The Good Lonely

I’m entering a phase in my life I’m choosing to call : the good lonely. Its a big, amazing world out there and I want to experience every dimension of it. Some parts of that dimension require solitary confinement.

There are some days when I stare at the roof of the ceiling in my room and wish to be miles away from where I am. The only thing pulling me in any direction is towards a life of adventure, prosperity, happiness and creative sharing. 

Most days though, I feel alone. And that’s OK, it just requires a balance of surrounding myself with love whenever that feeling enters my soul.

When you are 29, your personal crisis’ stop being cute and they start feeling like a spiritual deadline. Your friends are partnering off and making families, everyone expects you to have a career path planned, and all success is measured in what kind of phone you have.

Which is why you need the good lonely at this time in your life. It’s a time to reject all that and really allow yourself to occupy the space of your life. No one else will do it for you.

I’m grateful for this time, frightening as it is. It’s allowed me to make some rules for myself that have made me feel stronger, lighter, more myself.

1. Treat yourself like royalty. It’s the only way to move through the hard parts in life is to make sure you are well cared for by the power of your soul.

2. Don’t be afraid of taking up space. As a woman, I really feel like I’ve been beat down over my lifetime with reasons to apologize. I refuse to, anymore.

3. Failure is encouraged. Graceful and teaching moments of failure are the best thing you can ask for at this point, because each one leads you to more information.

4. If you don’t agree, don’t participate. A job, a housing situation, a relationship, a lifestyle. Don’t make choices based on what’s expected of you.

5. Stay strong and flexible. Your vulnerability mixed with your strength makes you compelling, just as you are. Don’t change it because you feel like you have nothing to offer.

6. Surround with people who make you feel loved and take you out of yourself. It makes all the difference in the world.

7. Separate feelings from facts. Meditation helps this. So does time. So does perspective.

8. Build yourself up so you can build others up. It will make you strong, sensitive, and compelling.

9. The only relationship you ever really need is with your higher self. Whatever that is, keep searching for it and never give up.

10. Realize that you are a living system that has karmic lineage. You alone are radiant, powerful and beautiful. Be the living embodiment of dharma and you will never feel alone again.

I wish you all a very good lonely.

Sat Nam

Walk in radiance and you will never feel alone.

Walk in radiance and you will never feel alone.

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The Price of All That Happy

I saw an adorable but ugly dog – my favorite kind. I squealed at him and shouted, “PUPPY!”. The owner looked frightened. When I find out that my favorite band is playing near me, I’d put on displays of convivial joy while hunting down tickets online. If someone handed me a shaker of truffle salt? I would jump up and down in excitement.

Professionals stay neutral. Children stay happy. Realists stay realistic, but also can’t get hurt as easily. Where is the middle ground? Neutrality is what we seek on the spiritual journey, but also happiness. What happens when we seek to cross these both? Does it even happen?

This morning, as I wring myself out in yoga class and get rid of all the fears that surround me on a daily basis? I’m struck by the fact that we can never have a lot of happy without a lot of sad. Just as in a risk-and-reward situation, the higher you go the higher you have to fall.

Consider the wave. As it heads towards the shore it gets highest before it falls. But then it goes back and another high is reached. The water goes fast and then slow, and paces based on it’s peaks and valleys. When it’s closer to the sand, it is forced to absorb the changing landscape before it has strength to rise again.

life like this...

life like this…

But it always rises. The higher it goes the more it inspires, accumulates and moves. It takes the whole landscape with it and fills its volume with sea life. It’s majestic, joyful and moving as the way nature intended. Beautiful motion.

I realize I am in a phase of my life now that I am tentatively calling “the good happy lonely”. I’m a woman on the verge of the next phase of my life and trying to enjoy the present while all of life fills itself inside me. That makes me happy. The price of all that happy is an equal or greater amount of sadness sometimes. But I have to know deep inside me that the wave will grow strong again even when I don’t feel it will.

The price of all this happy is sometimes laying on a mattress in the middle of the floor and feeling a void. The price of all that happy is a vulnerable feeling that I’m exposed as a fraud to everyone who knows me, false as that assumption may be. The price of all that happy is some sweat, tears and pain. The price of all that happy is sacrifice. The price of all that happy is some love lost over time.

But then I see a carton of truffle salt in the grocery store and I think – the world cannot be so bad. This savory fruit of the sea exists, and just like the sea will rise with me again.

May the price of all your happy be the strength to fight for it and let things go. May the price of all your happy be presence. May you ride your life like a gentle wave and feel lighter in every step along the way. May the price of all that happy be a committed relationship to the wonderful, amazing soul that you are.

