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Their View Mirror

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I have noticed something that I just keep getting clearer and clearer about it.  Every time I get down or go into a depression, it is almost always because I am viewing my life from someone else’s view of me.

To say it another way, I love my little life.  I live in a funky environment that is rare and doesn’t necessarily FIT into what society views as normal.  I absolutely devour my nights at home and LOVE my living situation.

Yet, there are times that I find myself depressed.  Lately I’ve been able to pinpoint why–it’s because I’m viewing my life from THEIR view of me.TARAreflecting

People say things to me that are so inappropriate and with such pity aimed at me.   Please don’t pity me just because I’m not living the life that you would live!  I am me and you are you–please consider that when you judge!

When I view my life from within, I am blissful and happy.

When I look through THEIR eyes, I become that poor pitiful person they see me as.

Really, I ask you, why does it have to look a certain way?  Why do our lives have to conform to everybody else’s way of living or society’s view of what a successful existence is?  It doesn’t, and the clearer I get about this, the more I thrive in my own reality.

“The older you get, the more you understand how your conscience works.  The biggest and only critic lives in your perception of people’s perception of you rather than people’s perception of you.”
― Criss Jami

Brilliant!

So, when it all comes down to it, I AM in charge of my thoughts and feelings.  When I feel what people are perceiving my life to be, I don’t have to allow those perceptions to permeate my being.

Our lives are our own and when we embrace them with a sense of wholeness, we thrive.

As Emerson said, “Envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide.”  God I love that.

So, this I say to myself and to you if you care to receive it:   our lives are our own and we get to decide what we value and what feels good–nobody else.  I suppose it is easier said than done but with some introspection and breath work within, we can come to the place where it really is okay REGARDLESS of what THEY think!BrightLightLantern

25 years Of Living & Learning In Los Angeles

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June marks 25 years living in California.

 

Here are 25 things I have learned about living in Los Angeles after  25 years of living here:

 

1)  I really don’t have to fit in with the crowd here–NOR do I want to!

 

2)  In time, everyone talks like a “Californian.”  We say things like, “yeah, traffic was so great today–I took the 405 to the 101 then down Kanan to PCH into Malibu, then back up Malibu Canyon to the 101 to the 405 and home–I flew the whole time!”

 

 

3)  There  are so many natural places to play, it’s not just a cement jungle!  There are the San Gabriel’s, the Santa Susana’s and my stomping grounds, the Santa Monica mountains.  Play, play, play! EagleRock

 

 

4)  When I go to Beverly Hills, I feel like a fish out of water!  There are oversized lips and boobs and the gaudiest cars and stores and everyone WANTS you to see them.  It just feels odd.

 

 

5)  My environment caters to my healthy lifestyle–everywhere I go! Health food stores, restaurants, markets, healthy pharmacies, juice bars, and yoga studios abound!malibugymsteamroom

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6)  Meetup.com inspires me in more ways than just meeting people.  Meeting people is easy because there are a lot of people and there are a lot of people wanting to meet people! MeetupPhotomy meetup hike

 

7)  Riding my bike along the 22 mile ocean bike path from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes has been a dream of mine since I was 10- pure joy and exhilarating beauty!IMG_0268

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8)  Yes, you CAN find lots of places to ride horses and yes your childhood dreams can come true and yes you could live on a private horse ranch and learn more than you could ever imagine about horses–I did!

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9)  Yes, you can go to the beach in the morning and be on the ski slopes by afternoon!  Road trips up North are my favorite–the whole of this state thrills me!  The hike/climb up to Half Dome in Yosemite is a major highlight!purple passion point dume

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10)  Rainy days are embraced and cherished, they provide a much-needed break from all the sunshine!

 

 

11)  Malibu really does feel like a small town.  It is as beautiful as you might imagine.  Malibu is where my soul resides, it is my Shangri-La! onewiththetrailtara

 

12)  I love the endless choice of yoga studios in Santa Monica–The Mecca of Yoga.  I’ve learned from many teachers and they’ve all been in Santa Monica.  I know how fortunate I am to live HERE.   I can’t imagine my life without my yoga practice!taratreeinyosemite

 

13)  People who live in affluence are not as you imagine–most I have met, anyway, are the real deal– lovely and generous and some of the nicest people in my sphere.  To judge anyone for any reason is the most limiting activity there is!

Classy Cat!

Classy Cat!

