Random acts of kindness

Today I traveled from Los Angeles to Colorado and was given a dreaded middle seat, between two strangers. There was no option to switch, it was the only seat left on the plane. I boarded the plane to find my window seat counterpart to be a girl, no more than 13, traveling on her own. Her name was mikaylee, which I gathered from a tattered letter she was clinging to that I could tell was addressed to her. I wasn’t trying to be nosey, but she opened the letter and read it 50 times at least before take off. From what I saw I was able to gather that Mikaylee had been in LA visiting her father that she doesn’t see much of and was now heading back home. The letter was from her dad and the one sentence I could see read “I know things can be hard but please know it is breaking my heart to have to let you leave.”

Mikaylee was quiet and disheveled. She had an air of sadness about her that was so heavy and had no place on such a young girl. She drifted off during the flight and rested her head on my shoulder and I let her sleep comfortably, even though I myself am on zero sleep, because I could tell she needed it. When she woke up and the plane landed, I asked her if she had luggage in the overhead bin, and she whispered a timid “yes.” I waited for the rows ahead to clear and pulled her pink zebra bag down from the overhead, smiled and told her to have a great day. If I hadn’t seen that letter I might have been irked that she fell asleep on me and kept me up… But what a bad attitude that would have been. We often miss the boat on important lessons and opportunities for gratitude and growth because we are negative or selfish.

I know I will probably never see her again, and that she may not remember me- but I will remember her. I put these things out into the universe for her while she slept “I hope she finds love and peace and happiness in her life….” And I really, really do.

You never know why you are given a certain seat assignment in your life but if you pay attention, the universe might tell you exactly why and let you know that you are exactly where you’re meant to be. I feel grateful for my middle seat because it led me to mikaylee today. It led me to the reminder to always be kind to strangers because you never know what battle they are fighting and that I am living a very blessed and beautiful life. Pay attention to the signs, they are out there for you. Be grateful for your life and every once in a while commit a random act of kindness. The most important things we do in our life will be the things that positively impact the lives of those around us. Live an inspirational, inspired life- every day.

Perpetual State of Education: The Key to a Conscious Life

As I see it, it is a basic human desire to “know more.” We always want more information and find ourselves asking questions like: “what should I eat to be healthy?” “where is that foreign city I’ve never heard of?” “What’s the meaning of life?” “What is my purpose or destiny?”

Oftentimes, since the human condition seems to perpetuate a state of impatience as well as of curiosity, we “google” it and if the answer to our question isn’t in the first 3 lines we give up.

I think the amount of knowledge waiting just a mouse click away on the internet can be great, however, it also can discourage us from going out and seeking the answers to life’s bigger and more complex questions on our own through experience. It also encourages us to take whatever is posted on our favorite website as “truth” without doing further research, and on life’s biggest questions about culture, religion and the meaning of life- I think we do ourselves a disservice to “bing” it.

In my opinion, on the complex issues like: “How can I be a happier person?” or a “healthier person?” it is best not to go with the top answer on Google and call it a day, but rather to explore life on your own. Look deeply into the things and questions that interest you and emblazon passion in your heart. Remember that the world is full of many conflicting ideas all around the same issue (i.e: you should be an omnivore, vegetarian, carnivore, vegan, raw foodist….)  To properly make a decision on what feels good to you in  your own life you have to be educated on what each side has to say on a particular issue. That often requires using multiple resources (as most periodicals, websites and research papers are written from one point of view.) You will also, in some cases, need to try certain things on for size to see what works with your lifestyle and contributes best to your overall happiness and well being.

Too many people are living an unconscious and compromised life now a days. Doing things they don’t really love, counting calories and ALWAYS feeling restricted in their diet, living how others think they should live and not how they want to live. Many people wake up, get dressed, go to work, go to gym, go to bed and wake up and do it all over again like they are on a conveyor belt… hardly alive, but only just surviving. In my opinion, this is not the way, and I believe there are solutions to this “epidemic of unconscious living.”

Here are some things that  I do to be sure that my life is in a constant positive state- always moving forward and never stagnant and how I have found some peace on the complex issues that I have struggled with.

1. Reading Books:

I started reading at a very young age with some of my first words being “remarkable” and “impossible.” It’s funny, because ever since then I have believed that everything is remarkable and nothing is impossible (poetic huh?) I was a 90’s kid (complete with MC hammer pants and a side pony) and immediately my parents, teachers and friends began to call me “Belle,” because just like the main Character in Beauty and a Beast I had brown hair and eyes and always had my nose buried in a book.

Today, I am still an avid reader and read 2-3 books a month (little known fact lol). These days I primarily read “self-help” books- and no- i’m not ashamed to say it. We can’t help others until we help ourselves. I know that aisle bears a “pathetic” stigma in movies, but its the best aisle in the bookstore dammit! I read them on everything from how to be healthier, more successful, more balanced, more understanding and so on. Go out and pick up a book today on a subject that interests you and that you want to improve in your life- swap out one hour of “Toddlers and Tiaras” for an hour with a good book and I promise you will begin to feel renewed, relaxed and enlightened in NO time.

Some Books that have changed my life are:

“Eat to Live” “The Secret” “Proof of Heaven” “Skinny Bitch” “The Beauty Detox Solution” and “Blink”

Life should be a journey towards higher knowledge and books can be an amazing resource. If you aren’t interested in my suggestions your good friend “Google” can help you find the most popular and critically acclaimed books on just about any subject from gardening to gyrokinesis.

