Therapy Session: Life Changes

Therapy Session: Life ChangesZuma Beach 2017

Carmen: Honestly, I don’t know what’s wrong. Everything. Nothing. On the one hand, I know I have nothing to be complaining about. On the other, all I want to do is scream. It’s all just jibberish. Never mind.

Dr. Mei: How about if you stop over-analyzing what you’re going to say, and just say it?  Let me hear it and I’ll tell you if I think it’s jibberish or not. Deal?

Carmen: Okay.  Deal.  Uhm. Well, simply last week I was sure I’d be pitching my TV drama idea based on my book but I didn’t finish it. You know, detailing out all the characters and such. I wanted to be so organized, so ready and I’m not. Then, I got it in my head that I should pitch an idea I had on cultural criticism to a magazine that’s looking for new writers and so I started working on that.  I’ve outlined my second book – and started writing another chapter — I saw an audition online and wondered if I should submit – then I thought I should contact my agent to start sending me out or get a new agent because –  what the fudge, right? They haven’t sent me out at all. It’s annoying. Uggh.  I applied for a grant a while back and decided to follow through on the play part of the proposal. Plus it’s still something I want to do.  I “owe” two podcasts – based on my self-imposed schedule – I mean, what is wrong with me? Why do I think I can do all of this? And why can’t I do all of this?  Why am I feeling overwhelmed when this is everything I’ve been asking to do all along?

Dr. Mei:  First, take a breath. A deep breath.  Good.  Now, it seems like a lot, but why do you think you’re not doing it?

Carmen:  Well, if I’m being honest, I realize for the first time in my life I’m living my dream. For all these years I’ve worked a job I hated – yeah, I’ll say hated, without hesitation.  Even more than the work itself,  I hated the people I worked for.  I mean, now that I can look back, most of the people I handled money for were bitter, old-minded, entitled privileged lazy people. Ungrateful. And constantly complaining about how hard their life was and the worst:  they always “announced” how much they did for everyone else – which for the record, was write a check. Write a check from money they never had to earn by the way.  Anyone can write a check if they have money.  But it takes a real kind of person to take credit for doing bullshit.  I think I hated that the most. The god-damn boasting about how much money they gave to such and such… But I digress. I ultimately hated the work itself.

So, here I am, now, getting up every day working as a creative entity. I wrote my book, I’m doing some speaking events, I’m writing — exploring every day what it feels like to be a writer.  I can’t lie, it’s taken me some time to get into the groove of things. I mean, when I rehearsed as a kid, as a dancer, I was on schedule.  And, it’s taken me some time to FEEL like this is right, but I can’t lie. I’m scared.  I just am!

I fear I’m going to do all this work and nothing will come of it.  I mean, that’s not why you’re supposed to do ART in the first place, right? You’re supposed to create ART authentically because you can’t do anything else. But what if I share all of this, what if I pitch this or that or write a second book and no one cares?  What if I put so much into all of it and I get rejected, dismissed – or worse, what if I hear nothing at all?  What if I do all this and I still can’t pay the bills? What am I thinking?

I really can look at my entire life and see it that way. Nothing I’ve wanted has ever come to fruition. I’ve failed at everything I ever wanted even if I succeeded at everything else.  My entire life up until this point has always been to do the right thing. To be the good girl. To never be a bother.  And even still – with all of my effort of always being of service to others, of always being honest and kind…why haven’t I succeeded in all the things I’ve wanted?  Why try this? I’m just setting myself up for more heartache, right?  And which one of these things should I be pursuing?  What is wrong with me that I think I should be doing 5 things at a time?  And have I lost my mind? Do I think money grows on trees somewhere?

Dr. Mei:  Well, two things come to mind that I’d like to share.  Maybe three. First, take a breath.  I’m not saying that because it’s what I tell everyone – I’m saying that because I don’t think you notice how you hold your breath and tense up when you speak.  Your passion, your concern are formidable, but that stress is mounting and I can SEE it in you.  So first, take a nice long deep breath.

Second. I love how you said you’ve “failed”.  You realize you’re not done, yet, right?  You get that it’s not over yet.  As I know you, as I’ve read in your book, you haven’t failed at anything that was put in your path.  Most people see you as a success.  But you feel like you’ve failed at the things you want in life. I get that. But you’re wrong.  The problem isn’t that you failed Carmen. The problem is that you haven’t even started yet. 

You feel like a failure because you’ve been pursuing other people’s needs and joys.  You’ve never followed your true North.  You moved to Los Angeles and took a job doing bookkeeping because you knew it’d be better money than being a waiter, plus you’d never last waiting on people.  But it was the plan till you could get yourself stabilized to pursue your creative career.  Things continued on from there and the jobs got more important and impressive – and they got even more miserable with every day that went on.  My goodness, you wrote a book in the midst of so much misery in the job you had while working through past pain of your childhood!  That’s pretty remarkable. I can’t wait to read the second book for that reason alone!

