Feelings

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an emotional state or reaction.

Do You Love What You Feel

We all have feelings, but some of us don’t quite know how to express them. This is really hard for people who feel everything, to understand. It requires patience when dealing with someone who does not share. But patience is a virtue, which is why so many of us aren’t virtuous.

A person who has a hard time with their feelings will tell you that you need to have patience with them. How much patience are we talking about? Well, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have patience because I see patience as an excuse for someone who doesn’t like change.

What is it about change that frightens so many people? The unknown, if you will. I love it! I live it! I breathe it! If I’m not changing, I’m stagnant and crippled with anxiety, worrying about a future that has yet to happen. Or I’m still living in the past, basing all of the decisions and actions I take, based on what happened there.

I didn’t coin it, but it’s true. “The only thing that is constant is change,” so why not embrace it?

Part of changing, is acknowledging our feelings. Maybe even about change. When we trap our feelings inside and don’t share them, they fester until eventually (who knows when and where) they erupt. Usually people will look at you like you’re some kind of a lunatic, because they have no clue how long you have been holding all that stuff in.

I don’t know why people still hold feelings in, especially when we live in a time that is completely unpredictable and seems to be no rhyme or reason as why you would want to. You can only blame your upbringing for so long on this one.

I was told to keep the peace for years, but honestly, I stopped doing that a long time ago. The only people that served, were the people who asked it of me and I don’t answer to them anymore.

I would rather be around people who yell and show passion then people who storm off, say nothing, act like nothing is wrong when you know it is, or don’t talk to you at all. This behavior is a complete and utter breakdown in communication and makes the people in your life feel like you don’t give a crap what they think.

Passion. It is the key to everything. It’s what drives us to want things. It ignites a fire inside of us that spurns us on. It builds character, makes us act spontaneous and is fully accountable as the catalyst to go after our dreams.

People without passion…I just don’t get em. How do you live without it? How do you not allow yourself to feel this fire?

I guess it all goes back to that ugly word, control. When we don’t share our feelings with someone, we are trying a situation or them. But this is an illusion. Control is an illusion. You cannot control anyone, so why would you want to control yourself from feeling passion?

Feelings equals vulnerability and if you aren’t brave enough, passionate enough or confident enough to share them, than it’s probably best that you go live in a cave somewhere, so people who feel, don’t mistake you for someone who does.

People who feel understand that taking chances, going for their dreams and sharing their feelings is what they came here to do. It’s what we all came her for. To be who we are without all of the programs and control.

All that is required to do this, is to be authentic. To accept that you are a person who is worthy of love, understanding and kindness, but in order to have those things, you have to feel. You have to let people in.

Feel something! Anything! What’s the worst that can happen, if you do?

 

Beauty

a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

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This was my dog, Bernie. He was so beautiful internally, that his essence made its way into the external and I found him utterly handsome.

He had about five teeth in all and the two bottom ones protruded. He snapped sometimes at other people, mostly men, because usually puppy mills are operated by them, so as you can imagine, dogs don’t trust or like them.

When we first found our way to one another it wasn’t love at first sight. I didn’t see his beauty and he certainly didn’t see mine. I saw a dog who needed  a lot of rehabilitation, he saw another person who was a threat.

I foster dogs and he needed fostering, so I was tasked with getting him ready to be adopted. He was broken, scared, full of distrust and peed everywhere. Most dogs who come from puppy mills have suffered greatly and worst of all, have never felt love. They have never been touched by a hand, unless it is to grab them and throw them in another cage to mate (hence the snapping). 

His name was Big Bang when I got him. Ridiculous for sure! Bernie means victory bringer, strong, brave bear, so I thought that fitting since he was so determined to heal, so I changed it.

He grew on me pretty quickly and when it came time to give him back to the shelter, I couldn’t. How could I? He had learned to trust me, understand what love was and not flinch when I went to pet him. We had a bond.

Bernie used to spin in circles on command when he saw me and ran little laps around the yard because he was so happy when I came home. He loved to cuddle, too and be held.

Bernie spent nine of his twelve years of life in a puppy mill, so this display of utter joy was beautiful to behold. If you’re not aware of what a puppy mill is, please look them up. This post is about beauty, not torture, so I don’t want to get into it.

Bernie was with me for awhile, until he was tragically hit by a car and died in my arms on the way to the animal hospital. I bawled for days over his death. It was completely unnecessary. A freak accident.