14)  Even though this is a big city with lots of people, sometimes a person can feel very alone.  Other times, it is so small and I run into people I know all over the place!Papparazz

 

15)  Driving in traffic can be beautiful, honestly!  I see massive amounts of beauty from high atop the freeway overpasses.  And no, traffic doesn’t only happen in Los Angeles, traffic happens in every city!  I love my electric car,  it actually gains miles on the battery while in traffic instead of sucking up gas!

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17)  Not driving my car and riding my bike to work is freedom!

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18)  Yes, you can enjoy going to museums–my favorite is  just across the canyon–The J. Paul Getty museum off the busiest freeway–the 405!  I have a confession to make though, once I took a friend there and we didn’t even go inside and look at the art.  We stayed outside looking at the gardens and the views of the city!  The art IS amazing though, so hard to comprehend the precision and talent that exists in all of us.GettyGardens

 

19)  I have made more friends here than anywhere I’ve ever lived.  Most of my friends I’ve met through the myriad of personal growth I’ve been through.  Landmark Education (http://www.landmarkworldwide.com/the-landmark-forum) stands out as a huge influence in my transformation.  I am supremely grateful to the work they do in over 20 countries worldwide.  My Abraham-Hicks cruise friends and local meetup meetings with like-minded people sharing uplifting stories of worthiness and the magic and miracles that happen everyday is priceless.  Sharing.

20)  The free concerts on the Santa Monica Pier in the summertime FEEL really good.  To be out in the night-time ocean air listening to music and meeting new people is my kind of night!

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21)   There are farmers markets everyday of the week all year round in my town and surrounding towns.  That is such a gift!IMG_2631

22)  In all the years I’ve lived here, I’ve not taken one day for granted.  I love where I live and have lived and I’m so glad I made the bold move out here those 25 years ago.

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23)  Again, I say, “fitting in”  is not an option for me here.  Authenticity does exist and only we can choose it for ourselves.  The alternative is working really hard to look good to all the people around you.  Ugh,  as Ralph Waldo Emerson writes, “envy is ignorance and imitation is suicide!”

 

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24) Take time to play, it is the secret to perpetual youth!  
25)  Listen to your intuition, your gut feelings, they are always correct!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Presence Is Power!

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Did you know– Gratitude is THEE most powerful spiritual practice to cultivate.  I spend my days looking for beauty and I always find it!  I am grateful I can see beauty everywhere I look.IMG_0785

Recently I had lunch with a friend and her sister.  I really wanted to get to know her sister better since I had only met her briefly in the past.  Instead of engaging in conversation, she looked past me and judged every person that walked by behind me.  Granted, we were sitting in a restaurant on Venice Beach and that is quite the place to people watch–I’ll give her that.

At some point though, we need to BE with the people we’re with.  Every comment was cutting and critical.  It was hard to be in that space since most of the people I spend time with have realized that I don’t like to go there.  

Truly, I’m looking for the greatness in others because I know that will enhance who I AM.CriticsEncouragers

I want to be present with people, not tear them apart.

After too many non stop minutes of this, I decided to do what is the biggest NO NO these days–I picked up my phone, started taking pictures of the beauty around me, posting to Facebook.

I’m sure that was frowned upon but, truly,  I had to remove myself from all the negativity.VeniceBeachBeauty

Something I learned a long time ago, whenever you judge anything, you hold yourself apart from all the things you are wanting to be and do and have.  All the attention on “what’s wrong” just pulls more of “what’s wrong” into your life!

The other thing I know is that we are all part of the same stuff, let’s stop tearing ourselves and others apart and start celebrating the greatness within and beyond ourselves.

I want to be with people when I’m in their presence — I don’t want to judge everything that moves behind them!  It’s a practice, it’s an art–to become present in the moment and fully absorbed in that moment with no distractions.

Presence within ourselves and the presence within our fellow beings is where ALL the power resides but it’s only here NOW!  I’m going to celebrate NOW. Please, please, BE With Me Now!

Pathetic Paparazzi!!!

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I experienced my first run in with the paparazzi–it was such a mixture of bad emotions!PPAPPARAZA

About a month ago, I experienced it from a close distance and felt this severe sense of intrusion.  I was jolted.

I was having lunch with a friend in a Brentwood restaurant when all of a sudden, 5 men with huge camera lenses were running into position outside the entrance clicking away.  It was loud and a huge disruption, it felt really bad to me.  It almost felt like they had big guns.paparazzi

I started thinking how awful it must be to not be able to go into a store and walk back to your car without some intruder in your face!

Today, while leading a hike for a drug & alcohol treatment center, I encountered direct experience with the paparazzi.IMG_0785

One of the clients there is a  major celebrity who has had so many run ins with paparazzi throughout her career  As we walked down onto a neighborhood street in Malibu to get to another trail entrance up about a block, we noticed a car that kept driving by and turning around.

