September 9, 2017

The End Of Summer + An American Dream

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in the Upper West Side with tears in my eyes as I write this post to all of you. I know you haven’t heard from me for a while and I also know it’s for a good reason. I have been asking myself a question for about a year now, that I am still searching for an answer to. Or at least an answer that doesn’t have me questioning everything I thought I believed in.  I have been asking myself, “when did self-help become so selfish?”

I know this isn’t going to be the most popular or sweet conversation I have ever started with you guys, but it’s one I can’t ignore anymore.  The summer has ended, there are storms killing homes and people all over the world and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) has ended with 800,000 children facing a level of upheaval and trauma we can’t even imagine.  So what does that have to do with the self-help industry? Honestly, EVERYTHING.

Although I know that there are true healers doing good and many of them are my peers and close friends, there are way too many self-help leaders doing nothing.  Well, not nothing. They are making their smoothies and doing their downward dogs and posting about their fabulous retreats with no desire or intention to ever get messy and face the pain and trauma that is surrounding them and affecting the lives of their followers. It’s truly shocking to witness and leaves me confused on a daily basis. Mostly because I get it on SO many levels.  

We have been trained and conditioned to believe that we must come first in order for all to be right with the world. That our OWN happiness, health and abundance is the most important thing because if we don’t have it we won’t be able to make an impact on the planet and do what we were meant to.  After dealing with a debilitating autoimmune disease for the past 26 years of my life, I would be a total liar if I said that this wasn’t true. It IS!  But where does self-help and self-focus stop and the true SERVICE begin?  

I want all of us to drink our green juice, take our supplements and go volunteer or call a friend that’s struggling to let them know you love them, foster a dog – there is no shortage of people or causes who need us.  Now that we have spent so much time getting that vibrant glow, sourcing the best ingredients for our breakfast and sleeping on all organic sheets – what are we going to do with all of that privilege and well-being?

This blog is not about politics, I will be the first to admit that I am probably the least educated person around our actual political structures and intricacies. This is about HUMANITY.  You can be red, white, brown, blue, green, it just doesn’t matter.  What does matter is stepping outside of our Instagram feeds and daily comforts long enough to help someone.

And if I sound like I am yelling – it’s because I am! If we don’t scream and shout to wake up now, then when will we?

I also know how easy it can be to feel like things are so intense and horrific right now that we have no idea what we could possibly do to help.  I used to feel that way all the time and I still do many days.  But then, I step outside of my own life and focus on someone else’s.  Even just one small daily action is better than getting sucked in the overwhelm and ignoring it all together.  Below I have listed a few ways to help and stay informed about some of what is going on. Some of these resources are based on my own political beliefs so take them or leave them as you wish. There’s no judgement here on how you help, I just want you to know it’s time to.

Volunteer. There are a million organizations where you can do this but I have found the app DEED to be super helpful. It’s free and you can basically pick volunteer opportunities based on your availability.  I have done a bunch of career counseling for underprivileged youth and the choices vary from that to meal service and dog walking for people who are too sick to walk their dogs.

Follow my friend Michael Skolnik on Twitter. He’s the real deal and gives daily, effective action steps for people to take.  You can also sign-up for his newsletter with action steps here.  

Foster or adopt a dog.  I have fostered with the organization Friends With Four Paws and they are incredible. They are always looking for help and donations and recently posted about dogs from Texas who needed relief after hurricane Harvey.

Follow The Women’s March on Twitter. They also give daily action steps and post about rallies for resistance that you can attend, as well as who to call when we need to take action with our government.

Sing Your Heart Out. If you’re a singer in the NYC area and want to join the Revival Resistance Chorus with me, let me know! We sing for peace, justice and hope. It’s incredibly humbling to be a part of it.

There are so many more I couldn’t possibly list them all, but this is where I go to step outside of my own suffering and focus on helping with someone else’s.

Also, I know that the people who follow me on Instagram and on this blog are some of the most beautiful, inspiring and kind souls I have ever encountered.  I am hoping that by sharing my process and the questions of my life right now it will let you know that you are not alone and give you permission to make your own rules and own the magnificence of what you’re truly here to give.  It would mean the world to me to  hear how you have been finding ways to serve in the comments below, as nothing is too small and we all need ideas! I love you so much it’s ridiculous.

PS – The picture I used for this post is of my brother and I with my parents. I am the proud daughter of immigrant parents and I would be nowhere without their courage and sacrifice.

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Comments

  • Taffra

    Yes! Thank you for speaking out!

    • Nitika

      Thank you for the support, I appreciate it! xx

  • awo

    YES YES YES to all of this Nitika! I completely agree! I am so SHOCKED and sad by the amount of healers, yoga teachers, coaches, therapists etc who have said NOTHING during these turbulent times. I do understand everyone is doing the best they can, but I refuse to support or buy anything from anyone who hasn’t said anything yet. We don’t have the time or privilege to sit around and do nothing. . As some point, doing nothing means you are contributing to the problem. Point blank. Thank you for sharing this and sharing resources on how we can get involved. Stay beautiful! xo <3 🙂

    • Nitika

      I am so glad it resonated with you! Just trying to help those who want to take action, take it. Sending you so much love and grateful to have been on this journey with you for so long now Awo!! xxx

  • Blair Badenhop

    This is BEAUTIFUL!

