Monday, January 2, 2017

On 2016

Last week was such a whirlwind, I'm just now having the time to properly honor the year that was a remarkable one.  Feel free to jump ahead, if you just want lessons learned :)

In January, I began my year returning to LA after a three month hiatus, feeling refreshed and renewed.  I returned to my restaurant job of 5 years, and felt the simple joy of being in a familiar environment again.  One month later, still feeling called to pursue acting in some capacity, I auditioned for my MFA in San Francisco.  I received some offers, but none that really resonated with me.  Not too long after that, I found out that for two years (2013-2014) I had been subject to tax preparer fraud and would spend the next several weeks feeling a mixture of helplessness, paranoia and outright fury.  After a lot of crying, and mailing a huge package to correct the process, I was able to feel a sense of normalcy again (however, still resolving this to date).  

As Spring approached, I still felt like I was missing something in my life.  I had routine, structure and hobbies, yet felt like there was more I could experience.  The answer came in May, when I got to be ‘Birdie’ at Camp Grounded, and experience a weekend that forever changed my life.  I sang in front of new friends, felt the freedom of not needing my phone and made deep, lasting connections with people that I consider my chosen family.  June came, and I got to re-live my camp experience, this time as ‘Chickpea’, a Tribe Guide at Camp Wildfolk.  I learned just how much energy and dedication it takes to work with children, and how I probably won’t venture into education any time soon.  

Summer ended with Evolving Out Loud in August, where I learned I am not my feelings and emotions, I am the container that holds it all.  Magic happened that weekend, and I soon serendipitously stumbled upon an event called Conscious Family Dinner.  Having no idea what I was getting into, and showing up solo, I found a beautiful community that embraced me, made me feel valued and celebrated and am so proud to have grown into.  November rattled me by obliterating my presidential expectations, and yet, I chose to experience a deeper calling as I enrolled and completed the Insight Seminar I, the weekend after the election took place.  Celebrated another year around the sun.  Two trips to Ojai.  December brought joy again, with holiday lights and feelings of gladness to just be alive at this time.  All of this year to culminate with the news of Gulfstream’s closing and my choice to move on to a new venture and chapter of my life.  

Looking back, I remember that at each of these moments, I had no idea what would happen next or where it would lead to.  Yet, all these seemingly random patches of life, became the essential fabric that weaved me through the year, opened my heart and showed me a level of life I always longed for, but could never articulate. 

As I step into this new year, or rather, a continuation of the previous, I choose to peacefully step into the realm of not knowing.  Change, uncertainty and pain will continue to arrive, and how we choose to respond is ultimately where we have the greatest freedom.  And just because you change your circumstances and outer scenery, does not mean that you resolve an inner conflict.  It takes time, patience and ultimately, self-compassion to move through the patterns and challenges of your life.  Wherever you go, there you are.  

With that, I wish you all a beautiful, joyous and transformative 2017! I’ll be right there on the ride with you ;) 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Hey, 2016.

After taking some much needed time away from LA, I've finally returned to my home and am very content.  This year calls for great transformation (that's my word) and while I've got some plans and intentions in the works, I can definitely say that I'm much more at peace with where I'm at in my life.  And for me, that's a huge win.

Coming off the holiday season where there can be a lot of stress, tension and excitement, some folks might feel this grand pressure to have everything squared away by January 1st.  With all this hype and anticipation over resolutions, making change and getting to the gym, it can leave you in a dizzying spell.  And while I'm alllll about implementing change (especially when the new year chimes in), I've chosen a different way this time.  

Over my break, I read a great book titled, 'Stop Self-Sabotage' by Pat Pearson, and one of my favorite exercises she includes is using the phrase, I am in the process... or I am choosing....  instead of I will do.... I have decided to....This eases your mind out of the stress or anxiety that may follow from making such an extreme or hard decision (unless that’s your style, in which case, go for it).  I’m speaking to those who might desire a gentler approach, a more compassionate route to following through with their intentions and goals. 

I’ve made resolutions in the past, and they’ve sometimes left me feeling like a failure.  Like I 
couldn’t keep my promise to myself no matter how hard I tried.  Eventually, I'd lead myself into a downward spiral of self-pity and over indulgence.  I tend to get very pensive about life and myself (it’s one of those INFP qualities that I love) and while it's a great tool for me, it can also get me lost in my head, about my place in the world, and spinning on questions like, "What does it all mean? Am I doing the right thing? Will this ever change?".  I'm beginning to understand that it all really comes down to me, and what my spirit is calling for me to do.  Not what everyone else is doing, or what seems cool and trendy, but to selflessly search my whole heart, seek out my gifts, and begin sharing them with the world.  

