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

Definition of Success: A Different Vision

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

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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

Support

Like many things in our lives, it’s so much easier when you have the right support to walk you through.

Today, I ran to the beach and back – in total it’s about a 6 mile run.  I ran fiercely today – it wasn’t a struggle at all.  I took no breaks. I felt like the music carried me easily through to finish back home in fairly record time. This may seem silly to those athletic friends of mine who do a 6 mile run at lunch on a regular basis, but for me, this was finally finding my stride.  My comfort zone.

It’s taken me a long time to get back here.

I met a great work-out group via MeetUp a couple of years ago —  Sabertooth Fitness —  and I continue to participate in those classes regularly.  I train with Pete Neumann privately, once a week and I’ve started taking a yoga class at Goorus.  Yoga is something I’ve NEVER been interested in at all, since I’m NOT a fan of the practice.  But I found this YIN class that works for me and it has added a whole other level of mind and body care that I hadn’t even considered.

One of the best things I joined,  which is free, was Kasey’s Walking Group which is just a facebook page of people committed to walking or running every day during the summer months and posting a picture or any update of your “moving” that day.  You go for a walk or a run, post a selfie, and watch others post their pics as well. It’s like a great big support group across the country motivating you to just go for a 10 minute walk if it’s all you can do that day.

This morning, on my way back from my run I stopped and while taking my selfie to post, I realized all this support, all this encouraging, has walked me through a very difficult time in my life. Since February 2018 life has pretty much been a bitch!  It really has!  So many things have happened – some real good: like my book being published — but mostly a lot of bad stuff.  Truth be told, all of them stressful, anxiety driven and very disappointing.

And yet, I’ve stayed on point working out, walking, running and have found myself dealing with each situation with calm and even joy (I know, it sounds weird, but I swear it!).  Today it hit me:  all these groups and “new” friends I’ve met where our common goals have been to stay fit – all that support and encouragement – has helped me get through so many obstacles these past few months unscathed. It’s been incredible.  And today I realized it – lightbulb moment!

For some people I think it may be hard to ask for help.  But for me, I didn’t even realize I needed help.  All this time, as I walked through some minefields these past months, I’d been supported by the camaraderie of friends in a class, or getting to a work-out, or meeting my trainer or just having to post on the group page.  All of these interactions motivated me to get out of the “minefield” situation I was in – take a break, maybe talk about it or not, but return with a fresh new perspective. And today, that just all came together and made so much sense, I had to share it!

My point is we should find ways to put the right people around us so we’re always in a nurturing supportive environment.  I know that sounds easy.  And yes, it seems logical.  But when we’re “in” a bad situation, the last thing we want to do is join a work-out group or post something on a page.  But, if you can push yourself  to join a group on Facebook or Meetup —  to just get out of your head for a bit – it really could help you get through things easier.  If only to give you a break from dealing with whatever “IT” is.  You may also be helping others by possibly being that “support” for someone else, even if you don’t realize it.  And yes, depending on the support environment you choose to create, you could also enjoy the side benefit of having that bikini beach body you’ve always wanted!  🙂

Clearly, today, was a good day for me.

 

 

Goal: 100 Rejections

Someone once told me that I should have a goal of 100 rejections per year.

This had to do with my auditions and I know it sounds weird, but trust me, it’s an amazing concept!  And it can be applied to absolutely anything. The benefits of this kind of “reverse psychology”  are brilliant (in my humble opinion).

If you try for 100 rejections a year, then that means, at the very least, you’ve attempted 100 times to do whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish!

It also takes the onus off of “success” and just makes it sort of game. Can I do this and fail anyways? The pressure falls off and it becomes enjoyable to just try – somewhat light-hearted and…wait for it… Fun!

I love this principle. And here’s what I’ve learned in implementing it in my life: Eventually the law of averages takes over and you do succeed in some way shape or form. At the very least, you learn something. It’s kinda cool that way. I succeeded in my goals last year AND learned something about myself that was extremely important to my career and my life in general. It worked!

