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Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Today I had my last class day of the Spring semester!

I am back in school to pursue American Sign Language Interpreting. I’m LOVING IT. I enjoyed advertising, public relations and marketing but at the end of the day, it would be me talking about this product or that service etc. Which is great because I love a lot of amazing products and services, but I wanted to get involved in more interpersonal, intercultural, inter-sectional communication.

Clearly i’m in an intimate relationship with all kinds of communication haha. Now more than ever I’m using my mindfulness, awareness, and writing to sharpen and use my voice to make our world and our lives a better place.

A place you can enjoy and understand more. So much so that you get inspired to be a leading domino in your community willing to fall first in order to show others how we can all make a change. Most of our suffering, stress, and confusion stems from us really wanting to know- “Yeah, ok HOW do we do this? How do I deal with this? How do I accept what I have and don’t have as a gain, and not as a loss or impairment? How do I shape this and turn this dirt into flowers ya know what I’m sayin? I definitely understand writer Luvvie Ajayi who says it’s our power to speak our truth. Which I’ve included her TED talk here.

 

Another new thing I’ve gotten into is Developmental Vision Therapy. I’m appreciating the simplicity of knowing when things are blurry and working to make them clear.

Recently in my adventures within (the depths of myself) I’ve learned, found and accepted more and more parts of me that have always been there. One of those things is my voice, which is loud and clear.

Below is a playful animated gif of myself. I made it using the photo apps Snow and Instagram and made it into a gif on GIPHY.com
Practice embracing your growth! ♥
giphy1
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Trans Rights are Human Rights

IMG_20180210_224405_084Life isn’t necessarily about achieving big #GOALS For me it’s been…
Evaluating myself on the daily:
Am I happier today than I was yesterday?
Am I more grateful? Am I more loving and accepting? Am I more understanding? Am I more open?
I am grateful for my friends and my community. 🙏🌈👭👫👬

Earlier this month I was invited by my favorite brand to use my voice to speak up for queer, trans, and non-binary people of color. Trans rights are human rights. View the video from Lush Cosmetics North America here.

Remember: our home, our world, and our life is what we build together with each other. 🏡🌎💗

Also to those out there in the WordPress blog-o-sphere thanks for your likes and thanks for reading. I look forward to reading YOUR content and connecting and chatting with you. Question is, my comment box or yours? ;P haha

Til next time,

Toni

“I’m not going to worry about that”

stop_worrying_no_more_worries_solve_all_problems_and_cg1p04288177c_th

 

Was the last thought I had before I spontaneously decided to write this post.

There are moments where I am torn between something I previously planned to work on vs. responding to truth that arises from the current situation I’m in. I get caught in that space and I’m left with a decision, a direction, only I can curate to satiate my needs.

You can see this as tension from dealing with productivity, expectations, goals and responsibility.

Not long ago I tended to base my decisions off of expectations and goals that created this role I was playing for myself. Whether they were influenced by my parents, my ego, the education system, or the messages and influences thrown about in society… they weren’t necessarily decisions that served my true self and what I really wanted to accomplish and manifest.

(Which is probably why I felt a dull heavy inner struggle and dissatisfaction of some kind for a few years–a mismanagement of energy if you will. That isn’t the case anymore! #staywoke)

To bring us back to the present moment, what I’m vaguely talking about is… right before creating this post I was concerned with all the chores I had put off for a couple days because of integrating back into school and balancing work. I scheduled myself for extra work this morning because I knew with rent coming up, I have to respond and money has to be made. Ya’ll relate?

Then after meditating, making breakfast and enjoying the morning, I finally checked my mail and discovered new bills that needed my immediate attention on top of the chores!! YAY! With my extra work scheduled in an hour, something had to go and I had to decide.

In these moments I usually get guilty and attached to the previous plan and expectation I had– which in this moment was work. After giving myself a dollop of compassion and a moment to truly think and decide, I knew I had to respond yet again. I cancelled work for the morning. Money is just like all the other energies out there and I should never let it make me suffer even for a bit. I can however, cultivate it again in other ways as life is only ever changing and continues to move forward with or without us.

I still have the ability to work this evening, even if that means cancelling plans I made to hangout and catch up with a friend. * I am practicing actively responding to my needs because only I can be responsible for myself and the progress I make. Actively engaging in my life like this is what truly makes me happy, 100% worry free, naturally and organically confident.

