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big magic

2 Nov

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I just finished reading “Big Magic : Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert for my book club. I’ve been a fan of Gilbert’s work ever since I read “Eat, Pray, Love”- a book that people either seem to love or hate. I personally loved it. I remember devouring it in a few short days and being consumed with her journey. Considering I am also a travel nut I enjoyed reading about Italy, India & Indonesia. That book planted a seed in me to one day visit Bali and the famous medicine man Ketut, who she receives a reading when in Bali and I did both last year on our honeymoon. I was feeling very connected to the lovely Elizabeth Gilbert in that moment!

“Big Magic” is a guide of sorts on how to live a creative life. That doesn’t mean just writing (although Elizabeth does talk a lot about writing because it happens to be her creative passion) but encompasses something larger: instead exploring any activity that takes you out of yourself and opens you to the experience of wonder and joy. This could mean weaving, drawing, dancing, it could mean running a farm, tap dancing, learning a new lanugaue…the options are endless!

I have been seeking inspiration recently so this book spoke to me. It made me think about the times in my life that I have been most fulfilled and it is most definitely when I feel creatively alive. I think back to when I started this blog- I was in a funk at the time and instinctively knew that to break free from its hold, I had to create, write, explore & learn. I had to get back in touch with the part of myself that comes alive when I am living a creative and inspired existence. That year I learned how to cook, I learned how to tango, I drove across the country taking photos and writing. All these activities brought me such profound joy and isn’t that the point of living? Why don’t we give our creative pursuits more energy?

This book reminded me that it’s ok to spend an afternoon painting for no other reason than it feels good and makes you happy…and that is a life worth living in my opinion.

Here are a few of my favorite lines from the book…

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

“Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

“So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

“creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that—merely by being here—you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.”

“But to yell at your creativity, saying, “You must earn money for me!” is sort of like yelling at a cat; it has no idea what you’re talking about, and all you’re doing is scaring it away, because you’re making really loud noises and your face looks weird when you do that.”

“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust—and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome.”

“But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your own creative work.”

“Because often what keeps you from creative living is your self-absorption (your self-doubt, your self-disgust, your self-judgment, your crushing sense of self-protection).”

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all. We toil alone, and we are accompanied by spirits. We are terrified, and we are brave. Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege. Only when we are at our most playful can divinity finally get serious with us. Make space for all the paradoxes to be equally true inside your soul, and I promise- you can make anything. So please calm down now and get back to work, okay? The treasures that are hidden inside you are hoping you will say yes.”

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Gilbert explored some of the ideas in the book in two TED talks, 2009’s “Your Elusive Creative Genius” and 2014’s “Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating.”

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I’ve surfaced

26 Sep

Considering my last post was entitled “Dig Deep”, and I haven’t updated in over a week, you must have assumed I was on quite the excavation into my soul. I was, for part of the week, writing the first twelve pages of my memoir as an assignment for my new writing class, which I love by the way. The assignment proved to be much harder than I thought it would be. Stupidly, I assumed that because I have been living this project so vividly for the last year, that it would be easy to just jump in and start writing a book. Aren’t I fancy? But instead, I found myself staring at a blank computer screen and sending Brian texts like…“this writing a book thing is no joke”.

When the judgmental blank computer screen would become too much for me, I would retreat to the couch to read “Tiny Beautiful Things” and escape from the question looming over my head…how do I want to start my book to? It’s a BIG question that I didn’t have an answer for. As my writing teacher, Richard, put it so eloquently- “If the first fifteen pages don’t grab the reader, they aren’t going to read to twenty.” No pressure, Richard. No pressure.

You will be happy to know that I soldiered through it and finally put words on a page. I’ve started my book! So what that I am only ten rough pages in- IM IN! This first assignment made me realize that this is going to be a very long and laborious process of love. Like birthing a baby! That’s probably unfair of me to say since I have never birthed a baby but I’m going with it. It has definitely awakened something in me. I’m finding it hard to go to bed at night because I have so many ideas racing through my head. I’m feeling very alive by the process.

You know what didn’t prove to be a hard but fun process last week?? The stomach flu. It proved to be an awful, awful, awful experience. It knocked me on my ass for three days. It was hard for me to even move from the bed to the couch. At one point I was so exhausted by it all that I just crumpled on the bedroom floor in my ratty t-shirt, sweat pants, disheveled hair and started sobbing to Brian, “pleeeeease make it stop”. It was quite a display. Have you ever been so sick that even blinking hurts? That was my reality for the latter part of the week.

On another note, we are off to Asheville, North Carolina tomorrow. I am a fan of getting out-of-town and I hear Asheville is gorgeous, so I am excited. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Dig deep

17 Sep

My desire to write a book has been tugging at me a lot recently. I can’t think of anything more gratifying than accomplishing this goal. It’s been something I have wanted to do since I was 20. It’s always been one of those “one day I will” goals. Like “one day I will” fly to the moon. Six months into writing this blog, I wrote a book proposal for 365 til 30. I was pretty proud of this 50 page document at the time. I thought I did a pretty good job considering I had never written a book proposal before. I thought it was where it needed to be. But now when I look at it I realize that I only scratched the surface. Actually, I’ve only dragged a tiny sewing needle across the surface of it. There is still so much that needs to be explored. This new-found realization both excites me and terrifies me. I think the biggest question that needs answering isn’t…why was my life was such a mess when I turned 29?

