Archives for posts with tag: change

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It’s been just over a year since I signed the lease on my apartment in LA and just under one since I first saw it empty, before it had been painted or cleaned, on December 1st. I started to cry when I entered the sad looking kitchen to pick up the keys and wondered “what on earth have I done?” One week earlier I had seen potential; good windows with a lot of light, dark wood floors, high ceilings, and a killer location. My gut told me it was a good landing pad and had enough of what I was looking for to jump in and commit. Now, holding the keys, I wasn’t so sure.

My gut was right.

And it’s already been a year. Wow!

The parrot who whistles in an oddly human way and lives downstairs is now part of my soundtrack. The neighbors next door let me pick pomegranates from their tree. I walk in the Silver Lake hills for cardio. I made new friends, as an adult, living in LA!

Over the past year I have kept the “what on earth are you doing?” voices at bay by answering with a simple “it’s all an adventure.” There is no big plan, no grand vision that I will check off a list and be done with. But, rather, there are many small visions that continuously guide me in one direction, periodically overlapping and mingling. If there is a grand plan it is happiness and presence and authenticity, to feel that I am actively participating in and creating my life with each of my decisions and no longer passively coasting.

While talking to a friend about my interests in tarot and improv and writing, I said “I’m just getting weirder and weirder,” to which she replied, “no, you’re just getting you-er and you-er.”

I was so afraid to let go of my comfortable life in New Mexico but knew on a gut level that comfort was not my friend, at least not now, maybe not ever. I needed to know what I was capable of and to push myself. The ironic and unforeseen part was that when I chose to uproot and take myself away from that external comfort, a new internal one took its place. I have confidence in myself, my gut, my voice, and in my ability to make a home wherever I am, that I didn’t have before.

What I could never have predicted was that, at the same time I chose adventure over fear, the world was asked to choose as well. It is fascinating to watch how that choice, the way in which we all view change, has split our country and our world over the past year.  Will it be expansion, love, trust, and progress, as we move forward into an unknown? Or fear and constriction as we futilely cling to what once was?

May you live in interesting times.  – Chinese curse.

It has been interesting! Exhausting. Fascinating.

And, the truth is that, for all of us, there is no going back. There is no “oh I’ll just go have a little revolution, personal or otherwise, and then fit nicely back into this hole I have been in!” Nope. We are in it now and all we can do is continue to move in the direction of love and faith, always choosing to see the adventure side of the coin.

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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. 

Grey> B/W

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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Happy 2017, smagik readers! 

On NYE morning, I woke up in a motel in Kingman, Arizona, half way between NM and LA. New Years Eve. 2016 for another few hours. And, as I sat eating my complimentary breakfast, all I could think was “I didn’t realize leaving my comfort zone would be so uncomfortable.” Ha! That possibility had honestly never crossed my mind. Not until I was home for Christmas, loading up my car with things to take to LA, saying goodbye to family, and driving across the desert, again. 

When I arrived in LA, it was drizzling and chilly as I made the fifteen or so trips up and down 48 stairs to unload art, dishes, shoes, files, Christmas presents, one Buddha statue, and a shelf from my car. Once unloaded, I stared at piles of things deemed worthy of bringing west. Wow, now what? “Just keep going,” whispered a voice. 

While home for Christmas, I became aware of two distinct voices raging a sort of battle in my head. One was loud, screaming, scared, gripping, wanting only to stay safe, secure, and to know how everything was going to turn out. The other was a faint whisper that told me to keep going and to trust that I was being guided. And for much of the trip, the screams were winning. It was only after my first panic attack in ten years, late at night on Christmas night, that I realized how quickly and urgently I had been operating for the past few months and that it was time to get quiet, slow down, and come back to the whispers.  

When I slow down, tune in, and keep myself very, very present, it is easy to trust in the adventure and timing of my life. When I move too fast and try to manhandle the universe into doing things exactly how I want them done, WHEN I want them done, panic ensues. 

So, here I am in my fairly empty but cute apartment, sharing walls with strangers for the first time since college, exploring a new neighborhood, and trying to just make one decision at a time. All I know is that this feels right for the time being. I needed to mix things up and I succeeded and I have to trust that I will continue to succeed. 

