Friday, January 31, 2014

Would YOU Watch a Movie About YOU...


If your life was a movie would you watch it? This question presented itself as I watched life unfold in front of me: a waitress bringing a requested beer, a poker player picking up chips in order to raise, and a man holding Russel Wilson jersey's trying to make an extra buck. It made me pause, if only for a moment, to think if my movie would be worth the ticket price.

I recently watched the documentary Mitt, with the goal of seeing if there was anything more to the country's stigma of Mr. Romney being "flip-flopping Mormon." After watching it I still don't have much of an opinion. I did, however, read a quote from Mitt Romney after he saw it stating, "It was painful to watch" and it "was not the movie I would have made." I thought the movie was tastefully done; giving a great deal of attention to his family and the importance of his values. Which leads me to the question: why didn't he like watching his movie?


Even though your movie may be difficult to watch at times, and the stop button sometimes appears to be the only relief, take a moment to think about your favorite movie. What about the movie sets it apart in your eyes? I think you'll find the greatest characters - the one's we identify with most - are met with similar challenges as us, such as conflict and heartbreak. In fact, there is no difference between the two. That being said, the story line is yours to write; is your character the lead - the one who inspires, owns their strengths as well as their weaknesses and shows resiliency in the face of adversity or is your character simply an unpaid, nameless extra, who, behind the scenes complains
about their shortcomings, feels powerless to change, and looks to the star for all the answers? Either way the fact remains:

It's your movie. I just hope you're not disappointed when the final credits roll.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stream of Consciousness: An Exercise...

Stream of consciousness is a type of writing that allows locked doors to unlock. It allows the mind freedom to be swept away in madness and then return to sanity. It soothes the soul while unleashing the animal within. Do not fear it, for fear limits you. Embrace it and allow the river to take you where it may.

For 10-20 minutes write whatever comes to mind and I mean whatever. Do not stop, judge, or critique what you write, just write. This exercise is beneficial as it helps to relieve stress, increase creativity and gain awareness into yourself and the world around you.

My Stream:
"Running into the desert she panicked. What would she do. Where would she go. The cat cried. But not sad. it was happy. there were things she needed to do yet on her perch she sat, listening to the sound of silence. The concrete wall formed a barrier to the land of wonder yet gave her a sense of promise when looking at it. why don't you go asked the owl? it seemed silly to her that she even thought about his land beyond lands but that what this is, silly. no punctuation, or little punctuation for that matter. grammar, spelling all didn't matter. it   was freedom to be who you are and go where you wanted to go.the owl asked another
 time why don't you go. and she did. she ran and jumped and skipped and plunged into the unknown that awaited her from the start. Love, life and planning halted for the mysterious zone of space kept her at ease. into the mouth of solitude and reflection yet bombarded by the hope of illusion. funny. not quite. but silly."

There you have it. Stream of consciousness writing at its finest. In the words of the infamous Virginia Woole "Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end."




Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Short and Sweet...

Pick up a book nearest you and turn to page 45. The first complete sentence describes your life. 

I picked up the book closest to me and it said, "The night was calm."

I have had two of the best night's sleep in a row. Interesting.

Peter's bus/home
There is a German saying that goes "In der Kürze liegt die Würze" which translates to "in briefness lies the spice." Peter, my old hippie friend, gave me this advice when I hemmed and hawed about an issue in my life. He explained that as soon as an appointment needs to be cancelled, plans need change or any other revisions that effect another person occur, you must let the person know immediately. His words helped me see that by acting sooner rather than later and with honesty, the problem is unlikely to get out of hand, as it so often does. 

Conflict is never easy, therefore do your best not to add to the problem. Remember that pointing the finger and blaming someone else, leaves four fingers pointing back at you. The only person who can change is you, and hopefully, as you others see change you, they will change too.

A clip from Slab City, where Chris and I stayed closed to three weeks during our travels. The white, bearded hair man in the tie-dyed shirt is Peter. Two million views?! Wow, I'm friends with a celebrity. 








Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Oh God Where Art Thou...


I don't know what I believe in. I used to believe in God - the Christian one - until my late teens. My mother's passing when I was 16 caused a deep questioning within, one that still burns strong to this day. Buddhism's focus on human beings endless suffering put words to how I was feeling in my early 20's but did not provide all the answers to which I sought. The Tao (pronounced dow), a way of life for many Chinese people, teaches that everything is connected, in a yin and yang fashion and its teachings helped broaden my knowledge of the spiritual world.
"Giving birth, nourishing life, shaping things without possessing them, serving without expectation of reward, leading without dominating: These are the profound virtues of nature, and of nature's best beings."
-The Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu

Although I've never experienced God or anything of the sort, I have experienced synchronicity. Synchronicity is defined as events that occur at the same time that seem to be connected but there is no conventional explanation. This is where the phrase  in sync  comes from, not the 90's boy band. I can't say whether synchronicity comes from god or is a random occurrence but all the same, it feel eerily spiritual to me.
Here is an example of a recent synchronicity from my own life: A man I connected with through a social media site sent me an email saying, "If you ever come to Austin let me know." I have never met this person but I did know of  him, as I connected with him online before. Chris and I wanted to travel somewhere warm with the plane tickets we received for getting bumped in December but didn't want to pay hotel and transportation costs. He offered us his ranch house for a week and take us around to see Austin's sights. I missed Austin on my road trip and regretted it immensely. My good friend Peter always says, "To be on time is good but perfect timing is better."

I don't know what I believe in or that I need to believe in anything. I also don't know if it matters. I do know that by remaining open to the unknowns that surround me is where I find wonder and beauty to exist and to me, that's all that truly matters.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Judge Your Neighbor...

Deep in Packers territory.
I am judgmental. I don't like it but I am. It's easy for my mind to put people in boxes such as controlling or annoying then leave them in it, even if their actions prove the contrary. From a sociological perspective, judgment is a natural part of existence. Hundreds, if not thousands of years ago our ability to make a snap judgment if something was life threatening or not was what saved our lives. Fast forward to today and the judgment mechanism appears to be malfunctioning. The defense mechanism that once served to keep us alive now sees someone with messy hair and screams lazy or sees someone with a headscarf and yells terrorist. This dangerous way of thinking, that someone who doesn't look like how you want them to or that how they look causes fear or insecurity makes it seem as though their life is less important than yours. It's just not so. No one life is more important or more right than any other, therefore, it is each and every one of our jobs to continually challenge the stereotypes and judgments we hold.

Judge away.
Byron Katie, a woman who has done extensive research into judgments and their negative effects on our lives made a worksheet called "Judge Your Neighbor." This worksheet is not only something I've given to clients but have done myself and it is one of the best tools I've found in gaining awareness into the limiting beliefs we hold. The consciousness journey begins with acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, you don't have all the answers and that maybe some of the answers you do have from your church, family, or schooling are not the only right way to live and behave. The answer is in the question, so keep asking questions.

Top o' the marnin' to ya! 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent and Swine Flu...


That reminds me, I need to pick up the wheelbarrow.
Today is Sunday and it is my day of rest. Last night I worked at the casino. After having dealt a hand, the gentleman next to me said, "I am feeling much better. I had H1N1 last week and almost died." He reassured me he was not contagious, even though his skin was three shades more pale than normal and coughed religiously until he left an hour later. Here I sit, congested and coughing curious if it is, in fact, Swine Flu that takes me out. Please don't let me die from something named after a pig. Oh well, onward, forward.

Yesterday I was reminded of the many cost saving techniques we engage in at my house and wanted to share one. We make our own laundry detergent. Click the photo below to see how:
 Homemade laundry detergent
As you can see it's natural, cheaper and lasts much longer than the blurry Tide in the background. If you can get over the extra work of purchasing three items instead of one and grating a small portion of the bar located on the bottom right (15 minutes) you are on your way to a living more conscious and richer existence. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Silly Poem Day...

