On this day, I felt strong, capable, and smart. I felt like a hero.
(*PG13 for strong language*)
In my definition, a hero is a person who, from the damnable chaos inside themselves, will keep reaching and fighting for their soul’s light & purpose, and putting their best foot forward in real-life action benefiting others and themselves.
My acting friend, Ryan, asked for help creating a visual storyboard for writing a screenplay. He asked Kelly, another actress friend, and me to create our costumes for this steampunk world he was crafting and hired our friend Mary at Queen Elizabeth Photography. On the photo shoot day, we headed to an old ghost town on a cold, windy, almost snowy day in late October.
Mine and Kelly’s characters were part of a hero crew dismantling the power of a community leader who was smitten with his thirst for supremacy. Ryan’s character was a wild card capable of swinging in a direction that would serve him most until he found love that helped ground him and he also found two female warriors willing to fight with him.
Often my creative projects provoke self-reflection. Recently, this project triggered another wave of reflection, only this time in regard to national news headlines and resulting discussions going on around me. One of those discussions being definitions of male and female qualities each of us has inside ourselves and how we receive or reject those qualities of others based on the gender of the person expressing them. I appreciated how my friend Ryan was creating female characters that would be victors in this story rather than victims and creating lead character men that were vulnerable and making their own paths.
Ryan imagined a story where the power of goodness was being wielded by two capable, steampunk, Robin Hood style, female mercenaries. Kelly and I crept, ran, carried our weapons, planned and executed our strategies, and looked for clues until we came upon Ryan’s character. Ryan’s character was sneaky, charismatic, and deeply troubled. Our triumph was defeating the darkness leader who was causing much deception and confusion and also helping Ryan’s character convert his efforts toward goodness.
Battling weather elements, our photographer valiantly directed and allowed us time, space, and creativity to set up scenes to capture the best images. We successfully shot a series of photos that became a platform of ideas for Ryan to write his screenplay.
Experiencing this photo shoot renewed my fuck yes appreciation of my own heroship and also my enjoyment of the fun of creating mutually respected heroship with open minded people! Ryan was developing his screenplay with characters that were real, flawed, strong, and individually intelligent. This led characters to be confident and dare I say sexy; not because his focus was on portraying that, but because that visual evolved out of the expression of who they were being!
When a guy will be hospitable about a woman's independence and support her strength, I feel impressed with his ability to manage his pride (brave choice!) and his ability to be inclusive when creating heroship. This shared heroship creation is the beginning of a stronger recognition of how we can more fully own all parts of ourselves regardless of gender, and with that, create some pretty epic life, art, or love together! Regardless of gender every human being needs to feel and own the male and female aspects of their own heroship. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be open to receiving that multifaceted male and female awesomeness from each other not based on the gender expressing it… but because that is who we are?!
Celebrating and building female strength is not a new concept and it’s at the forefront of thought lately. It's progressive. It's courageous. It's now. A woman does not want to take away from what a man needs at a very instinctual level! She wants to have her part in it, be recognized & credited for it, and have her sexuality be respected in a way that feels good to her! Women as a whole do not fear or want to disown their sexuality but that is not all of who we are! Our heroship qualities are deep, powerful, intelligent, sensual, and nurturing to name just a few!
I feel some men who reject and diminish a woman’s strength, intelligence, or power may be unwittingly insulting themselves because some of our strength, intelligence, and can-do attitude is the result of learning from strong, capable men! Go men! Men who share in celebrating and promoting female strength in their own and shared heroship are helping create new ways for women AND men to be admired and appreciated!
Believing and expressing your own unique heroship is confident, sexy, impactful. When it is used with good intent, it can SO help boost self-esteem, worth, and faith to create for yourself and others in life!
There is hope and grace in opening conversations about current headlines and the growth that we need to be brave enough to do. Both public and private stories being told are SO important and part of a larger wave of change coming from many, many brave generations before us!
Hells yes and cheers to a renewed love and acceptance of your own inner hero and to being inclusive in creating shared heroship in life together! We need male AND female heroes that are open-hearted, capable, strong, intelligent, and inclusive who are putting their best feet forward to spearhead change and make 2018 a KICKASS, amazing year!
Thanks to my gracious writing editors: Rachel Riitano & Jaime Lue Inflore
On this mountain skyline is a rock formation we affectionately call, “The Sleeping Giant" because it looks like the profile of a giant man sleeping on the horizon. As you settle your eyes on the center of the picture you’ll see his chest and continuing your eyes to the right, you’ll see the profile of a face with a very pointed nose.
