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THE POWER OF I AM

“I am is one of the most powerful statements we can make. Whatever follows “I am” starts the creation of it.”

– KRISTEN B U T L E R

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Have you stopped lately to listen to what you’re saying about yourself? The words you choose, the actions you take that reinforce these thoughts? I started my year off recognizing this truth by tapping into the word I AM. By doing so, I realized how easily life began to flow to me and for me. Most of all, I loved that I was practicing my knowledge and belief that I was a co-creator with source.

I find it truly empowering that we all have free will or the power of choice. We can choose the direction of our lives, whether that’s positive or negative, rich and abundant or limited by lack. In becoming aware of this, we can change the direction of our life’s course with a simple shift in our words, thoughts and actions.

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I know we can all be hard on ourselves and self-critical at times. I think that’s natural and needed. The real test is not being perfect but more so how we choose to use these hardships. Are we going to kindle the fire and continue harping on what we don’t like or are we going use the pain to promote change? Continuation of anything becomes habit, so the quicker you can shift into a place of progress the better off you’ll be.

AWARENESS is the first step to adjusting and creating a healthier life. The thing I realized was my negative self talk or energy was not only permating me as a person but something larger than myself. It was closing me off from positive growth, people and situations that wanted to help me! And as someone passionately focused on growth and improvement, this was a major RED FLAG.

This brings me to the next step DESIRE. You have to actually reach a point where you can no longer accept the way things are. You know kinda like that phrase, ‘it’s always darkest before the dawn,’ or ‘things will get worse before they can get better.’ Sounds really dark but now I get it. You have to want to change and therefore sometimes it takes some dark moments to search for the light.

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Through desire comes deliberate ACTION. I wanted to feel better, I wanted to speak more kindness and most of all, I wanted to help others. But by falling back into some mental bad habits (which I’m truly grateful for), I realized I could only help others by reframing and working on my own ish-ues. So I took inventory of what was working for me back in the beginning of the year and I did the work.

I love this quote from Kristen Butler from the Power of Positivity; “Our thoughts and words have crafted our present and are currently crafting our future.” This really puts into perspective how we throw words around but if we saw the immediate manifestion of them we might take time to be a a little more selective, ammmmiright? Like imagine if you’re like “I AM FAT,” and in a blink of an eye you gained 200 lbs. I think you would watch yo mouth a lil more, and also, you would appreciate where you’re at more too.

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A poisitive reflection I had in my “darkness” was if I had success in the beginning of the year, I can have it again. This self soothing talk really helped me feel optimistic and then helped me stay on track. So I started writing in my I AM Journal again. I carved out a non-negotiable, consistent practice or a morning ritual. This included morning coffee, journaling and reading. I would write out my gratitude, intentions and I AM statements in my I AM Journal. Then I would read whatever I felt compelled to for my daily inspiration.

I want to reiterate, CONSISTENCY is key.  You have to keep at it to build momentum behind this practice and energy. The best part is once you do so long enough, it becomes a habit (and a postive one might I add). You’ll eventaully get to a point where you won’t wanna have your morning coffee without it. If a daily practice is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

So where are you at today in this journey? I encourage you to take a mental and emotional inventory by sitting quietly and silencing the chatter. Whatever is bothering you, find the contrasting feeling and say or write I AM before it. Know that you’re worthy of it and feel that. As always, feel free to share yours in the comments below!

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I AM STEPPING INTO MY POWER,

M

 

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FLAG F I N I S H

“The way to measure your progress is backward against where you started, not against your ideal.”

– DAN S U L L I V AN

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I’m a notorious idealist. I tend to set my eyes on lofty goals and choose to see life through an idealistic lens. It wasn’t until recently that I realized this might actually be setting me back versus helping me attain those goals. So let’s break down progress and success on the two therories of ideals vs goals.

An ideal is one’s concept of perfection. It strictly exsists in one’s imagination and is unlikely to become reality. A goal is a product of one’s effort or ambition. An aim that is specific and measureable.

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Here are some facts about ideals:

  1. They’re general and immeasurable
  2. They are constantly changing as you grow and change
  3. The measurement of yourself of where you currently are against your ideals creates unhappiness
  4. If you don’t have a way to measure your progress it’ll be hard to stick with it
  5. They’re distant and abstract

Here are some facts on happiness in relation to success:

  1. When you fail to appreciate where you are right now, you miss out on the benefits of mindfulness, and the journey to the desired “destination.”
  2. If you don’t take time to reflect on your progress, you miss all the small wins along the way therefore have less gratitude, confidence and joy. Without happiness, gratitude and confidence, you won’t want to imagine or create more goals.
  3. If you can’t measure your success, you can’t verify progress, which creates negative emotions versus confidence (a proven by product of success)
  4. The anticipation of success is almost always more powerful than the event itself
  5. Happiness is the secret to success

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Therefore, it’s safe to say our ideals should not be our benchmark for growth and achievement. Rather, ideals should be a source to create specific and challenging long-term goals. When you take the time to reflect and measure your progress, you’ll enable yourself to set powerful goals with clarity as these goals will be created from a place of confidence, happiness, and gratitude. Most importantly, they will be tangible. 

How do we do this? We transistion from ‘The Gap’ to ‘The Gain’ as Dan Sullivan calls it. This means focusing less on the ideals and more on the progess in relation to your starting point! The Gap, or ideal, can feel daunting and as if you’ve made zero progress due to their distant nature. Psychologically, you can also begin to dig yourself into a ditch as you tend to see all the time/energy you’ve used as a waste as you’re still not where you “need” to be.

Rather with ‘The Gain’ mindset, you measure your growth against your starting point. You’ll naturally begin to feel a sense of progress and forward movement as a result. This in return produces an emotion of satisfaction and happiness and ultimately motivates you to continue on your path to growth and achievement.

So let’s just sayfor a second that I would like to make a lofty goal for myself for the year of 2018: That is I want to attain a Sports Illustrated body! Now this isn’t very measurable nor is it specific for that matter. However if I set goals and live in the ‘The Gain’ mentality, I can then go in each month and set smaller, tangible goals such as attending Buti Yoga twice a week. This is a tangible goal I can measure at the month’s end. I can also compare myself from my staring point to map out my phyiscal progress.

