May 11, 2013
Aaaand I’m back!!!
Day 16 of my 30-day LightLiving simplifying-minimizing-decluttering challenge!
Lots of good stuff, clarity, new plans!
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Makeup brush
2. White Buddha tank
3. Green Ganesh tank
4. Basket I made
5. Vibrams with a hole in the soles
1. Red Buddha tank
2. Patagonia Geode necklace
(Going to focus more on the letting go as I’m planning to start traveling again – watch the video!)
May 4, 2013
I’m taking a Hiatus from vlogging for a few days. Why? Because:
I’ve run out of room.
I’m halfway through a 30-day decluttering/minimizing challenge and my hard drive is so full that I can no longer download the videos from my camera.
Oh, the irony!!!*
So I’m in the process of transferring all my thousands of photos and videos to my terrabyte external drive…which is over halfway full.
I’ve been trying to manually transfer photos in batches the last few weeks, organizing them in the old labelled folder system (hey, I was on PCs from age 12 to 32 – 20 years!) and right this second iPhoto says I still have…11,656 photos and videos to go. *sigh*
With 11,656 photos to go (I think I started around 15,000) this manual thing is gonna take waaay too long.
So I’m gonna figure out how to do this the right, simple, easy way! And I’ll let you know (if you ALREADY know, you can leave me a message in the comments – help a sister out!). From a few seconds of checking with Guru Googleji it looks like I might just be able to drag-n-drop my iPhoto Library on to the eternal… but I want to have some on my computer too, and I don’t want to always have to have my eternal drive plugged in.
I was thinking about this topic earlier: I didn’t get the souped-up speakers or the extra hard drive because I allowed the men I was asking for advice to talk me out of it. “You don’t need that much storage!” “You can add memory!” “You can get some good speakers!” Wrong on #1, that’s really implausible on #2, and #3, As a nomad/aspiring minimalist I really don’t like to have to have things plugged into my computer – external hard drives OR speakers.
So, next time, I’m going big and getting my computer tricked out EXACTLY how I want it! Considering I spend hardly anything on shoes, clothing, makeup or hairstyling products, an extra grand or two once every few years on a swanky Macbook or Air seems totally reasonable to me.
I’m off to sort out the photo stuff so I can continue bringing you more videos and photos.
In the meantime check out the thunderheads we had today!
*(modern Alanis definition of irony)
May 3, 2013
No video again today. Have I fallen off the wagon?? I suppose so. Will I get back on? Who knows! I’m working hard not to worry about it or feel guilty. Maybe the day of going through my entire wardrobe was more draining than I realized!
I think the main problem has been time. This week I’ve begun work/playin fixed hours at the Academy, 8:30am-1:30pm every day – the first time I’ve had fixed-hour work in almost two years – AND I now have THREE websites I’m building!!! Woohoooo! I am super excited about that. I’ll share the sites here when I’m done.
So between the Academy commitment and the other projects, I wasn’t able to motivate myself to film/edit/upload video today. It’s quite labor intensive.
Oh we also had an event at the Academy tonight – an expert on Vastu came and spoke. Vastu is kinda like feng shui, but the original Indian version. It deals with architecture and energy and human alignment.
A concept I really liked was sun time vs. moon time vs. earth time. Sun time is when the sun is up; moon time is when the moon is up (which changes over the course of the waxing and waning of the moon), and earth time is when neither sun nor moon is up. The different times have different energies.
I don’t know about you but for me these past few days have been super powerful energetically. Today I had all kinds of realizations, and I am feeling super ALIVE and clear. It’s exhilarating but also challenging to contain. Contain, that’s an interesting word, a remnant from the adults yelling at the children – CONTAIN YOURSELF! Sit still! I was definitely not taught as a child how to channel the immense energy I have – I was taught to suppress it, because the adults around me didn’t know how to manage their energy either. And both of my parents had a LOT of energy.
One of my realizations today:
All my life, people have labeled me a ‘free spirit.’
At first they love it about me.
And then they get disappointed when they place their expectations on me.
Half of it is me, of course, accepting their expectations.
I no longer want other’s expectations.
I want to free others from the burden of my expectations, the burden of my choosing to feel bad and blaming it on them if my expectations aren’t met.
Instead I choose to love others exactly as they are, in the present moment, in whatever reality we happen to be interacting in.
I choose freedom for others – the freedom from being responsible for my feelings.
I choose freedom for myself – the freedom from feeling shameful, bad, or guilty.
I choose to trust that everything works out for my highest good, and for the highest good of others.
“The greatest gift you have to give is that of your own self-transformation.” ~Lao Tzu
April 30, 2013
I’m on Day 14 in my challenge to become physically/materially lighter – enlightened, if you will!
