Tag Archives: goals

Clarity Comes When Slowing Down

getreal

I have been “sheltering in place” with my two sons since February 25th—nearly a month before official quarantine orders were given in Los Angeles. (I got sick and recovered early.) During this time, I have gained clarity and focus. It hasn’t always been easy sailing, however, as I’ve had intense lonely days, like many of you. However, what I have learned during the, nearly four months of staying home, has been cataclysmic. In my attempt ‘to give more’ to my boys, I had been doing everything wrong for years. Everything.

But let me start with the beginning. COVID-19 pulled the rug out from under me, as it likely did for many of you. It immediately closed down the yoga studios and hospital classes where I taught eight-to-ten yoga classes a week. It also closed down two companies that I freelanced regularly for. (I’m a writer AND a yogi.) AND, on top of that, I never received my stimulus check and was turned down for unemployment—even though California politicians promised freelance workers consideration in the program. So, as a full time single mother of two, this was stressful.

Then the dust settled. My eyes adjusted. Anxiety lowered. I saw things more clearly. I was filled with gratitude. I was healthy. I had my boys. We could stay in our little cottage by the sea. I could budget. I could learn to manage my financial investments. We were spending less, too. There were no more volleyball lessons, soccer lessons, violin lessons, jiu jitsu. I wasn’t teaching, but no more evening classes or early 6 a.m. classes, meant no more ordered pizzas for dinner, and no last-minute purchases of school lunches for the boys, or coffee runs in the morning after my 6 a.m. class. I had been spending what I earned as a yoga teacher, in order to feed the boys and my caffeine habit.

 

Plus, slower mornings, meant, no rushing. As my younger son did his school work (my older son, a senior, sleeps in), I sipped half-caff coffee (brewed from home) and re-edited a manuscript. Then I re-edited and heavily tweaked another. That’s 180,000+ words, ya’ll.

Editing and writing my fiction daily had felt like a luxury before. I’d write for my clients: magazines, companies, hospitals. I’d squeeze in my fiction when I could—yet profess it was my purpose in life. Hmmm…I had been afraid of not earning enough money, and for my boys not to be able to do all that their friends did.

The truth is, working on my novels every day, provides me with the consistency to better see, with razor focus, when words sing, and when they are superfluous. I cut nearly 20,000 words from my two novels that are now with an editor. How amazing is that? By next year they will both be published! I mean, WOWZA. Uriel’s Mask and Between Thoughts of You will be published in 2021, either with a traditional publisher, or via a hybrid, (a pub that marries self publishing and traditional.) It’s very exciting and has been a looong journey for this single mother of eleven years. When I think about it too much, I cry. So lets move on.

 

What else is brewing in my Corona-vile cottage? My eleven-year-old son and I started a garden. We now have tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries. It provides a bit of hope for us and fun for him. He also likes to cook, a little too much, but I’m indulging him and trying to watch out for extra lbs for both of us!

 

My older son, who is obsessed with investing, has helped me learn about my investments and see which were not working. I’ve saved a lot of money by no longer paying fees, and by switching up investments during a market down-turn—so I have re-cooped losses, and gained a little. Of course, the markets will likely crash again, but I’m in a good position and we pulled rainy day cash out too after a wonderful rise in TESLA. (I’m not a fan of Elon, but hey, I’m grateful.) One stock earns hefty dividends, too, which means, I don’t need to teach yoga now, not that I could. I do, however, teach one virtual class a week for my seniors who have been like family for six years. It’s via my Facebook private page (Yoga w Laura) and is free for anyone to try. It’s my give-back during Corona lock-down, as we all need to get out of fear and move our bodies. Yoga is what allowed me to move past mental blocks, clear channels and programming, and reduce fear and anxiety. It is what allowed me to write nearly three novels in six years. But, all the teaching, ironically, was keeping me from sticking to a regular writing routine—which is key for consistent growth. I had thought the teaching would provide more flexibility and stable income to support the boys’ activities. But I was always given late night, early morning, or weekend classes to teach, which meant, I was away from home too much, and ordering food for the boys. It wasn’t serving me or the boys. Do I miss teaching? Yes. I love the way people melt in savasana and feel better after class. I was in better shape too. BUT, I’m in better financial shape and much better writing shape now. And I’m closer with my boys and closer to garnering a book deal and being able to write for a living. That’s a miracle.

