Thursday, March 29, 2012

New Character

Guess who's got a new character brewing!  I think her name is Jessica....

The sight of my hands breaking his heart as I let him walk away almost undid me.  Breaking his heart was never in my plans.  I never thought we’d be here today, barely more than friends, sharing the same place, but not the same heart.  When did the dreams of us become the needs of one?  The first feelings of doubt crept in.  Was I being incredibly stupid or selfish?  This was either the bravest thing I’d ever done or the most cowardly.
Would anyone love me as much as Troy had?  By letting him go was I giving up my only chance at forever love?  What would my life feel like without his calming presence? 

As the shadow of my former husband turned the corner out of view, I knew that even though it might be the wrong decision, I wasn’t going to follow him.  That I had shut that door, and there was no going back.  I was on my own for the first time in 7 years.
Left to deal with the fallout I took a breath.  I waited for the tears to come, but my eyes stayed dry.  I waited for the voice in my head to tell me that I wasn’t strong enough to face life on my own, but was met with silence. 

The vibration of my cell phone startled me out of my self-reflection.  “Hi Lauren.” I said, as I hailed the yellow cab coming down 5th. 
Written by Sarah Johnson

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flash Floods Probable

I’ve been more disciplined writing for the blog this week.  I’ve been trying to learn to harness my creativity and tap into it regularly, rather than in large bursts.  I created an outline of ideas for each post and worked on them throughout the week.  That way I had an idea of what I wanted to talk about and nibbled on them throughout the week.  When a post was publishable (they are never really "done"), I scheduled them to post throughout the week to keep up a constant flow of new ideas. 

It was weird.  My blog started to feel like an assignment.  It was both refreshing and repressive to know what I needed to think about throughout the week.  I loved the structure of planned ideas, but fought against it at the same time.  I allowed myself to write about each topic as inspiration hit, rather than force myself to tackle them in order, but it still felt a little artificial.  Discipline and focus are new participants in my creative process.

My ideas pile up in my head like water behind a dam.  Pushing and pushing against my restraints until I can no longer hold them back and they come rushing out on whatever mechanism for recording is handy.  Note, the backs of envelopes work surprisingly well.  As a result I am left with tidbits of thoughts scattered about my life in bags, purses, pockets, cupholders, etc.  Wherever I happened to be when the dam broke.  The good news is that my mind is constantly creating.  The bad news is that I am not good at regulating the flow of ideas out of the reservoir, and as a result I lose many potentially great ideas in the flood that happens with the breach.  Images and stories go rushing past, just out of my reach, swept away to parts unknown.  I’m left with undeveloped snippets that were either too strong for the current or too weak to make it out in the first wave.  The flood leaves me too exhausted to fully explore their potential and most get lost in the next wave.  Not yet mature enough to survive the onset of new ideas, and are forgotten as a result.
What a gift it would be if I could just learn to visit the reservoir on a regular basis.  To be proactive in my pursuit of my artist voice rather than reactive.  Is it simply a lack of discipline that keeps me away, or is it something more?  Is it the fear that I will go to the reservoir and encounter it bone-dry?  That I will wait for ideas that never come?  That I will walk along the path to the reservoir only to find that I have chosen wrong and am lost in a barren wasteland where my imagination doesn’t grow? 

How do you learn to trust in your gift and that your creative voice is there waiting for you?  How do you find the focus to pursue the ideas that come and decide which are worthy of further exploration and which are simply the stepping stones to true artistry?  How do you learn to trust yourself?  These are the questions I struggle with to find out if writing will ever be more than a mechanism to record my thoughts and daily happenings.
I came across the quote, “Creativity takes courage”.  I’m not sure who came up with it, but it certainly describes where I’m at with my creative process.  I need to find the courage to be brave enough to set sail in the reservoir and see where my imagination takes me.  To be brave enough to set sail from the harbor.

I do think I'm brave enough to keep trying to find my way.  To keep sludging through the wilderness trying to find the path to ferry out my creative thoughts.  And isn't that just a different kind of discipline?  The unrelentless pursuit of discovering your own artistic voice? 

