The Journaler

This, in some ways, is a window to my soul: my book is open. This is an honest reflection where I embrace the highs and lows, ups and downs, roller coaster of emotions I am often riding, the good, the bad, and the extremely ugly...but this is me, and this is my adventure...By revealing myself honestly I hope to inspire and encourage, because we all struggle sometimes and it's nice to know we're not alone. This is my experience as a small town girl living in a big city, trying to make my way while taking lots and lots of detours...

August 24, 2010

The New Love Of My Life!

I have never been a dog owner but I always wanted to be.  People I know who have dogs seem so in love with them. They become a part of the family. I'm not saying my cat Jesse wasn't part of the family because he certainly was - we actually thought he behaved more like a dog than a cat. But he just didn't offer companionship on the same level as "man's best friend." Well I can finally say with great enthusiasm that a dog has become a part of my life at last! While I may not be the official owner, I am at least part owner of the sweetest most lovable long-haired Dapple Dotson or Dachshund. Little Steward has quickly become the love of my life and I am so excited about him!

I don't know much about dogs but am trying to learn. If anyone has any good tips I'm all ears!

August 20, 2010

Fear Project

Well, turns out the Fear Project wasn't so bad. Although the particular place he wanted us to do the assignment made it a little more difficult because you really had to go out of your way to say "hi, how are you" to someone, and it felt VERY out of context - not like just passing someone on the street and offering a greeting. I have to say, I went into the store in a bad mood, but tried to plaster on a general friendly demeanor: raised my eyebrows, perked up my cheekbones, and aroused a pleasant expression on my mouth - who wouldn't wanna be greeted by me now!?!

The first thing I did was walk in, make eye contact with a woman, prepare to speak, and then ("swallow noise") nothing came out of my mouth! This wasn't going to be that simple, which was surprising. Well, I walked around the store, and was bombarded by the store employees many times as they probably thought my lurking was a little too strange and I was likely gearing up to steal something...

Finally I worked up some courage, started making eye contact and began to greet my fellow Americans. It was a little strange, like I said, very out of context, but everyone was pleasant and seemed pleased by my friendliness. Some people got away quickly and I can imagine that they were wondering if they knew me, so I thought that was funny. Overall it was a positive experience, and I left the store feeling a lot happier than I did walking in, which is saying a lot because I was really in a grumpy mood.

I think the lesson learned overall, is just to remember to live, smile, and say hello to people. It is a nice thing to do for yourself and for others. It also helps you to be present and in the moment, and remember not to take yourself too seriously, because life is short and we should live it fully and happily.

August 19, 2010

Facing My Fear

As part of the workshop I'm attending I have to go into a store and say "hello, how are you?" to ten different people, and they can't work at the store. Who wants to do something like that!? Scary. But maybe not so scary? Sure I may get a few strange looks from people, others may be confused and not respond, but maybe some will appreciate a friendly hello in the middle of the day. I am about to go tackle this, so I will let you know how it goes! Maybe I'll go for a drink before....haha just kidding.

August 18, 2010

I am creatively fearless and totally self-expressed...I think?

What does this mean exactly? Well as some of you may or may not know I am taking a workshop right now entitled "The Art of Creativity." I have had to do some "strange" assignments for the workshop, (all surprisingly worthwhile) with the intent to reach this goal of becoming creatively fearless and self-expressed. But what does this mean? Well, it means a lot of things, but it's an interesting subject and not a bad idea for something to reflect on every now and then...

One of the major steps one must take in order to achieve this in life is to abandon our FEAR. Here are some examples of what this means for me:

1. I have always harbored a fear of REJECTION. I fear rejection because I know how it will make me feel - like crying, like I am no good, there is no hope for me, might as well not try. So I fear these "events" before they even take place, and end up avoiding the fiasco altogether. Right from the get-go I make excuses for why I CAN'T. Well, obviously this is no good. Rejection, afterall, is not necessarily a bad thing. We can learn and grow - often need to learn and grow - from these experiences. Good things are often worth the wait, and if you are feeling discouraged or having a hard time getting somewhere, the ability to believe in yourself, I mean really believe in yourself, and continue to push yourself will often find you somewhere you never dreamt possible before. This is because you become mentally stronger-able to handle a few punches at this point and brush 'em off; you've also become more knowledgeable about yourself, your capabilities, expectations, standards, etc. Perhaps you'll even put a few more notches under your belt so you become even more qualified to achieve your goals and realize your desires than ever before; then, when something good comes along, you can be absolutely sure about it and put every ounce of effort into it. If we succumb to our fear, we will achieve nothing, and be nobody. Sometimes the things that seem so scary and hard, are the most worthwhile and fulfilling.

