When something doesn’t go as planned

I just returned from a much needed Las Vegas weekend from heaven.  I was staying at a beautiful hotel on the strip with my boyfriend and watched my favorite band Rammstein’s epic performance go up in flames (in the best of ways).  It was a long holiday weekend and spirits were high.

I was quietly excited for our final night.  I had it all planned — the outfit, the outdoor bar, the fireworks show at 9.  I was so proud of my wishy-washy self for actually stepping up and choosing these little details.  It was going to be the perfect ending to a most awesome weekend.

It’s 6pm and I’m freshly showered and putting on a dress, which is a pretty big deal for me.

Then something unexpected unfolds.  Nothing necessarily “bad”, but by 7pm I’m realizing there’s a chance that my plans might not be happening.

It’s 7:19 and I’m in denial.

By 8pm I’m changing back into my pajamas, sitting alone at the hotel room desk overlooking the gaudy lights and the little twinkles stretching into the dark desert expanse.

I felt disappointment.  I felt upset at my disappointment.  I felt it was unfair.  I felt selfish for feeling that way.  I felt it should be ok, but it didn’t feel ok.

I also knew that according to the Art of Self-Creation, I was creating this feeling, this emotional experience.

I knew that I was arguing with reality and creating an unhappy experience.

“Ok, what am I really working with here,” I asked myself aloud in reluctant monotone. “What’s the truth?”

I let my mind narrow in on the raw facts of the situation instead of the emotional stories I was telling myself about the facts. “The true reality is that I’m on my own tonight.  I’m here in Vegas.  I’m in a hotel room.”

For a moment I looked around without my thoughts clouding my vision for the first time.  There was the soft hum of the AC.  My feet cushy within my slippers.  Twinkling outside.  It was nice-ish.

“That’s what I’ve got to work with,” I told my reflection in the window. “This is what I’m working with here.  This the canvas I’m creating upon. And I’ve been painting it with stories of disappointment.  That is why I’m unhappy.  Not because of the canvas.”

“Is this the experience I want to have right now?” I asked. “To sit here on my last night feeling upset and disappointed?”

I looked at the lights outside.  I looked at the beautiful hotel room I was sitting in.  “No.” I decided.

“What kind of experience would I rather create?” I asked.

I admitted that I would rather feel good about tonight.  I wanted to feel at peace, appreciative, maybe even happy. That’s what I wanted to create upon my canvas of reality.

“Ok, what is within my power that may help create that?”  Now the creative juices were flowing instead of the unproductive whirlpool of woe-is-me.

I could put my dress back on and carry out my plans on my own.  I could go down to the casino and use our free drink credits and get a nice buzz going.  I could walk around with the happy people on the strip.  I could stay here in the room and enjoy the peace and read and relax.

I carefully considered all of these.  Perhaps even a mixture of them.  What did I really want?

I realized that what would feel the most happy, peaceful, and appreciative would be to not be hungover during the drive home tomorrow.  To not spend money needlessly.  To not come back smelling like sweat and cigarettes.  To not have guilt for brewing a pot o’ drama.  To just enjoy what is, and see that it can be peaceful and ok.

It’s nice to sit here.  It’s nice to read.  It’s nice to enjoy simply being here in the middle of this ridiculously glitzy city.

“Yeah but it’s your last night here and you’re supposed to be out there…!” squeaked a little persistent thought in my brain, and I started to feel the it-shouldn’t-be-this-way disappointment wash back up.  I realized I was creating my old sad experience again.  I was losing my personal power.

“Yes, it’s my last night here and I don’t want to spend it feeling upset about things I have no control over!” I decided with conviction.

I was back to focusing on what was within my realm of power.

My old thoughts made attempt to pipe up a bit more over the next few hours, but softened as I focused on relaxing and appreciating.

Admittedly, I didn’t ever get to the feeling of 100% peace that night, but I felt so much better than the mental arguing I was doing prior.

I stopped arguing with what I couldn’t control, and I worked with what I had power over.

I created a better experience.  And I was so thankful for my power to do that.

