It’s officially been over a year now that I’ve been living in Los Angeles, for the second time around...
The first time I was here, I slept on a deflated air mattress, with a succession of roommate/ living situation fiascos / producers who would rather date me than help me with my career problems, which led to my eventual escape to Italy to work for a family that I didn’t know, and to play music in cafes, ponder around the cobblestone streets, ride my bike on the Adriatic coast, and explore the meaning of life.
I didn’t really think that I would end up living back in California. In fact, after that, my heart was pretty invested in settling in NYC. But a chain of events brought me back to La La Land. And this time it’s very different.
I have an actual job job that’s challenging and exciting... but also, I’m going to yoga regularly, I’ve become a (mostly) vegetarian— I love sushi far too much to be able to give that up quite yet, and I’ve found myself on a surprising spiritual journey that has me on a path that’s beyond anything that I would have imagined for myself. Actually, without trying, I’ve become a pretty stereotypical Californian sans a consistent tan.
The thing is, though, I had a difficult time even bringing myself to try yoga because it is so…um, trendy here. You’ll see girls striking advanced arm balancing poses in public places, just to catch the perfect shot for their social media, everywhere. And I’m not one to give into the trendy, or what is over-popularized at the moment. But after a conversation with a dear friend who teaches yoga, in which I expressed, “Yeah, yoga seems like it would be really great for me, but it’s turning me off, because it’s so trendy.” She replied, “It’s trendy for a reason though. Because it works.”
I decided to give it a go.
And in doing that, I became more open minded to try new things. On many levels.
Yoga worked out beautifully. It's still working out very well. I walk with my yoga mat, 7 minutes to the studio from my apartment, and while I’m there, I’m able to relax and not think. Which is something that I tend to overdo. And that’s an understatement It’s going so well now that I’m in the middle of a Yoga Challenge.
And I’ve also found myself surrounded with people who are extremely mindful and meditate. And they are really good at it. Like if there was a Spiritual Olympics, they would be in the Meditation competition, and probably win the gold medal kind of good at it. So began my journey to find stillness.
As someone who grew up as a Catholic, went to Catholic school, went to church 3x a week to lead the music and volunteer with my family, who even after I didn’t even really want to go to church anymore because my beliefs didn’t match anymore, and still felt guilty if I skipped a Sunday… I finally swore off religion altogether, spirituality included.
Considering that we are energetic beings, that was a huge fail on my part. In fact, I realized quickly how much I’d been neglecting myself. And after much internal battling figured out, that I’m naturally curious, so for me to just shut down that part of me in that regard, was really just not a great idea. Also concluding, “Oh…if I worry about taking care of myself first, then I will be in a much better position to fully be present when taking care of others.”
So, the first big lesson in my spiritual journey: Self-love is really important, and it’s not just some yogi expression that should be shrugged off. It’s the real deal.
Maybe pretty common sense. But it was a big awakening for me.
And secondly, living with an awareness of the present instead of worrying about how the past is effecting the future and how the present is affected by the past…is imperative. And seeing just how much thoughts affect the reality that we create, the tangled webs we spin within our minds, it’s ridiculous what we do to ourselves, and we have a CHOICE. We can spin it in anyway that we choose. So why do we make it so hard for ourselves?
Our minds are incredible things. I remember being onstage in a show, and I was singing the lyrics to a song, remembering the blocking that was given to me to do while I was singing, reacting with the timing of audience responses, thinking what I would be having for dinner that night, all at the same time, and also thinking while doing all of those things, “Wow, it’s kind of amazing that I’m able to be doing all of this at the same time.” And that was cool…but it’s definitely not the point. The most rewarding and true moments of stillness/being present that I’ve ever had in my life were onstage in which I was so fully involved and invested in the character that I was at that very moment, I wasn’t thinking about anything other than being in that moment. And I was at peace.
Now if I can just find a way to take that experience and allow myself to achieve that when I’m playing the character of myself….
To be continued.