A Puff of Smoke

Photo by: Logan at the Beverly Hills Farmers Market

 

“Our moral economy went bankrupt long before our financial one.” 

 

 

I’ve been processing a lot lately and church yesterday definitely kicked me back into the game so I’m going to share all of it right here in one blog post. GET READY IT’S GONNA BE GREAT.
1.    The Valley
As you probably have seen, I’ve been traveling all over the place. Like I actually hit up 9 cities in 4 different countries in about a month. Pretty intense.
I learned a lot about myself in that time. I learned what it felt like to travel to a new country alone. I learned I could take care of myself. I learned that I didn’t want to chase someone down someone who didn’t really want me. I gained confidence and saw the truth about myself. I learned what my face looks like after going without makeup for a month.
I liked it. I liked it all.
Then I fly back to L.A. & head straight to San Diego to have some business meetings. Unfortunately, what I was initially excited forgot buried in miscommunication and frustration. And on top of that, I’m realizing for the 100th time in my life that my sexual relationship isn’t what I want it to be.
I had to take a step back to analyze a lot. What do I see in my bank account? What do I want? What do I see in my personal relationships? What do I want?
What do I see in my work? What do I want?
And I realized, I wanted something different in all of that.
I came home from all of these adventures and felt stuck. LA. , the place that I took a leap of faith to move to, felt dark. I looked at my bank account and compared it to what it looked like before I left. I am $5000 down that amount. More off track financially than I’ve ever been.
And on top of that, the work I was doing consistently before my travels, got pushed back. So that means, no work until January. * insert panic attack *
On the way back from San Diego I listened to a podcast that really shook it up for me. (Undefeated: Pastor Sarah from OneChurch LA. If you want to be inspired, freakin listen to this)
I realized in this moment that after a high there is always low. And wrote some notes:
What goes up must come down. It’s about how your mind is. Want to get out of your stuck? Do something radical, shake it up. Don’t play it safe. Praise God the whole time.
What is this low? Analyze it & step out.
We are so easily defined by our painful emotions why is it so hard to hang on to the truth? Let’s get your mind right. Gratitude.
2.    Twenty Dollars
A week before all of this, I went to church in Denver and the pastor talked about finances… “You know what goes up after I preach about finances?’ “Offerings?” “No, baptisms. Because when you can let God control that part of your life, you can trust him with anything”
Cut to the day after I got home to San Diego, a week after Denver, I went to church with my roommate. Before the pastor comes up to deliver the sermon, they did the offering, which means they pass these little baskets around so people can put money inside. Not me though. I never do.
But this time God said “I want you to give me the $20 bill that is in your wallet.”  & I’m like but that’s the only $20 bill in my wallet. The only cash in my wallet, & I didn’t even think I had that much. In that moment I realized that I didn’t trust God. I was clinging to the $20 bill tighter than I was to His promises & I realized where my anxiety & scarcity mindset was coming from. I was creating it for myself because I wouldn’t let go. I reluctantly took the $20 bill out of my wallet and watched as the baskets went up and down the rows. I prayed & said, when I drop this money in the basket I will let go. I will let God take care of me. I will let go of the control & my anxiety. The basket finally got to me, I put my only $20 bill inside, passed it back and immediately felt the tears well up from the pit of my stomach all the way to the tip of my nose and out my eyes. I had a pure moment of panic. “Oh my God what did I do – that was so stupid. I’m going to regret that.” I cried hard with my head down in my hands. And then I felt peace. I reminded myself that I was letting this anxiety go.  God’s got me. I have enough. I allowed myself to feel the fear and then pushed it out. I am fine. And I was. I am. And this is where the real shift started…
More notes…
 
Zoom out – keep your focus on the journey – life is so beautiful + complex + crazy. No one who ever enjoyed the ride had white knuckles.
Get out of your own way. Ask God to move the flesh + bones over so you can see the blessings.
We operate from such a place of physical need for survival sometimes. We react to situations and people. I cried in a meeting when I was in San Deigo because I was operating from a scarcity mindset. It was about survival for me. I had forgotten that I actually have what I need… cause all I could see where numbers dropping in my bank account.
When you’re stuck in an “is” + looking back at a “was”. It’s hard to see what will be.
What “IS” doesn’t define what will be.
I have the strength to walk through because God has laid a foundation in me.
3. Stand Up.
All of this came full circle. Right before I left I had a feeling that I was about to “level up” in a sense. That I had enjoyed a season of comfort but knew that something needed to really make me uncomfortable again if I was going to keep growing. I knew another lesson was coming.
After chur, h I empowered & supported. I reflected back to those questions I had asked myself the week before. What do I want my bank to look like? What do I want my relationships to look like? What do I really want?
& I knew.
& I had some hard conversations with a few people. I reminded them of my worth. I reminded myself of my value.
So my lesson wasn’t a big painful, dramatic thing, it ended up being an accumulation of little frustrations throughout the different experiences I’ve had in the past month and a half.
And I’m still working through it.
Most importantly, I was able to get my mind right. I shifted my focus and from there was able to command my life again. With God by my side, I know I can do that & he will provide abundantly.
It’s not this big aha moment when God reveals himself. It’s not a puff of smoke. It’s the moment you open your eyes & see the energy that is woven into the very air you breathe.

