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Two New Zealand Star Experiences That Drove My Love For Astronomy

Bright. Plentiful. Stars are just everywhere. Unfortunately, growing up in New York City meant that I really didn’t get to see all the stars that exist in our night sky. The highest I ever counted was about nine from my dining room window, though I am pretty sure that five of those ‘stars’ were actually airplanes because stars don’t usually blink red and white right near John F. Kennedy Airport, right? No, no they don’t.

Living in New Zealand, though, that number went from “nine” to nine-hundred (and quite possibly to nine-thousand) fairly quickly. I felt comfortable with the first one hundred, but the more they appeared at night, the more scared I started to become. I had, what you would call “astraphobia,” the fear of stars and space. And the feeling was real. It was like I was a cavewoman and someone lit a torch in front of me for the first time. You can’t process it. You feel threatened. You feel like you don’t know what to believe. Camping in the middle of farmlands and mountains and being surrounded by pitch dark and little lights in the sky was just scary. Read more

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Brave Series: Exploring New Zealand’s ‘White Island’– an ACTIVE marine volcano

According to Maori legend, White Island was formed when Maui first came in contact with fire, holding it in his hand, feeling the intense burn, diving deep into the sea and letting it go. What resulted was ‘White Island,’ New Zealand’s active marine volcano.

James Cook first saw it in 1769, it last erupted in 2001, and it rises about 1600 meters from the seafloor.  As scary as it sounds, there are actually tours that take you out there for the opportunity to experience it yourself. In an effort to overcome fear and give in to my curiosity and intrigue, we booked a tour to the mighty, natural formation. That’s right, we voluntarily went on an active volcano and into its inner crater– and it was cray.

I can honestly say that I’m not the same person I was when I last left New York City earlier this year, already. We all grow and development is natural, sure. But, I can tell you this: New Zealand has put my love of nature and understanding/intrigue natural disasters on a whole different different level.

Volcanoes are scary, yeah? Especially if they are active. But that fear inside of me, is a fire of its own, driven by a cloud of bravery that peeks over, dodging the flames and wanting to experience and understand more of the world’s offerings.

We booked a trip with White Island Tours and I honestly couldn’t sleep the two days beforehand; I was shaking in my bed sheets, worried that I was surely going to die.

I remember eating my last meal the night before: pad thai. And I remember putting on my shoes one last time that morning: hiking boots. Sure, it seems silly to some, but don’t we all go through things like this?

We checked-in around 9am that morning and departed Whakatane on a boat; destination: White Island. We passed rivers, islands, marine wildlife and, 80 minutes later, we saw her. I turned for a quick photo, thinking: “Gosh, I’m okay with just cruising, do we really need to land?” Fear was present, but there was no turning back.

We were handed life vests, hard hats and a gas mask. Anchored just a few meters away from the volcano, we got into a little inflatable raft and landed on the beach. Read more

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9 Ways to Help Ease Anxiety on Long Flights

Seeing the world is a beautiful experience and I vowed to myself, even when I suddenly became afraid of flying from my first panic attack years ago, that the fear and anxiety would never stop me from exploring this beautiful, blue planet of ours. With some self-work and self-education, I was able to overcome my fear of flying and started with small 2-hour flights and grew to our most recent (total) 24-hour flight to New Zealand! Yay!

The key is to try new things and feel yourself out, all while moving forward. Throughout the years, I’ve experimented with ways to help soothe my nerves while in the skies and have found my own recipe for the tried-and-true. Check out my must-list below and don’t forget to comment what you think/your own ways of coping in the skies!
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Tony Robbins UPW: How It Changed My Limiting Beliefs & Life

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CONFRONTING MY LIMITING BELIEFS:
Post Tony Robbins’ UPW seminar, things seemed pretty clear to me. I mean, talk about immersion; you were non-stop working on you, day after day, four days straight. Forget eating and sleeping. You didn’t really need that. The energy was all in you and you alone. I opened up to total strangers who became some amazing friends. Those amazing friends, in turn, opened up to me about some things they were going through. It didn’t matter where we were from, what the color of our skin was, or if English was our first language or not: at the core of it all, we were humans with emotions and our own set of goals (remember, there were 42 different countries represented in one arena!).

It showed me that, as a community of support, we rise; we are all here to help each other on this earth. We can all learn from each other. Overall, the seminar taught me that we all need to listen to our most inner desires, pivot our mentality to “can-do” and go after what we were seeking for a more positive, true and meaningful life.

Remember that deep exercise I shared in my previous post that we did, where Tony made you think about something that was a limiting belief and how it would affect you up to forty years from now? Well, to share with you candidly, my limiting belief was Read more

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Tony Robbins UPW: I walked on fire– literally.

personal growth

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THE SEMINAR:
If you read the previous post about who Tony Robbins is and how his Unleash the Power Within seminar came into my life, then you’re all caught up for this next post that goes into what I experienced — and what you would, too, if you go!

The seminar is about four days in length at around thirteen hours on average per day.

Day one of registration was filled with a super long line outside of the Prudential Center. Hundreds of people all ready to get inside and start. I remember walking in, passing security and seeing everyone high-five each other left and right as I made my way over to the check-in table. As I signed in, the volunteer handed me my packet filled with Tony’s latest book, a workbook and some goodies. As soon as he let go of the bag —I will never forget this— he smiled at me and said:

“Great! You’re all set! Now walk through those doors and make a right. Oh, and remember, as soon as you walk through those doors, life will never be the same again.”

I looked at him puzzled, but thanked him, smiling back and proceeded to walk through the door. They asked me to grab a button that would set the intention for the day. Amongst a whole wall of pins, I knew which one stood out to me the most: brave. I grabbed it and proceeded to find a seat.

And there I was, walking into the Prudential Center arena, to join 39,999 other people from around the world (42 different countries represented) for an event I don’t think many expected. Seats were all getting filled quickly. Music started to blast like it was a club. “Where am I? What am I doing here, alone?” is what I thought; I found my way to a seat and gave out a giant “GULP.” Here we go. Read more