Archives for category: Life

I’m sitting in an airport for the third time this month, reading my horoscope. Home, home, home. My fourth house is all lit up, hitting the domestic vibes/homefront notes for the next month, just in time to be outside of Atlanta, for work, living in a hotel.  So, how to avoid going crazy and give myself those homey vibes, while on the road? What does home mean? Where is my home? 

I recently had a reassuring realization while in Northern California for a couple of weeks, again for work and again living in a hotel. I missed LA. Having only lived there for six months, after repeatedly trying  to adapt for ten years and but always eventually fleeing for the clean air and calm of my previous home, New Mexico, this was a huge shift. And a welcome one. I missed the assortment of healthy food, the mass of stuff to do on weekends, the hipster adventuror spirit which can be both annoying and awesome,  my classes, friends, apartment, stuff and my morning routine. I was officially homesick for my new city. So, that’s a good thing! 

But, what to do to create home when away? My yoga mat, many books, music, a big bag of food and tea, journal, and tarot cards are traveling with. I’m heading out with an open attitude and belief that seeing different parts of the country and world will give me some good stories to tell and a greater appreciation of my own city when I return next month. 

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 hope

  1.  to cherish a desire with anticipation :  to want something to happen or be true

  2. archaic:trust

  3. to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment.

  4. to expect with confidence :trust

“I hope you can let this go.” -President Trump to Former FBI Director Comey.

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The platform of Hope upon which President Obama ran in 2008 and 2012.

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Hope or Trust.

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I have looked at and said the word Hope so many times today that it no longer looks or sounds like a word, you know what I mean? What is it?  And what if, just what if,  hope is actually what is causing our country to stumble right now? As I rolled this word around in my head, I kept coming back to its implied passivity, a wait and see attitude that can lead to doing nothing or, worse, to expecting others to do it and then acting like a victim if they don’t.  What about the hope that coal mines will come back, that global warming is a Chinese hoax, or that going backwards is ever an option?  As much as I love the optimism it can carry, hope has doubt at its core and there is no getting around it.

What if, instead, we choose trust?  Trust in ourselves and our communities and in the idea of working together, for each other and with each other, to move towards a common goal? What if we begin to demand that kind of reliability within all of our relationships, including those with our government? I have faith in this country and know that we are better than the hoping/wishing/waiting/ burying our head in the sand and crossing our fingers that things will improve trap we seem to have fallen into.  I don’t know that hope is serving us well and think it is time to switch it up.  Just a thought.

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I had an aha moment this week while sitting in the wardrobe trailer, in the middle of the night, shopping for expensive sneakers online… The more hours per week I work and the more money I make, the more I spend and look for distraction and satisfaction in things and stuff. 

Since October I have been working just enough to pay the bills and keep “it” all going, with plenty of time to cook at home, eat well, exercise, write, take classes, and create things, but without enough money to buy a lot of extras. And I feel absolutely no lack or scarcity, only abundance and the freedom to do as I wish with my time. Like when I was in college, I’ve returned to shopping at consignment shops, furninshing my house with treasures found at flea markets, and making stuff; things I always enjoy doing, but which fall by the wayside out of laziness when money is plentiful and time is scarce. 

For the past two weeks, I’ve been on location, working 70-80 hours a week, eating junky food because I’m tired, not sleeping enough, not exercising and, incidentally, shopping online. Why??!!  Because I am bored, uninspired, not feeling connected to my life, and looking for any kind of satisfaction. Chocolate and shoes fit the bill. 

I lived years of my life in this kind of circle until I finally realized what was happening. Time, Freedom, Health, Fun, Travel, Friends and Family, Community.. these are the only things I really care about anymore or that help me to truly feel satisfied. What else could I use that fancy sneaker money for? Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while there is a pair of sneakers capable of bringing joy! But, overall, when I find myself shopping online at two in the morning, eating chocolate, I am usually looking for distraction and satisfaction that should be coming from other sources. 

So, the past two weeks have been a good reminder of what my life used to be like versus what it’s like now. And, I’m grateful to fill the coffers a bit. But, how can that money serve me and help me get the things I truly value rather than a bunch of stuff? That’s the question to remember and to answer. 