Value, Purpose, Work: Lessons learned in the Workplace & on the 405.

A few days ago I was listening to a speech about Genius that my mentor Ruben gave at Creative Mornings ATX while I was sitting in traffic on the 405. (If you aren’t familiar with Los Angeles Geography it is literally the most terrible freeway ever. You can spend up to 3 hours on it just to go 20 miles)

While the audio played through the speakers of my car, I scribbled notes down on my iPad…

I wrote this ^ note down when my mentor mentioned that we are all searching for our purpose.

People say that a lot.
I say that a lot.

But what if we don’t HAVE to search?

What if we found our purpose in just BEING?
What if the answer is to just BE? I mean you are a BEING. It’s what you are – what you were created to be.

What if the secret to everything we were supposed to be and supposed to do was found in just being authentically?

Weird to think about right?
It goes against the notion that we have to “make something of oursevles” and “prove our worth”

It makes us almost uncomfortable to think that nothing we DO can make us more or less than who we are and THAT is our purpose. To be our beings. 

That’s what Jesus said to us.
“Nope you don’t have to do anything – you’re already loved.”
We forget that our BEING is enough

Well if we know that applied for being loved, then what about our purpose?

What if our purpose is to be loved?

*Brain explodes* (Feel free to add sound effects to that)

Now on paper (or on a screen), this idea is simple.
But in reality, the intricacies of being human make things complicated. (Talk about a paradox)

In my experiences, I feel like when I am contributing to the world in a way that is unique to my being, then I become indisposable because I am operating in a way that only I can.  It feels good to occupy a space that you know is yours.

The real truth is,  I am indisposable because I am a human being and there is nothing that can define my worth (not even my work ethic). But I’m still learning that.

The past few days I’ve lost sight of that being. I’ve felt disconnected from myself and the value I innately carry from being who I am. 

I was questioning what my position is in my work. Am I producing things and contributing ideas in a way that only I can? 

Becuase I feel like I’m just a body taking up space.
That my soul, bright and beautiful, doesn’t matter and is useless.
The part of me that makes me ME doesn’t matter and no one cares about it as long as the tasks are completed.

These thoughts have been accompanied by nightmares of becoming a slave laborer and victim in an invaded country, and people totally forgetting/not caring about my birthday. Both nightmares are about feeling disposable. They are rooted in this desire to be purposeful, and valuable and created in fear that I am lacking.

I had a long conversation about all of this yesterday morning with Zach. Zach is one of my best friends and the Founder of LIVE A GREAT STORY, where I’m the Community Manager, Marketing Assistant, Intern Coordinator and many other things. (When working with a startup, you wear a lot of hats.)

Anyway, he talked to me while I sat on the phone and cried. I told him I felt pretty banged up from working in a place where I am totally replaceable (This is about one of my other jobs). And in situations where the compensation doesn’t match the value of my work. (There’s a really good podcast about this)

He talked for about 45 solid min about all the things I’ve accomplished with him for LIVE. He talked to me about all of my responsibilities and the numbers.

But it didn’t help.

“Everything you’ve told me I’ve done could have been anyone. It could have anybody’s body checking off tasks and sending emails to people. What value do I bring? What does my soul have to do with this?”

Zach is a very logical person. It was hard for him to understand at first what I was feeling. (and I’m still not sure he totally understands) To him, my value is obvious. (That’s nice)

Eventually though, he came to a close and said  “I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever. You’ve allowed me to see things I’ve never seen before. That’s why I love you.”

Suddenly I felt seen. After almost an hour of talking about the quantifiable & numerical aspects of my role in LIVE, I still didn’t feel like I mattered until heard that.

Because that was about me. That was about my soul. These were things that made me irreplaceable.

You are not quantifiable. Your purpose and your impact are not things that can be measured so stop looking for ways to compare yourself and gauge your success.

Your success comes from being, authentically. 

I can’t do this without you. I want you around forever.
You have a unique perspective in this world, and I love you.

You matter.
Sometimes we need a reminder.

Day 9/10 + Beyond: The Quiet Tampon Wrapper

Me sitting on the stage of Yellow

So I’ve spent the past few days volunteering at Yellow Conference. Running between the speaker lounge and the AV booth with mics and questions and tape.
It was thrilling really.
I was surrounded by 500+ women in social business. 500+ women, each rockin the world in their own way.
I got to mic the speakers & hang out “back stage” before listening to them share their incredible stories on stage. “omg I just mic’ed that woman” I’d think to myself.