I took this hike several weeks ago after our first heavy snow. The crisp air bit at my skin, snow crunched under the footfall of my boots, and I could almost hear the forest breathing. Experiencing the quiet of the woods sets my heart at ease and fills my soul with peace. This late day view was especially pretty with pale blue and plum colored skies. This simple moment felt perfect. I appreciate my mountain time.
Tonight, sitting in a very messy house after a week of Thanksgiving activities and flicking through pictures on my phone, I hear the hum of my furnace. I smell leftover pumpkin pie spice in the air and the aroma of an evergreen candle burning. There are piles of laundry and a mountain of dishes to match. I feel my heart melt into a warm happiness. Snowboarding, shopping, conversation, laughter, working a ton of schedule logistics with all the people I call family, cooking (my pumpkin pies ended up being a big challenge to cook right!), and of course, eating… are only some of the activities of my family’s holiday this week. I appreciate my family time.
Deep in thought as I flick through pictures, I feel how much I value my family. I allow myself to feel light with the laughter we shared. I greatly appreciate my family’s good health and their ability to make life happen in positive ways. I allow the feeling of belonging to grow and expand in my heart. I appreciate how generous each and every person was bringing food to the many meals we shared. Even though this little snowboarder would have LOVED more snow, I appreciate our mild weather making it easy for people to travel. I treasure the place that I live and the communities of people I create with and care for.
I keep coming back to the Sleeping Giant picture and the moment I captured when I was alone on the mountain. Simple, clean, crisp, and neat describe that moment. The moments I experienced this week were messy, funny, complicated, honest, and loving. No one picture I snapped could encapsulate all that took place and the feelings we experienced.
The moments of this week have left me with a giant amount of appreciation for my life that feels alive and bubbly. Appreciation can be experienced SO many different ways. I found appreciation for strength of character, critical thinking, and problem solving at times when my life has had epic sized family and personal crises in health, emotions, and finances. When my life feels picture perfect navigating with ease, support, and independently, I’ve found appreciation in celebrating accomplishments and light feeling moments. I’ve come to appreciate my solitude when I climb mountains, create amazing feelings of confidence and value in myself, and share those feelings through encouragement to others.
This Thanksgiving, I am appreciating the great imperfect but yet beautiful mixture of people, experiences, feelings, challenges, solitude, and things that make up my life experience.
In my little kid imagination, I would be one of those people you read about. While shopping at the grocery market for my weekly fruits and veggies, a casting guy or gal would happen to be shopping there too. They'd see my potential, talent, and movie star eyes. They would introduce themselves with a handshake and be totally encapsulated with my vibe and cast me in their epic film. Music would cue on the grocery market speakers and confetti would fall from the ceiling.
A great imagination helps conjure ideas and dreams; however, in my adult mind I know they DO need plans of action!
My first trip to LA was almost 11 years ago. After a work conference, I took a week of vacation to continue my stay in LA to learn to navigate the city and get information on film acting. I promised myself I would start doing the steps to make my dreams come into reality. Prior to leaving for that trip, I read Ivana Chubbick’s book, “The Power of the Actor.” I have long admired certain actors and actresses and researched to discover where they were coached or educated. Ivana’s studio was home to coaching Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Charlize Theron, Sylvester Stallone, and of course, many others!
I got settled at the hostel, went down into the lobby to study the city map, and make a game plan of what I wanted to accomplish. Since there was no Google app at the time and all I had was a flip phone, I mapped out and wrote down all the streets I needed to take to get to her studio. I made an appointment to get my hair cut and colored since I wanted to look my best.
On the following day, with Ivana's book, the city map & my notes with the directions, a notebook, snacks, and water in my backpack, I headed to her studio. Timidly, I went in and talked with the receptionist about classes. She handed me the brochure and I sat down to read it. Classes were ongoing every week at the studio and of course, you had to be in LA. My heart dropped into my feet. I took a picture of the placard on the door of her studio and then went and sat in my car.
For the next two days, I took pictures on my old school camera and I wandered. As Ivana’s studio was on Melrose Street, I went back to the area to shop to ease my hurting heart. As I stared at price tags that had triple digits for a flimsy shirt or dress, I decided to pass on shopping. I went to Venice Beach. The bohemian vibe was an interesting culture shock as were the strange plumes of potpourri smelling smoke in places. I sat by the ocean in Santa Monica and watched the ocean waves and went to the carnival on the pier. I took pictures of palm trees. I drove to Hollywood. When I could muster up the courage, I asked random people at places I stopped regarding how someone got started being a film actress. The looks and answers I got were priceless ;) Slowly, it dawned on me how unprepared and ignorant I was for big city atmosphere along with the magnitude of what I needed to do. I felt so small.