So yes, I agree that "creativity takes courage", but the courage required may simply be the courage to set out on the journey, not knowing the destination.  And for that journey, I am well on my way with no plans on turning back. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Saturday Girl and the Gold Unitard

For those of you who read my post yesterday, I talked about the need to “tuck away the Saturday girl” to make way for “normal” Sarah.  But what if I didn’t have to tuck away the Saturday girl?  On stage I am fearless.  I am creative.  I am brave.  What if I was that fearless all the time?  Why is it so easy for me to share my gifts with others from the security of the stage, but not in my everyday life?  Is it that I get to hide behind a story or a mask of a character?

I had a lot of angst and nervousness over the fact that I was going to perform on-stage in a full-body, gold unitard.  That I was going to essentially look nude on stage.  Isn’t that everyone’s worst nightmare?  As soon as the unitard went on, the negative voice in my head took over.  I wasn’t skinny enough to pull it off.  Why hadn’t I ever stuck to one of my hundred goals to work out more and only eat healthy food?  Looking at myself in the mirror clad in nothing but the gold-unitard, my inner critic was out in full force.  I put myself down before others could.  I was the first with an insult.  Maybe from a need to let others know that no, I most certainly did not think I looked awesome and beautiful in my gold-unitard.  In fact, my own insecurities threatened to blacken my whole show experience and overshadow the fact that I was going to dance “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.  I loved this number.  In fact, it rates up there with my all-time favorites.  Why then was I allowing a piece of fabric to take away that joy?

Waiting in the wings for my first entrance the insecurity started to fade away.  With my first step illuminated by stage lights I forgot about the gold unitard.  I was a graceful and powerful giraffe celebrating the beauty of life.  The “Saturday” girl, the dancer, had taken over and silenced the inner critic.  This courageous girl was beautiful and inspiring in her gold unitard. 

This transformation has started me thinking about my “Saturday” version of myself that comes alive on stage.  She’s there inside all the time, every day of the week.  Why then does she only show her face in the lights of the stage?  Why do I allow my insecurities and self-doubt to keep her hidden? 

We all have insecurities.  We all have an inner critic.  We are all quick to point out our self-perceived “defects” to others before they can comment.  Why? 

I have been raised to value humility.  Maybe it’s that humility has no place on the stage?  That the stage forces you to be the biggest version of yourself?  How then do you balance humility and self-confidence?  How do you tone down the “Saturday girl” and apply her every day of the week?  Maybe the first step is to stop insulting myself.  To embrace the curves and skin and body I’ve been given.  To recognize that this body is strong and does almost anything I ask of it. 

To remember that within this body lives the girl that forgot about the gold unitard and remembered how to dance.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Look

You should know I'm an Aries, and that I get bored easily.  Therefore, the fact that this blog has a new look for spring shouldn't surprise you. It still isn't exactly what I want, but it's getting closer.  I would love to hear your feedback and thoughts on the new design.  Thanks for reading and letting me share my thoughts with you!

Post-Show Blues

I always feel a little blue the day after a show.  I have a “show hangover” if you will.  Part of it is the physical exhaustion that is finally acknowledged after the adrenaline wears off.  Believe it or not, 2 shows in a day is hard work on this (almost) 34 year old body.  More draining than the physical effects of the end of a show are the emotional effects.  There is a brief mourning period as you realize you won’t be dancing those numbers again.  You say goodbye to movement and characters that you’ve literally woven into your body.  I fall in love with the music, the choreography, the story, and the experience of sharing that story with an audience.  When the lights go out on stage, after the movements been released and shared with the universe, you can’t bring it back.  That’s the beauty of live theater.  What’s done is done. 

Learning choreography is a process and not unlike a relationship.  You start out as strangers – you and the choreography.  There is the awkward “getting to know each other” phase where you and the choreography learn how to move together.  Trust and security start to build as the choreography is absorbed and accepted by your heart, mind, and body.  Finally, there is the celebration of your partnership as you share your story with the world (or at least those who bought tickets).  But when the lights go out and the music fades away you are left with a sweet goodbye as you go your separate ways.
Each recital is a unique experience too.  A moment in time where you come together with others to share a story on stage.  The journey is always unique to each recital and show, never to be repeated.  Different nerves, different characters, different preparation all lead to a once in a lifetime experience.  Knowing for a week you got to live the life of a performer in a troupe, that you were able to come together with others to share your art.  And now you break apart to build the next story.

