NYC's Unwritten Rules of Foot Traffic

posted on: March 29, 2016

Have you ever felt like a New Yorker was angry with you but you had no clue what you did to warrant that treatment?  You probably broke one of the unwritten rules.  Eventually you learn what those rules are by breaking them enough times, but if you live here long enough, you can easily forget that these rules aren't understood by everyone, which then puts you into the category of an angry New Yorker who gets pissed off at people don't know the unwritten rules.  Here's a quick and easy guide to help prevent getting run over or scoffed at by a New Yorker...

Love is: carrying your kid's backpack and holding their hand to cross the street.   #loveis #nyc #greenwichvillage #eastvillage #loveit #gooddad #luckykid #observingstrangers

New York's Unwritten Rules of Foot Traffic:

1. Walk on the Right Side of the Sidewalk
We treat sidewalks like streets for feet in NYC and since we don't drive on the left side of the street, we also don't walk on the left side of the sidewalk, unless we're passing someone who's moving too slowly on the right.

2. Speed Walking IS Normal Walking
New Yorkers are almost always in a hurry during the day going from meeting to meeting, and if it's after dark, they're in a hurry to get home.  If you're not speed walking, you might as well be obstructing the sidewalk because now we have to find a way to pass you on the sidewalk without getting hit by an oncoming speed walker.

3. Never Stop in the Middle of a Sidewalk, Street, Staircase, or Doorway
You could actually be seriously injured if you don't abide by this unwritten rule.  Because we're in such a hurry and we expect everyone to follow the unwritten rules, there's a potential to be accidentally pushed, shoved, or knocked over if you choose to stop in a place where people expect you to keep moving.  If you MUST stop to look at your phone, map, or anything else, find the nearest wall or pillar and plant yourself against it, OUT of the stream of moving foot traffic.

4. Stand to the Right on Escalators
If a New Yorker is in a hurry, they expect to be able to walk up the left side on an escalator with room for two.  Much like passing you on the sidewalk, they expect people will be standing on the right and making room for those in more of a hurry on the left.  That means keeping your shopping bags in front of you to make room as well.  If you stand on the left side of an escalator and someone yells at you- it's going to be your fault because you were inconsiderate of those who are in more of a rush than you are.

5. Let People Out Before You Go In
This is a general rule of thumb for occupancy reasons, but especially important when subway doors open or there's major foot traffic in and out of a building.  Always let people come outside before you head inside, besides, it makes you look really nice and friendly when you hold a door open and let someone else out first.  Don't expect a New Yorker to hold a door for you, though, they may not even see you there.

6. Always Make Room for Others on Sidewalks
You want to stand next to your friends to talk to them while you're walking together, but if you're on a 2 person sidewalk, and that means taking up the entire sidewalk together- you're creating a hazard that forces other people to go into the street or to just stop in front of you because you decided to hog the sidewalk.

7. Beware of Bicyclists
Despite the bike traffic rules that are often ignored and dismissed by bikers, as a pedestrian, you have the ability to stop faster than they do at full speed, and you will inevitably encounter bicyclists going the wrong way on a One Way street.  Always look BOTH ways before crossing a street, no matter what the traffic sign says, and keep an eye out for bicycles, not just cars.

8. Obey Crosswalks
Just because a New York resident looks to be dashing across an intersection at a red light, doesn't mean it's a good idea for a visitor.  Visitors are often on sensory overload in the city and tend to miss the subtle things an experienced New Yorker is highly attuned to when dashing across red lights.  This is one case where it's not wise to follow the lead of a local.

Managing Change - Gratitude Journal

posted on: March 21, 2016

I've talked about managing change A LOT over the last couple years.  Change is difficult, complicated, messy, and stressful- especially when it's a change we feel is "forced" upon us from an outside source, which is why it so often feels easier to stay in familiar patterns.  Even when we're choosing change for ourselves, there are still the mishaps and accidents that come with learning how to do things differently.  It confronts hard-wired habits with deeply grooved expectations for how things are "supposed to go" and asks us to go "off-road" into unknown terrain in the dark.

