One Year Ago Today

June 11, 2013

I’m typing this on May 5, 2013 [Happy Cinco de Mayo!] but I’ve scheduled it to post on June 11th, exactly one year after the journal entry I just found.

Today (May 5th) I’m doing spring cleaning on my totally full hard disc. I need to make room for my many new projects, or else my computer freezes up and I can’t Skype with clients or upload the iMovie movies I’ve been filming and editing for Youtube.

As I’m hunting, researching (can I delete this file, Guru Googleji??), deleting, and organizing, I’m coming across old bits that I’ve written over the past few years.

The post from June 11, 2012 that I’m sharing today was especially moving because I wrote it in the moment of sadness and confusion that comes in that moment of suspension between hearing your heart, taking a leap into the void/unknown, and landing exactly where you’re meant to be. (Another friend calls it “the dangle zone).

 

On June 11, 2012, I was dangling. I was renting a bedroom for a month in Buenos Aires, Argentina, having left Patagonia and waiting in the city to get my passport renewed. I’d already purchased a flight to Italy, based entirely on a Goddess card I’d drawn – Fortuna, the Roman/Italian Goddess of Fate – but I didn’t know yet exactly WHAT I was going to be doing in Italy.

I was trusting enough to have bought the plane ticket but I was still afraid. It was a strange time to be in Buenos Aires because almost all my friends from when I’d lived there before had left – gone home or moved on to other destinations – and the closest friend I’d had there and I were no longer speaking.

The amazing thing is that in this post I asked for community.  A few days later I came across an interview about the Academy of Art, Creativity & Consciousness, and my heart knew – it SHOUTED – I AM GOING THERE. I thought it was just an awesome-and-exciting-sounding Academy. Little did my mind know that The Academy of Art, Creativity and Consciousness was adjacent to the intentional spiritual community of Ananda Europa.

My conscious mind had no idea. But my heart knew. 

And when I arrived, I found a community, a large extended family of wonderful people.

I guess I’m telling you this story backwards, giving you the happy ending before the frightened beginning.

The following is an unedited  journal entry. I’m not really comfortable sharing unedited work – it makes me feel exposed and vulnerable – but f#@% it, I’m doing it anyways.

 

Monday, June 11, 2012:

A woman in Kundalini class today made my day – she brought her son, who I estimate was about 9 years old. I love that age, 9, 10 – when children are getting old enough to begin to engage like adults, but with none of the rejection and sarcasm – they’re still open and eager. This boy participated in every pose. Occasionally I’d take a peek at him and would always end up grinning widely – when we were smacking our mats shouting ‘har,’ he was flailing away with gusto. And he stayed with every pose too – never gave up. It gave me such joy to see a young boy completely open and accepting to what 99% of people (Westerners anyway) would think was insane.

I love Kundalini because it’s one of the most spiritually connected forms of yoga I’ve found. It’s not always a physical workout – it’s generally more mentally challenging, holding poses and doing repetitions.

The other day I felt one of the strongest pangs of loneliness I’ve felt in years, at least since the great breakup of ’09.

It was my second day back in Buenos Aires. I was attending an Acro/Aerial Yoga/Dance class, one that I used to attend with friends. Those friends were now no longer in Buenos Aires. So there I was, the English-speaking beginner, surrounded by Latinas who’d been doing the class for some time. Occasionally I would attempt to pull myself up the fabric a few feet, on the red strip, the “easiest” level as it was the firmest. But most of the time I sat on the mat, watching the other girls climb and spin and drop gracefully to the mats. And then, out of nowhere, a sharp stab of sadness, of loneliness. My eyes began to fill with tears and I quickly blinked, not wanting anyone to see me sitting there, about to cry. How would I explain that in Spanish?