Third, and maybe most importantly, you’re here now.  THIS was your path to get here.  You needed to travel that road to get to THIS point.  None of it was a waste of time – and none of it was really in your control.  This is LIFE happening.  You can only do what you know how to do when you actually KNOW how to do it.  You couldn’t be anything else other than who you were then, to be who you are NOW. This is the journey you’re on.  And so far, it’s been pretty interesting to say the least. Aren’t you excited to see what’s next? I am. I can’t wait to see what you do from here.

Let’s talk about rejection.  Or my other favorite quip you said, “…or worse, hear nothing at all.”  Whatever it is, fear of being rejected, to make a mistake, to let people down, to not make enough money to make a living, whatever.  Rejection is hard.  Doesn’t matter how many times you’ve gone through it, doesn’t matter how used to it you think you are – rejection is difficult.  Got it?

By the way, welcome to the club.

Yes. It’s a club.  We’ve all been there at least once in our lives.  You’re at a crossroad and instead of choosing which path to take, you’re standing at the head of all the choices in front of you hoping someone will you push you down the “right” path.

Look, everyone wishes Steven Spielberg will run into them at the local coffee shop and be so stunned by their mere presence that he asks you to his office because you’re his next lead in his upcoming movie.  People dream of Oprah calling them on the phone and saying, I read your book and you’re one of my favorite things… yes, we all want that. Someone to validate us, someone to walk us through.  It would be easier…

I’m not Steven Spielberg, but let me help shove you down a path anyways.  Write the TV Script, do the pitch, write the second book, do the acting, the podcast, the blog, do the magazine cover – DO ALL OF IT!  Do the speaking events, teach, write, dance – all of it IS WHO YOU ARE.  It’s who you’ve always been even while doing everything else.  That’s what’s so impressive.  IT’S YOUR TRUE NORTH Carmen.  You’re a story-teller, a performer.  Do you need evidence? Okay – here’s some off the top of my head:  Steve Cadwell said, “You write like Hemingway: every word true to the bare bone fact of how you experienced it. Compelling!”  That was October 21st, 2018.  Right?  You sent me the email because you were so happy.

Need more? I can rattle off the names, the people – some you know, some you don’t who have already told you about your writing.  But just looking at your face I can sense your disbelief.

Tell me what you’re thinking right now.

Carmen: I’m thinking they’re all just being nice. Overly generous.

Dr. Mei: Okay. Let’s go with that. Let’s pretend that all the accolades thus far have been people “just being nice” to you.  For the record, that’s a complete untruth, but let’s just go with it.  So what?  Then just do it because it’s what’s next.  Do it because you have no reason NOT too. Do it because you’ve been given numerous “signs” that you should.  Do it because NOT doing it guarantees failure and regret. Do it because it makes you happy. Do it because I’m telling you, this is so much closer to your true North than anything else you’ve done in the past 20 years. Do it because even when you talk about the struggle of it, you still sound lighter and happier than any time you’ve talked about any other work you’ve ever done.  Do it because the worst possible thing that can happen is that you took the shot, it didn’t work out and you go about and do something else.  I don’t see how that’s a bad thing.

Carmen:  Yeah. I know. Everything you said, is true. I know all of this. The weird part is, I’m excited. I’m excited about all of it.  And it’s mixed with a tinge of fear. But when I think of going back to my old life – the only word I can come up with is dread.  Absolute dread.

Dr. Mei: You’ve already leaped Carmen. You’re in the air right now –in the midst of it all.  Don’t worry about how you’ll land.  Stop looking to land just yet.  For now, keep doing the work. Keep flying high on the joy it brings you. No matter how you land, you’ll be fine.  My guess is, you’ll be better than fine.

Carmen:  You know what’s so funny and sad at the same time? I went and saw the new Avengers movie and there’s a line in it that made me wince – I just couldn’t believe I had just heard this. I promise, no spoilers. Have you seen it yet?  It doesn’t matter.  This line gives away nothing to the movie. But the character says something like: “Everyone fails at who they’re supposed to be. A measure of a person is how well they succeed at being who they are.”

What I really thought in that moment:  I’ve gone mad crazy. I’m so ridiculous I’m even getting “signs” from action movies. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies, it’s just…crazy, right?

Dr. Mei: Well, that’s one way to look at it. Or, the way I see it – the universe is trying to push you down a path in every way possible.  And if not the universe, then you’re inner-self for sure. You’re seeing what you need to see.  You’re hearing what you need to hear.  Whether you choose to listen is another thing. It’s like that clip you like in the show the West Wing. The episode is Take This Sabbeth Day, remember?  It may be a bit too religious for this moment, but it’s on point. Choose to take all the signs your getting – the most important sign is that YOU want to do all of this. If you had all the money in the world, THIS is who you’d be, right?  Failure wouldn’t be such a big deal then. It’d be just a bump in the road to still doing what you want to do.  And seriously, when have you EVER allowed money to be the reason you chose to do anything at all?  To define you?  To stop you from doing what you want to do?  Don’t start now.  This is the best part!  Enjoy the ride. It’s just getting started.

Carmen:  Yeah!  You’re right. Oh my goodness. Yes!