An interstellar lobby experience. #art #interiordesign #space #jupiter #interstellar #design #architecture #nyc #greenwichvillage #manhattan

I decided I needed to gather all of my interviews and posts around managing change into one place so that it would be easier to reference for anyone who's going through something big and is worried about what's on the other side.  Almost all of the fear that comes with change is about the unknowns.  One thing I've discovered is that:

The "fear of change" is actually harder than making real changes.

Fear of change creates static frustration because it traps our forward moving energy that wants change into a backlash of doubt that creates a little tornado which can sometimes do more damage than just making the transition.  Change is usually on our horizon because our energy wants to move in a different direction for growth but when our mind or body resist that forward momentum, we create this internal friction of frustration.  This friction causes stress, illness, and disease (dis-ease) in the body because we are fearful that change might mean a complete abandonment of everything that we've known and come to trust.  In reality, it's just a process of letting go of what no longer serves us, and finding new things that serve us better.  We must be willing to trust that by letting go of one thing, we free a hand to grasp something much better.

Once we've fully accepted the path of change and transition, we can more easily start moving in action with much less resistance or friction.  If we approach changes in our life as opportunities for growth and learning without any attachment to an outcome of success or failure, we find ourselves able to expand in ways that can't be conceived of if we are attached to a singular outcome.  It's also important to approach change as a temporary process and as something that can happen gradually, it doesn't have to be all or nothing right away.

The jobs and problems of tomorrow are not even being taught in the colleges of today.  We can only teach others based on what we as a society have previously experienced, proven, measured, or understood so far, but in order to evolve, we must be willing to move beyond what has already been understood in order to enter deeper into areas that are full of unknowns.  Evolution and innovation requires risk takers, experimenters, and adventurers who are curious and not afraid of these unknowns.

My hope is that through sharing my various experiences of taking risks and having them work out for the better... that you, or someone you know, can more fully step into that place of not knowing what's next and trusting that it's for the best....

Stories of Shift: I choose this:

TEDx Talk: What Would You Attempt If You Knew You Could Not Fail?

Starting Over In New Markets:

Anne Ruthmann on Fast Track Coaching with Dane Sanders from Dane Sanders on Vimeo.

My evolution as a professional photographer:

Fresh Rag: Business wisdom after 10 years in photography:

Tips for Managing Transitions:

Letting Go of Expectations:

Not Knowing What You Want To Be When You Grow Up:

Deciding To Take A Sabbatical From Business:

Ways I've Saved My Business & Life:

Ways to Recover from Business Burnout:

Embracing Depression:

I'm grateful that my experiences have allowed me to share so much in places where it can help others.  Are there any changes you're work through right now?  What's helping you move more easily through those transitions?

My Reiki Journey - Part 4 Observing Outside Energy

posted on: March 13, 2016

Once I felt like I had mastered my own energy better, and had a better sense of what was and wasn't "mine", it became easier to recognize when things happening in my body were coming from an outside influence.  This is truly the most challenging part of energy work- really recognizing and understanding what energy is originating from within or just visiting during certain circumstances.
(Did you already read Part 3 - Managing My Own Energy?)

The big question that everyone asks about Reiki is "HOW does it work?!"

"I'm invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me..." Glenn Ligon Inv#0201

While science doesn't have a definitive answer to this question yet, I think the answer lies somewhere in the research behind these kinds of questions...
At a scientific level, we know that these things are observable, measurable, and related even though we still do not understand exactly "why" or "how" they happen.  This is a lot like Reiki- we can observe certain changes in bio-energy over time, but I can't tell you exactly why those shifts happened or what exactly caused the movement.

There are forces unseen, like the wind, a fragrance, sweltering heat, or an electric shock, which affect our lives and shape them in ways we cannot control. #believe

It wasn't until I started doing Distance Reiki while studying Reiki 2 that I really started to experience the many different ways we can be energetically linked, and what kind of information can be transferred during those energetic exchanges.  Likewise, the amount and type of information I receive can be as varied and unique as the person I'm working with.

