Monday, December 29, 2014

Let's hold hands and maybe not sing Kumbaya - but instead make 2015 THE BEST YEAR EVER!

There is always a sense of nostalgia that surrounds this time of year. As the days have passed leading up to and following through from Christmas, I find myself in intense reflection mode - thinking about all that has happened over the past few years and what every little ounce and step have led to. 

Last year I read something around this time of year that created an overarching challenge for people to really beat out the year that had just passed and really make the new one on the horizon their best yet. As I read it, I really couldn't figure out how the hell 2014 would ever surpass 2013, given all the growth, travel and fun that it was filled with. But I set out to attempt to prove 2013 wrong and I am in shock and amazement with how my life's road has turned and swirled and traveled. 2014 has been pretty damn good, and may actually have turned directly to the face of 2013 and said "TOLD YOU I WOULD BE DAMN BETTER!"

So now as I prepare my plan, resolutions, must do's and travel lists for 2015, I am almost scared for what amazement lies ahead. I mean good is fun and amazing, but riding a wave of constant ups, definitely has moments that make you catch your breath and almost side and back step to make sure you aren't setting yourself up for some massive fall that lies ahead. 

But as I ease my way through it, I keep thinking about what would make 2015 a remarkable year and all that keeps resonating in my head is - DO MORE OF THE THINGS I LOVE AND REALLY LIVE THEM. I am one of those helpless wanderers and adventurers. You can put me in any situation, location or adventure and even with a picky diet and somewhat pretentious behaviour at times I will thrive and survive. However, the risk of being one of these people is that you love everything you do and instead of focusing on what you really love you tend to spread energy into things you like, but don't necessarily make you feel passionate about life. So this year I am going to trim the fat and focus on things to really bring to life who I want to be in this world, at least for 2015. 

And with that comes two things.

First thing - I love to write. But with 2014 being a year of transition for me, my writing sometimes took a back seat to life. Which is fine, but it means that I lost out on my most favourite outlet that this life could ever give me. So with that I am vowing to make 2015 a year of serious writing and not just my usual rants, but really a year that takes my blog to the level I want it to go to. I have somewhat figured out where I see myself 10-15 years from now, and have just sort of asked myself - to start getting there now. SO with that comes the second thing. 

I want this blog to be a place of inspiration and relation. And I am thankful for all the kind emails, texts and tweets that I have gotten from followers all over the globe. The fact that I am somewhat reaching people is amazing and it inspires me to keep going. And with that I shall move forward to number two which is an ASK TO ALL OF YOU OUT THERE IN CYBER SPACE!!!! Join me in a 30 day challenge beginning January 1st that focuses on helping you concentrate on making 2015 a year that you will remember and also get you on a path that makes the love and happiness you feel for life beam off you like the sun. 

Every day beginning January 1st, I will post something that aligns to an internal focus - something we should all think about as we plan for our best year yet. It can be something as small as investing in a great shampoo all the way to an attitude that we should all attempt to carry. Each will come in the form of my typical ranting ways, but will hopefully give you all something to think about and include / incorporate into your plans for 2015. 

Feel free to follow along through my blog, Instagram (@therunningshoediaries) and twitter (@RnningShoeDiary). 

Can't wait to get 2015 started and begin this challenge with you all!! Wishing you all an AMAZING end to 2014 and AN EVEN BIGGER HELLO to 2015. 

Here is to making 2015 the best year yet for all of us. 
- A 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Say it isn't so - Men are mars, Women are from Venus

It was just as you would expect for a #FBF - flashback Friday. A table of girls, giggling and laughing about the mistakes they had made growing up and amening to the fact that they had learned enough to not do that crazy S%&t again!!!!!

The table was a mix of younger and older, and it was as though the younger just looked at us 30 somethings with a hope that we could help them. And the mere fact was we couldn't. I mean all we seemed to do was encourage the mistake making, because that's what we all felt your 20's were for. 

Amidst all the giggling and laughing, we identified that growing up there were two types of girls when it came to relationships - 1. The girl who knows what she wants and won't demand less (aka, the b%^&$h essentially) and 2. The girl who defines herself by the relationships she is in, and assumes that what she has is the best she can ever get (aka the pushover, the nice girl).  

In all the discussion, my mind started to dwell on the two categories and reflect on the path I had taken. I wanted so desperately to be that number 1 girl. I wanted to demand what I wanted, but for some reason I couldn't ever do it, well at least not till now. I always felt horrible, and as though I just wanted to keep the peace, make everyone happy. It sounds absolutely ridiculous  but at least I know walking away from that past of relationships, that i will never have a guy say that I was a crazy, horrible human. And while that is comforting, it still leaves this feeling of wanting to slap my younger self into shape. I mean I literally was that girl - waited around, nodded her head, went above and beyond in apologies, did everything I could essentially. I just really wanted that love story, even if that meant doing things that I knew I didn't agree with. Maybe inside i just assumed things would turn around and that if I paid the price initially, he would turn around and then do the same. YEA NEVER DID THAT HAPPEN....LOL.. meh, what being younger is all about...mhmm I digress.  