 

Work with what you’ve got!

  1. See what you’re truly working with.  What is the bare-bones undisputable reality, without emotional attachments & judgements?  That’s the canvas you create upon.
  2.  What are you currently creating with your thoughts?  Is this the experience you want to create for yourself right now?
  3. If not, what kind of experience DO you want?
  4. Stop focusing on what you don’t have control over and recognize what you do have power over.  Focus on those possibilities instead of the “shoulds” that argue with reality.
  5. Begin creating something better.  Don’t force it.  It’s like art, like creativity.  Let it flow when it does, and dabble and experiment when it doesn’t.
  6. Find appreciation for what is.  Don’t strive for perfection, just a better experience.  Adjust accordingly.  Appreciate your power to do that!

 

A lot of unexpected things have happened this year, from perplexing health issues to car surprises good and bad, to travel misplans. This is the basic formula I’ve been using to work through all these things knowing that I’m giving it AND myself the best I can. ❤

The “Ride or Die” Life

Your hunch has always been right: You need to do life your way.

And yes, everything else really is bullshit.

You’ve got one life to live, and you know you want to live it to the fullest.

One major thing drives people like you and I: the fear of regret.

What drives my every move is knowing that I have one finite existence that could end at any time with one fell traffic-accident/terrorist-incident/wrong-place-wrong-time/health-surprise/natural-disaster/axe-murder swoop.

It scares the crap out of me, but I think about death every single day.  And I love it.  I enjoy thinking about it, because knowing for absolute sure that I’m going to die, makes me love my life.  I don’t bullshit myself.  I don’t lie to myself.  I don’t shun myself and prioritize other people’s expectations.

It’s all a beautiful paradoxical balance: thinking about death also involves considering the absolute amazing possibilities of this life.   This life, that is happening right now.

We already know we can’t take the material stuff with us, yet we still believe it’s what we want, and there’s nothing wrong with that — as long as we know the differentiation.

Enjoy all the things, but don’t make yourself crazy by thinking that they’re what really matter in the end.  The things are what should supplement the things that really matter.

No regrets.

And the only step to ensuring this, is getting really real about life.

The only thing we can take with us is our own personal knowing that we LIVED to our fullest potential.

Whether this means achieving things your insecure teenage self could only attempt to imagine, or if it means simply living the most beautiful life that you could muster given the circumstances you were provided — it’s entirely yours to define, and to live & die with.

Approach this responsibility with a ride or die attitude.

Meaning:  You make a commitment to live, and go all-in to the best of your ability, every day.  Even when obstacles happen.  Even if you fall.  Put your ass into the saddle and grab the reins and steer.

Or, you can recline back in the familiarity of your pumpkin chariot and bark out vague directions as you get pulled along blindly through the bumpy terrain of life, until you reach the end and crankily whine, “that’s it?!”.

We have a choice, every single moment; every single day.

Are you up there on the saddle consciously riding?  Or simply just dying.

It’s coming, no matter what.  And I personally like to do whatever I can to be sure that when it comes, I will know that I spent my precious time alive, experiencing the answers to all my questions — big and small.

It’s not morbid.  It’s being real.  If you want life, you need to face and embrace death.  Allow the truth of it to make you love your life even more.

If you’re still alive, you’re still on the ride.

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Self improvement is the sexiest thing you can ever do for yourself

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SEXY: having attractive, exciting, interesting or appealing qualities

Just like any other embellishments to the human form, self improvement takes time and effort and maintenance.  It is so special most people think they cannot afford it.  It looks great at any age and transcends all demographics.   It is sustainably sexy, the kind of sexy that can grow with you and enhance everything you do in life.

What happens is…

You become more interesting and exciting.  The more you understand who you really are and what you really want, you begin to make braver, bolder, and more creative choices.  You experience more, want more, and do more.

You become more confident and adaptable. As you begin to know what you stand for and why, you become neither a doormat nor a dictator.  You remain loving and honest towards others while still being fully loving and honest with yourself.  You have a skill of knowing how to set boundaries without burning bridges.