As I said, it’s been a few years since I felt that alone. And I’m noticing that I’ve been having bouts of sadness since returning to BA. I thought I was adapting to it fine but am beginning to see how hard this is on me. My closest friends are no longer here, and on top of that I’m not speaking to Jonas anymore. I think that’s the main thing – Jonas. I miss him. I want to meet up with him, to walk with him, to talk to him – or to listen, really. He always did do a lot of talking. Sometimes we’d be riding bikes and I’d wish he would just be quiet for a few minutes, as I tried to navigate cars and adoquniado and enjoy the ride without straining to hear and comprehend what he was talking about.

I’m feeling a little lost. What am I doing with my life? What’s my meaning, my purpose? Why am I here, not just here on planet Earth but here in Argentina; why am I going to Italy? I want to feel important. I want to feel like I know why I’m doing what I’m doing. I want to feel safer.

I do not feel safe. I feel expose, alone. I feel like I might be making a huge mistake. I feel like I might be making the wrong choices. It’s all me now. What do you want, Michelle? And why? Are you sure? Are you sure all this traveling won’t just leave you alone? With no husband, no children, no friends, no family, no community?

I’m scared. I want a community. I want to share things with people I love.

I guess the world is my community now. I can share things with everyone. I can love each person I meet.

Starting with myself.

I can trust. Trust that it’s all ok. Trust that if I follow my bliss, it will multiply and expand and support me. Trust that this fear is just me moving to the next level. Sit with the fear, sit with me, sit with my inner child who is terrified of being abandoned, being alone. Sit with my ego that fears that it’s incapable of having a real relationship. Well, I did. I had a fantastic, loving relationship that was more joyful and respectful and affectionate and passionate and connected than anything most people experience in their lives.

And it wasn’t him. It was me. It was me loving the reflection of myself that I saw mirrored in his eyes. IT was me connected with my highest self, my self that is eternal unconditional love and joy and enthusiasm and passion for life. It was me. I don’t need to fear anymore that I won’t find that again, because it’s not about finding. IT’s a bout living. It’s about creating. It’s about being my authentic self. I loved who I was in that relationship. I can be that person all the time. I can deeply love everyone. I can deeply love myself.

And my biggest challenge: following my heart. Not my mind, my heart. What does my heart want? What does my intuition want to do?

I would like to sit in silence and ask myself, Michelle, what do you Want to Do?

 

Michelle wants to get in bed for a bit. And read “Free Play“.

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I start today’s video out by sharing my office view:

A hard day at the office...

A hard day at the office…

I got my first website clients! So excited!!!!!!

So continuing from the big wardrobe audit yesterday, I picked 5 items of clothing to release:

1.  White teeshirt – hand-me-down

2. White wifebeater tank top – had a friend bring these down to Argentina with her for me about a year ago.

3. Truth tank top – bought at Yoga West in LA; LOVE the affirmation (see below)

4. Purple long sleeve top – got at trunk sale ~4 years ago

5. Bald Eagle feather – gift

[I’m having video issues and have been unable to upload today’s video to youtube, but here are all my other videos in case you haven’t seen them]

It was interesting reading the inside label of #3, the white Truth tank top – I’d forgotten the affirmation it had on the inside, which was part of my reason for buying it in the first place; and this affirmation is EXACTLY what I’ve been doing lately:

P1110040

I was never comfortable being my authentic self with my dad. I would just shut down while I was around him, even into my late twenties. I began dealing with the situation energetically a few years ago, working on healing it on my end, and as I did that he began to contact me less and less, which was very interesting to observe. Now that he’s transitioned off this planet, I don’t have to deal with him anymore; but I still had the deeply ingrained, protective ego habits of squelching my authenticity, wisdom and power. No more!

My commitment to my own authenticity and expression has been tested this past month and a half. You see me go off in the video, slightly perturbed, about someone’s questioning as to why I haven’t taken Kriya initiation or Discipleship yet. The short answer: I don’t feel called to either, and I am following my heart. If my heart doesn’t give a big YES/I LOVE IT! then I’m not doin’ it.