Today I was motivated to tackle my entire wardrobe. Audit time!
I didn’t choose five things to release or three things to keep – I pretty much just went through every item of clothing I own with the question:
Do I love this?
It’s pretty easy to tell if you LOVE something. If you don’t say YES, then you don’t LOVE it. Simple.
As I mention in the video, I would love to own just three of different clothing items – three long pants, three tanks, three sweaters, three long sleeve tops, etc. I edited out about half of my wardrobe and will be keeping it in a box until the end of the challenge to see if I can do without all the things I don’t love. I’ve also got a few pairs of paints that haven’t exactly been fitting for awhile, so if they don’t fit at the end of the Challenge they’re out.
In the video I promise the story of the blue dress.
It’s 2007ish. I’m on a business trip down to San Diego with my broker boss, a rather emotionally unstable recovering heroin addict (which I had no idea about at the time I took the job with him). Crazy people love me because I’m calm and I don’t abandon them; I suppose I love crazy people because I’m inspired by their grandiose visions and it makes me feel valuable to be “needed” and to be one of the few who are capable of working with them for more than three months. I’m breaking this karmic/familial pattern right now with a much more conscious visionary person I’ve been working with… Time to be my own non-crazy visionary.
Back to the recovering heroin addict.
We were down in San Diego for a meeting to negotiate the possible sale of a $350 million dollar shopping center near Disneyland. Yes, $350 million dollars. I stood to make almost $100,000 on the deal as assistant to the broker. Our buyer was the head of General Electric Acquisitions, and their main agent had taken a liking to me. This was about six months before the 2008 Great Real Estate Bust in the US; I knew it was coming a month later when our General Electric man informed us that all of GE’s purchasing activities had been frozen. Bad, bad news.
Anyways, before the storm came, we had this high-profile meeting, everything at that point going very well for us. It was a beautiful sunny summer San Diego day. After the meeting, my boss, who was supposed to be sober at the time, decided we should celebrate with Mexican food and a few drinks. I was down, but was horribly, horrendously uncomfortable in the business suit and heels that I was wearing. Yes, a business suit and heels. I HATE HATE HATE business suits and heels. I don’t know that I will ever put either on my body ever again for the rest of my life. At this point I’m pretty sure it’s highly improbable.
Eager to ditch my suit and heels, we wandered into Old Town in San Diego and I grabbed the first cute dress I could find – the blue strapless dress in the video – and a pair of white flip flops.
What followed was about 8 hours of guacamole and tequila in Old Town and Gaslamp (Downtown) San Diego. I will be forever grateful to my friend Kan who let us crash in her living room, and even slept on the couch with me (my boss on the floor) as I was afraid my incredibly inebriated boss would try to make a move, as he’d already blatantly hinted at few times during the evening.
I don’t really drink anymore; if I do it’s just a glass of good wine here in Italy. Definitely no more tequila. After writing that story out and considering the energy that comes with that bue dress, I think it’s time to let go of it.
April 29, 2013
While I was living with a wise woman in Patagonia a year ago, I learned about Native American traditions and spirituality, and I learned about the meanings of animals. This wise woman had a deck of cards and book about Animal ‘Medicine’, as the Native American teachings refer to it.
I think that anything that we use to bring meaning to our lives can be helpful – it can be belief systems, astrology, religion, ‘signs’ from the Universe/god, synchronicity, even science (what we think of as modern “science” has really become more like Scientism - just another set of beliefs that makes us feel safe). Anyways, it’s all about the meaning you give to these beliefs, and if you use these ‘clues’ as part of your personal growth, development and expansion.
Twice in the past month while recording videos, I’ve been interrupted by Bumblebees.
Back on March 10, 2013, I was recording a video out in front of the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness in Italy on a beautiful spring day. I was talking about life, about figuring out my calling/purpose, and about attempting to authentically follow my dreams and intuition.
Cue Bumblebee. Later that day I googled the meaning of Bumblebees and meant to blog about it, but never did.
Then again on April 18th a Bumblebee gets right up in my/your/our faces/the camera lens. Ok, ok, I’ll write about Bumblebees!
The fascinating thing is how synchronistically aligned the symbolism of the Bumblebee is with what I’d been talking about in the video, what my focus has been the last month or two (focus itself, and creativity), and the lifestyle I’m living (COMMUNITY! If you don’t know, I’m living in a spiritual community in Italy…).
Creative endeavors (hello making videos!)
The following info was gathered from various websites:
Bumble Bees are focused, industrious, powerful, loud, and proud.
Bee is the ancient symbol of good fortune, joy and harmony. In the dream world, bee comes as a gift from Spirit. He buzzes about in order to awaken us into the moment. Alert and aware, we see that life is sweet and filled with brightness, color and light. Bee also teaches us to engage fully in our creative endeavors. The key is to focus with intention and to be single-minded in purpose.