A Poem:
I don't have much to say, on this the 25th day
but I'll be happy to let you know, onward to Costco I will go
Chris just awoke and to me he spoke 
about a dream he dealt blackjack on a sinking boat
Don't get upset and please don't fret 
for it was only a dream, he did not get wet.
I'll see you here tomorrow, I promise I will
Just click the video below to get your laughter fill.



Friday, January 24, 2014

Let Go and Live!


By now most of you know of my 11 month road trip where I basically lived out of my car the entire time. Every morning I'd wake in a different parking lot, back alley, rest area, hay field, college campus, or wherever a cop wouldn't come knocking on my window (more often than not they did). A different city every hour and new states every couple of days left me anonymous to the people I met; without a past, a story, or even an identity. If a low point ensued, a bad experience occurred, or even a lack of anything at all happening, I simply got in my car and drove away. Every mile I drove placed greater distance between the negative experience and the moment I currently resided in. After some time basking in the present moment, getting back to centered and happy became all that mattered to me.


For the past few months I've had a routine - going to a job four days a week with the same employees and same customers. I see how moments spill into hours, hours into days, creating an expectation that today will be no different from yesterday and no different from the day before that. This type of thinking is toxic and kills the rich life moments that could otherwise be ahead. Yesterday is gone and although its effects may still linger, there must be a clear vision of hope in what lie along the road ahead. Put your pedal to the metal, let the wind blow through your hair, and know this is the way it should be!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Find YOUR Guiding Light...

It takes anywhere from 21 to 66 or even 122 days to form a habit (and I'm not talking the nun kind of habit). One hundred twenty two days or more precisely 10,540,800 seconds is a long time. That being said, waiting for a habit to form is like a snail saying "I'll be right back." I'll wait. Never mind.
If habits are not the answer to eating healthy, exercising daily, or quitting that pesky addictive behavior, how then can one expect to sustain anything? 
From my own experience and blogging the past 23 days, it is no easy feat. There are sick days, sad days, sleepy days, and Seahawk days - all of which bang on the door and beg me to come out to play or on other days, plead for me to stay in bed just 5 more minutes. In sum, it's not easy but I think I've found a light at the end of this oh so dark tunnel.

Find the ultimate reason you are doing it.

Follow Me...
At the end of the long, dark tunnel there needs to be a light. A light that shows the way even when everything around you is crumbling to the ground. My goal is to make money doing what I love. My goal is to inspire, educate, entertain and connect with people through writing. These goals matter to me so much I will do anything, except for waiting for that snail to come back, to achieve them. I have the support of my boyfriend Chris who asks me every morning if I've written my blog and friends who call when I haven't posted, however when it's all said and done, they are not the reason I put my hands to the keyboard each morning. As I said before, find the ultimate reason. Take time to seriously consider the why as it will provide the step to where you want to get to. The goal is to find the light at the end of the tunnel so that when you fall, and you will, you know how to reorient yourself again.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

What Can YOU Spare...

Altruism: the act of sacrificing something - time, energy, possessions - without expecting anything in return

Community meal at Slab City
Our culture is severely inflicted with me mentality, where sparing even the slightest moment is met with the question "how will this benefit me?" Yesterday's discussion of medicating children highlights repercussions when individual's in a family or community setting focus solely on meeting their own needs. Parents will sacrifice their own life in order to save their child from harm, yet will neglect the child's emotional and psychological needs daily. I witnessed a man come into the casino yesterday badly wanting to play poker and "only had an hour because his 10 and 7 year old were home alone." He explained poker being a "better" addiction than the addictions he's had in the past, yet continued to play well past the hour he'd planned. Although an extreme example of selfishness, our thought should not be "at least I'm not as bad as that guy," but rather should be "how can I sacrifice my time and energy more?" 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Get Yourself Together...

