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

Beauty, Bow, Vintage, Denim, America, Nostalgia,

|| THE B A T T L E WOUND ||

“Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion.”

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The Greeks refer to nostalgia as the pain from an old wound. This makes complete sense as I catch myself reminiscing over old photos. Instead of my usual happiness, I emotionally ache. To me, photography and nostalgia seem to go hand and hand. Like nostalgia’s accomplice, photography has the ability to trigger powerful emotions by capturing the fleeting moments in which we long to return. This could certainly feel heightened when we attach memory and emotion and therefore realize these moments can never quite be experienced again in the same fashion. Photography holds the beautiful quality of stopping time by breaking it down into tangible fragments that allow us to travel back in space and time. However, like all things in life with the light must come the dark. If we become too attached to these moments, photos enable us to live in the past instead of the present and can cripple us. This is when unhealed wounds re-open allowing the pain to rush back in.

This month has been an emotional roller coaster for many including myself. With the New Moon in Cancer, this is a time for cleansing and healing. With Cancer’s sensitive watery element, there is a direct focus on emotions and relationships. Whether or not you’d like to face your problems, I guarantee you haven’t had much of a choice as you’ve probably sensed the heightened emotions and relationship tensions too. I’ll admit that I both physically and emotionally ache as I write this. I’ve felt completely disowned and under appreciated. My upper back aches and let’s just say I’ve cried enough tears to put an end to the drought in Los Angeles. However, whoever said “there is beauty in the breakdown” is right. I’m learning there’s a necessity for release because without it, we’re like ticking time bombs. For unresolved issues continue to manifest in our relationships and health until we face them head on.

As some of our best life teachers, relationships provide the landscape for our personal growth. It’s simple to pinpoint a pattern, just notice what keeps appearing. The hard part is digging deep within to find its origins. This requires you to go to a sensitive place from your past and relive it and let’s be honest, most of us would rather keep bad experiences in the dark. However, those unhealed wounds are burdensome and if left untended will reappear until the lesson is learned.

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Before we get too wrapped up in the negative, let’s take a second to realize not all is lost, and we can deactivate that bomb if we know the code. This is merely an opportunity to be our own hero. With discipline and a willingness to face the emotional debris like a soldier of love, we can finally acknowledge the hurt and nurse ourselves back to health. With genuine compassion and self-love, we can begin to heal what we continue to hold onto from the past by reconstructing our destructive ways. My back might be in pain but not to worry I still got yours! Here’s a little guide to help get you started.

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|| THIS IS A MAVERICK LIFE LESSON ||

Healing Wounds  

1.) AWARENESS |

Instead of becoming reactive and swept away by emotion, become aware. Notice patterns and what is continually showing up. What are your triggers? By simply noticing you keep a distance from the pain. The more present you become, the quicker you heal. If anything, master this because awareness informs the next two steps as we prepare to move into the role of the observer who feels the experience with zero judgement.

2.) STORY TIME |

Remain neutral. Don’t entertain the mind with its stories. The mind merely tries to solve and make sense of experience and will bend the truth to do so. By moving from the mind, we play the victim role and keep attracting similar experiences and wounds. Instead if we move from the heart we can finally heal them. When you focus on the body and how it feels, the mind loses it’s “power.”

3.) FEELINGS |

Time to open up and allow yourself to feel the emotions. True healing occurs when we let go of all the built up emotions and allow compassion to flow. If you feel like crying, cry. If you feel like smiling, then smile (just make sure you do it from ear to ear). Feel whatever you must feel and show yourself unconditional love in the process. Be your own hero and you may just find you’ll be someone else’s too. The awareness mentioned prior is so necessary because now we can notice what our bodies are trying to tell us we need during these growing pains (in my case, I needed a soothing epsom salt bath).

