| S U N N Y |

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

LEWIS B. SMEDES

metallic poppy lean

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. 

IMG_2034.jpg

| 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.

IMG_1941

| 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

IMG_2149

| MAV MANTRA |

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

__________

| 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.

IMG_2122

| 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)

_______

| 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.

IMG_2010

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

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”

-ARISTOTLE

IMG_5486

IMG_5031

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING | IS TOO MUCH

We currently live in a distracting world and an over-active society, exposing us to more information than ever before. For some, this has created anxiety or even mental illnesses such as ADD or FOMO. We tend to believe that success requires us to multi-task and actively pursue something at all times. Having felt the effects of this pressure, I was eager to find relief.

I tend to be a ‘yes’ person. If you’re anything like me, you probably have the tendency to bite off more than you can chew. While being busy is great, I’ve found it’s equally important to build in periods of inactivity or stillness. In order to find balance in work we must have balance in life, otherwise we experience overload (aka overwhelm).

IMG_5197

Although my personality allows me to successfully multi-task, I would often feel scattered or stressed. I began to wonder, how could one be fully aware if the mind is in two places at once? It became clear to me that in order to be present one must fully focus on the topic at hand.

This notion became clearer when I first met my favorite teacher at Chapman, Cory O’Connor. Cory provided the blueprint I needed to realize there might be a more effective way to work in today’s digital age. A believer in meditation, Cory brought the practice into the classroom. He was the only teacher I had that led group meditations before class. As a result, I began to experience class in a new way; I was focused and therefore enjoyed myself since I was sharp and present.

This opened my eyes to a new world of effectiveness, and I have applied his advice to all areas of life. As 2016 is already off to a busy start, I feel compelled to share with you some helpful habits to cultivate in order to stay focused and achieve your goals. The biggest message I hope you take away as I did with Cory is: tune in, listen and find balance. I promise, once you master this self-awareness you will find perfect alignment in any area of life you apply it to. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Part II when I’ll offer some tips for welcoming abundance and success this year!

IMG_5667

IMG_4961-fav

In Memory of Cory O’Connor

________

THE M A V E R I C K MUSE feat. TONI

________

| PHOTOGRAPHY |

Puno

IMG_5471-fav

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

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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!

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

|| MAV MANTRA ||

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

FLIGHTLESS B I R D || 05.12.14

Soaring east–

Three birds took flight

 chasing away the demons & shadows of your yesterday.

M.R.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

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

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/12274881/?claim=wmfw26pauk6″>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

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

photo (28)

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.

photo 1 (9)

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

.  .  .

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.

photo 3 (9)

photo 2 (15)

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.