Dr. Mei: Till next time, then?

Carmen: Yes!  Thank you so much.

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West Wing Clip: Take this Sabbath

Writers Block: Never Experienced It

I’ve never experienced writers block.blocks-bricks-brickwall-761142

I know –  I was talking to a friend yesterday and we had a whole conversation about writers block and she didn’t believe me AT ALL.

[Please continue reading the lightly transcribed post below or listen to the podcast here] 

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But the truth of the matter is, long, long ago I used to have the same experience as a dancer where I would keep making the same mistake over and over and over again.

And I had this amazing coach (and instructor) who would just tell me, “You know what? Enough. Just stop!  You need to just sit down!”  And so I would do that.  I would be forced to just sit down and do something else.

I would go take a walk around the track.  Or I would go sit on my knapsack – or whatever.  The point is that I learned early on that when you get stuck – when you get into a place where you can’t  do what you need to do as a dancer,  then you need to stop and do something else – because you’re just repeating the same mistake over and over again.

And I think in a lot of ways I’ve incorporated that into my life as a writer – and just in my life in general.

When something isn’t working, I stop doing it.  I try to do something else.  And then I come back to it.

I also think because I learned this at such a young age, I don’t see “writers block” as a negative thing.

I see it as a way in which my body tells me that I need a rest.  That I need a break.  Just like as a dancer,  I would keep making the same mistake over and over again – and then I’d realize that the reason why I was making a mistake over and over again was because I was tired.  I was exhausted.

Well when you write it’s not any different. We get exhausted. Our mind gets exhausted. We may not readily see that,  or experience it,  but the way in which I view that moment in time when I’m writing and I can’t really stop thinking about other things —  or I can’t seem to keep myself focused,  I see that as my body trying to tell me that I need a break.  And so, I’ll go listen to music, or I’ll go take a run, or I’ll just go watch television for a bit and then I’ll come back to it.

And sometimes it’ll be 5 minutes later and sometimes it might be a day later.  But what I don’t do is beat myself up for needing a break.  And I definitely don’t call it a “block” —  I don’t call it a “writer’s block” —  I just call it a time for me to take a break.

I think if we see that as a positive —  as resting period – as an ability to kind of rejuvenate –  it becomes a much quicker thing to notice Number 1,  and a much quicker thing to get through Number 2. Which means you can then get back to work!   Usually with fresher eyes and a rested soul.  And with much more enthusiasm to get back to your creativity — instead of beating yourself up for having “Writer’s Block”.

So, I just wanted to share that.  I would love to hear how other people deal with this writer’s block phenomenon….

Thank you so much for stopping by —  I appreciate it so much —  and I hope you have a sweet day.

I’ll be back again soon.

Carmen

Tell Your Story: Part 2 How To Create

TELL YOUR STORY: HOW TO CREATE? 

So, if you’ve decided to tell your story, how do you go about doing it?

How do you go about writing, or sculpting or filming or whatever it is bitmoji-20190402030809you’re going to do – to write your story — How do you go about doing that?

[Please continue reading the lightly transcribed post below or click on the podcast and listen to the recording]

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Well, the truth is – there is no right or wrong way to do things. But I will say this – especially as a writer – I always think about when I danced. I was an bitmoji-20190402030846amazing dancer.  It’s something I was born with as a kid.  And I loved to dance.  I was passionate about it.

I can remember people who would come up to me and try to copy me.  And they would always look the most awkward and the weirdest — because they were trying to copy something that I was doing. They were complimenting me — they were saying, “oh you’re such a great dancer I want to be just like you.”

So that was a very flattering thing — but they always looked out of place – out of sorts.

The people that looked the best, the people that I always admired, were the people that got up and danced any way. They did it their own way.  It didn’t matter if they were in rhythm or if they were out-of-sorts, or if they were just doing these strange and interesting hand movements and their feet were all awkward — I always loved this ability to be an individual.  And to be dynamic. And willing to just do it your own way. They will always the happiest dancers, the best dancers and everyone was paying attention to them.

That’s what I think the creative process is like.

That’s why I think — whatever it is you choose to do to tell your story — however you choose to do that  is going to be right if you do it from your own inner place of joy and happiness.

Now that doesn’t mean there isn’t some technique involved. It doesn’t mean there aren’t some better ways to do things – but you know, that’s what an editor is for.  When it comes to writing…when I started writing, I just wrote and I let it all come out.  And then I let the story mold itself.  And I figured out ways to thread things through so that the story would have “connection”.  But at the end of the day I still had somebody else read it.  I had an editor go through it — and that person goes in and looks at it and says, “Hey you know what? This is a great idea…”  or “This works here and here, but this doesn’t make sense…”.

So don’t worry about all that stuff afterwards.

