Saturday, May 11, 2019

Shifting the Focus

My favorite author, Cheryl Strayed, said, "Stop asking yourself what you want, what you desire, what interests you. Ask yourself instead, what has been given to me? Ask, what do I have to give back? Then give it.
I had a set plan for my life that didn't work out (surprise!!) So does the rest of the world. We are all (or, well most of us) trying to find a bigger purpose in life. Why am I here? What am I meant to contribute to this world? I know what I am good at doing and what kind of things I like to do, but how do I make this my job or my life? I struggle with finding a job I like that has meaning to me that also pays enough to live. I have felt pretty discouraged for about 4 years now as I try to figure this out. Just as I think I have it, it slips away. For most of my life, I have always thought of what I want, not what I have to offer. I think most people think like this until something happens to us that shifts our focus, hopefully for the better. Even though this is my life, it's not all about me. It's important to live fully, but live in a way that is beneficial to ourselves and others. In the end, people will not be discussing all of the money you had from working your way up the corporate ladder, but rather how you made each and every person you encountered feel.
So how do we figure out what we are supposed to be doing? How do we figure out how to give back? I am struggling in this and have been for quite a few years now. Often, I feel discouraged. Like I am stuck and every door I open is the wrong way out. I am not alone in this. There's probably many people at 26 or 46 or 66 that feel like this. There is no time line for life. But sometimes, we can't help but feel defeated by it?
I have been trying to shift the focus of my thinking. I think of all I have overcome and all of the things I have accomplished. I got a large scholarship to go to a local university, so I went. In college, I took up communications. It was always my dream to work in television. I took my 16-18 credits of college courses each semester, but on top of that, I was sports editor on the university's newspaper. I was weather girl, entertainment anchor, and then main anchor on their tv station. I also had my own radio show every week. On top of my classes and my extra curricular activities, I was a waitress at the country club near my house year round and also managed the pool in the summer. I did all of this and still graduated a semester early with close to a 4.0 GPA. And, in the midst of all of this, I lost my best friend, my Noni. A loss I always feared I would never come back from. I'm still here. And though it's felt like I've been trudging through mud since the day I found out she was sick, I still did all of that and I still keep trudging.
I am not on the television path I once envisioned for myself. I don't know what my career path is. Just as I think I maybe find what it is, it just isn't. This doesn't hold me back from living the way Noni lived, from living the way Cheryl Strayed describes. Even though I'm struggling to find ways to give to the world in my career, I still do things to try to better myself every single day, just as Noni did and as I see my mom doing, even though I know she still struggles with the loss of Noni, her mother. I am now teaching yoga after taking a 200 hour course. I carry my yoga with me every single day, on and off the mat. It's been my savior and it has taught me so much more than I could ever imagine. Yoga teaches us how to life. It helps us think on deeper levels and understand how our mind and body work and how they work together. Understanding this is understanding life. Now, I share what I have learned with my students and my students teach me new things every class. How we react to our physical practice on our mat transfers to life off our mat. If I fall out of a pose, does it really matter? Will I laugh at myself or curse at myself? Do I react? or do I respond?
Whether or not yoga can become my career or not is not really the point. The point is, I am learning new things to share with the world. And even if no one listens, I know I am trying. I know I am living with integrity.
There is an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond (my favorite show) in which the Barones debate the meaning of life. Frank says, "The meaning of life, here it is. You're born, you go to school, you go to work, you die. That's it. That's all."
He's not wrong. But what do we do while we are in school, at work, in between being born and dying that leaves some goodness back in the world. How do we make something even just a little better than how we left it?
Some people will never understand the path of life I am choosing. I don't really know exactly what I am choosing except to live a life I feel gives something back. I do not want to be in a job where I feel I have no purpose. I want to know I am doing something good for somebody. I want to be able to help people in whatever way I can. I do not want to be counting down to Friday every week of my life until I retire. Who knows if I will even make it to retirement? Why should we spend our lives not living? If you knew you were going to die in six months, what would you do? As I said, we have no time line. No one knows when the end is. We just know that some day it will come. We are not entitled to anything in this life. We are not even entitled to our next breath. If we think this way, we can truly live and we can ponder why we are living. Why am I being given this breath? Why have I been given this life?
Every second we have is a gift. We must seize opportunities to live and seek to give.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Take Time to BREATHE!

