Friday, October 30, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: I Can't Live a Life With Lies

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments

I Can't Live a Life With Lies

Every day I'm breaking- breaking,
In each moment waiting, wasting,
I have broken. I have shattered.
I am nothing.
Nothing matters.

All I feel is icy coldness,
Shivers run throughout me- soulless,
Darkness falls. The sun has set.
I am nothing.
Nothing yet.

I can't take the hollow moments,
Dullness takes the place of wholeness,
I am numb throughout, within.
I feel nothing.
Nothing wins.

I can't handle myself breaking,
No more fakeness, no more faking.
Take a breath. Try to leave.
I feel nothing.
Nothing’s me.

I can't live a life with lies
Where emptiness is by my side-
This has gone on far too long.
We have nothing.
Nothing's gone.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Monday Mantra: Secret #6

mantra is a sound, syllable, word, or group of words that is considered capable of "creating transformation".

Every Monday I will post a new thought, idea, or focus for the week. When you need a breather from life, when you need a little inspiration, or when you're about to jump over the conference table and strangle your co-worker, remember the mantra.

Monday Mantra: Freedom tames the mind

Secret #6: Freedom Tames the Mind

The mind is the hardest part of ourselves to love because we feel trapped in it.  

Manipulation, control, denial...this is exactly how the vast majority of people try to tame the mind.

You must free yourself from decisions.

...stop concentrating on the results and look to the cause...

Everyone knows how to choose; few know how to let go. But it's only by letting go...that you make room...

No single decision you ever made has led in a straight line....

It's taken me a while to get here, mostly because this summer was widely and wonderfully busy. None the less, friends, we have arrived to Secret #6.

Chopra begins by describing the mind as an animal, a wild creature we try over and over again to tame, to trap. In doing this, we push it further to the depths of being wild because what it really wants, what we don't give it, is freedom- in this sense, a calmness and a peacefulness.

He goes on to explain samskaras, or grooves in the mind, that have been established since birth from actions we take over and over again (much like habits). He explains that when we're faced with something we don't like, we react based on these habits. We react either by manipulation, control, or denial. By acting in any one of these ways we do the complete opposite of what we should be doing to free the mind, to free ourselves. Samskaras, he also notes, are not silent. They are the thoughts in our mind, grabbing out attention and shifting our focus each and every way.

This is where it gets good, friends.

The way, he says, to set our mind free is to stop making decisions. His explanation is basically this: what you're meant to do, you'll do. He calls this Choiceless Awareness - having complete trust that by letting go, the right action will be clear before you, therefore you won't really be making a decision at all. Think of it in this way: Our ego's analyze and fret and worry over every single detail of every decision we have to make. Rarely, we just let things be and let them turn out without forcing or cajoling the situation the way we think it should be. However, the old saying "What's meant to be, will be" is exactly where he's going with this. Letting go.

To Let Go, he recommends several key things (which he goes over in great detail in the book):
-Make the most of every experience
-Don't obsess over right and wrong decisions
-Stop defending your self image
-Go beyond risks
-Make no decision when in doubt (this is my favorite)
-See the possibilities in whatever happens
-Find the stream of joy

His suggestion, for learning to let go, is to make a list of 5 "Good" Choices and 5 "Bad" choices. Then, for each one, you must find the bad that came out of the good and the good that came out of the bad. For example, let's say you quit your old job that you hated to go to your new job that you love. This would be under your "Good" choice. But in doing that, maybe your drive to work got extended or maybe there's a co-worker you don't like get along with. The point here is that regardless of how you classified a situation initially, both good and bad were present. This is how you learn to let go- breaking down the labels, as he puts it.

As with every other secret I've read, I always feel like it comes at the right time in my life. For instance, The Fiance and I are trying to decide upon a wedding venue. You'd think this would be the easiest part, but no. Oh, nooooo. He likes industrial/modern, I like greenery/outdoorsy. He likes round tables, I like long tables. You get the idea. This decision has been plaguing me. It's the one thing we have to nail down soon because A) Football season takes up all the nice months in AZ and B) The only nice remaining months get booked super far in advance. When I read this secret, everything hit home really hard. Don't obsess...go beyond...see the possibilities...OK. OK, I can do that. It's not going to happen overnight, but I can start working on getting there.

