Once upon all the time, something challenging happens, followed by something amazing...

Friday, January 6, 2017

I'm Having the Best Year EVERRRR!

Every year around this time I begin to look both backwards and forwards at once, and I somehow find myself feeling more aware of where I am now. Before the year ends I ask the same questions:

What have I done this year and what did I never manage to tick off my to do list?  

What do I want to do next year, and more importantly, how can I set myself up to actually do it?  

Last year I did this by going through my manifesting manifesto and starting the year off where I was, with the intention to bring in more of the goodness.  This year as I was taking inventory on the intense feelings brought up by 2016, I had a new thought... What if I made 2017 the best year ever?

Sounds pretty good, right?  I mean regardless of how last year was, having an even better one is always a great option.

So, what exactly does the best entail?

best: adjective ~ of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.

This year I commit to choosing all the things that are the most excellent, effective, or desirable for me. I am curating the most epic 365 days I can.  I will continuously choose the things that are the best for me and the greatest good of this epic planet.

Not sure why I've never thought of this before, but pretty sure it is the best idea ever! I will wake up every morning like it is my very first Christmas and I can't wait to see how many mermaid treasures Santa left me under my rainbow. And on the days I don't feel like that when my alarm goes off, I will do whatever feels best at that moment. 

I am actively choosing ALL of the best things I can (especially thoughts!)... Going to the places that make me the happiest. Spending time with the people I love doing things that make us laugh until it hurts. Making the most effective choices, even if they aren't the easiest. Taking care of my body by feeding it the most nourishing foods and working out so that it feels as excellent as it can. Using my fancy dishes… All. Year. Long. Wearing only my favorite clothes, even to bed. Putting a note in my car that says: "Reminder: Listening to Beyoncé > Road Rage.” (Just so we are all on the same page during the moments where traffic is the worst.) Paying attention to what I purchase and where it comes from to ensure it had the most desirable journey to me and came from a responsible place. Contributing to my community and supporting my tribe on the regular. Spending more time exploring and learning from this stunning earth we get to inhabit. Saying the nice things I feel inside about people, out loud to them, encouraging them, LOVING THEM.  Saying yes to love. (I love love. Love is the best.) 

And from moment to moment as the best changes? I will allow it to and say thank you as it keeps getting better. I figure, why not spend at least one entire year devoting my time to doing, being and becoming the very best in every way I can? Seriously, why not do all the very best things right now? What have I been waiting for? Who knows? Who cares? I am doing them NOW!

What about when something happens that isn't the most excellent, effective or desirable? In the moments that things feel shitty… I will make the best of shit. I will upgrade all of my silver linings to platinum. On my worst days, I will call in sick to work and wear my silky robe and order whatever I want from a delivery app, even though it costs more than it should when the place is next door, then I will eat it in bed while feeling whatever I need to feel to have the best, worst day ever. When I cry, I will allow myself to release the ugliest, deepest and most earth shattering sobs ever! Literally anytime something feels off, or unpleasant, I will do the best thing I can in that moment. I will honor it without identifying to it... And with that simple awareness it will already be better. 

Those challenges, setbacks and things that make me sad, mad or feel bad, will simply be a part of what is collectively the best year of my life and I will find the best ways of overcoming them. And the best part is - all of these things will eventually make me even better than my best! I mean, can I get a YAS QWEEN?! Will there be times that I will want to give up because this decision feels like the worst? I'm sure there will, but for this year, I will keep doing my best. 

There is a quote by Henry Ford that I often remind myself of: “Whether you think you can or you think you can't - you're right.” The mind is a powerful thing, and for this year mine is made up. I don't commit often. Contrary to popular belief it is not because I have a fear of it, but because I have a deep respect for it and when I do make a commitment I plan to honor it. I choose my choice. So when I say that I am going to do the best thing I can in each and every moment, you better believe I mean it whole heartedly!

My dearest 2017, thank you in advance. 7 has always been my favorite number, and 2+0+1+7= 10 which is the completion of a cycle and then 1+0 = 1, which is the beginning. Meaning it's even the best time to have the best year ever. (Look at this already being the best!) I look forward to living you up, embracing you and loving you more than I ever thought it was possible to love a year. 

This time next year, I very well may be looking back at you with a heart full of gratitude for how amazing you have been and also ahead to 2018, as I begin crafting my plan for whatever is bound to be even better than my best year. That's the best thing about the best, when put into action it becomes better. 
Better: verb ~ improve on or surpass 

So here's to making 2017 the best year ever. And getting even better, together.

