Home

Home. Is where the heart is. Is what you make it. Is where you come from. Is wherever I’m with you. Is not a place, it’s a feeling.

I’ve been chasing home ever since I left. I leaped and I’ve finally landed. The curious thing about landing is that the jump is sometimes so long you forget how to stand. I started out strong, determined to make it to the other side, only halfway through I was caught in a wind, the leap turned into a twisting and twirling dive and I wasn’t prepared to land. As I now find my balance, I can see how it all happened, giving me a chance to rebuild and start again with this new knowledge.

I love the holidays and each year no matter my circumstances, I’ve put on my elf socks, sequined santa hat and left cheer in my footprints. This year is no different and I picked out the perfect tree, an awkward tree/bush I’ve named Larry. My roommates and partner have helped me decorate, hang my paintings and I have my own closet. I’m home and I didn’t know it. This family has enveloped me back into MarsVista life, even while the transition was sometimes painful.

The neighborhood has shifted, people have moved, jobs have changed, new apartments are filled, bars have closed, new restaurants have opened and events have changed the course of all our lives. Our world is shifting and with it comes opportunity to grow stronger and deepen our understanding of what existence is. I landed so hard I fell into a hole. Climbing back out, I realize that I have people holding their hands out to help me stand up.

Hibernation is a beautiful thing, it allows us to renew, warming our hearts and souls on the hearth of home. Home. Home is love, a place, a feeling, an essence of comfort and natural habitat.

I’m settling back into home. Soon enough I’ll come back out of hibernation.

Gratitude in the Eye of the Storm

Gratitude in the Eye of the Storm

Because yesterday was Tuesday and I didn’t write anything last week, I thought I would sit down this morning to write an update on my life and musings. The only problem is what to write? Gratitude is the theme of this month and it’s been a stretch for me. When it comes down to it, I am grateful; I have to remind myself more often recently.

I’ve been working at Floyds in Venice for the last three weeks. I quit my job the first week of January this year when I had received a loan to start a home salon. I set up my apartment with a chair, shampoo station and started booking clients from home. It was amazing, the first week I made double what I had received at the salon, but my clients were paying the same and the atmosphere was an experience.

Being back at Floyds is like riding a bike, the movements have come easy, the transition is fluid. I repeat to myself without belief that this isn’t moving backwards. I ask myself what I did wrong though it isn’t that simple. It’s getting to the end of the year and I’m starting to remember my thoughts this time last year. I was full of hope, strength, determination and an idea I could not fail. The world was my oyster and I was ready to fly. I flew across the world and landed in a brown dusty land where the sky was covered in clouds. I met humans who had nothing, enriched my life beyond measure and returned to my gold encrusted land of palm trees feeling guilty for all I had tastefully and carefully curated in building my life. I was filled with a new gust of inspiration and the last year melted as I sorted and sold, donated and bundled up to give away the memories, the familiar, the material possessions I perceived to make me.

I sold Betty, my hero car the silver bullet in order to drive Myrtle the turtle who carried faithfully my heart as a mission to the country. What has this made way for? I mean, people say that good byes make way for hellos. That when one door closes, another one opens. I’m in limbo still. My thoughts are silent as my body continues to move. I’m not sure what I’m striving toward anymore even as I’m content to be here; I’ve been here before and it’s a wonderful life. The chips will fall as they may. The future is imminent.

This Thanksgiving I am grateful for Los Angeles. I’m grateful for the amazing adventures I received this year, the friends I’ve gained and the knowledge I’ve retained. I’m grateful for cycles and the chance to keep going even when I stumble. I’m grateful for color and artists who wish to create positive change in our world. I’m grateful to have multiple places I can call home. I’m grateful for music and ability to move my body to a beat and to know others who dance too. I’m grateful to reflections in intimate relationship and the cause and effect of flinging one thought off another. I’m grateful for love and the lens of light, to my rose colored fractal lens, my stubborn optimism that won’t let me quit even now when moonwalking is in style. I’m grateful for the hidden gems and gardens nestled between cracks in the concrete jungle. I’m grateful for the ones who created me, body and mind, and the ones who melded my soul.

I’m in the eye of the storm and that is where I rest my contentment. It’s the process of getting my swimming legs back. Adventures will come, homes will grow and new friends are getting ready to meet. I’m sitting here throwing beauty into the world, allowing others to see themselves through my rose colored lens, as they sit and enjoy a pampering hairstyle or massage shampoo for an extra $5; well worth it they say.

I’m still moving, you can’t stop PinkRiches.

 

Freedom

Freedom

Freedom has been on my mind lately. Just before my van broke down in August, I was driving north on I-5 and I had a most brilliant thought about how free I was; I could go and do anything, just me and the open road. The feeling inside was an electrifying vibration that helped me and Myrtle float for a few more hours. I guess I wasn’t as free as I believed.

