I got back to LA last night, a little reluctantly, after a great week with family and friends in the Bay Area. While my Aunt, cousin, and I were sitting around the living room on my last night in Oakland, laughing about god knows what, my Aunt said something that caught my emotions off guard. She said that she ran into her neighbor recently and she mentioned that her and her husband used to be able to see my Aunt and Uncle, who passed away years ago, sitting at their dinning room table nights, deep in conversation - debating, laughing, and completely engaged in one another. She said it always made them smile, knowing how much they understood each other.
I went from cry laughing to a hard stop and got a little teary eyed. I realize, looking back on my week there - and my previous 3 weeks on the east coast with family and friends - I’m missing that substance. I think to some degree, we all are.
Part of the many reasons I moved to LA was to get my own mess sorted out, to turn down the social life I had in NYC and turn up the productivity on my career goals. But I swung too far. I went from one extreme to the other. Lately, I can feel myself getting foggier, losing my sharpness and my wit. It sounds crazy but after a productive week (even one filled with phone calls, Skype sessions, and surface level coffeeshop convos) I feel like I lose my ability to speak fluidly - in the same way I lost my ability to confidently carry conversations in Italian when I stopped speaking it.
Like Italian though, after a few days back in an environment with people that stimulate my mind and conversational skills, it comes flowing back to me. I feel quick and alive. Connected. I feel like I’m learning and growing from the interaction, while also contributing and sparking connections in the mind of the other person. It’s a beautiful exchange of ideas and value.
I think that’s the art of all good conversation - the ability leave each other better than when you went in. To hold space for each other and understand one another - allow the other person to fully be themselves. And with that, awaken something inside that maybe neither of you knew was there.
Life by Design was born out of a need for my own self-healing after decades of unresolved illness. It wasn’t until finding the courage to look within that I discovered it was my own belief system holding me back from experiencing a truly thriving life. We all have access to that thriving life. We just need to rediscover our power and ignite the healing-self. Only then can we unapologetically live a life by our own design.