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 Here we are, at the turning point of the battle. Now is the time to finally release the old emotional baggage so that we can grow into the new. No one said it would be easy and you may gather a few scars along the way, but the results are rewarding. I would rather have a scar than a wound for a scar is a reminder of my strength over what tried to take me down. I found a new life awaiting beyond the confined limits of a 4 x 6 photo. I released the nostalgia of my past and entered an even better reality, the present. Trust me when I say, in this place good things await. Things like greater personal power, freedom, self-love and confidence. Take the leap of faith and step into your new life in a powerful way. I assure you will be shown a greater strength.

| MAV MANTRA |

I can contribute good to someone else’s life today by being full of love

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|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Evan Woods

|| CREATIVE DIRECTION & STYLING ||

 Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFIT ||

Vintage Jean Jacket, Vintage Silk Scarf from Sunday’s Best Thrift, Hanes White Tank, Free People Jeans, ALDO combat boots

Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

I N D E P E N D E N C E DAY || 07.04.15 ||

“The world you inhabit is a reflection of your internal state. If you want to see external change, work from the inside out.”

-Dali Lama

IMG_7018 (1)            During my senior year of college I took a course on Happiness. I recently decided to re-visit one of the books from the class and in doing so retrieved some valuable information. These excerpts impacted me more today than ever before as I could now apply them to a real life scenario. As I delve into the idea of happiness in relation to personal freedom, it is only right that I bring some philosophical homies along for the ride.

            Confucius was one of the first philosophers to create the notion that we in fact hold the power to self-transformation. This idea of self-manifested change is quite empowering as it can be applied to any area of life. In knowing that we have the ability to change our life from an attitude, it is then not hard to believe that we can bring to life whatever we feel within.

            Aristotle said that happiness is a state of mind arising from purpose. When a sense of inner direction guides our actions and choices, we remain afloat. However, once we lead from an outside desire, and seek pleasure without purpose, we sink. When we confuse “things” with happiness, we find ourselves in a pit of emptiness. Year after year I chased after pleasure and I came to find it only seemed to run farther away from me.

            If I knew what I know now, I would have realized pleasure has the tendency of a firework; a quick burst of electrifying energy that comes as quickly as it goes (talk about impermanence). On the contrary, true happiness as a state of soul is everlasting. As I drive through Hollywood tonight, I first handily experience the role the mind plays in the quest for happiness as I admire the temporary pleasure of fireworks with a detached attitude.

Style, Trend, Beauty, Los Angeles, Fashion Blogger, Pinstripe, Urban, Chic, Cool

|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

Sunglasses, Dope, Swag, Curls, Hair, Beauty,Hair Flip, Beauty, Fashion, Style Icon,

Beauty, Photography, Los Angeles, Fashion Icon,

Four years ago I was far from who I am today. I looked for fulfillment from just about anything material, which I now recognize as pleasure (thanks Aristotle). I was looking for something to fill the emptiness I so desperately longed to alleviate. As a result I blindly created an even larger hole with this vicious cycle. It was around the same time I met you and during this chapter of my life, I thought you were the answer to all my worries. I was so wrong and I am happy to admit it.

I waited to be set free like a genie in a bottle, or better yet a firework, confined to the limits of my own body. It was as if I was trapped in solitary confinement and the only prison bars in sight were those I had built around my mind. I had become conditioned to pleasure and attached to the idea of someone saving me. Little did I know, I would only receive more time behind bars for these actions.

I became lost in your world, a world that in all honesty didn’t co-exist with my own. I was searching for the hands of another and found myself waiting hopelessly on fireworks that would never make it farther than the ground. I was headed down a slippery road with no outlet in sight. As I reminisce I feel a jolt of restrictive energy rush through my veins as my current view is much more expansive and promising.
Shades, Dope, Swag, Beauty, Bates Motel, Bates Motel, Beauty, Vintage, Retro, Babe

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I drive down Santa Monica Blvd, occasionally glancing up at the explosive beauty that lights up the cityscape. It is July 4th 2015. The evening has yet to begin and I already feel a sense of fulfillment as fireworks light up my eyes. For the first time in four years I feel free from the outside world’s influence. A thought of you surfaces only to fade away in sync with a firework as it lights up, sizzles out and disappears into the night sky.

    It wasn’t until I lost you that I could finally see I held the key to my desired freedom all along. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. In a way I think they’re wrong, for maybe in losing, we can finally realize that which is truly important can never be lost. For me, I needed to set you free in order to see this clearly for myself. In shifting my attitude I broke free and the fireworks that I wished for finally took flight. Now I truly understand what it means to be free. The holiday begins to take on a new significance and I realize we continue to hold onto something for as long as the mind remains attached.

