I got new studio pens! I got them about two months ago and decided to throw a contest for my students: submit a creative photo of themselves using their pens and the winner gets a studio gift card for $50. The entries were so fun that I had to make a blog post out of them. Here they are along with the contest winner which is the first photo in the gallery below - Congrats May!
Are you in the process of trying something new? Perhaps a new skill like dancing, or a new hobby like sewing - or maybe you're trying to change the way you think so that you can have a better life experience? Are you finding that it challenges you? Is it testing your patience? Maybe you've thought to yourself at some point during this new experience that you will "just never change, you'll never get it."
Sometimes things take time. Actually, many times doing awesome things take time. I know, we all want to be good at things right away...but think of it this way: you wouldn't go outside and plant flower seeds and then stomp your foot on the ground that day and demand, "Come on flower, grow!" You wouldn't do this because we've been taught that flowers need time to hatch and grow. Sometimes, we don't learn that same fact about ourselves and our desires.
Instant gratification is a great thing, but so is taking joy in the process of our desires. Instant gratification is a wonderful feeling that Amazon Prime provides me with on a regular basis; however, I have learned that taking joy in the process is a whole other story: different, yes, but brings me a joy that instantaneous pleasures can't hold a candle to.
Don't forget to every once in awhile sigh deeply. It feels good. Take a moment to stare off into the distance and let your mind ponder the wonder of growth, or the wonder of...anything, really. Celebrate a small victory. Celebrate another one, no matter tiny or seemingly inconsequential....did it make you feel good? Then it's a victory. Think about that metaphorical seed you planted. That flower isn't going to grow in a day, but when it pokes its head out of the soil and you see that bud for the first time, you'll know.
Post Script: I have been witness to many wonderful things in my life happening VERY quickly. Not all things take a long time to reveal themselves to us. In my experience though, these speedy blessings can only happen when that paradox of "being okay and enjoying the process" stuff is already going on inside you. You can't be pushy and impatient and be trying to force anything. Ah, paradox...you gotta love it. Actually, I do. ;-)
I'm officially moved into my new house. Everything is unpacked and now we are in the settling phase...the phase where you start to get a feel for the house, the yard, the trees - you know what I'm talking about...every house, every apartment has its own feeling. The feeling of this house pleases me. In a quiet moment yesterday and again this morning I noticed the hum of a train in the distance. I like the feeling that sound gives me.
"That feeling that sound gives me." That feeling that sound gives me is what? It's a quiet stirring inside my gut that feels right. I practice the habit of finding good feelings in small things. It keeps my mind right and above grievances. Some may think it negligable to find joy in seemingly meaningless sights and sounds but to that I say, "What else is there?" Besides, if I cannot find joy in myself, in the details of my surroundings, no other good can come to me. Like attracts like. If I am full of contentment, it is the end-game, it is the purpose of life because I FEEL GOOD. A happy side result of this is that bigger and even more good-feeling and prosperous situations will be drawn to me. Love breeds Love. Success breeds success. The better it gets, the better it gets.
Everything starts with something teeny-tiny. "Because you have so little faith, truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -Matthew 17:20
Each morning, I follow a similar routine. I arise from bed and head to the kitchen for my daily dose of caffeine and to fill my big water bottle...then it's back to bed - not for more sleep, but for the start of my work before the day unfolds. I begin my day with a "taking in" and a "pouring out": the ingestion of 32-ounces of water, and the shedding that results from three pages of random writing.
For as long as I can remember, I have written daily in a journal. It has taken many forms over the years: when I first started writing, I was about 20 years old and it was a way for me to get my confusing thoughts about the world sorted out. My therapy was writing it out and getting it out of my head. My journal has evolved over the past 16 years; writing for me now is an eclectic mix of entries: stream of consciousness ramblings, poetry, declarations of intent perhaps one day to be seen through, curriculum ideas, to-do lists, dance routines, prayers. It is still therapeutic to me, although in a much different way now than it was before.
For the past 4 months, I stopped writing. I started noticing my creativity feeling a bit stagnant and ideas for projects weren't circulating as easily from me. It's funny, but somehow, I didn't even really notice that I stopped writing -but, I have been busy with other things - good things - actually, really great things to be more precise. Although life has been moving at a wonderful pace, I felt compelled toward writing again and last week I began a new journal.
