Solid Threads opened a second Sneaky Boutique location back where it all began in Hoboken, NJ (located at 252 1st St). The serendipitous nature and timing of this return (almost 7 years to the day since we closed our previous store following Hurricane Sandy), got me thinking about all I've learned the past 7 years, through this sojourn of self discovery of sorts.
Leaning into the inevitable fear and doubt inherent to the unknown, and expanding our capacity for this intermediary discomfort is the only way we change. Learning to hold our ground through uncertainty, while re-evaluating and reintegrating our fears and doubts, we begin to open up doors within ourselves, and in so doing, we transform into something more than we previously thought possible. The tremors that shake the world start within the space of a quiet soul. A quiet soul is found in the embrace of the unknown.
Chasing after some end goal, or desire, while making our self worth dependent on whether or not it is attained, will never lead to contentment. Acceptance of ourselves, as we stand here and now, in flux, with all our fears, doubts, and insecurities in full display, grounds us in the moment. Future struggles to come, and all the pain and strife that led us to this point, start to converge into a soft, seasoned, presence, with time and practice.
After Sandy, I took a relatively dramatic leap, closing my successful retail location, selling my home, breaking up a long term relationship, packing up all my belongings into a Uhaul, and heading out in search of meaning. I always had this misconception that diving into the deep end of another pool, was the ONLY was to find happiness. Partly due to the grandiosity of this misconception, it felt like I was never able to make enough change happen to satiate this deep seeded longing. Until the dramatic dislodging of the hurricanes forced me into the deep end, literally. As I've come to find my ground again, and re-implement almost all of what I left behind, I've learned that small, consistent steps towards our dreams, taking a class, writing in the morning, walking in the woods once a week, is more than enough for seeds of unimaginable transformation to be planted
By returning to my roots, and re-emerging in the square mile city that birthed and nurtured my business, I couldn’t help but compare the pros and cons of these two separate versions of my existences. The FOMO complex of our human nature took center stage. Delving further into the juxtaposition of these two worlds, New York City to small(ish) New England town living, the pace, priorities, diversity, and options are dramatically different. Along with the fact that I can somehow now grow facial hair. But underneath these overt differences, it was the similarities and seamlessness within me, and within us all, in each of these unique places and times that surprised me most. (Pictured Above: A redesign of Grandma's old bar, after all but the top and legs were destroyed by the storm. Steve Hadeka, the maestro at Pleasant Ranch brought my vision into reality.)
This is a big one. Growing up in the affluent suburbs outside the wealthiest city in the world, I've struggled with this misconception throughout my life. But anyone, anywhere, particularly now with the internet, gets inundated with this same message of artificial bliss, overtaken by outward comparisons our minds make without our conscious consent. This is not to say, that purpose driven pursuits cannot lead to financial reward, nor that following your heart and making good money cannot coexist. I've found this to be the opposite in my experience. But if money making is the driving force behind your undertaking, and you are defined by how much of it you have, contentment will always remain just outside your grasp. (Pictured Above: My first sale in the NEW Hoboken Shop! The driver delivering my custom shelves picked up a "Feels Good To Taco Bout It" Tee and said it was gonna pop with his new kicks.
Alignment to the truth within ourselves and our ability to fluidly act on its behalf, is how we become free. This begins with a mining process, turning over the cold, hard soil in ourselves, to expose the gems lying in wait beneath our feet. Our most tender, vulnerable, areas contain our strongest, most precious attributes. Through daily, active participation in this opening process, our fears and doubts become the fertilizer of wisdom. In order for our core negative beliefs to alchemize into healthy nutrients, we must dig into and discover what subconsciously holds us back.
Some of my tools in this trade have been therapy, daily journaling, reading, and yoga/meditation. As this truth is revealed, we can practice cultivating healthy boundaries to protect and nurture it. Over time, truth and boundaries slowly and miraculously erode the subconscious blocks that hold us back from our dreams, and we are freed to revel in our divinity. Meet Lester Loving (Pictured Above) and learn more about our universal underpinnings here.
When I first started Solid Threads, way back in 2001, it was under the (false) pretense that I would one day attain ever lasting bliss, by inventing or creating something, to free me from responsibility, ushering in a permanent vacation. What I didn't realize at the time, was that hidden underneath this false pretense of "attaining" leisure... I was actually seeking acceptance, connection, and purpose. Ironically (it seems), I was also seeking this so called freedom by running myself into the ground.
I wrongly believed, that if I was not grinding and pushing myself beyond my emotional, mental, and physical limits, than I was not really progressing. That I somehow could never be successful, UNLESS I was suffering enough to justify this "success." Through this circular process of disengaging from the (over)work(ing), only to now re-engage, along with years of learning this new awareness and integrating consistent self care practices (including leisure!), I'm slowly discovering what true success can look like. It's a never ending, back and forth process. Re-opening this second remote location, has tested every one of my old pitfalls. Disentangling the pursuit of leisure from the fulfillment of freedom, and the need to suffer in order to find success, is opening up brand new worlds of potential... slowly and with practice.
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