With hands-on Reiki, most of the sensations and information I receive tend to be physical in nature: heat, pulsing, density, pressure, coldness, tingling, pain, etc.  When I work hand-off in the energetic field or with Distance Reiki, I tend to get more mental impressions like images, colors, elements, phrases, words, or even a song that seems to be unique to the person I'm working on.  Many Reiki practitioners adopt a practice of silence and not mentioning the sensations they experience, because often the next question might be "what does that mean?"  Usually those are the questions that clients need to continue investigating on their own, because the answer is somewhere in their own body or lived experiences.

Life is not a matter of choosing the right door.  It is a matter of living with whatever door we have chosen and making the most of it. #randomthoughts

Unfortunately, energetic sensations don't come with reasons attached.  I don't know "why" someone's left knee feels like it's on fire, and they might not even know why, but if we both sense an unusual level of heat, than we both know that "something" is happening there.  Experiences and feelings can be deceptive as well because we may not experience the same sensations.  There have been times when a client experienced a lot of energetic movement in the form of tingling, while I felt nothing, and vice versa.  What we do know, is that Reiki is "working" for the highest good of the client, even when we don't exactly understand what's happening.  Just as scientists still don't understand exactly how gravity works, but it doesn't mean that gravity isn't working or is any less a force of nature.

... Have you ever stepped into a place and felt a "bad vibe" even though everything looked beautiful and perfectly fine on the surface?  Have you ever had a "gut feeling" about someone that you didn't have any explanation for?  Do you trust those feelings or do you write them off?

(Continue to My Reiki Journey Part 5: Reiki 1 Case Studies)

My Reiki Journey - Part 3 Managing My Own Energy

posted on: March 6, 2016

Once Reiki training helped me better manage my own energy and energetic sensitivity, it became much easier for me to distinguish between what energy was actually mine and when I was sensing something from other people.  It's all so confusing at first, because the way energetic sensitivity works (in my body) is that I feel things happening inside my own body even when they have nothing to do with my condition.  So, until we have a very firm grasp on what energy originates in our body and what is actually affecting our body from the outside - it can feel like all energies happening inside our body also completely originate from us.  (Curious about Part 1 & Part 2 of My Reiki Journey?)

Hills of Paso Robles

For someone who is energetically sensitive, "all the feels" can be happening "all the time."  All the icky feelings, all the romantic feelings, all the hurtful feelings, all the health feelings- it's all there, all the time.  Just learning how to manage our own "feels" is hard enough.  Learning how to separate our internal feelings from outside feelings that might find their way inside our body is an entirely different task that's much easier to accomplish after we've learned how to better master our own feelings and health choices.  I do not say that lightly, because this journey hasn't been short or easy by any means.  It didn't happen after one meditation or reiki class.  It has been a lifelong process of learning, experimenting, failing, and trying over again in order to get closer to a place of recognizing and repairing my own "holes" so that I can personally better understand that feeling of being "whole".

Here's a common example of how outside energy can get inside and affect us- and I think most people who have driven a car can identify with the transference of energy in this situation...
You're at a stoplight and someone honks their horn incessantly behind you.  It's a red light, no turn on red, and you can't legally make any moves.  You're stuck and they're stuck, yet they keep laying on their horn out of frustration.  Up until this point, you were perfectly happy going about your normal day.  However, after you hear their blaring horn, you now feel upset and agitated by the person behind you.  Suddenly, instead of happily going about your day, you're now feeling anger and frustration at the sound of their horn, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with you and the situation isn't one you can change. Sound familiar?  Now think about how someone's anger at home or on TV might affect you as well.  We are surrounded by opportunities to be "affected" by outside energy, and living in a bubble isn't a sustainable option, so we need strategies to manage it all.

Before I understood how to manage my own energy better - I would take on that outside energy and get mad and upset at the inconsiderate person who was triggering me.  It might take me a good hour or more to shake off that feeling and get back to my happy place.  Other people that I rode in cars with would take that reaction to another level by flipping the person off out the window, or speeding out of the stoplight in anger, or any other number of angered reactions- all of which were triggered by someone else's problems that we couldn't do anything about.  We weren't yet self-aware enough to realize that we had the ability to not react and not spread the anger onto others.

