Those pesky limiting beliefs and insecurities!!!!

I like to think I am strong. I like to think I am wise beyond my years. I like to think I am powerful and fearless. I like to think I take advantage of all the good opportunities that fall into my lap. I have recently come to the full realization that I lie to myself and in lying to myself I have for years covered dirt over my limiting beliefs and insecurities. Over the years, I have piled so much shit on top of my limiting beliefs and insecurities that I really thought they didn’t exist. However, now the shit smell is too much to bear. Its like rotting dead flesh!! I can’t ignore it anymore no matter how hard I try.

Lately..I have been in a really introspective type of mood. That could be a combination of Yoga, meditation, Chakra cleansing, and all the things that I have been investing in lately to grow, to fully heal from all of my past hurts, and to fully develop my mind power. Yes, mind power. It sounds kind of hokey hippie new age like..but I understand now how powerful our minds are. I have been meeting people lately, listening to the Silva system and other lectures through mind valley and just having amazing life altering experiences that are proving to me that if I can just heal from all past hurts, if I can control my thoughts, if I can control my emotions..if I can destroy my limiting beliefs and insecurities, then anything and I absolutely mean ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!

I don’t want my insecurities and limiting beliefs to stop me from living to my highest potential so I am jumping off of cliffs in my mind first to allow me to jump off of them easily in my life. This is not always easy because it is forcing me to bring things to the surface that I would rather not. Its forcing me into the dark, dank crevices in my mind and soul with a flashlight to bring all of my insecurities and limiting beliefs into the light..the light of consciousness..the light of healing..and the light of growth..I am learning now more than ever, that my mind has so much power over my life. Yes, God has ultimate control..but he gave me this mind to accomplish great things in this life. He created me for great things, to serve in great ways. How can I serve in great ways if I am scared to jump, to be terrified, to open my mouth, to try seemingly impossible things, to question, to break down barriers, to break apart limiting beliefs with a sledgehammer, to imagine all of the beauty waiting on the opposite side of my door of fear..

This transformation that I am going through now is so friggin scary..like bone chiling scary!!!! I feel like my heart is almost going to stop sometimes while I am meditating or deep in thought and I hear or feel these crazy negative, defeatist, limiting beliefs coming to the surface. I immediately think..who is this woman! I don’t know her. She frightens me..but I am realizing now that she has always been with me. She is like the child inside of me. The child who was maybe taught that great things don’t happen to children like her…or children like her shouldn’t climb outside the imaginary box of limitations.

I thought I helped her to fully grow and to develop into the woman I see standing in the mirror everyday..I think this woman is beautiful, smart, empowered, all put together ..but since I am have been meditating,  when I look in the mirror, I see that child. I don’t want to see her everyday..she’s killing my vibe, my lies, my pretend.

I have realized that she is still there living inside. She has always been there. She is kicking the dirt off and she won’t let me hide her anymore. These self-introspective practices that I have been doing as of late are bringing her to the surface so that I can really help her heal and grow and move forward. I have to do this because I can’t let her insecurities and limiting beliefs stop my progress..I am destined for great things. She is not happy living inside anymore and she wants to be free too.

I am getting there..One Day at a time…

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My husband took a photo of me meditating the other day. He was asking me a question and I was so deep inside that I didn’t hear a word he said.

 

Did he just say this song is for all of Spokane’s Ganja smokers?

Long trip today..like most of my days…I spend long periods of time in my car driving from school to school..town to town..Its the nature of my gig. If I didn’t tell you in my last post. I am a yearbook sales rep and work with schools here in Eastern Washington and North Idaho. I frequently listen to audiobooks, CD’s or turn the radio knob back and forth looking for something to stimulate that spot in my brain that loves music.. loves to laugh, loves to learn something new..or just loves to daze off into the safety of the puffy white clouds against a beautiful blue sky. The sky as of late has been incredibly blue as spring has officially sprung I must say!!! I could write a whole post about the varying shades of blue set against the new fresh buds of grass that are starting to sprout all along the rolling hills of Eastern Washington.

Eastern Washington is like a different planet in the spring and summer vs. the winter. I totally get the whole winter blues thing now. So, as I am driving down this lonely stretch of highway, my fingers just happen to push the seek button to 88.1. This almost Jamaican sounding voice…and I use the term almost Jamaican lightly.. so this Jamaican sounding voice booms inside my car announcing the next song that will be played. Sweet joy!! I love reggae and was pleasantly surprised to discover that this local community radio station happens to broadcast a reggae show for a couple of hours each day. I wasn’t surprised that there is a top 40 station in Spokane or a country station or a christian station or any number of stations that you happen to have in any city..This reggae show though.

