When we last left off on my Spanish adventure, we had completed a jam-packed, fun filled day in Valencia. And once again, on minimal sleep, we were up at 6am to make it to the train station for our next leg: Seville! (pronounced Se-bi-ya not like The Barber of Seville. Come on, don't be THAT American.)
This time we had a four hour train ride so we got in a decent nap which was good because I was dying. This was the first time that the thought, "Dear God, what have I done?!?" popped into my head. I had a dreadful feeling that I had bit off more than I could chew in my itinerary planning.
That is until we got into Seville, dropped our bags off at the hotel, and ran to a restaurant as fast as we could. We were starving. Did I mention how much I love Spanish tapas? Yes? Too bad, I'm going to say it again. I LOVE SPANISH TAPAS. OK, now I'm screaming at you. But look at this.
Grilled octopus in squid ink. I'm getting hungry just looking at it. I will tell you that the moment they put this in front of me all my sleepiness went right out the window. Good food just makes my heart beat fast like that. And it tasted even better than it looks! We also had skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Both were delicious.
With our stomachs full we felt recharged enough to explore beautiful Seville. Our first stop was The Plaza de Espana in the Parque de Maria Luisa. This was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929.
If you visit make sure you have Euros to pay for the row boats, which I desperately wanted to do. We were both fresh out and hadn't had time to stop at an exchange center so I bartered with a local vendor to exchange U.S. dollars for a small fee. And, even though my boyfriend and I weren't the best rowers at first, we got the hang of it and it was so worth it!
After walking through the beautiful park we made our way to Hotel Alfonso XIII, a very expensive luxury hotel our cab driver had told us was worth the visit. He claimed they had the best cafe con leche in town so, obviously, I had to check it out. The hotel was amazing and very upscale. I felt a little like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman as I squealed in pleasure at the wide array of scented lotions in the bathroom. We sat in the central courtyard which had natural sunlight and a serene atmosphere and got ready for our pick me up.
I’m excited to share that I got one of my articles on women and competition published in “Sugarzine”, an online magazine out of the Baltimore/DC area that focuses on women, their careers, and stabilizing what goes on inside these crazy heads of ours! Click on this link to check out the magazine and my article … Continue reading That Time I Got an Article Published
It's 7:38 am. I open a letter from Blue Shield Health insurance which tells me my insurance is being denied/and or cancelled because they have not received my whole payment. Which IS A LIE. And it starts. My heart starts beating faster. I can literally feel the heat run down my veins. My shoulder tightens. I soon grow to the size of The Incredible Hulk. And I basically take on the mentality of this Kramer.
I am lucky enough to get some government assistance on my health insurance because I'm currently unemployed. This is awesome and I'm totally grateful. Except for the part where I have to rely on a bureaucracy to do something right, and in a timely manner. It also tests my tendencies to want to be in CONTROL OF EVERYTHING!!
Here's the story. I originally called to inquire about the Covered California plans late December. At this point I was on a Cobra plan from my previous job and just getting information. But some IDIOT... wait. I'm sorry. That's not loving or enlightened. Some (grimaces in pain trying to come up with something nice) very misguided lady, who was very busy with other important things so she couldn't fully listen to what I was saying, entered me into the computer with a start date of January 1. But I had just called to get a quote for how much government assistance I qualified for. I HAD ALREADY PAID FOR COBRA THROUGH FEBRUARY.
When I realized this, I called back and some other COMPLETE MORON, I mean super nice lady who thought she was being helpful but didn't know what the hell she was talking about, assured me that this was not a problem because I hadn't even picked a health care plan yet so that didn't matter. For my plan to start March 1 I just needed to pick a plan by February 20. This made perfect sense to me so I continued about my business.
So I did pick a plan early February, and when I went to make the first payment it said I OWED TRIPLE for January, February, and March. How I could pay for the month of January on a plan that I didn't even pick until February 15 is beyond all constraints of logic I possess. So. First stage of hulkness began and I called Covered California, the government run agency that pays for a portion of health insurance for low income residents. I explained the situation to a really understanding and helpful man, who unbeknownst to me was still a HUGE NITWIT. He said he saw what happened and would amend that plan for a March 1 start date. I went onto my online profile for Covered California and it now said I only owed one payment for my insurance to start March 1. Crisis averted.
Except it wasn't. This agent never contacted the insurance companies with the change (I told you he was a nitwit! I mean, a well meaning man who just didn't know he had to follow through.) So I then start getting letters from the insurance companies saying I owe three months of payments. I STILL want to know how they expect me to pay for January and February when I hadn't even received my health insurance cards, therefore couldn't actually use the product they were selling. If this is how consumerism works, clearly I am doing something wrong. And everyone owes me $25 for my book that's coming out next year. I haven't started it yet, but trust me, it's gonna be GOOD.
So I called Covered California AGAIN. And some nice lady (nice, gotta trust nice, because my brain is screaming HALFWIT) told me that they would "accelerate my claim" and send a letter to the insurance companies. But this morning I open the letter from Blue Shield saying my plan was being cancelled for lack of payment. I literally felt like the floor was splitting open and I was pummeling down into fiery lava. Because, surely, this is what Hell feels like. I immediately pick up the phone to call them but, of course, it's still only7:48 in the morning and they aren't open yet. So. I. Have. To. Wait.
