THE ROAD TO M A S T E R Y

“Everyone holds his fortune in his own hands, like a sculptor the raw material he will fashion into a figure. But it’s the same with that type of artistic activity as with all others: We are merely born with the capability to do it. The skill to mold the material into what we want must be learned and attentively cultivated.”

– Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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Many of my friends are aspiring artists like myself. Being a part of the youth culture here in Los Angeles has been an amazing experience. I feel so fortunate to have been surrounded by encouraging people with whom I share similar feelings of victory and defeat. Together, we trek along the road ahead, the road to Mastery.

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|| The Five Attributes of A Master ||

1) They take their work very seriously & consistently perform at a high level

2) They aspire to improve their skills

3) They’re precise clean in presentation

4) They’re impatient

5) They’re passionate

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Mastery is a skill in which one cultivates a greater control over reality, self, and others. This skill takes time to develop, and much like a treasured diamond, it’s created as a result of pressure. This pressure can be in the form of a crisis or deadline as well as constant work on a project.

As we begin to perfect our craft we become absorbed in it, feeling focused and energized. I know this because I’ve felt it and second handedly experienced it with my friends. It’s a time when ideas flow, people are less resistant to your influence, and you inspire others respect.

This high is not one that can be replicated. It is pure, giving us access to the heart of life and touching us to the core. When an art form has been mastered it has the ability to connect heaven and earth. Completely transcending space and time, it will spiritually move you to a new place and leave you forever changed. In this life, my ultimate goal is to achieve this level of greatness.

The biggest risk in attempting mastery is the word itself, attempt. If we only ‘attempt’ instead of ‘attain’ we have allowed our emotions to get the best of us. As much as I have experienced the ultimate highs, I have also felt the lowest lows of boredom, confusion, impatience, fear, and confusion. These limiting feelings bring the entire process to a halt if we can not learn how to manage them as they stifle our ability to observe and learn. This is in fact a process, an ebb and flow, which entails different stages.

|| THE HOLY TRINITY ||

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|| THE STAGES ||

 1). Observe. Follow the lead of others for gained clarity. This is where we begin to learn the rules of the game we’ve chosen to play.

2). Practice, practice, practice. Here we begin to gain fluency and master the basic skills, making room for new challenges to present themselves. Typically, this is the stage where emotions set in and many give up. When you find yourself in this “Tunnel of Challenge” you must remember why you set out to be a master in the first place, focus on the light at the other end and break on through the darkness.

3). Persistence. This is where we emerge into the light and begin to see the connections once invisible to us in that dark tunnel. Gaining confidence, solving problems, and working around weaknesses becomes effortless. Like a well-trained dancer, your moves are fluid, internalized and forever engraved. This is when we move from student to practitioner and bring our own style into play. This is also the time where we have learned the rules so well that we have the right to break them or even better, re-write them. For that reason alone, I must become a Master.

|| MAV MANTRA ||

I learned the rules well. Now watch me re-write them.  

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|| THE MUSES ||

Mastery by Robert Greene

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Shen Yun 

G Y M CLASS HERO

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

– Henry David Thoreau

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Recently I’ve focused my energy on strengthening my inner power. This essence is something that can only be felt and therefore transcends any impermanence of the physical. Personally, I think this makes it even more desirable because once it has been achieved, it can never be lost. This mental workout has been great in breaking down several emotional and mental blocks that were previously holding me back.

The goal of this exercise is to free yourself from destructive self talk, old habits and patterns. Like most things in life, it’s easier said than done. One must first be willing to acknowledge the illusions or “problem areas,” and then consciously desire to fix them. Then and only then can one re-wire the mind to see what it wishes to believe instead of the impressions of the past. Once you can move past this barrier, you begin to regain a sense of strength that’s attached to the power of  c h o i c e.

The ability to create your own concept of reality holds so much power when you realize your external world is a result of your internal; it all stems from your imagination and what you choose to believe. I have been manifesting my reality by choosing which ‘truths’ to hold onto and which to let go. In addition to this I have also been visualizing positive outcomes I wish to see while recognizing the negatives from which I’ve grown. This process is like gardening the mind. First you remove the weeds to create a fresh space; then you plant the new seeds and watch them flourish. The outcome?

Restored balance and beauty.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetThis technique has helped me transform any self-love, relationship, or abundance issues. I begin by releasing any stress caused by lower frequency feelings such as fear or anger and transform them into positive feelings such as faith and love. By giving myself adequate time, I patiently allow the negative vibes to evaporate while the good remain and permeate my being. I repeat this process everyday until I begin to see new pathways form in my mind, which lead me to new open doors. You see, perception is the key to unlocking the mind.