As I think about it further, it shouldn’t be that surprising. I guess living in predominantly black areas for the majority of my life has led me  to have stereotypes about the kind of music that the average white person living in a lily white city would listen to.  But Washington state is like another another planet in another galaxy lol.. On this planet..I have seen more blonde dreads and Bob Marley t-shirts here than I have anywhere. On this planet, recreational weed is legal. On this planet,  the lingering strong scent of  weed on people’s clothes as they move slowly through movie theaters and restaurants is normal..the scent of weed lightly wafting through the air while in the park is quite okay on this planet…lol ..this past summer, I even saw a group of hippie looking white folks drumming and dancing in a drum circle beneath a tree in the park..hmm.. They had to be high right?..like I said..It shouldn’t be surprising that there is time set aside for reggae on the local community station.

I have to admit though..I am not a full fledged citizen of this planet because the random smell of weed in the air still makes me turn to my husband and give him that “ooh look” lol. You know that look you used to give your brother or sister when you caught them doing something that they weren’t supposed too. Then I immediately feel silly for giving him that look after I quickly remember that..duh..weed in all of its varying forms and degrees is legal here.

Now..I’m thinking even deeper on this..hmm…there is a huge crater in the ground that we drive past on our trips to Seattle. Someone, who must be a weed smoker has perched a sofa right before the glorious crater..weed smokers are very considerate…he just wants his brothers and sisters to have a place to toke and enjoy the beauty of nature..lol..This whole beautiful natural landscape of the Northwest lends itself well to the idea of lighting up wherever you please and taking a moment to enjoy the natural beauty all around you…Like I said, I spend hours and hours in my cars so I have tons of time to think about random things.lol…

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This sofa was ratty and very dirty..Only a weed smoker would not let that stop them from enjoying the view on it.

 

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Yes. Blonde dreads have more fun. I always strike up convos with them because I am still fascinated..and yes..you guessed it. They are the coolest people on this and their own planet..lol

 

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Couldn’t believe that this ode to Bob Marley artwork by a student was featured prominently in a schools’ cafeteria in N. Idaho. I have never seen such a sight in Planet South.

 

But back to the radio station..No..I’m not high..I tend to veer off into different lanes when I am deep in thought. ..What was really surprising was when the DJ says and this next song is for all of Spokane’s Ganja smokers. That is something that you would never hear on a radio station that exists on the previous planets that I have lived on… the signs that recreational weed is legal here still throws me for a loop. I am not a weed smoker but believe..to each his own..I guess growing up in a country where weed is illegal has maybe set some internal taboos.  The Feds vs. the State.. The Feds are like a teen’s parents. Parents would never let their kids smoke weed in the house and said kids would never admit to their parents that they do.. but the State is like a teen’s young uncle. Young uncle is cool with just about everything and would even let Mr.  and Ms. Teen smoke it in his bed while drifting off to sleep..but only in the house..never in the yard..lol

To each his own I always say..but the whole recreational weed legal thing still takes some getting used to. There are tons of shops around town that sell weed paraphernalia and weed indoor growing supplies.There is a public forum happening soon to discuss how legalizing recreational weed will affect Spokane. The first business license given to a business owner to set up a retail location has been given to a man in Spokane…opening day is scheduled for sometime this summer. His biggest dilemma he announced on the news was where to put the money from the sales. Banks are not touching his legal recreational “drug” money with a ten foot pole.

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one of the shops that sells everything you could possibly need to grow your own weed at home..just in case you don’t trust your local soon to open weed retail location..lol

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I guess the next thing we will see once the retail locations open is the corner weed shack. Now your friendly neighborhood weed smoker can get their fix the same way they get their caffeine on every corner in the Northwest…lol

The whole concept of recreational weed being legal in states but not legal by the federal government still leaves many questions and I guess all of the answers will come in time. I will definitely keep you guys posted 🙂

 

I’m Going In…via meditation

I have always had a curiosity about meditation. I am a yoga lover and try to practice it about 1-2 times a week. I feel extremely guilty when I am not able to make it twice a week. I love how strong my body and my mind feels when I am able to hold my weight in the various positions. Yoga is not easy as many people believe and I have to admit, I sometimes do have a love-hate relationship with it…lol. My favorite position is Shivasana. Yeah, Shivasana is the position at the very end of your yoga practice where you lay lifeless with your eyes closed and just rest. Believe me, after an hour of yoga, you are eager to just REST…lol.