The celebrity client immediately became stressed and anxious–she did not want to be photographed.  I could feel her energy and started feeling the same way!  This is when being empathic does not feel good!   It troubled me deeply.Papparazz

I went into protection mode–it’s just my default reaction to a threat, I don’t get weak and become submissive, I get strong and become assertive and protective.  In light of that, I remained quite calm.

I blocked her as we walked by him so that he couldn’t look at her directly.  He acted as if he was going to the beach with his beach towel, but we saw the huge camera  on the passenger seat.

The myriad of emotions that I felt was intense.   Here is a person who is working on being better and she can’t even go and just BE without some creep up in her business!   To think that activity is allowed and legal is just plain wrong!

Some of the other male residents were combative toward him while I just maintained this wall of strength.

As we walked up the trail entrance,  there was some verbal exchange between the camera ass and the celebrity, “awe, come on,  you owe me one, we’re friends”.  She replied, “I don’t owe you anything!”

While one of the other residents was wanting to fight with the guy, the camera ass said, “Yeah, we can take care of that when you get to the parking lot, I’ll meet you up there –I know where you’re going to end up.”

Well, what he didn’t know is that I know alternative ways out of that trail system!IMG_0795

We played a little trick on them and avoided any further interaction.  I sent the drivers of the trucks in the direction they were expecting, then I took the group to a section of the trail that is mounded in the corner that happens to be next to a street.  I found the trucks and waved them back to my  hiding spot.

It was so great to see them after I successfully got the clients shusshed away and on the road.  They were so perplexed–they just couldn’t figure out where we were. Hah!

Anyway…

Some people I’ve shared this topic with say, “well those celebrities signed up for it, they’re gonna have to live with it”.

 They didn’t sign up for that kind of intrusion! 

They signed up for the red carpet flashes and thrills but not to have annoying people follow them around  in their personal lives with a camera!

I am very empathic and I felt this deep deep pain that I’ve never felt before.  For the most part, their lives look luxurious and glamorous but, ultimately, they are prisoners in their own home.

I have no ties or connection to any celebrities so this isn’t a biased opinion, this is a pure “feeling” experience.  Going through that did not feel good, it was bizarre and unsettling.

How can we make this totally unacceptable and illegal?

Just this week, I heard about Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry’s support for the Senate bill 606 to make it illegal for paparazzi to take photos of children of hollywood stars.

http://www.newsmax.com/thewire/halle-berry-jennifer-garner-paparazzi-kids/2013/08/15/id/520527

I believe all paparazzi (un-invited photographers) should be illegal.

Degrees of Forgiveness?

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Recently, I’ve had the “forgiveness” conversation with people.

I’ve heard a common theme that troubles me.

People seem to have varying degrees of forgiveness.  It seems that some things are acceptable to forgive yet others are not so acceptable.  Gosh, that doesn’t sound like forgiveness to me.2012-02-19 11.59.27

I was telling someone that I was going to a friend’s  house to watch the movie  “Powder”.  I had watched it the first time in 1995, the year that it was released,  and remembered what an impact it had on me.

She exclaimed, “I won’t watch THAT movie because a child molester was the Director of it”.

Gosh, I know that being a child molester is not acceptable AT ALL, but must we always carry that with us and NEVER forgive a person?

Are there degrees of forgiveness?  Are there some things we just shouldn’t forgive?  I’m troubled by the rigidity of that!

Somehow, if you can forgive some things but not other things, I think maybe you just don’t know what forgiveness is.

The way that I understand forgiveness is to be able to see someone through the eyes of Source.  Call it God, Source, All That IS, Unconditional Love.

When you see someone through those eyes, you only see them as the fullness of who they are in all their potential and  beauty.  There is no judgement, no rigidity.

Why are some things considered okay to forgive and other things, well they’re just not acceptable to forgive?

Troubling indeed.

Should we just throw him out with the trash?  The director of this movie spent 10 years in a state prison.  He is an artist and a person.

Should we never allow him to contribute to society again because of his past behavior?

“Powder” was a moving and powerful movie and I highly recommend it.

The woman who would never watch “Powder” told me to go look up some “Ask Abby” response and then I would understand why I should never forgive a child molester.

I opted not to.

I would rather stand in a place of love and compassion than in a place of hate and an unwillingness to forgive.

For all those who would never forgive, I do hope you’ll never have to be the one in a position to be forgiven.theroseintheneighborhood