After the worst flight in my history of flying ever, we finally made it to the Air BnB; tired, over it and not in the most open frame of mind. I was on a mission though to get out there and to meet Zoe to get the plan back on track again. Jumping in an Uber, I headed the twenty minutes out to The Wythe Hotel. Perched up at the bar, ordered my first coffee and took a moment to let go of the last piece of ‘pissed-off-ness’ I was holding on to.
Zoe arrived, and we spent the next two hours and two coffees catching up on what had been happening so far. Amazing things can happen in a second in New York. Getting to meet Thaddeus, the awesome guy behind the bar, who instantly injected the vibe that you truly were on a movie set, we left, finally in search of…something. Wandering around Williamsburg we happened upon music, make up at Space NK (MECCA) , and a much needed brunch at The Butcher’s Daughter. A taste of my first ever CBD infused cold brew coffee and some veggie avo Eggs Benedict, we were smoothly cruising into Saturday afternoon. A quick pit stop back at Zoe’s, we were back out to cross the bridge and hit Manhattan – hilariously on the hunt for some boob tape, after both of us decided we’d dress for the entire day/evening/night.
The Colour Factory was incredible. A place where we got to act like big kids, eating my first ever Moshi ice cream, and have a colour experience that I don’t think I’d even had as a child. We entered rooms and took photos as we were given sweet treats, told to draw pictures, embarked on a choose-your-own-adventure colour experience, a dance move contest, a balloon room filled with balloons covered in children’s wishes, and culminating in a massive adult ball pool filled with ice blue balls. It was like therapy jumping around for what felt like hours. Taking photos and being silly, was just what the Dr ordered.
After reluctantly leaving, we walked across the road to The Dominick hotel for a pool side glass of bubbles (me) and an earl grey tea (Zoe) filled with more girl talk about men, sex, love and silliness. After discovering Zoe had lost an earring in the ball pool we headed back over to the factory. And in a long line of serendipitous experiences it had already been found.
We spent the next couple of hours wondering up from downtown to Greenwich Village which was spilling out with people. We strolled through Washington Square Gardens, which reminded me of Leicester Square in London. We happened upon an incredible installation called The Strangers Project, a simple concept where you anonymously share a story or your story. A mixture of funny, inspiring, heartfelt and some downright tear inducing stories were shared, and I walked away ridiculously touched by a city that I’d only just landed in and had begun hating on in a major way, but was now conspiring to bring me to my knees in awe/love/wonder at every turn. As we continued to walk around the park, two young boys playing the saxophone and guitar were busking, playing ‘Just the two of us’ as a crowd gathered and it was such a pure jam of humanness. I turned away and said aloud ‘I think I just died 5,000 times’ and a woman next to me said ‘Welcome to New York honey.’ And that was it. I was in love.
Ever since, Lady Luck, fate, coincidence, serendipity has been following me around this city.
We stumbled across an amazing Mexican restaurant, Atla, before heading to an 80’s night which finished at 3am but that was only the beginning.
The next day, a lie in and slow start meant I was back at The Wythe for a herb egged crepe and coffee before a Club SÖDA event on psychedelics and sobriety; a panel discussion on micro-dosing and mental health, mindfulness, meditation, healing trauma and doing The Work. A kundalini breath work session, and an intense bout of eye gazing had moved so much stagnant energy that would have taken over had I let myself fully give in to the hangover. The irony wasn’t lost on me that I was hungover at a sober curious event, but maybe, that hungover vulnerability was what was needed. I felt so unfulfilled in what I’m doing. So bound to what I should be doing, handing it over to other people who drain me of confidence and energy. I know that is also a reflection of myself, that I have let flimsy boundaries disappear into nothing, if they were there at all. I’ve stopped listening to my inner voice that has something to say. I’ve let the left brain be so in control that I’ve totally shouted down my right.
Gazing into someone’s eyes, with an inkling that this wasn’t something that they’d experienced before, was, as always, incredibly powerful. Someone totally neutral and new to hold space for and to hold space for me. The connection when you drop in past the nervous giggles and the awkward eye contact, is deeply emotional. We teared up at exactly the same time, overcome with emotions. Feelings of grief, of love, of understanding and seeing that we are more alike than we are different. I kept repeating the phrases ‘You are so loved. You are forgiven. You are held.’ As much to myself as to the woman in front of me.
Holding closely the thoughts of…
RELEASE. Let it go, stop bracing and holding, allow the resistance to drop and fall away, to melt into soft fluidness that can’t be contained but can be so deeply witnessed.
BREATHE. Keep breathing. Keep breathing. Keep breathing. In and out. Inhale and exhale. Move it through, anchor it in, move it through again. It will pass, but it is here. Holding the breath is still a form of holding.
I realise with spotlight clarity I am sweating the small stuff – so worried about what others think that I’ve forgone my freedom. I have caged myself into believing that there is only one way. That there is only one way to live. To please others, or to do the sensible thing. I don’t think I’ve done the sensible thing in a few areas of my life, but maybe that’s the way that the universe is showing up in that and nudging me further into a mad, ridiculous life full of triumph and disaster.
My parents love me so what does it matter? They love me. I am loved. Whether I’m married or not, whether I have a visa for another country or not. Pieces of paper do not make up the human.
And then the one and only truth. The one I always come back to …
There is only one part that is separating us and 99 parts that are connecting us. Connect, love, hold, it’s safe to be a part of something. Trust that. Trust you.