The bee symbolizes community, brightness and personal power. Follow the bee to discover your new destination.
The ancient Druids saw the bee as symbolising the sun, the Goddess, celebration, and community.
ALL bees are productive, they stay focused on whatever they are doing and do not get sidetracked from their goal.
They hold the power of service. Their movement from one plant to plant represents the interconnectedness of all living things. It’s their drive to contribute to the common good of the community that is noteworthy. The bumblebee is a messenger bringing the secrets of life and service.
If this is your power animal and your energy is scattered, the bumblebee can show you how to become focused again.
If you are stung, the message here is – WAKE UP! Follow the rhythm of your own heartbeat. Listen to your true self, your higher self. Heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Ask for bumble bee help when:
• You need help communicating with other people.
• You question if you are aligned with your goals in life.
• You wish to heed your inner voice and wisdom.
Access bumble bee power by…
• Extracting the sweetness of life.
• Being productive while the sun shines
• Pursuing your dream, no matter how great it seems.
The meaning of bees in dreams speak of:
• communication, and
• our ability to consciously choose the results we want in our lives
When we dream of bees it may be an indication that we are ready to communicate our spiritual gifts, or perhaps we should more clearly recognize the treasures that reside within us.
Fascinating stuff. So I encourage you: look into those little clues that the Universe gives you. If certain animals pop up often in your life, or in your dreams, google their meaning and symbolism. These clues and synchronicities might be mirrors of what you’re seeking to learn.
P.S. Random Wiki fact: Bumblebee colonies are often placed in greenhouse tomato production, because the frequency of buzzing that a bumblebee exhibits effectively releases tomato pollen.
Is that not AMAZING??!? That a FREQUENCY can release pollen from a PLANT??????
April 28, 2013
Good news – I made it through last night without puking! Woo hoo! Felt much better in the morning.
So for today’s keeps and releases:
Releases (all necklaces I made – either putting up for sale or gifting):
1. Lapis lazuli necklace
4. Prayer Wheel necklace
6. Turquoise howlite necklace
1. Book: Barron’s Italian Verbs
2. Book: L’Italiano Perfetto
3. Panasonic Lumix camera
While I was cleaning out my hard drive today, trying to get enough disc space free to upload this video, I came across a PDF I’d downloaded called ‘The Soulmate Secret: Three Keys to Manifesting Your True Love.’ Speaking of soulmates, I actually really like an article I read the other day of Ram Dass’s explanation of Soulmates (“then you are left with the work to do. And it’s the same work. When you trade in one partner for another, you still have the same work. You’re going to have to do it sooner or later.”)
Anyways Key #2 from the Soulmate Secret PDF: “You must let go of physical, psychic, and emotional clutter.”
Workin’ on it! (and virtual clutter too…argh!)
April 26, 2013
The Five Releases:
1. String bracelet from when I saw the Dalai Lama last year
2. ‘Cooperating with Grace’ CD – given to me
3. Notebook - given to me
4. Book: Il Viaggio Meraviglioso di Nils Holgersson – children’s story, was using to study Italian, not that into it
5. Book: Journey to Self-Realization – donating to the Ananda library
The Three Keeps:
1. White Hard Tail top – I aspire to wear more white like I’m an aspiring minimalist.
2. Blue Hard Tail yoga pants – love them!
3. Black Sansara yoga pants – love these too!
So I’m pretty sure I have food poisoning. What’s more terrifying than when you feel like you have to burp but there’s a 50% chance it’ll be puke? I hate suspense.
April 26, 2013
Today was a very long day, and I did not feel like picking my 5/3.
So I didn’t.
I did, however, still record a video for you!
I mentioned a few of these things in the video, but here’s a full recap of my day:
I started the day with some of my morning rituals round 6:30am, meditation at 7:30am, then breakfast with friends out in the sunshine; over to the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness to clean and translate some marketing materials for our open house in the afternoon; more cleaning and organizing and chatting with friends. Then ate a giant lunch out in the sunshine with friends again. Washed some dishes, back to the Academy for some schmoozing and translating Italian/English, enjoyed a moving classical music rehearsal, a short hike with a friend, ate some INCREDIBLE homemade cheesecake for another friend’s birthday; talked with friends some more, met some new people, schmoozed some more til dinner time. Ate dinner with friends and watched the sun set. Helped wash dishes in the kitchen for an hour and a half (with some Russians and two monks who’d flown in from India, one originally from Las Vegas and the other from Uruguay), took a little moonlit stroll and listened to Radiolab, recorded the video above, Skyped with China, chatted with my friends/roommates, edited the video above, took a shower.