All my best,

Silver Lining
"The best is yet to come, and won't that be fine. You think you've seen the sun, but you ain't seen it shine." - The Best Is Yet To Come lyrics by Carolyn Leigh

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

My Secret Angel

I was in Paris, feeling especially grateful as I walked amongst the most gorgeous churches in the world. People didn't need to know God to experience what he must be like through the majestic structures that towered before them. As I strolled the city streets, I too was in awe of the intricate details of these gorgeous labors of love. If only everything in life had been so eloquently created to result in as much awe inspiring beauty as these sacred structures, we might spend more time to stop and enjoy things. As I looked for my next cafe, I suddenly saw a church that called to me. I knew I needed to go pray there immediately.   

I walked inside, sat down and my heart instantly felt connected. As I looked up, trying to take in the overwhelming magnitude of this place I notice the stained glass windows in front of me. It took me a moment to make out through the colorful designs adorning them, but there were two candle shaped windows that housed a pink heart in between its two flames. I had never seen anything like it. The rest of the church looked so regal, so elegant... These shapes reminded me of stencils from a Lisa Frank set. They were so random, yet so perfect.  This church was obviously made for me. I wanted to pray, but I had no clue what to say. I decided to go old school and put some of the prayers I had learned during my Catholic School days to use. As I sat there and began to pray, I realized I had forgotten how. The countless Hail Marys and our fathers from my confessions of breaking my mothers plate when I took it out of the dishwasher and being mean to my brother had apparently finally been lost. I sat there defeated.  Tears welled up in my eyes. "Just help me." I pleaded. "Sil vous plais. Merci."    

However, as I continued to sit there trying to be open to any kind of miracle or any answer that would come solve the mystery of my life, I thought of my Nonna. My sweet Nonna who I hadn't seen in 4 years. My loving grandmother, Giuseppina who refused to let my mother name me after her because she hated the name. My Nonna who was about to turn 97. I thought of her often when visiting churches. In fact, I had lit candles in churches all over the world for her, but it now dawned on me that perhaps she had been lighting her own candles for me. It suddenly occurred to me that for every prayer I had said for her well being, for peace and joy to fill every fiber of her soul - she had said countless more for me.  I wondered if maybe it was the power of her prayers that had gotten me this far. How much of my life had been taken care of by the love that she sent me from a distance?    

Now I was crying. How had I never realized how important the role her prayers must have played in my life before?  I had the sudden epiphany that my Nonna had been consciously sending love into every detail of mine and my family's lives. Like those who created this massive church, she was helping us build our beautiful lives prayer by prayer leaving no detail out. I was 30... How had I just stopped to appreciate this? How come I had never learned Italian so I could call her and talk to her about all the things happening in her life?  How come I had never made more of an effort to go see her and let her know how special she was to me?  I knew exactly why. And it broke my heart. I had never been able to give her the gratitude or love I now longed to, because I was too busy worrying about myself. Praying for myself. Trying to figure out my life. I was too busy putting those things off until tomorrow or until they were more convenient.  It occurred to me that I had missed out on a lot of things in my life for this reason, perhaps especially taking the time to love.   

I picked myself up from the seat and walked over to the candles.  As I scrounged through my purse a heart sticker exactly like those in the stained glass stuck to my hand. It was from one of the young girls I had befriended in Nepal.  The girl who spoke no english, but played with me day after day and gestured our hearts together as I left.  More tears ran down my face.  I managed to pull together the last of my euros, which turned out to be 1.10€, and put them in the offering bin. I picked one of the long white candles from the box and with every bit of love and gratitude I could manage to spark within my heart, I lit the candle. I prayed for my Nonna. I gave thanks for my Nonna. And I asked God if there was anyway I could go ahead and cash in all those silly prayers I prayed for who knows what to happen to me, and send them all to this woman who had been my lifelong secret angel. To the woman who I was sure without me ever knowing until now, had managed to pray for me more than I had prayed for myself... And that was a lot.   

From now on I decided anytime I worried about something, felt the need to call to God for help, I would instead just send a thank you to my Nonna who had already made sure I was covered for life. And in that moment, I realized I had remembered how to pray.   

