What to do when the universe puts you in a box.

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Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash

I have flown through Beijing airport twice in my life. The first time, I was traveling with my sister and we had one of maybe five total fights that we’ve ever had.

The second time, I found myself unceremoniously trapped in a glass box.

I was flying direct from Beijing to Washington DC, heading home after a 1.5 year stint in China. The flight was fourteen hours and I was hell-bent on getting an aisle seat. With not a single ticket agent to be found in the small layover…


How to listen to your inner guidance

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Photo by Caleb Jones on Unsplash

Cathy Heller, author, and creator of the podcast “Don’t Keep Your Day Job,” begins each episode by saying, “the opposite of depression is not happiness. The opposite of depression is purpose.”

Ah yes, purpose. The ever-elusive sense of purpose.

I went to the podcast website and took the free “passion finder quiz.”

Apparently, I am an investigator.

While this information is nothing new to me, I have often found with typing quizzes that they try their best to put my skills and talents into a particular box.

The truth is that finding your…


Money is meant to give you more freedom, not less.

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Photo: Dino Reichmuth/Unsplash

I landed my first job out of college teaching middle school Spanish. Woefully underprepared, I went in with nothing but an open-heart and an unlimited supply of energy.

I remember when they told me my salary: $35,000 per year.

They might as well have said I won a million dollars.

On my first day, I drove to school, beyond nervous, in the same forest green, ’95 Honda Civic, that my parents bought me in high school.

I don’t remember much about that first day, other than the thrill of day one as an official adult.

I told a friend that…


And how to not feel like a failure.

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Photo by Garidy Sanders on Unsplash

I spent a good portion of my life feeling like a failure.

After college, I was horrified to discover that after all of my training, hard work, and preparation for the workforce, I was wholly unfulfilled by it.

By most accounts, I am not a failure. I have a good job, I have traveled the world, I have grown tremendously as a person, and I am in a good place financially — although there’s always room for improvement.

And yet after all of this life and work experience, at age 35 I looked around and still found myself largely unsatisfied…


He only knows his own

Image of the yellow lines at the center of a long, empty road with mountains on either side.
Image of the yellow lines at the center of a long, empty road with mountains on either side.
Photo by Frederik Löwer on Unsplash

“The path to success is to take massive, determined action.” -Tony Robbins.

This may be true in his case, but this is not my path and it may not be yours either.

And that is totally okay.

Take coaches with a grain of salt.

According to Forbes, the coaching industry is worth approximately $2 billion and growing rapidly. There are so many “gurus” out there pedaling the keys to success and a life of wealth, freedom, happiness, and abundance.

Please know that many of them are full of it.

This is not to say that the coaching model has no value, it…


Hulu’s Pen15 is a sensory journey down memory lane.

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Photo by Joanna Nix-Walkup on Unsplash

Every Sunday as a child we would go to my grandmother’s house for dinner.

Walking into her house, the specific and comforting smell of her homemade spaghetti and meatballs would be the first to greet us at the door.

Now, on the rare occasion that I encounter this exact smell, I am taken on a brief vacation to my past. It is not a memory, but rather, a sensory experience. I can feel the inexplicably-crunchy, green shag carpet under my bare feet. …


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Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

The other day I was working from home as many of us are these days. My desk has a beautiful view of trees and lush grass and shrubs. My view at work is of a brick wall.

At around noon I looked out and saw a deer ambling along just outside my window, slowly munching on some flowers, (yes, annoying because those flowers were put there intentionally, but I’m practicing forgiveness).

I watched her for a while and after she finished snacking, she simply sat down on the ground and took a break. I watched her there for hours, relaxing…


I am not a fan of guns.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Having grown up in a liberal, progressive household, I was surprised to learn that my dad has recently taken up guns. Being the calm, peaceful man I know my dad to be, this news came as a bit of a shock.

I told him that guns freaked me out and his response was to invite me to come to the shooting league with him. I said I would check it out, but would certainly NOT be shooting any guns.

The day came and we drove thirty minutes into rural Maryland.

On the way…


And other things I learned from joining a cult.

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Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

I was in my twenties when I joined a cult.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a cult per se.

It was more like a large group of people devoting a lot of time and money to a charismatic, spiritual leader with the promise of prosperity and happiness.

Ok, maybe it was a cult.

Either way, I’m grateful because I learned a lot from it.

I discovered this spiritual community at a time in my life when I felt completely lost.

I had just returned from two years living a dream life in Barcelona, where my main job was to party, hang…


And yes, we do all have a choice.

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Walking into Safeway at 6:30 this morning was surreal. It was dark outside and my headlights were on. The parking lot was nearly full and carts were strewn about the pavement. As I entered the store, I saw a sign pleading with customers to avoid shopping between the hours of 7 and 9am, as this is the time they are doing their best to stock the store.

I felt a little icky walking in at 6:30, knowing I would likely be adding to the disruption. …

Alexandra Rizzi

Practicing authenticarian. I write about life, money and spirituality.

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