Because I find there to be the finest of lines between fear and excitement, I choose Adventure as my word for 2017. When handed choices, obstacles, and situations, I plan to make my decisions from a place of “what is the adventurous, and therefor trusting, way to do this?” It builds upon my 2016 word of Faith, around which I know I still have more than a few lessons to learn. I trust that by bringing Adventure into the mix, I will choose fun and joy more frequently, keep myself present, and practice having Faith that I am being guided through the fog. Onward! 


I wish all of you a joyous, happy, present, fun, healthy, prosperous, and adventurous year!! Make it great! 

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Six weeks ago, I came to LA with a prayer; if this is the right move for me, please let it be obvious. And if it isn’t, please let that be obvious too.  I didn’t know what I expected to happen once I arrived, but as a dear friend put it “it’s not a big deal, you’re just going to eat and sleep and work and drive and breathe and laugh somewhere else for a while.” But in some way it felt like a huge deal.  I had spent months of my life, years if you added them all up, in LA previously, but somehow I was always the passive passenger, along for the ride, but never investing or committing too much.  This time it felt deliberate and decisive.

It has only been seven months since I was driving down the 110 from Pasadena towards the transformational training workshop I was taking in a hotel ballroom near LAX, that I had the sudden flash that I should and would move back to LA.  As the proverbial lightening bolt tends to do, I knew that my comfortable but stagnant life was not serving me and that in order to become the woman I envisioned, things had to change.  One week earlier I had thought of my low overhead, inexpensive city, beautiful home, and plateaued career as assets and now all I saw was an under stimulating comfort zone.

And then November happened.  How to even sum up the insanity that was November 2016? Well, you know, you were there! I arrived just in time to attend Día de los Muertos at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, watch the Cubs win the World Series, and to then witness America go to hell in a hand basket and take the the planet with her. And that was just the first week. “What am I doing?” I wondered, as I jostled duffle bags between two different  housesitting gigs.  It felt like the world and I were spinning and I wasn’t sure which way was up and which was down.

In the midst of the crazy, I came back to my prayer. Please help the Yeses to be clear.  And please help the Noes to be even clearer.  And LA just kept being one, big yes. I loved the idea of living in something that I had previously been unaware of, a sanctuary city.  I saw an ad for an apartment on craigslist and, though I’d been planning on waiting  another month to decide if I was going to sign a lease or not,  I went to look at it. It was a yes.  My friend invited me to a dance class at the exact kind of studio I’ve spent the past couple of years searching for in Albuquerque.  I had as much film work as I wanted, if I wanted it.  I had dinner with different friends frequently.  I drove north for an improv workshop at the Esalen Institute, in Big Sur, remembered how much I love improv, and signed up for a longer class in LA, starting in January.  I enrolled in a nonfiction writing class.  And just like that, the life I had started to envision in April, began to take shape.

That isn’t to say my ego hasn’t done its fair share of fear based kicking and screaming over the past month.  We’re 37, why are we starting over? Our house is so much nicer than this apartment, why did we sign a lease? What if we never figure it out and just keep starting over? Oh great, now we are one of a bajillion people living in a huge, smoggy metropolis far from our family and green chile.  Why can’t we just be happy with our job, our house, and our routine and keep it all the same, it is so comfortable.  At which point I have to kindly tell myself to shut up.

Once I am able to quiet the fearful chatter, my gut reassures me that it knows what it’s doing and to keep going,  not having to know where, but trusting that it will be awesome.  It already is.

 

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If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

There could not be a more perfect example of this in my life than the city of Los Angeles.  Off and on, for over a decade, I have lived there, dated people from there, worked there, and, for any number of reasons, have repeatedly fled for the safety and space of New Mexico.

Last week, while staying with a friend in Los Feliz, we went for a hike in Griffith Park.  I couldn’t help but think of all the times I’d hiked those trails and how different it felt this time, though the trails, air quality, views, perfectly outfitted Angelenos, and full parking lots were more or less the same.  I was different.  I was present and happy and good with it all being as it was.  It didn’t have to be clear, with perfectly blue skies, empty parking lots, and sparse hikers, as I am used to in New Mexico.  The misty, overcast air felt wonderful against my skin, even if it was slightly smoggy! While in LA, I gave myself enough time to get places, anticipating traffic, rather than expecting it to be something it wouldn’t be and then resenting it.  I saw creative people carrying out their visions everywhere I looked. And, I knew I was ready for LA in a way I never had been before.