The ups and downs of life are something we all experience. No one person is above the pain loss brings, the fear that comes with uncertainty or the disappointment when life didn't turn out the way you planned. You had two kids and you don't like your body, you had a miscarriage and your dreams are gone, you were cheated on and you no longer want to live. I get it. It sucks. It really does. Cry, scream, plead, bargain, blame, makes excuses but at the end of the day nothing changes. The fact remains regardless of what the circumstance, you are still here. Get up, put your big girl (or boy) panties on, and know that even if you're heading into the hardest thing you'll ever have to do you'll get through it. Most likely you will be better for it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

If It Can Snow in Florida...

The only time snow has ever fallen in Miami, Florida was 37 years ago today. Due to the light dusting, 150,000 migrant workers lost their jobs and a state of emergency was called. The city of which I currently reside is in a similar state of emergency. Their precious Seahawks are up against their rival, a team only a month and a half prior they lost to by two points, and of which stands between them and a never won Superbowl. This rival was taken to new heights after Seattle fans flew their logo on a banner above Candlestick Park and matched by San Fran fan's when they raised $9,000 for a billboard boasting their five Superbowl trophies. Whatever the outcome, downtown Seattle will become a rabid dog in just a few hours. Unknowingly I purchased tickets to Jerry Springer: The Opera, a mere six blocks away from the stadium. The play will most likely let out just as the game starts, hopefully making the play to game transition as seamless as possible. If there is any doubt as to where my allegiance lies, let me say one thing before I forget, GO HAWKS!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Give Me a Break...

Write the story you would want to read. This is the advice given when I googled "what kind of book should I write." In my own daily struggle to find the right words, I've put undo stress on myself. I want each post to be perfect and in my pursuit of perfection put undo stress on myself. This undo stress manifested a week and a half ago when I pinched a nerve in my neck. I went to an acupuncturist for the first time this morning, hoping to find relief from the constant shooting pain. The acupuncturist told me he would take care of 80% of the problem but that I would be responsible for the other 20%. He made me aware of the strain placed on my neck while on the computer, watching television in bed and if I use more than one pillow. In an almost prophetic Chinese medicine man kind of way he said, "Sometimes things just need a break."
Here I lie, positioned on the left side of my body, laptop on its side and my head limp on one pillow, giving my neck its break. Purposefully relaxing this way is not something I normally do. Even if my body isn't moving my mind is on think auto pilot, straining the heck out of my psyche. Tonight is oh so needed break. Here's to doing my 20%.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Let's Go Fly a Kite...

I have been commemorating birthdays lately - Martin Luther Ling, Albert Schweitzer, my own- therefore it would make sense for me to give a shout out to Benjamin Franklin. Happy birthday Ben! He's the reason I get up in the morning. Check out his schedule, then I'll tell you more. ----> Schedule.
As for 'ol Benny, being the reason I get up in the morning, it's true. I now get up two or more hours earlier after reading his schedule. I figured since he invented bifocals, the lightning rod, glass harmonica, library chair, swim fins, Franklin stove, catheters and Daylight Savings Time, following in his footsteps might not be such a bad idea. The only problem I had with asking, what good shall I do this day, is that it takes away the element of surprise. Doing good things is fine as long as I decide when
Purposely thinking about doing good things before I do them is foreign to me. Herein lies my question: In order to do more good, in an enjoyable, sustainable way, is Mr. Franklin's planning good at the beginning of the day or my way, whenever I feel like it, the better option?
For the next three days I will wake and plan good things in the morning. After the three days are up I'll let you know my results. If anybody out there wants to do it with me, that would be super sweet. Maybe even email me something good you did and I'll put it in my report on Monday. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Get Naked in the Tomatoes...

A year ago today I sat in a hot spring on the edge of the Rio Grande, NAKED! That brings me to my beef with humanity these days, where is the nudity? In researching this morning's topic, as to why nudity is illegal, I found an article, with a statement from a Mr. Joel Feinberg , "An act need not be objectively harmful to merit prohibition - it need only produce an unpleasant mental state such as shame, disgust, or anxiety in observers."

