Good morning my angels!
I'm back in my apartment!!! And Tuesday, I have an interview to foster a dog with Muddy Paws, so, soon there will be more little claws clickity-clackin' around these parts.
This last year, as I've probably mentioned before, I've been doing a lot of deep work. Part of that work has been deconditioning the hustle mindset (more about that in #5 of the Sensual Six. In fact, pretty much all of the Sensual Sixes for this week are related to investing time in things other than grinding toward our goals.) For that reason, I've been reading books about taking better care of my plants, and I've been diving into the rabbit hole of clicker training my fur babies, because, one day, I'm going to be taking my cat and my dog, who will be best friends, to the park and on other adventures to frolic together outside, just you wait and see! Getting a dog is certainly a gesture towards work/life balance. I've read more than one resource, recently, describing dog ownership as an obligation to disconnect from our goals, go outside, and get into the present. So, I'm really looking forward to that, even though I understand it's easy to be optimistic about that in the summer! #winteriscoming #coldpaws
I'm actively looking for guests for my podcast and for podcasts to be a guest on, so hit me with your recommendations, big and small!
I haven't been writing much these last two weeks while I've been displaced and this week has been one of immense personal transformation so, the result is that this newsletter is a bit of a beast. I promise to write more on the side so I don't pour my entire brain into these emails every week.
Now, on the theme of taking a break from the hustle and the grind, here's the Sensual Six for this week.
Dance has become an increasingly important part of my daily routine for expressing myself and connecting to my body. Twerking and hip movement, especially, have been getting a lot of attention in the personal development community as a way to connect with our root chakras, lower bodies, sexual centers, and break up stagnant energy in the hips where we all store a ton of emotion (yes... men too!). But my two main struggles when I first started trying to incorporate more dance into my day were:
a. Slippery feet! It's low-key scary to dance when your feet are slippin' and slidin' everywhere. I thiiiiiiink I'm gonna just wear yoga socks.
b. Not knowing what kind of music I like to dance to! I was spending most of my time clicking around from track to track trying to find the right bop.
Enter: Dancehall. You know... like Shaggy. Speaking of which, if you have never seen this amazing Vice documentary about the making of It Wasn't Me by Shaggy, for the love of the gods, check it out. It's one of the most memorable things I've ever seen.
Anyway, on the 4th of July (Happy birthday, btw Em and Ryan!), I was dancing on a rooftop in Brooklyn with my friend Crystal, drinking a hard kombucha, and there was a rockin' party happening next door where the DJ was playing dancehall and I was reborn. We appropriated that loud DJ soundtrack for our own party and stood as close to the edge of the roof as possible, shakin' our booties to the backdrop of fireworks against the Manhattan skyline.
As a side note, watching fireworks from Brooklyn was by far my most symbolic experience of the 4th of July, especially after reading some of the famous Hamilton biography (that shits be long, y'all). In that biography, he describes the battles of Kip's Bay and other areas where I have now casually been to a restaurant or vintage shop. As a Californian-ite whose only experience of American history growing up was driving hella far to visit the Miwok village and grind acorns, it is weird af to be hanging out drinking mimosas on the battlegrounds of the American Revolution. So, watching the fireworks from Brooklyn and seeing them break in showers over the lands where the battles to forge this country were fought was wild. Tbh, I love America (and by that I mean the US because America is actually a continent but damn... it sounds way better to just use the A word). 'Merica, how I love you. I guess this is a morning for tangents and run-ons, so thanks for riding along with me. Onward!
On the 4th of July I discovered that I LOVE dancehall, and shortly after, I discovered this excellent playlist of recent dancehall hits. Booty shakin' beats and sexy Jamaican accents. Sign me up! Try putting this on after you finish your coffee and dancing around your house before you start your day. It will change you.
As you know, if you've been an OG of this newsletter, I love to listen to chill, uplifting, non-English music in the morning while I journal and drink my bougie Japanese flash-brewed coffee, but, let's be honest, French is a springtime vibe. It's summer baby!! Which means we need to get some Caribbean/Latin vibes goin'! Dancehall is a bit too boom boom for first thing in the morning so, what are we to do? Cue: this acoustic "Caribbean" (imo mostly South American, but idk) playlist. Songs mostly in Spanish, some Portuguese, the occasional French #colonialism, and smooth acoustic vibes uplifting enough to start the day right. Enjoy. See, I can write a short thing too!
3. Body Care
I'm in my early, rapidly progressing to mid, thirties. So, you know... I think a lot about my face skin. I've got a solid routine going, I get facials, I gua sha, I even recently got a little micro-current thingy. My face game is solid. But recently, I've been taking classes at Equinox (see number 4) and I've noticed how glowy and soft the body skin (not to mention how perfectly manicured the nails) of all the ladies around me is. It made me realize that I need to up my body care game too.
I already alluded to this in the intro and I'll break it down more in number 5 but, it has become increasingly important to me to carve out time for things other than staring at my computer and clackity clacking away at my goals. I took a day to walk down to Tribeca, exploring new parts of the city, to get my nails done. This little day trip was largely inspired by this week's number 6, Tonya Leigh, who promotes the value of, both, putting yourself in new contexts, as well as investing time, energy, and money into your self image: hence, a leisurely, exploratory day trip to Tribeca to get my nails did.