Silver Lining  
"You were there for me when I couldn't find myself, Opened a door for me when there seemed no way out, And you were there with me when I was too young to see bringing music through with your wisdom and peace." - Mystery Angel by Xavier Rudd

Monday, February 24, 2014

Treasure Hunt

had a whole blog written and ready to post yesterday evening... And then I had an hour long Skype session with my mom.  I won't get into all the details, but it basically included her in tears because I seemed so utterly lost in my blog posts.  
"The whole point is that there's a silver lining" I reminded her, "I'm trying to just write from where I am, and I guess I'm kind of documenting the process of going through this point in my life." 
"I know I just wish there was a little more happiness, some kind of a better ending.  You're a good writer, you just seem so... lost." She said through tears, "It just hurts my heart to see you like that." (Ugh, that hurt my heart!) 
"Well, I maybe am a bit lost.  I'm not sad, I'm just expressing what's happening and the things I'm learning as I go," and just to hype the happy part, " and there's always a silver lining (smile)!"
"It's not much of a silver lining.  I just think sometimes you don't need to be so deep about everything."
She had me there.  We hung up and I felt a bit... (I may as well just say it)... lost. 

So, I did what anyone in my situation with wifi would do: I googled it.  Anything can be found online these days... Even you when you're lost. So without further adieu, here is what I found during my Google search:

The first thing I did was research "what to do when you're lost." My, oh my are there lots of helpful articles out there these days! I can't believe I hadn't found my way there sooner! (get it? Because I was lost...) Here's a link to all the results if you're interested: https://www.google.com/#q=what+do+you+do+when+you're+lost

These are two of the things that stood out to me.
1. A #quote that sums up what most of the articles said: “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” ~Henry David Thoreau
2. One of the websites that catered to those literally lost in a place, advised: "Unless you are in immediate danger the most important thing you can do is help the searchers... Clues can provide positive identification of who you are and how to find you. "

What I took from this information was that when you're lost, you're supposed to understand yourself not find yourself. This is not the time to search for a way out, (unless you're in immediate danger!) it's the time to leave clues!  So your job is to get your understanding on, then use what you learn to leave clues for other people so they can find you.

So now what I needed were clues. Which means... I'd have to do some understanding to gather those. I first sought out an explanation of why the things I write appear so depressing to others, yet make me feel good. And came up with yet another #quote:

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it."- Anaïs Nin.
Well, check, check, check, to all of those things: a. obviously I'm breathing, because that's just a requirement. b. I cry out, and apparently make other people cry too. c. sing, umm, helllloooo, there's a song at the end of every post. Not sure if I get bonus points for having all three, but let's just say it seemed like a great clue.  Writing is a matter of heart for me... Which means I can't entirely control what I feel like venting about, I can only choose how many run-on sentences I write about those things.  It just feels good to express myself this way, our culture may have no use for it, but I do. And finishing a piece is my happy ending. So that's settled. 

Without even leaving the page I found my next deeply sought after piece of understanding via one of my all time favorite quotes:

"I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living."- Anaïs Nin.
Oh so true for me, in so many ways.  Trust me, I WISH I didn't think so deeply about everything sometimes. I make a conscious effort to watch Jimmy Fallon clips and not analyze the meaning behind the lyrics of EVERY song. (Sometimes, the guy just likes big butts and he cannot lie.)  However, my little mermaid mind cannot help but swim down deep to search for the answers to mostly everything.  I know this about myself and embrace it, because you can find some pretty cool creatures down deep, lots of fish are bottom dwellers. Plus swimming is said to be the best form of exercise, so there's that. 

And then there was the question of if I'm actually lost, because come to think of it, I may not have an exact direction I'm headed at the moment, but I'm okay with that.  And then came some understanding. 

"Not all those who wander are lost."- J.R.R. Tolkien 
I was pretty sure I was wandering.  In order to be lost you have to be looking for somewhere else, right?  I wasn't in search of any place, just happily exploring the many hidden alleys in sweet little towns I've never been to before.  I was looking at the options, seeing what was out there and just learning how to deal with things as they happened. I wasn't trapped, or in danger or afraid... So, pretty sure I'm a wanderer. 

And for my last bit of understanding I'd like to alter a pre-existing saying to make up my own #quote, because I feel that addendum could really come in handy.