Sat Nam.

Why My Career Needs a Big Wheel

It was hard to say no to $20.00 an hour, 40 hours a week serving as production manager for another feature. The job would have been three months out of Freemont, introduced me to many different hard working people in the Bay Area, and given me some real challenges in a field I have really loved working for. But I need some big wheels until my little ones can run on their own. 

Now what do I mean by this? Imagine your life as a series of gears, all moving together. Big wheels are what give you the most support and stability. Career, Health, Family, Spiritual Life, Community, Partner/Romance. Things move slower with the big wheels because things are less likely to change on those rotors. Not everyone’s big wheel is the same. Someone’s spiritual life might be going to church, it might be finding art in a museum. One person’s definition of family differs from the next, but they are stable and give a sense of connectivity. Romance might be a partner or it might be learning how to fall in love with yourself.

But what’s the key in the big wheel? Stability. Even Bear Grylls takes a knife with him when he goes into the woods, and he isn’t completely on his own  – let’s not forget there is a cameraman there. The poor bastard.

ImageThen you have your little wheels. Those are the things that fill in the gaps – passions, hobbies, adventures, love, entertainment. Those are things that don’t have to be huge, they just need to be what makes you blissfully happy. For me, that is my yoga, my friends, film making, writing, travel and challenging my whole self  to discover. That is laughing and sweating every day with purpose.

At certain times, things won’t always be moving forward. Big wheels will fall off. Little wheels will stop making us feel something. It truly is a lucky thing to have your big wheels and your little wheels be the same thing – to be so at one with yourself that you draw forth the opportunity to let all things be supported by themselves. 

I know to support a passion project you must support yourself – and I know that if I was to take that job that I would spend 3 months completely dedicated to it becoming a reality and none for making a stable place for myself in this world. I feel the same way about passion projects right now as I do about boyfriends – I would love to have one but I need to make sure that I’m stable enough to get into it.

So how do I handle the time in between boyfriends? When I need a big wheel so I can’ t do much of my little wheel? I’m going to see my family and friends, the big wheel I can always count on. I’m going to a film panel this weekend talking about DIY filmmaking and try to meet people. I’m going to continue to search for a big wheel that supports my little wheel. I’m going to continue to follow my big dreams and be big enough to let some little ones go for now.

May all your big wheels be stable. May all your little wheels bring you joy. May both work together. If you can’t travel to India, may you find the best Indian Cuisine and di May both be the same, someday. May you live in pursuit of balance because of glorious self-love. May you be happy.

Sat Nam

The NASA Article – 20 Things to Do When the World Ends

I used to act in theatre shows. Usually, by the time the show ended was when I figured out how to play the part. Which is why, when I read this today I started to think about the various ways I figure things out right before they are over.

Yogi Bhajan, the great teacher of Kundalini Yoga, taught us that Akal means deathless. You go to a place where death cannot touch you, and death becomes a part of you. Recently, I’ve been trying to go to this deathless place because when I don’t meditate I go to this place of paranoia. The world is in this state of paranoia because of climate change, and as a result we are feeling the pressure.

But what if that deathless place was actually a power position? One of my friends who knew Yogi Bhajan claims that in the months before his death he had an incredible magnetism, more than his usual amount. His radiance shown on the path of his physical decline as he transitioned to the other world.

What if the declining state of our planet could actually move some of us to realization of how we want to live peacefully? Things we want to do when we feel that planetary pressure?

In order to ease my paranoia, I want to make a list of 20 things I want to do when the world ends.

1. Everything I am doing right now. I hope I am so present with my path that every action I am taking are things aligned with my inner destiny.
2. Hold hands with Michael Fassbender on the beach as we watch the sun grow warm.
3. Laugh with someone so hard that my sides start to burst, and I forget for a moment that everything is over.
4. Find something beautiful and appreciate it.
5. Find family. The ones that want to share in the fortunate present and not panic about the immediate future.
6. I may stray from veganism for a moment so I can enjoy my Dad’s steak recipe for the last time. Buffalo Wings and Goat Cheese, you aren’t safe either if you are still around.
7. Go to work if it’s somewhere I love being. Find work helping someone else if that isn’t the case.
8. Dance. Feverishly.
9. Go somewhere I’ve never been before. If people have rioted their way into the White House? I’m going to wear Michelle Obama’s inauguration dress to my quickie wedding with Michael Fassbender.
10. Go somewhere I have been before, but find a new way to experience that place. Turn the parking lot of Wal Mart into a canvas. Turn an abandoned auto shop into a place for crossfit trainers to throw car parts around in a Strongest Person in the Apocolypse competition.
11. Be naked. A lot.
12. Sing. All my favorite songs and all my favorite sounds. Rosemary Clooney, Amos Lee, Nina Simone, Rilo Kiley.
13. Kiss a stranger on the mouth and tell them they are perfect. Then walk away.
14. Kiss a robot on the mouth and tell them they are perfect. Then walk away. Unless the robots have taken over, then feverishly seduce robot in order to secure food.
15. If there are still movies around, re-watch Drop Dead Gorgeous, like, a million times.
16. Forgive myself for not living up to my full potential. Then do something to correct that.
17. Chant and do yoga in the morning hours and then go outside and feel the soil in my hands.
18. Read a story to someone. If I can’t find a book, then make one up.
19. Tell everyone I’ve ever cared about that the love they have given me means more than the end of the earth.
20. Never spend another minute on Facebook.