2. TRAVELING! TRAVELING! TRAVELING! oh, and did I mention, traveling?

Don’t start in right away with “I don’t have time for that” and “I don’t have money for that” and blah blah blah. First of all, if you’ve read my previous posts you already know that kind of attitude sucks and certainly won’t get you anywhere. Traveling is the only thing we buy that makes us richer and it is something we should all do. Don’t have money? Give up Starbucks for 6 months and every time you want a cup put that $5 in a jar. At the end of six months you’ll have kicked a crappy caffeine addiction AND you’ll have enough money for at the VERY least, a train ticket. No excuses.

When I say travel, this does not mean you need to travel to far away lands. It just means you need to travel outside your comfort zone. Go 5 blocks or two states over, go somewhere where things and people are unfamiliar.

I’m currently on a flight returning to LA from my first trip to Washington state. What I found in the city of Spokane (where I stayed) was fresh air, people who are genuinely happy in their lives and marriages, people who wait for the “walk” sign to cross the street even when there are no cars coming, and people who call 3 cars making a left hand turn “rush hour.” Tell me thats not priceless.

I was on set for a commercial and my MUA (make-up artist for the non entertainment folk 😉 said something I had NEVER heard before. She said, ” After 19 years of marriage and three children I am still in the happiest most supportive and loving relationship with my husband. Marriage is an awesome thing.” I have genuinely never heard anyone say anything like that… especially not directly to me before. Unfortunately, now a days most of what we see on TV and movies is relationships essentially being painful and miserable for the most part. Relationships, especially long term relationships, are made to look like eye roll filled obligations a la “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Who would have known that I would have sat down for eyeshadow and come out with hope and enlightenment about love and relationships from a perfect stranger? It is best to be open and to meet new people and travel to new places because you never know where the answers to your questions might lie. The answers to mine are usually where I least expect to find them.

I am always enlightened after a trip to just about anywhere. I learn about others and I learn about myself. The world is full of beauty and mystery and it is all right there for you, you just have to get out there and find it.

I have traveled to 18 countries across 5 continents and have seen 35 of our 50 US states all before my 27th birthday. How did I travel this much? I simply asked the universe for the opportunity to travel, I “prayed” on it, so to speak. I consistently am grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel and as a result, more of them arrive. Of all the trips I have taken and all the cities I have seen I have never paid for a single plane ticket. I encourage you and assure you, when it comes to personal growth, there is no greater catalyst than travel.

So happy travels and don’t forget to pack some reading for the road!

The Wrong Lens

When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you see? Do you find more flaws then strengths? Do you fixate on things that you want to “change” or wish were different? “I have fat thighs..” “my hair is flat…” “my nose is too big..”

When you meet someone new, do you judge them? If so, on what basis? What they are wearing? Their accent? Do you worry about trusting new people and automatically assume the worst?

When you find more negative than positive in yourself and in others, make no mistake- the problem is not with your body, physical appearance or with any one else… the problem is with your mind. Having a negative state of mind is like having the wrong lens on a camera. You can see something through it, but nothing is clear or properly represented. If you were faced with a cloudy outlook in photography you would simply change the lens. When we are faced with similar problems in life however, we tend to change the blame instead of the lens. “If only I were 5 pounds thinner” “If only my boyfriend was more romantic”….then everything would be fine. But here’s the rub… when you have a bad attitude.. there is no magic pill. Even if you lost 5 pounds and your boyfriend became the most romantic man in the world… you’d find something new to hate and obsess over. You cannot be happy or grateful when your mind is negative.

Your life is a reflection of your outlook, so to change your circumstance you need to simply change your thoughts about your circumstance. And yes, I said simply. People love to overcomplicate the simplest things. Change is not any more difficult than be stagnant and miserable, yet when the choice is change or remain the same, even if same means a state of perpetual dissatisfaction with one’s life, people generally choose remain the same. 

Is it easy to constantly be unhappy, never feel fulfilled and always wish you looked different, or felt different or had a different job? I don’t think so. The mental and emotional stress of unhappiness is far more difficult to bear than the “burden” of change. Negativity is misdirected energy. All you need is a re-route from your energy GPS. 

 

The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, do this: Say, out loud, 3 things you LOVE about yourself– then walk away like Beyonce and be DONE with it. If you find your negative voice creep back in and you hear that “but your lovehandles…” whisper in the back of your mind.. tell it to shut up and remember that you are beautiful.

Every one of us is different, unique and perfectly imperfect. Accept yourself and accept others. Learn that negativity is the reflection of a closed mind and a closed mind is the same as a closed door, it can receive nothing. Life is about being open. Being open to being in love, or being hurt, being successful or failing. Being open to receiving all the love and beauty this world has to offer to us. It is so important to be open to others and how they can affect your life and how you can affect theirs. If you can learn to live above judgment, judgment of yourself and judgment of others, you can begin to accept all the amazing things that life has in store.

 

Remember that there is no “right way.” There is no right way to look or feel or live your life. Strive to be a good person, to inspire others, to live your big dreams and aspire to be a happy human being.. and just remember, when things are looking bleak and fuzzy- it’s time to adjust your lens.