    It’s so funny you write about this, because I have been tossing around the same thought in my head — when did we all get so selfish and self-serving? It’s as if we’ve turned all care and love inward and now have a hard time sharing it outwardly.

    I am so on the same page with you about all of this. I was in touch with Dress for Success in August about volunteering and this is such a great reminder to go do it ASAP. Anyway, I love you so much. All of the resources are so helpful.

    • Nitika

      Thanks so much Blair!! I really appreciate the support and glad to know this was helpful. Means the world! Love you xx

  • Stacy London

    Incredible post, Nitty. You hit the nail on the head. I use to talk about the middle ground between SELFLESS and SELFISH IS SELFNESS – the intersection between taking care of oneself and taking care of others. Your words do not fall on deaf ears in times like these and your commitment to help your friends, fans, and followers find the highest expression of themselves through self-love AND service is made very clear here. What a loving soul you are and what a huge heart you have. ❤️

    • Nitika

      You are such an inspiration to me Stacy!!! Thank you for taking the time to comment here, you’re generosity and friendship have filled my heart so much over this last year and I am so grateful for you. Love you lots!! xx

  • Rebecca Casciano

    Beautiful article, Nitika! Thank you for all the many ways you serve the planet! Your words and actions are appreciated and needed. ❤️

    • Nitika

      Thank you so much Rebecca!! Your comment means a lot and I am sending you all my love, as always!! xx

  • Cassandra

    Yes yes yes ! Love this post lady. So important to talk about and remind people that we meditate and drink the green juice or whatever else that we can be of service in the world around us! That’s the whole point love you xo

    • Nitika

      Aww Cass thank you!! And yes that is exactly the point. Love you!! xxx

  • Eliana

    Powerful and necessary! I feel this way sometimes about people in my industry as well, as if we’re too isolated in the ivory tower of tech (or of the bay/silicon valley where natural disasters aren’t happening now, but could!) to speak up about issues that matter and do things to actually help. It feels a bit dirty and inauthentic to be in spaces where we know everyone or the majority of folks are aware of what’s going on, and yet we don’t talk about things because they’re too political or sad. I’m really glad you shared this and the delicate balance between taking care of ourselves and being too self-service. I’m sure many people appreciate this 🙂 and love the pic/caption about it!!

    • Nitika

      Omg totally Eliana!! It’s not just in the wellness industry and I think it’s so powerful to shed light on that. Thank you so much for speaking up in all the ways you have too, it’s such a pleasure to be on this journey with you!! lots of love!! xx

  • Kim Weiler

    Beautiful & authentic post Nitika! It really was impactful & made me take a look at my own selfishness – thank you for that! ❤️

    • Nitika

      I so appreciate it – thanks Kim!! Sending you so much love <3 xxx

  • Adina

    You’re so spot on and you’ve verbalized it so well. Lately, I’ve been feeling disheartened by the lack of response and the complete oblivion to everything that been going on in this world by so many people. I’ve been witnessing with dismay and sadness spiritual people, who talk about self-love/self-compassion never going beyond themselves and expanding the love and compassion in action out into the world. I am so grateful you brought this up and I appreciate your courage. And, I’m applaude you for going beyond yourself and reaching out into the world.

    I’m just curious about one thing, regarding the use of Suu Kyi’s quote, especially given the context of your post. I’ve wrangled within myself about writing about this since reading your post yesterday and I am wondering whether you aware of the ethnic cleansing that is going on in Myanmar right now and Suu Kyi being complicit in it. The likes of Dalai Lama, Malala and Desmond Tutu have called her out on her role in the targeted attack on an ethnic minority in Myanmar. She used to be one of my sheroes, but the more I learn about what is happening and her role, I can no longer hold her in the same esteem I used to. And, to me it seems so contradictory to quote her in the context of DACA where a minority group is being targeted, when Suu Kyi is essentially doing the same. Thank you for reading and thank you for doing what you do.

    • Nitika

      Oh my goodness – Adina! Your comment is exactly why I wanted to write this post. First off, what you have been feeling disheartened by, I have too. So I couldn’t be silent any longer and I am so proud to know it resonated with you. Second, I had NO idea about the controversy and ethnic cleansing going on. None! this is why it is so important to speak up, learn, be open and grow together. I am going to research everything you brought up so that I am informed and I am actually going to remove that quote as a result. DEEP bow to you, beauty. I truly appreciate you showing me more of the TRUTH. Lot’s of love xxx <3

  • Betsy

    Thanks so much for this post Nitika! Sometimes I just get so overwhelmed by all the pain and suffering there is in the world and I become paralyzed on what to do and how best to help. I get so bogged down with the day to day that I just zone out in my free time by watching tv or doing something else to avoid reality. Thank you for sharing these action steps-it helps provide a place where I can start doing acts of service.

    • Nitika

      I am SO thrilled that this was helpful Betsy! I completely get the desire to numb with TV – I do the same and more often than I would like to. It’s about awareness and baby steps. Just realizing that is a huge thing. Sending you so much love on your journey!! xxx

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