Whooooooooo Aarrrrrrrrrrreeee Yooooouuuuuuu?

Every once in a while, I’ll post my morning reflections on Facebook due to some kind of random inspiration. (This one got a lil long so it ended up here.) Then again, I don’t believe things happen randomly. I believe in signs and synchronicity. Somebody needs to hear this message, so for whoever this is for, I hope it’s as cathartic for you to read, as it is for me to write it. 
 
Maybe it’s just the Fall time, but it seems this time of year, I’m reflecting. Always reflecting.  My career and things that I want to experience in life: places I want to go, chances I want to take, things I want to see/feel/smell/taste.

Last year at this time, I was reflecting on the very reason for my existence.  I had questions on what I was called here to do. Perhaps it was nothing. Maybe we are just a freak accident from an asteroid that hit Earth and there is no purpose. But then why would we strive for purpose in our lives, if it’s not something we are meant to have?  I felt called to do some things. Travel. Write. Act. Produce. Be in love.  But then when I would focus on those things, I would get thrown for a loop. Why? What was I doing wrong? I could go on with this. But you see what I’m saying here, I’m sure. 
This year, my reflections have gone past the reason of existence to, “Well, I’m here regardless. So what do I do with this time? How to I enjoy it?” I’ve had a lot of change in the last year. A LOT. I set about to change that question of existence to just being still and being in existence. Feeling every moment. Learning how to say yes and no. Learning how to actually take the road less traveled, not just talk about taking it.  Learning how to have faith in myself and my abilities. How to love myself.
This approach has utterly changed my life.  If you told me what I was about to experience in job, home, dating and spirit, I would have laughed.   “Yeah right”, I would have scoffed. “I’m never leaving my cozy cottage paradise in Altadena and moving to Orange county. I’m most DEFINITELY not going to be working Attractions in Fantasyland. And FOR SURE not going to be ….. <insert a million other things here>…”  Wasn’t the way I envisioned life happening. I had a plan for my lofty goals and aspirations.
But life. Life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Life swept me out to a very big ocean of self-discovery. I’ve always said, everything is always about learning and growing. It’s a humbling and enriching experience all at once; but a necessity. So while, this year’s ups and downs were not at all what I planned,  it’s made me the strongest I’ve ever been. I’ve had to, in a sense, break my heart open again to survive it. I’d been holding onto a lot of fear and pain. But I couldn’t go on like that anymore. I was getting in the way of myself.  I had put up a very strong wall around me. I had a hard time letting people in. In retrospect, I think I had to though, for a little while at least. I couldn’t let anybody else in when I wasn’t even letting myself in. I had to learn how to love myself and take care of myself. Not materially. Emotionally. Spiritually. 
 
Much like caterpillar has to build it’s chrysalis to protect itself while it morphs into butterfly, I had to learn how to grow within the very fears and pain I was trying to run away from, so that I could break through that wall and crumble them in bits of dust particles to be swept away from me by the winds of change, into the vast universe, never to be seen again.

Who Are You?
Who Are You?
 
When you learn to stand on your own two feet on a spiritual and emotional level, it is an exhilarating feeling. I can’t quite describe it. Materially, I’ve been on my own since I was 16. But spiritually and emotionally, this is the first time in my entire life, that I feel completely independent of anyone outside of me. Buttons and triggers that I used lovingly protect, are gone. I don’t need the validation from anyone else for my mere existence or ability to get through life. I was not made to be a marionette puppet and I learned how to stop acting like one.  This goes so much further than having control of the remote for the TV at the end of a long day. This is deeper than anything I’ve felt before. There is a sense of calm for me amidst the storm of life. Nothing and no one, will ever break me again. I could put my heart on the floor at a man’s feet, and he could stomp on it. But that’s not going to break me. Sure, it’s not gonna feel great. But it won’t shatter my existence, my very soul.  I could have conversations with my family about how I really felt about things in life, show them pieces of who I really am and I didn’t need their approval nor did I care if I got it. I have found a level of unconditional love for myself and others that I did not know I was capable of. 
Now this is not to say I don’t have my moments of frustration. There are PLENTY of those. But instead of letting those moments hinder me, I let them propel me. That’s the difference. It’s about making a choice to hold myself accountable for where I go in life and what I do. I can decide how to shape my attitude and emotional reaction around something.  I have NO control over anything outside of myself, let alone any other person. When I released that burden of responsibility, that’s what opened up unconditional love for me. I can choose to either say yes, or say no without dispensing judgement, and without taking judgement in.
 
I had written a status last year when contemplating some pretty big determinations  and life changes I had just made on my trip to Kauai. I always jokingly blame all of these life change on Kauai – but in a way it’s true. Kauai brings me back to life. Reminds me of the deeper parts of myself. It’s my spiritual spot. I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, I was finding, when got back into my routine in LA, I was starting to feel disconnected again. I searched for inspiration to help me reconnect. I pulled a book off my shelf, and it was the last book my Grandma Elsie ever wrote. These were the last words I ever had from her. And they were beautiful.
 