By day four, I felt lost, SO alone, and began to realize that maybe I had been taking for granted people who cared about me back home. At a local coffee shop, I sat and reflected. I wrote in my journal, and combed through trade magazines looking for some sort of doable plan or clues as to what I could do to invent the plan I needed. From what I read, questions flooded my brain…How were other people doing things? Why were there so many "out of work" actors." Who did you have to know to get help making a plan? Did people like living in LA? What was it like to get along there? In the late afternoon I drove back to the hostel and got lost. I pulled over and parked on some random street. Staring out the windshield and sweating profusely from driving in LA traffic, I burst into tears. I found the number to Delta in my notebook and was going to change my ticket to go home early. Feeling pathetic, I stared morosely at the rain drops dancing on the hood of my rental car and felt defeated. There was just nothing I could do to even get my head wrapped around a plan of action. Somehow, I expected to devise a plan with ease.
Then I heard my grandma’s voice whisper in my head, “where there’s a will, there’s a way.” Fighting back more tears, I resolved myself to stay, even if I didn‘t exactly know why. I felt like a silly, simple, jackass for thinking I could do anything in a city who‘s electric vibe swallows people like me whole for breakfast and uses it to power itself. I made a promise to myself and I was going to keep it.
I made a phone call to a friend who was living in LA. He had time to meet me for coffee on day six of my trip. So, on day five, I packed food for the day and went to ocean to think and write. When I saw him the next day, I tackled him with hugs and could hardly let go. I felt overwhelming joy to see one person that knew me, cared that I was even alive, and would have a conversation beyond a few passing sentences. He shared with me his experience and how he was making his way.
For a few weeks after getting back to Montana, I struggled to make sense of the few details I gathered and value my trip to LA when my former modeling coach, Lynette, popped into my mind. I was inspired by my trip to LA to make a starter plan. In calling Lynette and explaining what I wanted to do, she connected me with Tina Buckingham at the Montana Actor’s Studio in Bozeman. EUREKA! She was in Montana and connected to the film industry. After a phone conversation and a meeting, Tina gave me a list of things I needed to get started including getting headshots, composing a resume, and getting involved in local film production. Because the MT Actor's Studio was only an hour & a half away, ongoing monthly acting classes were doable! I began learning film acting and most importantly, the professionalism and business aspects I needed to market myself.
Looking back now, my first trip to LA was warmly laughable! I did not give up though!
When you are looking at creating something that feels so large you can’t get your head wrapped around it and your actions towards it feel frozen in being overwhelmed, consider making a starter plan. Of course, that plan will evolve and probably pretty quickly as you gain more clarity of what you want to accomplish and completing the first things on the starter plan! Focus on the starter plan can give you just enough tasks to get started to get traction moving in the direction you want to and settle down that damnable feeling of being overwhelmed :)
My stomach was full of butterflies at the film premiere of "Take Two." Not only was it a chance to dress fancy, it was a chance to catch up with people I hadn't seen since filming concluded in June 2016! "Take Two" is an inspirational homegrown independent film based on a true story of a dad fighting his inner demons. As he straightens out his life, he discovers he has a daughter. Because he found his daughter living in unhealthy circumstances, he is further motivated to clean up his life and secure full custody. I was cast as a gal at the local bar trying to pick up the lead character while he was in the process of cleaning up his life. On location in Big Sky, Montana, the usual set chaos was handled in good humor as the camera rolled. I felt triumphant putting to use my prior film experience, bettering my skills focusing attention, trusting my gut instincts expressing my character, and made new friends.
Prior to the film premiere, there was a party with the signing of several posters and taking of pictures. I felt ribbons of joy and pride in every corner of the house while I was hanging out with the stars of the film and the epic crew that filmed and helped complete every aspect of post production.
In the back of my mind, however, there was a persistent, nattering thought as I glided around meeting people and chatting. What if my part got cut? Two weeks prior to the premiere, I received an email informing cast and crew of details for the premiere and warmly congratulating all of us. Also, in efforts to be most supportive of the story, some parts may not have made the final edit. Inside myself I felt a small pool of disappointment which I quickly pushed aside.
For the evening of the premiere, the director and producers scheduled a car to drop us off on a red carpet at the theatre and arranged for a photographer to be there. Arriving at the Ellen Theatre in Bozeman felt amazing! After stepping out of the car and onto the red carpet, I was greeted by one of our producers, Aaron Flood, and a crowd of people standing at the velvet rope giving congratulatory shout-outs to cast and crew. Flashes of my childhood imaginations shot through my mind as I remembered dreaming of walking down the red carpet as a movie star! I stopped for a couple of pictures and walked into the theatre to wait for more of my cast mates and crew to arrive.
