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.
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.
● ◎ ●
|| THIS IS A MAVERICK LIFE LESSON ||
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).
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
|| PHOTOGRAPHY ||
|| CREATIVE DIRECTION & STYLING ||
|| OUTFIT ||
Vintage Jean Jacket, Vintage Silk Scarf from Sunday’s Best Thrift, Hanes White Tank, Free People Jeans, ALDO combat boots
“What is meant to be, is just that, and will unfold. Still, show some guts. Say to destiny, “I am calling the shots around here, go take a hike.”
If you were to ask me where I’m headed, I would throw you a curve-ball and say, “hopefully somewhere I get lost.” Then again, I’ve never been one to give a straight answer to a simple question. Life seems too unpredictable not to play the same game. As a test of my self-awareness, I welcome the chaos of the unknown. I’m beginning to believe the sure-fire path to creating yourself requires getting lost…a little.
There was a confusing period where all I knew about myself was who I was not. I couldn’t explain it then, but by following my heart, I was confident it would lead me where I needed to be. If becoming lost meant I’d meet “a moment,” one that had the capability of reminding me just who I am, well then I’m certain I was wise in letting instinct be my guide.
A moment is far more complex than a simple label. It can be dynamic, as it has the capability to define in ways a word can not. “A moment,” such as the wind warmly greeting soft tousled hair, that has now become textured wisps, from dust in the air. As I reflect on this, it elicits a parallel memory from the day you and I met, and I let the wind carry me away.
– – – – – –
Before me I see a road which meets in the middle and splits two separate ways. Torn between a place of safety and the unknown, I softly close my eyes as I slip away in a deep meditative bliss. I imagine my surroundings as my senses attempt to paint the landscape. I listen to the wind as it brushes tall feathered grasses which sway back in slight rebellion to the wind’s demand. As I escape into this daydreamers delight, I discover a place of repose; as you approach, and I alight.
In the midst of the cascading dance between wind and grass, I hear a voice that kindly calls me to relax. Instantly every muscle in my body calms as his voice soothes. It was in this instant my heart told me to open my sleepy eyes and awaken. I look up to greet smiling eyes, which mirrored the crystal-blue sky that hung overhead. One might say his sideways grin concealed a veneer of danger. I never was one to listen to the opinions of others, for they only noticed the obvious. It was only me that could see, he held all his power and meaning, behind those two eyes.
Locked in a gaze, I sink into eyes that genuinely smiled like my own as the sensation of butterflies stir within. In a blink of an eye, the moment evades me as my mind tries to make sense of these sensations and sends me into paralysis from over-analysis. He speaks again. Relief fills my mind and silences the voices in my head. An internal war begins to ensue, as I battle between the two: The path of feeling or logic.
I found him–Or he found me
An informal harmony
of stable unpredictability
A life of excitement—we ignite the flame
and play with a fire
that neither of us could tame.
| Together we burn in a fury of Pleasure & Chaos |
Down at the crossroads I was asked to make a choice, to listen to my feelings or a little voice of reason. Confused and unsure of which to trust, I remembered the one thing that brought me to this turning point, and that was my heart. I learned something that one fateful day; An unexpected encounter may not be easy to explain. People are placed here as we stumble along our way, to remind us who we are, and sometimes who we are not. It’s when you stay in the center of your own life that you begin to trust yourself enough that you may flow; and the more you can flow within, the more you can flow without.
Today I stand before you uncompromised, demanding who I am: I am that unknown path, the one you might hesitate to explore because you never know what you’ll get. Just know that’s okay with me, for I only want to see the wild ones. The ones who join me in dance, and rage on in jovial laughs, not kissing ass because we’re too busy kicking it.
Once again, I find myself down at the Crossroads. Whether you follow or not, that is up to you. As for me, I continue to take the unbeaten path. The one that encourages me to get a little lost, so that I’m encouraged to listen from within. In my heart I hold with me an unwavering hope, that I might come to find someone like you, who reminds me why I chose to get lost in the first place. For now all that remains is a trace of calmness amidst life’s chaotic storm. I thank you for that moment of pleasure, a warm breeze and a smile held the day’s treasure.
“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”
This weekend provided a taste for what I believe Summer 2015 has in store. The weather was hot, the nights were long, and the vibes were strong. Let the good times roll on, like the rockin’ sea below. Cheers to another weekend in paradise; this is only the beginning.
s e a ling the d e a l
Team USA, 2015
Hermosa Beach, 2015
Five o’ clock shadows and a smile between sweetened sips of tea. And I watch him, as life changes before my eyes.
chasing away the demons & shadows of your yesterday.
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,
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.
. . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Golden Slumbers by The Beatles plays through my mind as beams of sunlight creep through the canvas sheathed windows . As I open the door to greet the sunshine that welcoming knocked, I’m instantly paralyzed by the intensity of the desert heat. I surrender to the warming embrace of the sun and lift my face in exhilaration towards the breathtaking skyline. The view is a spectacular sight, where the mountains meet the endless blue sky . I look down at the pool area from the balcony to catch a wave of nostalgic daze. The crystal clear pool water looks like a quenching oasis, adorned with circular shaders scattered alongside lounge chairs where vacationers sip on cocktails and sway along to indie pop music and the classics such as, Bob Dylan.
I couldn’t help but feel as though I was transported to another decade…
I walked directly into the 1960’s.
The Ace Hotel has maintained the retro essence and culture of Palm Springs through its decor and architectural design. Classic shades of cream and burnt orange splash the walls. As you walk into the hotel room, you can’t help but feel as though your a rebellious teenager crashing at someones pad for the weekend while they’re out of town. This ‘lived in’ shag pad feel is created with posters and magazine clippings hung on the paneled walls, giving it a hipster dorm room flair. The light fixtures are two toned lights with bulbs on either end, one is red and the other is white, creating a cool option for mood lighting.
There was so much life at the Ace Hotel and Palm Springs in general, a sense of a long lost soul creeped into my bones. I definitely felt a sense of home here, maybe many lifetimes ago I had been here once before.
“The secret of attraction is to love yourself. Attractive people judge neither themselves nor others. They are open to gestures of love. They think about love, and express their love in every action. They know that love is not a mere sentiment, but the ultimate truth at the heart of the universe.”