I think this is a very important discussion to have in this day an age with all the media we choose to absorb online and out in the world. We all want to be our own boss, have a successful business and home life and of course make loads of money. On the downside we all at one time or another have fallen victim to unrealistic comparison, whether it’s photoshopped bodies we see all over Instagram or the perfection of someone’s feed. I think when it comes down to it, we all just want to be the best versions of ourselves and to that notion, I commend the.

I’m not saying ideals are completely terrible. There is defintiely a time and place for going general and daydreaming (primarily when you lack clarity or you’re building a long-term vision). More so what I’m saying is in order to stay on track, make sure you’re also taking the time to build the specific and attainable goals (with clarity). Know when to use them but also learn to keep up and adjust each accordingly as you change and grow.

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More-gain,

M

 

Photography: Nat Sin of Style Cruise

 

 

 

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| SPECIAL GUEST: KRIS JONES |

“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is a visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.”

– N A V E E N JAIN

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This month I had the pleasure of getting to know Kris Jones. A father, entrepreneur and a true rags-to-riches success story. He is the founder of not one but several apps including, Special Guest AppLSEO.comReferLocal.comFrench Girls App, and APPEK Mobile Apps. He grew a multi-million dollar business while in grad school at Villanova and he sold a separate business to eBay after law school at Albany Law. If that doesn’t give you a dose of motivation I don’t now what will.

As someone who focuses a lot of my time and energy on self-help and personal/professional development, I’m always searching for new tools that will take me to the next level (as I’m sure you do too). The best way to stay inspired is to surround yourself with the wise and great. Kris has achieved huge success and is willing to share some of his secrets with us. In this discussion, we explore the entrepreneur psychology,  how to successfully set goals, and what must be developed to get an idea off the ground.

Before we start, I would like to share a side note and small world ‘coincidence.’ After we connected online, I found that Kris attended law school in my hometown of Albany, NY. How serendipitous that we both share that ‘Albany to Los Angeles’ familiarity. It’s truly inspiring to see someone who had no network and still become wildly successful. With that being said, let’s get right to it, enjoy this month’s special guest, Kris Jones!

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What are your top laws/rules for success?

KJ: Execution over ideas. I’m a doer. I believe strongly that success doesn’t come from ideas, but rather the execution of those ideas. Building up confidence and skills that leads to successfully executing goals is my super power. Everyone has untapped God-given potential.

The key to success is believing that you can accomplish just about anything you set your mind to. You don’t have to wait. You can take action right now. It all starts with the first step toward your destiny. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game.

What’s one book you would suggest for any budding entrepreneur?

KJ: The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries

What’s the one psychological skill/mental muscle you believe one should develop to succeed?

KJ: Confidence.

Clearly you know how to set lofty goals (100 episodes of ‘Ask Me Anything’). How do you set goals that are big yet attainable?

KJ: It takes practice. One way to increase the likelihood that you accomplish a goal is to share it with loved ones and make it public – we don’t like to disappoint others so it’s more likely that we won’t come up with reasons to quit something once we set a goal and take action. I don’t recommend that people set realistic goals. Realistic goals tend to be puny and are not inspiring.

Instead, I recommend setting goals that are uncomfortable. Uncomfortable goals are stretch goals – they give us little choice but to take immediate action toward the goal. For instance, at the beginning of 2017 I set a goal of creating 100 “Ask Me Anything” videos focused on personal and professional development. For people that don’t know me – (like most of you) I have a lot going on managing multiple businesses, writing monthly for publications like Forbes, Inc., and Search Engine Land, 3 kids, yada, yada, yada. So the idea of coordinating and finding time to shoot 100 videos in 1 year bordered on crazy. In fact, in the final weeks I received a message from someone saying “Kris – it’s OK that you aren’t going to accomplish your goal. It’s hard to accomplish all the goals we set, etc….” Indeed I accomplished the goal by the end of 2017 (with a band might I add) and I was able to do that because I created incredible momentum by setting an “uncomfortable” goal instead of a puny one that was realistic. 

You’ve touched on the necessity of being risk averse as an entrepreneur in one of your interviews. Are there any techniques one could use to strengthen and/or develop this quality?

When I use the word “risk averse” as an entrepreneur I’m referring to something I learned from the author / speaker Malcolm Gladwell at a conference the two of us spoke at 5 or so years ago. In short, he referenced that SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs are social risk takers, but operationally risk averse. He went on to describe that as social risk takers SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs don’t care much if people tell them they have a bad idea or that what they are attempting to do has a low probability of success. However, at the same time the SUCCESSFUL entrepreneur is plotting our a highly specific plan from A to Z to execute on his or her idea.

See my response above about how important execution is in success. So the key to building muscle around execution (in effect being operationally risk averse) is to learn and master business skills, such as financial analysis, growth marketing, mobile / web / product development, branding, etc. Again, one of the reasons why “ideas are overrated” is because having an idea isn’t enough – you’ve got to master how to take an idea and turn it into a business – that requires learned skills around business execution. Once you do that (it’s an ongoing process) your odds of business success go up dramatically.

What do you attribute your success to?

KJ: I believe in my potential to be successful. Success is part psychology and part skills. You can’t have consistent success with strong psychology and weak skills – I’m constantly self-educating on how to master my psychology and extend my business skills. I started reading and attending seminars about 20 years ago or so and I haven’t stopped. Everyday is a baseline.

So you’ve got a great and unique idea, where do you begin? What are the necessary steps that need to be taken to ensure it survives, evolves and flourishes?

KJ: Going from idea to business requires an understanding of how to build a business. It’s just that easy. There’s a massive gap between people with idea’s and people with skills to execute those ideas. So the key is the develop the skills. There are a lot of skills required to execute a business idea, but some of the most important are finance (probably #1), marketing, legal, accounting, HR, and development. Of course you can hire talent to fill some of the necessary skill sets, but I have never met a successful entrepreneur that hadn’t acquired ninja skills across all of the most important areas of business execution. In fact, I think it’s required that you develop the proper skills so that early on you can do things yourself and later on you can step in if necessary to hold staff accountable or to do their job if they aren’t.