In sitting down for the premiere, I was stoked to see a full house. I crossed and uncrossed my legs in growing excitement before the film started in anticipation of seeing my work on screen along with how the film came together. I learn a lot watching myself on screen and make mental notes of where I can improve for future film projects.
As we passed through the first half hour of the film, my heart sank as I realized that my part had been cut. For a moment I let myself feel that disappointment and acknowledged my hard work, dedication, and investment that I and others have made in me. Then I pulled my heart out of my stomach and consciously chose to focus; I chose to focus on the positive journey and the glowing faces of so many artists around me. I kept remembering that whether or not my part was seen on screen, my work was still there along with the experience which culminated in a night of celebration for everyone involved.
Walking the red carpet for a film that I invested time, energy, and talent in was one of my coolest things I experienced this summer! I appreciated being treated so special for hard work and celebrating a well done film with friends and the community. It was a great reminder to allow myself to receive the joy of finishing a project. To me, that joy recognizes and encompasses the character traits of tenacity, discipline, belief in myself, and focus needed to see projects to completion.
I'd highly recommend taking time to celebrate your own finished projects by making up your own version of a red carpet to walk on. Have a special dinner, coffee with a friend, blog about it ;) or choose something that makes you feels special and celebrates your accomplishment. By the smile on my face, you can see I shamelessly allowed myself feel that joy and satisfaction. Those feelings will keep propelling me forward in my next film projects, goals and other dreams I hold dear.
Last month, I had dinner with a artist friend who was looking for encouragement to proceed with a project. I put on my best listening cap to spitball ideas and be supportive. When I heard him say several times "Well, THEY said I shouldn't or can't..." it made me think to re-post a fresh edit of one of my blog posts.
Since this post was originally written, I've discovered a way to respond. When people bark out unsolicited advice or attempt to shame my dreams, I pause in myself. Just like Maverick in "Top Gun" when he told Goose he was going to pull the brakes so the enemy could fly by, I do the same thing in unproductive conversations. I take a breath, pull back the urge to defend myself, and redirect the conversation to other topics or I'll leave the conversation altogether. Pretty badass. Their words fly by me now so much easier because I'm in better management of myself, able to assertively verbalize boundaries, which allows less influence from junky verbal stuff from They-sayers (definition at the end of this post)
Sensible, practical, in-the-box life stories. Are you tired of ‘em? I sure am… and I have been pretty much all my life. I chase light. I chase strength. I chase rainbows, good feelings, and acting. In order to live life or create anything, I need my head game filled with imagination, focus, resilience, a can-do attitude, and a truckload of faith.
I’ve been listening more intently lately to responses people give when a hopeful dream, imagination, or new idea is shared and how often it’s shunned, shamed, lynched, and then the person is told to redirect themselves for the sake of all “real practicality.”
Recently, I reconnected with a fellow actress. While waiting for lunch, we caught up on personal news. Her eyes lit up, as mine did, feeling the creative buzz when we spoke about current projects. As our chatter turned more toward the future, I noticed a slight change in her face. Her eyes darkened with sadness as she spoke about bringing more film & theatre to Montana. The crestfallen vibe grew so big I finally asked about it. She rattled off a few self-doubting statements, “I don’t know if it’s possible. I can’t talk to this person or that person because…” She then regurgitated A LOT of things people had said to her. I felt sucker punched deep in my gut as she repeated more and more comments and advice from what I call… They-sayers. (See definition below). I felt nudged in my soul, actually pushed like fu***** hell, to interrupt and attempt to shift the course of that sinking boat feeling conversation!!
My big haired 80’s preacher was on the pulpit in my mind in a flash! I asked questions and made statements to stop and re-direct poorly made comments and advice from they-sayers. I threw off my dignity. With my mouth slightly full and talking with my hands like some of my favorite Italians, I was desperate to help save her imagination, ideas, and energy for the things she wanted to create!
I loudly sputtered that creative, and even life endeavors, often feel like Noah must have felt building his ark! (I thought of a story she might relate to). His soul called him to build an ark. In the midst of they-sayer chatter and probably a whole lot of self-doubt, he followed his soul’s guidance. Noah faced challenges, focused, built it, loaded it, and then boarded it with his family and animals so his world could survive and thrive. He faced they-sayers and persevered. With tears slightly welling up in both of our eyes, I saw her eyes gain back a small spark. I felt a shift from the torn up energy in her mind to her heart.