2. Fear of FAILURE: Recently I noticed that when a new opportunity, idea, or anything like this comes up, I automatically start thinking of all the ways I will fail. Of course, this is discouraging! How am I supposed to accomplish anything if all I can see is failure, defeat, failure, disappointment??? Uchhhh! Who lives like this!?! Well I have a feeling many people do. As soon as I realized this pattern in my life, I told myself to stop with the negative affirmations already, and instead, when something comes up, to start visualizing all the ways I can succeed. "How can I succeed?" Not, "how can I fail?"

What are you afraid of?

To become creatively fearless and totally self-expressed, I would have to do away with envy and jealousy in every way. I don't even like those words, but sometimes feel that they rule my life! What a way to live huh!? No way, not for me. From now on, I vow to be fearless and to find ways to indulge in creativity everyday, which means that I allow time for selfishness - time for myself, (it's okay!) because myself matters!! I vow to dig deep into who I am, and to live as I am. I will live presently and in the moment of everyday, every hour, every minute, and lead a fulfilling life. Out of love, I suggest you do the same : )

"And the day came, when the risk, to remain tight as a bud,
was more painful, than the risk it took to blossom."
-Anais Nin

August 11, 2010

If something sounds too good to be probably is!

A few days ago I thought my life was about to take off; I was going to launch into a new and exciting career. I thought my lucky break had come. I received a call from a sales and marketing firm called American Business Consultants, based out of Westlake, and was asked to come in for an interview. The woman on the phone asked me some preliminary questions over the phone, which I answered with confidence and grace. We set up a time for me to interview with the hiring manager, and she said I should dress business-professional. After looking over the company's website I decided that it was the perfect opportunity for me, and I simply HAD to get this job!

I googled business-professional and realized that i needed a business suit! Ewwwww, haha. I couldn't even imagine myself in one, but I felt determined. Also, in preparation for the interview I researched "typical" interview questions online and practiced them over and over again in my head as well as writing all my thoughts down on paper. I thought about all my relevant work experiences and talked to my parents about the marketing industry. I was doing my homework...

One day prior to the interview my mom and I went on a shopping excursion in Thousand Oaks and searched high and low for an outfit that I didn't feel like a total impostor in! This wasn't easy let me tell you...I felt like it was Halloween and I was dressing up as a Successful Business Woman. Eeeeeeeek! It proved difficult at first, but then I started finding some very cute options that made me feel professional, but still like myself. It was strange shopping for a "new genre" of clothing but after a while it became an exciting venture. I also got a makeover at Bobby Brown and made some smart makeup purchases. I got everything I needed for my best possible presentation at the interview, and I felt ready to impress.

Well, unfortunately I never ended up at the interview. After my exhausting day of "preparation" I went online to do some last minute research and couldn't believe what I found. Apparently there are organizations that pray on recent college grads eager to find work. I found review, after review, after review, about how this organization, which is affiliated with Cydcor, is basically a "cultish" organization and a scam. It's tricky though, because it is a real organization, but it's structured as an organizational pyramid; basically there are a few people at the top who make big money because they are getting a piece of what everyone else is making below them, and those at the bottom are pretty much slaves. I read about how people work 12 hour days and are brainwashed and forced to make work their number 1 priority in life. Many people said they were paid less than minimum wage and had to wait weeks until receiving their first paycheck. Additionally, on the company's website they stress "face-to-face" interaction, which is great, except that this actually means door to door sales. Ugh.

The organization is not technically a scam because it is real, and people can make a lot of money, but it is not the kind of organization I would want to be apart of. Did I mention that I didn't even apply for the job!? They reached out to me. If an organization is really as wonderful as they claim to be, they would be receiving tons of applications and "reaching out" on wouldn't be necessary. Really confusing stuff actually, but in the days since I've received a couple of emails from employers who have looked over my resume and qualify me as a "desirable candidate." Well right away I researched the organizations and "SCAM SCAM SCAM" is all I see. It's incredible! As if it's not miserable enough trying to find a job.

I know I have to stay positive and not be discouraged by fraudulent organizations, but be careful out there. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

August 10, 2010

MUST WATCH: Incredible 7 year old singer

Please take a few minutes to watch this incredible video. It will brighten your day and probably make you cry. She is a 7 year old wonder, and it is startling how beautiful her voice is. She is also so adorable - I just want to adopt her! This poor girl lost her mother 2 years ago to cancer, so she truly is an inspiration, and an exceptional performer to boot. I love her voice, and this video is well worth watching.

