Constant Reminders & Imperfect Circles


I am always intrigued by tattoos with a philosophy — something that a person has chosen to embed permanently upon themselves as a constant reminder of what they strive towards.

Epicurus taught that although we may know what we believe in, it’s easy to forget and lose sight of our true priorities amidst the pressures and chaos of life.  His remedy for this was having constant reminders.  A dedicated follower one famously etched Epicurus’ teachings onto a wall in the middle of a plaza as a giant red reminder that true happiness is found within us, not in material wealth.

A similar modern practice is placing symbols around the home as unavoidable reminders of one’s religious devotion… or who one should root for on game day.


I don’t have any tattoos, and at this point in my life I doubt I ever will.  I just can’t commit, and while I love them on other people I quite like my raw canvas of blank skin.

Instead I’ve always found ways to non-invasively remind myself of a particular philosophy I was eager to practice.

As a teenager I strung a tiny snowflake charm around my neck to remind me of Iceland (I was enamored with Bjork’s unique creative philosophy).  I’ve kept tiny notebooks as little bibles full of quotes & pictures that I would refer to throughout the day to inspire me and get my focus back on track.  Music playlists were also extremely helpful.

My recent interest has been in imperfect circles.

They show how much beauty there is in the unexpected, the incomplete, the naturally occurring.  The raw Enso circle in Zen philosophy represents the moment the mind is free to let the body create.

Plus they often magically appear under frequented cups of caffeine or wine… pretty coool.IMG_1709



Mad Max Mentality


When you’re dead set on your purpose, you don’t allow in anything other than what supports you.

Despite the deplorable conditions of the Mad Max realm, the most charismatic inhabitants are fiery and awe-inspiring in how much they give themselves to their survival.

They know they’re going to have to suffer big-time.  They know the world is out to get them.   They don’t know what easy is.  But they do it because they believe it’s worth it.  They don’t have a choice.

In the post-apocalypse no one has time to say “this shouldn’t be happening to me”.  Life is happening, and when you’re fully invested in your purpose it’s supposed to hurt.   It’s supposed to be a struggle.  You bleed and face a million obstacles, but it’s wonderful because you’re fighting for what you truly believe in.

This is how I want to live, fighting like a brute –albeit a slightly more refined and less lethal brute– for my true interests, my true self, my true beliefs and worthiness.

The kamikaze-like war boys of Mad Max live brainwashed and deprived, but I don’t need to be in order to tap into that mental drive and crazed intention.

All the excitement, suspense, tragedy and glory of the high-definition thriller happen to each and every one of us, although we tend to write off their momentousness because we perceive them as mundane annoyances.

When everything around me seems to be going wrong, it can still be a lovely day.  Because the struggle is worth what I believe in.

Combat skills can only go as far as the mental skills that drives it.   The only real thing that will keep us going when it feels like our world is imploding is how we choose to think about it.

Creativity thrives on Imperfection


I realized that on perfect days I tend to not get much done.

I’m not agitated enough, hurried enough, flustered enough.

Like many, I work best under a time crunch.   While heavy urgency can cause excess stress and botched jobs, in the right amount it can also force us to think up crazy wonderful new ideas and put an end to analysis paralysis.

If the world was perfect and we could safely sleep under the stars every night and never want for anything, civilizations would have never formed, technology never devised, and culture never created.

It is through having a need, perceived imperfections, a struggle, that we become the most inventive and amazingly brilliant.

What is the perfect situation anyway?

If I  didn’t have insomnia last night?  If today wasn’t 98 degrees?  If I didn’t have to deal with traffic, or my day job, or demanding LA folk?

Despite my initial inclination to grumble, I know that these are the days that I make the most notes, have sudden ideas, epiphanies, and creative solutions … if I am allowing of it.

If I am allowing of it.

The Spaces in the Places



It doesn’t have to be ugly.  It’s just people on the streets.  Just discarded items.  Just places that haven’t been given love in a while.  It’s just someone reacting to another reaction.

It doesn’t have to be scary.  These things have all been done before in some shape or form by other human beings.  We are meant to be strong, resilient, supple.  We are meant to endure and find ways to balance again.

It doesn’t have to be difficult.  It’s just another day, another thought, another series of actions.  And it’s always a choice.

It doesn’t have to be complex.  It’s just many simple things put together.  It’s just things doing what they do.  It’s just life going about it’s crazy way.

It doesn’t have to be black or white.  Something can be great and awful at the same time.  Something can be brilliant yet stupid.  Something can be beautifully ugly.  Something can be many things all at the same time.

The pressure doesn’t need to be there.  It’s just people saying things, doing things.  It’s just pictures across a screen, on a large sign.

It’s just words in the media.  It’s just people who happen to be known by many other people.

It’s just the world moving along.

Beautiful Paradoxes


Bringing the zen concepts to modern life without the asceticism.  Simplifying everything and still living in a chaotic world.  Mindfulness in a driven life.

When the mind is free to let the body create.

I notice that I have been happier and more appreciative of what I have instead of immediately “needing” to change everything.  I think this is a big step.

The dark with the light.  Thinking about death allows me to experience more joy in life.  Finding beauty in the dark & gritty places allows me to fully feel the gloriousness of sunlit white rooms.  Hard metal music allows me to appreciate the sublimity of lush ambient soundscapes.