We all have goals – and my thinking is you should have a baseline: find a way to have joy most days in 2018. Happiness (JOY) is a thing! And setting myself up to have more joy in life is one of my goals for 2018. If something is not adding to my life, then I need to find a way to make it work or I need to let it go. This works for me. I hope it works for you too! And even if it doesn’t, maybe some variation of it does!  Please, at the very least, think on it. You deserve joy! We all do. We are here on the planet to love and be loved – of that, I’m extremely certain – do everything you can to stay in a good place. A positive space…

Happy New Year! I’m so glad you’re ON IT! No luck needed, but wishing you much joy in the process. And hey, I’ve already been rejected three times this year and it’s only January 7th! I’m so on my way to success. Looking forward to meeting you there! 🙂

Peace, love and all that good stuff.
Carm~

I’m Not Done

It’s not over yet, is it?

I’m not done.  Mostly because I haven’t really started yet.  The journey till now has been all that I had to do.  The path forward is all about what I want to do. I get that now.

I’ve had little fear in my life, mostly when I was a child.  I learned the best way to deal with fear is to walk right up to it, scream at it and move on through anyways.  “Fear ain’t nothing but a thang.” I still say that to myself all the time.

So, I’m not afraid. I’m excited, bewildered maybe, but going forward nonetheless.  There’s no other choice for me really.  Reminiscing about my accomplishments or contemplating my failures has proven to be futile.

I know it’s time to move forward – continue on the path. Enjoy the rest of the journey.

I think I’m gonna love this part. 

Jealousy Is A Thing

Jealousy.

Everyone denies they’re jealous.  Ever notice that?  “I’m not jealous. Me? No. I Frustrated 1could care less about her…”.  Or maybe it’s the shrugging of the shoulders in contempt or finding a way to belittle someone like, “…yeah, but I bet she can’t add 2 + 2…”.

When that feeling of jealously strikes us we tend to deny it’s even there.  Ever wonder why?

Somewhere along the line we learned that it was a bad thing to be jealous. That to be jealous, envious of another person’s advantages – whatever they may be – was a terrible thing.  It makes us look bad to ever be seen as being jealous.  So we deny it.

Here’s the thing: Being jealous is a natural part of who we are.  Like fear, it’s not something that we ever see coming, until we encounter it. When fear arrives, it’s because our inner selves detect something scary, something that we perceive might hurt us.  Our first reaction is to be afraid.  But denying we’re afraid, denying fear, doesn’t make the fear any less real or any less there.

Jealously works the same way.

When jealousy shows up, it’s never because we’re looking  for it, it just presents itself. And our first reaction is to try and deny it.  We try to push it away. Again, it doesn’t make the jealousy any less real or any less there, but it does throw most people into a strange place where their inability to deal with jealousy makes them lash out in ways that are counter-productive and most times, says more about who they are, than the people they’re hating on.

Let me share a recent example:

I was at a restaurant a couple of months ago at around lunch time. It was pretty empty patron-wise and the waitress was chit chatting with me about a movie she had just seen. About 10 minutes into my lunch, a couple walked in, early 30s maybe and absolutely stunning.  There was no doubt in my mind they were professional models  — and if they weren’t, they should have been! Now, to put this in perspective,  I live in a town where everyone is “beautiful” – that town being Hollywood – and these two stood out.  So  “drop-dead gorgeous”  is not a term I’m using loosely…  

The waitress, upon seeing them, said to me under her breath, “Great. Jerks.” I assumed she knew them and had some history with them. So I proceeded to eat my lunch but couldn’t help listening and watching what was happening… 

The waitress’s demeanor had completely changed. She wasn’t being kind to them. She was harsh and cold.  She seemed to throw down the water and plates of food in-front of them. She made no eye contact whatsoever  – she seemed annoyed to deal with them. I kept thinking, ‘wow, these people must have really pissed her off’ – and so, when she returned to the counter where I had been sitting I asked her, “How do you know them?” and she replied, “I don’t know them. I would never know people like that. Those are not my kind of people.”  She must have seen my confused expression because she proceeded and said, “You know the type:  they’re probably actors on some fucking show, or dumb models —  they don’t ever have to work for a living because mommy and daddy pay for everything. I mean, look at them, you can just tell they’re spoiled assholes.”  

Clearly, that experience told me more about the waitress than it did about the lovely people who had just come in for a bite to eat.  After that, I was no longer interested in talking to the waitress.  My impression of her had changed and the point is: when we don’t deal with jealousy, most times it makes US look ugly. It brings out the worst in who we are.  And without even knowing it, you turn people off.