How do you find your competitive advantage and make an idea/entity so unique that it cannot be copied?

KJ: It’s all about brand. People don’t buy things – they buy how those things make them feel.

 I think you’d agree, most self-starters like yourself are forward thinking. On that note, what’s next for Kris?

KJ: As you know I founded a talent booking platform with actor / comedian Damon Wayans, Jr called Special Guest App. We are currently focusing most of our resources on the Greater Los Angeles market, but we intend to expand that considerably in 2018. I’m also excited about the growth of a two complementary businesses that are growing quickly – LSEO.com is a digital marketing company that I founded in 2014. It offers a range of growth marketing services, such as search-engine optimization, Google AdWords management, and social media management. APPEK Mobile Apps is a mobile and web development company that I cofounded back in 2011 that helps people build apps. In addition to these businesses I’m excited to continue to support the success of a range of technology investments I’ve made, speak at a few select conferences, and focus most of my time on making sure that Special Guest executes on its mission to democratize the booking and experience of LIVE entertainment.

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If you’d like to learn more about Special Guest, be sure to download the app here! For more personal development tips and tricks check out Kris’ “Ask Me Anything” series on Youtube!

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GET RICH OR DYE TRYIN’

“Sacred success means pursuing your soul’s purpose for your own bliss and the benefit of others, while being richly rewarded.”

B A R B A R A STANNY

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With Spring Equinox and Aries season upon us, the time to refresh and re-create is here. That being said, what better time than the first day of spring, to implement something new and beneficial in our lives! Here are 5 simple ways to create abundance in your life. Let’s step into spring with a re-purposed purpose, living lives we love:

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1. Get Quiet or Take A Retreat

I recently decided to write to my friends on Facebook how I was feeling in a moment of presence. It read something like “we all out here making a name for ourselves, grinding. I get it. Idk ’bout you, but sometimes I don’t make time for others, or I shut them out. As of lately I feel like I’m more sensitive to this and the real importance of setting aside time for others.” I was amazed by the long lost friends who responded wanting to get together and reconnect, as well as the kindred spirits who mentioned they’ve been feeling the same.

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2. Hang with Kindred Spirits

Something so essential but easily disregarded was overlooked in my foggy mind. Human connection. I can honestly say this month I realized the importance of setting aside adequate time to retreat, quiet the mind and surround myself with loved ones. This allows one to listen to what the body’s trying to tell you while bringing divine inspiration to conversation. If I didn’t slow down, I would’ve overlooked many things that have recently led to my favorite ah-ha moments. 

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3. Harness Your Female Energy

After a back injury that left me pretty much immobile, I was forced to pause and reflect on why I stood here, motionless. My untamable masculine energy kept telling my mind you’re strong, keep going. I pushed, over-extended and injured myself because I was too busy ‘doing ‘and not allowing the wise feminine energy to move through me. True feminine power is when you know who you are, what you want and unapologetically express that to the world!

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4. What’s Your Purpose?

I found a few months ago I was placing my focus in all the wrong places. I loved what I was doing but my purpose behind which had deterred to profit. I got lost in the numbers game that is social media. The very goal I set out with was to be great while helping others achieve greatness. For my birthday this month, I got away to the Sequoia’s. By getting back to nature and pausing, I was reminded of the original me, helping me to move away from profit to purpose. 

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5. Embrace Your Fears

I recently began talking on the phone with a high school friend. I sat and listened to him recall all his recent struggles and the traveling he did in attempt to find his purpose. One thing he mentioned was knowing all along who he was and what he was meant to be. He realized he became afraid of his own greatness. This hit home for me as well, as I’ve been self-destructive at times. Hearing him said that healed me as I’m sure it helped heal him. 

Key to Success for spring: Explore your fears. Successful, confident or working towards it, we all struggle with self-doubt and fear. The only difference here in becoming successful is allowing oneself to feel the fear and run towards it anyway. So be a warrior. Don’t be afraid of your greatness. Harness it!

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So I leave you with this…what’s keeping you from being great?

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All photos taken by Morgan Ryan.

Shot around East Los Angeles and The Getty.

For a more in depth look at cultivating abundance this Spring, click here to listen to the full Podcast via Astrostyle.

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S I M P L Y BEAUTIFUL

“The things we reject tend to be colored by fear. Those grown from love will flourish.”

– MORGAN R Y A N

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I took a deep breath in as I observed my surroundings. What a sight Los Angeles has become. Before the rainfall, this city had lost a bit of its luster in my honest opinion. Now I feel as though I’m experiencing one of the most beautiful moments since I first moved to California. I had to stop mid-walk to really absorb this momentary time. This story is about finding inner peace with impermanence.

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I held my breath as I looked around. I was in awe because I thought I was just transported to Austria. The sky had not a cloud in it. The mountains stood majestic with snow-capped tips, which blended into the clear blue skyline. Just beyond the peaks lay layers of green hillsides that varied in shade.

The iconic landscape from “The Sound of Music,” rolled through my mind and I couldn’t help but smile as my thoughts amused me. I hoped Julie Andrews would pop out of no where, twirling me around aimlessly like in the movie. Much like Andrews chimes in the familiar song, I go to the hills when my heart’s lonely.

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I spent this past weekend in solitude. Something I do often but always yearn for more of. This time I redecorated my apartment and entertained some of my innermost dreams. The Aquarius New Moon occurred this past weekend, which also marked the Chinese Lunar New Year. Living on the outskirts of Chinatown, I heard firecrackers going off all weekend. This added a kick of energy that ironically foreshadowed the energy of this year’s sign, the Fire Rooster. I felt the desire to take action while the Aquarian vibes got me in touch with my deepest desires.

FLOWING WITH THE NATURAL ENERGY AT WORK: 

I. Write out your goals + dreams

II. Release something

III. Feng shui a room

V. Root and ground

VI. Do something communal

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I.

Friday night I wrote out 6 goals to achieve in the next 6 months. Some were travel related, career/money focused or beauty inspired. I placed them next to my agate rock, hoping it would magnify their energy and ability to come into fruition. In two days I checked off one of those goals! I’m a bit superstitious but clearly it worked for me.