Just sit down and sculpt whatever you’re going to sculpt.  Do it however you going to do it. All that other stuff will come through.  All the other possibilities to kind of refine it and touch it up or fix it  —  so that your voice can be heard the way in which you intend.  We’ll get there — you’ll get there after you have that base part.  Because I have to tell you, all those people that danced the way that they wanted to dance they were feeling the music! They were in joy! They were happiness! And afterwards, they were the people I wanted to talk to.  They were the people I wanted to learn from.  And it has nothing to do with dancing, and everything with being an individual and being unique and being strong and having courage.  And to me, that’s what the creative process is.  It’s all about us finding that inner strength,  that inner courage,  that inner love,  that inner joy —  and sharing it with the world.  bitmoji-20190328073700

Because at the end of the day, I feel like that’s what we’re here to do.  To share the best parts of who we are with everyone and hopefully along the way that will help someone else too!

As always, thanks for stopping by. Have a sweet day and I’ll be back again soon.

Bye.

Carmen

Tell Your Story: How To – The First Part

Tell Your Story: How to – The First Part 20190331_152508

One of the questions that I keep being asked when I share that I just published my first book is… people’s excitement or wish that they could also write their story.

I want to talk a little bit about how I went about writing my story in the hopes that maybe it might motivate other people.  Or let you realize that it’s actually something that can happen and that it’s not that hard.

[Please continue to enjoy the lightly transcribed post below or listen to the podcast here]:  

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Don’t get me wrong, publishing a book is a difficult process and the landscape is changing so much — so the business end of it is a little bit difficult.  But writing your story is the first part.  And everyone has a story to tell!  How you go about sharing that story is kind of what I’m here to talk about.

A few years back I was overwhelmed with the success I had noticed in my life.  And I took a moment and decided to write a letter to all those that helped basically raised me after my mom passed away.

If you know any part of my story, I’ve never known who my father is, so there were a lot of people involved in helping me get through.  That’s what “CANELA” is all about actually.

So I started writing these letters basically to say thank you and in the first letter that I wrote which was to “Jackson”, which is in the book, I explained a very specific period or moment where I realized he had “saved” me.

And I decided to post that one letter on a previous website I had — and the comments,  and the reaction —  was just overwhelming and incredible.  And people started saying,  “…you should write a book…”.

So I took the 12 other letters that I was starting to write – the ideas that I had — and because I wasn’t actually in touch with everyone readily, I just kept writing the letters and I put it aside.

Then I put them in chronological order when I was done.  And then I wove a thread through the entire “chapters” –  through the entire story –  trying to kind of combine them together.

I asked myself:  who would I be sharing this story with if I wanted to tell someone who all these people were?

And then it became a manuscript.

And that’s how the creative process – for me – started and ended.

I then had a manuscript that I needed someone to also read and help me fill in the blanks of the things that I was missing —  because I was so “in it” at the time.  When you’re writing, when you’re creating sometimes you don’t see what other people can see…

So once I was done with the first part of it: which was just getting that story down and getting that thread through it all – I had a friend of mine, read it.  And that helped me to construct other little pieces that needed to be put into the book, into the manuscript at that time.

The purpose of this post is to share with you that there is no right or wrong way to share your story or to tell your story.  And there’s no reason for you not to start trying – even if you just sit down today and write one paragraph of what you think you might want to write about,  that would be the beginning of the process.

Or write a letter to someone telling a certain part of a funny story about what happened to you when you were eleven or last week —  it doesn’t matter —  there is no rule how you choose to start writing,  except that you have to start writing.  Or maybe for you it’s painting, or maybe for you it’s recording something or sculpting something?

I wanted to write this post to kind of take away this idea that it is so hard 20190331_152402and so difficult and that there was something different about how writers go about writing and how other people go about creating.

It is all about sitting down and deciding for yourself that your story should be told!

And so I hope you’ll share with me how you go about that or if you’re going to go about it —  because I would love to learn more about how people go about sharing their story – how you go about the process of writing, or creating in any form, that you choose to do it.  It inspires me!

As always, thanks for stopping by —  have a sweet day.

I’ll be back again real soon!

Carmen

Forced to Write

I have been writing regularly since I was about 13 or 14 years old. bitmoji-20190328072744

I remember how it started. I had been told by an authority figure – a teacher or a therapist – I can’t remember which one — that I needed to start writing every day.  They were trying to force me to write about my feelings so I would deal with my mom’s passing because I wasn’t dealing with it at all.  I was just rehearsing all the time.

[Enjoy the rest of the transcription by reading below, or click on the podcast]:

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In a lot of ways it was bad that they were trying to force me to write because, as with anything, when you force a kid or actually an adult as well, to try to do something – the first thing you want to do is be defensive and not do it at all.

But what it did do, is exposed me to a possibility.  And that possibility to get up every day and write in a journal – has been my saving grace.

Now I’m not an advocate of forcing people to write every day, or to do whatever it is I think works for me…

I do think being able to take time out for yourself every day is really important – especially in this world and in this time where everything seems so stressful.  We have so much technology around us — and you know — I always kind of giggle at people who pay so much money to do yoga, and meditate —  we’re actually paying for quiet and silent sometimes.

So, for me at 4:30 or 5 O’clock in the morning, I’m having my coffee and I have my sketchbook out and I hand write because that’s what I do.  That’s how I start my day and I rarely ever missed that no matter what.  Even if I’m traveling.  I tend to like to “hand” write because I like the texture from the paper and a pen.

