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.

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.

Day 4 – Surrender

Photo By: William Coles

Today’s word is surrender.

Surrender to truth
surrender to rest,
surrender to the unknown
surrender to faith
we surrender our weight so we can be carried.
we surrender our guard so we can be loved
we surrender our expectations so we can be blessed
Surrendering is not giving up.
Surrendering means to acknowledge a higher power than yourself, to let the mask come undone and the walls come down.
Surrendering is to be vulnerable, and hopeful.
Surrendering means to be carried.
be careful what you surrender to.
I made a vow yesterday to my intuition, that I would no longer fight it. 
I will follow what I feel, which will definitely freak people out but I am certain that this tugging I’ve felt all through these years is not my personal desires, it’s God. Pulling me out into the unknown, pulling me a little bit past my comfort zone so I surrender to him. 
I surrender. 
Do you?
“Something amazing happens when we surrender and just love. We melt into another world, a realm of power already within us. The world changes when we change. the world softens when we soften. The world loves us when we choose to love the world.” 
― Marianne Williamson

Day 3 – Alignment

This one isn’t going to make sense but I guess growth never does…

I’ve been looking for God in the details.

Yesterday I reconnected with a girl I went to middle school with. We haven’t spoken in 10 years, and we had so much fun!

We were sitting in the car in the back of an Uber, and this idea popped into my head. It’s kind of weird, but in a way, my friend Kate represented the past, and she was there to bless me into the future – because I really don’t believe in coincidence.

My friend Kate and I wandering around Hollywood

I had been telling people that I have felt so in alignment with this decision. And I know I am because things are happening and I feel a such a strong energy coming from me that’s making me love people better. I guess that’s what happens when you’re in alignment though, God or the universe or whatever you want to connect the energy that connects all of us can flow through you and bless your life as a side effect, which causes blessings in other peoples lives.

I don’t know, but if you feel a gut instinct, a calling, God’s voice, a tug – you better follow it. Let everyone doubt you and think you’re crazy, but I’ll be here rooting for you the whole way. It’s real.

Grace vs Hustle

Quote from Sophie Kwok

If you’ve kept up with my blog over the years, you know that one of my biggest struggles is rest. 

I don’t know how to pace myself and I don’t know how to rest.
Well actually, I do know how to rest. 
You’re supposed to sleep or enjoy life and nature or read a book just for fun or watch a movie or do anything so you do NOT THINK ABOUT WORK.
I just chose not to rest because I feel guilty when I know I have other things I need to do. 
And then if I don’t want to do those things I end up in this weird state where I’m not doing anything and feeling guilty, anxious, and stressed for not doing those things. Which makes me want to tackle my to do list even less.
And I know I am definitely not alone in that.
This whole week has been really weird for me. Last Sunday I went to a dance class and in the middle of a big beautiful leap, I felt my hip pop. Something literally popped out of place while I was in the air. I landed and could barely walk. I took a minute to stretch and massage it then jumped back into class AND continued on to take another. I figured it was just a strain. I went to my friend’s house after to ice it. She looked at me and said “You probably need to just take this week to rest.” She had mentioned it to me before and I didn’t want to because I stressing about how I had nothing to do. But I realized I couldn’t do anything anyway now with my hip pain so I took the advice.
I spent the entire week in bed. I watched the last 3 seasons of the 100 on Netflix (obsessed by the way) and ate a bunch of chocolate. 
There were a few times where I’d walk away from my laptop and say “urgh I should be reading a book right now” or “maybe I should write some emails” but I’d stress about it for a total of 30 seconds before I’d open my laptop back up and forget about it. 
I had no energy or desire to create, work or DO ANYTHING. 
It took a week of this lack of inspiration to finally let go. Then on Friday, I took my Hammock to the park. 
I sat in my hammock for the first time since I received it in April as a birthday gift. 
Part of the reason it’s taken me 2 months to use it is because  I didn’t trust it.
If you’ve ever seen how an Enu hammock is set up then you know what I’m talking about it.
If not, it’s sketchy. 
I don’t understand it. 
What you do is throw your rope around the tree and stick one end of the rope through a loop and then attached the carabiner to it and pray that the rope doesn’t slide down the tree when you sit in the hammock. 
It never does, but I think about it as if the 3 feet between my butt and the ground might kill me. 
The point is, I had to trust it. I had to trust that the rope & the hammock would do what they are designed to do. And they did.
And then as I laid in my hammock, I had an epiphany. 
If I believe that I was created for the specific purpose I am chasing, I have to give myself a little grace. 
If my Creator created me for something, I have to trust that I will do what I am designed to do. Just like the rope and the hammock. They don’t worry about doing their job. I mean obviously cause they are inanimate objects, so I can worry for them but that doesn’t help either. My worry ended when my trust began. And they did what they were designed to do. 
My friend Sophie and I were chatting about this issue of rest & the anxiety that comes from the pressure we put on ourselves as business people/ entrepreneurs/ artists. She told me that “Grace will take you where the hustle can’t”.
I realized this week that I need to give myself more Grace & that I should be focusing on the Grace that God gives me when I am stressed.
Because you know what happened after my 5 full days in bed and then my afternoon in the hammock?
I was inspired to study my GoogleAdwords textbook. And after spending an hour with it I scheduled my very first marketing workshop to lead a team through exercises to help clarify and give direction to their business. 
Then I went to church, finished writing this blog post, and feel like I am energized to tackle some big things on my to-do list this week. 
I am back to doing what I was created to do.
I’m ready to hustle again in ways I would have never had the inspiration to do if I had not first given myself some Grace.