Regardless of where I came from, I listen to the radio now and here songs like -  steal your girl by one direction or all of me by John legend, and I start to think - HELL YEA! You better recognise how awesome your girl is!!!! It's funny actually when you think about it. I mean all of us girls sit around talking about guys and the troubles they seem to cause us, but never do we really stop and think that they two are struggling with all the same stuff. I guess as girls we gossip till there is no voice left and men just do manly things and let things work out in their mind. So i guess it is true in the end - men are from Mars and women are from Venus. It only took me 30 something years to realise that the title of the book was right, LOL. 

So what is it about love and relationships that make us go crazy? is it the figuring out what you really want? Is it the challenge of changing someone from one thing to another? or is it just this idea of this movie like fairy tale that makes us chase and chase and chase till we can chase no more? 

For me it is clearly the last one. My favourite love story of all (well there are several) is serendipity. And i know how crazy it sounds but maybe its this idea that I love about the universe just hearing your trials and tribulations this whole while and really just pushing you along a path till that happily ever after makes you feel as though you don't have to be girl number 1 or 2, you can just be some balance in between and be perfectly loved as you are.....

Such a simple thought, such a complicated road to get there. Here is to finding love in everything we do and continuing to try and try again :)

- A 

#love #relationships #figuringitout #menaremarswomenarefromvenus #growingup #girlfriends #life 

Monday, November 17, 2014


It has been forever for what it seems. But the truth is I think I needed the time to just soak in the victory of completing my first ever half marathon.

I mean they say that Rome wasn't built in a day and my journey to the finish was no different. Never mind the training that I had to endure, the actual race, made my heart palpitate, my sweat glads drain of everything they had, my emotions run through a series of love / hate scenarios with the race, my body and the decision to actually do this damn thing and finally it made me feel aches and pains all through out my body in a way I never knew possible. #oldwomanproblems 

I was absolutely broken at the end. And while i started the race with my sights set on a pint of cider to celebrate, by the time I got to there I just wanted to lay on the grass forever until I could come back to life and realise what just happened. 

And while it seems and sounds painful to most, the feeling you get after a hot bath, a warm cup of tea and an awesome foot rub as you look down at your medal, is absolutely indescribable. You just can't help but feel completely overwhelmed by emotions and a sense of accomplishment and happiness.  I mean who actually thought the fat kid from high school would run a damn half marathon, let alone give up on those MacDonald's cheeseburgers (damn you gluten and dairy free diet...damn you). SERIOUSLY!!!!

None the less it was done, I promise you that and I even gots me a medal to prove it :) And as my last post, the night before the race said, I did come to terms with every it thing that had ensued over the past two - three years. In fact during the race is when it happened. A song appeared on my playlist, that I don't even remember downloading, and the lyrics just resonated with my journey and not in a way you would think. There was no I survived, the world is horrible, blah blah blah painful positive song usualness. Instead there was a bright poppy beat that you could run to, and words that made you want to screw the half and make it a full marathon (thank God the song only played once).

And that song my friends is partly copied in below, because there was no way I could not pay homage to the song that begins this next big big chapter of my life. 

Hope when you take that jump

You don't feel the fall

Hope when the water rises

You built a wall

Hope when the crowd screams

They're screaming your name

Hope if everybody runs

You choose to stay

Hope that you fall in love

And it hurts so bad

The only way you can know

You gave it all you had

And I hope that you don't suffer

But take the pain

Hope when the moment comes, 
You'll say

I did it all
, I did it all

I owned every second that this world could give, 
I saw so many places, the things that I did

Yeah with every broken bone
 I swear I lived....

See photos of the race and the gratitude challenge that has followed on Instagram - @therunningshoediaries (Arti London).

Till next time cyberspace.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Night Before the Race - My Half Marathon Story

I have sat at my computer something like 347389749374893 times this week in an attempt to write this post. This will likely be the hardest, yet must invigorating post I will ever write, but as part of my half marathon journey this is a must. 

So it here it goes. My half marathon story. 

Some people deal with their deepest issues, past heartbreaks and pains by getting back into the world and praying that things work out themselves. Me on the other hand, well - I retort. I hide myself away from those closest to me and take it all in day by day. I get lost in a sea of physical activity, reading and writing and work through everything I need to mentally before I actually get out there, reconnect and re-establish myself in the world. 

So what has led me here? 

Well first, let me appropriately introduce myself to you. I mean I am about to get super personal, so why not put a description to the writer and give you all the raw, true and crazy details. 

Name - Arti Kashyap 
Age - 32 (and yes i just wildly admitted that on the inter-web  - age is just a number remember)
Hometown - Toronto, Canada and the world 
Current Location - London, UK the centre of the universe 

Okay now that we have established my bio data, shall we continue? Let's rewind, to just a little over three years ago. I was me. Living crazily, you know travelling the world, working mental hours, running my own business, dragon boating, yoga'ing and of course social butterflying. Life was good. But given my age at the time I was getting the talks about needing to settle down - a thought I am still establishing in my mind. I was ready, but also a bit all over the map. I was struggling with my future and that dreaded time clock all of us females feel we need to live by and was just trying to get every drop of life in before well the inevitable. 