I have a kind-of system that every year around my birthday I shred all of those sketchbooks or documents or whatever I’ve been using.  That’s just been something I’ve always done.

I think it’s harder for me to write on a computer in a “journal-entry” kind-of form.  If I switch gears in my head and call it creative writing then I’m able to do it a little bit better.  But it’s not the same thing.  It’s not the same therapeutic kind-of process that I do every morning.

The reason why I shred journals every year is because sometimes when I sit back and read them –  they are just horrendous, or bad, or just they’re kind-of gibberish.  And there just kind of process…

Sometimes I’m working through problems, or anger things, or happy things that I never would want anyone to know about.  And there is also that — there is the ability, and the want to make sure that it’s always private.  It’s just for me. It’s not for anybody else unless I choose to share certain things about it – and I have in the past, taking pictures of my journal entries at times and posted up as a journal.  You can find them here in my blog post – but that also takes a lot of work too because I have to go back and reread it and I’m very careful about how I’m writing it.  Yeah it’s just a different mindset.

As always, I just like to share these things. I would love to hear how you go about giving yourself time every day — that would be fantastic to know – how some people make sure they find time throughout the day to meditate,  to think,  to create or to just “BE”.

As always, I hope you have a sweet day. I appreciate you stopping by, and I’ll be back again real soon.

Bye,

Carmen

Single and Breathing

Okay, I want to share this:After picking up my Lotto Tickets

I walked down to the gas station so I could get a Lotto ticket and also to just get a little workout in.

I was sweaty and gross and as I was finalizing my lottery ticket (which I’m sure is going to win) when this young man came up to me and asked me if I was single.

Continue reading loose transcript below or listen to the podcast:

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I was a little bit thrown.  Good looking young man, very well dressed and he was buying gas or something.

I looked behind me to see if he was talking to somebody behind me and he said, “No, I’m asking you. Are you single?”

I still couldn’t answer him because I was in shock.  He said, “I’d love to buy you a drink or maybe lunch or coffee…”.  He was so elegant and quite fantastic actually.

But I just looked at him and I just said, “You know, I can’t do that — my boyfriend’s waiting for me at home but thank you.  I appreciate it.”  And I just pivoted and walked away.

I started thinking about how embarrassed I was that he asked me.

Also he probably was half my age?  – Maybe not half my age, but it doesn’t matter –  he was young enough to be my son.  And although I was flattered by that, there’s a part of me that knows I have some very strict standards.

I feel a little bad that I lied to him, but I’d rather have lied to him, than have made him feel stupid or made him feel bad.

I am single.

I am single because I have had two great loves in my life and I was so disappointed when they ended that I think it’s been very difficult for me to even consider the possibility ever again.

It’s not that they ended badly or that they were horrible, it’s just that when you really do love someone and you care for them it’s really difficult to lose that friendship as well as the relationship.

I’m not sitting here pretending that I could have been friends with these people ever again after what happened between us, but it was so disappointing, and it hurt me so much that I think it’s really hard for me to ever even consider anything less than what I want now and what I deserve.

It’s almost as if having those relationships have now set the bar really high.

So, I am not going to spend any more time on “finding love”.  Any more than I do on anything else in my life because I believe there is something very organic in relationships.

I don’t go looking for friendships.  I don’t go looking for new girl-friends either to hang out with.  They either happen or they don’t in all of the things that I do in my life.  And I think that’s kind-of how the next step has to be for me.

I’m also not crazed about this idea that I have to be married.  Or that I have to be in a relationship.

I do believe we are social beings.  I do believe we are better with companions and friendships and partners and spouses.  But, I also think we can be worse with those things too if it’s not the right fit.

So yeah, I’m single.  But it’s a good thing, not a bad thing. It’s not preferred or something that I don’t like – it’s just where I’m at today.

In order for me to ever really consider ever dating someone again, he’s going to have to at least be in his 40’s – or at least turning 40 – and then all my other standards that I have.

I guess the reason why I’m sharing this post is because I wanted to say this:

I think it’s OK to have standards.  I think it’s OK to want what you want!

What I don’t want is some of the relationships that some of my friends have.  They are in so deep with children and mortgages and their businesses are tied in and they feel like they can’t breathe.

You know what? Right now I’m single and I can breathe.  And I love it. And I don’t want that to change as much as I want to find someone that kind of fits into that puzzle pretty easily (if that makes any sense).

I just wanted to share that. I would love to hear your thoughts.

As always, have a sweet day. Thank you again for always stopping by — I appreciate it!

I’ll be back again soon.

Bye.

Carmen

To Be Hurt is Human

To Be Hurt Is Humanbitmoji1646363289

So, I just got back from this amazing workout and I want to try and capture how I’m feeling at the moment.

Three weeks ago I hurt myself trying to do all these new workout moves and just trying to up my game as an athlete (so funny that I’m calling myself an “athlete).