           A burden lifts and my spirits soar as I arrive in West Hollywood to meet up with my friends. We stroll the streets, heading from Pump to The Abbey. As we hop around we pass a bar that’s playing “Genie In A Bottle.” I smirk at the irony. We head to Revolver as our last spot before calling it a night. I follow Austin down a set of stairs to the bathrooms and find myself in the men’s room. I giggle and shrug it off by doing what I know best in awkward situations as such, I dance. Whitney Houston belts out “I get so emotional baby,” as new arrivals greet us with initial looks of shock that quickly shift to smiles as they enter our dance floor and join in on the fun. If singing and dancing to Material Girl in the men’s bathroom on July 4th doesn’t scream independence, I don’t know what does.

          I arrive home in the early morning, park my car and take a moment to listen. I hear the birds sing and my heart beat. I draw in a deep breath. In this moment I’m happy and I wonder what could account for this current state of mind. I have reason to believe it has to do with appreciating all the good of the past with a sense of detachment, as well as a thoughtfulness in saying, “that was good, but I’m here now.” As I look back, I can now honor the beauty found in letting go. Strut, Fashion Model, Bates Motel, Los Angeles,

         A few days later I received an email with these words: “In the long run those who don’t eventually go “within,” often go “without”? You’ve got the power.”Talk about impeccable timing! I allow this to reaffirm my decision to conclude one chapter of my life as I crack open the next. I am satisfied that I finally understand the power I hold in creating the life I know I deserve. Lesson learned, happy are those who fight to find their freedom and refuse to ever let it go.

(Shout out to Allen for turning me onto The Internet’s new album, Ego Death)

|| CREATIVE DIRECTOR | MODEL ||

Morgan Ryan

|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||

Evan Woods

|| MAKEUP ||

Emily Gruen

|| SHOP THE LOOK ||

Jersey | A Common Space

Socks | Nike

Shoes | Nike Force

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|| MUSES ||

Aristotle

Confucius 

Dali Lama

Happiness by Chittister (pg. 45, 172)

Palm Tree, Desert, Vintage, Rustic

S T O N E || W A S H E D

“We are all given the power to create the story we wish to tell. It’s up to you how you tell it. If you live your life as a reflection of this story, authenticity will shine as your actions align with your words.”

-M.R.

Palm Tree, Desert, Vintage, Rustic

All of us in some way or another have tried to live up to the expectations of others. We’ve all had that one teacher who never gives us the grade we think we deserve. Or the mentor that constantly expects more from us when we feel we’ve given our all. Despite the critique of others we forget that in most cases we are our own worst enemies. How many times have you looked on Instagram and compared your life to someone else’s? I’ll be the first to admit I have.

We allow the mental chatter from outside or create our own stories to tell us whether we’re good enough or not. The thing we don’t realize is when we do finally get what we’re after (that A on your paper, a promotion, your soulmate) it will still not be enough if we don’t believe we’re enough now.

Beauty, Head Shot, Red Lip, Pink, BeautyRock, Timberlands, Fashion Blogger, Palms, Los Angeles,

Whether it be another persons opinion or our own mental image of “perfection,” we seem to look outwards in order to validate our existence. We seek approval by reaching for another’s hand when we really should be reaching for our own. In reality, this short-term fix merely fuels the ego and the ego alone, therefor providing a false sense of security. We will come to find this will no longer make us happy and we will begin the search all over again, not realizing what we’re looking for is right in front of us.

True love and approval comes when we stop looking outward and begin looking inward. The funny thing people don’t understand about seeking approval is that it has the ability to make you invisible. When we rely on something impermanent to make us feel good, we’re only dimming our authentic light.

Jump, Active, Lifestyle, Skater, Urban,Hussle, Hands Up, Energy, Denim, Acid WashIt’s time to move away from the role of the victim and into the creator. Redefine your beauty. Redefine your health. Redefine your wealth. Redefine your strength. Realize you’re already enough right here, right now. It is already manifested within, you just have to be willing to peel away the layers of the past.