You become more self sufficient.   As you take more responsibility for yourself  you stop blaming other people and things for how you feel.   You complain less.  You have discovered how to be who you really are without anyone’s help, and ironically that has made you more able to give and receive more love than ever before.

You are a more intimate friend.  As you learn to let go you will ironically learn to keep better friendships and know how to love without needing things to be perfect.  There’s less bickering. Less neediness.  Less drama.

You spread more happiness.  As you are more happy and loving with yourself, you are more enjoyable to be around for everyone you encounter.  This world needs more happy and loving people, so you not only are improving yourself, but also improving the world around you.

You make the most of everything.  The less you are burdened by drama and untended inner feelings, you know how to have more fun. You can let go and enjoy life and can be the person who knows how to have a good time despite whatever may be going on in the background.

I’ve always been intrigued by people who just have “it”.  They could appear very commonplace until they react to you, smile at you, say something to you…then you just feel it.  There’s something about them.   Something special and exciting and untouchable.

“It” can be cultivated, created, honed.

There’s something utterly endearing yet stimulating about someone who has self-love yet are vulnerable in a way that takes courage and inner strength.  It’s that balance that catches the attention and makes an immediate connection.

When you’re turned on to the love and knowledge of who you really are, you live in a more turned on way.

That is rare.  That is special.  That is sexy.

 

Manifesto: Spiritually Ambiguous

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I’ve always felt like I’ve been seeking something that I couldn’t find, let alone define.

I know I’m not alone in this.

To lay away at night pondering mortality, purpose, happiness…life.  To sit in highschool and zone out on the cover of my marble notebook, hoping that the vortex of blurred spots would reveal to me some big secret, like the hidden Magic Eye pictures.

I think the majority of frustrations stem from a world that glosses over of the stuff that really matters, collaging reality over with lists of societal responsibilities.

You don’t need a label.  You’re a human being with incredible creative capability, whether you know it or not.

Just because there’s no church or group or school of thought that you currently feel at home in doesn’t mean that you’re on your own.  It means that you’re in a major position to realize how much of a part of everything you really are.

We’re all seekers.  We’re all seekers in our own ways, so what we’re searching for as individuals will always be slightly different.  Some of us are at home right away, some of us jump from group to group, some drift along and never find anything that feels right.  Others simply seek less, while some simply seek more.

But we are all seeking, on our own levels.

It isn’t our job to find and commit to a single group.  It’s our job to seek out and find the individual parts that work best for ourselves.  It’s a custom made purpose, a personally crafted spirituality.  Our own unique lifestyle that is built just for us.

I used to think that because I didn’t have a group, I didn’t really have a kind of spirituality.  But then I would sit and look at the stars at night and feel like I completely belonged in the biggest of schemes of things.

Just feel it.  Feel it in the smallest things in everyday life.  Feel it when you’re out alone in nature.  Feel it when you’re staring at the sky in the middle of traffic.

We’re all feeling it, discreetly.  We’re all experiencing, we’re all learning and living and existing.

I don’t know all the answers, or even any answers.  But I know that I’m alive and living with you all right now.

This is where we create what we could never find.  We’re all doing it differently, but we’re doing it together.

I now find it incredibly interesting and exciting to discover and learn what works best for different people.  There is no right or wrong way if it makes you feel like your true self.

Don’t be afraid to seek above & beyond.

 

Manifesto: The truths I want to show you

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I want to show you that the lofty life can be achieved through a multitude of means all your own.  I want to show you that the only thing one “should” do is to take full responsibility over what we want to experience.  It’s not about just “putting it out into the universe”, it’s about taking control over everything you choose to think, feel, and put out there.

I want to show you that the bad habits and things we think we can’t change about ourselves can be changed in amazing ways.  I want to show you that the lifestyle you think you need to have in order to feel good is very attainable.  I want to show you how amazing it feels to feel free to fully express yourself, live in the moment, build a close relationship with yourself everyday and learn staggering resilience.