WHICH simply making that decision to serve myself inspired me to share this and start writing.

I created this blog about 9 months ago and haven’t written consistently since despite my intentions to. I most likely got caught in the web of expectations and goals I wanted to reach, and got distracted from responding.

So making a full 360 back to the title of this post, I’m NOT going to worry about that! Enough. I am present, I am here, I am grateful, I can give and serve.

I want to connect and share.  I can’t run away from that, I have to run TO it ;P

 


* As a social individual, I enjoy spending time with all of my beautiful, unique, and inspiring friends but I noticed doing so creates expectations of their own and fills up the limited free time in my schedule and distracts me. (I don’t mean to sound pretentious, this is actually true I work 3 different jobs and go to school) It’s a goal of mine to be more intentional with when I schedule these hangouts. Respecting my friend’s time and my time.

A List of things I am Grateful For (But Also Take for Granted)

  • I am grateful that I’m alive 🙂
  • I am grateful that today is an opportunity to lean in, get curious be playful and grow with love, strength, and awareness.
  • I am grateful I don’t have to worry about food and water.
  • I am grateful for my body.
  • I am grateful for my breath.
  • I am grateful for my practice(s).
  • I am grateful I have a home.
  • I am grateful I have a car.
  • I am grateful to have a loving family, soulmates and friends.
  • I am grateful for my life partner and significant other who loves me unconditionally.
  • I am blessed to be a steward of life via owning pets and growing skills as a dog trainer.
  • I am grateful to have a job with a company that expresses and stands by ethical values and welcomes every kind of individual.
  • I am privileged to write and create therefore I celebrate this perspective and my ability to choose so.
  • I am grateful to give.
  • I am grateful to grow.
  • I am grateful to break, fail, and willingly die over and over again with every out breath.

What are you grateful for?

 

 

The Struggle Isn’t Real

Stop. Take a moment for a simple pause.

Have you been expressing compassion to yourself and others?

Reconnect. Reflect. Meditate.

What’s  getting in your way?

What’s frustrating you?

QUIT saying you drive the #StruggleBus to #Struggleville because I been there! That used to be me. I used to be the MAYOR of that place until I moved out- upped and left! I took a lil personal mo’ to muhself, and DECIDED that “the struggle ISN’T REAL” it’s an illusion. I can be flyin up in the clouds of a fulfilling life simply by getting in touch with my power of choice to be flyin’ first class- like the beautiful being I am.

Please share with me everything you know about the limitations that happen within your mind. I want to know. You’re not alone!

You know exactly what I’m talking about! That loud voice in your head that is NOT you, but you willingly choose to believe is. Because it’s easier? Because it was what you were taught? Because it’s a predictable path known? Tell me about the false, phony, limitations, garbage thoughts, judgments, and expectations/stories/dramas we create within ourselves that get in the way of what’s real. You can say our lives are conditioned existence but we choose to suffer through it OR take the good with the bad and experience limitless joy and love.

Recently I’ve noticed that I typically run at an excited energy level.
I’m running around working, always trying to do, and always wanting to give and share, to experience the love, the collective togetherness– to be present with the beautiful people in my life.
Because YOLO right?

Yes, that is a good thing. But I can slow down and take time for myself and create space and give myself the pause I so desperately need.

I have learned the truth about why I’m grasping to these external expectations that aren’t me. Why I run at an anxious, excited, energy level. Because… I’m used to following this habitual pattern of wanting to find validation by externally reaching out. Wanting to be involved. Wanting to be a part of things. Wanting to be accepted. Wanting to be loved. Wanting to make a difference. Wanting to be important. Wanting to lead. Wanting to live– most importantly.

When in reality, I can choose to want myself. I can have compassion. I can love myself. I can stop all this nonsense and tune into the fact that I already am those things and more. I can CREATE what I have and experience in this life and what’s in and out of this world.
RLY? GNARLY! OMG. GET OUTTA HURR!

I know it sounds like it’s so simple easy, and that we all know this– and we do, but we forget about it so easily every second, every day.