I know that I still have some healing to work out around this topic due to my reactivity, but my whole healthy and beautiful empowerment and authentic expression thing is still fresh! I don’t need people trying to push me into conformity as I’m trying to overcome years and years of conditioning and fear to live my soul’s truth…

I also point out something I think is quite true: “Love is acceptance and appreciation, not judgement and unsolicited advice.”

A lot of people out there don’t know how to love.

And a lot of people out there don’t know how to love themselves.

Do you?

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.

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

2. Fatima’s Eye necklace

3. Prayer Wheel necklace

4. Prayer Wheel necklace

6. Turquoise howlite necklace

Keeps:

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!)

Happy LightLiving!

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.

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!

Day 10!

Things are a bit crazy here with Swamiji’s passing and the gearing up for the big weekend – they’re premiering the film about Ananda communities, called Finding Happiness, and there was already going to be a big group here for the weekend, now compounded by people flying in from all over the world for the funeral service tomorrow. Plus the Academy of Art Creativity & Consciousness has to be prepped for the visitors, along with all our marketing stuff finished…

Anyways, I’m keeping up!

Here is yesterday’s video:

And here’s today’s:

The Three Keeps:

1. Hard Tail top – I LOVE Hard Tail! Aside from Green Apple, Hard Tail make my favorite beautiful comfy yoga clothes. I would love to have a wardrobe of entirely GA & HT. I’ve had this top for a few years and it still looks great. It’s got holes that have been sewn up all over.

2. Book: La Legge dell’Attrazione e le Relazioni Affettive – The Law of Attraction and Emotional Relationships. I don’t think this book was printed in English. I found it in an Italian grocery store about a week after I was wishing I had an Abraham-Hicks book to read. AND it was on sale. Manifest!!

“Se vi abituate a cercare aspetti positivi, li troverete in voi stessi oltre che negli altri. Se siete abituati a notare gli aspetti negativi, li troverete anche in voi stessi. Non sbagliamo, quindi, quando affermiamo che chi critica gli altri non ama se stesso. Va contra la Legge. Quando vedete persone molto critiche verso gli altri, sappiate che sono individui che non si amano.”

If you’re used to looking for positive aspects, you will find them in yourself as well as in others. If you are used to noticing negative aspects, you will find those also in yourselves. We’re not mistaken, then, when we affirm that he who criticizes others doesn’t love himself. It goes against the Law. When you see people being very critical of others, you know that they are individuals who don’t love themselves.”

3. Canon camera – I love the colors of Canon. However my beat-up, sometimes-working Panasonic Lumix takes better video (minus the dust spots from Burning Man) and wide-angle shots. So until my next high-end camera purchase, I’ll keep both.

 

The Five Releases:

1. Blue gloves – handed down from a friend. Winter’s over!

2. Mystery cable – I think I came with my last camera purchase. Haven’t needed it since I bought the camera a year ago. Adios!

3. Wool skirt – Found in the attic; wore it a few times but don’t love it; throwing it back!

4. Book: Babaji – Gifted by a friend; talks more about the follower of Babaji who wrote this than actual words of Babaji. Didn’t finish it.

5. Book: The Lathe of Heaven – Great book about a man who changes the world when he dreams – but he’s the only one who notices it changing. He’s then used by a egomaniacal psychologist, whose attempts at making the world a better place always end up making it worse. An interesting commentary on reality, sanity, and courage. Highly recommended but passing it on for someone else to enjoy.

 

Thanks for joining me on my journey!!!

 

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!

Love this scarf!

Love this scarf!

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!

 

In today’s video I share my Five Releases and my Three Keeps, I share some gorgeous photos of Italy, and I also share some tears. I’m quite uncomfortable expressing fear or sadness and crying in front of other people; but as it’s my fears that got me crying this morning, I figured I might as well face one right away by posting a video about it!

Following your dreams is terrifying. And by following your dreams I mean follow your intuition, your heart path, and doing what you feel called to do, even if you don’t know why. I felt called to do this challenge and to make videos. This morning someone asked me what the point was – WHY was I doing this challenge? What is the point of making videos every day? What is my goal? Ie, How is this contributing to me figuring out my life and how to make a living??