One of my major dreams is to have my own live/work space. Last week was the ideal time to work with this goal as I had my two bedroom apartment to myself. This really gave me the opportunity to soak it all in; what it would truly feel like to have a place I call my own. To experience it to the fullest I took it a step further; I redecorated to my liking to see what it would look like, making it an active visualization.

I arranged mason jars filled with my seeds and spices above my stove. Placed plants throughout my living room. Dried flowers from my cupboards doors and did yoga in the living room while burning incense. For the entire week, I slept sound and woke refreshed. I found the true definition of freedom is found in the little things.

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  II.

 In college I randomly began calling my room the ‘Zen Den.’ It’s stuck ever since. That being said, one of my favorite interests is using artistic decoration as a form of energy healing or redirection. For lack of a better words most would refer to this as feng shui. I’ve always desired to switch up and refresh my room with new arrangement every so often. I’ve noticed it helped with the movement of energy within my space and my physical well-being.

This desire to feng shui tends to happen in line with new chapters of my life, or in this case, new moons. Besides bringing me joy, it has also aided me in the process of letting go. The Tao Te Ching says, “when we know when enough is enough, there will always be enough.” Much like art, this process works on the idea of impermanence; something that is born to be destroyed. Think of fresh flowers. They bring fresh energy to a room but only for so long.

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III.

I tend to grow attached to things. My art, people, things, did I mention my art? Every time I must say goodbye I lament. (Side note: That’s probably where my nostalgia stems from). However I’ve become wiser and realized every goodbye allows for a fresh hello. A constant offering of a blank slate, now that’s my jam.

Next up was a space that felt stale, my bathroom. I added some energy with a sprig of fresh flowers and some bamboo. My second reaction was to throw something away. One thing led to another and eventually I was throwing out a handful of old products that had expired. I saw items that had accumulated dust and that simply irritated me. That was my cue that it was time to go. According to the Tao, by decluttering we simplify. By simplifying, we create greater power and peace by choosing beauty, order and health.

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IV.

After this creative jaunt, I wanted to get outside for some fresh air. It was as though clearing out my material life had made room for more physical health. I felt this spaciousness within, an unbound freeness. I wanted to fill this newfound space with something new. I was reminded of my favorite park I used to frequent every day when I first moved to LA. The trails were calling my name.

I was shocked how much it changed since I last visited. ‘Simply Beautiful’ by Al Green played through my headphones and I felt the emotion of those lyrics as I looked out over the improved landscape I once called my stomping grounds. The pathways were now lined with clover and grass that reached to my mid-calf. I sat down in it and closed my eyes and just breathed. I felt grounded. I felt present. I felt re-aligned. In just an hour, I was re-connected to earth and my purpose.

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V.

On Sunday, I attended a charity event organized by my friend, Brooke. Brooke is a fellow PM Insider and blogger who has dedicated her purpose to giving back. She hosted a beautiful wine tasting and food pairing that creatively raised awareness for some of her favorite charities. Dedicated to pertinent issues such as child hunger and autism, we learned about the love these brands are spreading around the world.

With conscious brands such as This Bar, Cheeky and One Hope, it inspired me to learn about brands and how they’re making a difference but more so, how I could be making a difference with everyday decisions. Oh btw, they’re all DELICIOUS! If you’re interested in healthy snack options, delicious wine or simply ways to do good, check out these sites!

CHEEKY

THIS BAR

ONE HOPE WINE

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How do you spend your weekends? Do you hope to give back or live in more alignment? Tell me in the comments below. I would love to get to know you and your inner most desires!

Xx,

M

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CHANNEL orange

“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”

We all know that sinking feeling when things seemingly don’t go our way. I would imagine it feels quite similar to swimming upstream. Tell it to the girl who got her wisdom teeth pulled, the flu, as well as a flat tire in a week’s time. When it rains it pours (I write this as rain pounds the streets of Los Angeles).

Through these growing pains, a lesson can always be learned. Personally I learned rain is the ultimate cleanser…and we can’t control the flow. Nature will work it’s course, and we must ride the tide. We will arrive changed and in the grace of a peaceful sea, eventually, with some faith. Easier to say once the storm has settled.

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To me, in these trying times, the purpose seems to be the ultimate test of one’s faith, strength and character. We may not be in control of everything, but we are indeed in control of our perspective and reactions. That may seem minuscule but it’s truly liberating knowing that we may channel any negative circumstance into pure gold; or what I simply refer to as “transforming the mess into the message.”

We’ve all played the victim at one time or another. Why me? It’s his fault for cutting me off. I have bad luck and so on and so on. I get it. It’s easier to place the blame elsewhere than to take sole responsibility. But the truth is, we are actually co-creators in everything we experience. You might even say we welcomed in this ‘issue’ as an imperative life lesson we subconsciously know we must learn.

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I want to show you that you can enjoy your problems. First and foremost, you have to see these so-called problems as opportunities. If we see them as problems, then we got problems. If we can’t make that shift in thought, we can’t enjoy the journey and grow. Because if you think about it, much of life is purely a figment of our imagination. The going may get rough (at times) but it is what we perceive (overall) that shapes our reality. Why not perceive it in a light that makes life as a whole most exciting?

For whatever reason, you’ve undeniably welcomed this situation into your life. Whether it be a difficult relationship that’s teaching you about yourself in relation to others or a series of unfortunate events that’s testing your patience. We all have something to gather from each (problem) opportunity. Simply looking at it as so, is a great place to begin. A simple change in words and perspective can work magic in your life. Best thing, it’s free. If you read this, I hope one thing: You shift from ‘the victim’ to the ‘the opportunist’ by seeing each problem as an opportunity to improve your life. 

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| MAV M A N T R A |

I transform the mess into the message.

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Another huge adjustment is gratitude. I can’t stress enough how important it is to place your attention and intent in the right places. In the midst of chaos it’s easy to notice what’s going wrong. I do it too. But, what if you were to remember to acknowledge what went right? If you were in an accident, maybe you weren’t injured. Perhaps you lost a valuable item, but now you have space to welcome in something new. Whatever it may be, try to focus on what’s working. This simple shift gives you a new outlook on the situation.

