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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!

Believe it and receive it: The life I live now.

Your brain is the most powerful machine you will ever own. It doesn’t come with an instruction manual but it is in your best interest to learn how to use it; learn to control your mind and keep your thoughts positive. Your thoughts become your life.. and that is the idea that I base my life on. People often ask how I got so lucky in dance and in finding a man like Matt.. but I didn’t get lucky at all- I got educated. I stopped letting my mind run on auto-pilot and learned to carefully control my thoughts. I use positive thinking and visualization to create the things I want. I tell the universe clearly what I desire and the universe brings it to me or in the case of Matt (who I met by driving across the country and moving to California) brings me to it. I know this sounds crazy… but in my own personal life I can promise you it works.

It is not enough to just muse on something.. “I’d like to win the lottery…” You have to genuinely believe in the possibility, all the time, without doubt. You have to learn to silence the sometimes subconscious voice in your mind that says “that’s impossible” and actually visualize yourself with the things you want. Imagine what they would taste like, smell like, feel like… smile and jump up and down like you actually did win the lottery if that’s what it takes… But believe it- and you will receive it.

How do you start?

1.Monitor your thoughts today. How many times a day do thoughts like traffic, debt, or illness cross your mind? Even if you are thinking: “I don’t want any more debt” you are still calling for debt. The universe doesn’t hear “I don’t want”… worry is a way of summoning the things you DON’T want by keeping them at the forefront of your thoughts. Erase the word debt and instead think “I want more money” and ” money comes freely and easily.” Replace all the negative with positive as much as possible. If you are stuck in traffic breathe in and out and refocus your energy. Don’t worry about traffic, or if you’ll pay your rent.. worry is like a rocking chair, it will give you something to do but it won’t get you anywhere.

2. Set a goal and test it.. give yourself 6 months to create something that you really want and believe you can have. Start small at first and work up to bigger things as you get better at this strategy. Think about it every day.. how would it feel to have that promotion or lose those 5 pounds? How would others react when they saw you in that new dress you’ve had your eye on? what will it be like WHEN you have it, not if…and so on..Matt and I keep a vision board in our home that we look at EVERY day. The board has pictures of all the things we want for our lives and I promise you, we will have every single one of them… because we believe we can and because we stay focused on them.

3. Be GRATEFUL. Wake up every single day and while you are brushing your teeth, instead of going through all the things you have to do that day or worrying about your big presentation at work.. go through ALL the things in your life that you are grateful for… A loving family, pretty hair, a job you like, anything. Greatness starts with a grateful heart and you will never have more if you cannot appreciate what you have now. This will put you in a positive place for the day and set you on a good path.

4. Focus on the big picture and have THICK skin: If you find yourself huffing and puffing over every day’s little disturbance you have gotten off the beaten path. Smile at the person who cuts you off in traffic, speak to people gently and with kindness even if they don’t deserve it right then, create an environment of positivity and change your environment, don’t let it change you. If you see someone struggling, ask if they need help. If you see someone upset look at them with understanding and say “rough day?” If you can create an atmosphere of understanding, empathy and positivity you will create a pathway for the universe and the people around you to bring those things right back to you. What goes around comes around… so send the right energy around.

5. TRUST in the plan: This takes practice. There is a reason not everyone is thin and wealthy… you have to train your mind EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY.. just like you keep your body fit in the gym you have to train your mind the same way. When negativity slips in, and it will, be forgiving of yourself, replace the thought and move on. Trust that if you don’t see results in 2 days that you need to stick with it. Remember that things don’t always come to you the way you expect them to. For example: maybe your visualization is that you want to make $100k this year. Stay focused on that. Maybe the next month, you’ll lose your job. Your mind wants to rationalize it and talk you into quitting on your goal- its hopeless, your unemployed.. you’ll never make 100k now.. right? wrong. Often times we are not on the path to the things we want and asking for the things we want means accepting that we may need to be re-directed. Maybe its time to hunt for a new job, or become your own boss or open that store you’ve always wanted. Take the events in your life as signs and listen to them. ย Don’t always assume the worst.