It breaks my heart that despite so many well told stories about forward thinkers, scientists, artists, philosophers who have had successful innovative ideas and inventions that so many people are still ignorant about truly listening. To be able to hold space and even just allow imagination, possibility thinking, dreams, and new ideas to start fresh conversations is where amazing things start.
As I left our lunch that day, I felt I had done a good thing helping a friend re-direct her thinking and feelings toward what can be and is possible. I reminded her she is not alone; I am building my creative "ark" and life too. Later in the day though, I felt small again remembering how many times I have faced similar onslaughts of crappy advice, snarky comments, flat out ridiculous responses, and people laughing at me while I was creating something. I felt my spirit shrink back as those thoughts swirled around in my head. Determined though, I let those head conversations go and redirected my thoughts and heart toward what I was doing.
It won't be the last time either her, me or maybe even you will come face-to-face with they-sayers. Everywhere a new idea is expressed, they-sayers are there. I am still figuring out the best diplomatic responses to deflect that kind of input. It hasn't been easy, simple, or straightforward. I will stay on it because I do not want to live from a shriveled up fearful place. I love living from a sense of possibility, curiosity, and imagination! It puts a spring in my step, trust in my soul, and keeps my heart adventuring! Cheers! Keep finding your soul's light - dance your dance, invent your way, share your music, heal yourself, play, and love.
They-sayers: People (aka dream crushers) who run off at the mouth giving you practical, doable, seemingly sensible comment and/or advice when you are sharing ideas, imagination, and out-of-the-box thoughts about creating something in your life. This results in a pushed down sinking feeling in your heart, self-doubt, and reduces you to little or no inspired action toward dreams and goals. (It's a definition I made up to communicate this idea).
LOVE exploring old places! Imagining life that was there before me…or making up my own stories is fun and often cathartic. They are sometimes happy, sad, or quirky but always interesting. Being brave means letting other people see your soul in its dark & light shades, in its wounds and its stars.
Hungry, homeless, anxious eyes greet me as I step through the door of Food Share. Earlier this year I felt like I needed to do something to keep my life appreciation fresh and real. I have been donating money to Food Share for years. I thought I would make my commitment to contributing back to life deeper by volunteering my time. Every time I share my time there, waves of warm appreciation roll over me about my own life as its finally solid and stable with a good support structure.
Looking everyone in the face as I greet them, I know their struggle. I understand the shame a person feels being on welfare or having to ask for hand up in life. From childhood years to my early adult years, social assistance was a helpful ribbon threading through my life providing some of my basic daily survival needs.
Despite their desperate situation, the people that come through my grocery line are polite. They are conscientious about following the rules for the quantity and types of food that are on their approved list. They demonstrate a willingness to help haul groceries to their cars. For the most part, they look you in the face when they speak. When they don't, I'll try to get them to crack a smile and some will joke around in return. They are who they are and to me, they are salt-of-the-earth type people. You can feel their tired spirit, good heart, and life struggles on their sleeves.
When I’m there, it can take only a single heartbeat to throw me back through memories. Memories of standing in food assistance lines, rifling through boxes of old clothes given to my family, and my mom filling out reduced and free lunch program forms stand out from my past. I remember the way people looked at my family as we made our way through life. Although, remembering those stares hits my self-worth from time-to-time, it also makes me compassionate towards people struggling to understand what creates life and make ends meet.
Going back to work after bagging groceries leaves me feeling like I’m in a bit of split reality. After work, I often go to the grocery market for my own household groceries for the week. People seem relaxed pushing their carts, music is playing over speakers, and smells of fresh deli food saturate the air. The two worlds create serious friction in my mind. Does that ever happen to you? It makes me feel like one of those Looney Tunes characters who shakes its head back-and-forth rapidly and makes silly sounds because it can’t believe what its feeling and seeing!
Donating money to charities that touch my heart has kept me open hearted and humble. Donating also brings me great joy as I know when I contribute to places other than Food Share, it helps the artists I support build their dreams! However, choosing to donate my time at Food Share has invigorated my reasons for living in the present and being thankful. It reminds me not to complain and to keep my heart helpful to people who have different paths in life or who are stuck. It’s keeping my appreciation for my life fresh and definitely very real. I have struggled with life basics many times in life and could easily again. No amount of money donation can replace being there in person and allows me to share my heart energy and to encourage people. Sharing in person keeps me connected to the diverse hearts that make up our humanity. I love this because its challenging, humbling, and giving.
I LOVE hearing how my friends are volunteering time and money to people and causes that touch their heart. I also LOVE seeing people on social media who I don’t know doing wonderful things like building water wells in other countries, helping with education, and teaching people to create a business for themselves in a third world country.