It’s now 1:30am Italy time, and I’m about to head over to the Temple of Light. I signed up for a shift to sit vigil for Swamiji, who left his body on April 21st. I’ll be meditating in the temple with him from 2am-4am. Should be a beautiful experience. The moon’s full tonight, and with springtime here the weather’s slowly been warming up.
My day was busy but full of friendship and laughter and stories and hugs and deep conversations about the meaningful things in life – relationships, truth, reality, death, love, joy, creation… So grateful, so appreciative of this wonderful community and the amazing life that I have.
April 25, 2013
Letting go of clothing is particularly difficult for me. I have let go of so much of my clothing in the past two years – first clearing out 3/4 of my wardrobe before leaving California, then slowly releasing items as I traipsed around the world.
I always feel like I have too many clothes. I think it’s because I aspire to have only items that I love; since I haven’t yet reached that goal, it naggles at me.
It’s interesting, clothing. I suppose in my formative years I identified very strongly with my clothing – I puffy painted every single item I wore until I hit puberty; then in high school I wore all kinds of ‘weird’ stuff – metallic satin silver skirts, gold velvet pants, blue velour 70s thrift shop finds. I think the fear of the difficulty of finding stuff that I love has stuck with me. And so much of our worth and perceived attractiveness – mine, anyways – is tied up with the packaging we present ourselves in. I have a fear that I might be getting rid of some of my value if I get rid of something that I might “need” to make me look good. I know it’s crazy but it’s still there.
I’ve also realized that my fear of not having money in the future to get what I need when I need it is tied to my general lack of self-worth when it comes to work – ie, deep down I don’t believe that what I have to give is of any value, so any kind of work situation makes me extremely uncomfortable on deep subconscious levels. Part of the personal healing work I’ve been doing lately is working through those blocks.
I came across this list of characteristics of Adult Children of Alcoholics. A lot of what I said above is tied to the characteristics listed; it’s comforting to see them listed and know that I’m not just innately flawed, retarded or lazy; there are reasons for my blocks and fears, and that I can work through them with time. And I see the progress I’ve made. I’m getting close to some breakthroughs. Hell, doing this video challenge is somewhat of a breakthrough, in a way.
Today’s Five Releases
1. Grey skirt
2. Black tights
3. Turquoise sweater
4. White sweater
5. Magenta sarong
Today’s Three Keeps
1. Turquoise sarong
2. Smartwool zipper sweater
3. Blue & brown Hard Tail top
Thanks for joining me on this journey!
April 22, 2013
I did record a video today, but I’m unable to edit it because iMovie isn’t loading because…
My hard drive is full. Ha! Ain’t that ironic??
No, not really. It’s part of this whole clutter/hoarding pattern I have, that fear that makes me hold on. That pattern I’m working through with this challenge!
I’m starting to see that my clutter is slowly diminishing – my stack of books a few books shorter, a few less lipsticks in my toiletries bag. Slowly and surely… I’m the turtle of decluttering.
It’s almost midnight here in Italy, and I want to get in bed soon. Tomorrow I will transfer more photos to my quickly-filling terrabyte hard drive so I have enough disc space to run iMovie so I can make you more movies.
In the meantime, here are today’s lists:
Today’s Five Releases:
1. Orange Buddha statue – gift from a friend. Don’t love it, letting it go.
2. Lip balm – bought here in Assisi. I think it chaps my lips more. Out!
3. Book: The Little Flowers of St. Francis – Not even sure where I found this. St. Francis is awesome but not into reading the book. Bye!
4. Socks – another lovely gift from a friend who mailed these socks to me from KOREA! But I don’t wear socks. Gifting!
5. Hiking boots – I wore these frequently in Patagonia whilst I lived there for two months. - the rocky terrain was a bit much for my Vibrams and I was out of practice hiking. I used them so much I actually wore a hole in the bottom of the sole. Which actually isn’t all that impressive if you take into account how shoddy Argentine manufacturing is. Time to toss these.
Today’s Three Keeps:
1. Wool scarf – I wore this scarf almost every day this past winter in Italy. It’s my very favorite scarf for the following reasons: a. It matches my eyes! b. I bought it in one of the best cities ever, San Francisco! c. It’s made in Ireland, like my dad was d. it’s lambswool so it’s soft and super warm. Love it!
2. 1T External hard drive – I’m slowly transferring all (most) of my 14,000 pictures over onto it… so now I LOVE it. (please last forever, hard drive!!)
3. Typewriter messenger bag – I got this bag off of Etsy to put my laptop in. It’s got an awesome turquoise typewriter graphic over a global map. Love it.
Thanks for being on this journey with me! Two videos for you tomorrow!
- – -
Update – here’s the video!