Much like physical exercise, this process of re-wiring the mind requires focus, dedication, repetition, and strength. The brain, like any other muscle in the body requires consistent workouts in order to tap into its power. Begin slowly and through repetition, gradually increase the amount in equivalent relation to your improved level of stamina. Over time it will become effortless and a part of your daily routine as we are creatures of habit.

If you so wish to begin a similar journey in self-improvement, I encourage you to try several methods until you find the one that works best for y o u. Don’t follow, just listen to your inner voice (which will get stronger with practice) and it will lead you to the finish line. For me, my exercise is to find comfort in my own skin and emerge into who I know I am destined to be, regardless of my past. In knowing this, I am already paving the way for things to fall into place with each progressive step taken. Struggle is disappearing and I’m beginning to feel this sense of lightness and grace take center stage as I dance through life.

My goal in mastering my mind is to become the best possible version of myself. Over the course of a year, I have realized I am my only component and in order to become who I wish to be, I must feel as if it is already mine for the taking. To help cultivate this mentality, I believe dressing the part plays a major role. My day can range anywhere from strength training at the gym, to a night on the town tearing up the dance floor, or a long day of modeling on set (which also tends to turn into a dance party). As spontaneous as I am, my Adidas Pro Model’s are suitable to my lifestyle and provide the reliability I need in a sneaker.

 If you place importance on looking good for a reasonable price I highly suggest checking out West Egg. This online retailer offers a variety of designer products, such as Adidas, for lower prices. As the queen of thrift, I have to say I thoroughly enjoy getting the value of a Givenchy bracelet for less. My next blog post will feature this beauty so stay tuned!

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|| MAV MANTRA ||

Are you dominating your thoughts, or are you letting them dominate you?

B O M B A E QUEEN: INSIDE NYE

Change your perspective,

change your view.

-M.R.

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In 2014, I became aware that I was beating myself up over what I was without. The issue was I couldn’t seem to notice or appreciate the great things in front of me that I did have. It wasn’t until December that I realized this unhealthy pattern needed a perspective check, pronto. Hence introducing, The Gratitude Journal. Each morning I would date a fresh page and start out with an intention for the day. That night, I would reflect on the day to see what I was truly grateful for and if I had fulfilled my intention.Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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Taking this practice with me into the New Year, I noticed profound effects in my attitude within just one month. This year will be the year of unwavering optimism. I know this because of the way I welcomed in the New Year.Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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As we left the party in the Hollywood Hills, Evan and I head back towards Downtown Los Angeles. Just before midnight we drove up to the top of White Knoll Dr. to get a view of the city skyline. We kissed the sky and 2014 goodbye as fireworks began to sparkled below us.

They looked quite small against the vast landscape we were now looking down upon. We both acknowledged the difference we felt as we watched the fireworks from this vantage point. 2014 was a time when we were on ground level looking up, marveling with excited eyes at the grand beauty of fireworks lighting the sky. In this case, it could also be equated to feeling quite small and insignificant. This was no longer the the case.

The next day we realized how many more fireworks we were able to see when we were above it all. How silly it was for us to feel small when little did we know, we had more than we knew. It was as if we were zooming out of fame to find a grander, bigger picture. In this light, you can begin to embrace how far you’ve truly come yet also see all the potential options you have yet to explore.

.  .  .

Here’s to 2015, make it count!
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THE S U M M I T || 12.29.14

“And she soared high above the trees,
towards the vast escaping light.
From the shallows of her darkness,
she broke free in majestic flight.”
– m.r.

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It was not even two hours after my flight had landed in Los Angeles that I found myself back where I had left off, Elysian Park. Before departing for New York two weeks ago, the crew and I headed up to the same spot after our latest shoot to watch the sunset and revel in our potential, which twinkled in the city lights below.

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Jet lagged and running off of four hours of sleep, it was safe to say I was in need of some Vitamin D, product of California. This I figured would dust off any remaining cobwebs created by the New York Winter I just encountered.
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With my leather backpack slung over my right feather-coated shoulder, I made my way up to my favorite spot to detox, re-center, and grab a dose of fresh air. The sun was warm, the air crisp, as both penetrated my very being in the friendliest manner. Before me lay a scenic playground. I lightly played ambient music, hoping to drone out the plentiful amount of thoughts that raced through my mind, quite similar to the twirling streets that lay ahead of me as I made my way to the top.

// The Summit //
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As I parked at the peak’s overlook, I opened the car door, turned up the volume on my radio, and took a seat on the stone ledge. Something felt mildly ironic as I placed my feet, properly protected by synthetic floral Doc Martens on Mother Nature’s rich soil. Breathing deeply from my diaphragm, I began to welcome in happiness, kindness, peace, and love. In return, what goes up must come down–and on the exhaling breath, out came any traces of sorrow, malice, discomfort, or greed. I continued in this way with a rose quartz in one hand and a cooling green stone in the other. A warming sensation washed over me. This time it wasn’t the sun, but rather the sunshine within me.