I love the stage.  I love seeing the lights and the people in the audience and knowing that I am sharing a gift with them.  That for a moment, however brief, I am seen.  I love the last minute butterflies as you wait in the wings and the energy that is released when the darkness of backstage turns into the brightness of the stage lights.  On the stage everyone is a star.  I feel bigger, taller, more beautiful, and invincible on the stage.  I love feeling the energy from the audience, making eye contact with a little girl in the front row and seeing the stars in her eyes. 

The stage is magic, pure magic. 

And then there’s Sunday.  Sunday when you go back to being a normal girl with a normal job and a normal life.  The shining, fearless girl from Saturday fades away to wait for the next curtain call. 
So yesterday I resumed normal, everyday, drama-free life.  I worked in the yard, did some needed laundry, watched Dirty Dancing on tv, and took some time to read a book in the sunshine.  Tucked the Saturday girl away until June.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Broadway Inspired

Sorry for the brief hiatus.  Last week was show week for The Next Step Dance Studio's presentation of "A Night of Broadway" which meant rehearsals, more rehearsals, and of course the show itself.  Big congratulations go out to director, Rebecca Allen, who is also one of my very good friends.  It's always inspiring to see someone chase their passion and Becca has certainly succeeded in catching hers.  Her talent and creativity are amazing.  A want to say a big "Thank You" to Becca for all she does for the students of TNS, and for sharing her passion for dance with all of us.  

I danced in three numbers for this show.  The show-wide production of "Circle of Life" from "The Lion King" where I danced as a giraffe (big surprise) was my favorite.  Minus the gold-colored unitard, we had a lot of fun with the costumes and face paint.  I can't wait to see it played back on video.  I brought back the 80's in "Fame", complete with purple tights.  There was also a sassy latin section in "Sing with a Swing" with the advanced jazz girls.  

My only regret?  That because I help out backstage, I was only able to get pictures in our Lion King costumes before the show started.  Let's just say that I won't be adding a gold-colored unitard as my go-to outfit.  Enjoy!

Debbie helping with the transformation

Face Paint attempt #1

Yes, this is often what dancers do backstage

Transformation attempt #3

Costume time!

Studio Director, Rebecca Allen

Giraffe transformation complete


Monday, March 19, 2012

Creative Beginnings

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet.  Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”  Helen Keller

I know this quote is about finding strength in times of weakness and calm in the midst of tragedy, but I want to draw a correlation to my creative process.  It might be a bit of a stretch, but bear with me.  In writing this blog I’ve started exploring the voice of my artist within.  I have been learning what makes the voice speak and whether or not I can coax it on what to say.  Basically, can I find a way to generate my creativity on demand and control it enough to create long pieces of work.
I’ve had a fairly emotional week and have been left feeling a little raw and exposed.  But something magical happened in the midst of that inner turmoil.  By breaking myself down emotionally, I freed up the restraints on my inner artist, and a new character with a new story to tell started to emerge.

This flash of creativity made me start to wonder if inspiration is grounded in self-reflection the same way growth comes from times of struggle.  Those of you who read this blog have probably figured out that I am drawn to characters experiencing emotional intersections.  The characters I’ve fallen in love with constantly struggle to figure out who they are and if who they are today is who they are meant to be.  This self-reflection and soul-searching ultimately leads them on a journey to discover their true self and a quest for happiness and self-satisfaction. 
I’m beginning to learn that I may only be able to create these characters while in the midst of an emotional struggle.  If I look at my own journal writing history, it’s easy to see that I write the most when in the midst of drama, fear, insecurity, loneliness, and occasionally pure bliss. 

I am at my most creative when I feel the most raw on the inside. 