And then all the fears came flooding out. I don’t know! I don’t know what I’m doing! I don’t know what’s going to happen! I don’t know how I’m going to pay bills! I don’t have answers. I’m just trying to do what I feel is truest for me, even if it makes no rational sense.

I have so many fears that I’m trying to work through. I’m trying not to just give up, to go back to the old secure and deadening life of regular paychecks and car insurance payments. Why is that such a huge question? Why do our entire lives focus around HOW WILL YOU MAKE MONEY? Money, a completely made-up thing… funny how something that’s just a belief can upset us so much.

When I was crying this morning (before the video), I sat there breathing through the fear/pain/sadness, breathing deep and strong, almost hyperventilating, my face tingling after a few minutes. I could feel the energy moving through me, my head hurting, my neck tense. I kept gulping air. And then it began to dissolve. It came back to me how I’d been taught as a child that it was wrong and shameful to cry. Growing up I’d always gone to my room alone, put some music on my headphones, and muffled my sobs into my teddy bear. I don’t think I  cried in front of any of my friends until I was into my twenties.

In the last week, a few odd things in my body have come up: My knuckle’s been hurting in an arthritis-y way for a little over a week. Three or four days ago I stubbed my pinkie toe on a rock so hard that it turned purple. I won’t subject you to a photo of my toe but let’s say that it swelled up and resembles a cherry. Or a purple grape.

Yesterday, I totally ate it while climbing down a hill and skinned my knees. I’m not usually klutzy. I’ve also been binging on chocolate and bread.

I realized that all of these things were signals for the underlying emotions bubbling below – subconscious attempts at distraction, sabotage, or getting my attention.

I checked my book “Heal Your Body” by Louis Hay to find out the meanings:

 

PROBLEM: Joints (Knuckle)

PROBABLE CAUSE: Represent changes in direction in life and the ease of these movements.

NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: I easily flow with change. My life is Divinely guided, and I am always going in the best direction.

 

PROBLEM: Toes

PROBABLE CAUSE: Represent the minor details of the future.

NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: All details take care of themselves.

 

PROBLEM: Knee

PROBABLE CAUSE: Represents pride and ego.

NEW THOUGHT PATTERN: I am flexible and flowing.

 

 

Well, there you go. 

So why share all this? Well, one, because it scares me, and I’m practicing doing things that scare me.  And two, if you’ve ever felt afraid or alone or confused, maybe this will help remind you that you’re not alone. There is no feeling or emotion that you’ll ever have that no one else has ever felt. We’re all in this crazy life game together, here to play being sad and fearful. It’s part and parcel with the pleasure and joy of being human.

One thing I will say about all this – I’m learning how to edit videos. I’m learning how to let go of more crap. I’m learning how to ‘ship’ stuff I create – blogs and videos – every single day. I’m learning to create and share  while caring less and less what others think of me.

And most importantly, I’m letting go. Of crap I don’t need, and also of some of my fear.

Thanks for joining me on this journey!

 

Today’s Release List:

1. Chemically shampoo

2. Sesame oil

3. Box

4. Book: Raja Yoga

5. Book: The Yeast Syndrome

 

Today’s Keep List:

1. Turquoise & gold earrings

2. Blue crystal earrings from the Dalai Lama in Milan, 2012

3. Buddha earrings from Fern’s Garden, Belmont Shore/Long Beach (the sell Jacob’s Wind chimes, which are the BEST wind chimes EVER).

Photo by me! Spring in Bloom, yesterday, Italy, 2013

Photo by me! Spring in Bloom, yesterday, Italy, 2013

Yesterday’s video was accidentally set on private; sorry about that! It’s now public so check it out:

And here’s today’s video, Day 7:

(Check out the beautiful Italian clouds!!!)