It didn't go well. As soon as I picked up my new notebook, I was struck with fatigue and felt immediate resistance to the annoying new composition book. It seemed that I had lost my stride - I asked myself, "How was I ever going to get back into this again and it be as cathartic and rejuvenating as it once was? Dammit, I'm stuck - again." Another interesting aspect I took note of: it felt physically difficult to write. The hand holding my pen felt stilted and almost arthritic. I kept writing. The pen dragged begrudgingly against the page. I felt robotic. I was mechanical. I kept going.
The next morning, water bottle halfway chugged, I pulled the notebook out and already there was a shift. The ink in the pen I was using was gliding across the page. "How quickly things can change when you just keep going," I thought. I didn't just think this thought, though - I felt it. What an incredible feeling, what...possibility. And not remote possibility or the promise of possibility - there was a feel-it-in-my-gut tangibility that had happened practically overnight that felt quite miraculous. I loved that feeling/thought and I reveled in it for a good few days. Still am, actually.
Things don't have to take a long time to right themselves when you start something. Many times, after a period of rest or leave of absence, getting back to it is going to feel boring, laborious and awkward at first. Stay in it for a minute. Stay a minute longer. Stay. S.T.A.Y. Keep going. Keep going. Keep going. It's miraculous what happens when you tender your little offering of willingness to the universe. Things move and shift to support your endeavor, help comes in ways unexpected - whether it through a wise word from a friend, a random remark from a stranger, a thought that bubbles up that reinvigorates your ambition, or an opportunity that comes along to fatten your bank account. Begin. Begin for the first time, or begin again for the hundredth time. The only important thing is that you begin. Joseph Campbell spoke of "a thousand unseen helping hands" that come about when we take that courageous first (and second and third) step into a new endeavor. I've been witness to this synchronicity many times in my life, in many different ways. You never realize how lucky you are until you have enough trust to take not only take that inital leap of faith, but also enough trust to allow yourself to stay in the situation for just a little while until the unseen hands rally around you to assist you in reaching your highest potential whether it be in your work, your love life, your anything.
There is so much love and goodness everywhere I go and I see it! It's a choice. You see what you seek to see.
There's an electricity above and around me, seed of fresh circumstance and glory in utero. It came upon a Monday 8am clear, all lopped thought and loose ends - I leave it unfinished because I don't want to know how it will end. I need a new ending, so I will get one. If I can leave it here - a crackle of electricity, the stir of vibration - here is the birthplace of vision.
What is it about a remark made from a loved one that enables us to be so easily hurt? Common knowledge tells us that it is because we care about the person so much that anything remotely resembling a less than loving comment can and should hurt our feelings; however, this logic is not making much sense to me any longer.
If this person is someone that I KNOW loves me and that I experience day in and day out as a caring person that would never bring harm to me, why am I so easily wounded? Even if the person is being a flat-out jerk, why does it feel so difficult in those moments of anger and hurt to give the benefit of the doubt to this person that we absolutely adore? I think it goes back to the ways in which we have been hurt in the past. And yes, we continue to carry that past with us until we see the light and can let it go. I've found that one of the most incredible experiences is having my eyes opened to the fact that this person sitting in front of me is completely removed and separate from the ways in which I've been hurt in the past. Additionally, even if someone is being a jerk to us, we can make the choice to view their behavior as an indication of how they have been hurt in their own past - this is where looking with forgiving eyes not only benefits others, but ourselves as well. I think ego plays a role in this as well and it goes something like this: "This person is being a jerk to me and I'll show him who's boss!" Yeah, total ego. A truly strong person doesn't need to show anyone who's boss, it's already well-known without saying or doing anything.
This weekend I fell down this old pathway a bit: I had a fight with a loved one...it wasn't too bad, but in reflection afterward I asked myself, "Why would I think this person would say or do anything to hurt me when I know they love me more than anything? It's completely incongruent with the way I experience them 99% of the time, so something here isn't valid."