I am still to this day, endlessly fascinated with humanity, how the mind works, why people do the things that they do and how the body plays into all of this.  My endless curiosity is driven by the desire to understand the connection between it all (the cosmos and us), and help bridge the gap on all of these seemingly separate entities.  

"As above, so below"

P.S. A friendly reminder to my astrology folk out there, that Mercury is currently in retrograde.  For those who aren’t familiar, it’s an occurance that takes place 3-4 times a year and is a time of miscommunication, unclear thinking and judgement, and breakdown of equipment.  My two favorite sites to geek out about this you can find here and here.  

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry & Bright.

The holidays.  While this time of year can be a joyous one, and it can also be difficult.  The year is coming to a close, and with darkness taking over the light, we can find ourselves in circumstances that bring up a lot of discomfort or unease.  With the rushing madness of gifts, parties and family time, you may find yourself more stressed out that renewed.  I tend to be more of an introvert, so too much family time is a sure fire way for me to want and hide in a cave for a week to recover.  

To anyone who might be feeling out of sorts, going through a breakup or deep personal transformation, know that you are not alone.  In the way you feel, and also in your life.  I myself, am finishing an arduous year, and have been through more uncertainty in the last few months, than I can recall.  I’ve been challenged to face the darkest parts of myself, clean out the cobwebs of my past and find my own voice in a culture and society that prefers conformity.  Give yourself the time and space to take care of you and your needs, and allow the experience to pass.  It can seem like an eternity, but it eventually will.  This is still something I’m working on, but I’m ready to take the lessons I’ve learned, the ones I’m still learning and whatever curriculum I have ahead of me into 2016;  with continued clarity, depth and truth.  

However you choose to spend your holiday, be it with family, friends or solo, know that you are a soul having a human experience.  Learn to ride the ups and downs, for it is the journey.   

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Progress, not perfection.

It has come to my attention that I am a perfectionist.

And while I don't consider myself perfect, or by any means a type-A personality, there are so many characteristics that I DO find to be lurking around my life that prevent from being my fully authentic self.

Let's start with procrastination.  Good Lord, do I procrastinate.  And it's been at an all time high these days, and even though I'm aware of it, and I know that it's not doing me any good, I still manage to put off all the things that I know I want to be doing/should be doing/need to be doing.  This happens for a couple reasons:  first being, that I tend to think that whatever I'm avoiding is going to take longer than I think.  For instance, I'll put off putting away my laundry because it's probably going to take like 10 hours.  Reality check: it took only 5 minutes.  Mayyyybe 7.

Even this morning, I was weighing on whether or not I should go to a new yoga studio to redeem a free class.  "Ehhh, there will be so many people, everyone is more advanced than me...I can practice at home", but the moment I signed up, I knew I had to show up and that there was no backing out.  Yes, going to a new space or experience is scary, but it's also thrilling and exciting.  And wouldn't you know, that I get there and the class was only 5 people and the people working there absolutely welcoming and helpful.

What I'm getting at, is that there is this idea that we need to know everything before we do it.  We need to know what we're getting ourselves into, what the environment is like.  Or at least, I feel  I do. I can get so comfortable with my surroundings that I inhibit everything new that comes into my life.  Probably because I'm judging it (which is really me judging myself).

TIME.  Waiting for the right time, the right moment, the right weather (again, that ol' procrastination) is something that keeps me in analysis paralysis.  I had no idea that the reason why I was procrastinating so much was because I was waiting for these "right" conditions.  News flash:: there are no right conditions! In fact, it's always the right time to begin and end something.  The sign you've been waiting for is the feeling that it's time to move on, that something else is coming.  You only need your own permission to move forward, not anyone else's.

With all this in mind, I've decided to embrace my imperfections and flaws, and really move into deeper transparency.  It's gonna be a bit bumpy and messy now.  But I think that by even making this choice and decision, is already moving towards greater authenticity and self-expression.  It's not being foolish or reckless, it's simply allowing my humanity to showcase through me and allowing others to see that.  In whatever way it may come.

Side note: Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you had a bountiful holiday with the ones you love, and got lots of pumpkin pie and turkey leftovers :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sweet November.