If you are choosing to share your heart, time, or money, that’s so wonderful, awesome and rad!
This blog honors my dad and mom this month. He was an amazing volunteer in his life.
My mom did everything she could to keep things rolling smooth at home.
If you'd like to know more about Helena Food Share or donate, you can click on the picture in this blog.
Dare to be smart. Sounds almost dangerous, doesn’t it? I think of times as a kid when I was dared, double dared and then there was the ultimate, DOUBLE dog dared. It was SO hard to turn that challenge down sometimes. Thank god at times my intelligence and wit took over as I’m sure I should be missing body parts or at least maimed myself at some point in my childhood. I got the consequences of my actions when I chose to tune into those taunts. When I was in kindergarten, one time I took a classmate’s challenge at recess and defied the playground monitor’s rule of the day to stay off certain equipment due to rain. In my dress and Mary Jane shoes I spunkily crawled to nearly the top of the playground’s vintage styled jungle gym to prove a point. I slipped and hit my head on nearly every rung on the way down knocking myself out. Next thing I remember was waking up in a dimly lit room with my mom and teacher leaning over me with an ice pack on the back of my head. Learning things the hard way is painful (understatement).
While sitting at my table this week writing, my heart felt like it stopped and skipped a few beats as I watched the backhoe start digging scary close to my house. Watching my house sewer line plumbing replacement, I considered writing about the things I learned working with Interwoven Studios filming pick-up shots for Wuthering Heights or how I’ve been on the go bouncing to set locations acting and assisting with filming, balancing my day job, and enjoying family being in town.
This month, it’s been cool watching the construction project unfold. I’ve spent months researching contractors, getting estimates, learning the lingo, process and steps for replacing it, asking friends for advice, and talking to the bank (this is super expensive). I also talked to my homeowner’s insurance; I didn’t know if it would qualify for assistance from insurance. It didn’t.
It’s REALLY surprising how many different strong opinions and questions people will weigh in with, sometimes with NO knowledge and often with little experience. The biggest question being how do you EVEN know it needs replacing? I felt like I was being dared to climb in the rain up the jungle gym again as certain statements and questions smacked at me, only this dare made me feel like questioning the evidence I’d seen and research I’d done.
I explained that I had my main house pipe roto rooter’d to clear out roots and debris once a year for the past ten or more years. As of the past three years, I’ve had to do it twice a year. Back in November I sucked up the extra cost to have a plumber drop a video camera down the pipeline. The camera moving though murky water looked liked like an ultrasound I had when I was pregnant. There were ghostly chunks of stuff floating around, long filament fingers of tree roots waving at me, standing water in the pipe, and darkly colored spots along the topside of the pipe. The plumber gave it a three to eighteen month life span before it would back up or worse, possibly collapse. As I garnered and researched information from many different resources, I received a range of responses from indifference, fear inducing, do it myself cheaper, and helpful/supportive.
As you know, it’s hard not to punch back verbally when challenged so you can defend what you know, your space, or what you feel you can do. Because of excess information, I was left with a nagging worries that perhaps the plumber was wrong, perhaps I only needed to replace part of it, or perhaps I could get it done cheaper.
Letting all the chat go, Lamaze breathing still comes in handy sometimes, I took deep breaths as I proceeded. As I trusted my gut instinct and gathered facts, I allowed the feeling of being cool to be proactive to take over. I did not want to wait for that unknown ominous day when sewer water and debris would be backing up into the crawl space of my house. I could visualize the mess oozing up from below the house, the stink, and oh, the HUGE spiders that would come into the house as they are fleeing from the sewer gunk (yup, my overactive imagination had a party with that visual)! The plumber described the facts, just like the playground monitor, and the consequences. This wasn’t the I dare you from my childhood, this was an I dare you to be smart in present day time based on what you know to be true. I liked this second dare.
As you can see, the plumber was right. I put on my flannel shirt, hat, smile, and even though I won Roshambo, they still didn’t let me help drive the tractor ;) Months of follow through resulted in pipes that are up to code. Barring no disturbances from Mother Nature, they will be good for a very long time.
I strive to keep finding ways to dare myself to grow, trust my gut instincts, listen to good advice, dismiss the fear, and execute good plans of action. Accepting this second dare inside myself allowed me to stay out of fear based action and choose better. Daring to be smart is cool. It helps build my confidence in my abilities and skills at life and as an artist. Cheers to another month figuring life out and moving forward!
LOVE oatmeal! I have a favorite brand of steel cut oats that you put in a bowl, add water, two minutes in the microwave, and voila, ding! Done. Top it off with flax seed, a spoon of brown sugar, a tiny bit of butter, berries if I have them and a bit of milk and perfecto! It’s food that is… mostly healthy ;) and definitely sustains my energy for quite a while. It’s actually amazing how long I can stay fueled on such practical, simple food.