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These are essentially simple (and effective) ways to learn, grow, and become more compassionate, which is why I think we’re all here, don’t you? These tough lessons come as blessings in disguise so that we may work out our issues together. What better way to improve than by learning from one another and being your own guru.

So welcome and face your challenges with an openness that sets yourself up for success. Approach your opportunities courageously and become stronger. Acknowledge what’s going right and become abundant. Be grateful for each and every life lesson, because they will come and go like the ebb and flow, that is fasho. What will remain is mindfulness and the richness of life. An internal gold that no one can touch.

Get (soul) diggin’

M

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Click item to shop:

| THE O U T F I T |

Featured Deal: A free month of designer sunglasses on DITTO when you use promo code: MAVERICK

Black Hat | Crystal Earrings | Lanvin Serpent Sunnies from DITTO |  Levi’s 511 | Tank TopNude Pumps

| THE L I F E S T Y L E |

Vintage Polaroid CameraVintage Typewriter | Ellen Von Unwerth Books

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| FEATURED P H O T O G R A P H Y |

Nat Sin

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| CHILD’S P L A Y |

” We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

-GEORGE B E R N A R D SHAW

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I believe we all seek a life well lived. How we each define such is another story. To me, it is a life of balance. Sounds simple yet is much easier said than done. Last month I decided to test my ability to create balance between work and play. I realized in order to lead a fulfilling life, I must make time for both.

Studying the unstructured act of “play” for a month helped me reconnect to my past. Although it may seem like all fun, there was indeed plenty of work involved. When we work too much we’re dull; when we’re all play, we’re slackers. I figured there must be a happy medium, and at this balanced place I found a story that brought everything full circle.

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| THE CURRENT LANDSCAPE |

We live in an incredibly stimulating society; one that encourages instant gratification. To solve an ailment, we often opt for the easy solution. When we have a moment to carve out some free time, we often spend it binge watching Netflix or scrolling through social media. These habits only waste our energy rather than gather it through active creativity. As a population, we’ve become workhorses who grind until we reach a point of exhaust. Always curious for a natural solution, I went searching for a way to alleviate any stress or boredom and found relaxation and relief.

Normally I find the beauty in the little things, yet every now and again things can seem dull or flat. Whenever I felt this drab creep in, I recognized it as my trigger to play. Maybe all we truly need is the knowledge that it’s okay to slow down, relax and have some fun. I granted myself permission to play, sans regret, and regained my shiny outlook along with some new knowledge.

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| WHAT IS PLAY |

Play is simply the time spent building new knowledge in creative, inventive and imaginative ways. It is an act in which we constantly learn without an end goal in mind. When we’re unbalanced it’s reflected in our total being. Setting aside personal time to be lighthearted helps cultivate positive emotion and allows us to return to our work refreshed. This completely spontaneous and enjoyable process can be extremely useful for anyone hoping to heal, improve his or her well-being and/or productivity.

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| BENEFITS |

The truth is if you wish to remain healthy and full of vitality, cultivating a balanced life is the first step. Self-confidence, emotional maturity as well as cognitive skills are just some of the by products of playing. Beyond that, it’s simply fun. If you seek rejuvenation, then incorporating some leisure time could be very beneficial in keeping your life in check.

Maybe you’re interested in increasing your energy or becoming more functional under stress. Maybe you wish to prevent burnout during big projects. Whatever the case may be, there’s a reason why playing could be beneficial for you. I broke it down into three categories to show the effect playing can have on the mind, body and soul:

Mental

When we play, we engage in similar behavioral patterns that positively shape the brain. In this mental space, or “flow,” a state in which we become fully absorbed in the process, we have the ability to replace limiting beliefs with positive ones. We also can lower the risk of mental illnesses such as depression or dementia. Similar to meditation, the mind is taken elsewhere, away from the stress and mental chatter. This space creates time for us to restore and heal.

Like our bodies, we must also work our minds to keep them sharp and functioning. It’s proven that we actually learn best in a relaxed and playful state. Using puzzles or brain challengers can help strengthen our minds. By stimulating our imaginations, we adapt and problem solve more efficiently. Unfortunately most of us aren’t programmed to play when we hit roadblocks or stressful situations; however major breakthroughs are possible when we take a break, detach and create some space to play.

| MAV MANTRA |

“What enlivens my mind, relaxes it.”

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Physical

Physically, play is an active process, one that engages both the mind and body. If it still comes as a surprise, chronic stress is one of the leading causes of illness and disease. Active engagement gets the blood pumping, strengthening the heart and increasing energy levels. This helps to burn off hormones, sugars and fats released into our bloodstream as a result of stress. On top of that, play can also temporarily relieve pain and slow down the aging process.

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Social

On the social front, playing with others helps to strengthen our personal ties and keeps them exciting. It can be as simple as sharing laughter together or cultivating a playful state of mind. A playful attitude can help loosen us up, which can be helpful in stressful situations. Lastly, it’s practical for building strong social skills that could come in handy in breaking the ice with a potential new business partner or friend.

| PLAY TIME |

What I personally noticed from my experience was an increased sense of confidence, energy and authenticity. I believe when we connect to our past and hobbies, we tap into our truth and happiness. The three methods of play I experimented with were photography, coloring and play dates.

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| WAYS TO PLAY |

Creating opportunities to play is simple when you surround yourself with playful people. However, you can play wherever you are. Here’s a simple list of ways of play; just decide which suits your personality best and try incorporating just one into your daily lifestyle for starters:

On Your Own

  • Photography
  • Adult Coloring Books
  • DIY Project
  • Play With A Pet/Child
  • Puzzle
  • Watch A Comedy
  • Hit The Park
  • Take A New Route Home
  • Learn a New Instrument/Craft
  • Join A Gym

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At Work

  • Ping Pong
  • Solitaire/Cards
  • Crossword Puzzle
  • Read The Funnies
  • Joke With A Co-Worker
  • Keep A Sketchpad To Doodle
  • Afternoon Stroll

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With Friends

  • Host Game Night
  • Bowling
  • Go To A Festival
  • Dance Classes
  • Join Intramurals/Sports League
  • Play Volleyball At The Beach

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At the end of the day, life is a beautiful adventure and should be enjoyed as such. Maybe life’s a test or maybe it’s a playground; maybe it’s a combination of both. All I know is that when we play, we’re in the ‘flow.’ Perhaps cultivating this essence in playing can help us in applying it to real life situations, ones where we need to be less rigid; hence the phrase “go with the flow.”