Knowing that I needed some inspiration and guidance, I reached out to a writer friend whom I admire and respect greatly. She’s so damn smart and honest that I just knew she’d help me unlock something. We spent a few hours talking about my book and I left feeling inspired. Her notes to me were simple- Dig deep when writing my book, be willing to go to the places that scare me and get in a writing class so I can be surrounded by other writers.

I immediately went home and scoured the internet in search of a writing class that suited my needs. I finally stumbled upon a class called “Memorable Memoir” and thought it sounded perfect, so I signed up and my first class is tonight. I think this most definitely constitutes a new “artist date” with myself, don’t you think?

I’m excited to see what will come from this experience.

Lastly, I want to share Cheryl Strayed’s advice to writers because I just love it. I plan on reading it every single morning until I have a finished book in my hands.

1. Write a lot.
2. Don’t be in a hurry to publish.
3. Find the work that moves you the most deeply and read it over and over again. I’ve had many great teachers, but the most valuable lessons I learned were from writers on the page.
4. Be brave. Write what’s true for you. Write what you think. What about what confuses you and compels you. Write about the crazy, hard, and beautiful. Write what scares you. Write what makes you laugh and write what makes you weep. Writing is risk and revelation. There’s no need to show up at the party if you’re only going to stand around with your hands in your pockets and stare at the drapes.

happy list

6 Sep

things that have been making me happy recently…

– spending hours (yes hours) watching “Breaking Bad” with Brian. We got to the “Breaking Bad” party late but we are making up for lost time. We are obsessed. The other night we watched 3 in a row- that’s close to 3 hours of television! We would have watched more but we had finished the DVD. We’re like addicts over here.

– my yoga practice. My time on the mat keeps me sane. 

– elephants. My obsession started when I learned that I can ride an elephant when we are in Nepal! This is going to be me-

– putting my vision boards in full display again. I think Brian was a little surprised when he got home from work and it greeted him at the front door! I mean, don’t I look beyond happy in that middle picture?!

– the book “Wild”- Cheryl Strayed is an incredible writer. 

my weekly hikes in the Santa Monica mountains

– spending mornings writing at my favorite coffee shop

– this quote

“Write like a motherfucker.” ― Cheryl Strayed 

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What’s been making you guys happy recently??

A post about nothing and everything

24 Aug

My sweet Aunt Paule offered Brian and I her beach cottage in Santa Barbara this weekend while she and her partner David are on a retreat. Considering we aren’t ones to shy away from mini vacay’s (especially when they are free) we are off to Santa Barbara for a few days!

I happen to love their little cottage by the sea. It’s the perfect place to cozy up, write (I really need to rethink my book proposal), read (my new book “Wild” for inspiration), sleep (I’m a fan of sleeping sans alarm clock), watch movies (or maybe continue watching episodes of Breaking Bad) and cuddle (I’m a fan of cuddling too). I also want to take long walks on the beach and drinking margarita’s at the local Mexican joint.

On another note- I made some progress with my goals this week!

 I made a list of a few new “artist dates” to take myself on…i’m scheduling these once a week.

– rent 5 Best Picture films that I have never seen and spend the day watching them

– create a new vision board (these visions of mine need a new board!)

– Downtown LA museum day

– head to the library to check out books on a subject I know very little about

– take myself on a picnic

Second I played a truly fun game of phone tag with a woman named Noelle at the Big Brother Big Sister organization about volunteering as a Big Sister. We still have not actually spoken but I have high hopes we will next week. High hopes.

I “thought” about what changes I want to make to my book proposal. That counts for something, right?

I chased down a man and his adorable French Bulldog on the street to ask which breeder he went to.

I spent hours looking at beautiful photos of ballerina’s for inspiration for my upcoming “back to the barre” series ( I plan on posting them tomorrow)

OH AND I BOOKED A TRIP TO NEPAL! That still happens to be the most exciting update of the week.

What happened with you guys this week? Any fun things to share????

Currently on my nightstand

22 Aug

Last night I went to put my glass of water on my nightstand and couldn’t find any room…it has become overrun with books! Here’s the rundown…

1. Lonely Planet Nepal– As I mentioned on Monday, Brian and I are going to Nepal in November! We are seriously excited. Is it November yet?? The first thing we did after buying the tickets, was head to the bookstore (yes a few still exist) to buy books. To say I have become obsessed with researching Nepal would be an understatement. Swayambhunath, I’m coming for you!

2. Blue highways– I bought this book before I left on my road trip across the USA last year. Sadly, I still have not read it. At least I accomplished driving across the country!! I have high hopes that I will get to reading it at some point soon, so for that reason it stays on my nightstand.

