1 year & counting… [#SpaDayDiaries]

If you would’ve asked me a year ago today if I would have made it this long at The Spa, I would’ve looked at you with the deranged eyeballs of an overwhelmed fatalist. There was just so much being thrown at me, plus I was still reeling from the bad breakup I had with my college. it was an emotional flux indeed, but I knew I had no choice but to begin paying my own way back to school, so I began looking for a job. with no retrograde planet in sight, the stars aligned last February during my application process, and the 19th of this minuscule month in the year 2013 happened to be my first day of training. 365 days later, I’m still here.

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I’m still here, yes, but I’m not the same. I’ve grown and I’ve gone so many places. To have taken this opportunity and endured the highs and lows has been more rewarding than I ever anticipated. Profound is the effect The Spa has had on my life. I’ve learned how to heal, as well as how to sell. I’ve developed patience, and a good dose of urgency. I’ve been shown the benefits of detachment, while at the same time becoming a family unit with my coworkers and clients. They have given me the opportunity to express myself as Swami, not just as Nick who answers the phones and books appointments, as evidenced by the fact that I was booked to host 5 Stars & Symbols Spa Parties.

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Although our prices are relatively affordable compared to the more expensive casinos, The Spa ignited my ever-increasing indulgence in the more luxurious side of life and I have realized that it’s okay to treat myself, a lesson that is still reinforced by my second job selling high-end suits at Hugo Boss. I look at everything as an investment, and if I don’t invest in myself, who else will? I have never felt so valuable in my life.

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(some of my coworkers and i at ashley and stefanie’s baby shower last sunday)

How much longer I will be at The Spa I cannot say. All I know is I appreciate my stay and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Some days have been horrible, but most have been great. It’s amazing the difference a day makes, but a year is most definitely worth the wait. Thank you Hand & Stone.

north node/saturn/venus conjunct [#StarsAndSymbols]

A field of fragrant flowers is unforgiven by me at the offensive sight of a tiny fruit fly. A single stray note slaughters the sonic sweetness of the most sophisticated symphony. A night of noteworthy novelty means nothing if even one nuance goes neglected.

Sometimes I let the smallest things get under my skin.

Earlier in the week, I let something someone said get to me. My mom is an employee of NJ Transit, so I occasionally ride the bus to work for free, like this past Sunday. As I was catching up with the bus operator, a family friend, the topic of school came up as it usually does. When asking about my younger sister’s senior year of high school and impending undergraduate adventure, she expressed her strong suggestion for my sister to attend a state school to avoid making “the same mistake” I made. The same mistake.

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One man’s mistake is another man’s destiny. The difference depends on one’s capacity to create solutions from perceived problems. It’s no secret that I’ve put myself in some situations that were more difficult than necessary, but I don’t believe them to be “mistakes”, because I am still here and I am still learning lessons. Everything happens for a reason as far as I am concerned, and as long as it is happening to me, I’m the only one who has the right to determine whether or not it is a mistake – whatever it is.

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september 2013 [#MonthlyPlaylist]

And the cycle begins again…

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I experimented with the art of playlist-ing back in high school, but it wasn’t until my first few weeks as a college freshman that I began making monthly playlists. When I made the first one in September 2009, my intention was not to ritualize, but to capture the milestone, the moment, the music. I enjoyed it so much, I decided to do it again, and again, and again…

4 years later, I am still making them. My plan was to organize music on a monthly basis so that by the time I graduated, I would have 4 years worth of playlists, kind of like a sonic scrapbook of my undergraduate experience. As we all know, my plan was derailed when I was financially forced to postpone my final semester, extending my 4-year plan into the unforeseeable future. Continue reading

recurring dream: missing class [#freewrite]

i talked a little bit about dreams in a previous post. since then, they haven’t been as consistently memorable, but every now and then i will have one that sticks out. then there are the recurring dreams that i have. there is one i’ve been having for almost a year now.

it’s not at all a nightmare, but the dream is for some reason haunting. it always takes place at least halfway through some imaginary semester at college. somewhere in the midst of my day, i realize that there is one class that i keep missing. i don’t know what class this specifically, but i have missed it enough times to fail. although i try to act like i’m not worried, i always have the worst a pit in my stomach, ashamed that i could be so irresponsible with my education (especially one for which i am paying). there is no doubt that i am incredibly clueless in this class, but i tell myself that i’ll catch up and i’ll pass.