I wasn't sure what I wanted and I was struggling, but somehow in the midst of it all I met "him". 

He rushed in and with out me really knowing what I wanted, I got all caught up. I became the opposite of what i was and gave up much of what I loved and for a long time I thought that, that's what falling in Love and settling down meant. You know - you lose yourself and find a new you through someone else. I was happy and God damn, I was living the most beautiful love story, even if I was sacrificing who i was. So why should i have had to think twice, when no matter how independent woman I claim to be, I really did / do just want my Cinderella story. 

But it wasn't the fairy tale ending I dreamed of. I went through all the motions that you would have and got really close to that happily ever after and then just like that it was done. The perfect love story ended. And it ended with out the proper good bye - you know the lack of a discussion, things still needing to be exchanged and most importantly the proper explanations and respect that was deserved. Instead a heart was broken and I say a heart, because it was mine and truth be told I really have no idea what "he" felt or if he felt anything at all. But the ending burned and took a woman who had completely lost herself and placed her back into the scariest place of all - the entire world. 

So there I was. In an apartment that was mine - but full of remnants of him. And i had two choices - run like I always had or get up look in the mirror and face it all head on. So based on where I was and the age I was, I somehow got the courage to opt out of my old routine and vowed that I would face it all head on - full frontal, no matter how tough it would be, I had to. I wanted to make sure that my 30's and beyond were representative of all the things I had lived and as a result had learnt. 

And with that I am pretty sure I started my own little "eat, pray, love" journey to finding me and my place in this crazy world all over again. Now I didn't take a year of my life off, but I sure as hell went global to work through all the kinks. Things started in London and then Paris and then Chicago, San Diego, back to Chicago, all the way to Botswana, Ethiopia, Seychelles, South Africa, then back to Chicago, California and finally London.

The final London trip did it all in for me. It was done. My fate, my future and my location in the world at least for now had been decided. LONDON would be my new home town. And so after that final trip, I returned home, back to that apartment that still reminded me of "him" and packed it up, sold things off and closed that chapter in my life as I boarded a plane with a one way ticket to my new life with promises of NEVER RETURNING BACK to the point at which i would lose myself again. Because the minute I landed in London, I didn't have anything holding me back from just being who I had found along this crazy year long journey. A woman that I actually was completely in Love with. 

Arriving in London was great, but this whole life change was also hard. I mean, I remember finding my perfect flat, falling in Love with it and than laying in it the first night bawling my eyes out and clinching on to my childhood stuffed animal because I was overwhelmed by all the change. I couldn't believe that I ended up here, especially after everything. I mean it was crazy to think that three years ago before "he" even appeared, London was the place I dreamed i would be.  

So i guess in reality dreams do come true and that sometimes we just get distracted for bit, but somehow always end up where we are meant to be. And now that I have set up my life - you know the flat, the social circle, the planned trips - I must get back out there and let go of all the fears I have of letting it all get turned upside down again and just live and love. 

Now I also don't want you all to think I haven't tried along the way - because I have. I just was never focused or in the right place for it. I wanted to get me all sorted out and be in a place where no one would feel like I needed rescuing. As much as I want my Cinderella story - I want it to be about being swept off my feet and not being saved from a drowning river. I also wanted the chance to really figure out what that checklist was for me, with out anyone making me feel like I should take what I can get. And lucky for me, my year long journey caused me to cross paths with someone I never thought existed in this world. Someone who just, well made me feel like who I was and what i wanted wasn't really abnormal after all. This new "he" gave me faith that I could have it all if I wanted with out compromising who I was for a second, even if "he" may never really know what he did for me. 

So now that I have all the ammunition, faith and belief in what i want - it's time to get over the fear and take the box around my heart out and just dive into it all. After all isn't that how love stories are meant to happen?

So for me this half marathon journey has been a celebration of how far I have come from that dreaded night coupled with the mental challenge that I have needed to work through to help me find that inner naive 16 year old  that believes that fairy tales do exist.

And there you have it. 

I didn't face some terminal illness, or something even worse to all of you in cyber space. But I believe that everyone's cards are dealt differently and for me this could have been as bad as it will ever get and with that I needed something to get my out and back into life - My Gobi, my half marathon. 

Thank you ALLLLL out there for sharing in my story and most importantly for cheering me on through the inter web. 

Here's to hoping I run through the finish line, instead of being carried on a stretcher - Half Marathon i GOT YOU!!!!!

Please donate if you haven't already or in case you feel like donating again -

To new posts about finding love and my happily ever after and all that madness in between :)

- A 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

1 of the 2387432748372 unanswered questions about this life thing.....

Its been ages, and being busy just isn't an excuse but unfortunately it's the only one I have got. But none the less as I promised and said in my last blog, I have been running. The schedule has been adhered to and while my knees and body may hate me at times, I am addicted. ABSOLUTELY ADDICTED.

I used to think that meditation was something you had to do laying in one position, while keeping absolutely still, you know the atypical Sivasna. But over the past 5-6 weeks what I have come to learn is that for me meditation is my alone time. My time when I leave everything around me behind and just get lost in the world. Which is what for me each of my runs has become. The longer they get the more time I can meditate and the more time I have to let things surface that I didn't even know existed and somehow mentally work through them.