What will you work on letting go of? How will you free your mind?

P.S. There are WAY more secrets in this book than I realized. I'm going to have to speed this up a little or we are never going to get to the end in my lifetime.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Without Words

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments
Here's another of my "Written to a Tune" pieces- a poem turned into a song in my head.

Without Words

Without words-
He showed me hate,
He showed me fear,
He showed me what I can’t escape.
Without words-
He shook my nerves,
He took my hope,
He showed me what I don’t deserve,
Without words.

Without words-
You changed my mind, 
You took your time, 
You showed me everything was fine.
Without words-
You gave me peace,
You gave me hope,
You gave me air so I could breath.
Without words-
You made me whole,
You brought me joy,
You found the light inside my soul.

Without words-
You showed me love,
You showed me trust,
You showed me I can overcome,
Without words.

Monday, October 19, 2015

That Time I Took a CerAAAH!mics Class

Hi Friends- I'm tight on time this week, what with trying to graduate (wooooo!) and all, so here's a throwback to that time I took a ceramics class and could only make "things" with mustaches.


My desire to take pottery all started with a book series I began reading a couple of years ago. The girl in it was always doing pottery and it seemed to be not only fun, but relaxing. Plus, Demi Moore made it look pretty cool in Ghost, so I thought I'd give it a try.


I think I'm going to lose my mind.

Class 1: We watch a video on how to knead your clay, throw it on a wheel, and make some fancy things with it. It looks easy. Kneading the clay? That requires practically no skill at all, from what I can tell. Centering the clay? Please, too simple. Making a vase? C'mon now, anyone can do that! All of it looks so easy that I have mentally already created a teacup set, a breathtaking vase, a bowl/plate one-of-a-kind thing, and a Louvre worthy sculpture. I am allllll over this. Pottery- I own you.

Piece. Of. Cake.

Class 2: It's time to actually use our clay. First, the kneading, which about breaks my wrists off due to the clay being ridiculous. I have to knead it approximately 120 times, per section of it that I use, based on instruction of the teacher who told me to get this stupid type of clay in the first place that "absolutely, positively has to be kneaded 120 times" every single time. Forever and a day later, when I'm finally done with that, it's time to throw the clay on the wheel and make a mug.

This is where I start to lose it.

Not only do I not get my clay centered on the wheel for the first hour of class, but I also do not make anything resembling a mug, or anything at all for that matter except a huge pile of messed up mug attempts. I start to get incredibly frustrated.

On top of that, there's this kid in my class who my classmate, Abby, and I have nicknamed Picasso. He's already busted out an entire mug set and he's working on a vase by the hour and a half mark. I am mentally cursing him out in my head.

As I'm still attempting to make one damn mug, I slice my finger open pretty impressively, considering that I'm working with clay and mostly dull objects. Score one for the clay.

I give up and go home.

Class 3: Picasso is done with his entire mug set and is putting the finishing touches on his vase which now looks much more like a beautiful sculpture of some sort. Damn him and his fantastic pottery skills! Abby and I have decided that we are the worst students in the class. We make a pact that neither one of us is allowed to drop out and we change to a Pass/Fail grade, as is suggested by one of the other students. Clearly, others are noticing our amazing pottery skills.

I need to get four mugs made by the end of class so that I can put handles on them in next weeks class. The handles, by the way, also look incredibly easy to make, but I'm not falling for that movie magic trickery again!

After about ten failed attempts at mugs, the teacher ends up pitying me and making one mug for me. I end up making one "mug" as well. Please see below.

I call it the If-An-Earthquake-Were-Happening-and-You-Were-Making-Pottery-Instead-of-Running-for-Your-Life Mug. It's so beautiful I almost cry.