May you bring peace and healing to your planet.

Giving Up on Giving Up – Karam Pad to Shakti Pad

I’m moving out of my parent’s house in less than 5 days. At nearly 29 years old, this would be a good time to move on with my life. I’m hungering for something different, a new life, new circumstances. So what did I do?

I got a haircut.

Then I recognized a pattern. Every 3-4 years my life seems to change completely. College, 4 years. New York, 4 years. Sonora, 3 years. Usually a drastic haircut happens a few months before a major shift. For some reason, I need to shed skins. I thought this came from my wanting to be an actress, but as I’ve retired from that profession I’ve seen more and more that I can hardly keep up with the changes I want to make for myself. 

There are stages of spiritual development we all must pass through in order to master ourselves, our destiny, and our tasks on this planet. The first stage is the apprentice, where you take everything in and absorb everything. Next is Karam Pad, where you align against discomfort, push your limits and test your knowledge. Shakti Pad is next. This is where you confront the ego. This is where you decide if your work is aimed onto the higher path or quit altogether.

There are lots of things I haven’t made it past the Shakti Pad with. Singing, Dancing, Typing, Crafting, Waitressing, Sales, Mime… all things that may or may not have given me spiritual fulfillment but for whatever reason I had to leave it behind.

But what if I’m leaving myself behind by giving up before an ultimate payoff? What if by focusing my mind I can focus myself to true destiny?

We can all be kind of good at a lot of things, but if you master something? REALLY put the time in and heart and get past the awkward phase? Miracles beyond your wildest dreams usually fall when you least expect it.

For the past few days I’ve been a little on edge. Old addictions and thoughts are popping up when I don’t need them. Old reminders the big fear : You’re just going to get a drastic haircut again and want to change everything in 3 years anyway. But will  you really change yourself in that time? 

I’ve wanted to hide these feelings. Hide from everyone, really. If my home for the past 3 years was a crowded movie theater, I feel like the person who is sneaking out the side door. I don’t want to bother anyone, I just want to leave. Secretly, I think I’m annoying everyone and no one will miss me. But publicly? I hope that once I leave, that cracks the light open for someone who feels stuck. That if I can seek a basic prosperity in a space where I don’t know the rules, anyone can. 

And this is where the next phase of my life is headed. I want to realize that I’m probably still in apprentice phase with myself. I need to cross over to the space where there is no ego. And in that way, I let go of not being good at things right now. My hope is that I keep doing what I love doing and the money, fun, adventure, space and balance appears. 

I have dreams. I want to work as a writer/producer and get paid good money working with talented people. I want to make pieces that people will think about. I want to share light, and make a difference for someone who I may never see or hear but who is affected by a message I have yet to send.

In the meantime, I accept that I have a lot of work to do if I am going to get to the Shakti Pad of myself. I promise to be present with the changes, and acknowledge that I may not be able to solve everything, do everything, or be everything to everyone. But if I can rise to the challenge of meeting my soul with grace, work at it every day, and seek joy in all I do? Then I will be fine.

I’m giving up on giving up on myself. Because I am the source of all that makes me powerful, graceful, and human. And that is enough. 

May we all develop as we are. May we all leave the spaces better than when we arrived. May we all embrace change. May we stick with our true gifts from God and leave what everyone expects us to be. May we be happy exactly as we are. May we prosper as we grow. May we love ourselves as we stumble through the change.

What the Bee Taught Me : Acupuncture and Ascending

Every day we are open to have our own magical experience. I’ve had some female trouble lately, mostly the fact that during the month of January I had my period for 15 days straight. Terrifying considering that :

A) I am house sitting, and everything that could get stained frightens me.
B) I have recently become vegan, which has led to both physical and emotional detox issues.
C) I hate doing laundry.
D) I haven’t had an annual exam in 3 years and the internet is filled with cancer-fear.
E) I mean, 15 G-D days??? Are you KIDDING me?