It's some what crazy to believe that I could even have time to pay attention to thoughts racing through my mind as I run through massive groups of tourists all taking photos of things that have somewhat landed in my backyard. I myself seem to always do a bit of a run on the spot when I get to the middle of London Bridge and just stare out at what my life has become. It always seems to be that from that point, as I continue my run, the mental game begins. My future meets my past, which both then meet my fears about everything real life. 

And while there seems to be about  0348239749879832 questions I could put out to all you people on the inter web, that I have about how this life thing works. I will focus on the one that has seemed to stick with me for the past week or so. ARE WE ALL AFRAID OF REALIZING OUR DREAMS?

Recently, I began re-reading The Alchemist, which most people know is my favourite book, because well I am just really into that profound life thinking stuff, in case you hadn't noticed. Anyhow in the book, there is a conversation that takes place between this crystal shop owner and a Shepard boy where they discuss realizing their dreams. It is in this conversation that the crystal shop owner says that he would rather not realize his dream but instead continue to wish for it, as that mere act of wishing and dreaming is what keeps him going. 

So I'm not asking if we are afraid of realizing our potential and ability to realize our dreams, but I am asking if we are afraid to realize them, because once we do we are unsure of our ability to want more? or unsure what is next. 

I'm old school, I hate E-Readers and tablet like things that take the place of a book, full of pages that smell of history, creativity and profoundness. So I highlight, scribble, fold and mark up the pages as I go along and it is this page in the Alchemist that is origami like folded, because I can't seem to get past it. 

And I think, well at least what has come to me in my runs, is that I think I am staring a potential future in the face and thinking.....Is this really it? It was this easy after all this time? And now what? I am realizing that like the crystal shop owner, I could just be in love with the idea of having the dreams I have. They keep me hungry for life, adventure and everything in between. But at some point don't we just have to accept the fate we desired and move on to the next as Jay-Z would say?

I don't have the answer, but it is the source of what I am trying to mentally work through at the minute, so while I throw the thoughts and questions out to all you people on the inter web, please feel free to flood my inboxes with your thoughts, replies and answers of course. 

But as I sign off, for hopefully a period that won't be as long as the last, I will leave you all with the video for my new favourite running tune (which seems to be quite telling) and the link to my running sponsor sight in case you electronic people out there feel like being generous by donating to my Gobi and the charities it sponsors. 

Sponsor Link:
Till next time, 

Monday, July 28, 2014

I Found my GOBIIIIIIIIIII - Now the Journey BEGINNNNS.....

I just lay there on my bench, after class was over as the XX blasted through the speakers. I thought I was staring up at the exposed ceiling at the gym but really I was staring up at a series of images in my mind. Flashbacks you could easily say of everything that has unfolded over the past couple years. You know where I was, what I thought, what actually happened, the adventures I had experienced and the whole process of landing my feet where they are today.
I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't fathom, that I had actually moved to this foreign city. And not just in the sense of packing up a back pack for 6 months, I mean selling furniture, getting rid of an apartment, boxing and shipping things, handing things back, leaving things where they should be and then focusing all my energies on building a home - My home, my future, my everything I have always dreamed of. It was a pinch me moment, but a moment filled with so many overwhelming thoughts I really did not know where to start weeding through what was coming to mind.

Was it that I had landed nearly 5 months ago and everything so easily fell into place - the job, the routine, the friends that last a lifetime, the special people that make you think you could have it all if you wanted and the adventures that leave you feeling breathless. Or was it that I never thought I would survive, make it through the shock of a lifetime  and then suddenly realize that I really wanted so much more. I have no idea, but I lay there in a trance and continued through the motions home in the same trance and suddenly I found myself laying on my new bed, in my new flat, listening to the busy sounds of my hipster bipster neighbourhood realizing that there was never going to be any turning back. I had come to far and seen to much to ever go back to where I thought happiness was. 

And so with that I sat up and starred deeply into my vision board and thought - oh no, next comes all the stuff I have been afraid of. All the things I avoided by using studying, work and life as excuses to just not have to really do the things I knew deep inside I had always wanted. This was my Gobi, as Stefan Denis once said. Life and all the adult stuff was and is my Gobi. It's the fear of letting go of complete freedom, it’s the requirement to be responsible, it’s the act of fully trusting someone and the universe that a forever happily after is possible and it's the exposing of every vulnerability I could feel.

And while I know how scary it all seems for anyone, I just sat there starring at my board and began yelling at myself instead. SUCK IT UP YOU WHINEY BABY, It's time. Time to conquer this massive fear. And what better way to believe in my strength and capability to endure this sense of adult hood but to test myself. To really test myself and give myself that adrenalin filled feeling that makes you feel like you could call up David Beckham and make him yours. And so I did it - picked my test, built a schedule and committed to it full force.