Class 4: Picasso has moved on entirely to a new project. Whatever. Abby and I are stuck in mug making hell. I silently pray that I get a guardian angel of pottery to come help me out and, low and behold, something magical happens. I end up making something, not a mug, but a small bowl thing. I am thrilled! Then I bust out an object that might actually pass as a mug...maybe. I keep going and I end up with a small vase (which could pass for a teacup in some culture...somewhere...probably...) and a weird looking something or the other. Apparently I can make things, just not mugs.

Oh well.

I now attempt to attach handles onto my "mugs." It does not go well. I fling clay all over everyone and end up making handles that only the Jolly Green Giant would be able to use. I give up and decide to log some extra pottery time over the weekend.

Saturday: I'm stretched on time so I mentally prepare myself the entire morning before I get there. I will make a handle. I will make a handle. I. WILL. MAKE. A. HANDLE!

I end up making 20 "handles" before I give up and just go with the few best ones. My poor little earthquake mug looks so lame that I give it a makeover into what I now call The Mustache Man Mug. Isn't he adorable? I think I love him.
I get one decent handle made for this teacup thing I accidentally created and give up. Oh well. That Pass/Fail grade is clearly going to pay off.

I think I'm going to start a whole line of Mustache Man Mugs. I see this being big. Like clearance at Wal-Mart big. Let me know if you want in on this amazing new product line.


Things in the land of pottery making have taken a turn for the worst. Right now my pact with Abby is the only thing keeping me in class. My bucket list clearly states "Take a pottery class." A, as in one, not a semester's worth. I believe I have fulfilled the requirements, thank you very much.

Last week I learned how to glaze. Again, I was fooled by the seemingly easy, piece-of-cake demonstration that the teacher put on: Take pottery, dip into glaze, let dry, done.


You have to use industrial sized mixing equipment to stir the glaze. By "you" I mean me, the student, has to mix it up. Why, I ask, do we have a teacher's aid? I'm just saying. For one thing, the mixing spoon thing is as tall as I am. For another, I sort of, possibly, might have overpowered an innocent water bucket with it, causing a huge sound explosion while the teacher was giving a presentation. Maybe.

I also might have given up after I glazed my hand instead of a "mug" and decided to paint the glaze on. I'm sure that's illegal, but don't tell. It will be our little secret.

Glazing: It's hella hard, y'all. Hella hard. Poor Mustache Man. I have no idea what the final product will look like, but I'm scared for him.

This week things got even more awful. I had made one really, truly beautiful vase. Even the teacher was in awe of it, and that doesn't happen much. But, when I went into class on Thursday, I discovered that it had broken. My little pottery making heart is filled with sadness. On top of that, I messed up my wrist. For the third time. In my defense, I didn't see this one coming. I would like to say that I got in a Ninja fight, but actually I was attacked by a hoe. And by "attacked" I mean that I tried to do yard work and it backfired on me. And by "backfired" I mean that I may have gotten a little crazy with the hoe and things may have gotten out of hand, and my hand may have gotten in the way. Maybe.

 Hoes: Can't live with them, can't live without them. make pottery you need hands and wrists and strength to put behind them. I can't even brush my hair like a normal person or pump soap from a dispenser right now, let alone knead that darn clay seventeen thousand and one times. I can type and hold things and even still do some yoga poses, but when I try and put pressure on it and simultaneously turn it- pain. Just pain.

I attempted one-handed kneading, which took me an hour and resulted in a square shaped thingamajig. I tried to center the square and make it into a bowl, however, the clay came flying off the wheel and almost hit my friends in the face. Guess that won't work. At some point I loudly let out the sound of a wounded animal without even realizing it, causing stares and laughter aimed in my direction. At least I'm entertaining everyone.

So...since I was officially a project behind with the broken vase, and since I now have to make four bowls, I may or may not have bribed my teacher into kneading, centering, and starting the bowl for me, with the promise of me baking that chocolate chip brownie dessert and bringing it to class next week. He may or may not have taken pity on me and actually agreed to that. I can neither confirm nor deny any of this.

