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Archive for April, 2012

Wipe the Slate Clean

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Rainy days are not something most southern Californians embrace… Everything is wet and slick, so we tend to slip and fall and our normal activities are hindered by the blurring atmosphere and the crowded streets. Being stuck behind an endless line of red brake lights become entire afternoon affairs, and by the time we reach our destinations we are too on edge and irritated to accomplish anything. We curse Mother Nature and shake our fists at the sky, demanding for the sun to appear to break apart the heavy clouds and the dismal, grey world.  But our protests go ignored and the pitter-patter of raindrops continue their soothing rhythm on rooftops, and eventually we accept the cocooned world, wrapped in the embrace of heavy clouds, swirling wind and spiraling droplets.

In truth, the rain provides a comforting respite from the mundane passage of time. Everything is refreshed and we can look at the sparkling world with wonder and appreciation, for it is how nature intended.  The muck, dirt and grime of the streets are washed away, and the suffocating layer of smog is blown away for a brief moment, but in time we know the pollution will build up, turning the clean streets and clear skies into an unwelcoming shade of brown…

But I guess that’s the cycle of life…

Every once in a while we are granted moments of reprieve, like the cleansing of the rain, where we can reflect on our lives with a clear conscious and face all the demons we try so desperately to hide.

Let’s face it, we all do things we’re not proud of, and learn what not to do from our biggest mistakes. It’s not a new concept; learning the wrongs of life through experience is the only way we understand regret and the only way we become aware of our own flaws. But it’s the moments of pure embarrassment and irresponsibility that we wish to forget and sweep under the rug, hoping to hide them forever. But these moments of shame lie like splinters in our brains… Hidden but never truly forgotten.

Moments of pure disgrace are so jarring that we feel them in our souls. We’re not simply ashamed of our actions, we’re ashamed of ourselves, and reliving such agonizing moments is scary and uncomfortable because it tears us down to our most weakened state. When you can’t come to terms with what you’ve done, you can never stand tall and be confident with your persona.

The only way to evolve is to bite the bullet and open up your personal Pandora’s Box. Face your demons, learn from your insecurities, and release the heavy burden of shame and regret.

I’ve discovered that days when the sky is wet and grey to be the most empowering for personal reflection. A sense of solitude is evoked from the dreary weather, allowing me to reflect on my flaws without the anxiety of being seen. I am able to face what I’m most ashamed of and overcome the emotional terror attached to each demon…

Rather than allowing regrets cut deeper into my soul, I bring each one to the surface and brush them away, letting the currents of life sweep them into oblivion, and all that’s left is the lesson learned.

So, as a bon-a-fide southern Californian, I have learned to treasure the pounding rain against the glass, the howling wind outside my door and the dark frothy skies. For you see, Mother Nature has provided the atmosphere for serious inner reflection, and I will never pass-up a life lesson or the opportunity for personal growth.

 

 

Sharing Is Caring

Friday, April 20th, 2012

The great Albert Einstein once said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

To linger is akin to kicking a dead horse. What’s done is done, and dwelling on certain events is like stepping into quicksand, sinking one further and further away from the joys of life…

Our lives can change instantaneously. A single moment will alter our universe, forcing us to make tough choices and battle through a slew of overwhelming and highly intense emotions. And although we might not be prepared for such events, or believe we lack the inner strength to move forward, such experiences mold us into the enlightened, radiant, and intelligent beings we are destined to become. When we experience life altering incidents our eyes are opened to the glory, beauty and destruction of life, and help us understand our true priorities…

As you all know my wake-up call was the untimely death of my beloved father. His passing not only awakened my spiritual senses and brought about the inspiration for this project; it fortified my connections to him. My only regret is how it took his death for me to truly understand and appreciate his life…

The period following the funeral was the most trying and painful of my existence. At that time I thought I understood the fundamentals of mortality, but I was not prepared for the tidal wave of suppressed knowledge and intimate sentiments I had for the man who raised me.  I had always given credit to my mom for the person I grew up to be; she is a smart, driven women, with an uncanny intuition and a gaze that looks into the soul, and for decades I valued those characteristics and did all I could to live up to each and every one.

From the roots of my mother’s qualities, which I strived to mirror, grew the empire I govern today. I live in the fast-paced world of Hollywood where public interest jumps from one popularity to the next, throwing those involved into a whirl of chaos, desires, and decisions. It’s a cut-throat environment, where razors are sharp and the people are sharper; a place where my father would never thrive or live in…

My Dad possessed a carefree, almost silly attitude. He worked hard and valued all the little things. Life was a gift he cherished and adorned with all his beautiful qualities and outlooks, and those lucky enough to get caught within the crosshairs of his existence, emerged cleansed from the stains of the greedy, selfish world we live in. You see… he wasn’t driven by money or success; he lived for family and the friends and neighbors he met as he made his way unobtrusively through the circle of life…

And he loved. He loved the splendors of the world, the inner light of those he treasured, and the universal capability to connect and learn from one another. And boy did he learn, and he certainly taught. For my father was a master storyteller. People would be transfixed to his words, grasping for each one as if they were the breath of life. He understood the unique subtleties and complex expanses of human emotion, and could relate to all in a seemingly compassionate sense.

He is my hero, and the cornerstone to my new path in life, for now I see how connected and similar we are.