While I was still figuring out what to do, a friend gestured toward my Ganesh tattoo and commented, “You sure do have a lot of obstacles in your way considering the remover of obstacles is on your arm.” I laughed so I wouldn’t cry at the remarkably accurate words; I have had so many obstacles come into my path. I have also come to see patterns, realizing that I have created some of these hurdles for myself.

Living day to day, spontaneously and not having plans or a strategy has yielded some amazing adventures and unexpected beauty, though it’s also given me hard and sometimes terrifying moments. I’m unbelievably stubborn and struggle to do things on my own; an example of me holding tightly onto what I can perceive as truth and knowledge. I’m also really hard on myself, as I continually claim to not be a perfectionist; when it comes to my inner monologue, I’m brutal. I’ve set rules and guidelines for myself as I’ve ventured through the maze of life, carrying distrust and betrayals hidden beneath my skin.

I’m feeling a bit jaded these days, and my stubborn optimism is fading into a sarcastic indifference as I assess my surroundings. I’m struggling to remain grateful and to keep smiling and being kind to those I meet, everyone else is going through their own issues too.

Forgiveness and Love are what will cure me, when I choose to accept them.

So what does it mean to be free? From where I sit in the corner of the jail I created for myself, freedom comes from within, just as love does. Freedom is allowing what is to be and letting the rest fade away. It’s hard to attain, I only had a taste and maybe it wasn’t even real. Now my question has changed to ask why am I sabotaging my own freedom? Like the more I desire to be free, the less free I have become.

This weekend, I shook loose my shackles. I started a job at Floyds Barbershop, a job I had started just over 2 years ago. I allowed myself to enjoy cutting hair. I allowed myself to talk to my clients and ask about their lives. I allowed myself to laugh and smile and be friendly with my new and old coworkers. This allowance, this opening is where I have found my freedom, my joy. I don’t need to succeed at a goal right when I think of it. The process is what makes the outcome. I may have felt like I’m stepping backwards, but as a friend reminded me, I’m stepping back in order to make a giant leap.

In the last week, I’ve decided to make a couple of changes regarding my blog. From now on, I will only release one a week, on Tuesdays. They will be less like my day to day moments I captured in the last few months, instead they will circle around issues I’ve been contemplating and experiencing. I hope in this context it will help to inspire open hearts and a continuation of love within my community.

 

 

What is Love anyway?

Love. It’s something we all search for, dream of and yearn to have, but have you ever stopped to wonder what it is? Webster’s dictionary has so many definitions like; affection, deep emotion, passion, devotion, to kiss, to embrace, to have intercourse, a bond, a reverence. The english word “Love” came from the Old English word “Luf” which means “dear”. The greeks have 8 separate words for types of Love, and this is where my interest has resided. Eight types of love, which correspond to how we feel this emotion, no where in any texts I have read or in talking with anyone is love required to be reciprocated. We can feel love for another human, objects, places and a higher power, though the love we feel isn’t reliant upon it being returned.

A concept that I think many have lost in our current state. This is a realization that has changed my life, realizing that my love is not dependent upon another. I am free to love anyone and anything without fear that it can be taken away. My love resides within me. That may be where the confusion is; we think that to love is to be “in love”, that we can only love someone who loves us back, we force our love on others in order to prove this love. Isn’t that what makes relationships special though, when two people love each other in the same way and decide to continue loving and exploring the ways their love can co-mingle.

Each type of love corresponds to how we feel it, Eros is an erotic love, passionate, physical and typically lasting only in the moment, just like our physical bodies, eros is temporary. Philia is an affectionate love, referred to as brotherly love, it’s how Philadelphia got it’s name, this is how we love our friends, family, coworkers and neighbors, a practice with the mind. Storge is one I recently brought up, it’s love that resides within memories, it’s triggered by a cause, it can extend to objects, places or people, typically family or friends that we have memories with or of. Ludus is playful, typically referring to young love, it’s a way to learn love and how we practice until we find what we really love, it’s emotional, it’s a game, it’s fun, it’s a stepping stone. Mania is obsessive or instinctual; it’s how we love the sun and food and water, but it’s dark too, forcing us to think we love someone so much that we cannot live without them. Pragma is an enduring love that we aren’t always aware of, it survives through time, difficult situations and holds strong and steady. Philantia looks similar to Philia, though it refers to self love; it’s felt within our soul. Lastly is Agape, selfless love that resides in our spirit, an unconditional love that is typically referred to as the kind of love a parent gives their child, or in religious texts the kind God gives to us.