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IMG_8709What if we never figure it out? What if we never figure out whether a conversation we had with our dad at age twelve inadvertently influenced our future relationships with men or which grain is causing our skin to break out periodically? I was having a similar conversation recently with one of my dear friends, a fellow searcher and investigator of life, while sitting on bar stools at a Cajun restaurant in DTLA. What if we just have to be ok with never actually figuring any of it out?

I have a stack of self help, health, and relationship books that moves around my apartment. At times next to my bed, or on the couch, or periodically back on the bookshelf and, while the books themselves change, the stack somehow remains a fairly constant four books high.  Combine this stack with the journal that is always near, various classes, workshops, and self help groups, and much of my life has been dedicated to figuring it/me/us out. So, what if that is impossible?

I’m starting to realize that may be entirely beside the point of why we are here.  Thinking along those lines has repeatedly led me towards the idea that one day, down the road, I will get it, playing on the idea of destination as goal, rather than  journey.  It also begs the question, “So, you finally figure it all out, now what? Are you just a satisfied lump, content to sit on your couch ‘all figured out’ or a constantly evolving being that will simply move onto new and different questions once some are answered?”  If life has taught me anything, it’s that that destination centric thinking will lead to both suffering and missing out, whereas when we view “it” and ourselves as a constantly evolving adventure/creation/cosmic joke, one in which the journey is the point, then joy, creativity, and fun have room to flourish.

Fun! That word was nowhere to found on my to do/have lists until recently. And, though I do have to be healthy enough spiritually, emotionally, and physically to have it, it is just as important in keeping me healthy on those same levels as any of my diets, workshops or books. When I find myself taking “it” and myself too seriously, all I have to do is remember that we are literally spinning on a big round planet, through space. Why? Who knows?! So, take the day off, eat the cake, write the song, take the class, say yes, quit the job, buy the shoes, go on the trip, and let go of the lists, the rules, and the need to know. Because we may never figure it out. And that will just have to be ok.

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IMG_8388Last night I leaned against the railing of the Belasco Theater’s mezzanine in DTLA and watched as two friends from high school played to a packed house, with their band “Minus the Bear”.  And, as I watched and listened, I was overwhelmed by the feeling that everyone I know, myself included, is nailing it. “It” being living.  This “creating a life that makes you happy and feeds your soul and makes it seem like there’s a point to all of the absurdity” thing. The often self imposed angst, confusion, and pressure I so frequently felt and saw mirrored in those I love for the past twenty or so years, seems to be lifting. Not that anything has been figured out necessarily, but, speaking for myself, there just came a point when the choice to be happy and joyful had to be made. Or not.

After the show, one of my friends showed me a picture he’d recently come across of us taking our final Thespian Club bow at the end of our Senior production of Titus Andronicus. The world lay at our feet and all we had to do was be brave enough to catch it and run.  He was meant to play music on stage. I had spent my high school years on stage, in art classes, and studying German and had no idea where those interests would lead me, but trusted it would be somewhere good.

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And then life happened.  Things that sparked my creative light took a backseat and I tortured myself frequently about needing to figure it all out.  And I let enough time pass that I actually started to forget the high of being on stage, rehearsing, improving, writing, collaborating, and creating. Instead, I helped others bring their visions to fruition, made a decent living, and ended up with a career I wasn’t in love with.

But, as they say, the Soul will have its way.  And the quicker we learn to accept that truth, listen, and follow, the less we will suffer.

In my friend’s lives and my own, I see the beginning of that acceptance  and the magic that acceptance then creates.  In some ways it feels like I’ve taken a twenty year detour to get back to my 1997 self, albeit now a more confident, experienced, and (hopefully) wiser version.  And I don’t regret any of the strange and sometimes dark paths I periodically chose, for it all helped me to appreciate and have immense gratitude for the clarity and homecoming I now feel.

Standing in the mezzanine last night, it was as if I could hear our eighteen year old selves rooting us on, proud of the choices their older selves would eventually make, guiding us to more amazing lives than we ever could have imagined back then.