"Wherever you go there you are, and wherever you were, there you aren't."- me
You see just because we were picked on, or the popular kid, or heartbroken or married or traveling through New Zealand at some point in our lives... Doesn't mean we are there anymore.  It may mean many of those things have contributed to the insight we have where we are now.  It could mean we still have the acne, ring, scars or amazing mix tapes that came alongside those things... But those days are gone.  We are no longer there.  We are here.  It is good for us, as well as our searchers, to remember that so they don't look in the wrong places and we don't get stuck heading backwards.  If we learned how to pitch a tent near the Mississippi River in girl scouts, we can use that lesson to pitch one anywhere, even here, we don't need to be there .  What I mean by that horrible analogy is that I may write based on where I've been, or even what I'm going through... But often, that's how I get through it. By the time the period lands after the last word (finally) completing a sentence, I've moved on to the next thing, hopefully with a lesson in the form of a silver lining, however un sunshiny it may be.  
With that, here are my clues...  
1. Being able to express something fully = happy ending
2. Swim deep, all the way down where it's easiest to get to the bottom of things
3.  Drowning is to scuba diving, what lost is to wandering 
4. I'm not there anymore, I'm here now. 

Now I'm gonna just go ahead and be really honest here. While finding myself, I lost track of time and almost missed my bus to Uluwatu.  So basically... By the time I found myself, I had to leave. In fact I almost missed out by looking so much, but luckily I made it.  By the time I got here I was exhausted, so I took a nap.  Now that I've reopened this, I'm no longer in the zone, and it doesn't feel as relevant as it did earlier... So I don't feel like going back through to tweak it or even finish it.  But that's the beautiful thing about creating for the sake of creating... When you feel done, you are. 

I will add one last thing though, for my mom and because it's the truth. 

Current status: Happy. The end. 

Silver Lining: 
"Because I'm happy, Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, Because I'm happy, Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, Because I'm happy, Clap along if you know what happiness is to you, Because I'm happy, Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do."- 'Happy'- Pharrell Williams

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Where the Green Grass Goes

Since I've been traveling it's baffling to me how many people have randomly messaged me: "I wish I were there right now!" or "I envy you for living the dream." The baffling part to them may be how many times I've thought the same thing about where they are, while sitting in paradise scrolling through my social media feeds.  I would like to share a dirty little secret that is perhaps also blindingly obvious... The grass is always greener when you look at the best patch of it filtered and cropped on Instagram.  

I was talking to a friend the other day when something came up about my trip and I mentioned to her that the grass is always greener.  She instantly came back at me with a stubborn sureness that there was no possible way her grass could be greener than mine. "Of course your grass is greener!" She informed me in hysterical laughter, "There's no way the grass isn't greener there." I wasn't in the mood to argue with her, and technically, yes the grass probably was greener here, so I just let it go... but that couldn't have been further from the truth.  

You see, I'd been traveling in between places both literally and figuratively.  Literally, I was traveling alone, so everyday I had to plan my route, food, lodging, transportation etc. Those of you who have done this know how time consuming it can be, and due to my open schedule, it became a daily necessity. Because it was so expensive in New Zealand and Australia, I ended up moving around more than I would've liked. I kept relocating cars to get cheaper rates, so I was constantly on the go from place to place.  Secondly, I had no clue what I wanted to do next.  My original plan was to move to Australia and work there, but after being on the road and having time to think, I began to question if that was what my heart truly wanted.  I didn't want to keep taking jobs because they were safe and I was afraid, I wanted to do something that I loved. So you see, ironically so many people that wanted to be where I was, were actually already there: in the field of confusion having an intense game of tug-o-war between their head and their heart.  And for those of you who have been lucky enough to avoid this place, the grass is pretty much destroyed.

Don't get me wrong, I had chosen to take this trip and was enjoying countless adventures and blessings along the way. I was truly grateful to have this opportunity and aware of what an amazing experience this was.  I share these things now not to complain, but rather to expose an honest truth about the reality of what I was often going through despite these things.  And to just put it all out there and be completely blunt, the humbling fact is that I was often times in a pit of despair where I felt painfully lonely and like I would never figure things out. #nofilter

Luckily, between my amazing friends, family and the relentless little optimist that lives in my soul, I always managed to find my way out, but I'd be lying if I told you I hadn't become a regular there. Another one of my friends, who always had a way of making even an actually horrible situation truly feel like a festive affair, reminded me when I had arrived in Bali, "You don't need to think about planning what you're gonna do next, you've done enough of that. You have plenty of options, that is all you need to know right now." I could feel her energetically grabbing me up from my slump through the phone as she smiled and continued on in her authentic giddiness, "Come on, there are fabulous pools there, pull out your ponytail and go jump in!" And the woman had a point! I mean what was I doing sulking over things that I didn't need to worry about yet, when I currently had my freedom, the time to enjoy it, and a beautiful pool waiting for me? 