I’ve always turned to writing to process emotions, to problem solve, to learn.  So maybe it’s not too much of a stretch to apply the quote from Helen Keller to my own creative process after all.  Maybe my weakness is that I’ve relied on my own struggles to get me to that place of instability where creativity can emerge.  My challenge is to figure out how to stop waiting for my own periods of emotional pain and get inside the character to work through his/her emotional struggle.  I need to help them grow and learn from their challenges. 
I need to take away the filter of “me” and be brave enough to ask my characters about their struggles instead of making them wait for me to commiserate.  Maybe I have more control over my creative voice than I originally thought.  I just might need to be more courageous in using it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chasing My Passion

Today I left all my worries behind and just had an adventurous day in the snowy forests around Mission Ridge Ski Area with my husband.  Sometimes all we really need to feel better is to breathe.  And breathing mountain air is better therapy than almost anything.  I always seem to find my center and my true self while strapped to a snowboard heading down a snowy field.  I am incredibly lucky to not only have found my passion, but to have someone in my life who also shares it.  Snowboarding brought my husband and I together, and continues to bring us closer each and every time.  

Hope you find your joy chasing your passion.  Until next time, Be Here Be You.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

My Wilsons

The funny thing about life?  Jsut when you feel like you're adrift on a sea of uncertainty, you're givien a life raft.  My life rafts are my wonderful group of friends.  The people that are there for you no matter what your day looked like, the crazy stupid things you said, in your highest of highs and lowest of lows.  The people who are there at the end of the line whenever you reach out.  I am a lucky, lucky girl to have such wonderful people in my life.  

Tonight I just want to say thank you to you all.  Your words and random shouts of love always get me through any challenge I find in front of me, and I can't thank you enough.  I love each and every one of you more than I could ever say.  Though the miles between us may be far, our friendship is strong enough to bridge any gap.  Thank you for your support and laughter and random shoulders.  I feel truly blessed.

All my love.  Sarah 

Special thanks to AF and SG for a wonderful night of friendship on Capital Hill, and EK and DK for wonderful reminders of home.  Much Love.

Some of the besties - NYC November 2011

And More.....

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting to Exhale

I’m stuck.  I’ve tried all my tricks to break through this writer’s block, but nothing seems to be helping.  In one last act of desperation I thought I would turn to the blog to see if something gets jarred loose.  Usually when the writer’s block is this thick it means I’m distracted.  That I have too many thoughts and emotions under the surface that block the creativity.  Sometimes my real life’s voice is just as loud as the characters of my imagination. 
I feel like my entire life is consumed by an intense feeling of waiting.  I feel like I haven’t taken a full breath in a several days, that when I try to look inside at what’s bothering me it flits away just beyond my reach.  Yet I think I know what this elusive trigger probably is.  I think I know exactly what’s distracting me and keeping me from tapping into my creative, emotional side.  What I don’t know is if I’m brave enough to acknowledge that it’s real because once I admit it, there’s no going back.
My aunt is dying.  There I’ve said it.  She’s dying and it’s horrible and I am powerless to do anything but wait.  Wait to mourn, wait to heal, wait to support, wait for her beautiful release.  Death is a terrible and tragic event, but I’m beginning to think the guilt that accompanies dying is almost as bad.  I feel incredibly guilty because I want my aunt to be free of her suffering, free of her disease-ravaged body for her soul to fly, for her to be at peace.  The terrible part?  In wishing for all of these things I am essentially wishing for her death.  And that honest emotion, my friends, brings some pretty heavy feelings of guilt.  That statement is pretty hard to admit yourself, let alone put it in writing.
I don’t want to say goodbye to her.  I don’t want her kids to learn what it means to not have her present, for her husband to know the greatest of losses, for the rest of us to know she’s travelled beyond our reach.  I don’t want to know this world has lost a beautiful soul.  But more than all that, I don’t want her to be in pain anymore.  I guess that’s where the saying, “I love you enough to let you go”, really comes from?  I am just being selfish?  Am I wallowing in my guilt to avoid losing myself in grief?  Am I choosing to feel guilty because it takes away the numbness that dying brings?  Choosing guilt to feel pain because she does? 
I am angry that she’s one of the good ones that will be taken from us too soon.  Angry and helpless with nowhere to channel either feeling.  So I wait.  I wait until my grief overshadows my guilt and my love for her overwhelms all of my other emotions.  I wait until I can feel again.  I wait to begin to heal, wait until I can focus on the beauty her life brought rather than the pain her leaving creates. 
I don’t know if this post has helped my writer’s block, but it has made me put voice to my distraction.  I realize this post is pretty raw, and some of you may change your opinion of me based on it.  But I am learning to live an authentic life, learning who I am, who I am to be, and how to live in the present.  And today I am just a girl trying to deal with and learn from the challenges in front of her.  To remember that we often have to discover our weakness in order to discover our strength. 
To be me, all of me, even the ugly parts.
Picture taken from our trip to Pacific Beach, WA in 2008

Monday, March 12, 2012

Living Out of Balance

One of the goals of this blog is to be completely authentic.  To share my life with you all even when the clouds come in.  Maybe I have a case of the Monday grumpies brought in with the winds of March, but today’s post is a cloudy one with more questions than answers.

