A hot shower, a toothbrush, a caffeinated beverage and business attire are typically the only things to touch my skin before 8am – and that is the way I like it. As the day drags on, it becomes gradually more difficult to avoid coming in contact with objects and people. I consider myself an outgoing introvert, who values companionship, but equally appreciates my alone time. There are days when I am mentally prepared to rub elbows with people I would not necessary choose as friends. However, there are other days when I would trade my left kidney for a seat in an empty subway car or for an Uber to rescue me from the sheer torture that is my New York City commute.
During the holidays, the streets are filled with eager shoppers and enthralled tourists that gawk at Christmas displays in department store windows, and serve as yet another obstacle between me and my office building. When I finally make it to work, the crowd on the elevator implies my fellow passengers believe it to be their last hope to escape an apocalypse.
Surely, if you make the conscious decision to move to NYC, you know what you are signing up for and thus, should be subjected to your inevitable fait of a claustrophobic existence – or should you?
Create Breadth With Breath
Breathing is important, both in yoga and other aspects of life. Learning to breath properly can help us control our central nervous system. It can calm us down if we are feeling overwhelmed or overcrowded. The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says breathing techniques can help us cure our anxiety, depression, and chronic illness.
If you are feeling trapped on a subway, an elevator, or a crowded street, why not meditate through the use breathing techniques. There is a common misconception that meditation must happen in a certain place, with a specific chant, or in a certain position. However, meditation can occur in any place that allows you to breath in order to create physical space as well as mental space for what you want to come into your life.
I have previously mentioned my obsession with my monthly Yogi Surprise subscription, where me and my fellow subscribers received a box full of yoga-related goodies on our doorsteps every 5th. In my November box, I received a life-changing book called “Breath Perception: A Daily Guide to Stress Relief, Mindfulness, and Inner Peace.” I highly recommend it, as it has changed my whole perception of breath and meditation. Another aspect of the book that I love is that it provides breathing techniques for specific situations, which makes it applicable to every day life.
Trapped With No Way Out
Three years ago, I was “stuck” in an intolerable living situation with two craigslist roommates that went very, very wrong. After two months of harassment and feeling like I could not leave my tiny bedroom, I was eager for us to go our separate ways. The stars seemed to align for me then, as two friends had an opening in their apartment at the same time I was planning to move out. Cutting ties with the old roommates was not as easy as I imagined, with arguments as juvenile as who would keep the communal blow-up mattress. I let them have what they wanted, in an effort to escape this feeling of entrapment – preferably in an amicable fashion.
Three years later, I am in a positive living situation and am happy to have escaped the drama of my brief Hell’s Kitchen home – or did I? When one of my roommates at my current residence recently moved out, the Con Edison bill was transferred to my name. When I opened the first bill since changing over the account, to my horror, I had a balance of $1,200. When I called, distressed, I was informed that while I had requested that my name and email address be removed from the old account when I left my previous apartment, my former roommates had kept the account open under my social security number, had not paid their bills, and allowed a hefty balance to pile up under my name.
To prove that I had not been at this residence for years, I spent weeks collecting cancelled checks and leases, clearly showing that I no longer lived at this address and had not received notifications that payments were due. To my dismay, my proof was denied, as it was suggested that I could have two residences. My parents were even able to find old email communications and a moving van receipt as evidence of my move. As I continued to call Con Ed, describing my plight, I began to feel somewhat hopeless.
Let There Be Light…At The End Of The Tunnel
With a notice of cancellation hanging over my head, I pleaded with the billing dispute operator to investigate this matter further and/or provide me with an extended amount of time prove my innocence. Perhaps it was an act of charitable holiday giving or maybe the stars were aligned once again — because Con Ed chose to clear my account balance yesterday – just in the knick of time.
When we are “stuck” in bad a situation, we should set out in hope of a resolution, but recognize that the outcome might not be what we planned. While ultimate success after a period of struggle can feel like a gift, the journey is often more significant than the destination. Going forward, I now know to take every precaution to protect my personal information, as we cannot control others’ actions; only our own. I am fortunate that I was able to not only keep my electricity, but also see the light.