I went to the doctor recently for a physical, the receptionist ran through a checklist in my file for address, phone, insurance, and other information they update every year. Each question she asked, I said, “No change, no change, same, no change…I’m boring.” She looked at me over her bifocals and said “No, you are stable, that’s a cool thing, we like people like you.” I left feeling better and even bit cool about my sometimes my basic oatmeal, practical feeling life. I appreciate that part of my life that keeps a roof over my head, food on the table, clean underwear in my dresser, and keeps me connected to family and friends. This part of my life being same old thing most days keeps me free to celebrate and create art in film and photography.
Stable, all by itself I’ve discovered, is not always the best fuel for creativity. Also, earlier this month was the anniversary of my dad’s passing away and the April pink moon. Between the practical life and missing my dad, I felt like stability was making me feet itchy. Itchy to move, go, create, and experience something other than my day to day life since the winter has been mostly quiet for film and art projects and also because Easter was always such a family led holiday by my dad.
On the Wednesday night before Easter, I packed, arranged my first Airbnb stay, and was out the door Thursday at noon to the Portland area. Experiencing my usual inside freaking out about dying, the world blowing up, sharks eating me, and a whole host of other weird anxieties, I tuned into my book on CD and just drove. I was questing for something and was determined to come home with whatever it was that I felt I needed for my soul other than my day-to-day oatmeal stability.
Only a couple things were planned. I left the rest of the time wide open to choose in the moment, no schedule. I was on a treasure hunt for golden moments I told myself, not knowing exactly what those were. Friday morning, I got myself grounded from panicky feelings I often get when I am traveling. I grocery shopped, decided I wanted to see the ocean, and drove there. I had fish for breakfast, went for a long walk on the beach, and had a life changing hot chocolate with chocolate whip cream! I serenaded myself to 80’s tunes on the radio, made random stops to take pictures, took a nature walk, and visited a sheep farm. Two very hearty ladies Lorella and Theresa enthusiastically gave me story after story about how they were keeping up the farm.
I got help with some acting stuff, studied, read, and ate really great food. On Easter, I crawled into a snowcat with 12 other people and snowcatted up Mt. Hood at Timberline Lodge. After taking in a stunning view of my playground, I rode down. I got in the next snowcat and another one and lapped that upper run until it closed. Afterwards, I met the nicest Airbnb hosts Hollie and PJ and another couple staying at there. I was worn out. The altitude change from the mountain top where I snowboared to where I was staying was about a 7,000 feet drop. Feeling a bit woozy, I drove a short bit from the Airbnb for another nature walk. I was absolutely awestruck by 150+ old trees in the Mt. Hood National Forest. I truly expected to see elves, unicorns, and fairies pop out of the trees, ferns, and moss. It was magical feeling.
Day two snowboarding on the mountain left me seriously tuckered out and proud. I had figured all this stuff out on my own, in a short period of time, and made it happen! The little kid in me was hollering, whoop, whoop …and more and MORE!
On the drive home, I saw so many places I wanted to go back to and visit! I made a stop for coffee and walked along Hood River with a stunning view of the harbor. I want to explore this town! I saw rock formations, amazing bridges, and dams. Throughout my travels home, it rained. I saw three rainbows and ate a great burger in St. Regis.
I unpacked my gear and cleaned out the truck. I was tired but felt SO good! My life was there, great relief, and it didn’t just feel like stable oatmeal. It also felt robust and welcoming. The golden nuggets of new experiences were sparkling in my heart. I had been able to go out and collect some new energy, fresh feelings, and different experiences. Out of this spontaneous, soul filled adventure I can feel new levels of confidence blossoming from all the golden moments I chose to create, relish in, and enjoy. This was the best Easter I’ve had in quite a while.
Seems simple, the most profound things often are. I need my basic oatmeal, practical life to feel stable and courageous. I also need regular infusions of spontaneous fun, travel with no schedules, and nature time to keep my creative sparkle and also to keep my daily life alive with joy and expressiveness. Appreciate your oatmeal parts of life! Recharge your practical oatmeal life occasionally... better yet, frequently! …with experiences that help you feel magical, empowered, and that take your breath away in optimistic awe.
As I look at love in my life, sometimes I don’t want to touch it, feel it, clean it up, start over, or even acknowledge that I need love or feel lonely. Hiding or running away feels easier than being real. Today has just been a weird feeling day.