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another variation of the dream involves me forgetting the lines to a play while i’m on stage. i started having this dream last fall, when i was in the rehearsal process for a show I did called RUINED. it was even worse than the classroom dream, because i literally ruined the whole production for the cast, crew, and the audience, which is a performer’s worst nightmare.

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the part-time porn star: mars in gemini [astroloco]

Have you ever seen someone you know in a porno? I’m not talking about a leaked nude or an amateur, homemade video clip on xtube. I’m talking about a legit porn film, with a script and a storyline and everything. I was minding my own business last night, surfing the forbidden netherworld of the internets, when all sudden I saw a familiar face with a voice that I knew very well. Talk about a curveball!

At first I thought I was trippin. This man on my screen had to be some sort of doppelgänger. He couldn’t possibly be the man I thought he was, seeing as how that man was super professional and too well put together to dabble in something as decadent and lewd as pornography. These, of course, were surface judgments, as I never get to know him that well. He was one of the staff members at my internship and I hardly ever engaged with him. For discretion’s sake I won’t say where I interned in this post (although I have mentioned it previously in another post), but it was a major association for playwrights in New York City with a lot of big name members and councilmen. After some meticulous research, I found out that this “actor” was indeed the man I thought he was.

I was so intrigued by this revelation because I worked in the same vicinity as this guy for a whole semester and never even knew. Naturally, I began to imagine every possible scenario of his double life. Did everyone else there know he was a porn star, and if so, what did they say when they found out? Did he think I knew he was a porn star, and if so, did that excite him? If I did know he was a porn star, would I have been more open to talking to him? Truthfully, I wasn’t very social with anyone at my internship. I felt out of my element because they were all more passionate about theatre than I was. Plus they were all older and mostly of European descent, so there wasn’t much of an immediate common ground. I stayed to myself because I thought of them as elitists of some sort and I never want to say or do the wrong thing. Little did I know my desk was 3 feet away from the office of a closet freak.

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learning the same thing twice: full moon/lunar eclipse in sagittarius [astroloco]

One thing that college taught me is that everyone has their own way of learning, on their own time. My process was very different than my classmates. I discovered that no matter how much I was programmed within the constraints of the classroom, I actually had to experience these lessons for myself in real life. Even if I failed an exam or BS’d my way through an entire course, it was not the end of the world, because I knew for a fact that I would get it when I was supposed to get it. For many years I would bust my ass to make the grade, until I finally decided to detach myself from the stiflingly rigid expectations of the American school system. Time, especially linear, is no longer a factor in my education.

Space is also an education non-factor for me. A classroom is anywhere in which we are conscious enough to teach and be taught. Wisdom is not exclusive to mountaintops and Mongolian monasteries. Wanderlust long distance journeys are great, but who says we have to run to the other end of earth to find what we are seeking? Sometimes the most meaningful moments are the stimulating conversations we have with the strangers we meet down the street at the market.

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For the past couple weeks, I have been driving an hour away to the nearest Whole Foods. I love the occasional day trip, but – between gas money and actually buying a week or two’s worth of groceries –  this was way too expensive to become a routine. Yesterday was my day off, and I decided to see what the regular grocery stores in my area had to offer. To my surprise, I found a lot of my favorite brands right in my local ShopRite. The selection, of course, is not extensive as the healthier grocery chains, but it is there for those of us who are looking to align our eating habits with the higher consciousness of the new paradigm. It’s a process, but it is happening.

All of our studies are coming to light under this Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse in Sagittarius. The lessons we have learned, regardless of when and where, have everything to do with who we are and what we believe to be true. I am thankful for all of my experiences, because they are the adventures that have helped me discover myself, even when I felt lost.