Really? Are you kidding me?! Because someone looks at a naked body and feels shame or anxiety gives grounds to warrant illegality. The article further concludes that the Supreme Court's anti-nudity legislation has to do more with the judge's OWN discomfort rather than logic. And here I thought our court system was the ONE place where logic still won out. 
This leads me to the main problem I see with feeling "discomfort, shame and anxiety" with regards to the body in it's natural form. We, as a culture, have major body image issues! The media, the products they sell, and messages they bellow are fucked up and only mean to make you, in turn, fucked up. The belief that you are not OK, that you need to change and that, if you don't want to change something is wrong with you, cannot be further from the truth.


The truth as I've come to know it was shown perfectly in the documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John. A young woman came to work on a co-op farm, hating her body to the point she considered suicide. After working with the tomatoes for a few weeks she began to think of herself differently. She described the shapely beauty that made a tomato a tomato. She found that in her appreciation of the tomatoes she, in turn, found appreciation for herself.

If you or someone you know has body issues the quickest way to get over them is to get naked and stay naked, preferably with someone else who is naked. And, go... 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner...

My answer to the question of who in history, dead or alive, would you invite to dinner, has always been Dr. Martin Luther King. Up until last year, history books had taught me all I knew about the man who'd led the Civil Right's Movement and gave arguably the greatest speech of all time. Although words on a page provided a link I might not otherwise have had, nothing compared to standing in the exact place Martin Luther King Jr. stood when he spoke the words "I have a dream."
At the MLK National Historic Museum in Atlanta, I read a journal entry he wrote close to the time he died and it had a profound impact on me. His words expressed extreme fear and uncertainty as to what lay ahead, and questioned whether to give up. In the same entry he acknowledges he was no longer a man but a leader of a people who desperately needed hope and a voice when they had none. 
Today being Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday I wanted to thank him for his courage to stand up and speak his truth, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." 




  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Albert & Me...

"Do something wonderful, people may imitate it."
Albert Schweitzer 1/14/1875-9/4/1965 Alsatian/German physician

Me on my birthday last year, somewhere in Texas (2013)
Since it's Albert Schweitzer birthday and my own, I'd like to share, if it's OK with Albert, a few things that make me unique. I wash my hands 5 out of 11 times after using the restroom. I love Obamacare and how it focuses on preventative care. I don't care about politics. I love receiving mail. I had a huge cancerous tumor in my neck, in my dreams last night. I don't have a cable TV subscription. My Christmas decorations have yet to be taken down. I like to pee outdoors rather than indoors. Campfires and the stars hypnotize me. I love to play devil's advocate. I hate confrontation. I love learning something new. My biggest fear is death, not of others death, but my own. I wish could write for a living. I am most fearful of being vulnerable and exposed.

Thanks for being a part of this wonderful journey we call life. Enjoy the rest of MY and Albert Scheitzer's night. Tomorrow my goal is to write a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. I hope I do him proud.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Talk to Strangers...

How to tell if you are a stalker. Please note ALL criteria must be met for approval.

1. You tell a complete stranger about the woman you "love".
2. You tell a complete stranger that three to four times a week, an hour at a day you sit a watch said "love".
3. When asked by complete stranger if said "love" is your girlfriend, you reply no.
4. When asked by complete stranger if said "love" has ever talked to you, you reply no.
5. When asked by complete stranger if said "love" has said she does not like you, you reply yes.
6. When asked by complete stranger why then you continue to watch said "love" you place hand on heart and say "Because I can feel her love." 
7. When asked by complete stranger if continued visitations appear "creepy" you reply no.

Meet Francisco
If the above criterion are true for you, congratulations you ARE a stalker. 
**A huge thanks to Francisco at the local Starbucks. Without you and your skills, this blog post would not be possible.

Happy Monday and as always, happy stalking!


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finding Faith...

My mind is quite persuasive this morning. It wants me to give up writing. The kink in my neck is causing me pain, I looked in the mirror and my arms are fatter plus my hair sucks. There, I said it. Getting that off my chest made me feel a better. Here's a poem for when times are tough.