I really do think that this is what people are seeking.  Living this crazy life, but feeling good and living well.  Not having to escape, not having to need more, not thinking other people need to change first.

Only owning things that feel good.  Thinking thoughts that feel good.  Using creative solutions instead of buying into societal group-think.

Doing things truly for yourself, because that is who you’ll be with in the end.

Life is too short to not allow ourselves to see the beauty in each moment.  The dark & light.  The imperfect & flawless.  The so-called right & wrong.

Once basic needs are met, it’s never about money.   Once we see beauty in what we have, we no longer feel like we need that extra object.

Simplifying starts with the mind, so we can create more with our life.

Self Listening Practice

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If you’re anything like me, you’ll fully understand what it’s like to constantly feel the need to be more for people.  To have family and friends’ approval, to measure up to colleagues, to impress potential business connections, to gain validation from total strangers….  It’s a maddening world.

I realized more than ever how and when I’m taking other people’s potential opinions first and foremost over my own opinion and preferences.

I’ve been doing things solely for myself. 

Even just something basic like choosing to something that actually I really want to wear… and then watching the thoughts start to come in.  “White will get dirty!  You’ll look too dressed up; what’s the point of wearing that if you’re just running errands? You stuck up or something?”  …Just watching the thoughts that I am creating to talk myself out of my own preferences. Wow.

I noticed that I like to find a “rational” reason — as if I need a reason why I feel like wearing a favorite piece of clothing.  I realized that “because I’ll enjoy wearing it today” is just a good reason as any other.  I’ve been practicing noticing my own self-bullying, then standing up for myself.

I’ve been believing in my work.

One of the biggest things that’s been holding me back from going from a menial job to a professional career is a lack of proper focus.

In the very beginning I made it all about who I was for my clients.  I wanted to make sure I was perfect enough to coach others, and of course that just lead to extreme self-doubt and paralysis.

Then I made it all about making my clients very happy — which is something I can guide, but is ultimately up to them to carry out for themselves– and that just made me very needy and anxious…and paralyzed.

I’ve wavered between the two, trying to find a balance…then just a few days ago I was finally able to internalize what my coaching school has always taught:

It’s not all about fixing their problems.  Nor is it all about me achieving a perfect zen-life.

It’s all about the work I’m doing.

All I can do is give my all for every session.  Do my best work for the sake of my work…and my clients…and myself.

That brought me entirely back to the focus of the quality and love of my craft instead of any outcomes.

I’ve been paying attention to the beautiful little details despite moments of chaos.

Taking photos of soy-sauce marks left on a white table [above].  Noticing how the water swishes in the sink.  Stopping to enjoy the moment.  So damn cliched.  But I think I’m finally getting it.

I’m finally seeing how the big goal won’t be forgotten if I stop and be content and amazed by the beauty of the simple everyday moment; and in fact it probably provides me what I need to get closer to achieving that big goal.

Instead of immediately wanting to escape chaotic reality by distracting myself, I surprised myself this week by actually craving a blank white wall to just look at and let my mind relax into enjoying that extreme simplicity.  This is big for me.

I’ve been wearing more skirts and dresses this summer than I have in the past 10 years.

The skin on my legs aren’t great, but not wearing dresses had more to do about my fear that looking feminine would give away my weaknesses. It wasn’t about how I perceived women. It was me thinking that I needed to protect myself and put on a tough front.  I used my tomboyish preferences to hide the vulnerable things within me.

For the first time I’m feeling more fun and confident in a dress than I ever have before.  It’s because how I feel about myself always comes from within.  Funny how simple shifts in mindset can affect the seemingly most random changes.

It isn’t easy to write about these things.  I’m a naturally private person (…or is it a comfort zone? Hmm..) and these personal notations are not something I am used to expressing.

Part of me definitely feels like I’m over-sharing.  The other part of me feels surprisingly relieved.  As social animals it takes effort to hide information that one perceives as important, although fear and doubt can keep it hidden away.

I know that my uncomfortable vulnerability is someone else’s natural everyday state, but that’s the thing about inner monsters — with their arms too tightly around us they can shield our minds from realizing that our big fear really isn’t that big a deal at all.

Living without Regret Vs. Dying without Regret


Regret is inevitable in life if you are an emotionally-healthy human being.

It may be semantics, but to live without regret seems to suggest not living with awareness.  We should regret things if we are to learn from our past.  But the idea is not to allow that regret to mean anything final.  We are still alive.  We are still writing our story, creating our work of art.

We should be allowed to regret whatever choices we have previously made, but to allow that regret to stop us from continuing to grow and soldier on is what we will ultimately regret on the deathbed.

The top 5 regrets of the dying: Not living life true to who they really were, working too hard, not having the courage to express their feelings, not spending enough time with friends, and wishing they had let themselves be happier.

These are all things that could have been improved upon at any time in life — as is with all things.

The only thing we will regret at the end is not trying to change when we could.

If you are reading this, you still have time.

So regret what you wish, but let it teach you and evolve you.

And in the end you won’t regret not giving it your all.

The only real mistake is thinking it’s too late to try.