But the beauty that he brought into my life remains. I keep his photo on my living room shelf and my desktop. I knew how beautiful Bernie was, which is why I miss him so much.

Sometimes beauty is right in front of us and we don’t even see it. For one reason or another we just don’t recognize the beauty in someone or something and we pass it over. Beauty does not argue nor does it hold a grudge when this happens. It has a wisdom that understands we cannot see inner beauty if we do not posses it ourselves.

It is of the utmost importance that you understand that no one is ever rejecting you. People are either vibing towards what you have to offer or they aren’t. It’s really that simple. One you understand this, you will never see anything or anyone as rejecting you again. You will see it as a form of directing you towards those who honor you, instead of those who do not. There is so much power in that.

Real beauty, the inner kind, does not need validation, an apology or forgiveness.  It is love without conditions because it is divine and pure of essence. Inner beauty is all that should matter to any of us, but too often it doesn’t.

When I was in my thirties there was a certain young man who took me out for a date. I wasn’t that attracted to him ( I was in a “only if he’s handsome and vapid sort of stage” at the time) but a co worker insisted I go, pressing me about how nice he was and even agreed to come along. Can you imagine? That poor guy!

I remember this guy in particular because he made me a collage afterwards. I was moving to New York for work and he had taken clippings from magazines of Manhattan all relating to me and my life. He was genuine and kind only wanted to show me how much he liked me, but I was too into appearances then, so I dismissed his beauty, the one that truly mattered (the inner kind), thanked him for the collage and said bye.

He saw my beauty but I could not see his. I was so focused on career, getting ahead and dating jerks that didn’t give a crap about me, that I didn’t value it.  How could I, when I didn’t even value myself?

I finally understand that beauty is not a surface thing, but an inner thing. It’s how someone makes you feel internally, like you’ve swallowed a rainbow. It’s how you light up when you see them because they do the same. It’s a knowing that they have your back no matter what is going on around you and they are the first person you want to be with when you’ve had a stellar day or a shitty one.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by beauty for a good part of my life. There have been times where ugly seeped in, both inside and out, but all and all I’ve been pretty lucky and I find the more I focus on beauty, the more arrives.

I spend most mornings out back in my yard listening to birds. They chirp to one another in their bird lingo (probably wondering when I am going to feed them) and some mornings a nice breeze blows through the tree branches and I hear the wind chimes on the back porch ring.

There is so much beauty in this world! Sometimes it’s right in front of us and we don’t even see it, but if we just change our focus, we will witness miracles.

May you find beauty in your world, no matter who or what gifts it to you and appreciate it for all of its glory and wonder.

Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.     

Kahlil Gibran

Labels

a classifying phrase or name applied to a person or thing, especially one that is inaccurate or restrictive.

I’m not a fan of labels of any kind. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate something Prada may have created or Gucci, but I don’t seek them out just because they are those brands.

I detest labels in people. Nothing turns me off more than when people define themselves by a label. “I’m this, I’m that, I do this for a living, I went here to college…”

I have never understood why people feel the need to do this. We have become a society that sums people up in  a millisecond and decides if we  want to move forward with a person based solely on the label they attach themselves to.

The industry I work in loves to label people, which is why I have started to remove myself from it. I’ve been focusing more on helping dogs these days. I get more of a reward from it and it really drives me to want to make changes.

There have been many changes in the acting industry since I started it and not ones I particularly like. It seems the harder you work in the business, the less you are valued and people who cast don’t seem to be very interested in talent anymore. They are most interested in your label.

Are you a transgender? Gay? Bi-racial? Gray haired? Brunette? A mixed family? A veteran? A clown? A Knicks fan?

It’s truly unbelievable! I’m not sure when the industry became about labels, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that our world seems to be obsessed with them.

Who gives a shit what you are! How about we start defining ourselves by what we stand for? What are soul calls us to do? How we give back? What our essence is?

I am only one person. But I know if I truly believe that I am not capable of making a difference because of that reason, then I may as well join the masses and label myself “retired”.

As long as we continue to label ourselves, we will remain divided. When we start to understand that we all just people, no matter what our sexuality, our color, or our age is, then maybe we can start to make real change.

Until then I’ll be over here doing my part. Standing in my power, taking jobs that resonate with who I am instead of what someone wants me to be and making a difference to dogs, even if it’s only one that benefits from my efforts.

Wash and Set or Rinse and Repeat?

There actually is a song called this!