It's me against the half marathon. Which may not seem much to all you avid runners out there. But for a former fat kid, an aging adult and a premature baby that is better known as a bubble child, this seems like an early death sentence. But I have committed and I will do it, even if I have a similar story to P Diddy and the New York Marathon.  I may not have toe nails at the end and I may have rashes and bleeding everything's, but I will do this. I will face my Gobi and I will get closer to conquering this fear.

And with that I have decided that for the next three months as I train this blog will become my place to vent, to share, to cry and to triumph about every step along the journey. After all it is the running shoe diaries so at least now I am writing about running.
So if you have already shared and followed my random rants and woes, I ask you now to really step inside and give the writer, life doer and inspirer in me a chance to really let you in, touch your life and personally give you something you can maybe associate with. And if you have stumbled across this by mistake, I ask for the chance to become  a part of your reading ritual.

I promise that while you may be bored at times, you will laugh, cry and likely think I am crazy :)

Here is to sharing this journey #royalparkshalfmarathon #london #runner #conqueringfears #pushingmylimits #hopingforsurvival #therunningshoediaries 


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Moment of Truth - "Settled"

It happened, I mean I know it was meant to happen, but it HAPPENED. 

It finally hit me, that I am no longer in transit, no longer attempting to find my place in life and actually am in fact settled. I arrived back in London after one of the best girlie vacations ever that bridged my globetrotting lifestyle, with my new found home and as I got back to my flat and began unpacking, I just couldn't help but take a moment to sit down and stare at my room. The room that looks nothing like my old apartment and that somehow symbolizes more of who I am than any place I called home before this moment. 

THIS IS ME and THIS IS HOME and the minute the words left my head, severe moments of panic followed. I realized that the comfort of my old life, would be just that. A string of memories, good and bad times and people, love, life and everything in between that all were just a part of a process that was meant to lead me to the life I am now living. So maybe in this moment, where I sat in my room staring at every inch of it, did I finally realize that I could accept everything I had felt, forgiven myself for anything I ever did wrong and come to terms with all that has happened. And yes I mean everything that has happened. 

For so long I resisted the things that were happening. For so long in my life, did i hold onto things that I knew deep down, were not either meant to be or good for me or any of that sort of thing and all because I was afraid of living my own life, of listening to my voice, to following the beat of my very own drum and to just letting go and walking blindly into the future. I was afraid of me. And maybe because it's like that poem by Marianne Williamson: 

" Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

I was afraid of my own power, I was afraid that the things I wanted most were things I was capable of getting, having and living, and more so because all i could think of was if I would ever be able to hold onto the things that I wanted most, or if i would get them, enjoy a brief moment of joy, which would then be followed by an instant explosion of my world crashing down as those wants, dreams and desires suddenly left. And that's just the thing. I had already experienced this, that is the sudden explosion. So maybe, I thought as I sat in my room staring at all the little details of my creative home projects, did it not matter, if I fell again or if I went down a path that was not meant for me and the universe had to do what it had to do, to make sure I got back on the one that was right for me. I am a survivor, just the way Destiny's Child sings it, so now that I have settled, fallen in love with my life and surroundings, what do I have to lose?

In the months I have been in London, I have picked several quotes to serve as my mantra's to help me with all the change. From "I can and I will" to "Let Go" and to "Discipline is just choosing between what you want NOW and what you want MOST" each of these has served a purpose and has helped me "settle" and now that I am settled, I think it's time for a new mantra: 

"Fall in Love with the Process and the Results will come"

Which means that even when you don't have the answers or are capable of making a decision yet, you just have to fall in love with the daily moments, clues and hints and know that you will eventually get there.  

Signing off as the luckiest girl in the world and asking you all to think about where you are today and all that has led you to this moment. Life and this universe thing are crazy, but also insanely amazing, so enjoy today and know that its leading you to tomorrow :)

- A  

Monday, June 9, 2014

An Ode to My Daddy - Happy Father's Day

I think I will hate myself for this tomorrow morning as I am getting yelled at to run faster during this ridicules #barrysbootcamp class I have signed myself up for. But I had to do it. 

Today, the whole day just seemed like this weird turn of events and pathways that led me to this inspiring evening that lit this incredible fire in me. I wanted to drive the tube home and run as fast as I could, just to make it to this computer, so that I could just spill out the words oozing inside of me. It was one of those moments when I walked through my flat door where I wished I could pull the "boy", you know drop your pants, unbutton your dress shirt, brush your teeth and be pj and home body ready. Clearly that didn't happen, especially since I scrubbed every corner of my flat this weekend. But none the less, at last I am sitting in the comfort of my flat, neatly placed at my lap top, rambling away, aren't all you people in cyber space JUST THAT LUCKY?

I wanted to get this out and while I know Father's day is not yet till this weekend, this evening's events made me want to do this now, so that I could capture every bit of the gratitude, love and happiness inside of me. And what better way to get this all out then in a form of an old school letter to my daddy, to just say "Happy Father's Day" you are the best, but not only the best, you are truly the BESTEST AND MOST SPECIALIST FATHER EVER.  So here we go: 

Dear Daddy, 

Sorry firstly that I didn't return your call today, the day just sort of slipped away. But none the less I wanted to tell you about this incredible evening I had that made me think only of you and all you have done for me, for us, for our family. Tonight I went to the screening of a film called girl rising. It is a documentary that focuses on young girls in the developing world and their fight to gain not only a "normal" life but an education. While tragic, it was beautiful and at its core extremely empowering. 

