Embracing the truth of reality

While being trapped in the false, pop-up world of Sin City this week for work, I am discovering parts of me that I did not know were buried in the first place. For many years, I was drawn into the Disneyland-like idea of perfection, luxury, and beauty. I strived for quite some time to acquire few signature, classy items that would falsely gain people’s attention in hopes I would be seen as special and noteworthy.


This mentality is the exact root of what drove me into the spins of a 5 year eating disorder. I say five to quote the legitimate years I suffered from behavioral impacts far beyond words I can or should describe. However, still to this day, I am approach close to a decade of disordered thinking around food. I see the world etched with ingrained views of disordered thinking beyond food. The root is centered on those exact themes of perfection, luxury, and beauty.

What I am learning in my adventure in the non-stop land of indulgence is that I do not seek indulgence in the way that stuffed me full (literally) for years. Rather, I am quite turned off by the over stimuli because I am more enlivened by the light within and those around me. It is hitting home that perfection, luxury, and beauty are all qualities that manifest from within every one of us as we allow ourselves to embrace our inherent wholeness as humans.


Thanks to the fiery passion I feel for my work, it is easy for me to be more entertained by creating presentations, coordinating, and writing this honest expression than any of the glamorous showcases of excessive dream-like structures around me. I guess what it really comes down to is my recognition at the core of my being that I am indeed living the dream I never imagined would come true.

For years, I held onto threads of fantasy illustrated in my mind as “ideal” because I so firmly believed my authenticity was tainted by my down-to-earth simplicity that didn’t fit in the outline of a high-functioning, socialite lifestyle. I am the farthest from wanting more outside of myself than I’ve ever been. I am existing in the vibrant and yet vulnerable  reality where clarity derives from tears and bliss radiates from gratitude and connection. I humbly bow to the truth with a capital T and the beautiful ways in which life aids us to grow in the clandestine and subtle silent ways that only become visible as we develop the lens to see. And the truth is, I still have no idea what truth really means…but I try to feel it more than think about it. From this place, I can learn the depth of intuition and look toward the horizon with curiosity.



Chasing the Sun: Learning to navigate unexpected pain

There’s no easy way to tackle the unfortunate situation when we are greeted with an unexpected turn of events. Sometimes it’s happens as a perfectly sequenced string of tragedies or it invades as a huge slap in the face. No matter how it happens, there’s a universal point that leads us to surrender our hands up before immediately coupling them over our eyes. As adults, we spend a large majority of our lives trying to avoid the too-close-for-comfort sensations that arise when we are reduced to the basic suffering of humanity. Those that leave us sprawled on the ground questioning how, why, and when to get up. Sometimes being rooted into the earth is more comforting than chasing the sun.

imagesThe sun is way too bright and enthusiastic when we’ve been drenched in stress, pain, and sorrow. The dark layers of hardship can bury us deep into our hearts and mind when we get lost in the cycles of negative self-talk. So how do we confront the most unexpected moments, where you recognize that your reality is not the reality of those around you; where existence feels fleeting. Somehow, we deal. As adults, we learn to deal with what is in front of us. In my case, I was greeted with the harsh news that I was not loved the way I loved another. My deep desire to cultivate an intentional and powerful relationship was just temporary proxy for his fixed idea of simplicity.

I have spent many years drafting my self-help novel of how to live an authentic partnership. We all have our own versions, sometimes a series containing many volumes. Mine was a story intended to become a timeless classic, you know the one with the back cover half ripped and the pages unraveling from the core (yet you refuse to get rid of it year after year).

At the infamous climatic chapter where true love is expected to unveil, there was a twist in my story where genuine love, the one that takes vulnerability and breeds lasting connection, was undermined by the villain. And now my well-crafted non-fiction novel of “how to” remains a fictional fantasy of “dream on.”

The most difficult part about this turn in the story is the blank pages that follow. I thought I was on my way to catch my dreams amongst the stars; I had my partner who could defend the evil of life with me. Rather, he in turn was the villain testing my strength as the resilient protagonist. So I’m back to being chained to the earth, shackled by defeat.

It’s tempting to want to kick my feet in a tantrum raging to somehow will the chains away. But the truth is that if I absorb the earth around me, get dirty in the muck surrounding my heart, the hurt transforms to acceptance and clarity. Instead of going to old stories that I am trapped or lost, I choose to chase the sun.

I chase the sun, using the light to stay open, gentle, and full. The sun becomes my mentor to imagesfostering the fire within and embodying the ability to warm others’ hearts utilizing empathy. I practice. I go to my mat. I go within. I remain open, gentle, full

And unexpectedly, the sun’s power brightens the way to resolution, to partnership, to grace. The unexpected moments that impacts us so deeply that we close us off magically brew the courage we need to chase the sun. I choose to chase the sun with relentless curiosity in an exploration to fill the blank pages of my own story: open, gentle, and full.