In Shivasana, our yoga teacher tells us to close our eyes and to clear our mind of all thoughts. We are supposed to meditate in this position but normally we are only given a couple of minutes to do so. This love of yoga and Shivasana in particular led me to a desire to learn more about meditation. But where does one go to learn more about meditation? I always thought meditation was just sitting in a dark room alone with your eyes closed. Somehow sitting with your eyes closed for hours on end would lead one to higher consciousness. Well, that is what I thought…lol. I am not sure why while living in Atlanta, I never looked for a meditation group..I guess living here in Washington has made me more open to trying new things. I have a mantra now that I am not going to let any fears or hesitation stop me from trying any thing that I have been longing to.

So where does one go to find a meditation class or group..Meetup.com of course…lol So I began searching on the meetup community here in Spokane to find one. I was slightly bummed to discover that the next meeting of the group was on a day when I had a meeting booked with a prospect school way down in Walla Walla. Walla Walla is a town about 3 hours away from Spokane. My meeting was at 4pm and the meditation group practiced at 6:30 so I would not have been able to make it back to Spokane in time to attend the meditation group.

Somethings you are supposed to do. Some doors open right in front of you and you have to walk through them. I truly believe that. Just as I was getting ready to head to Walla Walla, I get an email from the yearbook adviser at the prospect school. He needs to reschedule our appointment because something personal has come up that he needs to take care of. I immediately thought I am supposed to check out this meditation class and that is exactly what I did.

Carolyne is her name but she goes by the name “Chevy. She is the organizer of the weekly meditation group. According to her bio on meetup she is an Reiki master. So, of course, I had to go go Google Reiki to figure out exactly what that is. I discovered that Reiki is a Japanese word. It means universal life energy.” It is a technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by “laying on hands” and is based on the idea that an unseen “life force energy” flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one’s “life force energy” is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy” hmm..sounds like it aligns with my own beliefs.

I believe that at our most basic level, we are composed of light and energy. I also believe that your conscious and subconscious thoughts about yourself and what you are capable of affect your life. I am open to anything that will help me to relax and also send positive messages to my subconscious. I’M GOING IN, I thought, as I stepped inside the library conference room that doubled as our meditation group meeting space. The first thing I noticed about Chevy was her long blonde hair tinged with gray all over it. Her graying hair was shiny and bright and beautiful and made me think of my own sprouting gray hairs. She seemed to revel in it and I wondered at what age would I need to be before I stopped picking mine out…lol

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Chevy wasn’t wearing a stitch of makeup but she had a glow about her. She had a very calm energy and when she opened her mouth to greet me, her words came out just as calmly. She thanked me for coming and made a very nice comment about the way I was dressed.

There were about 10 of us. It’s funny, but in a room full of strangers that I was meeting for the first time, I felt totally comfortable and at ease, as if I was meeting up with people that I had already known. We all sat in a circle and Chevy went around the room introducing us to each other. There was a bit of small talk before the meditation session began and my impatient self immediately thought…now when is all this going to begin. I’m ready.

Chevy told us to have our feet directly touch the ground and close our eyes. I thought that there would be silence for the next hour after that…but Chevy began speaking. she told us to root our feet to the ground and imagine energy from the ground flowing up into our bodies. At the same time, she told us to imagine divine energy from up above us flowing down to meet the energy from the ground. The two energies would meet in the core area of our bodies. She then told us to visualize walking into a room. Her voice was slow, calm and light. Her voice in itself was relaxing. She created the vivid scenery of the room saying that it had a fireplace crackling and a desk and a chair was placed in the center. On the desk lay a pen and scraps of paper. She told us to imagine ourselves sitting at the desk. On the pieces of paper, she wanted us to write down all the things in our lives that were burdening us, stopping our progress, causing us pain. This exercise was something that I definitely was not expecting and I still kept thinking okay, so when is she going to be quiet so that I can meditate…lol

Duh..it took me a minute to realize that this exercise was meant to help to take us inward, to visualize the things that were holding us back in our lives..the things that were preventing us from being at peace and realizing our fullest potential..or as Chevy said later..the things that prevent us from living our highest good. So once I got over my incessant need to control how this was supposed to go, I was able to block out the other 50 million thoughts that normally go through my head within an hour..

