This is a period of 10 days devoted to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) and a time for reflection and repentance. I often attend religious services and commemorate the holidays with friends. This year, however, I feel differently. I’m not feeling particularly spiritual or religious and intend to do the reflection in the company of a select few with whom I feel closest.


By Nina Rubin


“Not all who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkein

I recently took a trip across the country.

I had not been to Florida in many years and found the state to be beautiful, humid, green, lush and rainy, just as I remembered. Upon my return, I was chatting with a friend and I said jokingly, “I’m all over the map.”

He replied perfectly by reminding me that I’m a “world traveler who needs to seize the day, seize the moment and seize the adventure!”

He’s exactly right! One of the things I did while on the trip was visit the Pirate Museum in St. Augustine. Although pirates are notorious for being frightful, bad guys, I’ll give them credit for being adventurous, shrewd and confident—three qualities to which I always aspire. Pirates in the 17th Century seemed to seize opportunity at every turn, and made maps that helped them find land and treasures for their bounty.

Unlike a pirate, I’m not one to pillage treasures or set foot on land that doesn’t belong to me, and I don’t buy into the Macchiavellian philosophy that “the end justifies the means.” But, I do respond to the idea of seizing opportunity that will expand my world view.

In Judaism, Jews just celebrated the High Holidays and I’ve been evaluating my world view again.

This is a period of 10 days devoted to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur) and a time for reflection and repentance. I often attend religious services and commemorate the holidays with friends. This year, however, I feel differently. I’m not feeling particularly spiritual or religious and intend to do the reflection in the company of a select few with whom I feel closest.

Over the past two years, I’ve participated in an awesome project called 10Q, which was inspired by the traditional 10 days of reflection. The 10Q are 10 questions delivered to your email to help assist you in the reflection process. Long considered an opportunity to look at where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re heading, this period often serves as a quieter time for me. When I learned about 10Q, I was immediately hooked! 

While gearing up to write my first entry, I took a trip down memory lane and opened the vault of questions and answers. Re-reading the entries from previous years of 10Q was really interesting. I noticed my tone in 2013 was hopeful, if not a little superstitious about my then-relationship and what I was doing with my life.

I made reference to not wanting to jinx my relationship and held certain experiences dear to my heart. When I looked at how my life shifted from that September to the next one, I saw myself caught in vortex, without directional navigation to guide me. My tone in 2014 became flatter and I sounded worn out. It’s funny how a slice of life over 10 days can give me such insight into my emotional well-being.

The questions are an excellent opportunity to reflect and seal my thoughts in an electronic vault.

For anyone who has read even one of my blog posts, you’ll know that I welcome the chance to reflect and process experiences. Considering choices is something I love to do, whether it be from the rearview perspective or in the “now.”

As I think about September 2014 to the present, I’m faced with a series of ups and downs. One of the best things I’ve done is consistently write my blog. With over 30 posts, I’m proud of my accomplishment to stick to my word and write consistently. I’m also really happy about where I am with my Coaching practice. I didn’t feel as sure of myself last year and now, I’m much more comfortable with my profession.

I’m not where I want to be yet with The Gourmet Therapist Nut Butters, but the good news is that my labels are done and I’m planning to get my product on shelves this week!

A year ago, two of my dearest friends were taking a break from me and I felt despondent about that. I believe it was in direct relation to where I was in my romantic relationship. I wasn’t my true self. That relationship was complex and had far-reaching arms that touched so many areas of my life. The love was abundant, but the ethics were scarce, provoking major anxiety and secrecy on all levels. Without rehashing this again, I now know I’m in a better place emotionally and view my growth as a gift of freedom.

I’m looking at a map of my own world and navigating it the ways that work for me. This year, when I wrote my remaining answers for the 10Q, I expressed gratitude for the experiences I’ve had. I feel strong and powerful these days, even if I still occasionally have doubts or judge myself too harshly. Growth is definitely the theme for this year, and I’ve turned the difficulties into opportunities. I’ve also recently met someone new who is extremely courteous and pleasantly surprises me daily.

I’m keeping my heart and mind open to whatever comes my way.

The map of my life is full of rough seas as well as clearcut cardinal directions. I was negatively judging myself recently for not being certain about a few issues in my life, like my true purpose and some love quandaries. When reframing my story, I remember how wonderfully freeing it feels to “be all over the map.” I see more, experience different cultures and foods, and meet interesting people.

So for now, I’m proudly living all over the map!

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
~ J.R.R. Tolkein


PS. I highly recommend answering the 10Q. 


Photo: nosuchthing/tumblr

Editor: Dana Gornall


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Nina Rubin

Nina Rubin, M.A., is a native New Mexican living in Southern California. Coming from a long line of entrepreneurs, she runs her own Gestalt Life Coaching practice and is starting a food company called The Gourmet Therapist. Originally trained as a Gestalt Psychotherapist, Nina practices as a Gestalt Life Coach working relationally with clients in the present moment. Helping clients gain insight and awareness, identify their needs and create action plans to achieve their goals is her primary focus. An avid cook and baker, she is constantly trying new recipes and looks forward to hosting a breakfast pop-up restaurant. Having flirted with the idea of writing for many years, Nina writes for her blog, Afterdefeat. She is always trying something new or connecting with dear friends and can be found at Sunday meditation sanghas, yoga classes, playing scrabble, and hosting dinner parties. To learn more about working with her, visit Coaching by Nina Rubin.