On the first day, one of the afternoon speakers, Moorea, caught my attention as I was walking between Jamie (the AV guy) and the lounge.

“I thought to be a good woman, I had to be gentle, quiet and soft. I thought that being intense and feeling intensely prevented me from being a good woman.”
I paused for a second.

Yeah, I feel that.

Like a quiet tampon wrapper.

I remember, when I was in high school, Tampax launched a new line of tampons that had wrappers that didn’t make as much noise when you opened them.

I remember watching the advertisement on T.V. and going hmm… I wonder why that’s important…?
I literally could not think of a single reason why having a quiet tampon wrapper would be useful – except maybe if you were trying to hide the fact that you were menstruating from other women in the bathroom (who also menstruate).

Oh that’s nice I guess….wait a second
Should I be hiding my period?

It infuriates me to think about hiding ANYTHING about myself now.

Last week I picked up a friend to go hang in Venice. We started talking about relationships and I don’t know how we got to the topic but I remember telling him that guys have told me that I am ‘high maintenance.’ He said….”Well I don’t think you’re high maintenance in a bad way. You just know what you want and demand it. Some people probably think you’re a bitch because of your confidence.”

I smiled.
“Thank you” I said.
I know that about myself.

In fact, I LOVE that about myself.

I had to learn to love it of course, but the string that ties these three stories together is that you should not be ashamed of who you are because the world tells you so. The world, in my humble opinion, doesn’t know shit about you.

No one knows the beauty and the power and the magic that illuminates inside you. It’s your job to show them. It’s your responsibility and your right to know what you want, stand up for what you believe in, and do whatever the hell you dream of.

You don’t have to hide anything from the world. Not your feelings, not your mistakes, not your PERIOD.

If you decide to keep something personal, do it because it’s YOUR choice, NOT because the world thinks you should.

DO NOT be the quiet tampon wrapper.

“If I were to remain silent, I’d be guilty of complicity.” 
― Albert Einstein

Day 8 – Story: 5 Life Lessons You Need to Learn to Make Your Story Great

Hanging out on one of the locations in Culver City. (Did NOT walk all the way up here lol) 

Yesterday I got to PA for the first time in L.A.
(PA = Production Assistant)

It was part of the first episode of a new reality series where people divulge their secrets.
This day, in particular, we didn’t focus on the telling of the secret, we focused on a woman and her story.

I chatted with her driving from location to location, and after talking to her and totally vibing, I realized that I have learned a lot of really valuable lessons in my 22 years of life and I could see her starting to figure those same lessons out, even though she was 11 years older.

I was out to lunch with my friend the other day and I told her, life has a way of teaching everyone the same things in different ways. At first I said it to make her feel better about “missing out” on her “party animal” years. I told her that a woman of her depth and magnitude would not be fulfilled by drunken make outs and embarrassing stories. AND that most people go through those phases because life is trying to teach them something. “You didn’t miss out on anything. And I’m sure life has taught you those same valuable lessons in a different way”

And this morning, I realized that maybe I’m actually right.

All of this to express that I’ve been able to talk to a lot of people about their story and I realized that although some of them are quite older than me, they are walking through life lessons that I’ve already learned… and some of them have been walking through these lessons for a long time.

It’s almost like a video game… beat one level and move up to the next.

But unlike a video game, I don’t think these lessons or levels have any particular order… I think for the most part they probably coincide with the development of the human brain, but some of the deeper lessons and the answers to more expansive questions come at all different points in life.

But the catch is, the more of these lessons you learn, the more of these questions you ask, the more your super power grows, and in turn, your story becomes greater.

So here are some of the lessons I’ve realized have helped me “level up” to make my story great.

1. There is a reason things make you happy.This is literally what I preach on a daily basis and the first thing I tell people when they are struggling with finding a direction. “What makes you happy?” and I mean like really what makes you feel ALIVE. What excites you? What are you passionate about? This is often times the first level up lesson we learn, because once you discover this thing, you have a responsibility to grow this gift and give it back to the world. Some people have a hard time pinning that down, like my sister. I’m encouraging her to really jump into the unknown & things that force her out of her comfort zone and try new things. For people like me that are multi-passionate, I want to remind you that it’s okay to focus on one at a time. You aren’t neglecting yourself by giving each passion a little bit of quality time. And I don’t know how much good it does to stress out over how they all fit together, I think life will reveal that in time. Patience. (And that’s coming from an Aries lol)

2. Know what your core values are. Learn to live by them.
For me, having a very strong sense of right and wrong has saved me from getting into a lot of trouble. This also kind of goes with #4 because your values make you who you are. Knowing what you value and what you don’t makes you a very powerful decision maker, and that will also earn you a lot of respect. People that opporate purely and transparently through their value you system without hating on other people who have different oppinions are few and far between in the world. So, fill the gap.