Well I'll tell you what I was doing (past tense referring to 2 days ago). I was judging myself based on what everyone else was doing and letting things from my past consume my time.  It only took a wifi connection and fifteen minutes to see: bedroom sets people are selling to make way for baby, engagement announcements reading "I was beginning to think it would never happen to me, but finally at 24... I'm engaged!", people who were starting new and amazing projects, not to mention the probing message sent to me from an exes new girlfriend, and a play by play in pictures of all the epic things they were up to.  I would rate this travel activity negative 5 stars on Tripadvisor: avoid at all costs. Seeing everyone else who seemingly had it "figured out" while I didn't even know where I would sleep tomorrow made it tough not to wonder what the heck a 30 year old girl was even thinking taking this trip in the first place.

As so perfectly vented to me in divine timing, by the gal that I swear shares my brain: "I can't handle social media right now, I just really think that too much of it is not healthy for me.  I keep looking at all these pictures feeling worse and worse! It's like keeping up with the Jones on crack! I mean how am I ever supposed to live up to that? We're bombarded with the best of everyone's lives from their angles, with their filters, and what they want us to see.  Everyone's life looks so fucking wonderful and I can't even get out of bed in the morning."  And might I add that if you saw this chick's life on Instagram you would envy her and have some serious FOMO. (Fear Of Missing Out... Another condition that social media has given birth to)  

To make it clear, I have nothing against social media, that is how I've made a living the past 3 years.  I myself post many "Hey look at me I'm on vacation pics" at the request of my parents, inspiring quotes (#sorrynotsorry) and I'm sure if I'm ever fortunate enough to have a family of my own someday, I will saturate my timelines with every moment of that journey.  What I have found though, is that everyone else's highlights can easily become the scale against which we measure our very different circumstances.  It makes it harder to respect and enjoy our own incredible journey, when we're constantly fact checking it against everyone else's.  Especially because despite that our routes in life are all incredibly unique, so are the modes of transportation we use to travel them.  Some of us are traveling by boat and others by plane or train or helicopter, Segway, roller skates, roller coaster etc.  So, as you can gather, if you're on a boat headed through the pacific, wondering why that guy on the lawn mower in Texas has such green grass when you don't have any in sight... Well, perhaps you're on a cruise to paradise, and he's mowing his lawn on his day off.  The moral of the story is, we won't always know exactly what to expect where we're going until we get there, but we can't expect it to look like where everyone else is... We can only trust our that our divine travel guide has it all booked and our internal gps will help keep us on track towards our destination as we enjoy the ride. 

It is also helpful to realize how fantastic each of our journeys are in their own way, and that there are always gonna be some rough spots to get through!  There is a Corona add that so brilliantly uses the slogan "From where you'd rather be." alongside some gorgeous photo of the beach. Well, as I sat on an even more gorgeous beach, looking at it thinking, "Seriously, I wanna be there!"... Something hit me.  Often times, we wanna be far away from where we are to distance us from what we're feeling or going through.  However, those things I can assure you exist in moments, not locations, so they will end up with you until they have made their point, no matter how beautiful the beach is.  And those are the things that happen along the way to teach us to learn weather patterns and be aware of road conditions and and avoid drinking the water in certain places.  They are important because they grant us the wisdom, compassion and appreciation for the rest of our journey, wherever it may take us. 

And presently my journey consits of walking around by foot due to my fear of riding a scooter on the sketchy Bali roads, sitting in an adorable vegan cafe, laying on a cozy lounger drinking a green juice and writing this.  And after finally realizing how much time I've squandered away planning, and dreaming and comparing my other options, when I could've been in paradise, Ive decided to spend any future free time looking at the grassy options on my own map. Because regardless of what hidden places I'll learn about as I go or adventures that may happen along the way, I will get where I'm going next via what I choose to do here.  It's up to me to enjoy this journey with all it's quirks and tend to my own grass.  Big Sean raps it best in a Justin Bieber song: "The grass aint't always greener on the other side, it's green where you water it."  And let's not forget, it also gets greener after some rain.  Well, after having quite a bit of rain myself, and finally taking the time to notice how beautifully green and lush the grass here has become, I realize that there is nowhere else I would rather be spending my time... At least until the next boat arrives ;) 

Silver Lining: 
"Be here now, no other place to be, Or just sit there dreaming of how life would be, If we were somewhere better, Somewhere far away from all all worries, Well, here we are."- 'Be Here Now"~ Mason Jennings 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Let. It. Grow.