This takes time, patience and faith to work through these emotional layers. Once you release them you’ll understand that the outside is not all there is. Unseen changes take place within you when you take responsibility for the issues instead of pushing them under the rug. It might get dirty, but never let your circumstance define the beauty of your unique tapestry. Know who you are. Define life on your terms and yours alone. And never forget to reach for your own hand.

Palms, Denim, Acid Wash, Shades, Fashion BloggerCat Eye, Sunglasses, Details, Fashion, Legs

| MAV MANTRA |

I will let go of the need to be perfect.

Mantra, Grateful, Present, Mindfulness,

  Cactus, Nature, Lifestyle, California, Desert          Cactus, Green, Beauty, Nature,

|| PHOTOGRAPHER ||

Sabrina Hill

|| PHOTO EDITING | STYLING ||

Morgan Ryan

|| OUTFIT ||

70’s Vintage Jacket, Sunday’s Best Thrift

Crop Top, Watch Me Hussle

Acid Wash Shorts, Urban Outfitters

Vans Socks, Timberland Boots 

Earrings, Rocksbox

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS || Feat. H A P P I N E S S BOUTIQUE

“The only real elegance is in the mind; if you’ve got that, the rest really comes from it.”

– Diana Vreeland

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Recently I teamed up with Happiness Boutique, an online fashion accessory and clothing company based out of Berlin, Germany. With their dazzling yet affordable statement pieces and “glass half-full” attitude, I was confident in uniting our brands. The item featured is the Honey-Bee Statement Necklace, a jewel-toned vintage piece inspired by natures pollinators. Similar to the necklace, Happiness Boutique is a community of positive individuals with a soul purpose to spread, create, and inspire beauty and joy for others to enjoy.

How can one define a subjective matter such as beauty or happiness? Can’t this be seen as dependent on the individual’s definition of the two? Personally, I have found that all we seek in the external world is already in our reach as we contain it all within. This is the primary reason I love using fashion and beauty to create, it’s the external expression of what I’m feeling in the moment.

In living in the present moment, you welcome a degree of awareness into your life. You actively begin to notice how you feel and how this translates into your body language. For example, when you f e e l lovely you can then outwardly embody that essence in your physicality as you present yourself to the world. This “feeling within” is virtuously reflected in the imagery created for this campaign. My partner, Evan Woods, truly brought to light how the beauty and elegance of the mind can be expressed in ones facial expression.

|| MAV MANTRA ||

Highlight the beauty within, then adorn it with a touch of personal style.

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For a classic yet modern take on vintage jewelry, I highly recommend visiting their webpage: Happiness Boutique! They offer free shipping and a customer reward program, making them a generous and uplifting brand that I enjoy representing and supporting.

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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THE T H I N I S H LINE

“Some people want it to happen,

some wish it would happen,

others make it happen.”

-Michael Jordan

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As I made my way up the third concrete hill of my hood, I repeated to myself,

// you’re stronger than you know //

For the entirety of my run, I compared my physical stamina to that of my mental endurance. In life there will always be hills. Most of us see the hill and run for cover, I know I used to. Some attempt to climb and fail halfway. Only a few see it and run for the top, for they know a spectacular view awaits them as well as a sense of triumph that accompanies those last few steps.

If you feel like you’re the one who is stuck in limbo, like myself, remind yourself of the importance found in fortitude of diligence. Remind yourself of what matters; that you crawled until you could run again because you knew one day you would be strong enough. It’s the art of the climb. The Journey. Those who push make it to the top, even if they have to crawl. That’s the thin line that distinguishes mediocrity from greatness.

For me, It’s safe to say today was one of those days. A hill day. Not even intervals, just straight hill. One where your hope is shattered, your belief is weary, and the heat, paralyzing. Everything seems to irritate you. The only thing I wanted to do was escape from the ball and chain was the attachment to my computer, which, by now, was overheating in exhaustion. I broke away from ‘cyber reality’ and made my escape for the freedom and solitude of the great outdoors.

My optimism was rattled, but never shattered. Reflecting back on the day, there was truly no reason for any lows to affect my highs. I was presented with challenges from the outside world, and, well, I’ve got a competitive spirit—so challenge accepted!