So how do you learn not to be jealous?  You can’t.  And anyone who tells you they never get jealous is lying.  It’s just like fear.  You can’t stop being afraid, but you can learn to deal with fear when it shows itself.  And like anything else you work on, feeling afraid or being jealous becomes less of an obstacle over time.

Here’s how I overcame one aspect of fear:

I used to be afraid of heights and flying.  So much so, that it would take a lot for me to get on a plane. Even when I’d go hiking, I would stay away from looking at the scenery if we were too high up, because the knowledge that I had hiked that far away from “solid” ground would make me feel nauseous.  It became a problem – because, I do love to hike. So, although I had decided to deal with my fear of flying by avoiding planes all altogether, it was now keeping me from experiencing another part of life.  Now I wasn’t enjoying hiking as much – something had to change.  I decided that the way I was dealing with my fear – by denying it and avoiding it, was not working.  It was keeping me from being the best person I could be.  So, I talked to a few people and someone suggested I go skydiving.  I was completely fearful of the thought, but after some time passed, I knew in my gut I had to do it.  I decided to confront fear head on.  Here’s a quick clip of that fun life-changing event:

Going skydiving changed me.  I’m not saying all of my fear has completely gone away, but it doesn’t stop me from being my best self.   I handle all fear in my life differently now.  It’s the same with Jealousy.

How do you become your best self when you are confronted with Jealousy? Well, I don’t have a cool movie clip to show you that, but here’s how I deal with it on a regular basis and it works brilliantly for me.  Maybe, it can help you too.

First, you have to admit you get jealous.  It seems so simple, but if you don’t admit it, then you avoid tackling it and instead do things to avoid it.

Secondly, when confronted with a moment of jealousy, admit it out-loud.  I like to say, if you see something that makes you jealous, say something!  So, more often than not, when I see a beautiful woman working her magic in some fabulous dress, I’ll let her know, “Wow, that’s a great dress!” And I say it authentically and with sincerity  and EVERY time that person reacts with joy and appreciation.  And jealousy evaporates and becomes something else. I’ve made it into a compliment, instead of holding it inside.

Three, think about why you got jealous in that moment and use it as a tool to improve yourself.  More times than not, we’re jealous because we don’t have something the other person’s got.  Rarely, is it a dress I’m jealous of, generally it’s the woman’s self-confidence and the way she holds herself – and usually I’m thinking, I didn’t work out the past day or so.  Or, maybe know subconsciously that my eating habits had faltered that week and I wasn’t really working my own magic… see what I’m saying?

Here’s the thing:  there are enough moments in life when we get all frustrated and tied up in knots about things. Letting jealousy of another person’s advantages take up too much time in your head.  It makes you defensive when there is no need to be.  And it’s just a wasteful use of energy. The way I see it, jealousy can actually be a good thing,  if you use the moment to understand why you feel the way you do and then use that information to  improve upon who you are and who you can be!

Well, that’s how I do it anyways…

Happy sweet day!

xxoo.

Carm.

 

 

 

 

Can You List Ten Things You Like About Yourself?

Ten Things I LikeI was watching a show on CNN about addiction when one of the people being interviewed mentioned she had been struggling for days working on an exercise that could help her in her recovery.  The exercise she was struggling with was listing ten things she liked about herself.

I didn’t think much about it.  But later in the day, I wondered, can I do that? List ten things I like about myself?  And I added another caveat;  can I do it as quickly as I could write ten things I hate about myself? Because I’ll be honest, I could spit out 20 things in 20 seconds of all the things I hate about myself pretty easily…  sad but true!

So, I tried it.  I sat down, with the timer on my cell and listed ten things that I liked about myself. I stayed away from physical attributes (only list one if you must)  and then, when I was done, I went back and listed why I liked or loved these things about myself.

I have to tell you – a very interesting little learning moment for me.  And, it was…well, enlightening to say that least, and kind of fun.

