Okay, so you can stay in your sweats and still be a bad ass. I just happen to feel more productive when I throw off the old sweats and step it up to some jeans (or when I'm really feeling it, a dress and tights).
Today on Twitter I saw #femalefilmmakerfriday trending. Around 4% of wide release films are directed by women. Considering we make up half the population, that's an abysmal representation of our thoughts, ideas, feelings and lives.
When I clicked on the trending hashtag I didn't expect much. However, scrolling through the tweets with photo after photo of women helming the cam, leading their own documentaries, movies and shorts, was like lightning in my coffee. That 4% may not break today or tomorrow or even this year, but if these women have anything to say about it, it's cracking bit by bit.
Have a gander at some of the badasses below. I was particularly energized to see so many black women out there, telling their stories and changing the dynamic. The leaders of tomorrow are going to be inspired by the trailblazers of today. The power of seeing someone who you feel represents you cannot be underestimated.
Congrats to these bold women, and to all who are standing up and proving dreams aren't just one for type of person. They're for all of us.
Scroll through the tweets below, or follow the hashtag #femalefilmmakerfriday for more!
You know those times you see someone that looks really grumpy? Like maybe you're in line at the grocery store, and the clerk is glaring at everyone that comes through. It's that person that looks like they're having a shit day, and they don't care who you are, you're going to get their angry shit day vibes too.
When I used to see people like that I would feel this need to guard myself.
I'm one of those overly sensitive people, and I have a hard time standing up for myself, especially when it's in a public space. So whenever I would see someone radiating "death to rainbows" type vibes I would feel myself shrink and just want to get away as fast as possible.
But then one day, when I saw someone like that, I thought about who they were and how they got there. Nobody becomes grumpy because they had an awesome day. People become grumpy because things have gone wrong. Maybe it was just that day, or maybe it was many days, or maybe it was a full on life of one bad day after another.
When I thought about it like that, I didn't feel the need to guard myself.
Instead, I felt compassion for where this person was. I then felt it for myself too, because I know that feeling of having a terrible time, and all you want is to project that frustration out in a giant, cathartic release.
So when I saw this person radiating their anger and frustration, I didn't want to hide. I didn't immediately think of shutting down and shutting them out. Instead, I thought, "How can I make your day better?"
And then, I felt so much better. Which is the funny thing, because I hadn't started out wanting to make it about me.
I had thought, here is a person struggling, and rather than judging their pain, I can offer love in return, and so I just kept thinking "How can I make your day better?"
I've done this many times since, and I swear, when I do this, it feels as if the person softens. I don't know if they can feel my vibes, which say I care, I love you, I see your struggle, or if it's just the simple fact that I'm no longer guarding myself and projecting separation. Whatever it is, it has this powerful ability to diffuse my anxiety, make me feel connected, and to remind me that compassion goes a lot further for all people involved than judgement.
Next time you feel yourself out in the world, and someone is just ruining your day with their bad vibes, try thinking this simple question. "How can I make your day better?" I know it sounds ass backwards, because sometimes the last thing we want to do with grumpy people is give them our good vibes. But I bet you'll feel a lot better, and you deserve to feel good.
As much as I love meditation and all things related to immersing myself in my mystical, infinite inner world, sometimes I like to get lost in someone else's world for a little while.
Lately, that world has been the Russian aristocracy of the late 1800's. A world populated by people who feel oppressed by rigid social norms and simultaneously exhilarated by the rapid changes happening all across their country. It's a world that feels both exotic and familiar, which I think is true of much of the world. When we get down to the heart of it, we are all much more alike than different.
I had always been intimidated by the novel Anna Karenina. It's long, and on top of that, I often find Russian literature to be a slog to get through. But when I saw Maggie Gyllenhaal was narrating I had to give it a try. I have had admiration and respect for her for years, especially after seeing her in The Honorable Woman.