But how this whole thing ties to you, and how I came to think only of you during this film, was when they featured this one little girl from India. The father of this girl, had moved his family from their secure and safe village to the busy, crazy streets of India just to make sure that they, his kids, could get an education and make something of their lives. The whole story, had me in tears and primarily because I could in those moments remember all the late nights you worked, the dreaded math books you made us do and all the summer / christmas holidays that were spent doing extra homework and reading science books. I could see in those moments how much you pushed us to do more and more because you too wanted us to just be, be something, be someone, leave a mark, make a difference and live the life that you dreamed for us. It was in these moments that I felt the luckiest I have ever felt to be your daughter and to be thankful for all the times you challenged me to do better, to really think about the choices I was making and to live to my greatest potential, even if it meant standing in front of a mirror and lecturing myself 100 times over. 

We have had a crazy ride, these past couple of years. And while I know there are moments, words or events we wish we could do over, the reality is I wouldn't change a thing. Especially since it all led me to this very evening where I could for the first time in my life witness everything you really have strived hard to give us. 

So with out continuing to ramble on, I do want you to know that not only did this evening make me see all these great things in the father I have, it also made me realize who I want to be in this world and the mark I hope to leave. And while it is something I want to hold close to my heart for awhile, I will tell you that it will make you proud, it will make you feel like all the hard work, the annoying lectures, and repeated words were all worth it in the end. Because i did listen this whole time, even if I pretended not to. 

Thank you for being the best daddy ever. 

Love you always. 

And there you have it, an ode to my daddy. And now, yes now, I turn to you all out there and encourage you all to do the same. Get a piece of paper and a pen and just pour your heart out. Tell your daddy, or that special father figure in your life just how much they mean to you. 

Tonight made me see how women make the world go round and while I am a strong advocate of that, I will say that the support of a man too helps that rotation a bit more. So its important that we embrace, love and cherish the father figures in our lives. 

Happy Father's Day :)

- A

Monday, June 2, 2014

Celebrating the Start of This FRESH NEW YEAR - yea you heard right, I said FRESH NEW YEAR

Its almost been 8 years to the date. That momentous date, where I stood in front of all my fellow classmates and belted out what I thought was an inspiring set of words. My university commencement address, was one of the most monumental moments for me in my life, a journey that I didn't really realize that I had always been on, but since it has happened, I know that it was meant to be this climatic moment that would be this constant reminder for me in my life as I continued forward that dreams really did come true. 

I know I must sound like nerd central, but after being beat out in 8th grade for the valedictorian spot by a classmate whom only won because the teacher went about the voting the wrong way and then again being beat out in my final year of high school because of the tight candidate race, I just WANTED MY TURN TO COME. And in reality I never entered University thinking it was a possibility, I figured High School was my last real shot. I mean in University I thought that managing school and my attempt at being cool would take up so much of my time that in my mind I just wanted to finish and decent enough that some employer would want to hire me. 

But as luck would happen my desire to be good at everything and anything, made me stick out and landed me in front of what seemed like millions of people, with the important task of inspiring for the future. JESUS. Talk about a load on your back. At the time I was just focused on getting through my speech with out stumbling and freaking out, but in retrospect I wonder if any of the professors and the dean knew what the hell they were doing when they picked me, LITTLE OLD ME. 

Regardless, I did deliver, I didn't have any voice cracks and that image of everyone staring at me from the audience will forever be embedded in my mind. And it's because of all this, that every year around this time I seem to get all nostalgic and feel this need to celebrate with the millions and billions of people graduating around the world. I take this time of year, as my true new year - the ending of all of the great things that have happened since the fall and the beginnings of the new somethings beautiful to come. 

And what better way to celebrate this time of year, then to sit in front of Youtube and watch HOURS AND HOURS of commencement addresses by all the famous people that have had some major influence over us in the past year. While I know there are many more to be posted, I have to say that so far none of them to date have let me down - I have laughed my ass off, cried, attempted to run for the hills and danced to the memories of the songs that were hot when I was a teen thanks to PDiddy's address at Howard U.

All of them have made me reflect, but I would say that Sandra's Bullock's speech is the one that has had me thinking the most. I have often talked about what I would tell my younger self - the crazy kid, the lost teenager and girl trying to figure out what this life thing is. But what I have never considered, or even asked you all out there - is What about the person that graduated from University / College or anything alike. That age, that early 20's, high as a kite, ready for the world, scared as hell person. What would you tell them now? And about the real world, the world that can suck you up and rip you to shreds and at the same time let you feel and experience things that you quite possibly never even dreamed were true. 

I graduated thinking I was the BOMB. And then i walked into my first day of work and met a group of people that had seen and lived so much more than I could have ever imagined. And it took me from feeling amazing all the way to feeling like the most insecure human possible - I couldn't even imagine or begin to imagine how this life thing would work out and how I could ever have thought i would be okay. And so I think of that girl, and what i would tell her today, especially knowing about how the eight years that have followed have gone. 