It must be said, because I have nothing else left to to say at this point, that I finally took action and now somehow I feel like I am being cruely punished.  Ok, so that's a little dramatic, but I feel uninspired, blank, blah, bland.  If I were a food I would be soggy white bread. I showed up ready for action again against all odds, but now I'm stuck with nothing to write, and even the things I am jotting down bore me.  I just keep writing junk, opening a new page, staring at butterflies, checking out yoga times, writing more garbage, closing out of the stupid thing I tried writing and opening another page, staring at grass etc. How can it be that just yesterday I felt unstoppable, inspired, ready to conquer the world, I even went to yoga twice and today I am left feeling empty and back to square one? 

The way I feel can best be described with a shopping analogy, (Hey, girl, hey): So you go shopping and you're broke, but you find so much cute stuff, and it's all in your size!  Shoes, and yoga pants and t-shirts galore... Oh, and the most gorgeous dress with the perfect cut in a style you've always wanted! There's just that one set back... You really can't afford it, (even though it is on clearance), so you hold off because you're a responsible adult.  Then you finally get some extra cash and you are ready to shop!  You go to 3 malls, 2 outlets and even that pricey boutique you don't usually let yourself step inside... And nothing!  Where did all the adorable flowy dresses that have been inhabiting your dreams suddenly go... In fact where did anything even mediocre go? You just wanted to buy something!  Why, people, why?!? You head home, empty handed, defeated and mad at yourself for not splurging when the stuff was there. Who were you kidding? The responsible adult stuff just doesn't work for you.  You'd rather be in debt then dressless.
Well, I have finally decided to show up ready to do my art and just shopped through every corner of my brain, and found nothing I want.

So now what?   Well, to start with you have to be doing something to get to this point, so remember to high five your frustrated self for that.  Then I guess you just keep going with that blahness anyways.  Fight through your judgement, ignore it and keep doing stuff.  Many times if we have an expectation or vision of what our ideas are supposed to look like it's tough letting that go. When what we are now feeling doesn't match that initial idea we tend to either give up completely or struggle to fit a circle into a now heart shaped hole. Maybe the key is to be aware of this and reassess our plan of action as things evolve along the way. For instance, today as soon as I stopped trying to write about issues that were no longer relevant to me in the moment, and rather just allow myself to start ranting about how horrible this disconnect felt, I instantly felt more connected, and wouldn't ya know I haven't looked up from writing this once!  

Does that mean the work itself is any better? Nope, not necessarily... But it feels better. And when I say "feels better" I don't necessarily mean 'happy sunshine' better.  I just mean sometimes it feels better to actually allow yourself to feel like total shit, than it does to struggle to get happy.  One of the things I've tried to live by, is that you cannot expect to be happy all the time, but you can do everything in your power to always put yourself in the position to be.  And sometimes that means letting yourself have an off day just to get it over with.  As the wise bumper sticker from 'Forest Gump' reminds us: "Shit happens." And when it does, we will feel how we feel eventually no matter how much we try to fight it.  So perhaps it is in our best interest to acknowledge and embrace our feelings as we feel them.  Shit happens, change happens... That's life. 

Things are always in constant flux... The world is spinning, flowers are blooming, stars are shooting, glaciers are melting, children are being born and and turning into teenagers who continue questioning life and so on.  Just like everything else, our creative ideas are subject to their own life cycle and need room to grow and evolve.  Let's say a 5 year old decides they want to be an astronaut or a doctor or a mermaid or a teacher. Well, maybe they will turn out to be... But chances are they will learn other things along the way and change their mind multiple times.  Can you imagine how frustrating it would be if your parents would not let you give up on your childhood dream of being an astronaut? 

"But mom, I want an easel for my birthday!" 
"Honey, astronauts need to know about space not art." 
"But I'm 12 now! I haven't wanted to be an astronaut since I was 5, it was my Buzz Lightyear phase! My last painting won the school art contest." 
"You're grounded, go to your room and look in your telescope."
"I hate you mom!"

It seems crazy, but that's what I often find myself doing to my creative ideas... I expect them to remain in their juvenile form, to never change direction, to show up on time and look the way I think they should and to never grow up. But the fact is, they do... And when they do, that should be celebrated, not punished!  Growth is a good thing, a natural thing, a necessary thing.  These sweet young ideas want to thrive and allow you to take them to their full potential. By showing up without judgement and then trusting your ideas to flow organically, not how you hoped, dreamed, expected or planned them to, is perhaps the best thing we can do for everyone involved.  Otherwise they will never be able to fully become what they are capable of... Which in turn, means we would have no way to authentically express whatever it is we feel the need to put out into the world. Which would mean there would be nothing new created, including any dresses.  And to have nothing to shop for at all... well, that is indeed a very cruel punishment.