3. The Spontaneous fulfillment of Desire– I have read this book a million times and every time I do I find something new to love about it. It makes me remember that the world is a pretty magical place.

“I do not believe in meaningless coincidences. I believe every coincidence is a message, a clue about a particular facet of our lives that requires our attention.” – Deepak Chopra, The Spontaneous Fulfillment Of Desire

4. The Color Of Water– This was given to me as a present for my 30th birthday last month and it’s fast become one of my favorites. I am almost finished with it and I can’t say enough about it. Such beautiful writing on it’s pages. Love it. Go buy it.

“And when James asked what color God was, she said, God is the color of water.” 
– James McBride, The Color Of Water

5. The Alchemist- I am sure many of you have read this one considering how famous it’s become. It is my favorite book of all time. Yet another one that reminds me that the world is a magical place and that we all have a purpose to fulfill.

“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”
― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

6. Wild- Just bought this book  at my mother’s insistence. She thought it would give me inspiration for my book. Considering the woman knows me pretty well, I did as I was told.

7. FIfty Shades Of Darker- I know. I know. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have read two out of three of these. I will say that after finishing this one (in two days…they are an easy read) I decided that I’m not reading the third. I’m done with the saga.

8. I Feel Bad About My Neck– I love Nora Ephron. LOVE. She is a huge inspiration to me as a writer and this book is one of my favorites. fifty

“When your children are teenagers, it’s important to have a dog so that someone in the house is happy to see you.”
― Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

9. Awaken The Giant Within– I have mentioned in prior posts that I have been to a Tony Robbins seminar in the past (keep your laughter to yourself). I know people have mixed messages about him but I happen to find this book a helpful tool in living my best life.I re-read it often.

“A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Tony Robbins, Awaken The Giant Within 

What books are on your nightstand??? I would love to know!

zeeee list is done!

25 Jul

I’ve certainly taken my sweet ass time deciding on what my new goals for the year will be, haven’t I? In my defense, I found it extremely hard to choose them this time around, maybe because I now know how much effort it takes to make them a reality and I want to choose them carefully. I also really want to be thoughtful about what I want to accomplish this year- my first year as a thirty year old. I want to pick goals that feel like the organic next step for me in my career, relationships and life.

My long time readers may notice that a few of my goals have been carried over from last year. Why? Well, because I haven’t accomplished them yet and I still want to!

Let the fun begin! Here goes…

 Volunteer as a big sister

I decided that when I volunteer this year I want to work with children. I also now know, after last years volunteer work at PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) that I prefer working on a one on one basis. Armed with those two pieces of information, I settled on volunteering as a big sister. I am realllllly looking forward to this experience.

Overseas trip with Brian

Brian and I both LOVE to travel (Thank God because I honestly don’t know if I could be with somebody who didn’t love to travel too) The last big trip we took together was to Nicaragua in 2011 and it was amazing experience. Well, other than the stomach bug we both got, but hey, it only brought us closer. We have both been visualizing another trip somewhere foreign and are on a mission to accomplish it this year. Our top choice would be a trip to Thailand and Cambodia but we would pretty much go anywhere for the right deal as long is it was out of the country and neither of us had been before.

Nicaragua April 2011

Art

I have always been a fan of the book “The Artists Way” (side note- you must read it if you haven’t. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist it’s still inspiring) One of the tenets that I love most in the book is the idea of taking yourself on artists dates once a week. What’s an artist date? Anything that brings you inspiration and makes you feel alive- a trip to the museum by yourself, a walk in a new neighborhood, painting classes, pottery classes, photo projects, spend the day watching a bunch of old films, go somewhere you haven’t been since you were a child, take yourself on a picnic in the park, finger paint, garden….you see where I am going with this right? I got to thinking about how long it’s been since I have made time for such things in my life on a regular basis…too long. So this year I want to get back into carving out the time to take myself on a date once a week.

New living space

We really need to move from our sweet 1 bedroom home into something different. It makes us both sad because we LOVE our little place by the beach (morning walks on the sand are hard to beat!) but we really want a bigger space, a yard, an updated kitchen and I personally want a bigger closet- my shoes are cramped!

French Bulldog

Frank! I’m coming for you!

Ballet classes

When I was a little girl, I danced ballet for 10 years and I found such joy in it. The other day I got to thinking..why can’t I take ballet again at 30? Clearly, I’m not trying to become a professional dancer or anything but there must be classes for a girl to have a little fun in, right? So what it’s been twelve years (oy) since I put my point shoes on! Like riding a bike, right?!

Publish my writing

This is a carry over from last year. I. Still. Want. To. Accomplish. This. Goal…very badly. Onward!

Yoga retreat

Considering I am a yoga nut, I can’t believe that I have never been on a retreat. This year that is going to change! I signed up for Jennifer Pastiloff’s Manifestation Yoga Retreat in Ojai, CA in October. If you have read my blog before than you know that Jennifer is not only one of my favorite yoga teachers, she’s also a dear friend. Her retreats are known to be beyond amazing and I am so excited! I also get to sleep in a yurt with a bunch of other people….so there’s that to be excited about too.