// My light //

I began to work my way into a trance. Visualizing a time I was very happy and in a way, transporting myself back into that landscape. I imagined Santa Cruz. I smelled the fresh ocean breeze laced with sea salt and remembered the uplifting presence I once felt. At the time I was in love, madly, adding to the natural high I had experienced and was currently cultivating once again. Time stopped as I freeze framed a once picture perfect moment. I didn’t care about anything. Not a moment that came before, nor anything in that present moment. And definitely nothing that lay ahead of me.

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I can in part owe much of this to you, as at the time I wasn’t fully aware of many concepts, including that of Tao. I only saw that you were totally and utterly awake. Because of you, I saw and experienced the highest feeling we as humans can encounter, the Present Moment. I realize now, you were only the vessel of this message that now lives within me. To my surprise, this was only the beginning of my journey,
a journey of self.

I realized each individual in our life serves a very specific purpose. We are all vessels of light and by knowing this, we are encouraged to touch one another with our unique power. When we touch others, we impart a piece of ourselves on one another, in hopes that they may now carry it within themselves. These people either stay, leave, or come in and out of your life like the ebb and flow of a tide, to serve as a reminder that
 all we seek can be found within.

Mantra:
I know I’m never alone–
because I always carry a piece of you,
within me.
.  .  .

 We give so that we can receive.
And where you end, I begin.

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Day Tripper

Got no deeds to do, No promises to keep.

I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.

Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.

Life, I love you; All is g r o o v y ||

59th Street Bridge Song,  Simon & Garfunkel

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It was the first week of May and a heat wave engulfed the city of Los Angeles. A wave similar to that of the ocean when it casts its lazy spell and shifts your energy into a mellow mood. Refusing to become controlled by the heat of a delicate summers daydream, I waited for the blazing sun to slowly cool, then made my way out into the nights setting sun.

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I walked along a windy path which led me in the direction of Elysian Park. Soon after setting out, I found myself walking heel-toe in a straight line, mimicking a linear cracked path that lay beneath my feet. Merely an act of instinct, I soon realized this was my way of actively finding balance within my body.

Before I started dancing, my mom enrolled me every summer in gymnastics camp. I would spend all my time by myself at one station, the walking beam. I worked everyday on perfecting my foot placement, alignment, and balance, which required a lot of focus and patience. Many things a kid has yet to develop.

My mind quickly tries to catch up to me from the past but decides to make a pit stop about two years shy of the present moment when I visited a friend in Santa Cruz, CA.

He was the king of “slacking.”  Although it did seem like time stood still whenever I found myself in Santa Cruz, I’m referring to his mastered technique of slacklining. He made balance look effortless and even when he decided to add an ambitious trick; He seemed to always land on both feet like a cat. When he encouraged me to try, I let shyness overcome me as I feared being embarrassed in front of him. I realized I had lost that sense of pure innocence and wonder we’re all born with as kids. Crazy how much two years can make a difference as I fast forward to the present moment as I’m looking at the world once again through eyes of wonder.

// Restored //

Long-A line made by walking

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/long-a-line-made-by-walking-ar00142/text-summary

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As dusk approached, the rambling trail of thoughts I left behind had now brought me to a final realization. About a year ago  I had saved one photo on my laptop from a History of Photography class. It was called “A Line Made by Walking,” by Richard Long. At first glance, there’s nothing overwhelmingly captivating about the photo but never the less it intrigued me at the time. Now as day turns to night, I’m beginning to make sense of the intricate simplicity of this work in relation to my life.

“Nature has always been recorded by artists, from prehistoric cave paintings to twentieth-century landscape photography. I too wanted to make nature the subject of my work, but in new ways. I started working outside using natural materials like grass and water, and this evolved into the idea of making a sculpture by walking…My first work made by walking, in 1967, was a straight line in a grass field, which was also my own path, going ‘nowhere’. In the subsequent early map works, recording very simple but precise walks on Exmoor and Dartmoor, my intention was to make a new art which was also a new way of walking: walking as art.”

 I find myself using nature as a resource. From observation, I’m aware of the relationship between life and art. This notion that life imitates art seems to reappear–But maybe in contrast, we are all art and life/nature are just imitating us.

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We glamorize a life in which we live fast and die young, but we have it all wrong. What if we were to live slow and die wise?  

You see, we label it as laziness if we’re to slow down. Moving so fast we tend to feel like we’re being pulled in several directions because we lack grounding and a connection with what’s truly important. This false reality we paint online doesn’t connect us  it separates us. Maybe that’s what drew me to Santa Cruz in the first place; Its ability to allow me to slow down and reconnect. 

The beauty I encountered that day within my hour journey made we realize one overlying idea. Everything is alive, connected, and communicating you just have to

//L I S T E N//

Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.