Silver Lining:
"Everything is everything. What is meant to be, will be. After winter, must come spring. Change, it comes eventually. I wrote these words for everyone, Who struggles in their youth. Who won't accept deception, Instead of what is truth. It seems we lose the game, Before we even start to play. Who made these rules? We're so confused. Easily led astray."- 'Everything is Everything." ~ Lauryn Hill

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Starting Now

I've been meaning to start writing more... And also to take more photos, do more yoga and plan the rest of my life. 

But even in my couple months of solo travel I haven't seemed to find time to write anything that felt inspiring along my incredibly eventful journey or been able to consistently photograph the many breathtaking places I've traveled, (how many beaches and landscapes does one need?) or felt motivated to go to the world caliber yoga classes a mere 5 minute walk away from my bungalow, much less come up with any inkling about what the next step I take toward the rest of my life should be.  

So instead I am starting here... From this totally random, vulnerable, unshowered, frustrating, mediocre moment on my humble terrace in Ubud, that couldn't be further from how I hoped things would feel when I started writing again from my new and improved, hyper aware, life changing, mind riveting, tear jerking, soul churning, viral in 60 seconds perspective. (Those may be some of the overwhelmingly hefty expectations that kept me from starting.) 

I started anyways, because I realized maybe that is the lesson. Just STARTING. Writing the first ordinary word, snapping any old photo, doing what one can do in whatever the circumstances happen to be at the moment... And most importantly letting go of all these expectations that we spend our precious nows anxiously waiting for.  After all, it is as the unavoidable banner at one of the countless acting schools in LA constantly reminded me: "If not now, when?"  It sounds cliche, maybe even annoying if you're feeling stuck in that non-doing space, (it definitely still sounds irritating to me), but as annoying as it may be, it is also annoyingly accurate.  

The only thing it takes to become a doer of anything is not timing, skill, talent, funds or passion even... It is the sheer willingness to turn that thought that inhabits your mind into a verb existing out in the world... it is simply to do it. Before you're ready, before you have enough money, before it all makes sense, before you are 100% sure, before it's brilliant enough to be proud of it, before you feel at all good enough; Start. Right. Now. 

The key is not to overthink it, as I have learned after spending the past 2 months with the most time consuming and clingy travel partner one can have, my thoughts.  I have found that one courageous movement towards doing is often all it takes to get rid of the major thought that comes in some form or another... "I can't".  I remember when I was younger going to the big bridge for the first time to jump off. (I'm already regretting this analogy, but bear with me.)  It didn't look that high from the bottom, but as soon as I started climbing it, it suddenly seemed to keep getting more and more ginormous. As I climbed onto the platform, now nervous to even approach the edge, one of the boys yelled out to me: "Don't look down, just jump!" And being the good student that I was, I followed directions and just jumped blindly off the platform. I remember thinking, as I was already flailing through the air at an increasing speed, "It's too high, I don't want to jump!" Of course by that time it was too late, I was already bouncing up from the water, gasping for air, all smiles, feeling empowered and ready to go again from the even higher spot next time. Ya see, that's the thing about doing, it puts you in motion, it often breaks through the fears your mind creates with a dose of reality and proves that it's not so scary after all... and even if it is, it's doable. (Okay, I know jumping off bridges isn't the safest thing, but hey, neither is driving in a car, or walking down the street or certainly not taking any risks we are brave enough to make the leap for in life. And I will have you know that we survived, and dare I say, even benefited from, many brilliant summer days jumping off that bridge. Which is why I have always been under the belief that maybe when grownups asked us: "If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you?" We should have been encouraged to roar back with a mighty: "Heck. YES!") 

Which brings me to the next part, the part that seems to be the hardest for this moody, flighty, indecisive, non committal little Cancer soul... To do it again AND (gulp) to keep doing it. For those like me who have trouble with that concept, what this basically means is you do it again, and then again, and more still, sometimes 4 times in one day, then believe it or not... another time and even when you don't feel inspired or motivated or happy or sad or rich or like you're making progress quick enough or even when you're not getting nearly as good as you should be by now so maybe it's time to try that other thing you were reading about... to show up and do it anyway. Because apparently... Wait for it... that's how incredible things get done. Imagine?!! And it gets more shocking!  Apparently, for us creative types, (which I like to think every single human is in some way), we will NEVER be satisfied with our work! As so eloquently put by Martha Graham while speaking to Agnes De Mille:

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. ... No artist is pleased. [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others."