Wash and Set

Ironically, my washer needed a repair call last week because I kept having to press rinse and repeat because it wasn’t spinning the clothes dry. When he told me it was “off balance” I laughed.

Hmmm…metaphor much? Rinse and repeat? Off balance? Which pretty much sums up the cycle I have been on for over a year, up until last Friday.

With all of the work I do on myself, with all of the tapping and self reflection, you would think I would be a freaking master by now.

But I’m not.

I keep repeating the same shit over and over again expecting to feel differently, expecting different results. Sometimes it takes a washer to show you this.

I try very hard to live in the moment, but I have found that despite my thinking I am living in the present, I am not. Any time you start to repeat a pattern, its more of a subconscious belief you are acting on, then a conscious one. So, you are either thinking about the past (which can be pretty scary sometimes) or thinking about the future (which can also be debilitating as well) We certainly aren’t living with passion, nor are we following ours.

Our mind plays on rewind (rinse and repeat) because it is conditioned to do so from previous thoughts/previous programs. If we made money one way, our mind can’t wrap around the possibility of making it another way, so we stay firm in our belief that there is only one way to make money, the way we once did or the way we do now.

But if we allow our emotions to guide us, our heart lights up and we are practically fed information that shows us the path to get to where our soul is calling us to be. Even if its bread crumbs to start with!

As I sat in my acting class last Wednesday in a dark room with used furniture everywhere, people talking all around me and a man tuning a piano, I knew I was so far removed from what I really wanted and that I had been making decisions based on a belief system I have been carrying that no longer serves me, instead of listening to the voice inside me that knows what is best.

I love acting! Love doing plays, but am I doing one now? No. I have been spending so many hours on hair classes and trying to find the right place to work, I have literally given my passion the boot.

I still audition, but honestly, how much do you think our focus should veer away from what our heart is calling us to do, without it effecting the outcome? Do you see what you desire standing in front of you? I don’t. Which means something is off.

It seems logical; work in a shop. I have a license. Used to be good at it. Had a lot of clients. Made some descent money.  But after going to several shops and seemingly wanting to work there, I always found something wrong with them.

So why was I continuing on this journey to nowhere? Well, until I was at the last place thinking it was going to be the best thing since bottled celery juice (which is yummy), I still hadn’t figured it out.

But as I looked around the room at the cast of characters; knowing each one of them was a reflection of me, I was stumped. They were all nice, wanting a fresh start and excited about a new opportunity, but I wondered why they were here. I knew why I was. I have little experience with clippers and I wanted more. But most of them were already barbers. Why would they be there?

Then it became apparent to me…

Money.

It was all I could see that we had in common. The need or want to make it. But was money the real reason why I was so focused on hair? I make money acting, but as I thought of my beliefs around it, it became apparent at my lack of faith in it providing me with the lifestyle I want.

Often times I do not get paid for three months after doing a gig and the money is inconsistent, as is the business. But is this really true or a belief I have? Hmm…gets interesting doesn’t it?

As the woman running the training at the shop talked about policies and procedures and had us memorize the mission statement, I wanted to get up and leave. I had been there before. Worked for corporations. To me, creativity and artistry are two different animals and one of them will always get devoured. Lion Versus Tuna

I knew that not only wasn’t the place for me, cutting and coloring hair wasn’t either! But the people were. The one lady (I think it was really a man) was super funny, an acquaintance of mine was working there, a tough chick who was going to teach me a lot was spunky and a few others who were quite chill. Where do you meet those kind of people?

Shops! It’s a whole culture. Piercings, tatoos that tell a story on their arms, creativity. I don’t have piercings or tatoos but I am creative and I love people who are’t afraid to express themselves.

But as I thought about it, I didn’t really want to work at a shop again. I just wanted to have fun and be with people who are creative. Actors are like that as well. So what I was really missing, which took me working at 4 shops to figure out and umteen classes, was being around people. Not just any kind of people, my people.

So now that I figured that out, I took a new course of action. I applied to three plays, have signed up for two more acting class intensives and read my audition last Friday with a different energy, being grateful for the opportunity, instead of judging it.

My new belief is that I can make money doing what I love. I don’t have to keep repeating the same pattern (which is keeping me so small) hoping for a different result. I can accept where I am, be grateful for all that I have and trust that as long as I keep taking steps towards my goals, it is inevitable that I will achieve them.

Wash and Set, baby! Wash and Set!

 

 

 

 

Holiday

Generally, holidays are intended to allow individuals to celebrate or commemorate an event or tradition of cultural or religious significance or it can also mean to take or spend a vacation or holiday especially in travel or at a resort.

