Tag Archives: Self-Discovery

[Self Discovery] The Serenity of the Sea

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 “My life is like a stroll upon the beach, as near to the ocean’s edge as I can go”
— 
Henry David Thoreau —

Summer in SD

Ever just feel the need to get away? Not to necessarily escape from life, but to take a midweek vacation from all the humdrum stress of your vocation and whatever else might be plaguing or mentally exhausting you.  Lately, there’s been this large itch to jump in the car and not be home – maybe it’s the incredible heat waves we’ve been having in Los Angeles proper, maybe it’s the fact I’ve formally lived in Los Angeles for a decade now; irregardless, lately I’ve had this distant itch that I’ve needed to scratch from sandier locations.

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I work from home and have been working from home for the last five or so years.  It’s a wonderful life, but at the same time – it can make for some stir crazy mornings and cabin fever-esque afternoons.  Thankfully, for the last few weeks, I’ve been blessed enough to tag along while my dad goes on a few work trips down to gorgeous and sunny San Diego, and every now and again I’ve also been jumping in the car with Danny and working from anywhere that cell phone service exists along the Southern California coast.  From Santa Monica, to Long Beach, San Pedro down to Orange County and San Diego – the California Coastline down here has a bevvy of beautiful beaches, ripe and ready for adventures.

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With seventeen miles of coastline and nearly 5000 acres of land, San Diego boasts an incredible amount of beaches per capita, each with their own unique charm, from Ocean Beach to Encinatas and back to Moonlight Beach – you simply can’t go wrong as you bounce from one sandy piece of heaven to the next.  Yes, of course beaches will be crowded – have you met Summer in SoCal?! – so be sure to head there with plenty of time to spare and plenty of sun and sand to be had.

Travel up the coast a bit and you’ll hit the beautiful beaches of Orange County and Newport, including the stunning 1000 Steps Beach.  But I’ll be honest, the only version of the OC I like is the show – and it’s primarily because I can put it on mute. Anyhow, just a hop, skip and a jump up and you’ll reach shores of San Pedro and Angels Gate Park, where notorious scenes from my all time favorite movie were played out in the 90’s.  Can you name the movie? I won’t give it away!  Nestled between two coastlines in a sprawling green park that overlooks the coast, you’ll find the fabled ‘Koren Friendship Bell‘ in all of its vibrant glory and impeccable hand crafted detail.

Los Angeles itself is known as much for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood as it is the menagerie of beaches against its coast.  Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Point Dume – you simply can’t go wrong.  Now, it’s definitely a personal decision, but Danny and I typically off for the off the beaten path locations with less people – the more of a tourist trap it is, the less peace, quiet and space you’ll have, you know – if you’re into that sort of thing.

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“Don’t underestimate the healing power of these three things:
music, the ocean, and the stars.” 

Hypnotically beautiful with brooding turbulence underneath, the Ocean water mimics the human condition: meeting new highs and pulsing lows, bringing rocky baggage ashore and washing herself clean of the past, pulling new ideas back undertow and ingraining them in her personality. Summer in SD

It’s as if the waters have found themselves in the midst of mindful meditation that you can’t help but immulate: with this wave – I’m breathing in, with this wave – I’m breathing out.

 

No matter the mood or emotion I bring to the water’s edge with me, it’s always washed away and I’m left feeling rooted, as the soles of my feet and tips of my toes edge their way in and around millions of grains of sand that each have thousands of years of stories to tell.  Twisting my head to and fro to see as far as the eyes can see, I’m inexplicably drawn to the cascading of blues that measure where the sky and sea are drawn together in an almost hand painted gradient.  It’s here, that I shed my snakeskin of the past to the salt and air and become again.

Where do you go when your soul needs to refresh?

 

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[Self Discovery] Water Your Own Garden

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You are here now. Those four words echo through my head like the perpetual reverberations of time. In the past few days, I’ve felt an awakening in my center, a soul-shaking, mind-altering shift in my own consciousness as we’re poised to embark on this new journey around the sun.  Hindsight being 20/20, as I think back to the past year, hell – even the past few months, I find myself in awe of my own growth spurts. And now, we’re at the precipice of a new cycle, the perennial moments of the new year and I have to say – it’s a wonderful time to be aware.

As I collect my annual memories and analyze them through a birds-eye view, my resolution for 2017 comes in crystal clear: the grass is greener where you choose to water it, so it’s time to water my own garden, catalyze my own transformation and spend this year turning inward to become the best version of myself.