At the recommendation of a friend, I sought out an acupuncturist and made an appointment for an annual exam the following week. My flowchart of hope brought me to a place where eastern medicine would help make the news from the western doctor more than “you waited too long, dork”.

The morning of my acupuncture appointment, I was brought into a calm bright office and offered tea. Fifteen pages of questions about my mental history, physical history, diet and cravings, family history and hospitalizations? What was most interesting was the “recent trauma” portion.

Please list the dates and duration of any traumas (divorce, move, death, changes) of your recent past. 

Fortunately in the land of milk and internet, I am more than happy to share all of my traumas publicly. I burst into tears describing the holidays from hell, depression history and “boring drug” addiction. Please note that boring drugs consist of the drugs that they don’t make movies about getting addicted to: television, self pity, sugar and sleep.

After laying my heart out on the table, the kind and generous lady of the needles and herbs offered me a place on hers. I didn’t want to watch the needles go in, because the idea of being a voodoo doll scares me slightly. If I was a voodoo doll, I am convinced that there is someone out there just like me feeling amazing and free due to this wonderful medicine.

She explained every point on my body that the deft needles hit upon. Heart, open sky of the head, the uterus, stopping the excess chi in my uterus area. According to traditional acupuncture theory, all of our 12 major organs have personalities and energies that sometimes get clogged. Those 12 organs exist in pairs of 2 that balance each other out. It’s almost as if your body is a dance floor, with 6 pairs of dancers that move to the same song but all move differently. When one set of dancers aren’t communicating, the floor becomes less balanced and full. Minus 6 points to uterus and stomach for being real heavy footed on my body ballroom.

The lady of the needles and herbs walked me through every single part of what was going to happen next. Every bit of information made me relaxed and nervous. The whole experience about as invasive as a strong hug. When someone you love really puts pressure on, encouraging you to go deeper and explore every part of yourself that hurts. The parts you don’t want to see, usually.

I thought it would hurt more. It poked and prodded for a bit, and my body responded with adrenaline. But I breathed through the part that was scary. I decided to use mantradetox(tm)…a medicine that I decided to trademark in my head which consists of letting go through words. Let me give you a free trial of my medicine…If you are going through the problems I am? Chant these words in your head: let go of Brandon, let go of the movie, let go of fear, let go of time, let go of place, let go of fear, let go of the other, let go of hating yourself, let go of feeling less than, let go of blind ambition, let go of not knowing, let go of feeling like you are worthless.

Let go, already.

When I got up from the table, I had a feeling like I did when I had my first Kundalini Rising. Euphoria, laughter, the feeling of being high off of your own body. I giggled and stretched my way off the table. I stumbled to my shoes. I hugged the kind woman who just opened up every broken channel inside me. I walked to work, eating an apple and tasting the delicious morning.

That’s when the bee came.

As I sat on a bench, a bee came along and chilled out on my shoelace. Then my hand. Then my shoulder. And I raised my arms to the sky to tell him to let go of me. No sting, no fear, no anger.

Dammit, I thought. If a bee is my spirit animal I must be some sort of corporate drone. Looking the same as everyone else, eating all the same things. Part of a bee dance I can’t get out of.

Then as I looked at spiritual animal references, the bee has been a pollinator of creativity. The bringer of change. The sexual and the fertile. The harbinger of community. The one who leaves the nest and goes forth to spread prosperity, and bring prosperity home. According to Zen Beekeeper Michael Thiele:

“I think bees can inform our practice and become an encouragement to leave home. That’s what swarming of the bees in the spring is about: leaving home, leaving their precisely-defined nest location and taking the risk to fly into the unknown. It is amazing to witness this event and to be exposed to this faith and trust of the process of moving through the unknown! And finally, a new home is found.”

Warning: Excessive Bee Puns coming up. If you find this BEEguiling, keep reading.

As the channels to yourself become open, as the fear mixes with excitement, as the real truth of your inner bounty BEEcomes clearer, may you find home wherever you are. May you BEE brave enough to change, kind enough to yourself to let go of what no longer serves you. May you BEE fat with all the prosperous nurturing that the honeybee gets, drinking all the love in with your gratitude. May you BEE like the bee, spreading fertile joy everywhere because you have a sweet structure and community that values your dance. May you experience bliss like you never thought you could, because you deserve every minute of it.

Sat Nam.

Read Michael Thiele’s Interview on Beekeeping and Zen Practice : http://blogs.sfzc.org/blog/2013/05/22/bee-well/ 

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