Once upon a time, I was supposed to graduate yesterday. Although I didn’t step across the stage at Lincoln Center with the rest of the Class of ’13, I too survived this semester. My phantom leg has finally been severed after 3 months of limping, and I made it through the operation. Instead of trying to walk the way I used to, I am embracing my new gait, because there is no point in learning the same thing twice.

to have and have-not: new moon/solar eclipse in taurus [astroloco]

Yesterday, as I walked to The Spa, I had a moment. It was a moment of overwhelming sentiment. A moment of realization.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my college career and my life in New York City lately. Memories are triggered by songs, pictures, and everything else one could imagine. Some of my favorite moments happened last semester, in the fall of 2012. Something about that fall felt different, magical even. Looking back at it in retrospect, it is almost haunting to me to know that somewhere, in some subconscious, time-irrelevant dimension, I knew that it would be the climax of my (uninterrupted) tenure as an undergraduate. Somewhere deep within my being, I knew that my life as I envisioned it was changing. Destination: Graduation was detouring.

Out of nowhere, it finally hit me. I’ve had three months to integrate my new reality, but for some reason, I felt it a little differently yesterday. As graduation 2013 approaches – with every end of the semester Tweet, finals week Facebook status, and senior portrait post – I have no choice but to accept what should be a simple truth; I will not be walking across that stage with my friends. No matter when or where I finish my degree, it will not be with the same people I met freshman year, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it. I feel like I am being left behind. I feel like a forgotten fantasy.

Reality is reality, but my perception of it has shifted so much in this past year. Naturally, I am still processing everything. My schooling was interrupted, but it is not over. It will never be over, no matter what happens, because I am always learning. And I have a plan.

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This week’s New Moon in Taurus [exact May 9, 2013 @ 8:29 PM] is perfect for taking practical steps toward the fulfillment of our desires. It is important to get real about exactly what we want -so real that we can feel it, even before it manifests in the physical plane – so that we can plant the appropriate seeds. Taurus is enduring, so we have to make sure we take the time to set sensible intentions, with the most timeless results in mind.  It might take a while, but it will happen, and it will be so beautiful. Whatever it is.

The 2013 Taurus New Moon doubles as a Solar Eclipse. This means that the moon will cross in front of the sun, temporarily blocking its light from reaching us here on Earth. Symbolically, this means new aspects of our subconscious, feminine nature are being illuminated. With the Sun and Moon in Taurus [along with Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the South Node], this illumination will reveal a lot about we own; our natural resources, our possessions, our money, values, desires, talents, and other goodies we have at our disposal. By the same token, we have the pleasure of determining which of these goodies has gone bad. Considering everything we have to offer, it is more than okay to lighten the load. We are on the road to excellence, after all, so we cannot afford to be slowed down by extra baggage.

It is time for me to let go. Attachment, expectations, ideals. Tears fall as I type, but it is only right to release the tension. It is impossible to move forward if I am anywhere but here, so I decide right now to plant myself solidly, with my arms wide open, willing to accept the gifts God is granting me.

Let’s get it.

taking the first step: mars in aries [astroloco]

Being back home, I tend to forget how much walking I did when I lived in New York. I would walk at least 20 blocks on most days, to and from school, if not more. I don’t like to spend money if I don’t have to (food is a different story), especially with the ever-increasing MTA fare. I don’t typically exercise or “work out”, so walking is a form of physical activity that doesn’t feel like a task. I don’t mind it at all. Except on those days when I would be running late to class, walking fast and splinting my shins.

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I must consciously, consistently remind myself that I can still live actively when outside of the big city, even in Suburbia. I must not let myself be swallowed by my circumstances and setbacks. I must continue to push myself and focus on realizing the vision that is my life.

Mars in Aries gives us the strength, courage, and will power to conquer every challenge we encounter. We assert our personalities and defend our desires, with steadfast urgency. The goal is being true to who we are, as sovereign, original individuals. When other signs deliberate, Aries initiates, especially when traveling with the great warrior Mars.

No matter how long the road may look, there is great power in taking the first step. Speaking of steps, I have begun taking midday walks. It is a good way to maintain the pace I grew accustomed to in the city, not to mention a healthy habit. It seems easier to get out on bed in the morning when there is some sort of routine to anticipate daily.