With the exponential growth of social media grow and smart phones, one could argue that we’re actually just making dumb people.  Don’t get me wrong, being on social media can be fun. It’s a great way to keep in touch, catch up on “news”, and see what the masses are up to.  But, over the last decade, it’s turned into more of a spectator sport and digital version of the SIMS than an actual mechanism of friendship.   Instead of losing yourself in the unimportant feedback cycle of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like – put your phone down, in the other room even, and pick up a book, pick up a hobby – pick up yourself from the couch and go outside for a walk, surrounded by the wonders of nature; engage in your life, and life will engage you back.

Watering your own garden is about personal accountability for your life and the world you’re constantly curating around you; it’s about being a contributing member of your tribe; and, most importantly, it’s about being immersed in the magic of the moment and letting it wash over you like a late Summer rain on a warm August day, without hesitations from past anxieties or future worries.  It’s about creating your own curiosity and caring less about what others are doing in their own lives.  One of the biggest realizations I’ve had as an adult is that we are all the center of our own universes, and each is just as chaotic and nonsensical as the next – but time after time, people become so wrapped up in ourselves that they forget – I have a universe inside me, too. An empath at heart and a giver by nature, sometimes I don’t realize how much of myself I pour out freely for others – often to the point that I have little to none of myself left. So this year, I want to focus on shifting my perspective inwards, focusing on the cosmic shifts that I can cultivate by my own hands.  Collecting intention and owning the now, I finally see what’s possible for me – and let me tell you, it’s possible for you, too.Water your own garden, and you’ll see your life bloom and blossom in ways you ever thought possible.

How do you choose to water your own garden and what are your resolutions for the coming months? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy 2017!

[Self Discovery] Marinate In Your Mindfulness

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As I’ve reveled in recent experiences, both on a personal level and a global level, I’ve recognized the need in myself to be mindful – to be aware of the present moment, less anxious about the past and unfazed by future worries.  When you truly wrap your head around the ephemeral nature of life, you’ll realize how many moments you’ve wasted by mentally occupying other temporal space. Though daydreaming is nice every once in a while, the perpetual wish to  be in another place, have another job, or be surrounded by different people constantly disengages the mind from your current reality, taking you out of the actual moment at hand.

 

As defined by both yogis and psychologists – the state of mindfulness involves an active focus on the present with purposeful attention to the moment at hand.  Living in the space of mindfulness means our mind is open to being in the now, while feelings and thoughts are processed impartially as nonjudgmental experiences. By engaging in mindful behavior, we’re actively raising our personal vibration and the vibration of the global, collective consciousness.

 

 

Mindfulness is a simple recognition that there is something greater than us that dwells within each and every conscious being.  There’s a light that we all carry inside our hearts, a light that pours into others and collectively illuminates the world – or a light that can be extinguished by others if misused or misplaced.  To me, the light that is in each and every one of us is our Spirit Molecule, our God Particle. God isn’t something beside is, outside of us or separate from us – God is within all of us, God is the spark of consciousness that acknowledges the world in all of it’s forms, God is the catalyst for us to live with respect, love and honor – for not only ourselves, but the world that we inhabit and the greater, global consciousness that we all play a role in.

To recognize and acknowledge this light within others, that’s what yoga practitioners refer to as namaste; for anyone who’s frequented the festival circuit or rave scene, it’s been passionately referred to as PLUR and for those simply meandering the world, you might just think of them as vibes; however you refer to them, they’re a collective call to the common good and a reminder that we’re all part of something greater than us.

In small ways,  we can practice mindfulness every day.  When your creative and mental juices are flowing, there’s no choice but to be fully immersed within the present moment: you’re drawn to the now.  Whether it’s a visual art like painting, pottery or graphic design, dance, flow arts, singing, practicing yoga, creating music, or delving into a hobby like crocheting, gardening, photography, writing, baking or cooking – you’re building upon what has been created while evolving the craft carefully; sometimes with expert timing but always with an artistic vision and passionate drive.  Life itself isn’t very different.