3. Ask Good Questions
Don’t be afraid of clarification questions, comminication is important. BUT most importantly, push the boundaries. Good questions make people stop and think, or help you understand a different perspective. Asking questions keeps you open and keeps you educated. And keeps you from looking like a dick 😉

4. Know Yourself.
This is essential if you ever want to be content in life. Period. If you ever want to live a great story. Know who you are & what you deserve. Know your weaknesses and your strengths but most of all, know what you like and don’t let anyone else shame you for it. When you know yourself, you feel more comfortable in your own skin. Don’t let other people project their fear on to you, don’t let other people pressure you into things you don’t want to do or talk you out of something you know if right in your heart. When you know who you are, chances are you’ll want to stand up for yourself more, take more ownership over your life and decisions. Listen to me, IT’S OKAY TO LOOK OR FEEL DIFFERENT.

5. You are Human.
On the other side of the same token, you have to remember that you are human. You are not an all powerful God with authority over the weather and the mountains. You have human limits. You will make human mistakes. The key is, to ground yourself in a higher power. You are NOT defined by those limitations or mistakes, you are defined by the immense Love and energy God/The Universe has for you. You are human; you feel, you hurt, you laugh, you desire, you think. This is the most incredible thing in the entire world. I believe that. And once you accept your humanity, you can accept others as they are, you can push your limits and you can be free.

Living these lessons is what makes your story.
Learning these lessons is awhat make your story great.

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” 
― C. JoyBell C.

Day 5, 6 ,7 – Boundaries, Magic, In Tune

Photo By: Adan ( @_citystreet_)

It’s been a beautiful and busy few days, and I gave myself the space to live them without feeling guilty that I didn’t write.

So I’m wrapping them all together today so I can be ready for Day 8, which might also be delivered late in another conjoined post. We’ll see…

Day 5 – Boundaries

Moving into a new home is like a rebirth.
It presents a slight pause to life and an offer to reinvent who you are.

You can BE anything, DO anything.

This was already and has been true, but in this pause, the universe seems to scream it louder than ever.

Who are you? What will you allow in your life?

Asking yourself those questions helps you determine who you become.
Keep in mind that your action leads to habit, and your habits determine your life.

So where are your boundaries?
Will you continue to let people take advantage of you?
Will you continue to lose yourself inside another person’s body?
Or will you stand up for yourself?
Will you give yourself space in your new life to take ownership of the greatness that is bursting out of you?

“He would not let the demons to speak because they knew him” -Mark 1:3

Silence your demons.
Put them on the outside of your boundaries.

Day 6 – Magic

I renamed this day quite a few times because I didn’t felt anything really speak out to me.

It was a day of connection and rest and really stepping into the blessings I’ve welcomed with my obedience and faith.

TBH I got to drink some good beer with some good friends, hang out with some plants, and visit the beach and it was a beautiful day.

Definitely felt like I was in the moment, and there is NO shame in that.

You don’t always have to be giving or perfecting. It’s okay to just live sometimes 😉

Day 7 – In Tune

I spent this day (Today) at church and fretting about my Instagram and then taking a nap that was way too long. But I’m learning to let my body rest when it needs to rest (especially because this coming week is going to be pretty intense.)

Anyway, I went to church this morning and had my bible and a piece of scrap paper next to me – I was scribbling away and a phrase kept coming up “In tune”…. “stay in tune”…

It’s what I’ve been working toward – what Day 4 – Surrender was all about – staying in tune with myself. But today was about more than just me. It was the bigger picture. It was more than just me, it felt like I was dialing in on my purpose.

I wrote this on a notecard I happened to have hidden in my bible:

Aug 20 – Tune
Like scanning a radio – tuning doesn’t work if you’re passive.
Stay active, in praryer and community.
“Every Christian in Prayer”
Tune into each other
Don’t be afraid to feel.
Don’t be afraid to listen. 

There were words that the pastor said today that hit me – “Every Christian in Prayer” Imagine that. Every single Christian praying together?? That would move mountains.

And even if you’re not a Christian and even if you don’t believe in God, you CANNOT disregard the power of intention. The energy that comes with unity. The force that comes with faith.

This is a bright, good, incredible power source to tune into.

And it is your purpose. Your path, is your way of tuning you to be in perfect harmony with the rest of the world. You can either be passive about it, or active. If you are passive the path is much messier. But either way, getting there is tricky – Can even feel hopeless sometimes. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

There is abundant blessing on the other side of obedience.

Tune in.