Link to Youtube video

August 6, 2010

The bond between sisters

My sister and I (and Maddy's cheek), downtown Ventura

Today is a sad day for me, and tomorrow is going to be even worse. My sister who I'm so close to is leaving to go back to Oregon. We have been glued at the hip these last two months and I am dreading the separation. When I came back from my travels I stayed with her for a month in Portland, just the two of us. I helped her move down to Eugene and into a cute little apartment with her boyfriend Chad. So when she goes back she will be living with him permanently for the first time. 

I am so excited for her! My family and I love Chad and we know that Oregon is a great place for them to be. It will just be hard not being so close to her. I know it will be hard for her as well...our family is blessedly close, maybe too close at times (JK). We tend to love each other to pieces and then argue until our jaws fall off. Also, Leah suffers from TMJ (ironic?) and it is a huge burden in her life. I hate to think of her suffering alone in Oregon when Chad is at work or in school (he is beginning an intense Architecture program at the University of Oregon), and we can't be there for her. She is my sister and my best friend. Just don't know what I will do without her. But at the same time I am grateful for the opportunities that lie in her future up in Oregon. I'm sure she will be a happy camper there. I am so grateful for the bond I have with my sister. She is my lifeline in so many ways! Be grateful for the loving people in your life, and cherish them.

August 5, 2010

"Write It Out!"

As many of you know, I love writing. While away on my trip around the world I sent out numerous "email updates" and received really great feedback from everyone. I enjoy writing in a conversational style; in fact, many people wrote back saying it felt as if they were chatting with me at the kitchen table! I really enjoyed engaging in this exchange while traveling on my own. It also made me feel positive and uplifted, which is also how I feel when I "write it out" in my journal. 

You may be interested to know that I've been keeping a journal since the age of 12 (I'm now 24), and have filled up at least 10 full journals and numerous notebooks. I've always written to the same name (dear "blank"), which I have continued to keep secret. I keep it a secret because it's the one thing that is uniquely and purely mine. It's the one place where I can go and explore/extract every thought in my mind without judgement...not that I do that on a regular basis, but you get the idea. It is very special to me; sort-of like my own personal consultant, which is the point of my blog today; a little advice for the day.

Just a few journals I've filled up in the last couple years!
Often times when I am feeling lost, indecisive, or confused, I write about it in my journal and this is what I swear by: reflecting, arguing, being honest, and getting it all onto paper will so often bring clarity to my thoughts. Time and time again I "figure things out" when I write about it. I will spend hours upon hours, upon days stressing or scrutinizing over something; until I can make the transfer from obscure, transparent thoughts in my head, to visual and conceptual ideas on paper, I will be lost swimming around in my mind with no where to go. It is the same as when we talk aloud about something to someone. Well sometimes we don't want to talk to anyone or we can't, and so writing about it will produce similar least this is my theory. I can't tell you how much it has helped me. Like I said, journaling is like my "own personal consultant."

Now, I realize that many people don't particularly enjoy writing, and the idea of keeping a journal may sound silly, but here are my thoughts: Let's say you are at work or trying to study for example, sometimes we just have thoughts racing through our head that won't allow us to concentrate. Often times in yoga class we are asked to empty our mind, leave our troubles at the door; easier said than done. I often wish I had a notebook on hand so that I could take a few minutes to write about all my thoughts, almost like a to-do list, and then set it aside for later. I believe that often times thoughts in our mind distract us from the "task at hand," whatever that may be, and they just want to find some way to escape. Writing it out serves this purpose. Once again, if you are at work and really need to be focused on something but are too distracted thinking about the argument you had with you boyfriend/girlfriend the night before, you'll never get any solid work done. Taking out your handy notebook and spending a few minutes writing about it, will help to empty your mind of these thoughts. Then you can close your notebook and tuck it away for dealing with later, but for now you have money to make!

So that is my advice for the day. Get a little notebook and carry it around with you. Whenever your thoughts are too much to bare and you can't focus, just take a few minutes and "write it out." The thoughts aren't going to go anywhere, and you won't solve anything by thinking about it to death, so give it a try, and if it helps tell me about it! Thanks for reading!

August 4, 2010

Today Prop 8 was overturned and I am so grateful. Peace, love, and equality for all. Some of my very best friends are among the LGBTQ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Youth), and now I may be able to attend their weddings someday. My dear friends are some of the most remarkable, compassionate, down-to-earth, real people I know, and I would be a different person if not for their irreplaceable presence in my life.