Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Screw Hallmark!

My life is not measured by days on a calendar and does not wait to finally come alive once the week is through. If we live a hallmark life we will believe that our lives jump from one holiday to the next. That we need to always be celebrating something, and feeling poorly if we are not. Life has more meaning than this! My life is not measured by the movies I have recently seen or the books I have read. Not to sound like I am developing a conspiracy but there are a lot of agencies out there that benefit from us being plugged in and tuned out. I think of Wall-e, and the humans that were fat, rolling around in their chairs completely clueless about their plight. Sometimes it might not feel good to be "awake." I definitely have the urge to just find a way to shut off. There are so many ways to distract ourselves but life is happening all around us. Life is now and is one endless beautiful day. In this one day you can fall in and out of love, create or invent something that will change the world, or touch someone's life forever. I will not belittle the gift of life that I have been given by giving it an expiration date. Once we know that there is no end we will slow down from our maddening speed. We will get off the ride we have been on and hopefully will really see one another for the first time. Hello and welcome to your life, it has been waiting.

Monday, September 5, 2011


I just got home from a wonderful long labor day weekend in the woods in the San Bernardino mountains in California. What was so special about this trip was not just the fresh air, the gorgeous trees reaching the clear sky, the star filled sky at night, or even the great food. This was a camp specially for Unitarian Universalist youth from ages 18 to 35. Although we have a really good group of people my age at my church in Studio City it was wonderful to be around over a 100 UU's in one place. Over a hundred people that are open, loving, and caring people who have similar values as me. In just the four days I was there we formed a living community. I met incredible people who I was able to talk openly with and share my stories.

One of the most incredible moments of the weekend was the workshop I went to. It spanned Saturday and Sunday and was called "Shift Happens" which was a curriculum written by David one of the ministers in Southern California. I will try to do it justice but participating experientially was so powerful that it might be difficult. The concept is that everyone has paradigms or "lenses" that have been developed from the experiences we have had and the knowledge we are introduced to along the way. Such experiences that can influence how are paradigms are developed can include things such as poverty, divorce, religion, education, or religion. We did what is called a "diversity shuffle." This means we walked over to the group which represented a certain group such as growing up in a rural area. We discussed how it felt to be in the majority or minority group. For example I felt some shame and guilt when I walked over to the group representing that my parents did not graduate from college. I was probably one of three out of a big group where this was the case. I am proud of my parents and I felt extreme guilt that I would feel shame about their education level. I feel that this could be some sort of projection as I had so many things counting against me about getting a higher education. It was also very difficult to be the minority and feel that there might be some judgment. This workshop however helped me to see that if we are truly open to each other stories and where we come from there would be no judgment. If I feel I am being judged in the future it helps to understand that this is a lack of knowledge about my story and where I am coming from. Similarly instead of being frustrated or angry about someone's beliefs I can try to transform that into curiosity about their story.

The second part of this workshop was telling our story about a shift in our lives which changed the way we saw things. This was extremely emotional for me as I shared my story of adoption and my journey into removing the fear of abandonment. Although it might be unfair to say that I have removed the fear. It is definitely under the surface and can be triggered but I have found ways to keep it more in my conscious mind and not allow it to affect my emotions or actions. Basically just living with gratitude and trying to live in the current moment. We were all given five minutes to share our story. I probably got through 10 words before I started crying. I got through it because I was determined to complete my story but damn it was hard. It was really amazing to feel heard and held by the group. They sat and listened without comment and I felt very accepted. After wards we shared how we felt about the process. I shared that I was still surprised after all this time that the wound is still there and that there is still so emotion behind it. I got a huge hug from someone from my group after wards which was so nice. It was one of those wonderful experiences that changes your perspective and I am so grateful for it.

The rest of the weekend was so incredible. One of my favorite moments was getting up early and doing yoga and Tai chi. There was this great guy Dane who is an energy practitioner, body worker, and also teaches Tai Chi. I impulsively asked him to teach me some Tai Chi which resulted in getting a wonderful lesson two days in a row! It was such a gift. Dane stated 10 minutes of Tai Chi a day is better than than 10 minutes of sleep and is really all you need each day to balance your body and energy. The community meals, dance, swimming,talent show, hikes, games, songs, and worship all added up to an amazing time! I hope to maintain some inspiration and creativity that I feel I have gained this weekend. One of the readings that stayed with me was letting your passion burn inside and then burn so bright that it consumes you and you are on fire with it. I hope to continue to burn brightly.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Living with out intentions

With life being at such a neck breaking pace it is easy to go on auto pilot. It's easy to overlook what seems to be mundane questions such as what is in the food we buy, the products that we use? Where do they come from? What do the companies which we support believe in? Do they support the local community? Do they do animal testing? Do they support and promote fair labor laws. Every time that I buy something I am voting. By buying food locally I am voting for more local products. It is amazing how powerful we truly are! I was happy to see that the local organic fruit is no longer contained by a small little corner of the grocery store but is spread out further out in the produce aisle. I find it really difficult to make conscious choices about everything I buy. I don't do research every product but I try to look at what I am buying and try to make the best choice which will have the least impact on the earth. One issue that really means a lot to me right now is boycotting products that still do animal testing. Its really horrific that this is still happening. Should animals suffer needlessly so you can have that new mascara that is extra plumping? How toxic are the products that you are putting on or in your body if they have to go through such rigorous testing? Its basically a two fold solution. Less toxic products for me and supporting cruelty free products. So I am going to make a pledge to start buying only products which do not do animal testing. I am going through all my products now and am going to try to find alternatives. So far I found that St. Ives creates body wash which states is mostly all natural products and does not do animal testing. They also have a facial wash. I have been using dove and garnier products which sadly both still test on animals. I am planning to write letters to both companies and let them know that until they switch to not testing on animals that I will stop using their products. I know alone its hard to see that we can change a corporate business' way of thinking but multiply that and we can change the way things are done.

Take the pledge!!