LA. I remember feeling so lost within its freeways, strip malls, and sprawl and it is only now that I realize what a perfect metaphor it was for how lost I felt in my life. I was overwhelmed by the emphasis I thought it placed on status and appearance and too insecure and unsure about my own values, contributions, and worth to navigate it.

Over my last several trips to LA, it is as if I have made peace with the city, forgiven it for what it will never be, and realized all that it has to offer.  Years ago, my astrologer told me that Venus, the planet of love, art, and beauty, sits directly over LA in my chart.  Love, art, and beauty basically sum up all that I value and want to cultivate and create more of in my life. And, to be less philosophical, I am just ready for a change! And I have to keep reminding myself that, as someone who has spent much of her life trying to avoid it, that is a perfectly legit reason to move.  I am giddy at the thought of decorating a new apartment, exploring a new neighborhood, meeting new people, going on new day trips, and switching it all up, knowing that I am strong enough to handle all that that might bring.  LA hasn’t changed, but I have.

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A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.

-Albert Einstein

Just over a  month ago, I made a list of what I love about my life and things I would like to change. Among the many I loved were low overhead, a career I was established in, and my house. Comfort. And among those I wanted to change were stagnation within a career I am grateful for but don’t love, a city that is comfortable but unexciting, and an overall feeling of complacent, easy familiarity.

Uh oh. In my experience it is possible to stay in a comfort zone for only so long as one doesn’t realize that is what it is. I have been a costumer in the film industry for 13 years, owned my house for 11, and have been based in the city I went to college in since college.  For over a decade I have resisted learning curves, added expenses, appearing impractical, following my heart, and believing that my big, huge, wild daydreams could actually be called plans instead. And, the funny part is, I never realized it or thought of myself as someone who  played it safe or made decisions out of fear.

But, here I am. And, thanks in part to my training at MITT (mittraining.com), a spotlight has illuminated areas of my life I had preferred to keep dim and now there is no going back. Not wanting to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater, how can I use that which I already have to support new directions in which I want to go?

I am well established in a career and industry that allows one to take lots of time off if desired. Great! Use the randomness of the film industry to support myself as I experiment and move in new directions professionally and creatively.

I have a house in a cool neighborhood that I adore but in a city that hasn’t been inspiring me lately.  Great! Let it work for me, instead of vice versa, and rent it out, rather than feel tethered.

Time to think creatively and to realize I really am only ever as trapped as I decide to be! And the same goes for you. No excuses. In my morning tarot card pulls, fear and change keep coming up, with the common theme being to move towards each rather than away. Which ideas cause my stomach to flip flop slightly? Great! Do that.

The ocean, museums, new day trips, an expanded social circle, different views, travel, creative income, undiscovered restaurants, hikes, and businesses, adventure, curiosity, exploration, trust, faith, expansion. Yes, please.

I chose Faith as my word for 2016 and know that in order to fully embrace that word, I have to leave the shore.

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She looked around the area known as “freshman lawn” and knew she had to do something different or she wouldn’t make it through her sophomore year of high school. For the previous year she’d endured the lawn, continuing to attend class when friends began to ditch, never joining to get high in the parking lot, always doing her homework.

She stood quietly and walked down the stairs towards the drama room. Alone, she sat on a low wall opposite the group of students who’d caught her eye the year before and took out her sandwich. Within a week she’d met the entire group, begun to call them friends, auditioned for and won the lead in the fall play, and she knew she would survive her sophomore year.

Years later, a woman thinks about the girl who took it upon herself to change the direction her young life was taking. A quiet voice nudged her the morning she left freshman lawn and, without a plan, she decided simply to ask for more.

Now, as her adult brain does its best to tell her that change is scary, reminding her of all the work she’s done to get where she is, she thinks of the girl who was brave enough to be vulnerable and uncomfortable for a few minutes.

Twenty years later, when she decides to take a few months away from the security of her film career and to sign up for creative writing classes instead, she thinks of this girl. After she drives to an open mic night for flash fiction and stands in front of a group of strangers reading her story, she thinks of this girl. As she extends her hand to meet a new person, instead of avoiding eye contact and blaming it on shyness, she thinks of this girl. Though very faint, the same voice that nudged her away from freshman lawn, whispers that she can have more. And she decides to listen.