2017 – Time to JUMP

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It’s a new year. A new chapter. A blank canvas waiting to be filled over the next twelve months. There is no need to dwell on anything that has happened in the years before this one. It’s time to look ahead. Time to lay down some more bricks towards building the next part of our lives.

I have spent several days and nights thinking, analyzing and trying to figure out what I want out of this year. How I’m going to go about making it happen and getting myself ready for the journey that awaits. A couple of weeks ago, I had an experience where I encountered a quote on three different occasions on the same day. It clearly demanded my attention. “Every next level of your life will demand a different you”. Powerful as that sounded and as much as it resonated with me, I was still trying to decipher what the universe was trying to tell me with this sign that followed me around all day. All I knew at the time was that it meant something to me and I would eventually figure it out.

Something else that makes it hard to clear the fog surrounding the vision of the future is all the voices and opinions all around trying to pitch in and say what is right and what isn’t. What would work and what wouldn’t. Sometimes we open ourselves up to those opinions because we hope they will somehow help us find our way and discover the best path to follow, but instead those opinions have the opposite effect. They make us question everything. They discourage us. They make us wonder if we know what we’re doing. If it’s the right thing and we get more and more entangled in the web of uncertainty and confusion.

Maybe that had something to do with how much I have needed to spend time on my own with my own thoughts. Listening to my own heart and trying to work things out by myself. And the more time I had, the more time I wanted. “Alone time is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own”. One of my favorite quotes by Oprah and it made its way into my thoughts and reminded me that there is nothing wrong with taking or needing this time by myself. It wasn’t simply an outright escape from “reality”. There was more to it. I needed to go into my own world where there is no noise from everything and everyone else. A chance for me to hear my own voice that was drowned out by everything else going on around me.

The pieces of the puzzle started coming together. What I want for this year more than anything else is to create a reality that I don’t want to or feel the need to escape from. We all have times we need to retreat and take a step back from our lives and “escape”. And sometimes we don’t want to come back from those spaces and places we escape to. It’s easy to spend the majority of our time on autopilot while our hearts long for a completely different energy. And that, to me, is the difference between living and merely existing… If we only wait for special occasions or isolated days and moments to truly feel alive, then we are spending the majority of our lives doing ourselves the injustice of merely existing.

So, the goal for 2017 is simple. Living a life which furthers and pursues the things that set my soul on fire. Things that make my heart happy and bring a smile to my face. Doing things that build the reality I want. One I don’t need an escape from. One that is not narrated by anything or anyone else outside of myself. Living my purpose. And getting there will take a lot of energy and come with its hurdles and challenges that will make the climb feel like an uphill battle at times, but that is not enough to stop me… Deep down we all know what we want. All we need to do is listen to ourselves. Listen to that little voice that silently, yet firmly, whispers what we want. And distancing ourselves from the voices of the world makes that little voice more audible.

After having listened to that inner voice, it may be scary… Oftentimes the answers are of a magnitude we are unsure whether or not we have the capacity to live up to… So what do we do then?…. Well… That’s when the third and final clue from the universe came through and completed the puzzle in my quest for answers…. JUMP!!!!! Yes, JUMP. One simple, yet powerful word. The first time I ever encountered this message by Steve Harvey was last year at a very critical time in my life and I “coincidentally” came across a reminder to JUMP a day or two ago. “Coincidences” are far from coincidences. I don’t believe in coincidence. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we need a “sign” to trigger something within us to clear the fog and give us a vivid picture of the answers in search of which we spend sleepless nights and time in solitude.

Three seemingly simple and “random” quotes formed a triangle which disentangled the confusion.  Remember that first quote? “Every next level of your life will demand a different you”. I found it to mean that in this new chapter of my life, I need to trust myself more. I need to listen to myself more. And now, more than ever before, I need to mute the outside voices and be more focused and relentless in making my dreams my reality. No room for fear, pride, ego, doubt or any other deterrent. This chapter calls for a more solid version of me. One that cannot be swayed. One that does not back down. A me that does not take “no” for an answer and believes completely in my abilities and makes the most of my opportunities. One that takes charge completely… One that doesn’t hold back… Doesn’t look back…. It’s 2017 and it’s time to JUMP!!!!

(Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended on use of imagery & video link)

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My New York Adventure

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Looking back on 2016, the opportunity to travel to New York was most certainly the highlight of my year… It meant more to me than any academic or professional achievement I attained this year. This revelation is somewhat surprising to people, but pushing myself academically and professionally is second nature to me. Traveling and exploring makes me feel alive in a completely different way and that’s part of the reason it meant more than most other experiences 2016 brought my way.

I still remember being so excited the night before my flight that I couldn’t sleep properly. I arrived at the airport about five hours before my flight and I wished I could just fast forward to the next day. A sixteen-hour flight later, we safely landed at JFK International Airport. I don’t think I realized it was real just yet. Throughout the drive from the airport to Manhattan, I kept looking out the window, just in awe of every little detail, from the roads to the buildings and everything else in between. I just wanted to take it all in. I didn’t want to miss a single thing. It was just one of those situations where I only cared about being in the moment. No yesterday or tomorrow mattered. It was just me living in the moment. Something I usually struggled to do but was now effortless.

The funny thing is, no matter how tired I was, I just found the energy to push and explore constantly. After dropping all luggage at the hotel and with a few hours to kill before check-in, a long walk around Manhattan followed. Watching people go about their business, everyone concentrating on their own thing and not really concerned with dozens of others sharing the sidewalk. Traffic, yellow cabs. It was all surreal to me. What is an everyday normal thing for millions of people was truly an experience for me which I treasured more than I could ever explain. It was so humid, but I really didn’t care so much about the weather. The heatwave was a small price to pay in comparison to all the experiences, big and small.

I mistook Chrysler Building for the Empire State Building probably for the first two or three days and I remember taking a walk to Chrysler Building like look!!! Empire State Building right there!!! LOL. But that’s one of those mistakes I look back on and laugh about now. Taking the subway was also an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. Being one of many commuting from one place to another, seeing random performers hustling for dollars on and off the train. It was all part of the New York vibe.

Exploring Brooklyn the first evening in New York was really special and I conquered a night on the town despite jet lag. The adrenaline and excitement made me feel superhuman.

My hotel room was on the 36th floor with a clear view of the actual Empire State Building. The view at night was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. I wanted to journal about my trip at the end of every day/night, yet I couldn’t really sit still and I wanted to just take photos, videos and still have enough time to live in the moment without getting carried away in capturing so much that it takes away from the actual experience of being truly present without distractions.

I remember I barely slept the first night. The next morning, I went up on the rooftop of the forty-floor Element Westin Times Square Hotel and experienced New York City from a whole different angle. I fell in love with every little detail. I was never a fan of crowded places, yet it made me feel so alive and energized and inspired by how fast-paced it was. I really got to understand what is meant by the saying “in a New York minute”.

I also had the opportunity to visit a few court houses. As a lawyer, it was really exciting just visiting and seeing the differences. I really wanted to sit in on and observe a jury trial, but that bit didn’t come together. But at least, there’s something to look forward to for next time.

I took trips to the Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Terminal, a night tour of New York, Times Square, Central Park, Queens, George Washington Square Park and many other places. Whether I was traveling by road, subway or taking lengthy walks, it was all an adventure.

In those few days, I learnt things about myself that I didn’t know before. I enjoyed the hours I had to myself all by myself exploring the new and unknown on my own. I trusted myself and my instincts more than ever before and I was not all in my head constantly. I was spontaneous, adventurous, I felt safe, didn’t worry about getting lost anywhere, I had a completely different sense of self and direction… The best way to describe it was feeling like myself, only better. All of my qualities were heightened. I felt free, fearless, at peace and washed over by clarity. I had more energy than a little kid. Sleeping at night was something I didn’t even want to do because every moment counted. Waking up in the mornings was thrilling because it meant I got to visit more places and see more.

Sometimes we have to get away from all we know and explore the world… Go to foreign places and give in to the unknown. See where it takes us. By learning more about other people and places, we learn more about ourselves… I met people and shared experiences beyond my imagination and had I not stepped outside of my comfort zone and being open to travel and adventure, I would have missed out on a great deal. It’s hard to describe it all, to capture and relive each moment… But I lived them all fully… And nothing will ever take that away from me…

We all deserve to get away once in a while. To travel and see the world. To be inspired by life outside the borders of the where we live… So get your passport… Pack a suitcase… Go on an adventure and see where it takes you!!!….

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My view of NYC from my hotel room window.