Prickly pear cactus as natural fencing and food for the mission

Now, rather than taking on that destructive energy and multiplying it back out into the world, I might shake my head and feel sorry for the person who is spewing their problems on everyone around them.  They are literally making the world around them a more hateful and hurtful place.  So now, rather than stepping into that energy and participating in that anger, I choose to consciously step back and remember that someone else's problems do not necessitate an action or reaction from me.  At first, this is not easy AT ALL- it takes a LOT of practice before it becomes natural to separate the mind-body reaction and make it a choice to not respond to energetic triggers and emotional projections.

To a naturally empathetic person, it may seem cold and uncaring to let someone else's problems go by without joining them in those feelings (or in that cloud of energy which may have actually traveled from much further before them), but over time it becomes easier to hold a place of compassion for someone else's anger, hurt, sadness, or frustration, without actually internalizing it and multiplying it through our own feelings and reactions.  It's also important to recognize that there is nothing "wrong" with having negative feelings in the first place- those feelings are great energetic lessons about where we may be stuck ourselves or need healing in our lives.  If we ignore negative feelings, and we ignore facing them as energetic lessons, we are also ignoring the opportunities we have to heal ourselves.
The commitment to growth, whether it be personally, in relationships with others, or professionally, takes a lot of courage.  Growth requires you to be fully honest with yourself and others, insists that you face your own darkness and fears, and grounds y

Reiki is just one of many things that has helped me master holding that space for someone else without taking it on personally.  Now that I've experienced many different solutions for dealing with "all the feels", I know which ones are most effective for different purposes in my body.  Here's a little breakdown of practices that regularly help me master all of the feelings I can sense from others, as well as understanding my own energy better:

  • Meditation - helps me find my mental/emotional balancing point of peace and gives me a centered mental place to return to, which helps me with a lot of mind-body connections and flight/fight responses
  • Tapping (EFT) - helps me deal with sudden surges of anxiety and fearful thought patterns that seem to come out of nowhere and get in the way of returning to my emotional center
  • Yoga - helps me release tension, stress, and worry that accumulate in various areas of my body, and it tunes me into exactly what feelings I physically store in certain parts of my body
  • Reiki self-care - helps restore my vitality and stamina in a way that feels twice as rejuvenating as taking a nap, and just as centering as meditation.  I also use Reiki to help me with pain relief in certain nerve, organ, and joint centers of the body that aren't as easily reached with yoga.  After Reiki self-care, I feel more energetically protected in a way that allows me to enter situations I previously would have avoided due to my sensitivity.

Do I do all of these practices every day?  No way.  That would be a bit of overkill for my daily routine.  I use the "take as needed" approach.  Also, please remember that I'm not a medical doctor and this isn't to be taken as medical advice.  I am only one example of sharing my story and what works well for me and my body.

If my muscles are stiff - I know I need to make time for Yoga.  If I'm feeling mentally unfocused and scattered, I know I need to make time to Meditate.  If I'm feeling energetically exhausted and drained, I know I need to make time for Reiki.  If none of these practices are helping me, I know it's time to seek outside medical help.

Every day is a chance to write a new chapter and change your plot line.

After I started doing Reiki self-care daily, I found that I was using meditation and tapping much less than before I practiced Reiki regularly.  The more I practiced Reiki (along with every other healthy habit I could incorporate into my life), the less I felt energetically off-balance or triggered by negative energy around me.  Reiki has become like a type of energetic forcefield to help me better manage living in a hyper-energetic environment like New York City.  Thank goodness I already had some meditation and yoga practice under my belt before I got here- because this city can be relentless and consuming.

If I haven't done Reiki in a while, I usually begin to notice certain destructive feelings and triggers creeping back into my body in unexpected ways.  This city is overflowing with all kinds of energetic triggers, and I've learned that a lack of self-care can do some serious damage to a highly sensitive person living here.  Even with all the work I've done on myself, I'm still human.  I don't have solutions for everything - but I'm always willing to keep learning, exploring, practicing.

.... Do you have a regular practice of emotional, mental, and physical self-care?  What helps you better manage your feelings and reactions to the people and situations around you?

(Next.... My Reiki Journey Part 4: Observing Outside Energy

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