A couple of the things that I wrote down were Fear of Failure, Fear of Success, and Procrastination.  She then told us to imagine that we were walking from the small room into a huge auditorium filled with others just like us. There was a large bowl in the center of the auditorium. In the bowl burned a great fire. She told us to walk slowly up to the bowl and throw our scraps of paper into the fire. She told us to imagine our words burning in the fire into ashes. After one session, I don’t think I am totally unburdened of all of my limiting issues, but I can see how this exercise was a great tool. I do believe that visualization is the first step in growth and change.  Didn’t’ Gandhi say, “what you think, you become” Anything is possible if you believe it is.This exercise in itself was the most important thing that I took with me when I left the circle..and for this reason I am glad that I went.

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After this visualization exercise, she started to relay positive messages. Messages about how amazing we are, about how wonderful our light is…messages about how we are spirit living within a physical body and that we must nurture our spirit first…and other messages that to me seemed to be given to help with our self-empowerment, confidence, and growth. I am at the point in my life where I truly value and love myself. I know my worth and I recognize my gifts and my talents. I do feel that I am not using all of my gifts and talents for the highest good and I do feel that the words that I wrote down and burned are preventing me from doing so. Listening to Chevy speak about these sort of things was like another voice in my head reiterating the things that I already know. This meditation session was a great reminder.

After about an hour with our eyes closed, deep in Chevy’s voice and our own thoughts, she told us to open our eyes. She told us to come back into our bodies. Huh?..so of course my first question to the group after I opened my eyes was, “Do you leave your body during meditation” She and a couple of the other members said that they do. They said that it takes time before you get to that level of consciousness where your spirit feels so free that you feel as if you have left your body. All of your burdens,  all of your pain, all of your fears and insecurities no longer exist and it is at this point where your spirit feels free. Hmm..interesting 

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I definitely felt very calm and relaxed after the session but I didn’t feel as if my spirit left my body.  I can safely say that I want to continue meditation. I need to know if this is true. Is it possible to feel so free that your spirit feels disconnected from your body? I do believe that I am a spirit, I am light living within a physical body. I do believe that any sort of spirituality will help us to get closer to our own spirit and closer to God.  But It’s a scary thought to think of being that free….hmm. My curiosity about meditation is now even greater than before. Another thing that Chevy told me to do that was a little different was to go home and take an epsom salt bath. She said that the salt will help to pull negative energy, thoughts and feelings from your body. These things can burden your spirit. Like I said, I’m going in..so I thought what could a bath hurt…lol…

As he watched me pour the epsom salt into the bath, my husband mentioned that one of his older co-workers from back in Atlanta used to always speak about the wonders of epsom salt baths. He said that his co-worker was real old school and used to say things like epsom salt baths is what he did whenever he was stressed out or in pain and needed his whole body to just relax. I did feel extra calm and relaxed after the meditation and the bath I must say. After my bath, I made my prayers and made myself a cup of tea before bed. The whole experience from the meditation all the way to the tea was wonderful. I definitely plan to go back. If meditation will aid in my peace, then I will happily add it to the list of all of the other things that I do to maintain my sense of well being.

 

Lost in the Museum

I will never forget my first trip to the Art museum in Philadelphia. I don’t remember my exact age. I must have been 10 or 11. My stepmother was a very artsy Afrocentric type of woman. She was very eccentric. Funny, but my dad often called her a black hippie as he does with me. After my parents divorced, my two siblings and I lived with my father and my stepmother for the majority of our young lives. She was exactly what I needed at that stage in my life.

She encouraged me to keep writing my short stories and to continue to use my vivid imagination to create my own world. My own world was less harsh than the real world that I faced daily and I think this was the reason why I started escaping into a world where I could create my own. She would do arts and crafts projects with us and she would take me to one of my favorite places in the world…my local library. I will always be grateful for the summer book clubs that she would sign me up for at this library.  The best memory that I have of her was building a snowman with her and my brothers one cold snowy winter day in Philly.