Activate With Exercise

Whether you fancy a hearty run, a solid workout or a flow yoga class – by engaging your mind and body in synchronicity, you’re actively engaging in mindful behavior. C.S. Lewis famously said “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” Whatever your personal thoughts are on the issue of mind-body duality, you can’t deny that in this lifetime we’re only allotted one physical body.  Our parents, gym teachers, athletic coaches and doctors have implored that our body is a temple and we should treat it as such.  But as we reach adulthood, more often than not that advice falls by the wayside while schedules climb into the far reaching corners of our calendar: we tell ourselves we can’t find the time, but the reality is we just don’t want to.  Somewhere, in our misaligned, personalized version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – whether it’s because of the stress of a demanding job, an overbearing social schedule, or potentially even anxiety or depression – our physical health has ceased to be a priority.  The good news is that now is the perfect time to change our attitude about how active our lifestyles are.

Exercise like strength training in the gym or running can eliminate any sort of stress or anxiety through the release of endorphins; hormones the body naturally releases as opioid activators that work simultaneously to enhance mood and reduce anxiety.  While engaging in weekly yoga and meditation practices have been proven to improve creative thinking and concentration while decreasing stress by calming the center of the nervous system.

Get Up and Give Back

Love is boundless energy, and one of the only emotions that we can physically, mentally and emotionally both give and receive.  When we’re peace with our own love and able to love ourselves with every fiber of our beings, we’ll be in a prime position to both receive and give love to the world around us. Once you become aware of what you can give back to the world, it’s wonderful to realize that there are multiple ways to physically, emotionally and mentally give back to your immediate community – including neighborhood groups, community service and volunteer organizations. By actively opening your heart for altruistic activities and engaging yourself by assisting those who are less fortunate, you become an important cog in the wheel of life and an integral reason the loving world keeps turning and turning.

Websites like Volunteer Match and Create the Good will link volunteers up with a menagerie of local organizations that are constantly seeking volunteers; if you already have a hunch how you want to help,  a simple search for more prominent, national programs for the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Club of America and the American SPCA will turn up cause specific opportunities at a local level.

Expand Your Mind

When I was younger, I could charge through a book in a under a week – sometimes even a day if I really fell down the literary rabbit hole.  Over the last three years as this blog has blossomed, I’ve found that the more I entertain the writing process – the less and less I’ve been reading.  So lately, I’ve taken it upon myself to really carve out some time in my day to sit and enjoy some good reads. Yes, books transport you to another location, whether antiquated or fantastical – but when you read, you’re fully immersing yourself in a moment, a moment that you can share with other book lovers and curated by the author.  Instead of rushing to the last page like the finish line of a sprint, consider yourself in for a long walk in the park – remember, the goal is to enhance mindfulness – not just your page count.

Not only are these books incredible on an individual level – it so happens that they all tie into each other very nicely.  Truth be told, I would recommend any book by any of these authors – but these five are my first picks.

Whether you’re reading, meditating or getting yourself into a lovely yoga groove, I’ve put together a playlist of my favorite music to philosophize, relax and marinate in my mindfulness to, including the likes of Emancipator, Bonobo, Major Lazer’s Robot Heart Sunrise Set, Random RabAeroplane, The Human Experience and more. As a pro-tip: anything labeled a ‘sunrise set’ is bound to be extra vibey, so strap in and let loose- as you set off on a blissful, audio adventure.

Through daily attention to yoga, meditation, literature, music and community service, I’ve rediscovered myself on my pursuit of mindfulness while finding ways to expand my mind, body and soul and better give back to the world around me.This is how I choose to spread my light – how do you choose to honor and spread yours? What are your favorite ways to practice mindfulness and inhabit the present moment? Let me know in the comments below.  To close, I’d like to leave you with some quotes from my favorite reads on mindfulness:

“Cultivate solidity. You are somebody; you are something. You are a positive factor for your family, for society, for the world. You have to recover yourself, to be yourself. You have to become solid again. You can practice solidity in everyday life. Every step, every breath you take should help you become more solid. When you have solidity, freedom is there too.”
Thich Nhat Hanh, You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment

“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections–with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds”
Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed

“Peace can be made only by those who are peaceful, and love can be shown only by those who love. No work of love will flourish out of guilt, fear, or hollowness of heart, just as no valid plans for the future can be made by those who have no capacity for living now.”
Alan W. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you’ve got.”
Benjamin Hoff, The Tao of Pooh

“For every individual is a unique manifestation of the Whole, as every branch is a particular outreaching of the tree. To manifest individuality, every branch must have a sensitive connection with the tree, just as our independently moving and differentiated fingers must have a sensitive connection with the whole body. The point, which can hardly be repeated too often, is that differentiation is not separation.”
Alan W. Watts, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are

“Time isn’t precious at all, because it is an illusion. What you perceive as precious is not time but the one point that is out of time: the Now. That is precious indeed. The more you are focused on time—past and future—the more you miss the Now, the most precious thing there is.”
Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Namaste.