Remember this earlier post where I talked about the need to slow my life down and not plan it away?  It seems I haven’t grown quite as much as I had hoped.  I now find my life gridlocked in plans until mid-April.  Some of my plans are for fun, others for work, some are negotiable, most are not.  How do you balance commitments and the need to not plan your life away?  Was it unreasonable to expect a complete change in my personality (I’m a planner) in just a few short weeks of having a blog?  Is it the stormy weather outside that’s contributing to my overall grumpiness and dissatisfaction?  Maybe.  But the fact that I am still planning my life away became painfully clear to me in the early morning hours (around 2 am) today. 

After getting up to move the washing machine past the rinse cycle it was stuck on, my mind starting fretting about how to fit a very important request for my time and presence into a packed, meticulously planned month.   

My mom called me from Missouri yesterday where she is visiting my warrior aunt and said that both my aunt’s husband and their minister would like me to attend my aunt’s funeral and read “My Warrior Aunt”.  You, my readers know that this one piece of writing has single-handedly changed my perspective on my writer’s voice, but more importantly, touched a lot of people’s lives.  I would love nothing more than to honor my aunt and share the lessons she’s taught me with those who loved her.  My predicament is not in a lack of desire to attend, but rather a worry that there is no way I could possibly attend due to my crazy schedule.  See, in the midst of my planning, I have not left any room for those events in life that we cannot control to happen.  I laid awake for at least an hour running through different scenarios of how I could attend her final goodbye.  The inability to plan for this greatest of occasions and to carve its space out in my life is difficult for my planner brain to accept. 

I am living proof of the downside of being a planner.  When you put things on the calendar you squeeze out the time for the spontaneity of life.  Sure, you will move and adjust things in degrees of need and crisis, but how do leave space in your life while also living your life and experiencing new things?  I will never be able to live a completely spontaneous life; it’s not within my character.  I can live a life with more room for spontaneity, but will never be able to live with an open calendar.  Commitments fill my life.  I am traveling for work this week, dancing in a show which requires a week of rehearsals and the show itself, trying to take a snowboard trip, making sure my mom is healthy for her surgery, holding the most important work event of my career, and attending 2 concerts.  All worthwhile and all make up who I am.  How then do I back out of things I can’t really back out of? How do I make space for the unpredictability of life within a life that’s already planned? 

I know the answer is balance.  But the question is, how?

And to clarify, I will make whatever adjustments need to be made in order to attend my aunt's funeral.  I was just lamenting the fact that I still over-plan my life.  Some things definitely take priority though and family is paramount.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dog Lovin'

I am going to admit right off the bat that there is no deep thought or creative work in this post.  Nope, this post is just for fun.  I spent a good chunk of Saturday (after doing my taxes) playing with my two best dogs.  I have learned a lot from these two, what it means to love someone without reservation (even when they leave you in a kennel all day), how to appreciate the now, forget about the past, and recognize sometimes it really is as easy as chasing a ball around. Good life lessons.  

So here they are, Baker and Loki the best dogs in my world.

With a face like this, how could you not go play outside?

Baker Bits - the best dog in the world, and my best friend

The most beautiful dog in the world

Waiting (patiently) for the ball

We don't know what Loki likes more, chasing the ball or chasing Baker, but he's ready either way.

March storm coming in

Mission Ridge in the distance

"Please, put the camera down and throw it!"


Taking a break for a posed picture

Seriously, how can you not think Loki is one of the cutest dogs on the planet?  And he's almost 7 - the perpetual puppy

What a great day!