I want to show you that things can and will go wrong, and that they mean nothing about your ability as a human or an artist.  I want to show you how getting to know how you operate and why is the best thing you can ever do for yourself, and I want you to experience that extra edge and freedom and strength it brings.

I want to show you how much you can overcome, how “too late” is only in your mind, and “it will never work–I’m not good enough” is just a thought we keep thinking.  I want to prove that thriving is something anyone can do, with any bank account balance and any level in life.

I want to show that you can start from anywhere.  I want to show you that contrasts and contradictions and imperfections are absolutely beautiful.  I want to show you that the only voice you really really really need to listen to is your own, because this is your life and no one else can live it as truthfully or rightfully as you can.

But in order to to all that I must prove it to myself.  I must fully practice all that I preach.  I must experience and express that strong vulnerability, the freedom of being unafraid of being incomplete.  I must express that although my life revolves around reading and pursuing self improvement, I am not a perfection-seeking, finger-pointing, purity-chasing wannabe guru who can only allow herself positivity and elation at all times.

I am a life monk because I am always the student.  I am always the one trying to learn more, knowing that the point at which one thinks they know everything is the point that they have come to know nothing.

Thus this is where I show myself how to show you.

A Life Monk Manifesto

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Our society plunges us into places that have mostly good intentions but are one-size-fits-all.  We are simultaneously encouraged to stand out yet fit in, be an individual but behave accordingly, create great change and creativity but stay within the parameters of everyday approval.

I’m the only one I have.  I was born as myself and I will take only myself to the grave.  I can try to escape, suppress, and re-train myself all I want to make me more of who I think I should be, while pain, fear and neuroses quietly breeds.

Or I can stop and look at who I really am and decide to study myself for a change.

I’d always wished there were a comprehensive course in highschool that taught me how to deal with life and it’s parables, rollercoasters, and contradictions.   I wished for someone wise and otherworldy to come and explain how to live life to the fullest and overcome my fears and become the person I secretly knew I was inside.

Why isn’t there something that teaches us how to understand ourselves, the very people we are dealing with our entire lives?  There’s courses on business management, employee management…but no Self101.

I know I am not alone.  Everyday I see so many people on their own missions and I really want to support and be able to help those who are seeking like I am.

This is for those on the fringe with the big questions.  For those who feel torn between self expression and societal “shoulds”.  The kind and curious rebels and the happiness-seeking misfits.  Those who have been searching for something to guide them that doesn’t pigeonhole them.

Those people are the most interesting to me — the ones who are curious and willing to figure themselves and their lives out no matter what it takes to become their fullest and best version of themselves.

I make mistakes but I embrace who I am now, as well as the stronger person I know I am to become.   And I want to share what I’ve learned and what I’ve been practicing and learning every single day.

This is one of my biggest passions and major study and practices, which is why I liken my pursuit to that of a monk.

Good monks spread love and compassion, pass on lessons learned, and share words of wisdom.   They know they aren’t better than anyone else and strive to live a life of happiness, humbleness, and honor. Being a life monk is hard work, but it’s been a lot of fun thus far.

 

The importance of having a Personal Philosophy

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I think it’s very important for one to have a personal philosophy; emphasis on personal.

I feel that the most interesting people are the ones who have adopted an array of philosophies culled from all over the world, while the most boring and predictable are the people who have chosen the preset ideology of a few main groups to define their entire lives.

Those who have cultivated their own philosophy are often open to changing it’s definitions as they go along in life, thus allowing a mindset which fosters growth and learning.  Anyone who acts with ‘guru status’– having it all figured out, knowing for sure that they’re right and you’re wrong, aren’t open to changing their ideas about anything– is a sure sign that they are probably the complete opposite.

A big problem with major philosophies is that they’re so publicly well defined and often packaged in the form of political or religious views, ethnic enclaves, lifestyle groups, subcultures, established schools of thought, and so on.  It’s easy to stand for something that has already been well defined; to put a societal label on yourself and speak, dress, and act the part.  The dangerous thing is that because it’s so easy, we can quickly fall into preset mentalities and forget to question the reasoning behind it.  Why do we do things?  Why do we choose to believe these things?  Are they the best suited for us?