[Self Discovery] A Resolve for Growth

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“Resolve, and thou art free.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

When I moved to Los Angeles in my early twenties, I quickly realized I had the entire world at my proverbial fingertips and set out in a determined fashion to conquer most, if not all, of it. Maybe it was a byproduct of my 20-something, 20-anything phase, or maybe it’s simply an ode to the fact that I love making lists – but as I was rounding out the last decade of my life, I found myself insatiably devoted to the litany of bucket lists that I’d created.

As I approached 30 and 31, my lists extensively cataloged places to go, things to do and personal mountains to climb. Each was carefully curated with the best of intentions in mind, playing on my zest for life while rediscovering a purpose in my passions.  As the beginning of the year came and went, I realized that though my lists were representative of the person that I was driven to become – between the constant stroking of the go and daily reminders of what hadn’t been accomplished, they were also slightly exhausting. As John Lennon so famously said, ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans

Instead of limiting myself to resolutions I tried to start at the inception of the calendar year, I’ve decided to maintain a fluid list of small ideas where each day holds a unique opportunity for growth and a resolve for evolving past who we were, to become who we want to be.  Regardless of when you set your resolution, it’s important to understand that it’s really the intent that matters.  Sure, a ’31 Before 31′ Bucket List was great – but I found myself so wrapped up in checking the boxes and heading into the next goal, that I couldn’t stop and simply appreciate my small moments of accomplishment; and that’s when I realized that my focus was in the wrong place.  Contrary to my previously held popular belief, It’s not important how many goals you accomplish, or how ‘much’ you grow – but that you have the will and wherewithal to grow in general.  We must be willing to step out of the mundane routine of the every day, and into the novelty of creating magical memories where even the most minute metamorphoses can equate to a massive internal shift.

Over the past few years I’ve inched towards several goals, some haphazardly while others have been more wholeheartedly. Tthis year, instead of a compiling a concise list or a ridiculous repository, I’ve decided to keep it rather short and sweet – well, all things considered.  No joke, going back and looking through these lists is a bit emotionally exhausting – not the kind of feeling you want to have when you’re gearing up to accomplish greatness!  Instead of a grandiose number of accomplishments, I’ve whittled it down to a few that I’m set on taking up.

First and foremost,  I vow to give less fucks. Less fucks?  Yes, a whole lot less.  I suffer from this incurable disease called ‘caring too much about everything’ and not only is it time consuming, but it’s simply exhausting.  Giving less fucks has freed up more time to care about what’s truly important – me, my cats, my husband and this beautiful life that we lead – and less about isn’t – like a past that can’t be changed, unwelcome opinions and toxic friendships that in the grand scheme of things don’t matter.  Coinciding with giving less fucks,

Next, I really want to get back into reading. When I read, my writing improves tenfold and my imagination runs rampant – it’s like a vacation in my hands, how could you not love it?? I implicitly understand that reading more than 10 books a year is a lofty goal; one that can basically be accomplished only if you choose to live inside a literary world and essentially ignore the real one that we’re living in.  Instead of a list of 20 books, I really just want to get through five good ones.  Just five.  I think that’s pretty solid.

Now that I have a plan to engage my mind, I also want one that engages my body and spirit.  Creating a militant workout routine just isn’t my style, because give me rules and watch me avoid them – but I’ve rediscovered a love exploring the great beyond, and have found that being outdoors reinvigorates me from head to toe.  Instead of inundating myself with gym time or diet plans, I’m choosing to eat healthier – with less processed foods and more time at the Farmer’s Market.

When it comes to the my professional life, I’ve realized that I need one job that pays the bills and another that makes me happy; and if they can be the same – even better.  By in large, they aren’t though and you have to be willing to subsidize your happiness somehow – take a course at a local community college, join Toastmasters, volunteer at an animal shelter, join a neighborhood council, take up an instrument, join a choir, write for a local paper, read to schoolchildren, start up a kickball team…the opportunities are endless once you open your mind beyond your 9-5.  And working from home, I’ve also realized that when I’m done with work for the day I need to be done – put the laptop away, get off social media, and get into myself.