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After a crazy autumn and winter full of action, movement, and change, the past month has been eerily peaceful.  I’ve been sleeping well, have felt bizarrely uncreative, content to go to the semi full time part time job I manifested on a TV show with a crew I love working with, and have felt overall catatonic, foggy, and also calm and happy.  As dust settles after a tiny tornado blows through, my new life is falling into place and, like a spectator, I am watching it,  amazed at the ease with which things can happen when they are meant to and when one gets out of their own way.

Yesterday I attended a storytelling workshop at The Museum of Broken Relationships. First of all, you should go to this museum, in the heart of Hollywood, if you are able. Full of items sent in by people from all over the world, each one is accompanied by a story and I haven’t been that moved by an exhibit in a long time. From sweaters to tickets to bellybutton lint, each of us is made of the heartbreak and beauty of life and living and none would be where or who we are without the previous joy and pain that got us there. Second of all, storytelling, gratitude, and finding beauty within the mundane seem to be the common and recurring threads weaving my current interests together. I am being repeatedly led to the next right person, class, workshop, and idea at the perfect moment and, while I have no idea where it is all leading, I can feel the fog lifting.  There is something in the writing, improv, and stories that is working its way out, percolating and, as my nervous system calms and life settles, slowly finding its voice and path.

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It’s Saturday morning and, after a very busy week, I am eating homemade rice pudding, drinking coffee, and finally sitting in front of my computer.  The Tarot book next to me is open to Chariot, the card I have pulled several days this week, it is a beautiful early spring day outside and I woke up without an alarm.  Life is good!

Two nights ago, a friend from New Mexico came over for a cup of tea and to hang out for a bit and while we were sitting on my couch, I had one of those strange moments where you look at your life and think “oh right, I created all of this and here I am.” (I can only imagine that parents must think that every few minutes when looking at their children!) Seeing my friend in LA and  out of our normal New Mexico context, allowed me to look at my new apartment, furniture, and city and see all of the changes that have happened over the past six months in a way that I have been too busy living lately to do.

But, more interesting than all of the differences were the similarities, because the truth is that, regardless of the size of changes life may undergo periodically, it does just go on! I grocery shop, listen to music, do laundry, drive to work (albeit in more traffic), clean my place, visit with friends, cook food, blog, etc., but then I go to the beach and an improv class and to a new downtown restaurant or to a museum and I remember why the changes were necessary.

The Chariot keeps appearing in my cards and this morning I opened my Voyager Tarot book to see what author James Wanless had to say about that. ” Movement brings change, and change brings new experience, learning, and growth- it leads to the achievement of your evolutionary destiny…As Cancer, the Charioteer carries the shell or home (self security) on his/her back and is at home wherever…Travel and test your sense of inner security… To be at home wherever you are is knowing yourself- being centered.”  Though this could mean that ones physical surroundings shouldn’t matter because it’s what is inside that keeps you grounded, I’ve long known that my physical home base was more important to me than to some. It is necessary for me to create a beautiful space from which to set out each morning and that is perhaps why a decade of tiptoeing in and out of LA, without first creating that, hadn’t worked for me.  For the first time, all of my personal items (clothing, books, Buddha statue, tea kettle, photos, wooden clogs form Amsterdam, sewing machine…) are here and because of that I feel grounded and able to keep moving into the adventure.  If you want to call sitting on a couch on a Thursday night and drinking tea an adventure! Seems like a good one to me.

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Lessons of 2017, so far-

You can not go backwards. 

When changing ingrained habits, you will be tested. 

Humor is invaluable. 

You can only ever make the next right choice. 

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It is up to you and only you to create the life you want. 

Your teachers will come in all forms. 

Until the lessons are learned, the situations will repeat. 

Resistance works. 

Panic achieves nothing. 

Creativity is a necessity. 

Sometimes it is necessary to turn off the news and turn up the music. 

 Your intuition is Always right. 

Life goes on. 

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As my dad and I recently made what I hope to be the final drive moving things from my house in New Mexico to my apartment in LA, I was struck by the thought that just one year ago, none of my current reality was anywhere on a conscious horizon. For all I knew, I was content to keep living in my house, working as a costumer, and continuing as before. Forever. The truth is that I wasn’t consciously thinking about any of it, but rather just going along. 