I prefer the second definition for holiday, cause let’s face it, spending time with family is never easy. Even with the best of intentions, tensions will always arise and people will just be…well, people, and try to pull you into their drama and programs.

I like starting my day around people I enjoy, so I host a brunch; a few glasses of Prosecco doesn’t hurt either!  I invite individuals I enjoy spending time with. They bring a smile to my face, make me feel lighter and let me know that despite what the news would have you believe, there really are genuinely nice people in the world who are capable of love and compassion.

Of course my favorite thing about any occasion is that all of my boys are together. One of the best days this week was eating at the bar of a restaurant called Cipollini with my sister and my oldest. The bartender had a few bracelets on his wrist and I made a comment about staying positive and keeping bad energy away and he laughed and proceeded to roll up his sleeve to display even more of them.

At this juncture I pulled a clear crystal out of my pocket which is supposed to keep negative energy away and the lady sitting next to me pulled out an even bigger piece from hers. I mean, you can’t make this up! But it really is no shocker. I mean, when you start to vibe differently, you are going to attract different people.

We all got a good laugh out of it. Hey, whatever means you need to take to get through visits, take them. I was ready to take the tapping to a whole new level if I had to, but I found I didn’t need it. I was amazed at how easy it was not be pulled into the programs of others. If you are feeling stuck and unable to move forward somewhere in your life, I cannot recommend it enough. Ilka Oster

My guests lists from the past keep getting smaller and smaller, but I’m fine with that. I have not replaced people I no longer care to spend time with, I have simply chosen to spend time with people who I vibe with better. I don’t need a house full of people to satiate my ego. I could spend time with only a few and be fine.

Getting to a place of complete acceptance of what is instead of focusing on what is not, has totally freed me. I have literally left all expectations and outcomes behind. My motto has become, “I work for the Universe” and it seems to be working. I have total trust and faith that whatever is meant for me, will be mine. And for this awesome gift I am truly thankful.

 

 

Can You Teach an Old Dog New Tricks?

lyrics-you-cant-teach-an-old-dog-new-tricks

Well I never even knew there was a song about this, but I really believe you can teach an old dog new tricks. Over the years I have literally fostered many old dogs and have taught them all kinds of things. But does it translate to people? Can people really change?

There are many of us who believe they can’t. But anyone can do anything. And to quote my mother, “It’s not a matter of can’t, it’s a matter of won’t.” I think she’s right about this.

You do have to want to put a little fire in your life, but mostly you have to be able to recognize that the way you are living isn’t really living at all.

Maybe you’re just going through the motions. Maybe your empty smile masks an emptiness deep within you. Maybe you have fractured relationships and don’t know how to fix them, so instead of doing anything about it, you surround yourself with people who give you the rubber stamp that you are A-ok just the way you are and it’s everybody else who has the problem.

It’s fine if you’re that kind of person because the truth is, anyone you are choosing to associate with doesn’t know the real you anyway. Because you don’t know the real you. Or at least you haven’t allowed him/her to surface. Sometimes it’s just easier to be the old dog who doesn’t want to change.

In order to teach an old dog new tricks, you have to gain their trust. You reward them with treats and praise when they act a certain way. When they don’t get the trick you don’t admonish them, you pet them and reassure them that they are still loved.

Humans aren’t much different. We require love, praise, food, trust and reassurance. It’s pretty simple. But we complicate it by looking outside of ourselves for these things, rather than within.

If you can learn to listen to what your soul craves, believe you are worthy of it and then take action towards making it a reality, you can teach yourself pretty much anything.

I am following my inner promptings all the time. Lately it has been wanting me to learn new tricks. I pulled out my tennis racket yesterday for the first time in years and today I’m learning how to use my camera at a class in the city.

Last week I took a men’s cutting class for two days to gain confidence and interviewed at Fellow Barber. All of my work paid off and I was grateful beyond belief when they welcomed me into their apprenticeship program.

I do have a vision for how this all turns out and where it might be leading me, but I have learned that trying to control situations, people and life is a mistake. I might have one vision and the Universe might have something really better, so I have to allow the process and enjoy the journey and only take action when I am guided to.

If you’re an old dog who thinks you can’t change or learn something new, then you are not only in denial, but cheating yourself of a very rich and rewarding life that’s just sitting there waiting for you, right outside your comfort zone.

Break the barrier! Learn a new trick.