Since delving into this topic of love, I’ve broken down most of my past relationships to discover that what I thought was love, maybe wasn’t the kind I really wanted, or maybe I was forcing my love on another or vice versa. This is why I strongly support explaining our feelings of love with each other, StrawberryPropaganda love letters can describe any of these loves, a combination or your own version if you’ve discovered that within yourself. Love cannot be taken away, love cannot be forced upon you because it comes from within, it’s an emotion that we project onto the world, not the other way around.

I’ve been reading a book I picked up from my Grandfather’s desk entitled “Human Destiny”. Inside it explains that there is no such thing as a universal truth. This struck me, I got angry and put the book down for a time because I have been in search of universal truths. After awhile, I picked it back up and read further. The point was that each of us has our own experiences which feed into our own truths, thereby making it impossible for everyone to come to the same conclusion based upon our differing histories.

I can only speak for my own experiences and from what I’ve discovered, love enriches my life whether or not it is reciprocated. I don’t force my love on anyone or anything, though and that’s where this emotion gets sticky, right? What if we don’t love someone else the way they love us? Maybe it’s excruciating and we think we are broken as a result, that we are incapable of finding love. But is that love? What kind is it? Maybe we’ve gotten confused as to mixing our terms between what is love, what is relationship and what is connection.

I am in a relationship with those who love me, respect me and who I’ve reciprocated those feeling with. I am connected to anyone who chooses to respond to my light as a being. I love you, I love my family, I love my friends, I love my home wherever it is, and I love myself, my body and yes, I love love in all of it’s forms. Next time you tell someone you love them, think about what that word means to you, maybe even explore how and why you do.

 

Stuck

Stuck

I haven’t written much lately, I’ve had less than enough energy to get me through the day, sleeping more than I typically do and allowing my big salty tears to wash down my face whenever I’m alone. I feel like a failure. Just over two months ago I was sitting on top of the world, living my dreams, feeling like I could take on any challenge and ready for whatever was next. Here I am now, feeling stuck and not sure what to do next. My trip to LA was less than satisfying; I left with a dark cloud formed over my head that I’ve started to welcome as a new normal. I walk around only half listening to my surroundings, shivering from the brisk cold that has settled in the MiniApple and monotonously stomping through the dead leaves gathered on the sidewalks. Gloom and self doubt have taken over, while the “winter is coming” practical Minnesota attitude eats away at my once stubborn sunshine.

Today being Sunday, I went over to my grandma’s house in the afternoon to eat dinner and paint some rocks with my Aunt Deb who plans to sell these rocks at a crafts fair. We broke out markers, paint and a couple tubs of rocks, splaying them out to decorate and plan which rocks get what. I painted flowers and a sun with the words “Happiness is..” and hearts, stars and words like “grace”, “truth”, “hope”, and “love”. While we decorated, we talked about the goings-on within the family. As I half listened to the news, my mind kept reverting to the new normal of self pity until my aunt said something about her unhappy childhood. I immediately asked her what made it so unhappy to which she replied, “Having to camp.”

I looked down at the rock where I was writing “grace”. It all hit me. Perspectives. My aunt hated camping apparently, but I loved camping when I was little and attribute it to some of my favorite experiences growing up. The biggest inspiration from moving toward a life of freedom and peace comes from a yoga sutra I learned when I was training to teach yoga. Pratipaksha Bhavanam means whenever a negative thought comes into the head, think instead of something positive. It isn’t about never having a negative thought or never thinking that life is hard or really sucks sometimes, rather it’s about not holding onto the negative feelings that can overwhelm us to the point of getting stuck. And I’ve gotten stuck.

I pondered over that word grace, though. I’ve been called graceful, as in the way I move and my interactions with people. I remembered my conversation with Lucky at the Sacramento Bus Terminal. He told me I have a good head on my shoulders and warned me that whatever I do, don’t get stuck. I think grace is allowing my head to stay high because come to think of it, I’m not a failure. I did what most people only dream about; I jumped and decided to live. Maybe I could have made different choices along the way, I could have saved more money or bought a different van, or even just found a new roommate. I’ve thought of every way I could have done things better. This isn’t graceful; this is painful, and as easy as it is for me to remain curled up licking my wounds, I’m not done yet.