Carmen’s List 

  • I love that I have great instincts. I’m hardly ever wrong when I go with my gut. This has to do with people or moments.  Most people I read within 30 seconds and I’m rarely wrong about them and although moments may surprise me or scare me, I’m never so thrown I can’t function.
  • I love that I’m extremely logical. I bring logic to a lot of things I do – whether it’s in explaining something, building something, creating something. I enjoy learning the order in the chaos of things. The patterns.  It intrigues me and really is the best way I function.
  • I love that I like to learn. With that comes the fact that once I learn something I don’t forget it if I care about it. Nine times out of ten, if I learned it, I care about it. But being a sponge for anything new is another great quality I love about myself.
  • I love that I don’t talk about what I don’t know. Rarely will anyone ever catch me discussing something I know nothing about. I love this about myself because I notice how many people constantly talk about something they don’t know.  It happens most often with movies.  People will trash a movie and if you ask them if they’d seen it, they’ll say “no”.  If it were just movies, it wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but people do it with politics, economics, worldly events, family issues, medical issues… hey, here’s a free bit of wisdom:  An easy way to seem like you’re really smart, is to admit when you don’t know something.  Seriously!  I’m not any smarter than anyone else, but I don’t talk about what I don’t know. Period. And when I don’t know something, I ask something.  Easy.
  • I love that I am able to sit with anyone of any race, age, color, gender, sexual orientation, economic status, celebrity, politician, Republican, Democrat, friend of foe… and fit right in. I am comfortable around people and have an innate ability to understand them, talk to them. There is something very “chameleon” about it. But not in a negative way. It’s not that I change who I am EVER.  But, that who I am is malleable to the circumstance.  I know myself so well, that I can find a way to connect with anyone.  It has to do with empathy. Finding a way to connect with another soul on the planet.
  • I love that I’m a very optimistic person. It’s not blind optimism, but it’s always being able to find the light in a dark circumstance. When things are bad, I find myself living in hope. Finding that source that will lead me to the next step.  Truly optimistic.
  • I love that I held onto my “Latina-ness” even though I lost my mom at such an early age and had to force myself to learn more of what it means to be Latina on my own. I know that’s a weird one, because I am Latina, but knowing my back story and how easily it would have been not to learn Spanish, not to understand and fit in with my mother’s culture, would have been an easy thing for this American to do.  And sadly, so many of us lose our culture along the way  – but what makes America so beautiful is the mix that everyone brings to the table. If I had been born to Scottish parents and lost them at a young age, I would have done the same thing.  Clearly it was my way of holding onto a piece of my past, my mom, but it also has other benefits as well.
  • Physically, without a doubt, I love my skin color. “..you were kissed by the sun…” my mother used to tell me.  And I remember that phrase after the all these years.  And even though my hands are older, I have some wrinkles showing, some cellulite here and there, some changes in tone and elasticity… I still see all the beauty that is my cinnamon colored skin.  Sometimes I do feel bad about it.  I mean, honestly, I was born with it, it’s not like I did anything to have it, but I have to acknowledge it just the same.  Loving who WE are, skin color and all, clearly is and was an important part of my strength growing up.
  • I love that I’m still a kid most days. This may seem strange or may seem like I’m in denial of some sort, but I’m not. I think one of the worst things I hear from people who are older than me is this “giving up” sentiment. Like somehow turning 40 was Hogwarts Teethe end of life as they knew it.  I’ve had people say to me, “We’re different now, we’re so much older now” and “It’s for the new generation.”  WTF?  Hello!  I’m in my 40’s, I’m not dead!  Jeez! I hope if I’m blessed to live till I’m 90+ that I’m still walking around workin’ my magic and still dreaming of all the new possibilities!  And I think that’s the essence of being like a kid most days. I don’t mean not keeping to your responsibilities, but I mean, keeping in a state of awe, freshness and aliveness. Again, it goes to being a very optimistic person.  Being kid-like really just means always living in the moment, in the right here and right now and having the energy to play in it!
  • I love that I love people. I do. Even when the worst of us seems to burst through more painfully than I feel need be, I still love that eventually the human spirit figures it out.  I love all types of humans — even the ones I don’t understand.  Individually, I may hate a few – and I do, and yes, I use the word “hate” purposely. But as a collective, as a species, I am fascinated by how we all function.  Wow, I’ve never admitted that out loud (or on paper), but it is true. I love that I love people and always look for the best in us, even when we are showing the worst of who we are.

Hmm… that was kinda fun.  And interesting.

Have a sweet day!

Carmen

 

 

 

We All Fit Somewhere – Journal Entry 10.22.15

Enjoy listening to my journal entry from today, or just read it below — either way, thank you for stopping by! 


Baseball CarmenWhen I think of my life I feel so disappointed.  Stuck. Unfulfilled.  I see a lot of loss. Sadness.  I remember the good and that I had moments of joy, but what resonates with me is mostly the loss, the heartache, the unfulfilled dreams.

