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Faith

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There are times when you have to hold up your hands to the sky, close your eyes, and believe in something bigger than yourself. It is simply the only way that you can put one foot in front of another in order to get something done.

Over the weekend I was given the opportunity to write a letter to myself or someone significant in my life asking for forgiveness. I wrote four total pages without crossing any words off or pausing for thoughts. It was the most beautiful piece, in my opinion, that I have ever written. After I did this, I was given another opportunity- to burn the letter; which I did. Later that night I sat down and prayed that everything I wrote would become clear and dissolve from my worries.

With hope and faith you give up any control you had over the situation. This weekend I spent a while reflecting on aspects of my life I have power to change and contrariwise aspects I simply have no control over.I came to the conclusion that through hope your soul understands forgiveness. Ultimately, you need a little hope and a little faith in order to understand and be understood.

You can’t spend your days praying, hoping, wishing for everything that is possible in your lifetime; you have to reach into the impossible. In the end, those bigger people will make you realize that nothing no matter how extreme is impossible.

As you go through this next day, this journey, this life, allow yourself to take one problem and lift it to the sky. Lift your fear as high as you possibly can and believe that with the power of your soul everything will be just fine on the other side.

G xx

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Dependability

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The other day when I was crossing the street I saw a school bus with the word “Dependability” written across the side. Dependability is the quality of being able to be counted on or relied upon. So, why, I thought to myself, does a yellow school bus have this word written across it?

Later that night I watched the documentary “Happy” on Netflix. This documentary goes searches through paths of life trying to answer the true question of happiness. As you could imagine, there were many different discoveries.

When we work in a community with others we realize how much we have to give. It makes our mindset switch from what I don’t have to what I do have. Ultimately, we all need something bigger than ourselves to care about. It doesn’t have to be structured religion, it can be spiritual emotions: compassion, gratitude, and love that connect us to the universe and to other people. It makes us see that the world is bigger than ourselves.

Through many different studies it is proven that humans cooperate rather then compete in order to not be self interest people, because we are social creatures.

Our modern culture now promotes competition in the media within different television shows. We watch singing competitions like The Voice and American Idol, Food Competitions like Top Chef and Cupcake Wars, even Toddlers And Tiaras which shows one year olds dressed up and paraded around a stage.

During the documentary, one speaker had a class full of middle school students raise their hands after asking who witnesses others being isolated and picked on, to which nearly the whole class raised their hands. He told them that the missing piece is that now a days we lost touch of what seeing is, we think it is with our eyes but really it is with our hearts.

He later told a story he heard about a girl participating in the special olympics. This girl was winning the race by forty yards and she stopped right before the finish line. Her coach was screaming telling her to just walk one step to finish and win the race! She looked at him pleading for him to stop before turning around and putting her hand out to her friend who then put his hand out to another friend, finally all six kids crossed the finish line hand in hand. The girl, screaming with joy shouted, “together we all would win!”

This girl, who is picked on and looked down upon did something that no one else had the courage to do. No one on a championship team, in the classroom, on the stage would ever think of doing for someone else. This story proves the point that compassion, from birth, is in our blood not only in beginning, but for our whole life. It is our responsibility to help those whom have lost it to find theirs.

In the end, being happy doesn’t have to be extreme, the trick is to be authentic and yourself. Just be aware, play, have new experiences, friends and family, doing things that are meaningful, appreciate what we have: those are what makes us happy and in the end sets us free.

By now I am sure you are wondering how this talk of happiness relates to dependability. Well, my friends the point of this lesson is to show you that in life in order to be happy you have to depend on yourself. You have to walk tall, listen to others, and reach out to those who are in need and those who may be hiding it, because you never know how a small act can influence someones life.

I found a quote that I think is perfect for the answer to my question. “When you are hugging a child, always be the last one to let go. You never know how long they need it.”

Finally after writing this post, I googled “School Bus Dependability” and realized that there is a Philadelphia Bus Company named Dependability and this is reason  I saw that bus. But deep down in my somewhat naive heart I would like to think that the reason that bus drove past me was to show that dependability at its core is increased by being truly and utterly happy.

G xx

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Happy Happy Happy

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Somehow, no matter how many times we hear someone tell us that you have to choose happiness we roll our eyes. It doesn’t really matter who it is that tells us: our parents, grandparents, family friends, professors, mentors, instructors, even the philosophers; we still don’t register the fact that they may be right. Unfortunately, in our case, we have to learn for ourselves. Although you do think that we would listen to people who have been dead for over a thousand years, I digress.

This week amidst midterms, sickness, and simply madness I took a step back and realized that I had to be happier; not just for myself, but for my health. Being stressed and upset is simply exhausting! A few weeks ago my siblings began the #100DaysofHappy Instagram challenge, so I decided to join them. Little did I know, this step would change my perspective on college.

The second you begin finding happiness in one small aspect of your day, you being finding it everywhere. For example, when your accounting teacher lets you out of class 20 minutes early that causes happiness. When you walk back from class and see a small rainbow in the blue sky that is happiness. When you run into a good friend and laugh until your side hurts, that is happiness.