Lost in translation between reality and truth

Reality and truth…aren’t they the same? Or are they opposite? My reality is quite contrary to my truth from my heart. It is filled with overwhelming stress, management of others rather than myself and a never-ending sacrifice of my being for the benefit of others. However, the reality of benefiting others somehow unites it with my truth. It is the most authentically disconnected I’ve ever been. What does that mean? Well, I feel imperfect, vulnerable, emotional; yet confident, powerful, and overly optimistic. When people say “day by day”…I finally know what that means. It means everyday, you try your hardest, maybe resulting in your definition of subpar and others, you are left empowered and inspired.

Lately though, I am not on a consistent kick of either…thankfully, not a totally depressed state of confusion nor an enlightened high of strength and validation. I am resting in an active polarity of CHANGE. I am feeling the effects of CHANGE…the confusion and the confidence. The strength and deep vulnerability, the tears and the inner brightness that turns a frown upside down. So do I fight the uncomfortability or do I accept that CHANGE = a blend of reality and truth. And do we ever end up living our truth 100 percent in reality.

Chances are in this world, NO! As people around me break my heart, make my day and confuse me simply because we are human and face indifference, I laugh internally and frown externally. My emotions are so unconsciously in flux, I can’t even control it. Therefore, I am left questioning, “what is truth and what is reality?”

And I guess I’m coming to the that truth is inherently felt and reality is the everchanging flow of external responsibilities, personal desires, work, play, and the inter-workings of relationships, existence and compassion. Do they always collaborate? In my daily life, my imperfection screams NO as the ideal from my mind retaliates with YES! A.k.a. LOST IN TRANSLATION

between the precious goodness of existence and the hardships of surviving this so-called “life” — the one we only get one of and that we should live to the fullest. And in the midst of it all, I wonder…is “living it all” also the extreme surrender to embracing difficulty just as much as extreme joy. Can they be interchanged? I have never worked so hard, yet been so happy because my purpose feels bigger and more important than ever before. So as we step through our lives, how much is the sacrifice worth it? Is it our truth or is it our reality speaking and how do we know which one is more prevalent?

Personally, I believe if we keep trying as hard as we can, keep feeling AND listening to the people and senses around us, neglecting only the negative energy that comes our way and opening to expanding love, we will rest somewhere between truth and reality. The truth is embedded in us and the reality is a daily battle…they are coexisting in each of us. However lost we all feel, we can ‘be found’ at the center of our hearts; the essence of a deep breath and closing of our eyes can save our lives (even if just for a second). I conclude with not being more clear on what reality is and what truth is, rather the fact that they are part of the CHANGE that creates who we are — the path we follow, whether a clear made trail or a field of bushes and flowers. There is still beauty in both…


Driving responsbility with humor — available to participate in it all

Lately, I have been pulled by the reins of responsibility. Being a general manager in a restaurant that is both a community meeting place, as well as, an example of love, honesty, communication and teamwork, I recognize my role in being a leader to not only my staff, other businesses around Tahoe, and the customers. With the role of a leader, comes an overwhelming amount of responsibility. Now, I could walk through the job day to day without taking the amount of responsibility required to expand and connect, however, the rewards of exuding compassionate effort day after day has started to creep into my heart.


Yesterday, at the pinnacle of my exhaustion, I arrived at the realization that without humor, the responsibility will foster into a capsule of resistance due to the lack of lightness. So, if we invite in the willingness to approach responsibility with both effort and humor, do we in turn become more available? And by being available, how do others around us react? As a manager, it’s easy to sit back and delegate but I’ve noticed that if I step up and become available to listen, work, laugh, relate, and ultimately embrace their needs, the result is much more positive.

When we are more available from the heart, we can open up to taking on responsibility, and then, participate in more. From this place of participation, we awaken to a more expansive concept of possibility.  These opportunities are drawn to us as we begin to remain more available to facing the depths of responsibility and humor. And this is determined by how we show up.

As the relationships and expectations around me shift daily, with constant shifts, I notice that if I show up with a deep-seeded intention of resolve, the resolutions come. The trust that everything is going to resolve itself with the benefit of growth is keeping me pushing forward. And the community here continues to inspire me to keep pushing forward…but for them, not for me. This letting go of fear of the responsibility and embracing the humor in the often difficulty of actively participating makes the days unfold with more joy.

It is easy to participate when a situation brings a smile and sense of ease, but can we still participate when our limits are pushed? When things such as doubt and uncertainty spiral us to anxious thoughts of judgment. I have been pushed so deeply in the past two months. But as I break it down, I see that I’m getting through it, and as long as I wake up each day trying to honestly connect with others and try my hardest, the responsibility is actually a privilege, rather than a stress. To intertwine the workings of humor (lightness) and responsibility (heaviness), the practice of feeling both simultaneously brings a colorful balance; neither light or dark. To live in the light all the time is limiting our growth, but to live in the darkness limits our potential to exist with fulfillment. So maybe it’s more about a colorful existence of lights and darks. A brightness that is available to expand our vision of how we show up and how we participate. And although we may have a favorite color, maybe we can start to see the beauty in a multiple of colors. Can we paint a brighter picture with each day?

Left lying in a lonely bed — embracing abstract spontaneity

Unheard in the fog of smoke,

Burned from the chill of ice,

Left lying in a lonely bed,

Forced to cuddle with sunken sheets.