Take a second and listen to your breath. Watch your chest rise with each inhale and fall with each exhale. Think about where that breath is going when you take it in, and what is releasing when you send it out.
We never spend much time thinking about our breath. We think about it when it’s cold and we can see it. We think about it when we have exhausted it and our breathing is labored. The focus of the breath is essentially my practice in yoga. But, we don’t really have to think about it. We just do it. We just breathe.
Our breath is what keeps up here. The breath is what can take us back to the present moment. The breath is what keeps our bodies working. When we breathe, we send oxygen to every little cell in our body, keeping them working and expelling carbon dioxide which each exhale. Breathing is the first thing we do when we are born and the last thing we do before we die.
Dolphins are conscious breathers. They do not breathe automatically like we do. They actually decide when to breathe. They even must think about it whilst they are sleeping, which means that a part of their brain has to constantly remain awake for a dolphin to remember to breathe. For humans, we can have prolonged periods of unconsciousness and not have to worry that our breathing will stop because we are no longer thinking about it. Dolphins use what is known as unihemispheric sleep, meaning only one hemisphere of the brain can sleep at a time in order for the other one to control the breathing. While sleeping, they rest on the surface of the water, for breathing purposes. They are actively thinking about their breath, always.
Imagine if we had to think about breathing. Imagine if you had to make a decision. If I decide not to breathe at this moment, I can decide if I want to live or if I want to die. We never think about our breath in this way. Most of us never really think about our breath in general. We just know we do it and we know that it is important, but we never take the time to focus on it. We think about breathing in terms of living. The breath gives us life. If we are no longer breathing, we are no longer alive. We don’t think about breath in terms of dying until we have to.
Have you ever watched someone take their last breath?
When you know someone is leaving this Earth, you do not focus on their kidneys. You do not focus on their heart. You do not focus on their brain. You focus on their breath. There are patterns of breath that come before death. While these other organs may be failing and causing the actual death, it is the breathing that we can see and hear. As death nears, the breath becomes irregular. Rapid breathing may occur at first, followed a period of little to no breath. The time between each breath becomes longer. It can be a few seconds in between. It can be as long as a minute. When you are watching a loved one in this state, that is what you are watching, the breath. When the final breath is taken, you know. You know that is it. That person has left this Earth.
Do we then focus on our own breath?
We should. Focusing on our breath keeps us in the present. We live each moment by each breath. The next breath is not guaranteed. Each time we breathe, we are sending oxygen to the brain. We are sending oxygen to the places in our body that need it in that present moment. Taking some time each day to focus on your breath will ground you in the present moment. It does not matter what is happening around you. It does not matter what thoughts are racing through your mind. As soon as you stop and focus on your breathing, that becomes the only thought. It becomes the only focus. It’s good to take some time each day and focus on the thing that keeps us living, to just be grateful that we can breathe.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

I Just Can't LET IT GO

If you could name any movie in the last ten years that has had such a huge impact on society what would it be?

There's only one answer.

Hint: The cold doesn't bother her anyway.

Yes, it's Frozen.

I hate the cold. I hate the winter. The cold really bothers me. I don't know how Elsa does it. But she does. And "Let it Go" is such an empowering song until she says, "the cold never bothered me anyway," because it really does bother me and it's terrible.

But, enough negativity.

My little cousin ruined the entire movie for me. 

If I could go back in time, this is the moment I would go back to. I would like to experience Frozen for the first time again. Everyone marveled at how different it was and how well done it was and how great the soundtrack is. The soundtrack is pretty great, however, I don't know how I feel about the movie because I never got the experience of seeing it from start to finish without knowing the ending.

So stop reading if you haven't seen it yet, because SPOILER ALERT below. (Also, if you haven't seen it, what have you been doing with your life?)

I was babysitting and my little cousins suggested that we watch Frozen. Maybe this should've been a red flag for me. Should I have agreed to watch Frozen for the first time ever with a bunch of little kids? Maybe not. But I was too excited. This was it. I was finally going to experience what the hype was all about. We put the movie in. How exciting. I was like a little kid. For the first time in foreverrrrrrrr there was magic and there was light in my life. Until shortly after that song, Prince Hans appears on screen. At this point, you are thinking, here he is, the prince, coming for Anna or Elsa or whatever. Such innocence. Until my little cousins yells, "THAT GUY TURNS INTO THE BAD GUY AT THE END."