(watch video or read below):

I’ve been working-out since I was about 4 years old and working-out for me is like brushing my teeth —  but I would never actually call myself an “athlete” except that I’m still exhausted at the moment.

Anyways, I was trying to up my game – and I hurt myself.

Instead of acknowledging that I was hurt, I just tried to push on through because I thought I was being weak, I thought I was finding an excuse and I thought it wasn’t trying hard enough.

It got so bad – I hurt my lower back – that I couldn’t even sleep.  And so it started that Round-Robin thing – where you can’t sleep, so your body can’t heal itself, and you’re still in pain and you can’t sleep…

I mean it just kept going on and on and finally I had to call my doctor.

I hate doctors.

Actually, I don’t “hate” doctors but you know what I mean.  I had to call and we had a conversation about what I had to do and basically he said, “You need to stop doing any physical activity whatsoever.  I just want you to try to walk around the block if you can do that but no more working-out. You need to let your body heal.”

And I didn’t really answer him back at first because I was kind of stunned.  And then he said,  “Did you hear me?  I said you have to let your body heal!”  And he said it in kind of a “fatherly” way even though he’s younger than I am – but it’s been stuck in my head. Basically, my doctor had just yelled at me about not listening to my body.

So, I did what he told me to do. I did the icing, the Advil and I did very little “physicality” at all (my God I’m so tired I just had a crazy workout by the way).

But this isn’t about working-out.  That’s not why I’m doing this video. 

The reason why I’m doing this video is because I want to share this moment I had after leaving my trainer today and while I was in the car…

I think I don’t listen to myself when I’m in pain emotionally or mentally.  I have a feeling a lot of us do that. Instead of listening to ourselves and acknowledging that somebody hurt us, or that work was painful today, or that something didn’t workout.   I think a lot of us do what I do — which is just push it aside or ignore it – and just plowing on through anyway.  It’s so much easier to push things aside than it is to deal with them.

And what I realized with the whole “back” [pain] thing is this:   that when I can acknowledge that I’m in pain, when I can realize that it has nothing to do with weakness and it has nothing to do with not being a “strong” person, but has everything to do with actually being human  – that YOU can get hurt sometimes.  When you can acknowledge that you’re hurt, then you can go about finding the remedies:  to heal thyself, to help thyself, to feel better.

It’s just something that I realized driving back.  That I want to take away from the whole experience from the past 3 to 4 weeks of being in such pain and not being able to work-out.

I just wanted to share that with all of you.

Thank you again for stopping by.  I appreciate it so much.

Have a sweet day and I’ll be back again soon for sure!

Bye.

Carmen

Age Totally Matters

AGE TOTALLY MATTERS

podcast:

*As always, you can enjoy the podcast above, or the light transcript below – thanks for stopping by! *

It’s never too late to start a business, to dream, to write a book, to run a marathon… It’s never too late to start from where you are right now.  I don’t even understand why we think that.

Again, I’m really going to be heavy on this whole idea of our own personal journey and the pathways we choose to walk are just more and more information and more and more education of ourselves, right?  To be our best selves!

And so if at 50 or at 60 or at 70 – if  that’s when you’re ready to do that thing you’ve always wanted to do,  then that’s when you start!

I’m not trying to say age doesn’t matter.  I think it does!  But not a negative way.

I think it matters in a positive way.

I would not be able to do the things I’m doing right now if I didn’t have all of this experience and wisdom and “know how”.

I would never go back to my 20’s just try to do what I’m doing right now. There’s no way!  I just didn’t have all the stuff I needed:  the emotional growth and wisdom and I didn’t have the experience.

So yeah, if you want to start something today, don’t question it. If you were thinking about it that means you’re ready to start doing something. It means you’re in the process.  The fact that you’re questioning it IS part of the process of telling you – YOU SHOULD!

Have a sweet day. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be back again soon.

Carmen

PS. Yes, yes, I have a podcast — check out the podcast page for more information on how to follow!

Definition of Success: A Different Vision

As always, enjoy the PodCast or the transcribed version below.

*

I heard a motivational speaker on someone’s news feed this morning. They were talking about how – if you want to have success –  you have to leap.  You have to get rid of all this fear and just leap.

I was so frustrated.  I was so annoyed by it.  I immediately started writing.  Why is this bothering me so much?  Clearly understand what he’s trying to say and it’s not that I completely disagree —  I just have a different vision.

I also think it’s this weird concept that the only way you can find your true North or you can find “success” as he put it – is by somehow risking and possibly having loss.  To me, there’s something so negative about that.

I think it also comes from a place of experience for me. More times than not in my life I have leaped and many times I have landed on my feet and felt success, but many times I have to say I have leaped, and I have fallen (and I have fallen hard) and gotten hurt.  So, I’m not sure that’s the answer to success.

It’s probably good to define what success means though. So, clearly I think what he’s talking about is financial success.  I’m not talking about financial success – however, I think financial success and any kind of abundance in our life is all kind of the same thing.

I don’t put that much value in material goods but we do have basic needs. We also need to take care of our families and we also like to have the things we like to have — we all have a standard of life we wish to have.  So I’m not against financial success.  But I think when you pursue financial success as your only goal, you’re cheating yourself.

I say this because my experience working with so many ultra wealthy people and knowing so many (I guess) ultra poor people — the one thing I know for sure is that money does not make you happy.  And I know that’s a cliché, but that’s a true one.

If anything, I think wealthier people seem to be more miserable – because they had this idea that money would be able to solve all their woes.  But I know that being poor is also not any better.  So that’s all about financial and material-esque ideas.

I actually think the real purpose of success in life:  is learning how to walk through any situation you’re in.  I don’t think the point of life is to have as much material wealth as possible or to have as much stuff as possible – I actually believe that you can have all those things but what’s more important, is learning how to get through certain parts of our life and come out on the other side.

The first part of this is to think of life as a path – a journey. Again another visual cliché, but this is how I have always envisioned my life.  Walking along this pathway you’re going to encounter good times and bad times. And you’re going to encounter things that work and things that don’t work – and how you choose to go through those events in “our lives” is the ultimate meaning of success for me.

So yeah, I’m feeling a little down today but the way in which I choose to walk through it is: Do I dig the hole deeper? Or do I find a way to climb out of it and walk on through to the other side?  I always choose to climb out of it as quickly as possible.  And the more that you learn to deal with difficult things in your life in this manner the easier it is to get through things.

I also think we don’t put enough value in happy moments, in good times.  I think a lot of us have an expectation that life is always supposed to be good and in bliss — but that’s not true, and that’s the confusion with material wealth.  We think that people are always happy because they have everything they’ve ever wanted.  But actually, life isn’t about being continuously joyful and continuously happy.  If it was, you’d be in a mental institution – because no one can be continuously happy.  And the only way to really understand true happiness and true joy is to understand sadness and bad times.

So life to me is kind of this equilibrium where we experience all of these things. And the real true purpose is for us to learn how to walk on through each moment that comes to us and figure out how to get through it.

As time moves on and as I get older, and as I have more and more experience, I realize that even when bad times are happening to me, I find it easier to get through those than I have in the past.  With more time, comes some wisdom into how to deal with these things.

I’m also learning as I get older that I need to embrace the happy moments.  I need to really pay attention to those times when things are good.  And I think a lot of us kind of just expect life to always be good so we don’t really embrace happy times.  We’re kind-of like, “Oh yeah that was great…”  unless it’s something monumental — but even times that are content, even times that are just regular days that nothing happens, I’ve learned to really embrace and to really love and enjoy and find purpose in it.

So yeah, I don’t think that in order to have any amount of success you have to experience loss or be in a position of fear.  I think it is true that if you’re afraid to do something, that you may want to think about why you’re so afraid of it and figure out a way to walk on through.  But this idea of “leaping” and hoping you’ll fly and soar… it’s a possibility – and you could soar – that’s true.  But you could just as easily fail. How do you stand back up when you fall that hardHow do you get back up, dust yourself off and walk on through anyway?

That’s the trick.

And every time you learn that, you realize that things are not scary to try because you’ve already failed before because you’ve already been there before.  You know you can get yourself back up again and move on through.

Maybe there’s a few different concepts here that I’m talking about.  But I think it’s important to define what success means to you.  I think it’s also good to understand and visualize for yourself: what is your purpose in life?  And the third thing I’d like to leave you with is this idea:  how do you embrace the good times?  Do you take enough time to really enjoy when things are great?  And also, do you take enough time to embrace when things are just standard contentment. Just a regular day?  And if you don’t, then let’s start focusing on that!  I know that’s what helps me.

I know it helps me to focus my attention on the things that are good in my life and the things that I love to do like writing.  Today, I just did all this writing on this and now I’m sharing it with people and I already feel better even though this morning I woke up feeling a little bit blue or sad or whatever you want to call it.  I feel like I’ve gotten my energy back – and so again, how do we walk through those moments when we’re not feeling good – I think that’s the purpose of life.  I think that’s the true success that everybody seeks.  That’s the true wealth.  Everything else, is just icing!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Have a sweet day and I’ll be back again soon.

Carmen

Authenticity

Authenticity

*As always, enjoy the podcast or the kinda-sorta transcript below! Thanks for stopping by!*

I’m glad to be back and I feel like I need to have this conversation. So here it goes: the latest thing that is driving me nuts.

A few weeks ago, I went and spoke to a bunch of students in Boston – high school students and I also  spoke to 7th and 8th graders.  And we had this conversation about authenticity and what that meant.

When I landed back in Los Angeles, I realized how much it was bothering me – the people that I had to deal with after talking to these great wonderful students, it was so depressing.   

I came home and I had a meeting with this young man  (I don’t know if he’s young but he’s in his 30’s so he’s younger than me) but he’s very successful.  He sold his business.  He just moved here with his family and he’s going to be working in the film industry and he was looking for a bookkeeper. And I was happy to help him with that – possibly help him with that search.  But he kept boasting – he was doing this whole thing about how he makes about $300K to $500K a year –  how he sold his very successful business and so now he gets a certain amount of money every quarter from that –

So he’s trying to explain to me what’s involved with his need for bookkeeping and in the next breath, he’s saying things like, “…yeah you know but I’m so poor I live paycheck to paycheck.”