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So it was no surprise when she decided one day to take my brothers and I to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I have no clue why, but I can’t remember my two brothers being with me that day. I have always had a very sketchy long term memory and I think there are large holes in my memory like Swiss cheese particularly because there have been parts of my life that I have chosen to cut out of my head…lol

Funny, but  I don’t really remember her being right there with me during the trip either. One of my first memories of the museum was the grand entrance. There were these huge Greek columns that as a child seemed as if they stretched endlessly up into the sky. A towering staircase that took forever to reach its top was the only way into the grand entrance. If you have seen the movie Rocky then you can get a good feeling of the victorious feeling that you have when you reach the top of this majestic staircase.

Once inside, I fell in love. I fell in love with Art. I fell in love with History. I realized that the creative fire that I felt burn through my brain whenever I kissed pen to paper, was all around me…all around me in this one museum..all around me in my local library. Different artists’ creative fires burning all around me.

What talent these artists had, I thought. I loved and to this day love to touch the paint brush strokes on canvas with my fingers. I have gotten in trouble many a time for doing this but feel obliged almost as if I am a bit connected to the artist when I touch their actual paint stroke. Artists of any type are geniuses and have tremendous courage to share their truth..to share their viewpoint of the world..and till this day, I long for the courage to do the same. Of course, my young mind didn’t realize this on my first trip to the museum but I could appreciate the artists’ passion and talent.

I still can get lost in time when visiting any type of museum…art..culture..history..doesn’t matter to me. My favorite of all time thus far has been the Smithsonian in DC…and I was only able to explore a couple of its museums…and so, I can’t lie that there is something in me that wants my kids to have some sort of creative talent. I would love for them to express themselves in some sort of creative medium..whether it be writing, art, music, etc. I want to expose them to my loves just in case they develop the same love. I would love to share this with them…to get lost with them in the same passion.

I think this is the reason why it made me so happy to take my four year old to Spokane’s local Museum of Art and Culture this past weekend. The main exhibit featured 100 stories of past and present Spokanites. It was an awesome exhibit because it featured memorabilia, artifacts, and photographs from the early 1900’s all the way up to current art from people who lived in Spokane. Every object, I stood before for enough time to read the description of the piece, the photograph or the painting. I watched my son’s reactions to objects. I asked him questions to see what thoughts swirled through his curious brain. This was the best part of the whole day…watching his reaction and hearing his young interpretation of the exhibit. The best  thing that he said all day was “Mom. I can paint better than that …we finger paint with Ms. Lindsey and I always use all my colors. that painter doesn’t”

My husband and I both got a good laugh out of that. I thought as we were leaving as I often do whenever I spend time with my kiddies, I wonder how this experience will shape him. I wonder if this will be the beginning of the start of a great career in something that he absolutely loves. I wonder if he will remember this moment and will it inspire him. I hope so. No matter what he decides to do for a living, I hope I can help him discover the joy in it.

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Spokane Museum of Art and Culture

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He asked us” Mom, why is that man so mad”

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Love the architecture of the museum too!!!!

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The Work of Patrick Siler, who was raised in Spokane.

My Zumba class is about as American as Apple pie

I’m not sure where that expression came from. You know..comparing things that are really American to Apple pie. It hit me yesterday as I was grooving along to some reggae song in my Zumba class. First, I have to say that I am proudly finally at the point in my get my pre-baby body back life that I no longer feel dizzy and faint whenever I am doing some sort of torture like exercise at the gym. I no longer want to rip the ponytail out of the jumping bean that is my Zumba instructor and force feed her lard until her ass is as big as mine..all because she does not understand that every once a while a pause is required.

I joined the gym a couple of months ago because I really got fed up with feeling lethargic, tired all of the time and just plain heavy. You know you are overweight and out of shape when you start feeling really heavy all the dang time… Heavy like when you walk up a flight of stairs, you can’t catch your breath. You know you are really heavy when you feel tired just getting up out of bed, out of a car, or out of anything. You have to admit that you are getting really heavy when moving is just plain work. Yeah. I know. That’s heavy.

That is when I finally looked at my naked body in the mirror with my both my eyes open and was completely honest with myself. Yes, mommy, your daughter is 19 months old and your son is 4 years old and you my friend are fat. Your “I just had a baby” card has been cancelled and cut up right in front of your heavy ass. Also, I knew that this was not good for my health, my family or for my general sense of well being.

Anyhoo… so I finally finally decided to do it…to join the gym. I have been a gym member before, but like many of my passionate moments about any number of interests I  have, I can’t maintain the consistency that is required to get to my end goal..but that is another story for another post…so I start doing Zumba and Yoga 3-4 times a week. For some reason, the “my Zumba class is about American as apple pie” thought never went through my head before.