When we play, we reconnect to our truth; for the only true journey is the one within. With this in mind, play is just as essential in our youth as it is in our adult lives. If we play as adults, it encourages further growth. If playing as a child can be seen as the dress rehearsal for adulthood, then can’t playing as adults be a reminder that we are still works in progress? I think once we believe we know it all, we stop learning and evolving. If we stop evolving, we die. Perhaps this is simply the circle of life; we play to mature, we play to stay young.

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| PHOTOGRAPHY |

 Nat Sin

| STYLING + CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| MUSES + SPONSORS |

Rich Honey Apparel, Calypso Cards, WTRMLN WTR.

Thanks to my friends Evan, Austin, Kybl, Alison & Navin for always bringing out the best in me. Thanks to my New York boys for coming out to LA + always reminding me of my roots ~ Bobby, Cooper, Nick, TK.

| SOURCES |

Mashable

Helpguide

PBS

Wiki

 

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| R E N E W A L | APRIL MAV HAVE

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“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another and ourselves.”

– J A C K  KORNFIELD

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After the busyness of last month, the focus of April was to reset and renew. Spring is here and is encouraging us all to pause, reflect and recharge our batteries. I like to consider this season as our annual mind, body and spirit tune up.

Last week I made my way to Indio, CA with Evan for a Coachella Party hosted by Paul Mitchell at the Merv Griffin Estate. Using this opportunity to escape the city for the day, we set off into the desert to recharge our batteries.

I began to experiment with some simple techniques during the trip, which I have continued to explore since returning to LA. As a result, I have created a one-week reset plan, which I’m excited to share with you today! The most beneficial method for myself was the ‘detox.’ I focused on taking a break from social media as a means to reconnect by de-connecting. Ironically, when I unplugged, I recharged more efficiently. I’ll jump into that a little later on.

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Being busy is somewhat of a requirement in our modern day society. Unfortunately when we are too busy, not only do we forget to live, we actually become counterproductive. Our healthy habits begin to slip and our communication suffers; we lose focus, connection and sight of our intentions.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be permanent. With some minor adjustments we can get back on track and be ready to roll. So let’s get started! Here’s my one week guide plus a brief description of what I learned through the process of pausing to reflect and remembering to live a little.

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MIND

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1). Write, Write, Write! 

By doing this one-week challenge, the most noticeable block I was experiencing was lack of communication. I was harboring feelings and thoughts that needed to be expressed. Locked inside, I found it extremely relieving to write it all out; my thoughts, feelings, anger, resentment or even a difficult conversation I needed to have. It was therapeutic not to mention helpful in wrapping my head around difficult thoughts and feelings. Instead of worrying, stressing or reacting, I released, resolved and relieved.

Your Turn: Grab a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Take 10 minutes to simply jot down your thoughts, feelings, tasks, fears, gratitude, you name it. By emptying your mind onto the paper, you make space for the new. Instead of spending precious time worrying about something, you gain your time and sanity back while reducing stress.

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2). Meditate

The way I became most aware of this lack of communication was through meditation. By engaging in this practice I was able to focus not only on my mind but also on my body. My friend Ashley came over this week to help me clear the energy in my apartment. While she cleansed my place with sage, I meditated for 20 minutes. During the process I noticed a heavy soreness in the left area of my throat. I realized I had blocked energy there because I wasn’t speaking my truth and in return this was causing me stress. By calming down my central nervous system I felt a sense of comfort, safety and relief in having an answer to a question I didn’t have before meditating.

Your Turn: The wonderful thing about meditation is that it’s an excuse to do absolutely nothing. If it’s new to you and you’re wondering, “how can I do absolutely nothing?” I suggest a meditation app such as Headspace for extra guidance or listen to some Zen music and chill out.

Beginner: Begin by counting your breath as you inhale (1 2 3), and (4 5 6) as you exhale. Continue for 1-5 minutes. Moderate: Meditate on a positive mantra or word with each in breath, and release it’s negative counterpart on the out breath (ex. inhale; serenity | exhale; anxiety). Do this for 10 minutes. Challenging: Inhale through your nose for 5 counts, hold your breath for 5 counts, exhale through your mouth for 5 counts. Get into a place of total awareness and see what is brought to your attention. Continue for 20 minutes.

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BODY

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3). Take A Walk

When Evan and I first arrived in Indio we decided to get out and wander. A moment of nostalgia washed over me of Summer’s in New York as a kid drinking root beer floats as we sipped on Mission Hard Root Beers. I felt like I was in two different places at once until I was swept back into the present moment and we began our next adventure by foot. We found a neat neighborhood with some interesting houses making our walk scenic. Not only did we find a great location to shoot some fun images, we also got to move our legs, which felt amazing after sitting in the car all day.

Your Turn: Movement is essential in keeping our bodies at their best. I’d say every opportunity you have to walk instead of driving, take it! The days are longer now and the weather is nice so if you feel drained, get up and out. Just a few minutes a day can improve your lifestyle. Getting up and moving not only aids in digestion but it also provides us with energy and uplifts our mood. Try a 5 minute walk around the block during a lunch break and reap the rewards.

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4). Nap

One of my personal favorites, nap time. Restoration is not possible without sleep. This is the time when our bodies repair themselves from all the stresses, toxins and activity of the day. Last week I couldn’t get to bed early so I took a 30-minute mid-day nap after work. I noticed I was more productive and the quick nap made my work day more pleasant.

Your Turn: Busy lifestyles usually go hand in hand with sleep deprivation. As a means to fit as much as we can into a day, we put sleep at the bottom of the list. I think it should be our first priority because without proper rest we can’t function at our best. To make up for this, try going to bed 30 minutes earlier and notice how you feel in the morning (trust me, your food cravings, mood and overall energy will improve). Make up for lost shuteye by getting a 20 min snooze in during the afternoon if possible. If you work a 9-5, take advantage of that lunch and find a quiet space to close your eyes for 5 minutes. Just make sure to set an alarm!