A personal philosophy is more difficult to define, very individual, intimate, always in flux, the work of a lifetime.  It can be shared but should never be forced upon anyone.  My personal philosophy is my own to follow.  Should I find others with whom I mesh well and provide mutual inspiration, that would be wonderful.  Should someone completely disagree, that’s also perfectly fine, we can keep it to ourselves.  If everyone respected every persons’ right to a personal philosophy, there’d be much more peace in the world.

A main reason why I began this site was to have a place to put my thoughts and take a look at my own philosophies.  “The life monk” is a working title of my overall philosophy — I am always studying life, appreciating it, discovering it, training within it.  I am always searching, questioning, being interested and curious. My goal isn’t heaven or moksha, it’s to simply keep learning and living in the way that best suits me.  The happier and better I am, the more I can be there for others, the more I can give to the world.

Personal philosophies are the one thing that we can put together entirely ourselves at our own discretion, and create our own individual approach to living.  Although we may predominantly adhere to a well-known philosophy, we have full liberty to edit and add to it as we wish, to tailor it to our own personality, attitude, lifestyle and goals.  We can freely choose the mindsets that work best for us…and that is super exciting.

I think it’s so beautiful that our ways of thinking about and seeing the world can be tended to and cultivated.  It’s the workings behind the way we feel and act in our everyday lives, and it will be there until the end.

Philosophies are like computers, or gardens. It is integral to know what system I’m operating on, to know what seeds have been planted and are flourishing in my mind.  They can be upgraded and fertilized at my will.  They can be uninstalled and weeded.  I can program/plant everything from scratch if needed.  And it’s all always in flux.  It always wants to grow.

A rule for love… (wanting vs needing)

You must put yourself on a pedestal first before you put anything or anyone else up there.  It’s a mistake I’ve made in the past.148a4dc228f31d1b8fe4be0114d6bc50

It’s not that you should never rely on someone to respect, love, and honor you; but it’s about relying on yourself first.  Giving yourself all that first before you expect it from anyone else.  You shouldn’t ever need it from anyone else.

Needing is what creates dependence, blindness to reality, weakness in mind and emotion.

Wanting another’s love to supplement the worthiness that you give yourself has the ability to be a beautiful thing.  Something like that can flourish because there is no needy black hole sucking the life out of another.  Wanting is a natural human desire, while needing is born out of ego and unattentiveness to self.

It’s about knowing that when you give yourself love and respect, if the other person ends up failing to do so one day it’ll ultimately be ok, because you can keep generating it for yourself.

It’s completely alright to enjoy and cherish everything you have in the moment, but also to not lean on these wonderful things like a crutch that you cannot stand without.  Appreciate them greatly but don’t make them who you are.

But it’s not about being so big that you cannot be broken.  It’s about knowing the risk and taking it anyway because you know that trying it out and doing your best is better than living a life of playing it cold, boring, safe, and never knowing.

It’s normal to feel pain when there’s friction or when something comes to an end.  It’s normal to feel emotional, needy, mournful.  It’s what love is about.

Everything is in flux.  Such is love, such is life.

So it’s never about being bulletproof.

But it’s about acknowledging regeneration.  Understanding that things going other than wished is normal.  Knowing that with the right mindfulness and personal kindness, life will again lead to something just as beautiful.

It’s about being responsible for yourself and loving for yourself.

Enjoy who they are and be proud of them but don’t make them who you are.  Allow them to fuel you. Allow them inspire you to make you feel about yourself the way you feel about them. Notice how it ultimately comes down to your feelings about yourself.  The better you feel about you, the better you can be for them.

The same goes for beloved objects.  Enjoy and be proud of your Ferrari (metaphorical or real)  but don’t confuse it with who you really are.  You’re a person.  It’s a beautiful machine.  It doesn’t make you attractive and rich, it’s just there for you to appreciate.

Don’t rely on it to build you up and make you feel like a million bucks.  It’s up to you to live up to your own standards.  Make sure that you feel like a million bucks with or without it, and then you know you’re genuine.