And here is what i have managed to come up with. 

Dear Me, you know the early 20 something version of me, that is totally in love with the wrong guy and 100% overwhelmed about how you will top that big moment that you just had as your University Valedictorian. Before I say too much, I should just start with a "it's going to be okay" and not in that parental, I have to tell you that to make you feel better kinda way, I mean it in the real way. After all I am looking at you from 8 years in the future, and girl you have no idea about HOW AMAZING your life is going to be. Now I am not one to sugar coat anything, so I will tell you point blank that at this very moment you are so overwhelmed with wanting everything and anything at once that you will lose yourself in it all. And you will spend years trying to figure it out. But that's okay. Because in attempting to figure it all out, you will test your limits, your boundaries, spread your wings and see some of the most beautiful places in the world and inspire more people than you will ever know. Your heart is what will keep people around you forever and your ability to just have some good banter and challenge everyone that comes into your life will act as the magnetic pull. You will meet tonnes of great people, fall in love a million times over, vie to see the best in everyone, let go of some friendships you thought would be around forever, but in the end at this 8 year mark, your life will be so beautiful, fresh, positive and full of more love than you can imagine. All the people, experiences, tears, laughs, moments of frustration will eventually bring you to a point, where you wake up get ready, walk out the door and take one deep breath and understand why everything happened as it did. It will all come together and you will understand that it was because you were so lost in the overwhelming feeling of entering this next phase of life that you wound up taking the journey you did. So that is what I want to tell you, dear 20 something version of me. It will be okay and all the things you dreamed about, even that fairy tale story, will happen. This universe thing has a funny way of working out and in all the mess, just smile and know that it's going to be okay - you just have to stay focused, strong and reminding yourself that you gotta enjoy all these adventures, because when that real realistic part of life, with the mortgage, kids and an annoying husband come into play you will lay awake escaping to these moments just to break away from those real life responsibilities. Don't give up and most of all don't be afraid to step away from it all, enjoy the moments where you can hear yourself and really allow yourself that first voice. If there is anything I can leave you with it is that - never stop listening to what your head, your heart and your mind are saying in one. Trust your instincts, because just like that valedictorian address you gave some time ago, when you believe and trust your gut dreams do come true. They really do. NOW SMILE, GO OUT THERE, SHAKE WHAT YOUR MOMMA GAVE YOU AND CONTINUE TO BE THAT DREAMER, OVERACHIEVER, WORLD SEEKER, GOOFY WOMAN that you are. 

And that's that. 

So now what would you tell that version of you? I challenge you all to slow it down, take some time to reflect and pen an old fashioned note to yourself and then fold it up, place it in a hiding spot and like a time capsule, give yourself some random timeline and then has a group in cyber space let's revisit those words some time away from now and relish at how wise we were and how much wiser we will become. 

Here is to growing up, realizing our potentials and most of all letting go and starting a new in this fresh new year. 

- A 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Life of A #Globetrotter

As four ladies, from all different kinds of walks of life banded together this afternoon in the hope of finding a sisterhood, a bond, a connection I guess is what you can say, I could not help and feel both blessed that I could be the answer to something someone has been searching for and honoured for my own little sisterhood of wonderfully powerful, unique and beautiful women. 

I used to crave this need to have that group of friends that grew up together since childhood that would meet every other day to just shoot the shit, watch a movie, have a laugh, a drink and just be that blessed sense of peace. And than I got older and strapped myself to a suit case and a whole set of big dreams and suddenly I realized that I wasn't necessarily the same as those around me and the sisterhood of girls I tended to band myself with, were no different. They all had these visions of life taking them to places far beyond and knew that similar to me, we would just never be that set of friends that could call each other on a Tuesday and just meet at the cinema. So just like that we became a globetrotting bunch that were banded by Skype dates, letter / email / card writing and endless laughs and giggles over holidays when we all flocked home. 

I got used to it. Used to just being on my own and knowing that I could meet and make friends where ever  I went and while the bonds I made along the way may not necessarily last, I always knew that I would have this globetrotting bunch that would be my safeguard when I needed it most, regardless of the time differences between us. 

And so as a result I became more independent than ever, having solace in the time I had with just me whether it was in the comfort of my home or some random trip I chose to take on my own. Alone time, now there is something that I love. But in a city as big as London, alone time can feel a bit like isolation. The city is moving so fast, and people are constantly coming and going from all over the globe that locking yourself in your flat creates this feeling of abnormality. As if wanting to be on your own is as radical of an idea as being a hipster. But how do you just throw yourself into this crazy crowd almost like its a mosh pit of people that you just have to choose to trust, accept and let in? And most of all how do you pick a part the good from the bad and make sure that you don't get stuck making yesterdays mistakes all over again? When do you find the time to just give yourself that little bit of space so that you can take it all in, reflect, recharge and just check in?