 

You know what else has become stronger during these trying times? My mastery of the word NO. I must say, I had become pretty sufficient over my years here in La la land as a single yoga teacher. Plenty of married men have given me the ability to exercise that word. Plus, I have high standards when it comes to dating. I know, some of you are shocked that we’re even talking dating during Corona, but surprise, some guys are horny enough to risk their lives for a booty call. First of all, that’s nuts. Like I’d be to tempted enough to jeopardize my, or my kids’ health. But even if we weren’t living in Corona-times, I’d say NO to these yahoos. Sure, I’m lonely as hell. Some mornings I wake up in a fetal position and think I’ve turned into one of those children raised in a 1960’s Romanian orphanage who were never touched. However, NOTHING could make me date (or agree to a booty-call with) the three men who approached me during these past four months. NOTHING. One was a married father of three. (Hmm…NOT a good choice.) One had a serious live-in girlfriend and they are both local leaders in twelve-step communities. He actually got in touch via Insta to congratulate me on my nearly three years of sobriety. One minute later he asked for a private yoga session. Thirty seconds after that DM, he asked me to send a naked pic. (Can you say Gross?? It reminds me of the Netflix show Flaked staring Will Arnett.) And the third was from a guy who had asked me out three years earlier, and when I wouldn’t sleep with him on the first date, ghosted me. His text last week read: “Wanna hang out?” (Um NO. Not really.)

SO … guess what? There’s hope people! That’s really what I’m trying to say. Not all guys are idiots. However, my happiness is NOT predicated on finding the one and only conscious single man (over thirty-five please) in Los Angeles.

 

And, I’m getting published! Why? Because my writing time is no longer squeezed into a few hours on weekends, or in between a gajillion activities for the boys.

 

AND, my boys’ health and happiness is not contingent upon me killing myself or spending money I don’t have.

 

So, in conclusion:

 

Less really is More.

Calm is the new Creative.

Real is the new Sexy.

Stillness paves the path to Consciousness.

Consistency is an Author’s Best Friend.

And Kindness has always been—and always will be—King.

 

Peace out y’all. Stay calm, find your center, stretch your legs, and I dare you to smile this week. Remember, each smile is an achievement to be proud of.

Love,

Laura x

 

 

 

Faith, in a Bubble

Bubble-In-The-Sky

Lately I’ve been visualizing a bubble when I meditate. It’s sort of like this one. I imagine it crossing an ocean, like an airplane. I can’t see it. I feel it. It’s on a planned trajectory, a mapped journey, straight toward me, wherever I am. A bit like Glenda’s bubble in the Wizard of Oz, I admit, but within this bubble is all that I want to manifest in my life. My number is 3, and I have just 3 main goals at the moment: to garner a book deal,  to reach others as I expand my yoga & meditation practice, and to attract a healthy love.

I breathe deeply and visualize this bubble floating toward me. I tell myself that just because I can’t see it, or always feel it, the bubble of manifestation is still working. It is still on its way, floating toward me, as long as I believe. And that’s the tricky part. Having faith when there are no signs that something is on its way. Sometimes it feels impossible to do. And what I’m learning is that belief is only part of the process. After taking Mike Dooley’s course, Playing the Matrix, I’ve discovered a major roadblock—the main reason why previous attempts to manifest haven’t been so good. Discovering this roadblock then revealed another one to me. If you are focussing on your intentions and goals in the New Year, maybe these tips will help you too.  Here are my two biggest road blocks to manifesting, which reveal the best ways TO manifest!

First: I have to stop attaching. I attach to details. I don’t just want a book deal, I want a specific agent or a specific publisher. Oh, but what if the Universe has other plans? What if those specific people and companies aren’t the right fit for me? What if my insistence blocks the right agent and the best publisher to flow toward me? I need to get out of my own way. “Let Go and Let God” is a popular phrase. You’ve likely heard it and agree. It’s easier than it sounds to put into practice! When I attach to details, I may just get what I want— and often that’s a bad thing. My Higher Power knows better. Mike Dooley, who I adore as much as Louise Hay (and my good friends know how much I love her!) advises to manifest with big picture goals only. So, I can imagine an agent signing or a publisher signing me, but not a specific person or publisher. Same goes for love, I can’t attach to a specific person or even specific descriptions such as height, hair color, job, etc. as it can block the perfect person, agent, yoga studio, etc. from appearing—and its appearance may not be what I’m expecting. Again, I need to get out of my own way. God knows best who and what is right for me. I can, however, ask for many other big picture items such as abundance, joy, a creative career, health…not specifics. There is so much more to Mike Dooley’s course, I’m such a big fan… everyone should take it! Seriously, my mind lit up like a strand of Christmas tree lights. He is beyond brilliant.

Second: I must face deep-rooted inner programming to persevere.
Just meditating on what I want, doesn’t help the Universe shift and bring it to me. I have to take baby steps. I have to submit more queries to agents and publishers. I have to apply to teach at more yoga studios. I may need to go out on more dates to find Mr. Right too—even if I hate dating. Taking baby steps can be really scary, especially after receiving rejection or bad experiences. Just because I received one rejection from one agent, doesn’t mean a person who said I’d never get published is right. For peat sakes! Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul received 145 rejections before his New York Times best seller was accepted! Who do I think I am?? Well, I’m just someone who received some negativity and lack of support at some point in my life. Maybe you can relate? I have to recognize that the person who belittled me, or called me stupid, or said I’d never make it, was vomiting negativity—it had nothing to do with me. And I’ve accepted that intellectually. I’ve forgiven the few people in my life who were like that. But on a deep level. Maybe even on the subconscious level, these sort of emotionally abusive comments left water marks that reveal themselves in the forms of insecurity or lack of drive to keep trying. I have to recognize that each rejection does not reflect my worth or ability to succeed, and then take a deep breath, surround myself with supportive peps and try again. I’m now writing on my 3rd novel. I’m now working at two yoga studios. I’m now officially going out on several first dates that help me realize exactly what I don’t want! ha ha. 🙂  … But it’s all helping me on my journey!

Baby steps lead to amazing journeys. And sometimes the journeys go to the most surprising places.

So here’s to a New Year filled with baby steps that lead us to where we feel loved, heard, accepted, creative and joyful. And in between those baby steps, I’ll take the time to meditate. Maybe you’ll join me? Lets place our big picture goals and intentions (without attaching to specific details!) inside a bubble. Lets breathe deeply, close our eyes and allow it to float toward us, in God’s time.

 

Spring Resolutions

Photo by Chaz James

Easter, like Spring in general, is a time I find myself reflecting on what’s important in my life. Christians obviously are celebrating Christ‘s rebirth; his sacrifice; his transformation; his rising. Clearly, being a Christian isn’t a prerequisite for contemplating your own potential for change and renewal. We really have these opportunities every day don’t we? But at this time of year, especially, I take stock. I find myself asking if I am living each day with the intentions and goals that I hold dear? Sure, I have big aspirations: such as growing this blog and working on another book. But I find the day-to-day goals to live in truth and kindness to be more important to those I love most. Do my boys feel loved unconditionally? Am I in balance as a single mom: juggling life, work, relationships, health, etc.?? Can I manage my three-year-old’s insane, daily temper tantrums with grace and a cool head? Is it possible to navigate divorce proceedings and negotiations with fairness and calm? And, more importantly, can I focus on love, gratitude and light—while letting go of my ego, bitterness and disappointments?

One the best ways to achieve these goals is to try to live in the moment and more consciously. Taking time to appreciate what is beautiful and inspirational is crucial—especially for sleep-deprived, struggling single parents. So, for you, (and for me) I am posting some recent photos that I took when on drives in Southern California. To get my little guy to nap, I still drive. I put on my favorite tunes, grab a mocha, and drive to somewhere with a vista. The views soothe my soul. I am energized when I go to these places and by the time I arrive, my baby has slept and can then get out and wander around a bit. Life is good again. Well, life is good in general, don’t you think? Happy Spring my friends. And I hope you enjoy my favorite vistas. L. x

Photo by: Laura Roe Stevens (All Rights Reserved). 

I took this picture when I was extremely sleep-deprived and a bit depressed last month. My youngest had not been sleeping well and had been fighting yet another chest infection and asthma. It had been raining with high winds for two days. We were cooped up all weekend. I put my three-year-old in his car seat and drove south to Palos Verdes. As I drove, the high winds started to calm a bit, the rain stopped, and the clouds lifted. Jamesy fell asleep and I pulled over to take this amazing picture looking north towards Santa Monica and Malibu. By the time I got back into the car, my spirits had lifted and I smiled looking at my angelic boy, who was still sleeping soundly.

Photo by: Laura Roe Stevens (All Rights Reserved.)

This is a picture I took after driving to Malibu one Sunday last month to get my youngest to nap. William and I chatted, sang songs and then decided to go to a different canyon in north Malibu than we normally do. After we arrived, Jamesy was refreshed from his nap and we had a fun hike in the bizarre heat. It had risen to 90 degrees, so we kept close to the trees for shade. I took several pictures of the boys, and then looked up and was fascinated by the simple beauty of the old trees. Their elegant, wise, arthritic branches seemed to say to me: “Keep reaching. Keep going. Keep striving to find the light.”

Photo by: Laura Roe Stevens (All Rights Reserved.)

Driving back from Santa Barbara last February, I felt compelled to pull to this exact spot on the side of the highway. With the boys still snapped in the car, I pulled to a safe spot on the side of the road and stepped out, taking a picture of this view. Once I got home and uploaded the picture, I noticed the cross on the hill overlooking the Pacific. It made me think that this was a very special location for some family who may have lost someone. Or perhaps someone wanted to be buried here or remembered here. We all find our own places of worship don’t we? There really are little slices of Heaven on Earth—if we open our eyes to them.