I think this could be because normally I would be doubled over in exhaustion  feeling as if I was about to throw up on anyone within 15 feet while salsaing and tangoing and hip hoping in my Zumba class. Normally, I didn’t really have the energy to really look around and take a good look at a true representation of the demographics of America that is my Zumba class.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, Spokane is a lily white city. Pockets of diversity are sprinkled throughout though. That is exactly what my Zumba class looks like. I actually counted the whites vs. the non whites in my class one day because I was sure that my Zumba class was a real slice of American life.  As soon as I got home, I went to Google to prove my theory. I googled the percentage of whites in America, the percentage of African-Americans, the percentage of Hispanics, the percentage of Asians and the percentage of Native Americans. Funny how close the real percentages matched the percentages of my Zumba class.

According to Google, 63% of America is composed of whites. There were 24 Zumba shakers in my class that day. of the 24, 16 were white…earily close. 12.3% of  America consists of African-Americans. There were 3 of us in Zumba that day, including myself…again..super close. 16.8% of Americans are Hispanic. In my class, there were 5..so just a tad over the percentage. America is 4.6% Asian and the numbers don’t lie because there was 1 Asian woman in the class. Lastly but not leastly, the percentage of Native Americans in our country is about 1.7% and they were a bit overrepresented in my class because there were 2.

I was impressed that the Native American folks were a husband an wife team and was also impressed by the windy long braid down the husband’s back that almost touched his lower back. Love it and slightly jealous to see men who can grow their hair that long..so much so that I had to compliment him to get over my green eyed moment. lol.

That over representation could be because I do live in Washington State. There seems to be way more native Americans here in the Northwest than other parts of the country which is a cool thing. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I had never seen things like Reservations, Native pride stickers, native language centers or even had the opportunity to meet Native Americans back East.

So anyhoo, I love when I prove a theory!!! This is just one of the reasons why my Zumba class is as American as apple pie. Unless you live under a rock, you have to know that hip hop, reggae and dance music are pretty pop now. What you may not know is that everyone and their Grandmom loves pop music. It  seems that it doesn’t matter their age, skin color, socioeconomic status, or lack of rhythm. When I say Grandmom, I do mean Grandmom as there is not a more amusing sight than seeing the 60 year old something woman in my Zumba class twerking with the best of them. Music truly is universal and pop music is as American as apple pie.

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I love seeing moms, housewives, career women, seniors, all of us grooving,  salsaing, shaking, and twerking to our jams. I swear there is something very connecting about dancing along with strangers. There is something very American about people from all different backgrounds, different ethnicities united in their common love of Zumba,  of music, of expressing their femininity, and best of all of trying to look after their health.

The smiles that we all share and send back and forth to the next Zumba class member over or to our Zumba instructor who we no longer hate because we realize she is only trying to help..is definitely infectious.

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Fantasy Gigs

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a doctor or a politician or a singer or maybe an actor. Hmmm..When I was a kid, there were probably about four or five different jobs that I wanted..things that I wanted to be when I grew up..things that I was intetested in or fascinated or curious about.

A writer was one of my earliest things. I remember at like 9 or 10 writing short stories and even drawing illustrations to accompany them. To this day I know that I must continue to write to be happy. I hope to someday write a book…or I should say finish a book..because I have been on page 2 forever..lol..that’s the trouble with having 5 or 6 fantasy gigs..the passion for them waxes and wanes.

When I was introduced to Whitney Houston as a 80’s kid, I remember wanting to be just like her…wanting to stand on a stage and sing my heart out to my adoring fans. Hair brush in hand..my fantasy gig was all but crushed when my dad told me that he couldnt afford my singing lessons.

In college, I was a journalism major for a short time and had a secret fantasy of being a broadcast journalist. I have to admit, the only thing that stopped me from continuing to pursue it was my own fears and insecurities. I kept hearing that it would be hard to find a job and make decent money in the field. Who knows? Maybe if I had developed the courage that was necessary, that fantasy gig and any of my other ones would have become a reality.

I have had a multitude of fantasy gigs..gigs that I thought wouldn’t it be cool if I could do that or land that or play that..or create that..gigs that ranged from model to actor to even olympic figure skater…you can see that I had a vivid imagination as a child. Sadly, the resources, opportunities and/or the courage that I needed to try my hand at whatever striked my fancy was not always available though.