At the time, the fight hurt and felt really bad. In the aftermath, I'm glad it happened because it is showing me how to love even deeper. How to trust more fully. And it's showing me how I want to continue to keep seeing the world with fresh, loving eyes even more. I know that the people that love me would never hurt me intentionally, so anything said or done that may appear to be that way IS TRULY A MISUNDERSTANDING on my part. That is the choice I make about how I want to view the world and my relationships. This is the choice that I will continue to make even if I stumble again and momentarily forget this ideal. It can and and will only get better. To be love-hearted is the focus I will follow in my life and everything else will ALWAYS fall into place. I chose to believe that love is all there really is and the rest is just there to be sorted through, used as a means to get to a better place and then discarded.
Post Script: In no way am I saying that conversations shouldn't take place between people when hurtful things have been said: in fact, I'm saying the opposite. Talk it through, but work it out with the intention underneath that you both love each other and know that the other would never do anything intentionally to hurt the other. We are human and we will have moments of misunderstanding, hurt and anger and THAT IS OKAY...but use these situations as opportunities to GROW YOUR LOVE AND TRUST even more instead of as reason to create a chasm. Love is eroded bit by bit when these "misunderstandings" aren't seen for what they truly are.
To the ladies and men that:
Make it a point to stay out til 4am smoking and drinking and have no intention of stopping anytime soon just because they "are real adults now";
Trip in their high heels and laugh about it;
Sleep in their makeup and then rock it all the next day, too;
Make up their own words because they aren't any "real" words to convey the excitement and beauty in their minds;
Walk to the mailbox, through the parking lot and down their hallways at home and aisles at work like it's their goddamn personal runway;
Have failed at more things than most people but whom have also succeeded in more than most;
Hydrate themselves with orange soda, root beer and...beer;
Have a dad or a mom that left them at an early age or come from abusive or neglectful beginnings or have been hurt or screwed over in their lives and have learned to live and love with wide open hearts, loving fearlessly and effortlessly;
Think of themselves as beautiful and delight in who they are for the sheer hell of it;
Feed their precious pets more food than they probably should because it feels good to spoil them;
Never judge or criticize others because they know that if they judge, they will NEVER BE FREE;
Think undereye circles or crows feet make them (and everyone else) look a lil sexier;
Own their glory, own their shortcomings, own themselves;
Tattoo their own names on their bodies;
Drive 109 mph over a bridge on a beautiful Valentine night;
Eyes well up with tears because they can't - and don't want to - contain the overwhelming joy or sweet sorrow in their hearts; and
Say "Fuck It" and
Live Their Lives
According to That Feeling in their hearts
And That Idea in their minds.
No matter what anyone says about it...
To the ladies and men that do that:
I love you and I need you and you make this world absolutely beautiful!
THE BACK STORY:
When I first started pole dancing, there was nothing I wanted more than to get a sexy, badass split (hello drop splits!) Stretching was such a pain (literally and figuratively!) but I was determined to find a way to get those elusive splits. All it took was a little planning and some mind training, and I found a way to make stretching a part of my routine - and it wasn't that hard, in fact, it was actually pretty fun and relaxing! In this video, I share the routine that I created for myself and the psychology behind how I "tricked myself" into wanting to stretch.
My inaugural tutorial is a 30-minute video chock full of my simple tips and advice on how to get your splits - even if you are a foot from from the ground!
In this stretching tutorial you will learn:
- How to easily and successfully make stretching a part of your weekly routine by making it fun and enjoyable for yourself so that you will consistently stretch, week after week;
- How to effectively target the specific muscle groups needed to get a pretty, flat, flexible split; and
- How many times a week and for how long you should be stretching.
Purchase the 30-minute tutorial digital download here:
Lately, I've been into the idea of opposites, more specifically, using feelings like boredom, fear, or dissatisfaction as invitations to experiencing their opposites. For example, if I find myself bored, I can let my mind entertain the idea that the boredom is actually the launching off point toward something more fun and satisfying. Boredom can be an opportunity as opposed to a limitation or as something to be endured until the next exploit. This works for me because usually what happens after I make the choice to gently change the direction of my thought, very quickly, whatever negative feeling I was experiencing begins to transmute into a more beneficial state of mind.
If, at my core, I believe that life can be everything I want it to be, then in effect, isn't anything that happens to me that appears to be in contrast to that ideal only an invitation to sharpening my focus toward that end? Said another way, when you experience what you don't want, you know what you do want even more. When I live this way, the world opens up to me in ways unexpected which is nice, because that means I don't need to figure it all out all the time - my job here is opening my mind and heart to a new perspective.