I took my aunt home and on my drive back toward the suburbs and my parent’s house, I repeated out loud all that I am grateful for. It was a big slice of humble pie that I didn’t want to admit I needed. I didn’t want to come back to Minnesota, I definitely didn’t want to rely on my family and I didn’t want to leave the life and community I’ve worked so hard to attain. On the other hand, I’ve learned so many lessons in the last few months. This is life and I can focus on how much I’m not where I want to be, or I can choose to find joy in the brilliant red leaf that landed on my shoulder, or that I can give my sister a hug at the end of the night and eat some of my grandma’s freshly baked apple crisp. I’m realizing that grace is allowing life to unfold and accepting everything even when it cannot be changed. Truth is perspective, meaning each human has their own truth, tinged with their emotions and experiences. My aunt Deb claims she had an unhappy childhood due to camping while I feel my childhood was enhanced by our outdoor excursions. Neither of us is wrong, though it’s in the perspective, how we view life, what we focus on, how we choose to remember now.

In Minnesota, I’ve noticed a curious trend where complaints are vocalized and compliments are implied (or left out all together). It’s hard to combat, though that’s exactly what I need to do. Tomorrow I’m moving into another family member’s house, committing myself to a routine and I’m looking for moments of happiness where I can allow myself to be content. That’s the hardest part, figuring out how to be content even when we aren’t where we want to be. Our thoughts, perspectives and actions are all choices and yeah, it’s fucking hard. The only way to keep going is to feel it, add these experiences to my character book, digest and hopefully share a bit of love with anyone else who might need a smile.

Tonight, I vow to stop fighting and allow grace to take over. It may not be my ideal transition, but the MiniApple holds so many wonderful things, I might as well find them while I’m here; adventure doesn’t wait for a blue sky.

 

After the Sun-Rose

This trip to Los Angeles definitely was not what I expected, but as the song says, it was just what I needed.

I left the MiniApple early in the morning, it was dark as if the sky was contemplating letting the sun rise. I arrived on the plane to a woman in my seat who made a fuss, so I took the middle seat until we were in the air. I ventured further back on the plane and found a row to myself over the wing. I stretched my legs and imagined huge murals across the world, brightly colored hands and feet, imagery to stop and smell the roses. I imagined painting these walls, alongside others who saw the wall and now are smiling with anticipation as we share stories. Stories. Conversation makes the world smaller; conversations are like stories.

This week, all my ideas fell through. I felt overwhelming sadness at seeing all that I’ve worked for float away. I opted to not go to Joshua Tree, feeling instead I needed to surround myself in love, a kind of self love that only one place has ever offered. I made a deal with a friend and we drove out to the Mojave Desert on October 5th. Our dark and dusty arrival coincided with my cousin just off the highway and we excitedly hugged and drove onto the sandy unmarked roads.

Each Moontribe has held significance within my timeline, for the last 3 years I’ve stolen away each chance I can to dance with my family under the stars as we honor the power of a full moon. This one was called the grandmother moon, a special significance with my anniversary. I let go with such bold intent and the realizations I grasped threw me into the sky. I have no foundation, I float among the trees having only my thoughts and morals to vouch for my honor. I am fiercely free in a way that many have never experienced, though I’m tied to that freedom out of a fear everyone encounters: where next?

As the sky burst with each color of the rainbow, clouds gently rolled over the mountains and I sat with my back to the grove of trees. When one can go in any direction, what’s the motivation to place the next step. I have wanted to paint murals across the world since I was laying in my magenta bedroom in Plymouth, Minnesota. I dreamt of showing that split second, when the world stops for a breath and everything is peaceful. I may have dragged myself away from that dream for the last decade, though the lessons and tragic beauty I witnessed speaks for the PinkRiches of the future. I was looking at sunrise, remembering the strength that passed while the delicate moon now set. Cycles of time align with the phases of the Moon and Sun, I understand how difficult forgiveness is and that we can’t be in two places at one time. It’s the only thing I have left, right? Memories from interactions and humans who may or may not remember the same story. We all have stories, memories contained within stories contained within our physical selves.

Love has remained a constant source of inspiration, as I explore etymology and meaning, one type begs to be mentioned. Storge is greek for a kind of love that rests within memories, as in I love this seashell because that time at the beach when it was found. As a sucker for love, I collected everything; rocks, shells, leaves, even dirty tissues. Getting rid of my material possessions was less painful as I gave my memories away with them. Even so, I still have memories and sometimes I attach myself to the memory of sleeping in Myrtle for the last night in Gilroy, wishing I could have another, or sometimes I attach myself to painting my big strawberry lady in the living room of my apartment in MarsVista, my roommate was sleeping in the next room and I was mourning the love I had just lost. I have other memories though, some are stronger than attachment and I hid behind them like they defined me. Just like the clouds which rested above the mountains and soaked up the first pink rays of warm sun light, I am free to look toward the sun and I am free to watch the moon set. I think I’ll point toward the peak of the biggest mountain surrounded by the light of a new sun.

I believe in finding the beauty that surrounds us in order to bring us closer to truth and peaceful happiness. Until then, I’ll point out some flowers to smell along the way.

Love.PinkRiches