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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.

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|| MAV MANTRA ||

Today I am the architect of my own sense of fulfillment

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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.
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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)

AIR FORCE 1 || 5.18.15 || LOOKBOOK HIGHLIGHT

“Do what you love and find what brings you joy. If you are unsure, make it a point to ask yourself because I’ve come to find, as you commit to your personal joy, you begin to attract an outpour of joyful moments, merely because you radiate that essence.” 

– MORGAN RYAN
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In some shape or form, my New York roots shine through in all I do. Since moving to Los Angeles, I found myself occasionally bending my “branches,” as a means to acclimate to my new home. However don’t get the wrong idea, I never let it sway me from rocking my Nikes in a sea of Vans. Today I stand firmly in LA, rooted from the soul of NY, as I celebrate a new found balance of both coasts, and my debut on Lookbook’s Instagram.

Let us rewind a bit to the beginning. As I set out on this journey, I had high hopes for abundance and success. However, somewhere down the line I let the joy and love for the the process slip away. I suppose this was the point where I began to manifest from a place of lack versus a place of abundance. Enter the moment I became my own worst enemy. I was cutting myself off from the very things I desired and ultimately stripping the joy from my passion by focusing on what I had not accomplished and what I did not have.

 As I came to realize this and work through these emotional blocks, I returned to yoga and meditation last week as a means to ground myself. In this restored balance, I re-establish a positive relationship with my career and my intentions behind it. This helped move me from a place of negative resentment and into a higher vibration of love.

With the approaching New Moon, I decided to set these new intentions into motion in the most creative, joyful way I knew possible: A dream board, aka collaging. This is a visualization technique I love to do in order to manifest my aspirations. I grew up with art as a central element in my life. In that regard, working through this inner work in the form of art sparked some enthusiasm. Artistic or not, this project is an amazing way to get your creative juices flowing.

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This month I chose to begin my focus with health. For me, health is essential in order to move forward in anything I do. It helps me take the first step in the right direction to positively honor myself and my body so that I can confidently step into my creative power, therefore positively representing a brand or product.

As I cut through pages of magazines, I didn’t think as I let my subconscious mind take over and choose whatever words or images it gravitated towards. I mean realistically speaking, it’s kind of hard to think if you’re already rapping Nelly lyrics, shoulder shrugging, and tapping your feet while meticulously cutting motivational phrases. If you can do all of that and be in deep thought, then you my friend got skills.

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As I felt this lighthearted vibration of my childhood move through me, joy began to return to my life. No, literally; The mere symbol of joy just that flew into my life. As I hear a repeating thud, I look above to find a hummingbird that has flown into the skylight above. Trying to escape and find its way back to freedom, I can’t help but feel pity for the little bird. I watch him struggle, feeling out of his element, and I instantly feel connected. As some of you may know, I already have an affinity with hummingbirds.

I realized this rare and special occurrence held some key lessons and hidden messages. Relentless and persistent to say the least, the hummingbird was determined to get where he wanted and deserved to be. However there was a downfall to his method. You see, he was so set on the idea of escaping through the skylight that he couldn’t see the bigger picture. I then reflected on how there was a bit of myself in that stubborn bird. It was an omen, a message, a reminder to stop, think, re-evaluate, step back, and see the bigger picture.

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 “A baby Hummingbird in the house is said to be indicative of new beginnings and chances to start again. Some people believe that its presence may be a sign that a spirit has ascended to help in current issues within your life. Be prepared to be fledged into a new way of living.”

.  .  .

Symbolizing long journeys, joy, and resilience, this rare encounter ironically had a lot to do with myself and my current situation. With the wrong focus, attitude, and vibration, I set myself up for failure. So I returned to gratitude. I began to realize l must return to finding joy in the process versus the destination. I must enjoy the journey. For in the journey, we come across rare encounters like this of the hummingbird, and only if we stop to truly experience these fleeting moments can we then live our truth by extracting from it a message or the story we were born to share. I can confidently say with optimism, that I look forward to the journey ahead. Without a doubt in my mind, I welcome what awaits me around the bend.

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Today, waiting around the bend was Lookbook with a lovely feature highlighting my style. As I took in the moment of pure ecstatic joy, a huge smile swam across my face. Then it hit me like a crashing sea: May 18, 5.18; 518 is the area code of my hometown, Albany. It just goes to show that your energy definitely plays a role in what you’re attracting in your life and that there’s no such thing as a coincidence, it’s merely divine timing.

As I return to my roots, I have a newfound appreciation for my accomplishments and a fresh optimism for what is yet to come. Today marked the beginning of my journey; a life rooted in joy, belief, and progress. Always remember who you are along the way and that the destination is in fact the journey. As the New Moon in Gemini encourages us to return to our roots we will see ourselves gravitating towards the people and places we feel at home most. For me, I will beginning my journey with an adventure to Carmel to visit my childhood best friend, Rye. Ironically, she is a Gemini 😉 As always I look forward to sharing the moments and memories captured along the way. Until next time, rap wid me:

“High top strap with the gum bottom

I leave um strapped and laced and come up out um.”

-NELLY

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.  

REGALThe-maverick-muse-michael-rousseau-photography-morgan-ryan-124

cute lean

|| THE MUSES ||

Mastery by Robert Greene

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Shen Yun 

THE || O R I G I N A L || RED

“A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.”

– Cool Runnings 

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|| MAV MANTRA ||

Win from within.

 

Time to Get Familiar: Brandicted

“Shop your favorite brands from real life pictures.” – Brandicted

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(Photo: Natalie Wentworth)

Recently I became familiar with Brandicted, a new online site that can be best described as Amazon (online shopping) meets Instagram. Brandicted aims to help shoppers find brands they love and additionally provides you with some recommendations as well. If you’d like to stay up to date and informed on your favorite brands and continue learning about some new ones along the way, Brandicted is a great online resource for you to stay ahead of the game.

I have begun to notice how bombarded I feel with products and “stuff” lately. I think simplicity is the key to shifting through the chaos of consumerism and I hate to admit it but we have become lazy when it comes to shopping. Most of us would prefer to be directed to what we like rather than have to go out and find it. I liked using Brandicted for this reason, it’s easy to navigate and still visual, which is the equation for online success in my opinion. Two thumbs up.

To learn more about Brandicted, be sure to check out the site and create your account, https://brandicted.com/quiz/nike?c=mrgn