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About Me

About Me

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Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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How I Cope with My Negativity

Posted on April 6th, 2016

I pouted, pleaded, whined, and argued, but nothing was getting me into the meditation chamber.

The middle-aged Indian man with a formidable mustache and topaz eyes, the guardian of Auroville’s famous Matrimandir and my current adversary, was not budging.

“You can come back on Tuesday morning between 10 and 11am and book an appointment. Now please step aside.”

Tears burned in my eyes and my cheeks flushed as I realized a line of other yogis, hippies, and those truly holier than me had overheard the petty conflict over the literal location of where my concentration on becoming a better person was supposed to take place.

I was in the wrong. To access one of India’s most unique and, in my opinion, powerful places of meditation, there were some basic rules to follow. But I was trying to talk my way out of those rules, essentially declaring myself to be above everyone else and worthy of a huge exception. I became angry and defensive when I wasn’t granted that exception, when someone had the audacity to put me in my rightful place alongside everybody else.

And I desperately didn’t want to be an “everybody else.”

I ached with the kind of acute self-hatred that can only arise from an equally acute self-awareness, questioning why was someone like me in Auroville anyway. To contaminate a community of people so much farther ahead in this practice of spiritual awakening than I was? How could I be such a hypocrite?

I always tell myself that nothing is good or bad, just opportunities to learn. As it turns out, it took me experiencing the utter lunacy of arguing over access to a meditation chamber to realize I had some issues with how I used negativity in my life. And the more I thought about it, I realized I’m not the only one.

For many of us, negativity is a tool of manipulation wielded by an unconscious belief that this negativity will somehow change the unpleasant circumstances we face. We think the universe will yield to us in our angry, hurt, fearful, agitated states, that it will feel pity for us and make things just a little bit easier. Deep down, it’s about pride, stubbornness, and control, a gross superiority complex that declares: I should always be able to win, no matter how ugly I get.

I had no idea my relationship with negativity had become so perverse.

But mistakes make things clearer, and what I’m learning from repeatedly falling into these bouts of frustration, anger, irritation, backlash, revenge, complaining, pettiness, misery, and fear is how to eliminate them. How to recognize that emotions such as these do not actually exist. They have no physical form in the body. I create them and then I become possessed by them. How crazy is that? We think other people cause us to feel negative, but it’s our own internal reaction to things happening outside of us (things that don’t happen to align with what we want since we’re the center of our own universe, another perversion).

We’re the perpetrator and the victim.

Because I know I’m the first and primary victim of my own negativity, and because I know feelings of negativity don’t actually exist, the only way to eliminate them is to…simply drop them. In the same way I would if I accidentally picked up a hot coal.

This is the beauty of moment-to-moment awareness. We may allow ourselves to be angry in one moment, but we are literally reborn into a new consciousness in the following moment and we can forget we were ever angry, because that was from a past moment. If we’re experiencing negativity, it means we’re dragging the past into each new, beautiful present moment, and it must stop. It’s as simple as that.

When I don’t feel capable enough to drop it, or I forget to drop it and I’m wallowing in self-generated negativity, I follow the wise recommendations of Eckhart Tolle: I forgive myself. Because only when we can be at peace with not being at peace can we transform. So I accept that I’m not at peace in the moment, and by virtue of that, I eliminate additional self-hatred that comes from being angry at the fact that I’m being angry. And I get better.

And I begin to realize the truth of the situation like the one I faced in Auroville that day. I look back and see a gentle Indian man who simply had a job to do in a community founded on the principle of human unity, who probably felt bad for the bratty American girl who was being negative because she unconsciously wanted to be told, in one way or another, that she was special, deserving, and loved. He knew that negativity is fundamentally just fear, and she was afraid.

Funny enough, she already is special, deserving, and loved, as are all of us, and she can work to overcome her instinctive reactions, misuse of negativity, and clinging to false pride and sense of self. She can choose her feelings, thoughts, actions, and reactions, and make her way in the world using love, compassion, humility, and empathy alone. She’s just still learning.

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About Me

About Me

IMG_5937

Hi, I’m Elaina and I want to help you live life on your terms, find a career you love, and travel as often as you want. 

 

I’ve lived, worked, and traveled to more than 60 countries, including some pretty off-the-beaten path destinations like Mongolia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Paraguay. I’ve also lived out of a suitcase as a full-time nomad for the past 4.5 years, ever since leaving my management consulting gig in New York back in 2013 when I landed an international role at a media company that sent me all over the world to work. You can read my full story here

 

What makes my story unique is that I’ve traveled AND built a professional career, working for companies like IBM and Uber over the years. I’ve also spent long stretches of time freelancing and traveling adventurously through South America, Asia, and Africa. I’m currently freelance writing, coaching professionals through career transitions, and working on a few small business ideas while splitting my time between Berlin, the US, and India. 

 

I write about self-development, digital nomadism, charting unconventional life paths, finding REAL jobs overseas, pursuing long-term travel, and living more purposefully in a fast-paced, confusing world. There’s simply no one-size-fits-all model for creating a life you love. I’m not a full-time digital nomad and I’m not a full-time corporate professional: I’ve done things a bit differently and I think it’s feasible for more people to live “off the beaten path” this way. I hope my blog lets you see that it’s both possible and practical.  

 

I started this blog because I want to help you find an exciting career, travel the world, break the norms, and develop yourself both personally and professionally. Read on or get in touch to set up a 1:1 session with me: elaina@lifebefore30.com.

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Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

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Currently in: Malawi

 

 

Previously in: Berlin

 

img_6015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Hot

Recent Posts

Coaching

Coaching

Step into my office!

 

Five years ago, I changed my whole life in 30 days. I scored the job of my dreams, quit my job in New York, sold everything I owned, moved to West Africa, and never looked back. Read about it here.

 

Now I use Office Hours to help my clients do the same.

 

Do you want to travel but are scared to quit your job?

Do you want to find a job overseas but don’t know where to start?

Do you wake up in the morning dreading what’s ahead?

Read more

Like Me on Facebook

Like Me On Facebook

Follow me on twitter

Follow me on twitter

Instagram

Elaina on Instagram