That is a real person.

What is the difference between a person who feels like a million bucks without a Ferrari, versus the person who can only feel that with with a Ferrari?  The person who doesn’t need the Ferrari is the one who will enjoy it to the fullest and will remember the experience fondly even after the car is no longer in their possession.  The person who needs the Ferrari will feel everything they’ve been craving to feel about themselves once they get the car, but then will fret about their importance, create drama about their significance, and then feel like they lost it all when they no longer have the car.

The former has strength and resilience, while the later is weak with dependence.

So before you yearn for the person or thing that you think will make you the person you want to be, realize that whatever you think you may momentarily gain, you’re still you.  This is why people become so devastated upon losing something.  They think that whatever they had made them who they were.

Love is great, but make sure you’re wanting it for the right reasons instead of looking for something to complete you.  Once you come from a place of self love, you will be all the more lovable and life will be twice as amazing.

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Things I could live without

I don’t need my amazing boyfriend. 
He’s one of the most wonderful people I know and I am so grateful for him, but he is not necessary for my survival.  Romantic love comes and goes and if it comes down to it, it will be fruitless to try to preserve something that has outlived it’s nutrition and has become stale or sour…I won’t wait until it turns rotten and makes me ill.  My ultimate goal is to have 100% untainted love, no added chemicals of jealousy, fear, dependence, or anger.  I will love him as a human being and not something that I am relying upon to keep me happy.  I will love with all I’ve got, I will play no games, I won’t attempt to change or manipulate him to suit my self-induced needs.   I want his happiness as much as my own…I’ve reached a level like that before and I will continue to open my heart and mind in all situations.  I do not believe in forever — if it happens it happens.  I believe in sustaining a state of true love and happiness, no matter what happens.

I don’t need my amazing family or friends.
I love them so much but I know that should something tragic occur, they would never want me to drag myself through the mud and mourn so heavily that I would be unable to resume a healthy life.  I would never want them to suffer like that on my behalf — if I’m gone, I’m gone!  Yes, please miss me and do feel sad but don’t mourn for me…remember the good times.  Laugh at my funeral, it’s a celebration of life!  Don’t be all formal and stoic, and I would prefer it not be in a church, maybe somewhere outside with lanterns on strings and champagne and party-wear… I want everyone to be happy and have a good time and talk about how wonderful and talented and smart I was (hence the laughter).   But I digress!
Knowing about these people I care so much about, they would want me to pay tribute to them in the same way, mentally at least.
Even if I “lose” them due to disagreement or distance, I won’t lose them in my heart.   While I love them, I don’t need them for approval or acceptance or agreement…we’re all worthy of our own opinions and why try to change that?  I want them to do their thing and I’ll do mine.

I don’t need this lifestyle.
Everything is wonderful right now, but it has previously been wonderful before in different places with different people.  Things will inevitably change and I will happily go along with it.  Whether I’m living in a run down apartment next year or a house in the hills, there are awesome things to be had and discovered.  Everything happens for a reason, if I let it teach me.
Beauty and luxury is all about how I perceive it.  This little house surrounded in green is beautiful to me but I’ve found such comfort in less, and each time I’ve had something I’ve perceived to be a luxury it tended to be more of a mental worry and negated part of the joy of having it.

I don’t need anything.
I don’t need anything to be a certain way for my happiness, it’s all what goes on within, and how I adapt to change.
I have power over all of this, and when I view these amazing things in my life as blessings rather than necessities, it makes the enjoyment so much sweeter, and I appreciate the present moment more than ever.

All I truly ever need is a clear and peaceful mind and warm heart.
I believe in expecting nothing, and finding joy in everything.

Knowing I could live without these things is far from being cynical.  This is about being realistic, never arguing with reality, and loving what is.  I will get by and thrive, no matter what happens.  I “need” nothing.  If I think I’m lacking, it’s all in my head.

The happier I am, the more apt I will be at being a welcomed addition to the world of others, and more able to help and provide smiles.