Cut to the winter of 2017 and I am living in a different place, working as little as possible in my career of over a decade, protesting my current government, taking improv classes, signing up for multiple other classes, dating, and consciously creating a life that reflects and encompasses who I want to be. 

And I really have no idea what I am doing! Like seriously no idea. I am being repeatedly  tested when saying no to the familiar and comfortable, be they cities, jobs, or habits, as if the Universe wants to be really certain of my commitment. After emerging from the tests, I simply try to make the next right decision on a daily basis, saying no to the things I know do not work, and trusting that at least then there will be room for what does work, even if I don’t yet know what that is. Onward–>

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Last night I had a dream that Steve Bannon was at a party with me.  I woke and spent the rest of the night awake, tossing. At 7 o’clock I finally got out of bed, meditated, had a cup of tea, and dressed to go for a hike, without looking at my phone, headlines, or the news.

For the past eleven days I, and most people I know, have watched aghast as the Trump Administration began following through on one horrifying campaign promise after another. Watching and resisting the dismantling of our country has become addictive and, as one new Executive Order after another is issued, I find myself spinning, unsure where to put my energy, time, money, and fight.  Just sifting through the news and trying to decipher what is legit and what is not feels like a full time job.

And then yesterday I actually started to feel ill from the toxicity of it all. Instead of sleeping, I would lie awake thinking of the perfect tweet that would really “show him”. I never tweet! I began looking for ways to control situations which are completely beyond my control and in doing so, fell right back into all sorts of bad habits that I thought were behind me. My spiritual game is obviously not as strong as I’d believed it to be!

So, when is being consumed with the news beneficial to myself and others and when is it not? By making myself physically ill, I am of little use to anyone and by spinning in panic I am of no use. That has become apparent. I want to “stay woke” but in a way that allows me to actually take action, away from the rabbit hole of preaching to the choir that is social media. I donated to the ACLU and set up a monthly payment. I donated to Planned Parenthood.  I phoned my Congressmen to voice my support for the positions they have been taking. I emailed a Senator from a different state who was interested in hearing from people who had participated in the Women’s March. I phoned in to a Town Hall meeting. And, I turned my phone off, went for two hikes, sat in the sun, felt the earth underneath me, meditated, listened to music when the news was too much, called some friends, and cooked healthy food. That is all I know how to do right now.

And, into Week Two we go.

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Why do we think it has to be hard? Why not just expect it to be easy? All of it! As I enter into the adventure of 2017, I believe that it will be easy and that all I want and need will appear at the perfect time and in the perfect way, ways that I could never predict. 

Three weeks in and January is shaping up to be even wackier than November 2016, hurtling into the future, asking only one question; are you consciously creating the life you want or cruising along, willy nilly? 

In nineteen days I have mostly furnished a new apartment, found a long term tenant for my house in Albuquerque, begun improv classes, signed up for a session with a life coach, been on one decent date and two fantastic dates, walked in the ocean, learned a new recipe, been asked if I want to be a contestant on a new soon to be televised dating show (seriously), visited with long lost friends, and am writing this from a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, traveling from LA to D.C. for a little rally with 200,000+ of my closest pink pussy hat wearing friends. And there are still 12 days left until February!

When I was about to start looking at apartments in the fall, friends warned me that the LA market was very competative and that I would likely need check stubs, tax returns, and the like when applying. I proceeded to look at one apartment, fill out an application, and within five minutes was told that it was mine if I wanted it. Um, ok. Easy Peasy. 

So, why not expect everything to be the same? In looking at love, money, creativity, community, and adventure, why not call them in with the belief that they are just waiting to be mine, or yours? They are. And the more I practice this, the truer it becomes. Is it truly possible to have everything we want? Yes, just as soon as we get out of our own way, stop thinking small, acting unworthy, sabotaging ourselves, running for the hills, saying one thing and then doing another, and finally harness this newly discovered superpower and accept that we really are that powerful. For all of our insistence that we want it to be easy, we then do everything possible to complicate, confuse, and mess with that which wants to be ours, simply because having that much power terrifies us. Well, get over it. Accept it. Until you do, it will never be yours. 

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