Recently, I was challenged to look at a pattern showing up in my writing. It was a pattern of freaking out inside, being calm on the outside, and handling it. Without letting the comment throw me into a tailspin, I’ve been thinking... How do I express myself? How do I handle what life, love, or people throw at me. How can I use my words to better inspire others and keep myself feeling upbeat and optimistic? If words I choose to say to myself create my inner beliefs and eventually the life I live, what kind of words am I choosing to make my beliefs? What are the words I am using to create my beliefs about love?
Allowing someone to know your heart takes guts. Allowing them to feel and love your heart takes vulnerability. How do I allow vulnerability without getting my heart hurt?
About seven weeks ago, I got an artistic urge to do an impromptu photo shoot with my sweet friend Jaime, a blossoming photographer and writer. I loosely explained the photo concept idea I wanted to shoot for inspiration to write my monthly blog. She listened and said yes right on the spot. While I was at work, she picked me up a second-hand dress. Later that day, she called me to schedule a date and started running questions by me of the what, where, and how to get it done.
That night she mentioned it to her three daughters and our good friend Shelly, who also has a daughter. Suddenly there was a whole lot of buzz, love, and excitement going into my simple monthly blog project. I felt somewhat embarrassed and yet warmly loved being the center of their attention considering I hadn’t firmed up the writing or idea for my blog. I marveled at how these two ladies were getting totally jazzed to get up early, fix their children’s hair, and put on their glitter makeup to make this photo art project. The girls chattered away about how they wanted to be fairy princesses on the frozen lake we had selected as the location for the photos. Before I could think too much or say no, they helped plan a whole adventure of creating some photographic art.
At the wee hours before sunrise on the next Monday we had off work, five children, two adults, and myself dressed in ball dancing gowns and were running, jumping, and holding hands on frozen lake. Houses puffed smoke out their chimneys greeting our day and photographic adventure. A colorful band of dresses followed Jaime’s shout outs instructing us to move for the photos. The remnant of a full moon and sherbet colored skies made a dreamy backdrop. Bare tree branches tickled the sky. Shelly corralled children for the photos and fluffed up dresses. And of course, no morning that early is complete without some righteous crankiness as the air had a frozen bite from cold temperatures and tummies rumbled for breakfast.
As we tumbled into warm cars back to Shelly’s place, my heart was beaming with good feelings. Kids were hangry, but goofy poking at each other. With rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes each one was retelling their story of what they created in their photos. I couldn’t stop smiling. Even my stomach felt like it was smiling :) I felt giddy, light, and goofy. My heart welled up with warm, happy tears. I felt like I could build a rocket ship to the moon if that was my dream. I disregarded feelings of guilt for getting so much enthusiastic help. I chose to ignore inadequacy feelings that I didn’t have my blog written yet and chose to bask in the wonderful weirdness of the morning we created.
Right underneath my nose, these two ladies felt my heart. I allowed them to feel my confusion, need for help, and my incomplete fresh born creative idea. I took a risk to trust. It was uncomfortable and scary but not hurtful. They helped me connect some dots I have been struggling to do in many of the wrong places and with the wrong types of people. They shared their time, robustly nurtured my vulnerable idea, and added to it their imagination and optimistic life energy. In my heart, I keep saying more YES to adding more of this feeling to my definition of love!
It’s been said, speak of things you love rather than bash things you hate. I agree wholeheartedly and keep pointing my words and feelings toward believing love is more about being supportive, choosing kindness over meanness, finding peace, sharing encouragement, optimism, helping someone be their best self, showing up, and keeping your word. I dared myself to meet the challenge this month in up-leveling my writing pattern. Way to grow… in love! <3
I love these pictures. I thought taking the pictures would just spark an idea for my blog. Instead, allowing myself to be immersed in the experience of feeling and creating the pictures melted more of my heart walls, allowed me to be vulnerable, and to be loved in a way that felt good to me.
Be empowered to keep growing. Be inspired and dare yourself to let go of old definitions about life and love that don’t serve you being your best you! Cheers!
Feeling my heart, connecting me to others, finding beauty,
cheekiness, expression, and optimism are only a few things the arts
help me do in my life. Keep in mind, defunding of the National Endowments for the Arts,
pending cuts in funding of PBS, and other publicly funded programs
affect the richness of how we all experience, feel, and create life.
It affects how we transmit ideas and love to one another.
(I can’t help but put a shameless plug for the arts here!)
Support the arts.
Support political candidates that support the arts.
We have our work cut out for us keeping art alive in our life, schools. love, and communities.
In sharing my heart and growth through blogging, stories, and poetry, I have faith you'll find possibility, empowerment, and inspiration to create like a champion in your own life.
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