(© Photography By: GMZee)

Blessed Beyond Measure

Hello world! Guess who’s back? Wow… I can’t believe it has already been nearly 4 months since the last time I blogged. I love writing but am so bad at keeping up with this with all I’ve got going on… I do, however, feel like letting a few months pass before writing again allows me to look back and put into perspective just how much has happened in that time.

2016 has really been out of this world… I declared it my year and that’s just what it has been… Now, I’m not saying it has not had its share of ups and downs, because it most certainly has… But I am definitely at a point in my life where I know how to focus on the good and find the lessons in the not-so-good…

When I last blogged in June, I was getting ready to be sworn in and admitted as an attorney. That finally happened for me in August… I still can’t believe that it’s something that happened and it’s most certainly something I took the time to celebrate and be proud of because I always focus on the next thing I want to accomplish and tend to overlook my own achievements and just push myself to do more. I know I have worked really hard to earn everything I have achieved and am proud of myself for not giving up every time a new challenge presented itself… I have been learning so much about myself and I like who I have become and continue to grow into someone I can be happy to share with the world….

Also since my last post, I had the trip of my dreams. My lifelong dream of traveling to New York came true in late August and I still feel like pinching myself sometimes just thinking about all of the experiences I had there and all of the dreams that came true… I have so much to share about that experience, that it may be best for me to blog about it separately in different entries so… Watch this space for that…. Coming soon…. Before end of 2016 for sure…. LOL….

So much has happened that my mind is all over the place. There are certain things I don’t feel the time is right for just yet so I won’t blog about them until I feel ready but I just wanted to acknowledge how blessed I have been and how thankful I am for the experiences I have had….

I have built such meaningful and positive relationships and walked away from those that were negative… It’s really true what they say… We have to let go of some things to make space for better things which God has in store for us….

I have released a lot of what I held on to and held me back and have discovered a renewed sense of self and strength… I am learning to trust the process and believe that the best is ahead and the worst is behind me… I have faced many of my fears head on and have seen that there was nothing to be afraid of… So many of our fears are irrational and we perceive them to have some crazy power over us… We allow them to push us into a corner wherein we build a comfort zone… But that comfort zone is a place of mere basic existence…. It holds us back from living life fully without limitations…. It keeps us from being our complete selves capable of all the greatness in the world… It keeps us from soaring and flying….

Our minds should be focused… Our hearts should be open… Our sights should be set on the future… There is no progress in looking back…. Looking forward to all that is ahead and pursuing it tirelessly and without fear is what will take us to the next level… Nothing beats waking up in the morning knowing your purpose and taking another step towards fulfilling it….

Face your fears. Live your dreams!!!!!

Catch you on the flip side!!!!

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My Year of Dreams Coming True

We are halfway through 2016 and looking back, this has got to be one of the best years of my life thus far. Focus, hard work and determination have remained constant in all my endeavours and the power of the mind and maintaining a go-getter mentality are proving to be effective.

I finished law school as one of the best in my class. I wrote my attorneys’ admission examinations and am about to get admitted after successfully completing all required examinations. My dream of visiting the United States of America is about to come true and I have overcome a whole lot of obstacles to get to where I am today.

It is important to document our journeys. In times of doubt and challenge, it always helps to look back and see how far we have come. Sometimes we exceed our own expectations and find that we were capable of a lot more than we had ever anticipated.

People will always have opinions that they will feel entitled to sharing about other people’s lives without anyone ever requesting such opinions. More often than not, those opinions have a negative undertone and tend to discourage our goals and dreams. They may label your pursuits as “unrealistic” or “taking on more than you can handle”, but I am here to remind everyone that NO ONE in this world can tell you what your limitations are, or to dictate your capacity. YOU and YOU alone have the power to decide that.

Each and every one of us has the capacity to achieve anything. We are our only limitations. We have the power to decide what our stories will be. And sometimes things will not go quite the way we want them to, but what matters more than anything else at the end of the day is knowing that we gave our best and believed in ourselves whilst in pursuit of our hearts’ desires.

In the remainder of 2016, I am going to document my achievements, experiences, travels and adventures in order to serve as my own example of living life to the fullest, without fear of failure and hopefully it will encourage others to do the same.

Watch this space. Share my journey. Making 2016 the greatest year yet – one day at a time.