"I do not pay for riches but should riches come to me, I pray for generosity that I would be willing to share with others. I do not pray for beauty but should I be fairer face in form, I pray for modesty lest I flaunt my loveliness. I do not pray for power but should it be my lot to lead and influence others, I pray for wisdom, lest arrogance take over my nature. I do not pray for honor but should honor come to me, I pray to understand, lest esteem cause me to forget those who need a helping hand. Should I be gifted, I pray for humility knowing full well that all talent comes from dedication.
I do not pray for trouble but should trouble come to me, I pray for courage to begin anew and neither wince nor blame. I do not pray for sorrow but when grief enters my life, I pray for fortitude to rear my trials with patience. For generosity, for modesty, for wisdom, for understanding, for humility, for courage, for fortitude but most of all I pray for faith. Faith in the perfection that surrounds us all. Yes, I pray for faith."

-Author Unknown

Keep on truckin'.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

To my friend Hilary on her housewarming, birthday and wedding day...

Cherokee Princess Noccalula Gadsen, Alabama (2012)
Noccalula was to be married to a man from a neighboring tribe
to build peace, but she was in love with a man from her tribe.
On her wedding day she jumped to her death.
At the the end of the day or the beginning in my case, it is important to reflect on what truly matters. If you were forced to pick one or two things, leaving everything else behind, what would they be?

I start with this question because in writing my maid of honor speech I more clearly understand what truly matters.
My best friend is getting married today. I didn't know of her plans to wed until last week but her text message made it clear, "I need you to make a speech. Maid of honor shit."  I'm looking forward to this wedding simply because it's unlike anything I've ever been to before. Why is it unlike anything I've ever been to before? Because it's a surprise. The guests believe they are attending a housewarming party, which it is, but a wedding at its core.

As for my job of explaining over 10 years of friendship in only a few words is quite a task. My first memory of her was in a public speaking course we shared, specifically when we were paired up, interviewed one another then presented each other to the class. Nervous as I was to present, Hilary's life story interested me. I remember learning about her eight month stay in Australia, her exciting adventures there and how spirited she became telling the tales. I felt inspired by her. Up until meeting Hilary, it had been difficult for me to get close to people, especially women. But Hilary was different. She was who she was - independent, intelligent and uncompromising on her goals, which I admired. As we grew closer, I gained an even deeper awareness of who she really was, a humanitarian. Her compassion oozed through her in her volunteer work, fundraising, coordinating any and every kind of charity event.
Family in the Woods
My most memorable experience of Hilary happened shortly after we graduated college. I planned on going to Costa Rica for a month with a guy friend, who at the last moment canceled. Heart broken, I watched as this trip, a once in a lifetime experience, slipped through my fingertips. Hilary, upon hearing the news, made a life changing experience that still amazes me. She charged her credit card and came with me, simple as that, because that's who she is. Her resilient and selfless nature allows her to reach outside herself and give wholeheartedly. What a beautiful person to call friend. Her love for her family brings her to tears, something we all can take a lesson from. May Hilary's love teach us a lesson about what truly matters.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fasting and the Beast...