For right now, I walk around the same development I grew up in. Walking these cul-de-sacs takes me right back to being 8 years old and all the moments I have shared with my family and my neighbors. One day, I will walk farther. I am starting small. One step at time. Like a newborn baby.

Home is where you are from, but not always where you belong. All I know is we will not be there forever. We are international. Universal, even.

focused force: mars in aries [astroloco]

“Don’t try to do two things at once.”

That was probably the best advice I ever received. This moment alone made my internship worth every stress clench, migraine, and early morning subway ride.  Thank you Dramatists Guild. Thank you.

I was downtown, somewhere in the village, running an errand with one of the girls from my internship/college, Melissa. Errands were my favorite part of the internship, because I actually got to leave the Times Square office and venture out into the city, on my own time with no direct supervision. Just the way I like it. Our mission? To pick up a few boxes of plays from John Guare’s apartment.

Little did I know John Guare was the playwright responsible for Six Degrees of Separation,  a famous play that had been recommended to me in 2008 by an acting teaching I studied with in California. Little did I know John Guare’s apartment was full of a ridiculous amount of boxes. Little did I know.

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To expedite the process, I attempted to pick up two boxes at a time. Accidentally, I knocked over another box in the process, which damn well could have started the Downtown Domino Disaster 2012. It might as well have, because he cussed me out.

“No, no, no! Please don’t make this place more of a mess than it already is!” He exclaimed before giving me the best advice of my life that I can recall.

After we corralled all the boxes downstairs, he proceded to help us find a taxi. Well, he tried anyway. None of the cabs would stop for us and our ridiculous amount of boxes. He eventually gave up, flamboyantly, and decided to retire into his luxurious, but cluttered high-rise apartment. First, he shook our hands and told us it was nice to meet us. He smiled at me for what I perceived as an extra nanosecond, which I took as a sign that I will play the role of Paul in a Sex Degrees of Separation revival. Typical.

Although I thought he was a little over the top in his reaction, I couldn’t get mad at his snappy tone. He was right. I would be lying if I said I didn’t scatter my energy. I start off doing one thing, but then something else catches my interest, which often results in a downward spiral of non-productivity and wasted time. I believe an angel came in the form of this famous playwright to tell me to stop spreading myself so thin in order to maximize my potential.

With Mars in Aries, the energy we exert is not only forceful, but focused [not unlike the phallic symbols that represent this astrological pair].

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Both Mars and Aries have a similar sort of tunnel vision, which helps them to win against any odds, especially when these energies are combined for this transit. Some may call this selfish or inconsiderate, but it is what it is. If you want to cross the finish line first, you might just have to skip the water break.

guilt [freewrite]

One thing that bothers me is being blamed for something I didn’t do.

When I was in pre-school, I was wrongfully accused of saying “kiss my butt” on the school bus ride home. I did say the word “butt”, but never told (nor asked) anyone to kiss it. That would have been completely out of character for me. The bus driver’s aid misheard my juvenile conversation, and took it upon herself to tell on me.

I was beat with a belt by my relative with whom we lived at the time. It wasn’t a bad beating, and she was just disciplining me as far as she knew. The point was and is I never said “kiss my butt.” I was punished for a crime I never committed. Made to feel guilty when I was innocent. Worst of all, nobody believed me or defended me when I told them my truth. I think sometimes I underestimate the long-term effect this incident had on me as a being, especially since I was only a child. How might I find myself reenacting this moment, even to this day?

Although my family and I will occasionally laugh about it and I’m pretty sure I got some type of half-assed “sorry”, I still feel like I never received a serious apology. I can laugh about it, but there is definitely a part of me that is still angry. I don’t know what could resolve these feelings. Maybe venting about this memory will serve as an elixir.

When people make big deals out of situations that I perceive as relatively unimportant, I have to remember that we all have “kiss my butt” stories. In Astrology, I believe childhood trauma is represented by Chiron, the wounded healer. The pain experienced as a result of Chiron gives us to ability to help others experiencing similar pain, even if we can’t seem to help ourselves.

If you were wondering what I actually said on the school bus, I was simply explaining to my seatmate that “boo-boo does not mean butt.” O, childhood.