November, 2013

the art of becoming beautiful

There is a Santa Monica neighborhood that is amazing on Hallowe’en night.

It comes complete with a haunted mansion on the corner. The owner hands out little stuffed animals to kids before sending them through a shrieking flickering maze where hands reach for you in the dark.

(And I, the oh-so-jaded adult, emerged from the gate, and assumed I was free and clear, when one of the characters jumped out from behind me and yelled “Boo!”.

Basic, yet effective.)

It’s become such a popular trick-or-treating destination that police block off the streets for safety purposes. By the end of the night, the people pouring from door to door have numbered in the thousands.

(And parking becomes hella difficult.)

“Think how much this night must suck,” said my manny, “if you live here and you’re totally not into Halloween.”

My manny is a ripped, playful, twentysomething Crossfit addict who shaved off his purple mohawk when he interviewed for the job. I hired him on the condition that he grow it back.

“Isn’t that Ben Affleck?” he asked, as the kids bounced around and compared their growing bounty. I was watching a chainsaw-wielding maniac lumber down the middle of the street. (I myself was decked out as Cleopatra, although the top of my headpiece had snapped off against the roof of my car when I got in without remembering to remove it. My asp no longer possessed a head. This was sad, but I forged on regardless.)

For a moment I thought he meant someone had dressed up as Ben Affleck, but no. He was talking about the man himself. Ben and Jennifer, dressed in normal gear, were taking their kids from door to door like any other nuclear family. That was wealthy and famous and supernaturally attractive. That people – obeying the unspoken LA protocol of How To Deal With Famous Folk – were discreetly stealing glances at while giving them their space and pretending not to care. click here

Nov 20, 2013 · 19 Comments / ADD YOURS

every goal has four dimensions

Every goal has four dimensions.

Mind, heart, body, soul.

They’re all interconnected. Although one dimension is usually dominant – maybe you’re trying to solve a problem or come up with a plan (mental), or find a mate or bond with your teenager (emotional), or run a marathon or declutter your house (physical), or ascend to a higher state of mind or connect to some cause or movement bigger than yourself (spiritual) – the achievement of this goal involves the other dimensions as well.

For example.

I am preparing a talk to give at TEDXWomen in Los Angeles on Dec 5 – which is coming up maybe faster than I would like.

I want to crush it.

The big goal (crushing it) chunks up into smaller goals, each involving one of the dimensions. click here

Nov 13, 2013 · 4 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to be gifted ( + why your gift is not always obvious)

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You have a gift. If you’re lucky, you already know what it is because someone helped you identify it at a young age.

When we think of gifts we think of obvious things – painting, music, sports, math – and it’s as if they get delivered alongside the baby, like a toy tucked into her bassinet or one of those HELLO MY NAME IS stickers taped to her breastbone.

(Hello, My Name is Emma! I am gifted at VIOLIN. Worship me!)

In truth, our natural talents are things that come so easily to us we don’t think anything of them. We assume that everybody can do “it”, if we even recognize “it” as an ability at all.

I have a friend who has a talent for bringing people together. She throws dinner parties and dance parties. She hosts events in her home for artists and filmmakers. Not only that, but people just tend to gather around her, whether it’s the deck of her house in Los Angeles or the condo she rents for a weekend in San Francisco. And she doesn’t think anything of it. When I first pointed this out to her – years ago – she laughed it off. “Oh, that stuff is easy,” she said. “It’s nothing.”

“For you,” I said.

I have another friend who is one of the most gifted organizers that I’ve ever seen. Whenever I bring this up in conversation with her – usually along the lines of You should start your own event-planning company — she will dismiss or downplay it. “Oh, that’s nothing.” “That’s nothing special.” “Everybody can do that.” click here

Nov 11, 2013 · 6 Comments / ADD YOURS

tell what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about

So the little self-published book I wrote a foreword for (The Art of Being Unmistakable by Srinivas Raos) has grown up to be a bestseller.

Here’s what happened. Glenn Beck – yes, Glenn Beck – fell in wild and irrevocable love with the book, with the message, and had the author – “a surfer from Berkeley” — flown to Texas to appear on his show.

(I know what you might be mumbling to yourself. Glenn the hell Beck? But it proves that some things truly do reach beyond the political divide. Or abyss, as the case may be.)

At one point, Glenn and Srini discuss the power of telling your truth. The scary truth. Which reminds me of this quote by Natalie Goldberg:

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open.” — Natalie Goldberg

Srini likes to say he wrote the book “by committing corporate career suicide one Facebook update at a time”. (The rough draft of the book first appeared as a series of lengthy Facebook status updates.) Glenn mentioned that the day he started telling his truth on air was the day he thought his career was over: “instead, it was really just beginning.” click here

Nov 1, 2013 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS
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