First, a shout out to my sister-in-law Melinda. Thank you for your support and inspiring me to keep going. This post is a piggyback on yesterday's topic of commitment. I want to provide some background and answer the question "why the hell should I listen to her, anyway?" Well, here's why.
Notice the jug of water?
It was into the third week of my solo cross country road trip when I landed at Cave Run Lake Campground in Kentucky. Three days earlier I made a goal to fast for ten days, journaling the process, in order to gain awareness into my inner self. Here's that days journal entry: "I ended up in Ashland, Minnesota, watching lightning on the top of a look out view over Lake Superior. When I awoke, I got an oil change and had decided the evening before to start fasting. A most inspirational and emotionally moving phone conversation with a friend solidified my desire to take another conscious step. After receiving all the food from Brita, the woman in Cokato, Minneosta, I felt overwhelmed and although extremely grateful, it was not upholding my need for increasing consciousness. Having fasted for four days before, I know the benefits fasting holds. No food equals the stomach throwing a tantrum and the mind responding. Without investigating the relationship we trust the two are speaking honestly and with integrity. False. The times my stomach is most "angry" is when I'm the most distracted or caught up thinking "in my head." As I come to the moment, bring awareness to the environment around me, I know I'm ok. I know my body is capable, not only capable but desires to be taken care of. Each time I think thoughts about food, how great it is, and how one McDonald's french fry won't hurt, I realize it's just the mind playing tricks on me and I vividly am aware how easy it is to forgo values and goals and promises to the self. Without strengthening the control we have over our mind, we are susceptible to its demands. I know I will survive without food but my mind is screaming the opposite. I hope I win."

The BEAST!
I did win. I made it to the ten day mark, feeling empowered and aware of my thoughts. I found control over the "beast" within. Here's some facts about "the beast." He is selfish and always, always wants more. He cannot differentiate between wants and needs which means he NEEDS everything. He needs ice cream, the latest iPad, a cheeseburger, a newer car, a bigger house, more gadgets, friends and of course, money. He doesn't care about health or happiness because he doesn't feel emotions. You, believing what he says is the truth, give into his every desire, hoping doing so will bring you peace, but it doesn't.

Crap, I'm going to be late for work! Pardon me for now. See you tomorrow. Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Failure IS NOT an Option...

Power plant outside Page, Arizona (2012)
I ran across a woman's website where she attempted to do 365 days of blogging.  I say attempted  because upon clicking through the days of the month, everything after May 6th was nothingness.  Nothingness like "the nothing" in The Neverending Story. Scary. That being said, what happened? Did she die? Wait. No, not dead. I found her on another website but instead of blogging she's "obsessed with Instagram" and switched to photography. Not so committed to our original challenge, are we lady? Oh well, her life, her decisions.
Her story made me think about commitments. More specifically, the commitments we make with ourselves and the factors that lead us to failure. One such failure factor is the mind's belief in whatever you tell it. We make promises to ourselves all day every day about how who we plan to be in the future. The tomorrow "you" will show up on time, be a better friend, eat less, work out more, and be smarter with money. However, the today "you", the one that actually exists, isn't in the mood, doesn't know how, blames the other guy, and makes excuses.
Zen yoga beetle, Zion National Park, Utah (2013)
The person we are today is who we are. Whereas the person we want to be is an illusion. Knowing those facts, how can we find success without the illusion?  First off, stop making promises to yourself. The mind, being the tricky beast it is, will do anything it can to get what it wants. By not making promises the mind no longer rules, you do. You, without promises, are free to choose moment to moment what to do.
I am challenging you to be aware of your thoughts today. Listen to the radio station playing within. When you hear "I'll get to it later", stop. Quiet the mind. Then ask yourself "what do I want to do now?" Practice this today, as will I, and we'll reconvene tomorrow. Therapy session adjourned. Oh, if you want some comedy relief watch the video below, it's how I believe therapy should be!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Racism and Poker...

First things first, a tidbit of useless information. The Seattle International airport, only 2.5
Breakfast of Champions
miles from my house, offers a wake up call at 5:30am which is a boisterous rumble that occurs when the first plane takes off.  I usually hit snooze and fall back to sleep, but this morning I got up. A couple of the neighborhood raccoon's happened to stroll by the front porch just as I walked past the living room window, so I grabbed my camera and a handful of cat food. 
This morning I would like to share the interesting going on's of working in a casino. Having dealt poker for over 9 years, I've seen it all from bottles broken over people's heads to individuals drunk enough to vomit on themselves. Although, at times, not the most glamorous job, the players make it worth it. Seeing the same faces day in and and day out make for a Cheers-like environment. One where, sing it with me, "everybody knows your name" dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. It's a dysfunctional family, for sure, but a family just the same. Many times there will be nine people seated around the poker table before me and not one is the same race - Cambodian, Vietnamese, Russian, Mexican, French, Laotian, Chinese, Korean, and Caucasian - just to name a few. Caucasian's are a minority in this Asian dominated casino, making my nickname, along with a few Caucasian waitresses  "white girl." You may think with all the cultural differences, conflicts stemming from dissimilar beliefs and lifestyles occur frequently, however I've only seen a couple instances, and even during those times, the rest of the players banded together against the prejudiced individual. 

