, and some part of me took root here, and also, perhaps I did always feeel a bt of a call.

Even if I did’t dare admit it to myself.

My life is not maximized here, nd I can’t optimize everything because I am not a robot. I am not the person that I thought I should be eiher. I think I’m a prson that somewhere deep down I really wanted to be and didn’t dare, including my flaws which I ow and try to take responsibility for.

But I have anything I need to be the person and live my lfe the way I want to, nd this is the background tapestry I chose for my life.

THere’s no place I rather be.

Even harder truths


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So I just talked to my friend whose place I’m staying in now. just before he left to go to brazil indefinitely i realized i might possibly be able to develop feelings for him, so i was sad to hear he’s probably not coming back any time soon.

anway we did some talking about life

i told him i really want to find true love, and he says it doesn’t exist in a person

it exists in realizing the truth of what you are

– part of the universe, not separate, all that jazz, part of God

so yeah, he’s right of course

i think that’s reallyimportant to remember

i just came from a friend’s wedding, where finding a soulmate seemed to be pretty paramount

but yeah, finding your soul is more important, even if your ego would rather prefer you to go chasing your own tail on match.com

have also realized i would much prefer to work in an academic environment and be some kind of teacher- in a way i feel like i didn’t do a good job of answering the earlier calling but i did the best i could

and the truth is that just because you are standing in front of a classroom doesn’t really make you a teacher

you can be in a purpose driven environment with much nicer people working for a huge coproration rather than in a backbiting non profit or in academia where people are so worried about their careers they don’t have academic freedom

there is hypocrisy everywhere



th epurpose of my life is not my job

or my marriage

and whether i am good or not doesn’t depend on my weight or income or place of residence

i am part of the unvierse, and it’s really alll good

and there is purpose, but it is not to be found easily looking just at my individual life

and there is love, all around me, regarldess of whether it has manifested in a relationship recently, and i am love

quite literally

and maybe i can cut myself some slack for my dark night of the soul, my weight gain, my mba, my career ups ad downs, my escapades,

even the risks I took

becuase it is kind of all part of the dance

it doesn’t have to all be resolved and make sense right now inmy life

i don’t have to hae all my desires fulfilled

and even if i did i would still have more, and be unsatisfied

and that’s ok

just part of the dance

so yeah maybe my biggest problems are not tactical, they are mystical and philosophical

there are some beliefs i’ve been holding on to that i need to let go

life will make sense regardless of when i get what i want

life is good now

there’s nothing to worryabout

even with all the death and destruction and corruption

there is a grand design

and maybe that’s what we need to remember more than anything else


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