The entire movie ruined. Right there. The rest of my night was a total letdown. I had already known that Prince Hans was not the one. I had already known that the was really the first Disney movie where a princess didn't end up with a prince. My entire life came crashing down. I didn't get the experience those emotions when you really learn who Prince Hans is. The events didn't get to unfold before my very eyes that one time. They were just spit in my face. I was never able to really experience Frozen the way it was meant to be experienced. This has been a real tipping point with me and society. Because of this, I have seen Frozen as lesser. Mulan is better. Moana is better. But is this true? I don't know what truth is any more because I don't know if Frozen would've been better to me that Moana. I really have no idea. I struggle with this internally. Things aren't always what they seem but Frozen now seems to me to be not as great as I had hoped. Is it because I have bitterness toward the above situation? Is it because I never got the experience of finding out about Prince Hans on my own? Or, is it really because I like Moana better. 

I just cannot let it go.

A Note to Everyone

Hello fam,

It's been a while.

I miss this space. I created this blog as a way to practice writing initially. I didn't really have other intentions. Traffic starting picking up (as I was getting a little better) and it became more than practice. It became a way to entertain. My moving to Sam's Club blog even got me on television and won an award. I was living a good life on this blog. It was light and happy and funny, like me. (I'd like to think that's like me, anyway).

Then my life became not so light and happy and funny. It became deep and dark and quite depressing. This inspiration that I had for my light and funny posts had dissipated. I struggled for a long time trying to decide, do I write the deep and dark? Will I lose my audience because the tone of my blog changes? Do I really want to write these things for everyone? Do I show the world that life isn't always light and funny?

I don't know what the right answer was. I just know that I had decided that instead of publishing any writings from those years, I would just not publish anything. I couldn't find that girl that wanted to live in Sam's Club or that girl who was waiting on a visit from Oprah to her home. I did however carry with me the girl who still has a lot of questions about the "cloud" (where is this cloud?) and the girl who spends a lot of time on WebMd. In my last few posts, I combined the light and dark a little, but I struggled to find that entertainment aspect that I felt I was providing in my writing.

I am working on bringing that light back to this space. Even if nobody reads it, it is a light for me.

Thank you,

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Legitimate Questions about the "Cloud"

So, all of a sudden, this whole "cloud" thing is taking over technology and I could not tell you one thing about it except that sometimes in my iTunes, there is a cloud with an arrow next to a song or something and some how that song or whatever is stored in this "cloud."
I don't even know what's in my cloud and yet I keep getting emails saying my cloud storage is almost full. I don't understand how the cloud photo stream thing works. I don't understand why when I turn on the cloud, I get all my sisters contacts. Why do we get each other's messages with the cloud? I don't understand this cloud concept.
SO world, I have some legitimate questions about the cloud.

How do you overflow the cloud?
Can't a cloud hold anything?
Where is my cloud?
Can I see it?
How do I know other people can't get in my cloud?
How do I get my family off my cloud?
How do I know what's in my cloud?
How do you put stuff in the cloud?
How does it get there?
Won't my things fall through the cloud?
Why do I have to pay $19 to talk to someone at Apple about my cloud?
Who came up with this cloud concept?
Do they understand the cloud?
Can't they explain it to everyone else so we can get passed this cloud of confusion?
How do you see what's in your cloud?
Why does the cloud have weird arrows on it in my iTunes but no where else?
Is this cloud cumulus nimbus?
Is cumulus nimbus the storm cloud?
What if it storms?
Do I lose what's in my cloud?
Is the cloud a universal thing for Apple to know everything about everyone and take over the world via clouds?
How do you buy cloud "space?"
How do you measure a cloud in GB?
How do you measure a cloud at all?
How would someone hack into my cloud if I don't even know how to get to my cloud?
How does the cloud connect to all my Apple devices?
Is this cloud high up in the sky?
Is it an actual cloud?
How can Apple create this cloud thing?
Does Apple own clouds?
How do you buy a cloud?
Does each person have their own cloud?
Why doesn't anyone at all understand the cloud?

