Always

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(photos made by me, November 7, 2016)

Two years ago, I woke up on election morning, in LA. The Cubs had won the World Series  just a week before and as I went about my morning, I thought about what I would say to my 5 year old nephew that night, when I called him on the phone.  I would tell him how cool it was that his normal would be going from an African American president to a woman president and that, of course, the Cubs always won the World Series, not just every 108 years. I couldn’t wait to call him.

That night I went to a friend’s house to watch the returns come in. I brought a bottle of wine. The polls had just closed on the West Coast. “It doesn’t look great,” she said from the kitchen. “Oh, don’t worry,” I waved her off, “it’s still early.” But, then it wasn’t early. My friend stayed in the kitchen, unable to watch the unfolding reality. I covered my eyes and slumped deeper into the couch.  I left a few hours later, in a blur of disbelief, unable to comprehend that a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynist narcissist, completely lacking in intellectual curiosity and empathy, had just been elected by my fellow citizens. Late that night a friend called me on the phone, sobbing.

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(photo taken by Colleen Hayes, November 8, 2016)

I awoke the next morning crying and the reality set in. I went to get coffee in an attempt to confirm that the world that had existed yesterday, still did. Los Angeles was a ghost town. The few people I saw on the sidewalk looked like zombies. Some were crying. I remembered a similar feeling of shock on 9/11, but with the distinct difference that on that day we had been attacked from the outside, whereas on 11/8 we had done it to ourselves. I don’t remember so much public crying in 2001.

And, now, here we are. Election Day, 2018.

Two years of confirmation to how bad it really could get. An old, rich, white, male club in its death throes, clinging to power as the world around them changes and evolves. Make America Great Again; an idea grabbed onto by so many, as if there is ever a way to go backwards, to a time of privilege for few and oppression for many. As our greatness was called into question, one thing was sure; the muck was rising to the surface and a level of bigotry of which I had been totally ignorant prior to 2016, shocked me daily and continues to do so. The level of privilege I had been granted because of my race, economic class, and sexual orientation became blindingly clear.

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(selfie, July 4, 2018)

Who are we? Who do we want to become? The macro imitating the micro. Involved, kind, present, and compassionate. As we practice these ideals in our households, they  permeate into our neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, country, and finally planet. There is no other way, that I can see.

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(photo taken by me, January 21, 2017)

I’m antsy right now. I am blogging to keep from checking my phone, social media, or listening to the news. I voted. I donated. I asked others to do the same. Now, I wait.

It’s a beautiful, autumn day outside. I’m going to go for a bike ride. I’m going to make lunch. And, because of the PTSD I still feel from watching the results two years ago, I may go dancing instead. I have faith in you, my fellow citizens and humans. Love will always win in the end. Even when the road looks dark and the way unclear.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and, for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it- always.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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A Flower’s Example

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How to follow the example of flowers, trees, and snakes and let our petals, leaves, and skin fall away when it’s time, rather than cling to all that no longer serves? The balance of nature surrounds us, yet following that example can feel more like a blanket being ripped from a toddler’s hands than like some divine wisdom meant to lead us to the best versions of ourselves.

Which stories are on repeat in our heads? What are we afraid of? How do we let go of that fear? How do we trust and have faith that not only are we meant to be happy but that as soon as we let go of fear, we will be?

I woke up a few weeks ago and, though it could have been just another morning, this morning I woke officially sick of all of my stories. You want to get a dog, but can’t because of work? Old story. You want to be the crazy artist instead of wrangling crazy artists? Then go do it. You don’t like your job? Do something else. Seriously, my soul whispered, get on with it already, this discussion is boring me to death.

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On my nightstand- The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer and A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson. Morning routine- Live Awake guided meditations by Sarah Blondin (so good, found on the Insight Timer app), hot water with lemon, followed by stretches and/or dancing.

All of this helps me tune into that inner voice which, though always there, is so easy to ignore when the idea of change seems overwhelming. But, guess what? Suppression will make it ten times harder in the end and, as we know, the soul will have its way.

So, why not listen to the whispers, make the move, get the dog, ask the question, and change the story? You’ll be fine, the whispers say. Better than fine. You will thrive.

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What to say when someone you love can’t find the way out of their own darkness? What to write when each news story is more tragic than the last and there are no answers. That is where I’ve been lately and why I haven’t written. Instead, I prayed. 

Please help us to find the light in our lives, in others, and most especially to see that it exists in those we think we have absolutely nothing in common with. Please help us to love fiercely even when that means opening ourselves up to pain.  Please help us trust ourselves and therefor others.  Please help us to see the bigger picture. Please help us know what to say when words seem useless. Please continue to guide us. Please help us to be brave. Please help us to find beauty in the little things that make up our lives. Please remind us that we are all spinning together on a beautiful, colorful, loud, chaotic, crowded, awesome planet, that no one knows what is going on, and that love always wins. 