Loki ready to give "knuckles"

Time to go out and play!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Obsession - Part 2

Next installment of "Obsession" by Sarah Johnson.  The complete work can be found here.


“Is he coming?”  David asked.
Still frowning at the phone, Trevor shrugged.

“I hope so, he’s our best chance.”  David said.  Was he really though? He thought.  He hadn’t heard from Jack since Maria’s funeral.  Last he heard Jack had bought a small villa on an island in the Caribbean and from the reports he’d gotten, had pretty much devoted himself to drinking on the beach and hiding away.  Even if Jack did respond to his best friend’s call for help, what would be coming back?

He could see her through his lens.  See her laughing with that dog.  She thought she was safe.  Fire raged through his veins as he retrained himself from capturing her right now.  The time wasn’t right yet, he wanted to see the terror in her eyes first.  He smiled as he thought of how he was going to break her this time.  Break her so she could never send her back to haunt him.  He must have done something wrong last time and that’s why she had returned her to him.  This time he would do it right.  She would get his package soon and know he was out there watching and waiting.  “I’ll see you soon, Maria.”  He whispered.

Jack stood outside the house, knowing he had to go inside, dreading the memories that were waiting to engulf him.  He hadn’t been back here since the night it happened and had forgotten how massive the house was.  Tucked into the woods in a small community 3 hours from New York City, the house had been built by Trevor’s grandfather in the early 1920s.  A gift for his bride.

The house was still beautiful, but seemed to be holding its breath.  Maybe it was just his own loneliness he was feeling, but it felt as if the house was in mourning.  A memory of the last time he had stood on these stone steps seeped up from his memory.  He hadn’t been here since the night that monster had stolen his life, but thinking about it now wouldn’t do anyone any good.  Remembering took too much out of him and he needed all his senses now if he was going to try to honor her memory by protecting her family.  He pulled open the double oak doors and stepped into the dimly lit foyer.

“You came.”

"You knew I would.”

"It’s good to see you again.”  Trevor said, embracing his friend.  “It’s been way too long.”
Jack returned the embrace, “It’s good to see you.”  He was surprised to find he was telling the truth.  “How’s Abby?”

Trevor looked at his friend.  “She’s good.  Like everyone she has good days and bad days.  Every once in awhile I catch her looking distant and I know she’s thinking about Maria.  She’s teaching dance at the studio and planning a benefit, so that keeps her busy.”  Trevor paused.  “She doesn’t know you’re coming, and she doesn’t know anything about the letters.”

Before Jack could answer they were interrupted by a big bark and Jack found himself looking into the eyes of a large, intimidating German Shepherd dog.  “Sadie.  Sit.” 

Jack gasped his heart ripping apart as he looked into her eyes.  He had forgotten they had the same eyes.  Emotion threatened his razor-thin control.  God, those eyes.  He thought he had pushed them from his memory.  Push the memory down.  Think about now, not then.  “Hi Abby” his voice barely a whisper.

“Hello, Jack.”  Her tone gave him back his control and he met her gaze.  Trevor was right, she looked wonderful as always, but there was steel laced with sadness in her gray eyes that hadn’t been there before.  “What are you doing here?” she asked.

He tensed at the anger in her tone.

“He came to see me.”  Trevor interjected.

“Well then, you won’t mind if I don’t stick around.  Come on Sadie.”

With a last glance at Jack, the dog followed her out the door.

“Well, that went well.”  Trevor murmured.  He glanced at Jack whose tight jaw and hard eyes were boring into the closed door.

“I shouldn’t be here.”  Jack said.

“Yes, you should.  Don’t blame Abby.  Or yourself for that matter.  I didn’t tell her you were coming.”

“Why not?”

Trevor sighed and Jack noticed the lines of worry and fatigue that hadn’t been there last time he’d seen his friend.  “I didn't want to worry her about the packages.  And I wasn't sure you were going to come.”  Trevor paused and looked Jack in the eye.  “I will keep her safe.  Maria’s death hit her hard.  She’s just now getting her life back under her feet.”  He looked out the window.  “She’s lost too much already; I don’t want her to lose the life she’s just gotten back.  The benefit she’s working on is actually a benefit for Maria.  Abby’s picture is on the posters as a featured dancer, that’s how we think he found her.”