If you can answer any of these questions, I'd like to know the answers.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Inspiration from Darkness

     Tonight, my favorite show ever came to a perfect ending. Sons of Anarchy has revolutionized television for me. I have never been so engrossed in a show EVER. Spending my days day dreaming about what will happen next and who will die and how in the world everything is going to come together. Sometimes, I felt like I cared more about these characters than I did real people. Each and every death hit me like a ton of bricks...or like a gunshot to the head or a razor blade to the neck or a fork to the head. I owe it to creator Kurt Sutter and to the cast and crew for creating an all around perfect show. Each character has a beautiful and dark story and each actor portrayed them fantastically. I especially have to give shoutouts to Charlie Hunnam, Maggie Siff, Katey Sagal, and Theo Rossi.
     Of course, the ultimate shoutout goes to Kurt Sutter.
     The sick and twisted things this guy comes up with somehow ended in a poetic, Shakespearean way. Truly beautiful. And though I am sad that this show has ended, I am satisfied with the way it had to end.
     I didn't start watching the show live until season 5. I watched the first 4 seasons on Netflix in a week. Yep....a week. I would wake up with my iPad next to me and just automatically hit play. I carried that thing around with me all week and any free moment, I watched the show.
Then as season 5 premiered, I watched it along with my million twitter friends, each of us trying to figure out what will happen next, trying to get in Sutter's mind. Each week, a new path. A path that lead us all on this incredible journey, this amazing, emotional ride.

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be liar;
But never doubt I love
-William Shakespeare

     Sutter bases his story off Shakespeare's Hamlet. The classic "to be or not to be" for Jax Teller, as he struggles to find balance in his life, trying to figure out what is best for both his club and his two young sons.With pressure from his mother, Gemma (Katey Sagal), and his wife, Tara (Maggie Siff), Jax is torn between the life he has always known and the new life he has created. But the takeaway from the quote above which is what Sutter leaves us with is that we do terrible things because of love. We don't need hate to have a miserable time. Love will ruin us.
The crow flies straight...
    Gemma is probably the most perfect symbol of this. Everything she did, she did out of love, her weird, twisted love and what she thought was right and was the best for her and "her boys." Unser died as a result of his love for Gemma. Everyone died as a result of their love for the club, the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club, Redwood Original. His depiction of the crows as a symbol of death, with the homeless lady as the angel of death and the final scene with the bread and the wine  - the body and blood, was a perfect final picture for the fans. The ongoing symbols pulled the story together. It came full circle with the crows eating the bread in the very first scene in the pilot and ending with the crows eating the bread in the last and final scene of the series. Truly brilliant writing, truly brilliant way to tie up all the loose ends, like Jax did before he left his club. The love Jax had for his sons lead him to his ultimate demise, killing himself to save them from the life he led, from the life his father warned him of, dying the way his father had.
       Someday, I would like to be a TV writer and as I am wrapping up my time at Marywood, I'd like to start writing and make that happen. Watching this show and getting an inside into Kurt's work through his YouTube channel and blog and being able to attend the Sons for Sandy event last year, I have learned so much. Simply through watching his writing come alive on television, I have learned what brilliant writing is.
       Sons of Anarchy is so much more than biker clubs and violence. It is a story of a man torn by love; love for his mother, love for his wife, love for his children, and love for his club. It is the story of how these intense loves affect a person, how it can build you up and how it can destroy you. It's a dark story, but what is light without darkness?

     With that, I leave you with something author R.M. Drake posted on Instragram tonight, perfectly aligning with the Final Ride of Sons of Anarchy.

"There must be about a million ways to let yourself be destroyed. But then, there is love, and I think tonight I am in the mood to break apart and let myself be consumed by all the things I know I would never be able to recover from."

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I'm Thankful for Life and Other Things

    This Thanksgiving, there will be an empty seat by me. My buddy, my Noni won't be sitting by my side. You never know how much time you have left, how many more holidays with friends and family. And so, for that, I say go out and tell people you are thankful for them. I'm thankful for all my friends and family. And an array of a other things.