And that is what inspired this whole post was, today, the Facebook “On This Day” feature delivered those words to me again, at the very moment I needed to remember them. Without fail, I always hear the words of my Grandma when I need them the most. 
I feel compelled to share them again. New starts are bold & brave and humbling all at once. You have to shed all of the weight of your past, who you think you are and embrace your “highest you” that you can be. 
 
“Each of you, dream big. Fix your gaze
on that far place you know is yours to seize;
Set your steps to win, and when you
reach your dreams, new paths will touch your toes.
Your far horizon gleams
with treasure beyond imagining.
Choose, then, and go, our loved ones, go!
But go with God….
Becoming real takes faith in God:
Takes trusting more when doubts
loom large and fear sucks out our breath —
Takes being willing to walk blind
through sorrow —
Takes standing still,
when we want most to run —
When all is lost to struggle on —
Takes firm belief, no matter what,
that God turns bad to good….”
—- Elsie Larson
 
Take this with you. Be brave, bold and courageous. Go with love. You cannot fail.

 

 

 

 

Day 9, 10, 11, 12 -30 Day Challenge

(These are flashback blogs from when I transferred domains. I thought they were worth keep – this was written during a course of taking 30 days off of social networking and working on my creative projects – a screenplay in 30 days being one of them.)

Yes I know I didn’t blog for 3 WHOLE DAYS!! What is the world coming to? Well, part of making my own rules, is breaking them, right?  I decided I needed a minor break, so I took one.

I had class. I spent some time with one of my dear friends who always has a way of making me feel better about myself simply by just being HERSELF. I love her for that.  I also took some long walks, one being in a brief shower of rain, hoping for a major thunderstorm but being content with some sprinkling instead. I also slept…I was just really tired.

I also happened to finally watch a movie called “The Blind Side” which is an amazingly touching story about family, loyalty, rising above your circumstances, forgiveness, love, courage. There is a particular moment where the hero of our story is writing an essay on a significant battle that he is studying in his history class.

Michael Oher: Courage is a hard thing to figure. You can have courage based on a dumb idea or mistake, but you’re not supposed to question adults, or your coach or your teacher, because they make the rules. Maybe they know best, but maybe they don’t. It all depends on who you are, where you come from. Didn’t at least one of the six hundred guys think about giving up, and joining with the other side? I mean, valley of death that’s pretty salty stuff. That’s why courage it’s tricky. Should you always do what others tell you to do? Sometimes you might not even know why you’re doing something. I mean any fool can have courage. But honor, that’s the real reason for you either do something or you don’t. It’s who you are and maybe who you want to be. If you die trying for something important, then you have both honor and courage, and that’s pretty good. I think that’s what the writer was saying, that you should hope for courage and try for honor. And maybe even pray that the people telling you what to do have some, too.

It was one of many touching messages in the movie. It also made me ask myself what the definition of courage and honor are. Some people think they have the right definition, but are too ego-centric to see that they have made it all about themselves. I feel like the people who truly have courage and honor, strive for it daily, but have no need to broadcast to the world. They define the terms, simply by being and doing, and in the end become the symbol or figure that people trust and look to for hope.

Here’s another thought: We have uphill battles in our life, people we depend upon, people we love that may not have our best interests in mind.  But in life all we can do is “hope for courage and try for honor”. In striving for those two things, we can automatically align our purpose in integrity and authenticity.  And we never give up. There is a passage from “Moon Over the Capital” taken from “Letter to Nike” written by Nichiren Daishonin, when he is encouraging a disciple to overcome his obstacles. The most profound message that I take from it is as follows:

Be diligent in developing your faith until the last moment of your life. Otherwise you will have regrets.  For example, the journey from Kamakura to Kyoto takes twelve days. If you travel for eleven, but stop with only one day remaining, how can you admire the moon over the capital?

 

We can’t give up. No matter how many obstacles we face, we can’t give up. We can’t bury our heartaches in alcohol, drugs, addictive tendencies, and unhealthy relationships. Life will call us to overcome, till our dying day. It’s up to you to listen and answer the call as soon as possible. Should you choose to ignore the call, you will live in a miserable state of existence. But the call will still go out to you. We have to believe that our lives have meaning, have value, as do others’ lives.  We all have to treat each other as such. Even when people may shut you out, or act with irrational and inexcusable behavior, we must continue to live giving out love, compassion, understanding,  and being of service to the best of our human ability. Even if you have to walk away from someone who has the phone on mute. This may mean that somebody else has a message for them. Just not you. But you can be there when they seek you out later.  Life is about multiple chances to try again and grow. Try again and grow. Try again and grow.

I have also been thinking about those who are lost to me. I honor those people everyday when I spend time in prayer and meditation.  I think about their effect on my life. I think about what they contributed. I think about how I can learn and grow from their presence. How can I better the world around me with what I have learned and with honor to their contribution?

Deep thoughts on a Sunday afternoon I know. I have more. And maybe I will jot them down later.

Love to all.