Archives for posts with tag: joy

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I returned to LA from Georgia over a week ago and am just beginning to feel part of my life again.  It’s something I write and think about frequently; the idea that there is my real life and my temporary life, the one I have never figured out how to live while on location, from a hotel room on the side of a freeway, complete with bad carpeting and a mini fridge.  And while I have discovered a few of the things that keep me connected (finding organic produce at Target, my workout CDs, and books), it still feels like I am killing time, waiting to get back to living.

So, what is living? When do I feel connected and present in my life? In addition to being around those I love, with whom laughter, talking, and silence come easy, the answer seems to be creativity. Whether its a blog post, a meal, or a card, when I create something, I feel that I am communicating with the world and can rest well.  For the past week I haven’t been sleeping and have also felt too tired to create anything; my meals have been quick, my outfits boring, my blogs nonexistent. Blank. But, slowly, the juices are returning.  The energy to cook, write, and create beauty is returning and I trust that, with some rest, so will the desire to pursue the larger projects floating around in my head.

I bought flowers, avocados, limes, and chips on the way home from work.  Time for a brainstorming, list making, happy hour party, even if it’s just me and my computer, on a Wednesday afternoon.  If I am going to keep making my living in an industry I don’t love, but that allows me time off and pays my bills, there need to be some ground rules:

1.Only go on Location if it’s to somewhere Awesome, for no longer than a month, and only if I am going to make a bunch of money.

2. Create something, anything, once a week, minimum. Write something everyday.

3. Use the money I make working to sign up for every class/workshop that looks fun, writing and otherwise. Save the rest.

4. Say No to Full Time work. Part time allows for classes and projects. 

5. Never forget to find and create beauty, even in Georgia.

 

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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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fontcandyBut, shouldn’t I be farther by now? I thought it would look different.  I’m hot. Where’s the water? This isn’t what I expected.  Isn’t there a faster way?  I’m hungry.  I can’t find the map. Maybe I was supposed to take the left back there.  I think this is the wrong road.  Is that a mirage up ahead? I am really hungry.  I should have bought the fancy trail mix with macadamia nuts. I hope they have coconut water when I get there…Wow, look at that little yellow flower growing through the pavement.  I think my legs are actually getting stronger. My legs are going to look so good.  I wonder if there are any swimming holes nearby. Wow, that breeze feels great. I think that’s the same bird that I saw a few miles back. Is he following me? That cloud totally looks like an elephant. Whoa, that one looks like a palm tree. It smells like rain. That smells so good. I think I’ll sit by that tree for a minute. It is so beautiful out here.

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IMG_2120.JPGOur deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. -Marianne Williamson

I have always loved this quote and over the years I would read it, tape it to various bathroom mirrors, and re-read it.  But, it wasn’t until this past week, during the Advanced Course at MITT (mittraining.com), that I realized just how many years I have spent shrinking and hiding from my brilliance, creativity, beauty, courage, power, height, and worth, in some bizarre attempt to keep others from feeling insecure, but really because it scared the crap out of me. “Who am I to be so much?” I whispered.

I built a persona based not on shining authentically, but on being nice, responsible, not rocking the boat, and basically taking up as little space as possible, believing in some way that would benefit myself and others the most. The ironic part is that in trying so hard not to appear selfish and ego driven, I was exactly that, believing deep down that my loved ones, and the world,  were so little they wouldn’t be able to handle my biggest self. I didn’t think of it in those words but, same difference.  “I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, ever, including myself, so we can all just survive, get through, wait, wish, and see what comes our way. It’ll be fine.”

But, I am done with fine.  I’m done with anything less than risky, courageous, vulnerable, joyful, fun, authentic, gigantic living. I, and everyone I know, happened to win the lottery in this go around at life and to then turn our backs on those gifts seems like a big, old slap in the Universe’s face.  What do you want to do? What makes you happy? Why aren’t you doing it? When did you stop doing it? What did you want to do when you were a child? It is possible to get back to when the answers felt clear and there was no hesitation when asked.

Yesterday, as I was driving home from LA, I heard the news that Prince had passed away.  Another authentic, creative, beautiful soul taken too early and all I could think was Thank You. Thank You for rocking us to our cores and for showing us how gigantic and fearless we are capable of being, before heading back to party in the stars.

Prince’s sudden passing was just one more reminder that life is short and oh, so precious.  I am committed to speaking up, showing up, playing big, and just f***ing owning my beauty, power, and worth as a leader. And, lucky you! You get to do the same, starting now.

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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

 

 

 

 

 

  
My life is present to a crazy degree at the moment. Bring the plants inside, it might freeze tonight. Put away the Dia de Los Muertos decorations and altar. Make something delicious and healthy to eat for dinner. I have no plan past the end of the week. No future trips, no jobs lined up, several creative projects floating in my mind, but none begun yet. 

A few weeks ago, while waiting for the subway in NYC, I sat on a bench and thought about my 2015 so far. At the end of 2014, I chose joy as my word for the year. I wanted fun, spontaneity, adventure, and to go with the flow. And, it came to pass. Somewhere along the way, I made an agreement with myself that, in exchange for control, I would say yes instead of no. I let go of preconceived notions of how it would be,  chose love over fear, adventure over safety, and time off over money. 

And, what a wacky ride it’s been. 2015 has repeatedly taken me by surprise and is a hard one to sum up in words. I have managed to (repeatedly) surprise myself, which might be the biggest relief and joy of all; Hip hop dancing, 12 second long videos, jewelry design, cliff jumping, a beak dancing class, new friends you feel you’ve known forever, Room 617, TSA security to enter the hotel, loading a wardrobe trailer in Times Square, loving Tayolr Swift’s latest album, feeling ready to go back on location if the opportunity arises, cizing it up at lunch, discovering pot helps me sleep, and a hammock.. None of these were anywhere on my radar back in January. 

With a little under two months to go, God only knows what is to come or how this one will end. But, if it’s anything like the first ten months, there’s nothing to worry about, as long as I continue to choose adventure over control, love over fear, and say yes. 

PS, I thought the plant in the picture was dying when actually all it needed was to be put outside against a south facing wall for the summer. Rain, sun, fresh air. It’s very much alive. 

Though starting a new job and coming down with a cold might not lead one to think of fun, fun has actually been the recurring theme of my week. How to take things, myself, and everything less seriously and simply view it all as a big adventure? That is my goal. And, just by keeping that idea in mind, I am able to replace thoughts of drudgery with those of enjoyment.

My sister recently signed me up for Notes from the Universe, (which I recommend!) and a recent one warned against choosing easy routes over fun ones. Wow! Easy and comfortable has been my MO for years and fun was never even a thought. Not that I never had any, but the idea that it could be a way of living and a part of every decision I made was a truly new concept.

Right after I read that note, I came across an excerpt from the book “You are a Badass: How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life”, by Jen Sincero, in the Local IQ paper, in which she urges readers to “see what you can get away with….it takes all the pressure off, puts the punk rock attitude in and reminds us that life is but a game.” I love that!

Just by keeping these ideas close, I’ve been laughing more, it’s been easier to let certain things go, and I’ve been more adventurous because, why not? I plan to put all of my wishes out there, say yes to the absurdity that is this life on earth, and, instead of automatically limiting my ideas as unrealistic or naive, seeing what I can get away with.

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