I’m learning to take control of the reigns of attitude when thrown a curveball. Today, I ended up landing a Brand Affiliate program with Lulus, as well as representation as a Brand Ambassador for WhatIWear. So, really not a bad day at all. I just lost sight of the positives because I was too entangled in what I perceived to be the negatives. What I am slowly learning is that perception is reality and that you are the creator of that reality. This happen for a reason and you become what you fuel. If you feed the victim role you’ll become the victim, but if you nurture pacifist, you’ll be rewarded with peace of mind.

My peace of mind came in the form of a daily reminder. The Hummingbird. Flying so effortlessly and with more strength than ever, I instantly smiled at this diligent little creature. If I never learn the exact meaning of this symbolic reoccurrence in my life, I’ll know it at least reminds me to always smile and feel resilient. Someone once told me, “your smiles are your alms,” and because it was you, I’ll never forget the power of my smile.

// I guess your attitude really does define your altitude //

.  .  .

FLIGHTLESS B I R D || 05.12.14

Soaring east–

Three birds took flight

 chasing away the demons & shadows of your yesterday.

M.R.

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As the Summer sun trapped its heat in my apartment, I began to lose energy. Before I could melted into a relaxed state similar to that of a sauna, I decided to kill two birds (never a Mockingbird) with one stone; I headed out for a late afternoon stroll to escape the heat and re0energize. This has become something I look forward to each day and a rewarding experience to say the least.

Four minutes into my walk I end up dropping my iPhone, shattering the screen. I guarantee you I am the most graceful klutz’s you’ll ever encounter. But instead of reacting I just let it be. I pivoted at the end of the street for my return up the hill and the idea of manifesting your own reality resurfaced from the depths of my restless memory. Something or someone said to me,

If you need something, just ask for it. 

Is it that easy? Can I really just ask for an opportunity to get a new iPhone? I smiled to myself for I was happy I could transform a negative into a positive and chase any trace of pessimism away with a dose of optimism. As this thought passed, I looked up at a tree that stood majestically in front of me. Its limbs sprawled with blossoms delicately placed along each intricate branch. In between these branches something appeared–a hummingbird. She stopped long enough for me to notice but quick enough for her beauty to be missed. Having occurred consecutively after a moment of clarity made the impact seem even more surreal. This little bird won’t leave my side, for she plays a pretty song in my life story. I’ve never met a creature so delicate yet so strong. These are the moments that allow me to see life for how it truly is,

//beautiful//

Meditation Music

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O B S E R V A T I O N S || 4:42 PM || 05.09.14

“Imagine if the life that you thought you shared
Wasn’t really there–
It was made up in your mind,
Could be anyone, anywhere.

Dust Clears by Clean Bandit

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Looking out my bedroom window, my eyes became fixated on my neighbors kitchen window. There hung a string of dead fish that were strung like clothes on a clothes line. Living in Chinatown, this is sort of the norm, only I hadn’t really noticed it since I first moved in. I think becuase I’m accustomed to it now–or I have been too wrapped up in my own world to notice; totally unaware of a world outside of myself. What matters is that I noticed them this time around with a more welcoming perspective. What once creeped me out and seemed unpleasant had transformed into a sense of understanding.

As a the blinds began to shift, two hands emerged from the shadows while a face remained concealed. (Now thinking on it, there was probably a reason they remained anonymous in that moment as I could picture myself behind those two hands). The stranger began to remove the fish one by one from the line. This time instead of cringing I simply smiled. This is their way of life. Their culture. Their lifestyle.

//Who was I to knock them for that?//

I’m sure when I walk around Chinatown with a sunflower wire headband twisted into a set of quirky ears they probably silently think to themselves…Who’s this crazy chick with antennas on her head? In Echo Park a more accurate response would be who does this bunny rabbit think she is, Bugs Bunny? Speaking of, let me take a second to sip this carrot juice.

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The thing is, we really don’t know why we do the things we do, or if we think we do it’s because we dug deep to draw something from our past to explain our habits. One thing’s for sure, we are all humans and we do weird shit. (had to bring ya to Pari’, ‘cuse the French).

I guess we just need to be more accepting and refrain from jumping to conclusions. We’re too quick to pass judgement and too slow to create understanding. That’s the overlaying connection, it’s not what sets us apart but what binds us.

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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.