I am thankful for:

  • Potatoes
  • People who don't drive slowly in the left lane
  • 4th of July fireworks
  • Lord and Taylor sales
  • Butt warmers in the car
  • Sam's Club free samples and hotdog combo
  • Glen Oak
  • Meryl Streep
  • Acid reflux pills so I can go to Moe's and also eat pizza
  • Netflix
  • People who don't have their high beams on when they drive toward me
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • Everybody Loves Raymond marathons
  • Jimmy Fallon thank you notes
  • Ballet
  • The new CVS in Clarks Summit with the better parking lot
  • The giant pockets in my winter coat because they are big enough to fit a hoagie
  • Hoagies from the Waverly Deli
  • Taylor Swift singing "cuz darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a day dream."
  • Buzzfeed articles that distract me from doing important things
  • The Xfinity remote app because I always forget to record my shows
  • Pepperidge Farm bread
  • People who aren't mean to waitresses
  • My Twitter followers
  • Spongebob's wisdom
  • Billy Crystal and Bette Midler in Parental Guidance
  • People who use their blinkers
  • The Katy Berry at State Street
  • The Allentown rest stop
  • Kurt Sutter
  • Gertrude Hawks Smidgens
  • The free sample Auntie Anne's lady
  • Beyonce
  • Holiday hours at the mall
  • People who stop at stop signs
  • That I was able to see Joan Rivers in person work her magic
  • Salerno's Pizza
  • That I've seen Barry Manilow 5 times
  • Smart TV's
  • Oprah's favorite things
  • My blankie
  • Rewards points at stores that get you free things
  • Ceiling fans
  • Coupons
  • Chapstick
  • The energetic music of ABBA
  • Beats headphones so I don't have to hear my mom vacuuming
  • Frozen because Olaf
  • Beaches (the movie and the ocean-y sandy places)
  • People who smell nice
  • People who read articles before commenting on them on Facebook
  • The year Charlie Sheen went crazy and ran Twitter #winning #AdonisDNA #tigerblood #goddesses
  • Owning waaayy too many Alex and Ani bracelets
  • My pillow
  • People who tip 20% (or at all)
  • My ukulele that I still don't know how to play
  • Mr. and Mrs. Howell from Gilligan's Island
  • The grilled cheese sandwiches in McGowan
  • That the guy who's car mirror I knocked off like 3 years ago was a super nice old man who told me his life story and then offered me a grilled cheese
  • That every time I take a "Which Golden Girl are you?" quiz, I get Rose Nylund
  • Judge Judy's snarky comments like "Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining."
  • The little lemur dude that sings "I Like to Move It Move It" in Madagascar
  • Airplanes and airports because they fascinate me 
  • The thrill of Black Friday
  • When FX plays The Devil Wears Prada before Sons of Anarchy on Tuesdays
  • When things don't interfere with my TV schedule
  • Wendy's chicken nuggets
  • Living near a golf course
  • My pool
  • Sunglasses
  • The TV Guide app
  • President Clinton's Burger Stand game
  • Chocolate pie
  • The socks I carry in my purse in case I don't have any on and I have to try on shoes that need socks
  • Any books on Princess Diana
  • Baby powder
  • The free flashlight coupons for Harbor Freight in the Sunday paper
  • Noni's pasta sauce
  • The lady that works the checkout counter near the purses at Macy's
  • Non-depressing news stories
  • When I can actually sleep
  • 1970's Keith Richards
  • Still thankful for sneaker wedges (sorry haterzzz but they are comfortable)
  • TMX Elmo
  • The Rob Lowe Direct TV commercials
  • St. Germain
  • TJ Maxx and Marshalls
  • Paris Hilton perfumes
  • Bon Jovi and anything and everything related to Jon Bon Jovi
  • That one time I tried stand up comedy
  • Lava lamps
  • When I don't forget to put my earrings on
  • That one time I asked Clay Aiken if he wanted to go to lunch
  • Free shipping
  • That one time I didn't burn anything in the kitchen (I can't recall a specific time, but I'm sure it's happened)
  • People who read these silly posts
Ok I'm tired of this now and I'm sure you're tired of reading it. Time to eat and shop. Peace out girl scouts. Go buy some cookies.