That’s Hungarian for delicious, and that was my Saturday night — enjoying Hungarian pastries including Dobos Torta, a nine-layer confection made with alternating layers of sponge cake and chocolate butter-cream and topped with hard caramel, and Beigli, a nut pastry made with layers of super-fine dough and filled with poppy seeds (makos).
I was at the Hungarian Pastry Shop in NYC, right across the street from Saint John the Divine Cathedral at Amsterdam and 110th, with my friend Zoltan, who is Hungarian, speaks the language fluently, taught me some new words, and shared Budapest stories. I’d told him I wanted to try something new, was up for adventure, and he delivered.
While we visited I sipped Hungarian coffee, sweet and flavored with almond and topped with whipped cream. The shop ambiance was Old World and bustling — the small square tables pushed together, full to overflowing with people, the walls lined with quaint paintings, the bottomless pot of coffee flowing (they offer free refills).
I Love Adventure!
I am always up for adventure. Earlier in the day I’d tried a new vegan restaurant in Jersey City with another friend. I ordered the tuna veggie protein, imitation fish, on top of salad. It was delicious. Stephan tried the vegan pepper steak.
The night before, I’d been out dancing to a live band. My friend Gordon Webster just released a CD, Happy When I’m With You, and the band was swinging hard. The hall on the 2nd floor of Sal Anthony’s restaurant on Mulberry Street in Little Italy was packed with dancers.
Just for fun, I wore a silver sequined mini-skirt over black leggings, and a top decorated with rhinestones, and disco ball earrings. I was essentially a walking disco ball myself.
Breaking Promises to Myself
So my weekend was a ball, in terms of new adventures. And it was also challenging, in terms of my dreams.
I’d dedicated Sunday afternoon to working on my book and to cleaning house, and instead lay down to read and ended up napping for hours.
I woke up completely discouraged. I’d broken my promise to myself.
Am I ever going to live this dream? Am I ever going to change all the things I profess to want to change in my life?
I was filled with all kinds of swirling, unproductive thoughts about my unworthiness.
Ain’t No Fun To Feel Despair!
I recognize this stream of thought. It’s a form of despair, getting caught in the thoughts about not being good enough in one way or another, and feeling badly.
I’ll admit I sometimes want to just wrap despair around me like a blanket, hide from the world and take comfort from the fact that she asks nothing of me. She can be seductive, and oddly comforting. If you give into despair, you do not have to do anything.
But she also leaves you with nothing. Despair is like a bad one-night stand – a flash of guilty pleasure, and then nothing left but the guilt.
Back on Fire!
And the fire in me always re-ignites itself quickly – the spirit is too strong. I have never been able to stay down for long.
And really, to put things in perspective, all I did was take a nap.
Today I got back on track, worked on the book, wrote a few more pages.
I headed to the gym to work out and clear my head. And while on the treadmill, I read a great article in Yoga magazine about starting over. This is my new practice.
3 Tips to Make Dreams Come True by Practicing Starting Over
1. Meditation teacher Phillip Moffitt advises that you start over this way:
“So how do you practice starting over? You shift your attention away from controlling the outcome, and you abandon the usual reactions to getting off track (criticizing, judging, complaining and lamenting).
“You don’t deny your thoughts and feelings, and you don’t try to make them go away. Instead, you acknowledge them without making any judgments about them but with compassion for how difficult this moment is.
“You then follow the acknowledgments with what I call the ‘and’ practice, in which you say to yourself, ‘Yes, I just got lost, and now I’ll just start over.’”
“Your goals matter because they give direction to your life, but your actual life happens in the endless stream of moments that occur between now and when, if ever, you reach your goal. Because you focus on the journey and not the goal, you find the willpower and the inspiration to start over.”
I love the simplicity of this. Yes, I got lost in my negative thoughts. Yes, I broke my promise to myself to work on the book on Sunday. Yes, I felt badly about this. Yet rather than just spiral further into my thoughts, I’ll just acknowledge this — and start over.
2. Remember to breathe and forgive yourself.
Some authors have spent 10 years publishing their novels–even longer. I can quit being so hard on myself for letting time get in the way. Which of us has never fallen down or felt discouraged along the path at times? I haven’t met that person yet. I think there is something incredibly courageous about simply saying — yes, I’ve fallen, and yes from here I will start over.
3. Understand that change is a process in itself.
Change is like the ebb and flow of the ocean against a rocky shore. Making your dreams come true requires change and change can have a time and flow all of its own. There will be many stops and starts as you work on your dream. You may even change direction several times before you are on the right dream path for you. Understand that it is just a part of the change process.
Hope you can find the strength within yourself to start over whenever you feel that you have fallen behind on making your dreams come true.
Join me in trying this on as a new practice this week.
Lisa Powell graham