Lastly, when I think of my friends – I want to let them know personally.  Not post on their Facebook wall or send them a Snapchat, because really – those aren’t for them, it’s for you – I want to reach out and tangibly touch them with my words, hear the nuances in their voice as they tell me about their day.  I want to be present in the moment with them, and by in large that means getting offline and into a real conversation.

Whether you’re carving out a solid block of a few hours every weekend, or devoting 30 minutes a night, it’s important to set aside some personal time for yourself to dive into your dreams and rediscover who you are at your core.

What are your personal goals for this year? Where’s your resolve for growth?

[Self Discovery] Revel in Your Personal Rituals

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In the few years after I moved to Los Angeles, I’ll admit that my mornings would be ridiculously unproductive. I would roll out of bed, play with the cats, entertain the idea of going to the gym while jumping in the shower and haphazardly set on my way through the monotony of the work week: Eat, Work, Sleep, Cats, Repeat. Though my weekly charade got me to the weekend in one piece, I can’t say that my mind, body and soul were in harmonic balance.   Rudimentary routine escaped me and I most certainly hadn’t even entertained creating any sort of personal ritual.  Leave it to my first yoga class in 2012 to set my mind right. What struck me so succinctly was the necessity to practice with intention – not just yoga, but every little facet of life.  Ever since, I’ve developed a few small practices, and I encourage you to do the same because when I permeate the present with purpose, I’m not only proud of the work that I do – but I find I get more done and am happier to to it.

Whether its a daily, weekly or monthly pursuit – the development of sacred rituals and mantras allows one to hone in on their personal potential while infusing the moment with positive intention.  Whether personal and private or social and shared, a ritual has importance beyond the moment and has a heavier grasp on our psyche, playing a vital role in regulating our mental and emotional statesBy routinely focusing our internal energy and calming down the external world around us to a whisper, rituals reduce stress, depression and anxiety while simultaneously increasing our self discipline, enhancing our creativity and adding to our general sense of self and well being; by purely focusing on the moment, we allow ourselves to truly be present. Though in a traditional sense ‘ritual’ is related to a religious pursuit, to me – a ritual is a repeated tradition seeped in personal significance.

When it comes to the every day, simple rituals like a hot pot of coffee paired with 20 minutes of a good book can set the morning on the right foot; at night, rinse and repeat but replace your beverage with some calming tea.  Realistically, rituals can range from skincare regimens and stretching routines to mid day siestas and late night rune readings.  A tried and true night owl –  I enjoy implementing a morning ritual to set my intentions and ramp up my day; but for you it might be something that helps you wind down and out, allowing you to process your waking moments.

Your ritual can be as simple as setting a daily intention, or a morning mantra, or it can be cathartically complex; either way, it should invoke calmness and tranquility throughout the day. Translated from Sanskrit and part of the Hindu and Buddhist practice, a mantra is a phrase, sound or word repeated over and over to increase concentration and awareness; some personal favorites are  – ‘I will be fully present in the moment’, ‘seek the good’, ‘the grass is greener where you water it’, and’find comfort in the chaos’.

When it comes to rituals, my personal favorites include journaling, reading, music, meditation, road trips, arranging and cleaning crystals, playing with my cats and dancing.  To you they might sound like hobbies, but for me there’s something simple yet sacred about all of those pursuits and combined, my heart truly sings when engaged in those activities. For those that enjoy being more physical like myself active pursuits like yoga, a trip to the gym or an enjoyably long walk with your dog, a friend or significant other will set off the day or night in a positive light.

On a larger scope, weekly rituals like a set gym or yoga schedule and standing date night with your significant other or social circle give you something to look forward to on a weekly basis and strengthen your support system at the same time.  I’ve also taken fondly to monthly rituals like writing out my monthly intentions, engaging in full moon tarot readings and adventuring to a new nature infused landscape.  Lastly but certainly not least, avoid becoming stuck in a rut with your rituals – remember -they should let you breathe new life into your day, not bog you down with unneeded responsibility.

What are your favorite ways to break in the days, weeks and month? Do you have any rituals that you hold dear to your heart? 

Let me know in the comments below!

  

[Self Discovery] The Sanctuary of Sound

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 “The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Back and forth, I paced through the living room, burrowing a path in my wake while my thoughts and anxieties replicate the pattern in my head. Wrapped up in some proverbial search for enlightenment, I’ve become consumed with undulating emotion that I’ve yet to find a way to express. Walking a thin line between loneliness and simply being alone, I try and covet each second like a blanket fresh out of the dryer yet I’m still beside myself, slightly disillusioned and mostly out of touch with my core.  It feels like emotional betrayal wrapped inside internal disintegration; the champagne supernova in my veins spilling over unwittingly, spiraling into a black hole.  I swear, I used to be at peace with myself.

