Field Trip: Elizabeth Gilbert Lecture

Over the summer, on the exact same day, at exactly the same time, I was texting Ed to tell him that one of our literary heroes, Elizabeth Gilbert was coming out with a new book Big Magic, and he was texting me to tell me that Elizabeth Gilbert was accepting essay submissions asking readers how Eat, Pray, Love affected their lives.

Liz Gilbert would call this synchronicity *BIG MAGIC.*

Ed and I have been faithfully listening to her podcast leading up to the book release and we each downloaded the book on the release date. Along with listening to it, I read it to highlight the heck out of some amazing quotes, such as:

“I finally realized my fear was boring…..because it was the same thing everyday.”

“….creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching alongside it.”

“To even call someone a creative person is almost laughably redundant; creativity is the hallmark of our species.”

“…you will never be able to create anything interesting of your life if you don’t believe that you are entitled to at least try.”

…and on and on and on.

We knew we wanted to see her somewhere on her book tour, but my hectic schedule was making it difficult. We were both thrilled to hear she would be appearing locally and bought tickets immediately.

LG

Liz Gilbert was simply delightful. She was incredibly down to earth, yet impressively articulate. The woman definitely has a way with words and certainly expresses ideas about creativity in such a relatable format.

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Her lecture covered the topics we read about in Big Magic, particularly creativity and fear. I found it very refreshing to hear that Liz Gilbert herself has struggled with an incredible amount of fear, particularly when it came to her creative pursuits.

I really liked Liz’s comeback to when fear tries to tell us “who do you think you are?” This can be in creative pursuits or in any area of our lives. I think I have personally been struggling with this in relationship to my career, as I blogged about here. Liz discussed “the arrogance of belonging” and creating a new relationship with a sense of entitlement. She discussed that this is not diva or princess like entitlement, but an assurance type that asserts our rights. This really resonated with me and the work I have been doing with my root chakra and asserting my right to here. I sometimes need to remind myself that I do have a right to be here (in my career, as a yoga teacher, as a creative individual) and need to define for myself why that is true when that fearful voice creeps in.

I also loved Liz’s discussion of perfectionism. A phenomenon I am recovering from and still struggle with on and off. Liz reminded us that perfect things can never be made and we often romanticize or proudly announce our perfectionism. However, perfectionism is just another form of fear. Once she said this, it made SO much sense to me and resounds true with my anxious feelings of not being perfect at something. There is an embarrassing list of things I have not tried, because I was afraid I would not be good at them. I really hope this realization frees me from shying away from things I am completely suck at (that list is pretty long, too).

Liz was gracious enough to sign books after the lecture. I got my hard copy of Big Magic signed and Ed got his essay submission for Eat, Pray Love Made Me Do It signed:

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I highly recommend Big Magic! This book truly gave me permission to re-think my relationship with fear and gave me permission to not work so hard to eradicate fear (which is impossible) but have a peaceful co-existence with it, especially in conjunction with creativity.

“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”   Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s a once in a lifetime experience to enter in a writing contest of a well known author, only to win the contest and have the writer autograph the original copy before it gets published.  I consider myself very blessed to have experienced this opportunity.

I couldn’t agree with Angelina more – Elizabeth Gilbert is an eloquent speaker.  One of the reasons I enjoyed Big Magic so much was listening to her read her own work on audio.  I doesn’t surprise me that she became a number one best seller.

Once the publishing company allows the winners to show their work on social media, I’ll post my winning essay on our blog…FUN!

Peace,

Ed

Mantra Monday “I Am Not My Feelings”

I am currently participating in The Mindfulness Summit, a free, online conference that allows users access to daily speakers discussing various perspectives on mindfulness. I have learned quite a bit so far and some of my favorite topics have been mindful parenting, mindful eating and mindful business.

I had a huge “A-HA” moment on Day 12, when I heard Sam Harris speak on Spirituality Without Religion. Since that is part of almost my daily conversation with Ed and the premise for this blog, I was certainly interested in a mindful perspective of the topic.

One of the takeaways from the lecture was when Sam Harris talked about how feelings are temporary and how often we suffer because we ascribe permanent identity to our non-permanent feelings.

I do this often.

I get caught up in my anxiety, my stress and my irritability. I struggle with being an “anxious person” who does not handle stress well. However, I am learning to separate my anxious feelings from myself and merely observe them. My feelings are valid, my feelings are important. But, my feelings do not define me.

I am not my feelings

To help myself with this, I have been using the mantra “I Am Not My Feelings.” This has really been helping me remember that my suffering is a temporary state and says very little about my character, soul or future.

I hope this mantra can also help you at some point in your week, when maybe you get caught up in a temporary situation, that feels permanent.

In love and sisterhood,

~Ang

Mantra Monday: I Will Survive

“If I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me.” Gloria Gaynor

Although Angelina and I started out the summer refreshed, renewed and ready to take on our blog once again, we’re finding the new school year, as well as other personal issues, zapping our energy.  Over the last couple of months it appears as if everyone in Angelina’s family is either getting married, having babies or celebrating a birthday.  This has been a stressful time for her both financially and mentally.  This has also left little time for my spiritual sister and I to spend together.