“There is nothing to grasp onto and also in reality, nothing or no ‘one’ to do the grasping! We grab onto or try to push away ever changing dynamic processes. These attempts to control, limit us to little definitions of who we are.”

(http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/8foldpath.htm)

I know this life of ours is an actual miracle of creation, just like everything around us.
Earth is our mother, The Universe is our home. We are part of the Universe and our bodies are Earth. We are one.

“In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Genesis 3:19 (King James Version)

Life is a miracle. And every day is another fresh, 100% organic, clean slate of a chance to live life experiencing bliss and expressing joy.

So why do we let ourselves listen to the voice(s) of our head? Why do we get stuck? Why do we get distracted? Why do we choose to play the victim when we can be the loving hero that gives? Carrie Underwood sang, “Jesus take the wheel,” but DENGGG! Why don’t WE take the wheel? Find the light within, be Buddha, and take the path.

I encourage you to venture into your own internal space with a soft open heart, with compassion and loving kindness … ask yourself these questions.

You will learn, reconnect with life and reality, and see the ability to live a life where each day is truly,

genuinely,

and uniquely

Happier than the next!

My Mantra

 

When I created this blog at the end of last month in April, I had the intentions of writing and writing without a care. To connect with myself and create a solid practice; a conscious choice to connect and grow. This blog (my baby) acting as a tool of accountability.

I’ve already done the hard part–making the WordPress account. 😛  (*rolls eyes at self*) However, I haven’t posted a peep since because I gave into my fears and my internal insecurities on how to make things happen…yet again. Funny thing is, it can simply be done by just doing. Like I am now.

Reflecting upon my interests growing up, I always had desires to create a blog or web-zine type thing ever since I was in middle school! I remember religiously posting updates on my Xanga site, my electronic diary. I also experimented with this concept by creating a MySpace profile page that featured a mix of curated content like: favorite music, books, and outfits for the season. I recall planning  to facilitate interviews with a friend or someone from my friend’s list for new content. I didn’t know how to use Photoshop at the time, so I used profile pictures of my friends to create images that resembled magazine covers on Microsoft Paint. I used the text box to create my front page headlines. AHHHH nostalgia! The good ‘ol days growing up with the internet, how millennial of me.

In my senior year of High School, I was the historian and I created a tumblr blog to document photos of my senior class. In college I started a project called, “Think Positive Campaign” an on campus club functioning as a creative outlet for positive self expression, events, and digital media content. We had a set of officers and hosted a few meetings for brainstorming.  We formed a small but intimate community among ourselves and our friends and classmates that supported us by attending our meetings when they had the free time. We slowly began to feature online content via Facebook. Despite our hard work and intentions, it was difficult to keep up with regular content creation because of our schoolwork. Being president of the club and being a graduating senior at the same time was a challenge. The last project I accomplished for TPC was interviewing one of my Alternative Spring Break group members, Vanessa and featuring it on our page.

Since then, I wound down and entered a reflective restorative mode. I stopped sharing my writing publicly. I never stopped writing though. I have a stack of physical journals that represent my years and experiences that have passed. I’ve got one for every year dating all the way back to Middle School. I bet you I can find a journal I had from grade school somewhere at my house in my hometown.

I read Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” in High School. Those books introduced me to a deeper, introspective, philosophical wonder about my path in life. Reading these stories comforted me and helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in my experience. That inspired an only child like me to get brave, bold, raw, and vulnerable exploring what it means to me be.

When I graduated college I jumped off the cliff of everything I once knew and ventured off on a quest to loving and learning about myself on a deeper level. Despite all the subjects I studied in the public school system growing up, the topic “How to Be Authentically Me” was a topic I had plenty to learn about.  In the two years since then, I have developed conscious awareness through my mindfulness practice leading me to a personal mantra that guides and inspires me today: “Grateful & Giving”.

What is a mantra? According to Google, it’s a word that originates from Hinduism and Buddhism used to describe a word, sound, or short phrase repeated to aid in concentration in meditation.

The mantra “Grateful and Giving” are words that simply guide me through life and encourage me to grow. In moments of blissful joy or in challenging moments of uncomfortable suffering, this mantra expresses: if I am truly grateful for my life, my breath, and this present moment, I will infinitely and unconditionally give love to myself, everyone around me, my art, and my writing. I am a message.