And here’s the strange part:

I feel like all of that may be a good thing.  I mean, I wish I had already accomplished my goals, but I think if life is completely satisfying and all your goals have been met, then maybe you’re closer to death than you realize?  So, it’s a good thing. Or it can be?  My frustration is that it feels like it’s taking forever for me to accomplish some basic things, that’s all.  But, I also realize, that my journey is something I need to embrace.  I’m choosing to embrace it. All of it.

For what it’s worth, I never thought I’d make it this far. My past says I shouldn’t have gotten this far. I should have been dead by my early teens.  Simply, I know I should’ve been a statistic.  And honestly, with all the obstacles along the way, I’m surprised I’m here too.  Grateful.  But completely-totally surprised.

I used to think death would be a welcomed relief.  I felt so alone, so daunting in my struggles, so helpless.  But the truth is I also love this life. I do.  No matter what I’ve been through as a kid, no matter what I go through now as an adult, I find myself in a place of joy – loving this life.  No. Matter. What.  And I started to wonder, why?

I love people and I their moments of pure kindness.  I love their thoughtfulness.  I love that no matter how bad a day can get, you can find a silver lining even in the worst of moments.  I love that the that essence of good, always outwits even the most evil of situations.  It does.  Good does trump bad. All the time. It may not happen as fast as I’d like, or as clearly as I’d like, but at the end of the day, goodness does always win. I see it.

And I love who I am. I know – its so weird.  But inspite of it all, I always have.   My body changes, my fears grow, my pain is deeper, my frustration – lengthy and yet, at the end of the day, I am so good!  I know I’m smart – even if it’s just street smart and not book smart, it matters so much to be intelligent this way.   And I love that I care.  I care so much about the world and about others. And as much as I feel pain deeper, I feel joy extraordinarily!   My frustration is because I know I’m not being the BEST me I can be – and when that happens, when I’m being my ultimate best, I know I can help another person.  I can change the world when I’m at my full potential.  And not being at my full potential scares me.

I turned out amazingly brilliant.  Of this I’m sure.  Normally I wouldn’t toot my own horn, but I need to do this. I need to remind myself of how great I am.  And that ultimately I’m doing okay.

I love this life.  And although I’m not great at puzzles or figuring out formulas, I know I fit somewhere in this maze.  More importantly, I know we all do.  We all fit somewhere.  And even though we all have these goals that sometimes feel so daunting and so unreachable – the fact is that life may just be all about the process of walking through.  Always searching for the light even in the loneliest of moments, even in the most extraordinary moment of pain –  finding the light must be the thing. It’s my only constant.

It may be cliché, but I truly believe that getting knocked down is normal, but finding your way back up is courageous.  There’s no doubt that I feel knocked down more days than I feel courageous, but  once you get up after falling – it doesn’t get easier, but you do get sort of used to it.  So I’m starting to view my “failures” my “knocked down” moments as “just another day” and I don’t dig the hole deeper – I just let it be what it is.

And then I get back up.  I brush it off, and I get back up.

So here’s the glorious part of what I know for sure:  Getting up, gives me more moments of SHINE.  Getting back up and brushing it off makes me feel like “it” didn’t win.  And like the lottery, you can’t win if you’re not playing – so getting back up, makes me feel like I’m back in the game.  And damn it, if I’m not going to win eventually.

On Being Selfish

Waking up

Enjoy the Podcast or the Written Word (transcribed below)

*

I woke up this morning with all of this energy. I’m baffled by why sometimes I wake up ready to take on the world and sometimes I can barely pour my cup of coffee without falling back asleep.

But, I did all these emails today. And one of the things that was amazing was someone sent me an email and in the email was this great quote by Kahlil Gibran (who I absolutely love. He wrote The Prophet).

Here’s the quote:

“One day you will ask me which is more important, my life or yours?  I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.”

I love this quote because it talks about, to me, the validity of being selfish.  That when you’re being selfish, when you take care of yourself, you’re taking care of yourself in order to be able to be completely whole so that you can help other people.

I just thought that was a great, awesome email to get today.

Anyway, I’ll be back again soon.  Hope you’re having a great sweet day. And thanks for stopping by!

Carmen

*Music by Chris Zabriskie, Prelude No. 23, Licensed by Creative Commons