As for me, work is draining me more than usual.  I had some drama with another coworker at the beginning of the school year which resulted in him leaving for a period of time…and me taking over his caseload.  This put a lot of pressure on my mental health and I started feeling that dark cloud sensation over my head.  It got so bad at one point – I broke down in tears in front of another coworker.  I had to leave early because I couldn’t keep it together.

Drama!

One of the things Angelina has been reminding me of first thing in the morning is this: we are not our feelings.  After the summer we had, I believe it.

Whether traveling through China, or relaxing on an inner tube while floating down the Smith River, neither of us experienced anxiety or mental breakdown during our time away from work.  On those nights where I feel as if I’m going to go crazy, I have to remind myself that this is not me.  I don’t get this high strung while I’m away from the crazy that is work.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been using the mantra: I will survive this, I will survive this.  It hasn’t been easy during those times of high stress but I manage it by coming home, shutting the door to the outside world and allowing myself to collapse on my bed in order to regenerate for the next day.  I don’t go out or talk to anyone, I just sit in my room and allow myself to rest.  It helps a lot.

As the month of October winds down, I also remind myself that in education, the first three months are always the hardest.  It’s the time when kids are getting use to their new teacher, classroom and friends.  It’s also the time when teachers have to be more strict in order to have control of the classroom for the rest of the year.  With only two more weeks of October left and the long holiday vacations almost before us, I can start to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Let’s just hope Angelina and I make it until then.

AIDS Walk LA

This past weekend, we participated in AIDS Walk LA, in West Hollywood.

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Although the weather was scorching for an October day in Southern California (high 90s!), it was still important for us to walk the 6.2 miles with our fellow brothers and sisters who are still spreading awareness and raising funds that go towards prevention, education and treatment.

weho AIDS WALK AIDS Walk angelhot like mexico

Mantra Monday “I Will Remember to Laugh”

I just finished my 21 day chakra cleanse. I took time to study and focus on each chakra for 3 days each. I researched my chakras and read as much as I could. I tried to pair each one with essential oils, yoga poses and healing crystals and stones. I tried to be intentional and honest with myself. I felt a lot of healing took place.

While researching chakras, I found the picture below and just had to laugh. It helped me to remember that although this work is transformative and revealing, it does not have to be so serious. I cannot find who to credit for this picture, but if you know, please tell me. That person definitely deserves some props.

I Will Remember to Laugh

When I get wrapped up in something, I tend to take it too serious. Almost to the point of anxious obsession which inevitably leads to burnout. This picture was sent to me to remind me not to get so caught up in my spiritual work that I forget to laugh at myself once in a while. My work also needs to involve not taking myself so dang serious and remembering that there is also healing in flexibility, flaws and mistakes.

I am usually pretty good about finding humor in most situations. I laugh at myself pretty often, but do not always apply that to my spiritual journey. I feel as though I am being lead to find more fun and play in this area of my life.

What makes you laugh?

Mantra Monday-Warrior I Pose “I Honor the Power Within Me.”

I have been working through each of my chakras since completing my reiki certification, which I blogged about here. I started a 21 day chakra cleanse and take 3 days at a time to focus on each of my 7 chakras. I am on my last 7 days and 2 chakras but want to talk a bit about my experience with my solar plexus chakra and the inspiration for this week’s mantra/yoga pose.

The solar plexus chakra is associated with personal power, fortitude, will, intuition and confidence. Weakness is this area can be caused my SHAME and GUILT and lead to second guessing, indecisiveness, low self-esteem and ineffectiveness.

I have always considered this to be one of my strongest chakras and have previously felt pretty secure in this area. I consider my intuition and judgment to be on of my strong points and generally feel pretty confident about the decisions I make.

However, since starting a new job one month ago, I noticed some weakness in this area. As I still learn and get to know my new surroundings, I find myself second guessing myself and experiencing feelings of low confidence.

As I have been studying each chakra, I have been trying to incorporate various yoga poses that will help me strengthen each area and incorporate essential oils to feel more in touch with this energy center. I used lemongrass in a diffuser in my office throughout this time and let it remind me to be both sweet and strong.

I read that the Warrior poses were strengthening for the solar plexus chakra. The Warrior poses require core stability to keep the balance and strength of the posture. Warrior I both exposes and grounds the core region (where the solar plexus is located) to bring awareness and security to this area.

The mantra I used while working on this area is “I Honor the Power Within Me.” Self-doubt, questioning and second-guessing is not honoring my personal power, it is diminishing it. Last week while working on this chakra, whenever I felt insecurity creep in, I went back to the mantra, “I Honor the Power Within Me” and relied back on my instincts.

I used the picture of my step-son in Warrior I pose that I took this summer while hiking through Colorado. I love this picture. He is striking the pose over a small, wooden plank bridge over a rushing waterfall. I absolutely love how calm and confident he is, even amongst the crazy current of nature. I love his self-possesion, lack of fear and serenity. I think it perfectly embodies this mantra and will be a powerful image for me to fall back upon when feeling shaken.

I Honor the Power Within Me