So there ya have it. Well, almost... Because the good news is once it is done, the doingness in itself feels like the result. I believe it is that sensation of doing that inspires us and keeps us marching onward regardless of the resulting work itself. Even now, as I sit here unimpressed, thinking of how silly this may sound to many people (including my future self when I judge it even more critically tomorrow), how many run on sentences I've used and how many basic rules of grammar I've butchered, how unimportant this feeble addition feels compared to the great big collection of brilliant and even decent ramblings on the World Wide Web (well, unimportant to anyone but my lovely parents), even as I debate whether I'm ready to press publish and expose my flaws to any random person who is bored enough online to read this... I take comfort in the feeling that I have now allowed this energy to be translated through me and released by this action, that I have kept my channel unapologetically open despite the lackluster results and maybe, just maybe, I will give in to the urge to jump again from even higher next time.

Silver Lining:
"Well some say life will beat you down. Break your heart, steal your crown.  So I've started out, for God knows where, I guess I'll know when I get there. I'm learning to fly, around the clouds, But what goes up must come down. I'm learning to fly, but I ain't got wings, Coming down is the hardest thing."- Tom Petty~ 'Learning To Fly'

Monday, February 11, 2013

All Right

I am approaching 30.  Funny how just typing that brings up certain ideas about what that means.  The thing is, for most of my growing up life, I have measured things in finite terms.  I should be doing this by a certain age, I should be doing that a year after college, or I should have acquired ______ by this time.   When I was younger I would have bet money that by the time I was 30 I'd be married with kids, living in a magical house by the ocean with my flying car hovering in the driveway.   That is not the case.  However, I could have also never dreamt up most of the amazing things that have happened through the highs and lows of my life.

As I was sitting here alone in my comfy little bungalow in Hollywood tonight, thinking about too many things… As I often do… I had one of those 'Aha…hahaha' moments.  I realized the best things in my life have come from plans I never made, thoughts I'd never imagined, people I'd never hoped to meet, places I didn't want to go, times when I lost control and accidents along the way.  The funny part is, it was all the plans I've made, people I've sought out, dreams I've chased, expensive ideas and perfectly thought up scenarios I felt had failed, that got me there.  AND it was always the way I felt in the end that made the best things so absolutely unforgettable.

You see, it's good to have goals, dreams, plans, ideas… as long as you are okay with the fact that they just might lead you to something that may not be what you have pictured in that very stubborn little mind of yours. 

1+1 may = friends
x & y may lead to the beginning
Doe ray me may bring you back to you…
The one you want may be taken, and you're left with the one you never knew you wanted
You may feel totally lazy, but only to remind you how much you've been doing
It could be hard, but only to make things easier
It might make you cry, but only because it makes you smile
It may be late, but only because it's waiting on you
It may bring you down, but only so you can go back up
You may feel weak, but only so you can be strong
It may seem that all the wrong things keep coming at the right time or that you keep getting all the right things at the very wrong time…

BUT you can only be doing, getting, being, knowing, wanting, learning, or attracting ALL the right things at the right time to show you what's wrong or what's right.  ALWAYS.  And how do you know? By the way you feel.  Does it feel good or bad?  That's how you can figure out why that experience is happening and act accordingly... Which may then change the way you feel and thus change your mind.  That's okay too.  The feelings will stick with you as long as you need them to in order to understand what they're showing you, that's how they roll.

I am almost 30.  I had a plan, I had visions, I had goals, I had expectations of how things would look in my life by this age.  I had strict rules for how much I should have accomplished in each area of life.  I had boundaries on what I would and wouldn't still do at this age.  I had deadlines.  I had judgments and excuses all ready to go if those deadlines weren't met.  I decided it's time to free myself of those.

I now have experiences that have given me strength, friends that bring me joy, scars that grant me compassion, failures that have brought me hope, awareness that creates gratitude, and am working on the faith to allow things to happen right on time, just when I least expect them.  And that makes everything feel all right... at least right now.

Today's Silver Lining
"Take the road we take, Then we improvise, When the road it breaks, There will be surprises, Live to grow with fate, Wake to see your Time, Catch your heart with mine, You and I decide, Where to take our journey, how high to fly, love to love our turning, You and I, you and I." Garden- by Sean Hayes