I waize!
Here's a snapshot and a glimpse of what life in a poker family is like: An older alcoholic white lady, who talks like a baby, wants to "waize" (raise) the amount of the bet. The Vietnamese man next to her, dressed up like an army general on an African safari, is upset because she won't shut up and quit calling him "buttacup," all the while looking at me to stop her from talking, which I can't. The Cambodian man to my left is poking me in the side with his finger in a not-so-soft manner in order to let me know his cards would have won and that it is my fault he folded. The other Vietnamese man, two seats to his left, is calling the Russian on the table "mastah" (master) because the Russian is such a good player and that he, the Vietnamese man, is only a "risky," which doesn't make any sense. Soon after, I figure out he meant rookie and not "risky."  At this point, the white baby talking lady and the Vietnamese man are hugging. It will go on like this all night. But, alas, my shift is over and it's time to go home and prepare to do it all over again the next day.  The moral of today's story? When a happily dysfunctional family are betting large sums of cash, there's no room for racism.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

For the Love of Money and Dolphins..

It's 8:45am and my comic book writer neighbor left after two cups of coffee and after telling me he is moving in with his girlfriend. The news of him moving is similar to the experience of my trustworthy auto mechanic moving an hour away... disappointing. Yet, the show must go on to today's topic: money.
In my early twenties I read the book Your Money or Your Life, which helped me change the way I viewed money. The book challenged cultural perspectives such as money is "the root of all evil" and "wanting and having money makes you greedy". Both beliefs about money are negative and effect how people handle money.  The book helped me to understand the freedom and empowerment money can give. I learned to spend less than I made, to buy what I needed and used, but most importantly to save.
I saved money and called it my "screw you" fund. My "screw you" fund was money set aside that so if ever I wanted time away without the looming stress of money, I could just go.
My opportunity came August 2012 I took a year off work, lived in my car and traveled to forty-eight states.  I saw The Grand Canyon, Everglades, Yellowstone and 23 other national parks. I went to the Strugis Motorcycle Rally, a Green Bay Packers game, The Kentucky State Fair, Mardi Gras, saw a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral, hiked Mount Katahdin, and drove Route 66. I saw a wolf, moose, elk, buffalo, mountain goat, bald eagles, prairie dogs, alligators, javelina (a boar-like creature), and dolphins. And, last but not least, I met my boyfriend, who has added that much more life and love to the crazy adventure I find myself in daily.   

In conclusion, save money and you will fall in love and hang out with dolphins.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Blue Monday or bust...

At the beginning of the year my blog was accepted to carry advertisements on it. It has taken me a year to be approved which makes the news that much more exciting.   And, as of today, I have made....$3.20! So, a huge thank you to all my devoted readers because without you none of it would be possible.

Onward, forward to today's news. Today is Blue Monday or more aptly described as "the most depressing day of the year."  The reason being is resolutions have been broken, the holiday season is over, and credit bills are showing up in mailboxes around the country. But before you buy into the "Blue Monday" propaganda, remember not to believe everything you hear. "Blue Monday," is in fact, a lie and was invented by a UK travel company in order to boost travel sales. Media loves a good catch-all phrase that the masses will, literally, buy into, so don't!
Instead of feeling blue or depressed - Give. Give without expectation of receiving anything in return. Give a compliment or give a hug. Let the person behind you in line go in front of you. Buy a stranger's lunch. I did each of those things today, not because I want or need praise but because giving makes for a beautiful day. And, what a beautiful day it has been.