Many of my fantasy gigs have fell by the wayside but my curiousity about what they would be like has never died. Because of this, I am grateful that I had the chance today to be an extra in a commercial for Horizon Credit Union.

I still am a very curious person….My son has a talent agent here in Spokane..and only because last year he comes to me out of the blue and says “Mom. I wanna be in a commercial” I think because my parents couldnt afford much beyond our basic neccesities, I have always known that I will help my kids discover their passions. Whatever interests they show I will do my best to help to provide theemotional support, resources and opportunities to help them to develop these interests. I dont want them to have fantasy gigs. I want them to have successful careers based upon their true passions..

Anyway
..I went off on a tagent a bit there…tears tears..lol. My son’s agent sent my pictures to their client, Horizon Credit Union and Horizon decides to hire me as a paid extra. When I received the email from my agent I thought..

That will be an experience!!! It seems my fantasy gigs still live within me…lol..Although I am not planning to give up my yearbook sales rep real gig, I still had this curiousity about what it would be like to be an actor. This is the reason why I decided to do it.

Now this this is not a real actor fantasy gig…seeing as though it is a non speaking part..but close enough to see what its like for real actors and the production that goes into filming a commercial.

I can tell you this ..filming a commercial is most certainly a production. I can only imagine how much of a production filming a movie is. It is definitely a science as well as an ART. Every detail of the day is planned out from the script to the lighting to the set to where the extras stand. Every detail is technical.

I understand now why top actors are paid millions of dollars and also why some of them are drug addicts. I watched as the lead actors repeated their lines over and over and over and over again. The director was maniacal about how they delivered their lines, their body language, their diction, the
Emotions that he wanted them to convey.

The day was the director’s vision..and we were all just pawns in his grand scheme. From the lighting guy, to the sound guy, to the extras…it was all planned out.

I have to say, I did enjoy talking with the actors and learning their stories. It seemed that they all developed a love and a passion for acting early on. They all were in high school productions and studued the craft of acting in college or through acting clasees.
They were extremely serious about it..Their fantasy gig..even though it has not led to great success  just yet was still their deepest passion.
One actor who lives in Hollywood but was flown out to Spokane for the shoot mentioned that this was only his second commercial that he ever booked.. He has been in Hollywood for 5 years and works odd jobs to support himself. He hasn’t had much success yet but he is determined not to give up. He was very confident that he was doimg what he loves and eventually it will pay off. In his mind and in his heart, this wasnt his fantasy gig..no matter what his friends or family thought. I loved that!!!!

It made me think..what if we all felt that way about our lives. What if we pursued our dreams with unstoppable courage..what if we blocked out the naysayers and kept pudhing past any obstacles..what if we didn’t have any fantasy gigs..but passions that we were trying to make money doing… How would this aid in our happiness and fulfillment?

It definitely inspired me to continue to be curious and try new things….to challenge my fears..to charge past obstacles that try to block my happiness..to continue to develop my passions and discover more. This was the most important thing that I took from the day. The other thing was that I dont think I could be an actor. Its alot harder than it looks 🙂

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Broken Rose Colored Glasses

I was in North Idaho yesterday working and the scenery was amazingly beautiful..Lake Pend O’Reille’s backdrop was an endless array of snow covered mountains. Flecks of different muted colored rocks stacked all around its edges. The feeling of standing before a glorious sight is hard to explain.

Today I worked down in the tri cities area in the desert of south central washington. The sun shone warm and bright against huge rock formations. Even the desert plants that littered the landscape contributed to the feeling of warmth and comfort that I felt deep in my being.  For almost the whole day, I felt warm, pleasant,  and as if I was right at the point that I belong in my journey.

Its amazing how one phone call can rock your emotions, your sense of security, your sense of well being. After that phone call, you know deep down inside you will look at everything you see differently. .and your vision will always be TAINTED.

This one phone call happened to have come from my hubby..our usual check in phone calls are nothing out of the ordinary..just checking in..checking up..checking out. This one will never be like any of the ordinary ones though. He says that he just got done attending Jummah.

Jummah is the weekly congregational prayer that he attends at our local mosque. He never misses a week. When my schedule permits I attend, so I was not able to attend today. He normally calls me after to tell me what the khutbah (sermon) was about. I look forward to this call every Friday because in that sermon, and in his call I know will come pearls of wisdom from the Imam…pearls that will help us navigate through the difficulties of life.