When the audio began and told me I had 35 hours to go I wondered what I'd gotten myself into. But within a few chapters I was drawn in and already eager to know what happens to these characters that so many love. It was nice to have something to look forward to at night instead of zoning out in front of the TV. With the dark and cold outside my window, I cozied up with a blanket, a cup of lavender and lemon tea, and let myself get swept away in the lives of Anna, Levin and Stepan Arkadyevitch.
At times I would get a bit lost because of the names of the characters. I ended up getting the Kindle book for only 99 cents, which syncs with the audio as I read. If I ever need to check in on what was said, my Kindle magically opens to the passage that was just read.
If you're looking for a little winter evening ritual and need a break from TV binging also, I highly recommend this book with this narrator. I do love Audible, and have listened to many books through it. This one is one of the best, and could ultimately end up being my favorite!
When learning to meditate, we are usually taught to focus on our breath.
We are asked to notice our breath going in and out. To feel our breath, and to slow down our thinking until it becomes one with the breath, relaxed, fluid, formless and rolling like waves.
One of the reasons we follow our breath to meditate is because it's the easiest way to relax and focus the mind. The other reason is because breathing is life. When we tune into our breathing we tune into our life force. If you ever want to feel how deep the connection between your breath and your existence goes, try holding your breath for a few minutes.
Sitting quietly and focusing on your breath is a simple yet profound way to connect to your spirituality. You can just sit and focus on your breath, or you can use the guided visualizations below.
I suggest trying these breathing meditations for about 5 - 10 minutes each. A wonderful tool to help you with this is the Insight Timer App for your smartphone (it's free and available in the app store). It's a meditation app that rings a soft bell at the end of your meditation. You set the time, and you can also set bells to ring each minute to bring your focus back in. You may choose one breathing exercise that you feel most drawn to, or rotate to a different one each day.
When you are caught in a moment and need to center and get clear, recall your favorite one, and take a few breaths with the in / out pattern described. It really can be that quick and simple to shift your energy!
Today I opened the drawer of my nightstand to look for my headphones. My handwriting scribbled on the back of what looked like a postcard caught my eye. I turned it over to see it was an old photograph I'd taken while in Mongolia, which I had printed on postcard paper.
It's kind of funny I used that paper, because it did feel as if I'd sent my future self a note. I vaguely remember writing the words on it. I remember knowing they were important, and they helped me at the time. When I re-read them they again helped me. They were just the words I needed to read, and it's no coincidence I found them today. It never ceases to amaze me how life is always lighting the dark, unknown path ahead, leaving us little notes to remind us we're on the right path, and to just keep going.
Below are the words I had scribbled all those years ago, along with the photo I had written them.
You need to go on without a clear picture of where you are,
where you are going or where you have been.
You do not have to fear the unknown.
With intuition and faith in yourself and benevolent forces, you can succeed.
For the next few months (or however long it lasts) I'll be taking a hiatus from working on this website.
I'm so grateful to everyone who has been and is a part of this journey. All of the people who messaged me or reached out to say they found something of value here showed me this is something bigger than me. I never imagined this site would reach over 5,000 people a month.
I initially began this website in response to deep seeded fear I was feeling in pursuit of being a writer. I didn't know if I could make it, and so I began considering another path. This alternate path was based around my other passion, meditation.
As I grew this website I wrote about fear, insecurity and the quest to feel centered in this chaotic world. I searched for the part of the me that was bigger than my fear. What is my eternal self? How do I reach the part of me that is only love, the part of me that knows no limits?
One of my most popular articles, which I originally wrote for Tiny Buddha about why we feel fear, is one I still refer to for my own comfort. You can read it here, or explore some of my other popular posts, which will remain listed on the side (or below on mobile). My personal favorite blog post is People Are the Universe.
Although this alternate path is currently in a state of flux, what I began here has planted a new seed. My screenwriting is going great, and I am no longer drowning in fear. However, I still have so much learning to do. I still have questions. I still have days I feel afraid and lost.
If you'd like to stay in touch you can do so through my Facebook page, or use the contact form on the about page. Thank you again for having been a part of this! I'll see you on the other side :)