“Are you sure it’s the same man?”  Jack asked.

"We’re pretty sure.  The language and handwriting match the letters he sent Maria.”

"I want to see them.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Searching for Me

Have you ever wondered if you’ve grown into the version of yourself that you were meant to?  Wondered if you’ve taken the right forks in the road and lived up to your own potential?  Ever felt that you’ve lost part of yourself in the journey? 

I have.  I sometimes ask myself all of these questions and more.  That may sound like a terrible thing to some of you, but I can say that by asking those questions, I’ve learned that I am happy with who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’m yet to become. 

I’m not done growing yet, and I’m glad for that.  I hope to grow and discover more and more of myself for my entire life.  To look back at previous versions of myself and smile, knowing the “me” of today is a much wiser, inspired, grounded, loving person than the “old me”.  To know that who I am today isn’t who I’m stuck with tomorrow.

When my grown-up life gets a little dull and routine I often find myself looking back on the past with more than a little wistfulness and nostalgia.  These are the times I am eternally grateful that I’ve kept a journal for a good portion of my life.  When boredom or loneliness find me yearning for that carefree girl that wanted to set the world on fire, I peel back the lenses of selective memory and remind myself that the carefree girl I was romanticizing was not perfect and in fact, didn’t really exist.  She was a flurry of contrasting emotions striving to find herself in a world of possibilities.  She was passionate, dramatic, fearless, terrified, carefree, worried, smart, funny, loving, lonely, and more.  As crazy as she was, I love that girl, and am eternally grateful that she’s grown up.  The woman that grew from that girl is a much happier, rounder, loving, and courageous person.  She knows more about who she is and who she can be.

Revisiting that girl makes me happy to know that I would never trade places with her.  That I am a profoundly better person, not a different person, just a better version of myself.  Knowing those experiences etched in my journal that caused heartache and longing were part of my journey.  The journey of self-growth that continues today.  The quest to become the best version of myself that I can. 

This opportunity is kind of amazing if you stop and think about it for a moment.  Some of us long to go back in time and become that old version of ourselves, but what we miss is that we have an opportunity every day to use the experiences we’ve gone through and rediscover ourselves.  Every day we have the opportunity to become better versions of us. 

Don’t sell yourself short by yearning for the past.  Learn from the past and use it to grow into a better version of the current you.  You might find that you discover who you are and who you can be through the journey.  Be Here.  Be You.
An oldie but goodie of me and Baker

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Initiating Authenticity

I’ve been blown away by the movie, “Art of Flight”, a snowboard movie produced by Red Bull Media and starring Travis Rice, along with other phenomenal backcountry snowboarders.  First off, I want to say the cinematography for this movie is breathtaking.  The riding is equally impressive and Travis Rice is the future of snowboarding (to quote big mountain Jeremy Jones).  Travis Rice said something in this movie that really resonated with me.  “Experiencing the world through endless secondhand information isn’t enough.  If we want authenticity, we have to initiate it.”  I couldn’t agree more.

In a world filled with secondhand experiences, I want to live an authentic life. I want to breathe the mountain air for myself, not watch a video on You Tube. I want to feel the energy of the crowd blending with the energy of the performer for myself, not just watch the video on my television. I want to live my life in the front row, not just read it about it on the internet while drinking my morning coffee.

I’ve devoted a fair amount of this blog to learning to live in the moment and not waste my life.  Along with that comes the drive to live an authentic life.  To be true to who you are and who you want to be.  To not hide your amazing, beautiful soul away from life, but to walk out your front door and experience it.  To be the person your dog thinks you are (one of my favorite quotes).  To live up to yourself and your dreams. 

Too many times we let life pass us by as we watch others live.  How many hours have been wasted perusing celebrity gossip sites, magazines, or reality shows?  How many of us know more about the Kardashians than we know about our own friends?  I know I’ve said it before, but I want to say it again and again.  Repeat it until it’s burned into the fibers of my being.  I don’t want to live my life through secondhand experiences.  I want to live an authentic life.  To say yes more than I say no.  To be present in my own life and not waste the moments I’m given.  To be me.  All of me.  Be Here.  Be You.
A beautfiul day of hiking through the snowy forest to Mission Peak