The Three Keeps List:

1. Black Vibrams – I’ve been wearing Vibrams for three or four years now. I love them so much I can’t imagine life without them. Well, I could, but it would be really blistery. I really should be sponsored by Vibram, considering how many people I’ve prosthelytized to over the years and around the world (Argentina REALLY wants Vibrams!).

2. Inspiration book 2009 – I started making these little books in 2006. They’re part inspiring quotes and photos, part mini vision board, part life tips, part happy memories.

3. Inspiration book 2010 – Out of one of these books I read the 12 Keys to Happiness from scientist Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness – These are keepers too! 

1. Expressing Gratitude

2. Cultivating Optimism

3. Avoiding Overthinking and Social Comparison

4. Practicing Acts of Kindness

5. Nurturing Social Relationships

6. Developing Strategies for Coping

7. Learning to Forgive

8. Increasing Flow Experiences

9. Savoring Life’s Joys

10. Committing to Your Goals

11. Practicing Religion and Spirituality

12. Taking Care of Your Body: Meditation + Physical Activity + Acting Like a Happy Person

Yep. That’s pretty much it. I think I’ve got these covered! (At least, I work on them all every day. Still fine tuning, of course.) I origionally heard about Sonja’s book from Philosophers Notes, one of my favorite things ever – all the best personal growth/spirituality books summarized into 20 minute audio bites and 6-page PDFs. Highly recommended.

The Five Releases List:

1. X-mini MAX speaker – I did a TON of research when trying to find good portable travel speakers (I always obsessively research any electronics pre-purchasing) and I finally went with these guys. Not only is the sound excellent for their size, they’re not outrageously expensive, they charge via USB (no need to buy batteries) AND they run for 4-5 hours without being plugged in – perfection! I ordered these while I was living in Argentina and had a friend from the States bring them down as it’s quite difficult/expensive to get electronics with Argentina’s closed economy… they lasted for about 6 months until someone else broke one; then I used the single one for another 6 months until this one fritzed out too. Damned planned obsolescence.

2. Cannon charger – Also while in Argentina I had my friend bring me a new Cannon camera to replace the old Panasonic Lumix (which I’ve been recording most of these videos on). The Lumix stops working occasionally – ever since I took it to Burning Man and it got playa dust inside the lens – hence those spots that show up in most of my videos. Anyways, after more obsessive electronics researching, I got the Canon Powershot ELPH 300. It was my very favorite camera ever. Super compact, clear bright colors… the Lumix’s High def video and wide lens is a bit better for video but the ELPH definitely too better photos. And then, one day, I was hiking in some mountains in Patagonia, and somewhere during an off-trail 3 hour hike, my camera disappeared. Poof. I did the extremely steep 3 hour trail every day for the next 7 days, until it rained. Then I gave up. I never did find the camera. I hope some gaucho found it while he was horseback riding and was able to see the video of me and my friend Anne standing at the top of the mountain in high wind, screaming. Anyways, the camera was claimed by mother earth, and I no longer have any need for this charger. Why do I still have this charger one full year after losing that camera? No idea.

3. Art Eraser – I thought I lost my Faber-Castell eraser (oh, that name makes me feel like I’m back in art school). But then I found it. Donating this to the Academy!

4. Mystery key – I hate having old mystery keys. It torments me.

5. Brown hat – I was given this very good Wallaroo hat by a friend shortly before I left LA. I’ve worn it maybe twice in the past two years. They’re really good quality hats, but I just never wear it.

I ran across this Anais Nin quote that I love:

“There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.”

I feel like this challenge is slowing putting a few mosaic squares in every day… gradual change, transformation, unfolding. I’m really enjoying this challenge, but I’m not sure how I’ll still have stuff to get rid of at Day 30. We’ll see…

“Be as simple as you can be; you will be astonished to see how uncomplicated and happy your life can become.”  – Paramahansa Yogananda

“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”    – Eckhart Tolle

“You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.”  -Aristotle

“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson