Life for the sake of itself.

I talk a lot on here about working on one's self and the processes that I suggest taking to get "there," wherever "there" is. And I think that projects of the self have always sort of fascinated me. They become this crazy sort of roller coaster of Finding Yourself, including the highs and lows of the whole ordeal. I think that the problem can, on occasion, lie where people assume that they are capable of completion. Like they have this person that they can become and once they reach that, they are somehow "done."
We are never Done. We are never Completed.
And that is a very, very good thing.
I think that people get so caught up in this idea that they begin to look at everything around them as a destination, rather than a journey. The dream job becomes "where I want to end up." Or the spouse who becomes "who I want to end up with." And they get upset if something doesn't pan out, which to me is sort of ridiculous. No person, place, or event is our end goal. They are a part of a time that has passed, and you are now in a time that is. Exist now.
There's really no Grand Finale to life. Not to sound morbid but the last day of your life will almost certainly wind up being a random Tuesday like any other Tuesday. But that's the point: life is about making each and every Tuesday extraordinary for the simple reason that it's a day and each day is a gift to be marveled at. I can guarantee that if the last day of your life is spent playing video games and eating ice cream- that will be the most vivid video game and the sweetest ice cream you will ever enjoy. Every day should feel this way. Every nap is a luxury. Every hand held is warm with the pulse of precious life. Each breath should taste of the sweetness of life. The world is love, and beauty, and hope. And it's a journey, without a destination.


Like a Boss.

Obsessed with her.



I was driving home from Utah this weekend, travelling through St. George and looking out the window as I am so inclined to do on road trips. It's a gorgeous drive that reminds me of countless road trips through the area when I was just a kid. I remember driving through the canyons and writing poetry in my little secret notebook. I looked forward to that part of the drive the entire trip so that I could basically marvel at how gorgeous the mountains and red rocks look in the sunlight.
Anyways, driving through this trip was no less magical and as I stared out the window I noticed my mind wandering to other places, and to other times. Initially I didn't catch myself and when I finally realized what I was doing I kind of mentally shook myself with a little bit of self-resentment. "Be here now!" Here I was, in the front row of some of nature's most gorgeous work and one of my favorite places since I can remember, and I wasn't fully enjoying it.
And how often does that happen? How often do we spend too much time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future rather than just enjoying our lives? I feel like it's an awful lot. And it's a terrible habit. Life is awesome. Like, seriously really and truly awesome. The people in it, the experiences available to us, all of it. It's important to live in the current moment so that we don't miss out on what is happening right here and now. Because that, my friends, is what it's all about. It's about the moments in our lives (yes I know this is very Hallmark sounding). It's about what is happening now, and not what has happened or what will happen. I can't emphasize enough just how minuscule the things we stress over really are in the grand scheme of things. And trust me, I am just as guilty of not being in the current moment as anyone... but it doesn't have to be that way. Sometimes you almost have to take baby steps to be in the Now. I pulled myself out of my head by small observations: That rock is red. The sky is so blue. I wonder what the wind feels like blowing through those branches. The leaves are so pretty in the Fall here. You kind of start to really SEE what is around you and stop seeing what exists solely in your head.
I think that as a writer, I am probably more prone to this kind of behavior. It's just so easy to sit around and romanticize things that exist in my mind rather than just use my eyes to appreciate the world as it is in front of me. But there is a huge gift in simplicity. In the simplicity of seeing something for what it is, and appreciating it. It's like in one of my previous entries with the half full/ half empty glass: stop focusing on whether it's hypothetically full or not and just appreciate the "Hey! Free milk!" It can be as simple as that: Just enjoy it.



Tomorrow is my last day at my computer before I leave for my Thanksgiving trip, but I know tomorrow will be too crazy to write anything substantial on here. And before I leave I think I would be remiss if I didn't make some feeble attempt to discuss all of the things I have been so grateful for this year.
2011 was a pretty crazy year for me, and if you go back through last year's Thanksgiving, it's been an insane 12 months of my life.
To start with the obvious: Exactly 12 months ago today, Jill went into Cardiac Arrest and her heart stopped for 5 full minutes. For anyone who doesn't follow my blog religiously- Jill is my sister just older than me. This time last year was one of the most shocking periods of my life, and I don't remember having many deep thoughts about it because it was so jarring that I couldn't focus on much of anything. It wasn't until later that the severity of the situation settled in with me and I realized just how close I came to losing my sister. You just don't ever think something like that will happen to you until it does- but I think that's what anyone who has been through something like that will tell you. Jill has been one of the most important people in my life, and to think of a life with her no longer in it is just unimaginable. I am so, so, so beyond grateful that I still get to have my sister. I am also very humbled and grateful for her progress in her recovery so far. I know it's frustrating, and difficult for her and her family on the frontlines. But I know that she can do this, and I am grateful for such a strong sister to inspire me.
Next up on my list is a person who I had been fortunate to be around this past year or so. And not just the fact that he was in my life, but the people he exposed me to were some of the best and most inspirational people I have met. I know he wont read this, which makes it a little easier to be frank about things. But knowing Tony allowed me to see parts of who I am and more importantly- who I want to be. And of course it's tough when you talk to someone every day and come to realize isn't the person you're supposed to end up with- but I would feel like an ingrate if I didn't at least recognize the things that knowing him brought to my life. I think, honestly, that it ought to be like that with anyone you date or surround yourself with. I spent a long time of my life wandering. Too long, really. I have always taken the long road and not really minded it because I enjoy the journey so much. But I didn't even have my feet pointed any which way, and because of that I was settling for a life of mediocrity wherein I would mainly work and "hang out" every day. Oh, sure, I had dreams to accomplish things in my life. But I didn't DO anything about them. And along came this person who had actually done a lot of the things that I wanted to do with my life. Travel, explore nature, become more educated, enjoy some interesting hobbies. All of them were things that I had always wanted to do but never had the drive to go out and just... DO. I think the combination of what happened to Jill and my exposure to Tony gave me the incentive to make some commitments to myself to stop treading water where I was and start swimming towards something greater. Life is short. And sometimes you have to just go for it.
Another (related) thing I am grateful for is Tony's family. I know, I know, I'm sounding like a kiss ass here. But they've been a major part of my life for the past year or so. And each one of them inspired me, probably more than they realize. I don't know how specific I want to get here, mainly because it's actually quite difficult for me to. But this family is something special. Their dedication to one another and ability to support each other is and always will be inspirational to me on a level I can't quite explain. I have been unbelievably lucky to have been welcomed into their home and get to spend the time that I did with them.
I am grateful for my (hopefully first of many!) trip to Europe. Sara and Matt were the absolute most gracious hosts to me and it was so cool of them to show me around Paris, Amsterdam, Kos, Nisseros, Turkey, and Dusseldorf. I had the most unreal time there and being able to accomplish a trip that I'd been dreaming about since I was a little girl has been something that I will forever be grateful for.
I am grateful for the people that I have lived with this year. It has had it's fair share of challenges and of course- ups and downs. But all in all it has given me some wonderful experiences to take with me. I am no longer at the house that I lived at for something like 4 years, and I am grateful for the fact that I have moved on. With the utmost respect to my former roommates, the place that I am living now is much better suited to my needs as my life has evolved to where I am now. It has, so far, been like a dream living at my new place. And I'm certain that challenges will come. But I will hopefully be grateful for them and the opportunities they give me to be stronger and better as a roommate and as a person in general.
I am grateful for my friends who have seen me through this past year. I've made some new friends in people I've met through Tony and who I couldn't BE more grateful for. Fun people like Kim, Chelsea, and Kaila- with passionate dreams and exciting lives. I've also been lucky enough to stay in touch with old friends who have remained in my life for years and years. Last year on my birthday we went to dinner and I was so amazed by the number of people who wanted to take time out of their busy schedules to be with me on my big day. People like Sayum and Grant, who I am constantly baffled for how I deserve such people in my life. Kenneth, who has been there for me as a friend whenever I've needed someone to talk to and make me laugh. I am so insanely lucky to have the friends that I have. I don't know if I would ever be able to express that to these people, but it is an overwhelming feeling.
My family. My foundation. My everything. Even when they drive me a little bonkers. My Mom, who has held me crying as a child and an adult- telling me that everything will be alright. My Dad, who is my constant idol in life and who hangs the moon for me. Ky, my twin. My oldest brother that constantly makes me laugh. Charity who has become one of my best friends and trusted confidants the older I get. Ryan who is one of the smartest and most interesting people I know. And of course Jill who is my brave and amazing fighter, inspiring us all.
It has been a wild ride. And I know I say this every year: but I feel like the past 12 months have been the most influential months of my life. I have changed in ways I never knew I could. I have faltered, I've fallen, I've gotten up, and I've catapulted forward. It's been unreal and amazing and terrifying and exhilarating. I wouldn't say I have loved every minute of it, but I am unapologetically grateful for every minute of it.
Thank you, Life.


Pinterest Love.

Majorly geeking out on the fact that a blog I've been following for nearly a year just re-posted something I had on my Pinterest page.
It's pretty cool to see your name credited on a blog you admire, even if I didn't take the photo myself!! Check it out: http://copperandlace.blogspot.com/


I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean.

Some days, I feel like I'm sort of in the wrong place. But I think everyone might feel like that sometimes. I'm learning more and more that despite my best efforts at covering it up, I am a very sensitive, soft-hearted person. I never thought myself much of a sap, but I admit that I cry during sad movies. This is something I never did when I was younger, and something that sort of alarms me every time it happens. "No! No no no. This is not something we do!"
But can I tell you a secret? I'm not tough. I'm not tough at all. I'm never going to be a hard ass type girl who you "wouldn't want to mess with." Come on, I'm 5 foot 4 and weigh all of 112 pounds. I'm hardly going to kick your ass. If they made a cartoon character of me, it would most likely be wearing a sun dress and playing tag with Fawns and Bluebirds.
I constantly battle with myself on my Rose Colored Glasses persona, which is sort of my default view on life. A lot of people have told me that I need to toughen up. To be more real and stop being so naive. And I agree, naivety can be dangerous. But some times I just want to imagine that the world is wonderful and that life is this amazing gift and not so much a trial. Is that so terrible? Some people look at the glass half empty, and some people look at it half full. I look at it as, "Free milk, which is great because I'm thirsty!" Yes, I realize that makes me sound like sort of a ditz- but am I really? Or am I just someone who doesn't want to waste time analyzing whether something is half full or not while it spoils itself?
A part of me worries that I have some sort of mental illness wherein I just want to be a kid forever. I call it Peter Pan Syndrome, and have been suspicious of it for some time. Some of my favorite things are fantastical. My dream house is a tree house (it has plumbing and everything- trust me I have thought this through!). I love to draw and paint. I love doe-eyed owls and snowy Beluga Whales. I sing along with my car radio and don't care who is looking anymore. I'm fascinated by fantasy and comic book movies. I splash in rain puddles and I like to go on long walks to look at the different trees in my neighborhood. I love being barefoot and when I go swimming- I float on my back and let my arms dance in the water. There are few things I love more than to stretch. I despise being indoors and am obsessed with nature. This is my life. It's sort of like the life of a 6 year-old.
But my question is: is that so terrible? Sometimes I think about the advice people give me to grow up already, and I start to feel manipulated. I am proud to still hold on to fragments of who I was when I was a kid. A sort of innocence that you can't really get back once it's gone. Do I want to abandon my sense of wonder towards my world around me? Do I really want to know how the serious people of the world think and live? Or do I want to stay ME- to watch cartoons and eat Popsicles for breakfast?
I know there is a middle ground where I can protect myself from the world but still embrace it. I'm just looking for that place where I can keep my feet on the ground but my head looking towards the puffy little white clouds.





Just made this. I think it turned out rather lovely.


Don't Fear The Creeper.

Today I want to talk about the irony in fear.

For starters, what is fear? And why does it exist? Fear is, to my knowledge and in a strictly scientific sense, a defense mechanism created to protect us. From the very first man who walked the Earth, we were instilled with a sense of fear to help aid us in a "fight or flight" response. We NEEDED fear in order to quickly analyze potentially dangerous situations and asses if we ought to stand up to them or run from them. Fear also instills in the human body a rush of adrenaline so that if we DO choose to fight the good fight, we have that extra boost of energy to complete the task. People need fear to survive. Fear is a very, very good thing.

As people evolved and day-to-day situations became safer and safer, our need for fear has (in my opinion) decreased. We aren't out in the wilderness, fighting for our lives against wild animals and natural elements. We're in safe, warm homes. We are protected and well fed. And the need for us to use fear to our advantage has leveled at a minimum necessity. But we still have this natural gift in us, and because it's in our nature, we have to use it somehow. So I think we transfer it. We aren't using it for survival anymore, but for what we think will have the least potential risk. What will be the path of least resistance? And we choose that path. And rather than look at the more difficult path as an exciting challenge, we fear it. We feel that it's a threat to our comfortable and "safe" little lives.

But the irony in fear is that it has become an overly wasted emotion. For example: a good friend of mine was talking about being nervous to embark on a particular class at school. She was intimidated by how intensive it would be and she was getting nervous because she feared she would fail it. I asked her one simple question: How many things that you try do you ever fail at? Not just not be the best at, but actually FAIL? Her response was, "Well.... none that I can think of, actually." We will always have things in our lives that we aren't the absolute best at- but rarely do we set ourselves out on a path that we completely fail at. Not if it's something we really try hard to succeed in doing.

And it's funny because I'm afraid of failure ALL THE TIME. I'd venture to say that my fear of failure is one of my biggest setbacks in life. It prevents me from trying a number of things that I'd really like to do, but am afraid of doing. And why?? I think it's important to think, during these situations, what is the worst case scenario? I am going back to school for my Bachelors Degree in Journalism. I've always wanted to write, but I think I was afraid of doing it. I guess on some level I worried that I wouldn't be good enough, or that I WOULD be good enough in my classes but upon graduating I wouldn't be able to get a job. But what is the worst that could happen? I get my degree and can't find a job in my field. And so I get a different job but one day, I apply for a new job and realize that my degree pushes me towards the top of the list of applicants. Or maybe I never use my degree, but I gain more knowledge. In none of those scenarios am I any worse off than I am now. So why the fear? Why the irrationality? I'd be willing to bet that 9 out of 10 times in my life, the leaps I've been terrified to make but made anyways have ended up being the best things that have ever happened to me.

I suggest we all stop being so scared of failure. And stop fearing life going a different way than we planned. Rarely does life go as we plan it, but it's also pretty rare that the things we fear are the things we actually SHOULD fear. It's almost always some unforeseen event in our lives that becomes the "bad thing" in it. Living in fear of the unknown is a waste. Just don't do it.


Not So Reckless Abandonment.

Something that I find to be an interesting lesson in life is the mythology of the old "Sour Grapes" story. In case you haven't heard it, it goes something like this:
A fox was wandering and came upon a beautiful vineyard. He spots this vineyard and gets very excited to eat the grapes. So he runs up to the tall vines and notices the juicy purple grapes are all up near the top of the plant. He runs to them and jumps, just barely missing the fruit. He tries again, and again. And after several failed attempts to reach them he gives up. "Fine," He says, exasperated, "those grapes were probably sour anyways."
So I completely ad-libbed that story, but I think it goes something like that. My point is, my entire life I have had this fear of being "Sour Grapes" about things. If I didn't succeed, I would insist that it was my fault and beat myself up about it because heaven forbid I consider that it's possibly not a part of "the plan" in the first place. And I understand the concept of never giving up on something, I really do. But some times... in some situations it's okay to give up, I think. It's important to know when to walk away from something.
Like if you LOVE to paint, I think you should do it. And if you're terrible- do it anyways. But by all means- do not become that starving artist who banked everything on your art only to die in the streets. Do not go down with a sinking ship!!
I have always thought of myself as, and forgive the comedy in this because it IS a pretty funny statement, as someone with hardly any pride. If I'm wrong, I like to think I will be the first to admit and own up to my part in it. But I'm realizing that I have this tendency to be stubborn. But, like, in this very peculiar way. I can admit that I'm wrong, but I have a draining opposition to "giving up" or being "sour grapes." It terrifies me for some reason. And it's funny because I don't think that even failed endeavours are a waste of any one's time because everything is a learning lesson and an experience. But I loathe the thought of failing at something and then trying to pawn it off as "whatever, I didn't really want that thing in the first place." Which is funny because you don't really need to do that in your failures. You can fully admit that you wanted something really badly but it wasn't working out and you just knew when to fold. You didn't want to go down with that sinking ship.
The other thing that factors into this behavior of mine is that I think I'd like to live a very poetic life. And what's more poetic than the old "______ conquers all!" ideology? Insert whatever word you want there: love, God, hard work, righteousness. They all work. Being a martyr for what you believe in is a very poetic thought. And especially as someone who humbly considers herself a writer- a poetic life is ideal. I want those moments of  "I tarried and suffered for my convictions!!!" Yea, okay, that sounds like a really nice story. But in the mean time, you're suffering for X amount of time. You are sinking. Your ship is sinking. And you're staying on simply because... well... it makes for a good story. Wow.
And it's the ego in us that wont let us give up some times. And you know, most times it's good to give something all you've got. But it's essential to your well-being to make sure to keep your eyes open for the fine line in the sand when you're fighting a losing battle. And it's alright to have wanted something, and it's still very poetic to have tried. But life is too short to worry about your ego so much. Let it go. Admit that you failed, and look for the lesson in it. Some times the endeavor wasn't ever going to work, no matter how hard you tried. So just enjoy the experience and the thrill you got from working for something.
On a semi-unrelated note, I'll end with another ad-libbed story I recently read somewhere (not a clue where, sorry). I think it really hits home for remembering to enjoy your moments and not worry so much about stuff:
There was a gentleman who loved to have company over for dinner and tea. He would always invite his guests over and after dinner, they would socialize and drink tea while he washed all of the dishes from the meal. One evening, a guest asked the host if he would allow him to wash the dishes FOR him so that he could enjoy the company. The host informed the guest: You may wash the dishes, but only if you do it the right way. The guest was amused, and inquired what the "proper" way to wash the dishes was. The host answered him, "You must WASH the dishes. Do not wash them while thinking about looking forward to drinking your tea. Washing the dishes is an experience in and of itself. Enjoy it. It is the same as if you drink your tea while thinking about tomorrow. You are not actually drinking your tea at all. Enjoy the moment you are in, not the one you are looking forward to."


Yasemin Turan.

I know it's two in one day, but I can't stop listening to this girl's youtube channel. This song in particular is just stunning: the imagery, tune, her voice... the combination is pure comfort.


Holiday Fun.

Okay I know Halloween is over, but I just saw this and couldn't help but repost.
Absolutely amazing.


Come Alive.

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

-Howard Thurman.


Vulnerability Part 2.

I'm sure I've talked about this before but today I want to talk about Vulnerability. Partially because I watched this amazing video on Ted.com about it and it really made me feel inspired. PS, have you heard of Ted.com? It's ahhhhmazing.
Brene Brown gave a speech about vulnerability and how it is both good and bad. Which I SO identified with because I have those moments. The times when I open myself up and I feel so refreshed, and moments when I have my vulnerability trampled on and wish I'd never let anyone in. Getting shut down is never a pleasant feeling, I don't care who you ask. And I know several people who have opened themselves up to things only to get shut down and it completely wrecks them. Their brains tell them that they've done something "wrong" and for some reason they start to feel like the only way to right it is to close up. Which I think, like, they did something wrong. But many times the thing that was wrong wasn't that they allowed themselves to be vulnerable, but that they did it in environments that weren't trustworthy. You need to be careful where you place your vulnerabilities. Because sharing them with people who don't deserve it can be destructive. But sharing them with people who deserve it can yield you the greatest rewards of anything you could ever do. Sharing will build you trust, and create bonds with people that never could have occurred if you remain closed off to the world.
Through this I have realized that I am sort of a vulnerability-addict. I will tell you absolutely anything about my life's struggles because I feel like it's that connection to other people (often through vulnerability) that makes bonds between us. I don't suspect that many people bond over having easy lives. We, as people, bond over our frailties and our struggles. Watch any great movie or read any great book and take a look at the bonds that people make there. How many characters do you feel a connection with that live seemingly perfect lives? It's always the people who have identifiable flaws with whom we connect. And life is all about our connections that we make, and how those connections make us feel.
But you must be careful of your world around you when you open yourself up. And in any single one of my bad experiences in this life I look at one simple question: Was it me? And hey, sometimes it is. Sometimes I was thoughtless. Sometimes I became someone I should know better than to be. And I make conscious efforts to move away from those poor choices. But sometimes it's NOT me. Sometimes, it's the people and places I was around that need to change the next time around. Sometimes I did everything right, except to trust the wrong people. Made a bad judgement call, you know? So be careful of those, too.
I feel like I'm getting more complex than I need to here, because the message is really simple. It's okay to be imperfect. It's okay to take risks where you make yourself vulnerable. That's where the real leaps forward occur. They don't happen when you "play it safe" by doing the thing that will be the easiest. You move forward by doing the toughest stuff, the stuff that you might get hurt doing. Just be weary and aware of your surroundings when you leap. Don't take risks with people who would be careless with your vulnerabilities. And don't be a person who is careless with other people when they expose themselves. I read somewhere that fear is the cause of almost everything negative that a person can do. Fear of not being accepted, fear of not being loved. Don't be a person who instills that fear in other people, for any reason. Just don't even start that pattern. Be kind, and caring, and loving. Put good out and you'll get good back. I promise.