Three bowls to go. I really need to start thinking about who else I can bribe with food. That, or I need to hire an assistant just to pass class. It's going to be a long semester.

On top of all of this, I recently decided to be a brunette again, which has nothing to do with pottery except for the fact that all of these tragic things happened in the same day. By "tragic" I mean the highlights the salon put in really didn't want to come out the first time I dyed my hair, which resulted in me somewhat resembling an oompa loompa, orangish wise. By "orangish" I mean it may have looked like my head was on fire, a little bit. The second bottle of dye did the trick, mostly. I am now a brownish-redish on top, and brownish-blackish on bottom, brunette. I could probably get into a motorcycle gang pretty easily. I'm going to pretend like I planned that.

I'm glad this week is over.


Hi, my name is Zack Morris. 

I have morphed into the female version of him recently. I skip class, show up late, and don't turn my projects in on time. And, to top it all off, I don't really care that I'm doing or not doing any of these things. Which is good, because the "normal" me would freak out and would never, not EVER, do any of this. Case in point: For Senior Ditch Day in high school I refused to ditch unless my mom called me out officially, me and my goody two-shoe-ness.

Good news- things have gotten better.

Not because I now have the gift of making beautiful and perfect pottery. No, no. It's all because I streamlined my life. I took a long hard look at what I was doing each and every day, what I wanted to do, what I didn't (but was doing anyway) and why I felt the need to try and do all of it perfectly. I made a conscious decision to put my time and energy into the things I love, the things that matter, the things that must absolutely, positively be done. Then I made a decision to loosen my grip and to let go entirely, in some cases, of the things that didn't really matter. Like my grade in pottery.

I'm not going to lie, it feels good to be gangsta like that.

All I ever wanted was for pottery to be a fun thing I did, when and how I wanted to. Not something I had to get an A+ in or that I had to be great at. So I let go of the A+ and I made it the hobby it was always supposed to be. Permanent record, shmermanent record. Or something like that. Also, Mustache Man has become incredibly popular...I'm so happy for him. 

Streamlining allows you to take a long hard look at what you really, truly want, not what you feel you need to want or do. The key is to not feel bad about it. Not for one second are you allowed to feel guilty for making the decision to simplify your life. You have to be proud of the fact that you realized what matters to you the most. That you cut through the red tape of everything else and got down to the heart of who you are and what you want. 

I actually enjoy pottery now, believe it or not. I'm horrible at it, but so many other good things have come from it. Like my friend, Abby, one of the most amazing and hilarious people I know. I never would have met her before. I never would have met Picasso (aka Brian...he does have a real name), and Matt, and Tim, and Valerie. I would never have known any of these really wonderful, fun people. That would have been a horrible loss, truly.

I even enjoyed making the treat for my class so much that I started bringing goodies in regularly. Banana bread, more brownies, kettle corn. I'm "The Girl Who Brings Food To Eat" now, not "The Girl Who Makes Things With Mustaches." I think that's a good turn in events, especially considering my recent creation, which I have dubbed, The French Ninja Turtle. Please take note of his amazing beret and fabulous mustache. I believe he's saying, "Mon awesome est dangerous" or "My awesome is dangerous." Yes, French Ninja Turtle, it is. It really is.

Go forth, my friends, and streamline your life. It's so much better to love what you live for and to leave the rest out. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The Reflection of Shadows: Stuck

The Reflection of Shadows
A collection of moments


What if you were
Caught in the middle
Of everyone else’s pain?
Of everyone, everything,
All of their suffering,
Everyone else’s mistakes.
I’m caught in the drama,
The continuous trauma,
Of everyone else’s mistakes.
The liars, the fakers,
The secret oath breakers,
The cheaters, the bleeders,
The neediest needers,
The selfish, the greedy,
The continually seedy,
I’m stuck and I just can’t escape.