You may not be convinced yet.. but hey, sounds like it might be worth a try huh? it is- I promise ๐Ÿ™‚

…Fear itself…

Fear is a negative emotion like anger or hate; Fear is a state of mind and it is as simple and complicated as that. When you realize that you are in control… in control of all of it, your whole life… the negative, the positive- the good the bad AND the ugly.. When you realize that your mind and your thoughts create your reality… only then will you know freedom and only then will your life really begin.

Growing up I dealt with some pretty serious anxiety disorder that was triggered by specific factors, some inexplicable, like public transportation. The mere thought of taking the train was enough to send me into a full blown panic attack. My response? I avoided the things that scared me, avoided them like the plague. While I was in this state of avoidance, roughly 11 years, from 6th grade until my senior year of college, my condition disintegrated- rapidly. Avoiding the things that scared me made the fears bigger and bigger until they got so big that they consumed me completely. I wasn’t myself anymore; I was fear. I had become fear itself.

I embodied negativity all the time and I drew negative things to myself. All I knew was worry. Worry that something that scared me might cross my path that day. Worry is a dangerous thing. Worry drains all of the hope your mind has of creating positivity and replaces it with something useless and bleak. What you worry about consumes your thoughts and the thoughts in your powerful mind become the truths in your life. If you worry about debt, you will accrue it and so on and so forth… and so I did, I accrued more and more anxiety and more and more fear until I barely wanted to wake up and face the mess I had created in my own mind.

My life became a carefully orchestrated dance in which I avoided the world as it was and lived only in a “safe zone” that I had made for myself. I knew every exit, every bathroom, every fire escape within a 40 mile radius of wherever I was standing and I slowly slipped into a state that was not like life at all, but more like death or what I imagine purgatory would be like. I went along my day like a trolley car rolls along a track. No meaning or purpose other than to avoid anxiety and panic… movement without intention.

What’s more? MOST of the people around me had no idea that I struggled with this every single day. That it was making my hair fall out and making me a lifeless drone. I don’t know what was worse, the fear or the secret. I sought help a few times, even going as far as to see a hypnotherapist. Everyone I spoke to about it could do the same thing, they could help me get to WHY I was anxious… but couldn’t tell me what to do now! They gave me a few tactics, like counting to ten when I got nervous, but you try counting to ten while your freaking out. I could barely breathe, never mind count. Aside from prescribing medication, which I refused to take, no one could help me. At first, I was angry. It was everyone else’s fault. WHY couldn’t they help me?…. and then it occurred to me…it was because I would have to help myself. I had made myself sick and I would have to heal myself as well… and that is precisely what I did.

I am writing this entry because so many people that are in the grips of depression, panic, anxiety, insecurity, addiction; people who live in darkness and silence every day while they fight this huge battle in their own mind; don’t realize that it is as simple as flipping a switch and turning the lights back on. It was hard for me to assume responsibility for my illness while I was consumed by it. It was hard to ask myself why I was so anxious and who had done this to me and then only be able to point the finger back at myself.. but let me tell you, when I finally did, when I finally realized it was my own decisions and choices and my own mind that had led me down this dark hole, I realized that I was also powerful enough to pull myself out.

You can get better and you can heal yourself. You have all the tools you need to save your own life- the problem is that they are also in your mind, where your illness lies. The trick is to live day by day and to every day select one thought that feels a little better, a little less like fear or sadness and a little more like empowerment. Slowly but surely, one hand after another, climb up out of the darkness and never give up. The more you face fear the smaller it gets… it’s really cowardly that way. The worst thing you can do in your life is to avoid the things that feel bad or scare you. You must always be brave enough to look fear in the face and not compromise your life. Assume responsibility. Live boldly and be OK with not being perfect. If you have a bad day, forgive yourself and go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, start over. Eat Healthy, surround yourself with people you want to be like, people who bring out the best in you and make you laugh, read a book, smile, breathe in and out, enjoy the sun, exercise, listen to music, run, and remember life is short. Don’t waste a decade of it in darkness like I did.. don’t even waste one sacred second of it that way… it might be the last second that you have. Spend it wisely.

You are powerful and you are brilliant, whoever you are, wherever you are.. and don’t you ever forget it.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”