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Magic Smagik

IMG_2260May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

-Nelson Mandela

I was having a hard time making a decision this week and always find it interesting when that happens.  “What are you afraid of?” I asked myself,  as my analytical/practical side duked it out with my intuition/heart/gut.

“Maybe this is a time for you to just be less practical,” suggested my mom over the phone, hitting the nail on the head. “What’s the worst that could happen? You might waste some money, who cares? Or you might not and it could be awesome.”

What’s the worst that could happen? What are you hiding from? What do you really want? What are you scared of? These are all questions I’ve spent a good portion of the last few years thinking (and blogging) about and which were underlined and highlighted over the past week at what I’ve taken to calling Fear Camp.  Through methods I won’t go into because I agreed not to and because they are so experiential in nature it would really do no good to try describe them in words, I was shown, through my own responses and actions, habits and patterns on which I have relied for most of my life. Fascinating.

The decision I found myself wrestling with was whether to do the second part of Fear Camp and to continue uncovering that which I had just scratched the surface of.  Do I really need to spend the money when I am already working on myself in many of the same ways at home, for free? Who will water my plants? Who will get my mail? I’ve been gone long enough and should head home soon.  I can always take the Advanced Course another time… Just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head.  I had a million excuses not to do it and, just like that, the universe decided none of them were good enough. I was offered a three day job on a music video, within an hour of saying I didn’t want to spend the money to stay in LA and pay for the program, which paid the exact amount I needed.  My dad called to see if he could stay at my house before heading to the airport this weekend. Sure, can you grab my mail and water my plants while you’re there? A horoscope literally told me that I should continue on a new path I had just begun because it would blend perfectly with the one I was already on and help me to make my dreams a reality.

Ok, I get it.

Occasionally one is graced with the certainty that all is exactly as it should be,  magic is close enough to reach out and touch, the flow of one’s life is obvious and clear, and you can actually hear the universe whispering. Or yelling, as the case may be.  And, when I am present enough to recognize that, I have nothing but gratitude.  As I sit at my friend’s kitchen counter in LA,  it is raining outside, and I am keenly aware that I am exactly where I need to be, that magic abounds, and that I am in the flow of my life.

What do I want? I want to be the biggest, bravest, most beautiful version of myself, my blog, my life, my relationships, my creativity, my love. What am I scared of? That that is possible.IMG_2263

For more info on what I’ve been calling Fear Camp, go to mittraining.com

 

 

 

 

 

Camp

I decided to send myself to camp for my 37th birthday.  Not really camp, but sort of.

“Are you going to have to sit in a circle naked?” my coworker asked last week, after I told him why I would be out of town for two weeks.

“I don’t think so.” I said, though I was actually not sure.  “It’s in a hotel conference room. But…”

I’ve taken to calling it Fear Camp, only because I don’t really know what to call it or how to describe it. A week long program built around breaking old patterns and living life deliberately. Or, at least that’s what I’ve gathered from my friend who went and raved about it and from their website.

The truth is that I was intrigued by the concept, figured it wouldn’t hurt even if it wasn’t amazing, could potentially change my life and help clarify things I have been thinking about, was a good excuse to go on a road trip to LA, where I could visit friends, it would be an interesting way to turn 37, and why the hell not?

I packed my car with clothes, yoga mat, and my Mary Poppins style bag of essentials (tripod, selfie stick, licorice, iPad, books, journal, tarot cards (which I am determined to learn how to read), book about tarot cards, computer, cize exercise dvds, and a bag of lemons I didn’t use before leaving home). And here I am in a friend’s borrowed home in Pasadena, with a couple of days to hang out before the five day session begins.

What to expect? I don’t know.  The website is vague, as is my friend who is involved in the program.  It will be what it will be for each, no one will have the same experience.  Be present and see what presents itself. Watch your reactions. Be clear.  What do I want? What am I afraid to admit I want? What do I want to change? Or to move forward with? Certain themes keep popping up, everywhere.  Change, coming out of a shell, having the courage to really be seen and therefor vulnerable, saying no to things that are comfortable but unsatisfying, trust.

On the way home I hope to take the scenic route, I-10 through Joshua Tree and on to Bisbee, Arizona, somewhere I have always wanted to go, rather than the more direct, usual  I-40.  But, something tells me not to plan or think too far ahead.  I can feel curveballs in the air. It’s always an adventure but sometimes that is more obvious than others.

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A few of my favorite things.