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SPIRIT

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5). Donate Time

I donated time last week to helping my mom enter an Instagram contest as well as my community by participating in this years LA River Cleanup with Quixote. It was an amazing opportunity to bond with my co-workers while doing something meaningful for my city.

Your Turn: Spending time doing for someone else uplifts your spirit. The one thing that we lack these days is attention. Think about the last time you spent time with a friend or family member and gave them your full-undivided attention. No distractions. No expectations. When we invest our time, we invest in quality relationships, which nurture the soul. The best gift you can give someone is your attention. It not only is a gift to them but yourself. Simply give and experience the feel good vibes.

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 6). Personal Ritual

I focused my nightly ritual this week on the sensory experience of touch. I’ve become more curious about protecting my skin from toxins and how to calm or relieve dis-ease through reflexology. I tried dry brushing for the first time and began to do nightly massages. After my bath I’ll use my favorite massage oil by Shea Moisture and gently work the oil into my skin from my feet up. Once I’m done I’ll simply lay in bed and close my eyes to relax. This truly has made me feel so beautiful and has a soothing effect as it helps me ease into a peaceful nights rest.

Your Turn: Reconnecting with yourself through self-care or any other ritual is a great opportunity to just be with you. The key is to find something your enjoy so that it doesn’t just become another task on your to-do list. Rituals are personal so this should be unique to you. It can be as simple as lighting some candles or incense, praying, writing in your journal, taking a bath or sipping on a cup of soothing tea before bed. Maybe it’s a combo of a few of those! Whatever it is, do it well, do it consistently and remain connected to yourself and your higher energy (whatever that may be for you)!

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MIND BODY SPIRIT

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7). Detox | Take A Break

For myself, the most beneficial above all has been a digital detox. Unfortunately my profession made this a bit difficult but I made progress by minimizing the time I spent consuming and posting on social media. Over the past two weeks I’ve done two, five day breaks where I didn’t post. What I noticed was people actually engaged with me more and for longer. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder even online.

Your Turn: This is your practice so do what ever feels best for you. Maybe you need to focus your detox on the body so you try a cleanse. Perhaps the media has been swaying you too much so you refrain from reading the news for a day. Maybe toxic relationships are causing you stress so you create some healthy distance from those people. Take note and see where life seems to be giving you the most trouble and allow yourself a break, no guilt.

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I hope this helps and you get out there and try some of these tips this Spring. Who knows, maybe one or two of them will stick and become healthy habits you just can’t quit!

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Photography

E V A N  WOODS

 

 

| S U N N Y |

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and realize that prisoner was you.”

LEWIS B. SMEDES

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PRESS PLAY

Valentine’s Day seems to be a holiday that stirs up some mixed feelings. The special occasion, which celebrates the purest of human emotions, has in a way been tainted by consumerism and the demand to have a sweetheart. This can easily warp one into believing your worth is dependent on external circumstances. Without realizing it, many of us have bought into the marketing schemes and have thus created expectations, which often lead to disappointment. I can tell you first handedly love is not about flowers, chocolate or a significant other.

I write this as a reminder, mainly to myself, of what unconditional love truly looks like. Love is not validation from others. Love is not co-dependent, and love cannot be bought. To love is to hurt, and to experience both makes it all worthwhile.

This time last year I was in a relationship. Once it was over, I spent the following months reflecting and working through my emotional baggage. In doing so, I was able to turn the mess into a message I wish to share with you today. These three intangible ideas I’ll touch upon allowed me to reclaim my peace, happiness and joy. The best part is knowing that they were cultivated from within, meaning no one can strip them from me. 

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| SELF-CARE |

Self-care is so imperative yet many times misconstrued as selfish. Much to the contrary, self-care proves to be the best way to emotionally ground ourselves so that we may enter any situation with a grand awareness of self. It builds confidence, self-esteem and overall health. In treating yourself with respect, others follow suit.

In my last relationship I started skipping Yoga classes to spend my time with him. Once the blinders came off and I could see clearly, I was shocked. Yoga is something I place great value in for my personal well-being. It was eye opening when I realized I was the one sabotaging my self-care, not him. There was no one to blame but myself. The moment I quit my practice was the moment I lost myself in the relationship. Now I know the balance I find on the mat must also also be applied off the mat in reality.

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| SELF-LOVE |

When you’re hurt and licking your wounds, the focus once again turns to you. Self-love is where compassion is born. For when you no longer have the capacity to be compassionate towards yourself, you no longer have it for others. As what begins within, flows to all.

Any relationship, failed or successful, plays a valuable and versatile role in our life stories. They become our best teachers, our gateways to self-awareness and acceptance. They also become our mirrors, which reflect back to us, our inner worlds. Most people come into our lives to strengthen us so that we can move forward (many times alone). I think it’s quite possible that every strong connection we make with another is an opportunity to test our emotional maturity and capability to let go. For when we accept this simple truth, circumstances cannot define us.

This is why it’s so imperative before entering a relationship to cultivate a strong understanding and respect for self. Self-love cultivates compassion and kindness, which therefore enhances any relationship or connection we have with others because the foundation has been laid. If you imagine a relationship to be a house, you wouldn’t start building without the proper foundation, right? So if self-love is the foundation which we build relationships, you can understand why it’s importance we start here. Through our connection to self and others we can begin to feel safe and at home.

| Self-Love Practice |

1.) Find a quiet space and close your eyes. Begin breathing deeply into your lower belly

2.) Relax into your breath, get into a meditative state while you place your hand over your heart

3.) Recall a painful or stressful situation and visualize the how it felt. Allow the emotional discomfort to wash over you (understand you are not alone, we all feel these emotions)

4.) Feel the warmth of your hand over your heart. Send that warmth to the specific area of your body that’s feeling discomfort

5.) Ask yourself what you need to hear/feel in order to heal. Use whatever comes to mind first and is best aligned with your situation

6.) Repeat the phrase to yourself silently or aloud as many times as needed until you feel peaceful and calm

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| MAV MANTRA |

“I’m worthy of great love. A great love does not define my worth.”