I arrived early and there was, serendipitously, a Blue Mercury beauty store nearby. I took my time smelling all of the things and bonding with the sales lady. I got myself some luxurious-feeling body butter, a new lipstick, and some body scrub, to build myself a routine of caring for my body's skin. Self-care can be both time consuming and expensive, but it is worth every penny and moment.
I think that I used to neglect body care because it felt a bit defeatist. "I'm just going to shower and have to do it all over again." But that's the point. It's showing yourself, over and over again, that you're worth the effort, the time, and the luxury, of care and attention. Plus, as we'll discuss more in number 6, how you feel about yourself, when you really invest time and energy into your self-care and self-image, changes how you show up in the world, and what you get from it. So, lather up that bod and slap on some lotion with loving care. Yes, the men too.
Since not everyone has access to Equinox, obviously, this is less about Equinox, and more about what it symbolizes. I used to feel pretty judgmental about Equinox. I went to a cheap gym that had everything I needed and I thought that people who went to Equinox were just flexing *teehee*. I used to have a lot of judgment around my perception of the concept of luxury and what it signified.
But, this week, I went live to discuss the difference between luxury and materialism. What I have come to believe, through my many conversations on the topic of Capitalism, and my research into alternatives, is that luxury should, ultimately, be for everyone. It's low-key the point of civilization and technology.
Luxury, in my opinion, has to do with how something makes you feel inside, not how it makes you look in the eyes of others. Materialism is about projecting our status. Luxury is about the experience of something.
Last week, I had a transformative experience. I mentioned that I was writing this newsletter at the Hudson Yards Equinox. After I finished, I went up to the roof and discovered that the pool there is amazing. I made a bunch of friends, lounged in the sun, drank a smoothie, and felt #blessed. The next day, I went back. I worked, sun-bathed, ate a salad, did a cold plunge, a sauna, took a shower, and died of happiness.
Equinox is about a lot more than just flexing. It's about experiencing luxury. For my membership, I have access to, not only, a gym with all of the equipment I need for a workout, but also a huge variety of classes, both in person and on-demand in the app for when I'm travelling, locations all over the city and even the world, some of which are as bougie as high-end hotels with jacuzzis, saunas, steam rooms, cold plunges, outdoor pools, indoor pools, luxurious work areas, and healthy cafes. If I need to switch up my location for work, I can go to any one of these. I can take a break by the pool or take a sauna and then a shower with Kiehl's products provided. I mean... damn. It is a home away from home. It is so worth it.
In a well-adjusted society, everyone will understand that luxury is not about status or exclusivity. It's about self-care, sustainability, beauty, and enjoyment. Everyone should have access to it, and in this day of technology, the only reason they don't, is Capitalism and the paradigm of competition.
When we don't have to make cheap things, when there is no inequality to justify it, we'll just make beautiful, useful things well. Everything will be luxurious and life will be luxurious for everyone.
In the meantime, rehab your relationship to luxury. You deserve it. Do it with intention. Focus on how it makes you feel about your self, not how others see you. And give yourself permission to indulge in whatever you have access to from that intention without guilt. Inequality is not your fault. It is not your cross to bear. Speak out against it, yes, but treat yourself. You can do both.
5. Thinking of the universe as masculine: #nogoals
Ok... I started writing this out and realized that this is an entire blog post and I've already said a lot so, I'm going to spare you. I'll keep this short and sweet, write a blog post, and link it in the next newsletter. In short: I've been working on embodying more feminine, receiving energy, because we are all socialized to be in our masculine all of the time. We are socialized to grind and crush goals. What if you had no goals? What if you just followed what lights you up and trusted that whatever is best for you would come from that? What if you let the universe take the reigns and be the masculine for you? I realize that there is a lot of context for this belief system that may not resonate with everyone reading this, but I'm doing me on this one. What if you let the universe be your Sugar Daddy? More on this in the separate post. But for the cynics, I will tell you that this is a movement with a lot of evidence behind it. People are finding that refocusing on what brings them joy is paying dividends. Working harder has never been the goal. What if it is also undermining our success as individuals and as a species?
6. Tonya Leigh
So, I'm in a lot of woo spaces where we work on personal development from the inside out. I do hypnotic meditations that rewire my subconscious beliefs, etc. But what I love about Tonya as a coach is that she also advocates for working from the outside in. Her whole thing is changing your self image. All that luxury I was talking about earlier? Engaging with luxury in a way that makes you feel better about yourself and changing how you see yourself, through mindset, yes, but also through material expression like style, travel, home decor, etc, changes how you show up in the world and changes what you can accomplish. In many ways, this is the practical, "real world" interpretation of number 5: getting into the feminine, receiving energy, by prioritizing self care, not hustle, changes our exchanges with the world around us and makes us capable of accomplishing and receiving more. She has a totally lit podcast called The School of Self Image. Yes it's geared toward women, but let's all be honest, men who take good care of themselves are fire, so it's for everyone. Enbies too. Everyone deserves self care.
Thank you for reading this week <3 I can feel myself becoming clearer with my messaging and more prolific with my writing. I'm excited to continue to find my flow with sharing this work, not only here, but on the various platforms and in the preparation for my book. Your support means everything. Love you. See you next week.