Winds howl through the rivers of my veins,

Blood churning to the humming of my inner child,

She sings with a naïve pitch,

Gracefully ignorant to the horrors of cultural pseudo-utopia,

Where love is a number,

And laughter comes only after a tear.

Tears fall from my face,

Dreaming of the ideal reality canvassed over my world,

Mounted on my back for others to receive,

Diving faced-down, hands at my heart,

Humbly giving up the structured work of art for an abstract blend of spontaneity,

Releasing the selfish frames of arrogance,

Left lying in a lonely bed,

Soaking up the space to rest,

Listening to the sound of my own breath.

Cancer, breakups, tragedy, and a new day? Why?

In the last two weeks, I think I’ve cried enough to last me six months. It is true that the body can only handle so much stress and trauma, emotionally or physically, before it breaks down. I am broken, but only slightly. Enough to be rebuilt and hopefully this time much stronger. Or wait? Maybe I don’t want to be stronger, I just want to be more full of love. And as I get loving advice from my support system around me, I see even more clearly that maybe I’ve been too strong for too long and the shield is thick. Granted, the shield is thick with much passion and care for the outside world, but my shield is blocking my vision. Lately, with deep pressure in my professional life and sadness in my personal life, the tears are clearing a path to seeing in a new light.

A dear friend, too young to have terminal cancer, is facing the harshest throws from the demon of stomach cancer. It is quite likely that the demon will soon suck her in, ending her positive, bright, and optimistic life on Earth. Having to accept the tragedies of life such as these unexplainable occurrences makes me not want to face another day, read another news story, build another meaningful relationship, or care so much I drive myself crazy. It makes you question what is really worth it? And when the goin’ gets tough, I believe the answer seems to be NO. But ultimately, after the tears and grief and hopelessness fade, the answer begins to evolve into YES…a grateful look at existence. But what is actually ‘really worth it’ starts to narrow and the unnecessary habits and worries of life insignificantly drop off.

So the one outlook that death and heartbreak can positively bring is a more enhanced version of how you want to live out your truth, your destiny, your happiness. And so a new day indeed becomes a gift only when we’re ready to release anger, reframe our attitude, and adopt more love to overcome the tragedy. Even in my daily life, my own breakups and heartbreaks feel like tragedy, although on a minimal level compared to death. And I guess this is an example of the different stages of life; everything is relative. And yet the growth can come by recognizing that my own breakups and heartbreaks aren’t death, therefore, making it temporary. Death is permanent, a breakup or heartbreak is not. Our mind can make it permanent, but that is a facade. The tears still mean we’re alive and learning and growing.

Cancer is not fair; it’s a horrible beast of pain that is exploiting the human population (and other species, too). These darkest and most difficult moments of life also illuminate the brightest and happiest moments…so is it worth it? Would you continue wanting to live if you knew you were going to get cancer? Would a new day seem worth the pain? We all struggle to make it through day to day and it’s important to remember that we don’t know everyone’s story. Maybe the person next to you on the bus or at the cafe is facing a similar heartbreak or an even deeper tragedy than we’ve ever faced. Keeping that in mind, that alters my outlook on relating with others. How about you? So as the crying hopefully dissipates a bit, rather than being stronger and more aggressive, I would like to maintain a balanced strength, enough to carry more love with an open heart. Because the days are truly precious and extremely temporary!

The hollow pain of suffering — breeding joy in the truest form

After being seriously shaken by stress, fear, joy, vulnerability and the depths of conscious daily existence through struggles and smiles, I could do nothing more than write…and cry a little along the way!

There’s that pain,

That pain when you sob inside and it just sheds one tear,

The deep heart-splitting sensation where the world stops,

Your breath yields to your organs cringing at the seams,

Only coming alive again when you gasp for air and sob as you lungs expand and contract,

Against the waves of existence,

Sadness swarms the mind more than the soul,

A temporary lapse of questioning divinity, peace…truth,

Yet there is that one point when death transforms to birth,

Our tears dry and our heart balloons to life,

And as long as we are standing on Mother Earth,

The cyclical nature of yin and yang will remain,

The hollow depth that we call sadness,

Intertwines with the passionate and joyful abundance of gratitude,

And we are left always being uniquely misunderstood,

Overstretch and undermined,

Where the melody of a song ignites the soul,

The release of eyelids closing to embrace the moment,

Where darkness feels as powerful as light,

Blending the eternal extremes of depression and confidence,

Rectifying that life is about all of it,

A creative process beckoning for enlightenment added with a splash of tragedy,

Keeping it raw and un-utopic,

Far from a fairytale,

Rather a medley of unspoken truths and screams of vulnerability,

There’s that pain,

That feels so real we know we’re alive,

That pain where our core is shaken,

And a new day is a blessing.

As our heart grows stronger,

We adapt,

And continue on our journey,

Slightly overmined and understretched,

Until our being feels enough pain to gain the flexibility to find freedom in the mind,

This is why a smile brightens the soul and we connect,

feeling the rhythms of humanness,

Asking us to feel pain to feel joy,

And back again. This is it!