I have been SO BLESSED. When I think about the friends I've had throughout my life I've consistently been gifted with really wonderful, loving, generous quality people. And it is... SUCH a gift. In L.A., and hate me because I know EXACTLY how this sounds and what it means... I was actually overwhelmed with the number of people to keep up with. I had a slew of friends that loved & adored me, encouraged me, supported me, stroked my ego, made me handmade things, listened to me, loved me unconditionally, made me laugh the deepest belly laughs of my life, gave me the most soul-filling hugs, fed me in more ways than 80... Just freaking BLESSED. LOVE BARF BLESSINGS that would render me speechless if I wasn't writing a blog. :)
And it's why Chicago is so weird sometimes. I have a few close friends here, that I know God specifically handpicked as the ones to help me survive last year (WELL DONE, BIG GUY!), that are equally as much the sh*t. And I know that is more than most people have so that is NOT a complaint. But for Little Miss Social Butterfly over here, I am most certainly not used to this down time. And it's incredibly evident this is one of the many reasons I had to move here-- to force myself to really 'be with me.' *cue Mr. Big* HA! (I'm a dork).
Through various life situations & experiences over the past six months, BF, being the true friend she is, has asked me some very important, oftentimes BRUTAL questions about the love I have for myself. I thank God for those AWFUL, AWFUL QUESTIONS and for my BF, that I would club to death with my slow cooker if I didn't love her so much for being right. JUST AWFUL QUESTIONS! She sucks rainbows!!! I love her sooo much I want to kill her with a shovel of love and bury her in vegan marshmallow clouds forever!!! (Marshmallow clouds are delicious...)
What I'm discovering (reason # 1,483 why I moved to Chicago)... is that I needed to be removed from that many loving people to look in the mirror and really believe that love for myself on my own. BARF, GAG, CRY, SPEW... I know. In my heart I've always known that moving to Chicago was for much more than a relationship. I think that's the only reason I was okay with saying goodbye to so many wonderful people. (Although fo reals-- what's a goodbye? My gurrrrls are always here and I'm sharing the same belly laughs with my improv friends that I always have. It's just in spirit... but I do feel it). :)
So, my intention for this New Year is BALANCE. My past would show that I've been a panic stricken work horse, a broken and tired social butterfly, an overwhelmed mass production baker... And it made me an exhausted & bitter employee, an underwhelming friend and an unpassionate artist. And I just ain't doin' it no more. 'It's not allowed.'
Balance is now a part of my life and I've kind of put it into three areas: Work, Pleasure, and Spirituality. I'm already feeling the effects of this change in such a positive way, it's really cool. :)
WORK: I am out of a job. Big deal. In the past I would have made this (and did on a number of occasions!) a huge stress and I'd be giving myself brain cancer trying to figure out how to fix it, enjoying ZERO part of my life until I had a job. Well guess what, homedawgs, homegurrrrrl ain't stressing about it no more. It's going to fix itself when it's darn good & ready. There's no amount of worry that is going to help the situation and quite frankly, I'm so NOT worried it's almost laughable. I have sooo much faith and belief about the job that's coming into my life, or the business I'm starting (as I'm pursuing those avenues as well) that I'm just not worried!? I've had a really wonderful couple of weeks! So everyday I send out my resumes and when I'm done, I stop. The end. And I work on wholesale prices or labels, etc. Interesting factoid: Since I've made an effort to be aware of the balance in my life, I actually get phone calls about interviews for quality jobs-- not the minimum wage-esque stuff my past believed I was only worth. VERY cool. :)
PLEASURE: My mantra for this area is 'Be kind to yourself.' Which, to me, means showing myself ONLY respect and love in a variety of ways. Understanding the Italian expression 'dolce far niente'-- the sweetness of doing nothing. *swoooon, swoooon* Spending time with myself without thinking, without worrying about lists, without the clutter, without talking to myself because hellooo I can be narcisstic and long-winded! It's about getting really wonderful sleep, rest and daily rejuvenation. It's about making myself a priority and enjoying my worth by knowing I am whole and complete. Treating myself to nice things... dinners, glasses of wine, coffee... Quality rather than quantity. Pleasure rather than quick fix highs. It's sexy as hell, I'll tell ya what. :)
SPIRITUALITY: Making my connection with God a priority through meditation and gratitude. Going to services at Bodhi or finding an open church to sit in stillness or pray (which is how I accidentally went to mass last week-ha!). Making time to experience truth no matter where I find it. Making the time to be aware- Knowing on a daily basis where I'm at and planning accordingly based on what I need. Saying yes or no to friends when I want to. Living honestly with intention and integrity. To know that the negative thoughts I tell myself I'm telling to God and instead telling myself the beautiful things I would tell God. Seeing beautiful things in myself I know of God... Because He revels in His creation and we're made in His image.
An example of this balance in a day? Last week, I went to an interview (work), I then got lost in the city and marveled at the holiday festivities of this awesome city and just enjoyed it (pleasure), went to a cathedral downtown and just sat in stillness and prayed (spirituality), took myself to Friends Sushi and even splurged on a glass of plum wine (pleasure), came home and sent out resumes (work). The most beautiful day in the entire world. I LOVE living my life this way!!! And I know it's easy to say & do now while I have no job but I really don't think much will change regardless. It's having the awareness (which I didn't make time for before) and living purposefully with what you discover. I know when the money runs out, and my feelings 'stop being polite & start getting real,' I'll REALLY have to practice this balance. But I trust myself and this self-awareness, I do.
Anywhoozle, please don't get your trousers in a bunch about what I'm sharing here. I'm not putting (which I initally wrote as 'pudding'- ha!) myself on any kind of spiritual, 'look at me' pedestal. When I write these blogs it's as an affirmation to myself, a reminder of what I want and am bringing into my life. At some point, as I further develop this love for myself, I suppose I won't care about your trousers bunching. But for now... I suppose I kinda do. I'm just a normal gal like everybody else that wants to make a difference although I've always been a bit ambitious in the 'I want it all' department. :)
By the way... It's funny I had completely forgotten and was smacked in the face with it this week: 'Amanda' means worthy of love.
BAHAHAHAAA!!! Life is so funny...
Blessings to all! And I promise new food porn is coming! I'm itching to do something new!! In the meantime, here are two of my favorite recipes I'm making this week!
'Game Day' Chili (I'm makin' pretzel bread, too!) and Chicken Tikka Masala.
Love, Love, Love,