Overall, no matter how hard and complicated your life is it is impossible to not find something that made you happy in that 24 hours. So today my friends, as it may rain down on your face (both literally and figuratively) rise above and see the happiness creep in through your window.

There is always a rainbow on the other side, I promise.

G xx

Note: If you feel so inclined you can follow my happiness journey on Instagram by following @happy_gracie

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Rocks

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This weekend was one that I really will never forget. It’s funny because it seems as though you need to be in either the extreme high or extreme low to realize what you have in your life. I never thought that twenty-four hours can have that much of an affect on you, but clearly I was wrong.

I learned a metaphor that I haven’t quite shaken since hearing it. While discussing the transition from high school to college and how hard it is to find those great friends that you are so used to, one of leaders said: Imagine that you are playing in your sandbox and you are using a sand filter, and there is a lot of sand that filters through before the rocks stay. For every rock there must be 100 pieces of sand. (I don’t know if that’s exactly how she put it, but that is how I interpreted it) The same thing happens when we are building relationships. Sometimes we get lucky and the rocks are there after seconds of filtering the sand, other times it takes a little more time.

It is irrational to think that the second we arrive at a new destination everything is going to fall into place. At the same time, we have to realize how far we have come in such a short period of time. Someone gave me a great piece of advice. He told me to keep your head up, and find joy in the little things.

Whenever you need a good escape, get out of your comfort zone like I did this weekend. In order to feel comfortable you have to be uncomfortable at first. You will meet friends, learn new games, and undoubtedly get sage advice. Perhaps that’s all the advice we need to hear sometimes, to keep smiling and keep remembering how much you have changed.

G xx

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Moon River

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Every now and then little arrows point you in the right direction, to something small that makes a big difference in your day.

Today, as I was walking back from class I was contemplating going to the library or going to my dorm to relax before a tutoring session. Of course, I went with the latter. As I opened Netflix, Breakfast at Tiffany’s jumped out to me. Just while the taxi came on the screen my favorite song started playing and I realized why I was lead to this moment.

When I was younger, my dad used to sing us a song to fall asleep. He would tuck us in, sit on one of our beds, and start singing Moon River. As I get older, that song reminds me of the times when I could be or do anything. It also epitomizes the fact that even though I may not be under the same roof as my sisters and my dad we are still after the same rainbows end, as cheesy as that may sound.

I don’t know why certain things happen in life. I can’t answer for all the weird coincidences but I do know that everything happens for a reason. So, watching an hour and a half long movie where in every great moment they play my favorite song is something that I am supposed to be doing on an average Tuesday night.

Look around every now and then to realize all the small opportunities that is put on your path. You never know where it might lead. Tonight, take a look up at the stars and realize that the same moon you see is shining bright into the eyes of the girl on the other side of the world. (that’s for you evie xo)

G xx

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He For She

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Today as I was scrolling through the Internet I stumbled upon an article about Emma Watson. If you have been on Facebook recently you probably would have seen her name on the top of the trending topics. Normally, if I found an article that I know everyone read I wouldn’t write about it but since the topic is something I so important to me I decided it was acceptable.

Feminism is a word that makes me (and others) cringe when talked about in society today. I have read every book about the topic including New York Times Best Sellers Lean In, #GirlBoss, Bossypants, and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?; to name a few. Everything that these powerful women are trying to prove is a cause they shouldn’t have to fight for. And as much as I hate to admit it, I wear the label of feminist.

Although these books vary in humor, they all are pointing towards the same conclusion. These authors, comedians, actresses, businesswomen, and writers look at the facts in our society today. Woman are not treated the same as men are in the sense of having equal opportunities. Similarly, men do not have as much emotional autonomy as woman do.

During a UN speech, Emma Watson pondered the questions “If not me then who? If not now then when? These questions, although simple are not easy to answer. We often assume that other people are going to do the dirty work for us. If the problem is universal why do we have to take care of finding a solution?

Instead of focusing on empowering women to stand up for themselves, Emma invited the men. She explained, “I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.” The word feminist is perceived as woman being portrayed as masculine, but what is the word we use for men who are going through sensitive issues? There is none.

More than that, Emma wants men to fight “so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves”. These causes have never been brought up in a debate before. Why is that?

This week the UN introduced a new campaign: He For She. This campaign does not wish to simply talk about improving the well being of humans, they strive to fix the problem before it is too late.

While taking a closer look at this topic, it is clear how pertinent inequality is in our lives; being either a male or a female. Today as I went through my normal activities, I took a step back and realized the minor distinctions for men and woman to live simultaneously in this big wide world; just in the little normal antics that we have become used to in our lives.

As you took time to read this post, I ask this of you: take a moment of your day and watch the speech that Emma gave and make one small goal for yourself to help push past this setback. Do it not for yourself, but for the future generations. It starts with one person, and maybe today it starts with you.

G xx

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Music In Your Bones

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Its funny how sometimes music can make you feel nothing, and other times it can make you feel everything at once. Some people define music as notes and words forming into a song but for me, it is all about the harmony; that second of perfect agreement between two notes.