The torch has been passed; I am the new storyteller, relating important lessons to guide weakened and dispassionate souls…

You see… it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re a janitor or a rock star, a jailor or even a criminal, we all have a story to share and a lesson to pass on for those who care to listen and learn…

 

You Are Not Alone – Part 2 of 2

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

The loss of someone truly special, whether unexpected or expected, threatens our livelihood as we find ourselves stumbling to find our balance, searching desperately to cope with the hole ripped out of our hearts and souls. We feel abandoned and hopelessly lost, unable to sort through the jumbled mess of emotions as we spiral deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole…

What do you do when your confidant, friend, lover, father, son, or companion is suddenly gone? No one can possibly fill that black void of despair and longing. After all, it was their unique qualities that pinned you together like a key and lock, matched perfectly to your commonalities and life’s journey. And with their departure, your journey comes to a stand-still and each step forward is agonizing for the weight of the loss pulls you toward the darkness as well…

But what I’ve come to learn, is there are ways to alleviate the burden of loss and once again feel close to your loved ones.

When I lost my father my spirit was broken, and I succumbed to all the tempting perils of an emotional driven, writhing sea.  My thoughts whirled with an abundance of guilt and fear, and I felt myself drowning in the what-if’s and could-of-been’s, unable to shake the feeling that I did something wrong or could of done something more. Rather than accepting the natural progression of life, I took the weight of death upon my shoulders, and I was crumbling fast for death is not something you can fight… It’s the way of the world, and by choosing to live we must accept the fact that we all will die.

There is no shame in dying.

The moment I stopped fighting and let the inevitable sink in, I was finally able to move forward without the shackles of death holding me back. My spirit was suddenly lighter, and I felt almost luminescent for I was finally healed…

And this realization of the beauty of healing led me on this fulfilling path of inspiration and enlightenment. Death may be all around us, but the joys and beauty from those we love are more powerful and dazzling. Fond memories can warm our hearts, and flowers laid by a grave site are magnificent hints of color in an otherwise dreary place. In truth, the simple act of visiting the final resting place of someone we love can bring immediate comfort, for we feel both physical and spiritual closeness.

Each and every time I drive by the memorial park close to my home, the bustling people and bright lights of the city dim, and a wave of serenity washes over me… To witness hundreds of people paying their respects, asking for advice, recounting day’s events, and simply being present is a truly monumental, awe-inspiring sight. Each person has a story to tell, a lesson to impart, or words of wisdom to help lessen the severity of death. It’s a remarkable trait of life that everything comes full circle… the people who suffered from the loss of someone special search for knowledge and understanding to overcome their grief, which they receive from others who once grieved from a similar loss.

Life may be fleeting and delicate, but the conscious network that binds us all together is unwavering and impregnable. When someone departs this world and we are left feeling lonely and hopeless, we must remember that help is readily available from our fellow sufferers. They become the stars blinking in the black, expansive blanket of death, with twinkling rays of hope to guide us through the tough times…

So, as you can see… whether spiritually or physically… We are never alone, and that is something to rejoice in.

You Are Not Alone – Part 1 of 2

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

As each year flashes by in a blink of an eye, it’s hard to discern personal growth, and yet the moments of complete misery and solitude stand apart like lightning bugs in the midnight sky. True, our greatest achievements and triumphs stand at the forefront of our minds’ eye, but the instances when we are stripped down to our most intimate fears and anxieties never leave us. These are the times when we feel completely vulnerable and utterly alone… And why is that? Why do we always assume we are alone in our struggles? It’s a tragedy that everyone suffers, and only in moments of complete clarity do we remember that we are never truly alone.

I too experience bouts of helplessness and self-pitying emotions of loneliness. True, it’s in the comfort and solidarity of my office or home (as it is with all of us), but nonetheless I’m brought down by my anxieties and fears. Stress from work, pressure from family and friends, and obligations to co-workers and partners all culminate in one giant ball of tension, setting my nerves on end.

And during these moments of extreme external pressure we all succumb to the negativity and sink into darkness…

Unknowingly our minds spiral us into the depths of despair and invoke memories of anguish, adding intense emotions from tragedies past into the jumbled mess of our current dilemmas. Some of us cry, others stare into the distance lost in the onslaught of pain, or some of us get angry… Like the brash and emotionally driven adolescents we once were, we get angry at the loss of self-control, livid that circumstances are not proceeding according to our will, and infuriated at the overwhelming sense of loneliness.

We are transported back to the worst of the worst, the root of our anguish, the lowest of the low… It is the moment when we lost everything; the moment when a loved one past from this world into the next. And then, our despair is no longer just a reaction to the mundane stressors of life, it becomes an embodiment of our past agony, and once again a sense of helplessness settles in.

But in places of such darkness, all one needs to do is search for that glimmer of hope; the light at the end of the tunnel…

The ultimate truth is we are never alone. Memories of family and friends are kept alive through the simple act of remembering. They are living aspects of us for they touched our souls and we will carry their imprints forever. To a certain degree, the age old cliché of “gone but never forgotten” holds value and an undying truth. As long as we take moments to remember, those we lost will continue to thrive within our minds’ eye.

So when negativity, stress, anxiety and gloom rein terror on the mood and atmosphere, just remember to look inward to find a saving grace. Take a second to just breathe and decompress, releasing the bad to find the good, and realize you are not alone in your struggles.

It’s a lesson that goes straight to the heart. When you’re at your wits ends and have no answers left and the pain of the past comes rushing in, take control and let the spirits of those lost lift your soul…

So as I sit here at my cluttered desk, annoyed that I can’t find my pen or the stapler in my mess, I pause and let the memories of those I love flit across my mind… and a smile spreads across my face because I am not alone, and people I lost really aren’t that far out of reach either…