I actually said to him: “You’re not poor!” I mean, I said it in a tone I hope was nice — but I knew within 10 minutes of meeting with this man that I would never work for him, nor would I ever help him find somebody.   I could already tell he was just full of it – you know? 

So in one breath he was talking about how much money he makes and how successful he was and what he’s doing,  and in the next breath – because he doesn’t want to pay anything to have someone take care of his bills he’s trying to pretend that he doesn’t have enough money to pay someone a decent wage.  

So I said to him, “Look, if you can’t afford $1000 a month – that’s $12,000 a year –  then you shouldn’t hire me or you shouldn’t hire anybody that I would refer to you.”  And his whole face kind of just — I don’t even know the right word is — I just realized in that moment:

I don’t want to be around people who are not authentic, who not real. Who are not honest.  

Now, either he was bullshitting about how much money he made or he’s just a cheap human being.   Either one of those things are people I don’t want to be around.  I don’t want to be around someone is telling me to make a half a million dollars a year but they can’t afford to pay someone to help them with their money at a whole rocking $12K a year!!

And then it happened again.

A weel later I was talking to someone at a presentation I was at  – we were all just  milling around talking afterwards and everybody had left the conference room she was telling me about all the things that she does and that she’s kind of this big time entrepreneur. 

She has 5 businesses, so she’s so busy she’s always doing speaking events —  and I was kind of intrigued by learning more about her speaking events because it’s something that I’m starting to do a lot more as well.  I don’t have 5 businesses – I just kind of doing my small little thing – but I was intrigued.  I went to her LinkedIn and to all the websites and I thought, “Wow this woman is a powerhouse! She’s doing all this stuff!” 

Later that evening a mutual friend of ours said to me, “You know so and so is looking for work so if you have any work for her she kind of does business management like you and she’s also into branding and marketing and really needs a job because she got let go…”. 

I was stunned.  Not because she needed work,  or whatever,  I was stunned at this this kind of false narrative we’ve all fallen into that we’ve confused the line between branding and marketing ourselves so that we can try to get work –  so that we can be perceived a certain way and just straight up lying about who we are. 

It’s funny. Both of these people that I met –  within 5 minutes of talking to them –  I knew I would never work with these people.  I have no interest in being around them because I wasn’t getting the right vibe.

So finding out that she really wasn’t this booming entrepreneur person –  and that yes she has all these great websites and can probably do all these things, but that actually at the end of the day she’s just a regular person trying to get a job too, just trying to get work. 

I starting thinking about authenticity and I started thinking about why we’re skewing the line — and all this stuff about branding and marketing is kind of the thing you do right now. Everybody has a website.  Everybody brands. And I think we’ve confused branding with actually crossing that line where we lie to try to get work.  It’s grey line.  I’m not sure what the answer is to tell you the truth.

And then there’s social media where we’re always presenting our best selves. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with presenting the best of who we can be –  we do it every day for goodness sake I mean I I’ve been coloring my hair for like 15 years because I saw like 1 grey hair 15 years ago and freaked out!  I want to present myself in the best possible way I can.  We do it all the time.  Animals do it as well.  It’s the way in which we attract people in our lives so there’s nothing wrong with that.  I mean that’s healthy, that’s part of all of our socialization.  But when we skew that, when we’ve gone a little bit beyond presenting our best selves – to being inauthentic –  I think that’s where the line is or that’s where we’ve skewed those two things. 

But it is something that has been bothering me and I’ve been dealing with it for the past couple weeks. I keep meeting people that I just literally want to smack upside the head (not literally ’cause I would never physically ever hit or hurt someone) but you know — in my head I totally slapped him ‘upside-the-head as I was sitting across the table – and then that woman —  I just felt really bad for her.  I just wanted to hug her actually! 

So, I just wanted to share this idea of being your authentic self.

And here’s what I told the kids because is such a great conversation:

When you can figure out who you really are, presenting yourself is actually pretty easy.  Branding who you really are is actually not that hard.   I mean you can get some help from other people to help you with the coloring or the logos or whatever all that is,  but if you’re not sure of who you are —  and in the same respects with companies —  if you are not sure what your company does or what your company is supposed to be,  and all you’re doing is “branding” just a bunch of  bullshit so you can say this is all the stuff I kind of sorted do but I really do absolutely nothing…  If you don’t know who you are, you’re never going to come across the way you think you’re going to come across. 

So knowing your company, understanding what your product is, and even in our own individual selves —  Knowing who I am –  is what makes me so authentic!  Not lying about it and not trying to be more than what I am. 

I am so sick and tired of inauthentic people. And I don’t want to be around them. And I don’t want to work for people who are inauthentic.  And I don’t want to associate myself with people who are fake (and have like 15 companies but they’re actually looking for work doing anything that they can find that will pay their bills).   

Okay. So, thanks for stopping by.  Have a sweet day. 

Carmen