As the weather's been cooling down and the days have been getting shorter, it's been so enchanting to see the leaves change color and begin their transition to winter.  I'm always stunned to see colors of crimson, effervescent yellow and burnt orange dance on every corner.  Autumn is my favorite season, and I find myself nostalgic for it, even as it's happening around me.  And although it may seem small, change is definitely in the air.

Earlier this week, I attended a spiritual lecture at the SF Women's Center and got to meet the lovely Shannon Kaiser, who has been an ongoing source of inspiration for me.  The evening centered around the idea of transformation and having courage to surrender to what is in order to allow what will be.  This is something that I have recently found to be challenging, especially in the digital age where instant gratification and immediacy are so strong.  It was a gentle reminder that we all go through an annual period of transformation and change, and that light can still be found even in the darkest of days.  Along with this quote:

"The trees are about to show us
how lovely it is to let the dead things go."

Fall is such a beautiful time to let go of anything we no longer need.  Whether it's a old habit or limited mindset, now is the perfect time to take stock and ask yourself, what am I holding on to that isn't serving me?  What can I release?  How can I find gratitude for what is? Your answers may vary, and might not come in an instant.  Trust that you will be given exactly what you need in the very moment you need it.

In the mean time I invite you to cozy up with hot beverage, a good book and let the rest take care of itself.

Friday, January 16, 2015

On Podcasts.

Living in LA, you spend a lot of time in your car, battling through rush hour and long commutes.  Over the years, this has become one of the more enjoyable aspects about the city ( hear me out ) because I get to listen to all my favorite radio shows.  If you haven't already jumped on the podcast bandwagon, now's your chance.

Of course, I assume that everyone is tuning into KPCC and KCRW on a regular basis, but perhaps some of you could use a beginner's guide to podcasts.  These are my personal favorites as well as the wildly popular ones:

For the epicurious:
Good Food with Evan Kleinman: I adore this woman.  Every week, she rounds up the most fascinating culinary stories and interviews with some of the pioneers of the industry.  If you don't start cooking or thinking about food within 10 minutes, you could be a robot.

For the creative:
TED Radio Hour: Ever watch a TED talk? Same concept, except it's been formatted to fit your ears.

For the storyteller:
The Moth: This was the show that first got my hooked into radio.  The Moth is a non-profit that fronts itself with the slogan, "True stories told in front of a live audience".  Actors, writers, journalists even everyday folks tell stories that are hilarious, dark or moving in some capacity.  You can even venture to a live performance here.

For the inquisitive:
Radiolab: A smart and fascinating in-depth look at a variety of topics.  What I love most about this one is that you feel like you accidentally dropped in on a scientists lab room and you're aren't leaving anytime soon.

For the domesticated:
A Prairie Home Companion: Garrison Keillor leads this program with the style of an old variety show.  I imagine families back in 1945 huddled around the radio and eating Jiffy pop.  He always ends the show with a brief lecture called 'The News from Lake Wobegon' which has a sermonic feel, as though Father time himself was speaking directly to you.

For the introspective:
On Being: This is a newer one for me, but the fact that Krista Tippett interviews so many leaders of the world in such a comfortable, inviting atmosphere makes this a perfect accompaniment when you're craving some meaningful conversation.

Whether you're in traffic, getting some exercise outdoors or just prepping for dinner, podcasts and radio are an exciting world to get lost in.

Happy listening!

.: Anais :.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

On 2015.

Happy New Year! We're day three into what seems to be a promising and outstanding year.  I can feel it.

Malibu, Calif.

After the Christmas chaos and New Year's champagne had been sipped, it was nice to settle into the calm weekend and really allow for some self-reflection and evaluation.  While I create intentions and goals every January 1st, this year I did it a little differently.

One of my favorite writers, Danielle LaPorte, has a fantastic book called 'The Desire Map', which is all about finding your Core Desired Feelings.

"You're not chasing a goal, you're chasing a feeling."

Other than her just being a knock-out spiritual warrior of a woman, I love the concept of building our lives and dreams intrinsically.  So often, we can run around chasing something we think we want, only to attain it and end up feeling more empty or disappointed than before.  I've been working on my CDFs for the past few months, and fiiiiinally whittled 'em down to these five:


Daring. That one makes my stomach flip.  In a good way ;)

What are some of your New Year resolutions or goals? Any words that come to mind, heart and soul?  I invite you all to conduct your own ritual of sorts, and get cozy with yourself and your wanting. 

keep mining + shining,