There were no pearls given on this phone call..it seems those pearls didn’t have the same glow beyond the context of the situation outside of the mosque today.

I could hardly believe it when he tells me that a group of about 10 protestors stood across the street from the mosque. Signs in hand telling the worshippers that they were destined for hell if they don’t accept jesus christ as their savior..that the way to God is through Jesus…not Muhammad.. bullhorns spouting words of hate..words like sin, condemnation, repent, and hell. As a mother, my first thought was for the children. Parents typically bring their children to jummah on fridays…Did the children hear? How did they feel..What would they think? I was very happy that my four year old was at preschool and not in attendance that day..Then I thought of the 300 or so worshippers who were there. How would this change their perception of their community.

Before moving to Spokane, I was told that this side of the state, the East side is fairly traditional, religious, and very conservative…while the west side, the Seattle side tends to be more tolerant, diverse, and liberal. But in all that I could imagine, I would never have imagined protesters outside our local mosque. I know that many Americans have a distrust of muslims since 911..but living in a country where freedom of religion is one of our core values always gave me a sense of security that just maybe I would never have to experience such a thing.

And now I feel anger..feel anger that my religion can be attacked in such a vile manner..that the beauty of this wonderful landscape can lose its appeal because of a small # of idiots..so much so that I question now even living here..that I fear for how my children will fare as muslims in this environment.

In all fairness, I have to add that I have met many good, helpful tolerant Spokanites. In a city of 200, 000 people, I know that it is not fair to judge them all by the actions of a small # of people.

My neighbors are wonderful. the teachers and children at my son’s school know that we are muslim. We have never been treated different because of it. They have even made special allowances for him because of this.

But still I wonder now. How would I be treated here if I covered my hair with a hijab. Would I be treated different?  I notice plenty of hijabis in the mall, out about and around town, and in my schools that I work with. They seem to have no problem being a hijabi here..or do they? I will start asking them..

A couple of wks ago, the city paper, The Spokesman Review did a story about a muslim family living about 30 mins away in a teeny tiny town named Springdale. They featured the story on the front page and printed a huge dominant photo of the muslim mother in a hijab. This was a shocker to me and led me to believe that maybe…just maybe Spokane was more tolerant than the west siders say. In all the cities I have lived in, I have never seen a hijabi featured on the front page of a city paper. Ironically, one of the things that she mentioned was that in this town of like 300 people, her neighbors treated her with the utmost respect. They even came to her aid when her husband passed away. She also works in the town pizzeria.

I cant help to think that maybe this is what caused the crazy protesters to take action. I guess I will never know…too many thoughts swirling through my head now..
But..I cant lie, my rose colored glasses are broken. I am angry that these people feel that it is necessary to taint my perception of Spokane..what do they hope to accomplish?
I keep asking..to any one who will listen.

I want to take action..i was raised to stand up for my beliefs and to stand up for what’s right. I called the local news station as well as wrote an email to the editor in chief of the paper that printed the article about the muslim family. I have already looked at my calendar for next friday. Even though I have morning meetings about an hour away, I am definitely planning to be at jummah next Friday.

I don’t plan to confront these people if they decide to show again. I want to show them that I have the same God given right to practice my faith however I see fit..without harrasement or degradation from anyone. My only prayer is that something good comes out of all of this. I would love if people who are ignorant of Islam and muslims start engaging with us in a peaceful manner. I want them to know that the majority of us are peaceful people who do not condone terrorism, misogyny or violence. I want them to know that we accept all the prophets from Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Muhammad and others in between (peace be upon them all) as great messengers of the one God. this one God we call Allah only because in Arabic, the word for God is Allah. I want them to know that we believe in the virgin birth of Jesus and that we hold Jesus and his mother in the highest regard.

I want to stop holding my breath for fear that whenever a terrorist attack is announced, it will be linked to Islam..Maybe I still have my rose colored glasses on..but if I don’t believe that something good will come out of this..if I cant hope that things will change for the better..then I won’t be at peace…that is one of the most important thing to me in my life..having peace and a good sense of well being.

I am attaching pics that I took over the last couple of days because this helps buffer the harsh reality of the day.

One thing that my husband said to me to calm me down was “Ignorance lives everywhere. You cant let it affect you so deeply. You can only be a different example of what they think Islam is”
This stays with me..but its hard for a sensitive soul not to be affected so deeply by everything…

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