Through empirical and existential experimentation, I’ve discovered that the self is a fragile entity, bound tightly by rhetoric and coddled by the ego.  Let love, kindness, happiness, curiosity and wonder in and the self opens like a blossoming flower; restrict any of these, replace them with dishonesty, jealousy, envy, belittlement or callousness and the self shrivels up and dries out, only to delicately crumble under its own weight.  Every once in a while, we need an outstretched hand and warm smile, a delightful emotional sprinkling of honest goodness; as people we need to be wanted – as blooming entities, we need to be watered.  Yet, we often forget that in order to maintain fulfilling external relationships, we have to be in tune with ourselves, we have to tune and play to our own resonant frequency without being drowned out by the chorus of noise around us.

We come into this life alone and leave it in a similar fashion, yet somehow along the way we become convinced that we as we are aren’t enough.  We’ve become subjugated by the notion that in our present state we aren’t enough, we give into the idea that we have to become more than we are. Get good grades to get into a good school, so you can have a good job – and your life will be good; so we give in, ascribe to a system that we inherently know we don’t want to be part of in order to appease everyone, except maybe ourselves. Thrust onto the world, we’re perpetually in search of the niche that we fit and the keys to the locks that release our chains and set us free; often forgetting that buried inside ourselves is the skeleton key, under layers of thick skin we’ve built to wall ourselves off and protect what we feel most delicately and deeply about.

For every reaction, there’s an equal and opposite reaction – this is as true for physics as in life, but it can be difficult to understand where, in this chicken and the egg spectrum, your pushing on the world ends and it’s pulling at your heartstrings begins.  For the past few months, I’ve felt separated from myself, setting forth an internal domino effect that’s forayed into my external life.  In becoming emotionally withdrawn, I became physically withdrawn, lethargic, apathetic and distrusting; opposed to work and even play, my smiles were fleeting and slightly contrived. I was lonely even though I wasn’t alone, an island that wished it was landlocked, forgetting it’s part of a bigger landscape. Finally, I broke out of my shell, shucked my thick skin in favor of a light soul; I resolved to rediscover myself, to unfold inwards and expand outwards, to fluidly move forward instead of passively pausing.

Somewhere in the two steps forward, one step back waltz of life, we forget that we need to be the leader and the follower.  That to be at ease with the world around us, we have to calm the calamity within. Whether it’s the schoolyard gossip spiked by adult behavior or feeling over-inundated with world tragedies, the world has weighed heavy on my shoulders lately and I haven’t been able to shake it off and set it straight.  Writing is my refuge, my safety net, my confidant and my therapy yet lately when thoughts bubble to my surface I play emotional whack-a-mole to drive them further inside, down to my core.

When words fail, music speaks – the sheer emotional power of a song can be unfounded, but in one way or another we all believe.  Music calls to me, like the howling wind on a desert night or a brightly lit path on a lonely night and on Saturday  it felt like the music was beckoning me, flirting with my faculties and seducing my sense as I entered the Shrine.  The four to the floor rhythm catalyzed my energy while a glow of sheer ecstasy emanated from the crowd; leave it to the dance floor to set me free. Embarking on the evenings auditory adventure, the trials and tribulations of my external world fell to the wayside while the music consumed me. Each and every person there has a world inside them that’s twisting, contorting and spiraling; but for one night, we were able to put our worries aside and plunge into life.

Losing ourselves to rhythm, our limbs eagerly erupted into harmonic movement. In discovering the we between you and I, we pass each other in elegant dance instead of silent ships in the night, as if saying ‘the chaos in me acknowledges the chaos in you.‘ Though we might have arrived alone, we come together in symphony while marinating in the miracle of each moment, undulating as one giant organism.  The dance floor is our savior, the music is our sanctuary and the DJ is our saint. Those who fancy themselves religious have their church on Sunday, but my church congregates in the depths of the night to create new bonds and forge deeper relationships, with the world and most importantly – within ourselves.