My favorite quote about music is written by Benjamin Britten who states “It is cruel, you know, that music should be so beautiful. It has the beauty of loneliness of pain: of strength and freedom. The beauty of disappointment and never-satisfied love. The cruel beauty of nature and everlasting beauty of monotony.”

One of the classes that I am taking this semester is The Math of Music. What I’ve realized through taking the class is sometimes; the most beautiful music is silence. I find the beauty in silence. Whenever I preform on stage, or go to a concert my favorite moment is the millisecond of silence separating the last chord and the first clap. The small period of time which holds your heart out in the open before putting it back together again.

Preforming music makes you vulnerable, that is a fact. But what we don’t realize is that listening causes the same sensations. Today, as I was talking to my friend Hailey, we started talking about what we do to help numb the gloom. We both agreed that listening to music helps but she went on to say that when she listens to music she feels as though it can make you the happiest person or the saddest person in the world but in reality it’s ultimately your choice to choose how you want to feel.

Whatever you are going through, whether it be big or small, remember that it is your decision to be happy. All it takes is one conscious effort to be the bigger and better person; the happier person. Then maybe, the next time you hear silence you’ll start singing along.

G xx

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Wanderlust

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When people ask me where I see myself in ten years I don’t have a good answer. I just tell them that I want to be happy, as lame as that sounds. I don’t care how much money I have or the type of apartment that I am living in. I just want to be happy.

I have always been in love with traveling. I often say I am in love with the idea of not knowing who I am going to be when I arrive at a destination. I have a list of ambitions that I would like to accomplish before I die. I keep them in the corner of my journal titled “Wanderlust”.

Part of my wanderlust ambitions entails traveling the world. I want to see all the edges of the earth. Walk with the elephants in Tanzania, meditate in the Himalayas, fall in love in Paris, get lost in a vineyard in Italy, walk the great wall of china, sun bathe in Australia, jump off a cliff in Greece, learn how to dance the waltz in a ballroom in Russia, you get the picture.

Every now and then I meet people who make me want to be this spontaneous. Who show me that I can do anything in this big ole world as long as I trust myself. It’s amazing how fearless you become when someone believes in you. It’s magical.

No matter who you are, where you come from, or how confident you are in yourself somehow you stumbled upon this post. Written by a little bliss-obsessed girl who is looking to jump into the deep end of wanderlust. You are good enough, you are strong enough, and at the end of the day if it makes you happy screw what anyone else thinks. (Pardon my French)

We choose how to live our lives, and I guess that makes it harder. So be happy. Smile. Find bliss in everything you encounter. Fall in love with people you’ve never met and places you’ve never been. You never know when someday suddenly turns into today.

G xx

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Never Forget

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It’s a day that you will never forget; one that causes a pause when written on the top corner of a page. You think of those 2,977 people who aren’t able to write the date and gasp before shaking the thought and getting on with your day.

You may read the newspaper, watch a program, or maybe even say a prayer. For some you may be one of those who are affected directly, and for that I am deeply sorry.

No matter who you are, how old you are, and where you live you should remember that day. Remember the tragedy, anxiety, stress, and sadness. Because soon it’s going to just be a date on a calendar; but it will never be for us those who saw the attack.

As expected, there are lots of posts on social media today. From love ones mourning, bystanders watching, and everyone in between. One in particular caught my eye. It was a story about a man who worked in one of the towers. He bought a new pair of shoes and decided that it was the perfect day to wear them. Unfortunately, even before he got to work they gave him a blister. He quickly ran to the drug store to buy some Band-Aids. That is why he is alive today.

There is a reason why every moment happens for a reason. I know we fight it and don’t understand it. You forget that wherever you are is where you are supposed to be. Today, as we find ourselves reflecting take a minute to think about the 2,977 people who are not with us today. Find one small way to make the world a better place, something that they would have done and above all be thankful for the experience to live another day in this beautiful world.

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Time to Shine

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Everyone starts with a blank page, and it is our job to throw the paint on it. There are different layers and patterns we can choose from, or we can just close our eyes and let it go. We have the power and the responsibility to be anyone that we want in this world. We can create a name for ourselves that we never even knew existed.

Someone once told me that none of us are truly afraid of the dark; we’re scared of what it hides from us. We are afraid of that fact that something right before our eyes can have the potential to hurt us, and we won’t be able to register it. What we don’t realize, however, is that even in the light the dark shines through.

Great people do things before they’re ready. When they look back and reflect they realize second they listened to their instincts everything fell into place. Often when we choose to make a life altering decision, we don’t think about it for a while (although to others it may seem like we are) the decision was made the minute the offer was on the table.

Being adventurous, daring, dreamful, fun, loving, inspirational is part of what makes us human. We see the small opening on the corner and we run with it. Because everything we want in this world is on the other side of fear. We learn to alter our anxieties and turn them into passions. Take our dreams and make them a reality. Above all, we become the go-getters that we had inside of us all this time but were too afraid to show.

Layer by layer, moment by moment, something inside of us slowly creeps out. Our subconscious knows what is on the other side of the horizon; so why can’t we trust ourselves? Intuition is the only thing that separates us from pure bliss.

It’s time to be alive, learn from your mistakes, and fall in love with the world and everything it has to offer.

Gxx