I get nervous about flying and it would have been less scary to just stay at home and relax for Thanksgiving break but I moved through my fear and past my excuses, bought a plane ticket and got ready for adventure.
My boyfriend is the Technical Director on a Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes experience happening in Chicago this weekend - super cool gig - and I went down to join him for a Thanksgiving meet up with his extended family.
I got to Chicago in one piece (so happy) and decided to go to the top of the Willis Tower (aka Sears Tower) to see their Skydeck! I waited in line for an hour and considering how many people were in the line that wasn't too bad; props to the efficient Skydeck staff on Thanksgiving. To see the Skydeck you shoot up to the top of a 1,363 foot building in an elevator that rapidly counts the floors as you soar past them. Once you're up at the top there's panoramic views of parts of Chicago, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana. For the more daring there's a glass-enclosed ledge you can step out onto. I did it and was completely terrified. You're standing on top of a 1,363 foot drop and you can see the whole thing.
I'm always musing about what I'd like to share on social media next and I knew this experience could generate some wicked cool photos. The woman working the glass ledge was super patient and took my photo and actually took way more photos than I had hoped for! I even dared to lie down for the photo opp, this is the one version of those where I don't look terrified.
That night as my boyfriend and I were driving back to downtown Chicago from our Thanksgiving dinner I felt incredibly full, and not just from the food. My heart felt full too. As we wound around the highway, downtown Chicago skyscrapers coming into view, I imagined what it would feel like if my heart was full all the time. I tried to parcel out what in that moment was making me feel so good.
Then I had a realization. A lot of what I'd been doing on this vacation was reflective of what I most value in life. I value travel and exploration, sharing on social media, writing, meeting new friends/ bonding with family, learning from others, and performing / entertaining others. I realized that when my values become a part of my daily life I'm acting in the best interest of my heart, and opening myself up to give the most back to the universe. Going forward I'm going to work on turning those things I value into the compass by which I navigate the world.
I came back to NYC holding onto some inspiration from Daniel Burnham the architect of Chicago.
"Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men's blood."
Here's to finding the magic and stirring wo(men)'s blood. Onward!
Yesterday was my last day at Tribeca Film Institute (TFI) as I get ready for a new adventure. I did social media and blogging for TFI for about a year. During my time there I got to lead social media workshops for independent filmmakers, lead a blogging workshop for a group of men in prison, follow the careers of TFI alum in the news, and attend filmmaker workshops and entertainment industry panels to cover them for social. It was a tremendous education on how the backend of the independent film world and non profit grant industry works. For more on that see this blog I wrote with some indie filmmaking tips I learned on the job. I'm incredibly thankful I had the opportunity to work at TFI and I'm equally excited to begin my next journey.
I'm not going to divulge where I'm going next just yet because I want to get started before I announce it. However I can say it will be in the tech finance world and it's part of the #FinancialFeminism movement. I'll be learning about investing, doing tons of research, and basically getting educated on how the people with money do it. Going from non profit to #FinTech is a big change and I'm diving in head first. (Read: learning a bunch of financial stuff)
I've also been using the transition period before my new job starts a lot like I use my birthday or the New Year in that I'm taking it as an opportunity to get organized and focused. All those events I just mentioned are marks, a fixed point in time that stands as a motivator for forward motion, and a deadline of sorts, because it promises a new beginning. I'm getting ready for the new change in pace and whatever opportunities it will bring. The list of things I'm motivating myself to do vary widely in ambition and scope, for example:
It's a diverse list but completing each of those things will make me feel really good. That's the point I guess, to feel good. I'm freeing up energy by using energy to complete the tasks I've been putting off.
Last year Jonas Mekas said to me "Energy likes to be used. The more you use it the more it grows." I believe using up too much mental space with stuff-yet-to-be-done, fills up your internal hard drive and then you're reluctant to let more information in. All I want to do is gather more information, feed my curiosity and desire for growth, and expand my horizons, so first I've got to use my energy to make space and also be thankful for all that I am already.
Today is National Stress Awareness Day. The joke I've been hearing all day is 'we're always aware of our stress'. I know for a fact I experience stress every single day, living in NYC contributes to my stress levels a lot. Those of you who need to commute on the subway in to work and home from work, know how incredibly stressful that can be with crowded grumpy people shoving by sluggish pre-coffee individuals. Not to mention the multitude of other stresses you face the rest of the day. However while I'm aware of everything that causes me stress, I've been trying to become more aware of the moment I'm feeling stressed so I can try and calm the heck down.
I've been writing freeform stream of consciousness thoughts for about 45 minutes every morning for the past two years, started while working on The Artists Way (!) by Julia Cameron. Now I'm almost done filling up my 7th book of writing, and it's been a tremendous help in getting me more in tune with my thoughts and emotions, especially overarching issues I'm grappling with over time that cause me stress and anxiety.
As of this Monday I've been challenging myself to wake up super early, 5:30am-6:30am (yes that's super early for me) and write my pages by candlelight. Waking up that early is definitely challenging for me but so far I've found:
I'm looking forward to continuing this experiment and hopefully making it a daily practice.
I've also been making an effort to do things I want to do, whether it's finish projects or learn a new skill, instead of feeling stressed about not doing it. As I mentioned in my last blog I've been seriously blocked by fear the past couple of years and I'm coming to own that and look that fear in the face. So this Monday I went and took an archery lesson. I LOVE archery but I've only done it three times now, with lots of space in-between due to fear. Not fear that I'd get hurt, just scared of committing and seeing what comes of it.
While I was practicing the teachers in the place told me I was worrying too much and that I needed to relax. They said just aim the arrow and then let go gently. Practice makes perfect, and I'm not going to get it perfect right away. I was being too hard on myself they said. They were talking about archery specifically, but if they only knew they were diagnosing a much larger challenge I face every day. Judging myself and needing to be perfect at everything is a huge amount of stress I dump on my brain and body daily, and I'm going to keep hitting the refresh button, lighting a candle, and honing in on what's real now.
I am an advocate for gender parity in the entertainment world and write, act, and produce with a mind to facilitate that change.