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

[Self Discovery] Time Management and Expressing Priorities Through Action

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The irony in trying to write this….is I actually don’t have the time to write it. I want to have time to write it, inevitably, it happened; mostly due to the ideas that start flowing out of my body like a cold sweat because of my internal anxiety.  Over the course of my life, I’ve discovered that if there’s one thing I need to do every single day – it isn’t showering and it damn near isn’t working out, but if I don’t exhibit some form of mental dexterity throughout the day – whether that’s my literal job at hand, or my life path in universe – I feel like I haven’t done my job as a person  I haven’t been peopleing.  Most of the time, it’s some form of reading and writing; either letting my innermost thoughts and wildest emotions run rampant through my veins, out my fingers and into binary code or ingesting tactile worlds that taste like wanderlust and leave me breathless. But I digress, because I don’t have time to go down that path.
Time is one of the most important and intangible things in the world; especially when you understand that the concept of time is a manmade construct, a measurement to feel more in touch with the ebb and flow of the external world and at peace with the universe inside you.  The past, the future – they’re both irrelevant, because we can only inhabit the present moment.  So when I talk about “Time Management”, I’m actually referring to managing the present moment. 
 The easiest question to then ask, is what are you choosing to be front, center and present for – and what areas of your life are you just waltzing through robotically, almost like you’re your own understudy?  Once you figure out what you truly want to be passionately pursuing, you proverbially trim off unnecessary ‘time-fat’ and all the sudden, you’re left with a hearty stake in yourself.
First, repeat after me: I cannot do everything and be everywhere; If I am everywhere, then I am nowhere, if I’m doing everything – I am not doing me.  Now, As a quick exercise, grab a piece of scratch paper (because it feels good to physically hold onto an idea), time yourself for 60 seconds, and quickly write down every small picture idea or thing you ideally could accomplish in a day; next, think a little bigger to what you want to do every week; now, a month – and finally, a year. You’ll notice common trends, and maybe a few standout things that you keep kicking yourself for not doing or that you’re proud you’re a part of.  
My trends start with writing, reading, fitness, learning about social media strategy, discovering new music, making jewelry and other new hobbies when I’m looking at my small picture – but the second I move to my year projection, I realize all of the larger, umbrella plans: saving up money to travel overseas (which means, working more), catalyzing my identity within the music industry (which also means, working more), having a bigger footprint in both my community and neighborhood (which means a more open schedule on weekends while being home more), not to mention amassing vast quantities of knowledge like new languages or progressive science classes that one needs to devote a lot of time to (meaning I’d need to insert maybe 10 more hours in my week).

Last, but certainly not least, there’s the special relationships in my life – including the one I have with myself, as well as my romantic relationship with my fiancé.  Combined, I lived by myself for a mostly glorious, sometimes tulmultuous, three years on and off and through it all I became my own best friend.  The first relationship you should prioritize in your life is the one you have with yourself; and you’ll soon find that the others fall in line.  By prioritizing yourself, you’ll meet other strong willed, like minded people who can’t be bothered with trivialities and truly invest in the people they’re around. 

So, on one hand – I want to do everything that has nothing to do with work; on the other, to get to where I want to be in life, it looks like work is where I need to center my presence.  It might be the two job thing….or three job thing when you consider I’m still the Director of Social Media for The DJ List.  I discovered that if I don’t write about 500 words a day, I legitimately feel like I’m going crazy – the same goes for getting a good dose of cardio in every other day; I’m simply a happier person for doing it.

I’ve wanted to write this post for a week, but honestly just haven’t found the time.  I’m sure it’s existed, somewhere between cuddling with my fiancé  and cuddling with the new kitten, I could’ve slipped into it before driving to Marina del Rey for work or coming home from downtown LA, maybe even jotted down some notes when I was writing copy for The DJ List or drafting up a press release for the Lucent Dossier experience, maybe I didn’t need to go to sleep so early the other night or sleep in so much, but it’s been a long hard road home since LIB and the recovery seems everlasting.  I even thought about not writing, because I didn’t have the time.  And then, I did want to write it, even though I still didn’t have the time.  Because 1,000 words later I’m happier, I see the world clearer, and I feel lighter – like I’ve been tumbled in the dryer with fabric softener.

The truth of the matter is, telling someone else how to manage their time better is like telling someone in California how to prepare for a blizzard.  It’s useful, until you have to do it. What I’ve actually discovered is that to manage your time efficiently you have to express your priorities through your actions.  Hopefully, you’ve learned a thing or two as well!  Now it’s your turn – what are your best tips on time management?