I'm not afraid of building the pillars that I need, nor building that group of friends that I can go to watch a movie with any night of the week, no sir. What I am afraid of is diving in to fast, with out thinking. Retreating back to my people pleasing ways and loosing the time I need to self reflect and ensure that I am keeping the promises I made with myself. And so I have taken my time and held back as a result, but today as I sat sipping one of the most lovely Caesars I have ever had, the woman across the table from me spoke:

"Discipline is doing what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, when we don't want to do it"

It was as though she was in my head and knew what argument I had been having as of late with myself and suddenly became that lecture, that self reflection time that I really needed.  That "SNAP THE HELL OUT OF IT" kinda lecture. So with that I gave into these wonderful ladies, let my guard down and just giggled the afternoon away. And it was wonderfully beautiful.

And through all the giggles, in the back of my mind I just thought of my wonderful lady friends all across the globe and realized just how lucky I am. Time, distance and space doesn't do anything but build stronger bonds and make you appreciate what you have and what i have both in my new hometown and all around the world is the most beautiful thing ever #Iamblessed

So alll you's in cyber space, no life lesson for today, just a simple task. CALL, EMAIL, SKYPE, WHATSAPP, FACETIME, OLD SCHOOL LETTER AND CARD WRITE, DO WHATEVER...Just get in touch with anyone that makes your heart and soul smile and laugh a million times over and tell them just how awesome they are to you...


Hugging my way out 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

#TIME an Ode to #WEOWNTHENIGHT and ALL that Mature type of Stuff

"Life is all about timing…the unreachable becomes reachable, the unavailable becomes available, the unattainable, attainable. Have the patience, wait it out. It’s all about timing.”

I like to pride myself on being active and find a serious amount of solace in the activities I tend to take part in. It is true I am somewhat of an addict to trying new activities and constantly pressing myself to push and try harder at things I never thought were possible to do. Maybe it is the fat kid inside me that haunts me in my older age. Yes that would mean that potentially I am holding onto all the mean things I was called, the insecurities I felt and all that stuff that comes in between. But does it really matter when everything I am doing is really for my betterment and in the mix of it all I am constantly motivating all of those around me to BE AND DO THERE BEST??!? I say not and instead give myself one hell of a jumping high five for it all J
So there is a point to why I have started on this rant. As my friends and family know, I have recently taken my passion for running to a new level, by saying that I will run a half marathon by the end of this year and then perhaps go on to do an actual marathon. Well in training for that, I on a whim signed up to do a 10k this past weekend. Only I should mention that my half marathon training has been severely put on hold as I moved countries and embarked on my 30 day yoga challenge. So when I looked at my calendar and realized I had only 2 weeks to train for this thing you can imagine my maddening pains of anxiety that took over. And likely more so because I HAD NEVER RUN A 10K BEFORE!!!!
But in true me typical style, I poured myself into my training, even tried to stay clear of the Brit’s choices of beverages and just got me 10K ready.
And then #weownthenight happened. Over 10000  women from all over London gathered in Victoria Park, in an effort to all achieve one goal – FINISH THE DAMN 10K and enjoy that blessed glass of victory champagne waiting for us all at the finish line.
I wish I could explain the atmosphere as we all waited in our race bands. It was as though there was a flurry of excitement, adrenaline and emotions. And as the music on my IPod started blaring and the race began I got lost in a sea of women who I could see were no different than me. They all had a goals, dreams, insecurities and emotions that this race was going to make them feel like they could face. And at each point in that race, at every KM marker when I desperately thought I could just stop now and walk a bit, I looked at the women surrounding me, paid attention to the motivation blaring through my headphones and pushed forward full force ahead.
It was an experience like no other, and while I came out with a #personalbest time. I will say the number one take away, lesson, whatever you want to call it that I got out of it, WAS that the finish line, was so illustrative of the things we want in our lives. All of us ladies ran at our own paces, with our own goals and reached the same point when we were ready, when the time was right. There were moments we all had where we had to either slow it down, speed it up or just choose to get lost in the atmosphere around us without really caring about anything but living  in the moment. But no matter what it didn’t matter, we all reached that end goal, that marker, and got to celebrate our victories.

Timing you see played a part.
My biggest challenge has always been slowing things down and understanding that sometimes, timing is really the most important element for success. I see something and I want it yesterday. And so quickly I get lost in the ideas of things, without even really stopping to think if it is truly what I want or if I am just choosing to want something to keep up with the jones so to say.  But this 10k taught me that life isn’t a short sprint, but rather a marathon that requires time, patience and gumshump. And so after crossing that finish line I made a pact with myself to want the things I want whole heartedly, but instead of speeding ahead and pushing for things to happen yesterday, I want to learn to really enjoy the process of riding the wave to the finish line J Which will include smiling through even through the most of annoying of moments - which is way easier said then done. 
So cyber space, universe space and everything that has a wave that gets this blog entry, I make a pact with you today to say – I AM PUTTING ALL MY DREAMS OUT TO YOU, with all the heart I have and am going to walk around smiling like I got it because I know when the TIME is right it will ALLLLLL HAPPPPPEN.
And sooo all you people out there – I challenge you all to slow it down, marvel in the annoying pauses and realize that if we want it to last FOREVER EVER we gotta sometimes let time takes its course.

And with that I leave all up to the clock....
- A