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| FORGIVENESS |

Forgiveness might be the glue that holds a relationship together. While intimacy allows for closeness, it also requires us to be vulnerable. Hurt and love go hand in hand, that’s why they often say you hurt the one you love the most. Growing up we must’ve also heard the phrase, “I’ll forgive but I’ll never forget.” If forgiveness means wiping the slate clean, this quote is the antithesis of forgiveness. For if we can never forget, then we are guaranteed to carry the messy pain from our past into our present.

Post break-up I tried to forget everything, the memories, the pain, the laughs. Ironically all that did was strengthen its power over me. It wasn’t until I made the decision to wipe the slate clean, with forgiveness, that I finally moved past the hurt. I could smile again because I had a newfound respect for the relationship and what it taught me.

Last year my dad introduced me to a Hawaiian practice called Ho’oponopono, a healing technique that assists in the process of forgiveness. What’s nice about this practice is it’s simple and useful for all. It truly helped me to see there’s a result to every action we take. Regardless of your position in the disagreement, we could all use some forgiveness. If possible, use this technique and verbalize in person. If that’s not possible for whatever reason, you can use this as a self-healing practice in meditation or practicing it aloud or through writing. I chose to write mine in the form of an apology letter to give myself closure.

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| FORGIVENESS PRACTICE |

1.) “I’m sorry.” 

(I’m sorry I judged you. I’m sorry there’s unresolved energy between us)

2.) “Please forgive me.”

(Forgive me for my judgments. Forgive me for creating separation between us. Forgive me for walking away)

3.) I love you.”

(Recall to mind moments or reasons why you love this person. What did they add to your life) 

4.) Thank you.”

(Show gratitude for the experience. Be thankful for the opportunity to grow, the life lesson and joy)

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| WRITING A NEW STORY |

Regardless of your circumstance this year, use this holiday to show pure, unconditional love however that looks to you. That could be towards yourself, a special someone or a complete stranger. The point being we all deserve to love and be loved. Maybe you enjoy giving out loving compliments or speaking highly of others. Maybe you’re creative and enjoy writing love poems, notes or songs. Or maybe it’s creating a personalized card, which expresses your gratitude. (Remember, expressions of love that cannot be replicated/purchased tend to be the most valuable). If you do anything this Valentines Day, let it be forgiveness. Forgive anything that may have come before and step into the present with an open heart.

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IN COLLABORATION WITH THE M I G H T Y COMPANY 

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Evan Woods

| CREATIVE DIRECTION |

Morgan Ryan

| MUSES |

Cameron Arnett & Morgan Ryan 

SHOW ME THE T O N I | Part II

NEW YEAR | NEW YOU

As a new year begins and we all focus on our resolutions, I decide to go an alternative route and create intentions throughout the year. This means everyday I will wake up with purpose. I will be aware of what I am doing but also why I am doing it. However, in order to do so I must be fully present and clear. Resolutions/intentions require a plan/ritual as well as discipline. The plan is the easy part (if it’s simple) but the discipline part, well that you must acquire.

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| MAV MANTRA |

Empty what is full, fill what is empty.

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CLEAR SPACE | CLEAR MIND

I’m an extremely visual person, meaning if I see clutter, I feel cluttered. As this affects my energy and ability to work, I now realize the importance of a tidy workspace. For me, the first step is to reduce. Since I complete all my creative work from home, I need my office to feel minimal yet inspiring. I began throwing away old items that no longer served me. Instantly I felt a weight lift from my mind as my apartment began to take on a different air. My room became a sanctuary and my living room became a workspace.

HEAVY vs. LIGHT

Next comes organization. Now that I can move more freely, it is possible to re-organize my life with the remaining necessities. I bought a planner. I got file folders. I started to find my plan, a roadmap. That’s when I found the idea of light vs. heavy lifting; a method where you segment your to-do list based on the amount of energy it requires. Then I found my flow, a rhythm.

OFF THE MIND | ONTO PAPER

The night before I write out tomorrow’s tasks. This organizes my thoughts and prepares me for the day ahead. Secondly, it serves as a stress relief as it clears my mind of worry and therefore helps me sleep. This is what I call off the mind, onto paper. I divide tasks between two columns, heavy vs. light and promise myself to be reasonable and balanced in my expectations. (Need a guide? Try a planner with a pre-made checklist like this one from Anthropologie).

BYE, PROCRASTINATION

  I make it a point to focus on the heavy stuff first in order to get it out of the way. What I found in return was this created a reward program if you may. No dessert before dinner ring a bell? The whole concept of having the sweet finish to something substantial has been around since I was two. Trust me, I tried eating my dessert before every meal. Sometimes I still do. However, finishing your work before playing is meant for your benefit and here’s why:

When you promise yourself something after the hard work is completed, you appreciate it more. Ideally when you complete your heavy task first, you can check that off your list and fully enjoy your light task or reward. Of course we want to rebel from discipline but discipline can be great if we re-work our definition and feelings towards it. In truth discipline creates a lifestyle of self-improvement and fulfillment.

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 RESULTS

I tried this method out for a week and for me, it worked. I noticed new waves of productivity and clarity. Along the way I learned some valuable lessons too. I found that in having balance in work (or any area of life for that matter), makes all the difference in having an enjoyable process and experience.

LESSONS

-Be reasonable

-Focus on the task at hand

– Take a break if you reach a point of mental/creative exhaustion

– Come back to it later

-Plan the night before

-Use decrement. If the day is very heavy make sure to counter balance it to avoid burnout! (Or lighten your load)

-Use playtime to re-new (meditate, take a nap or a bath, eat a snack, go for a walk, etc.)

– Rest is okay! It can refresh your mind, perspective and creativity (just don’t get lost in the fun zone)

-Don’t feel bad if you don’t complete everything, simply move it over to tomorrow

-Applaud yourself for what you did complete

– Have fun!

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Activity is imperative but so is resting. Try to find a healthy balance between the two! I guarantee if you do, 2016 will be prove to be a successful and productive year for you! This is the year of foundation building. I hope you create the blueprints and habits needed in order to flourish in the years to come. 

Get digging, start blooming, and show me the monnnnnney!

|| MUSE | STYLIST||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Puno

|| FEATURING ||

TONI