Day 2 of "A Course in Miracles." I've really enjoyed doing these exercises. They may seem a little nonsensical at first, but then I'll have HUGE moments of clarity throughout the day. Like yesterday, I was at a Soundology Lab at Wanderlust Hollywood (which includes an amazing sound bath full of gongs, bowls, and chimes... which also lent itself to a little light napping; awesome because I'm no longer allowing naps in my Time Management schedules. Hooray for multi tasking!) At the end of the class we did a seven minute chant "Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Say So Hung." (which I just realized was Hung instead of the HUM I was saying when I looked it up just now.) You can listen to this beautiful chant HERE . The point is, these words truly didn't mean anything. I literally had no clue what I was saying (apparently, its about life and stuff) but they made me so calm and full of joy!
I think that's a good thing. If you give something a positive meaning that works for you, great! Just be observant throughout the day of both the good or bad meanings you make about things. I'm guessing this will eventually culminate in us realizing that our judgements may or may not actually be true, and we'll finally get control of our ego minds. But, for now, just realize that the things alone really don't mean anything. Like the toaster I pulled out of my cupboard this morning. Doesn't mean anything... except that I get to eat some toast and that's pretty cool. Damn, am I giving meaning to the toaster now?
Here's Lesson Two of "A Course in Miracles":
I have given everything I see in this room (on this street, from this window, in this place) all the meaning that it has for me.
And here's my experience of this!
OK. I promise tomorrow no more cat jokes. Maybe.
I've decided to revisit my very first guide on my path to enlightenment. It's called "A Course in Miracles." About 5 years ago my life basically imploded and I was left with a "NOW WHAT??" mentality. Because obviously what I had been doing for the previous 29 years was not working. (If you love reading about other people's problems because it helps you with a perspective on your own... or if you're just a sadist for misery click here to read my original story.)
So I am going to attempt something I've never done before... actually complete "A Course in Miracles" workbook. It's 365 lessons, one each day... FOR A YEAR. Then I'll be able to work miracles like grow 100 dollar bills on the bush outside and get a man to WANT marriage. All jokes, and witchcraft aside (again JOKE), this course is supposed to completely change your mind set once and for all. Something I've been trying to do for years. I think my mascot is the Little Engine that Could. "I think I can, I think I can... I think... it's been five years. I'm gonna need some more fuel. (They use coal right?) Last time I did this course I think I made it to day 280... in TWO YEARS. But I'm feeling so productive with my time management challenge that I'm gonna try it "ONE MORE TIME!" (Cue the Daft Punk song.)
Here's a quick summary of the Course:
1- These exercises don't take a lot of time: PERFECT. Because I've already proven once that I'm a tad lazy.
2- Phase one: Undo the way you currently see now: Good. Will this also take away the view of the messy bedroom behind me?
3- Phase two: Acquire true perception: Which obviously includes me on TV, right? Or at least makes me as cool as Yoda?
4- Don't ever decide for yourself that there are some people, situations, or things that these ideas don't apply to: This means that co-worker you hate and your ex-boyfriend. The very nature of true perception is that it has no limits. Basically, the opposite of how we see now.
5- It doesn't matter if you don't understand, or even believe, a concept: Really??? Best part ever. Just by using the exercises every day, meaning and results will follow. "If you build it, they will come." Just remember, whatever the resistance, JUST DO IT.
So to make this a little more fun for everyone, I am attempting to make short videos about my experience. (We will see how consistently I do this because it involves me doing my hair.) I love to play and poke fun at the exercises a little, but I do actually take them very seriously. I just think "all work and no play, makes Alissa a dull girl." I promise I will never come at you in the bathroom with an ax, though. (If you don't get that reference I'm shaking my head at you. Go watch "The Shining." Classic Kubrick.) Also I apologize that this video won't be in the best format. I shot it vertically because social media and I don't vibe. Apparently, you have to shoot it horizontally but once I figured this out I was already done and, well, LAZY.
DAY 1: Nothing I see in this room (or on this street, from this window, in this place) means anything. Basically it tells you to look around your room and for every object you see say "This table does not mean anything." Etc. Here's my adventure:
Sometimes we think it’s funny to complain. I mean I have a whole repertoire of jokes. Like this woman came up to me and said, “You know, I saw on Dr. Phil that if you don’t make it by the time you’re 30 as a woman in the entertainment business, then you’re NEVER gonna make it.” And I’m like, “Thanks, Mom.” Because I’m already 30... ish.
Everyone has a good laugh at my dad and his constant storm cloud of pessimism, earning him the nickname “Eeyeore” at work. He makes a joke about how nothing goes right when he’s there. Any sports game he goes to, team is gonna lose. In line for a ride at an amusement park, ride’s gonna break down. Whenever I finally get someone to marry me... uhhh Dad I’m starting to rethink this walking me down the aisle thing. (Joking! But we may have to take you to a energy shaman first. 😜)
I'm not saying never joke. That's crazy talk. But I am saying maybe be more aware of what you're feeding into your mind. For example, one of my oldest friends reached out to me after my time management post and said we could be schedule accountability partners. So every night before bed we write out our schedules for the following day and send them to each other. (Or wake up, see she sent her schedule, then frantically write mine out that morning to send back.) When I saw her schedule, which consisted of massive amounts of child care, meal prep, and nursing, with only TWO HOURS of adult time, my immediate reaction was, "Wow I'm a selfish, narcissistic shit." I had a good chuckle to myself about how my biggest problems today were making sure I wrote out 20 marketing postcards to casting directors and trying to make it back in time from Jazz night for a midnight bed time. BUT am I sub consciously blocking my own success because I'm spoon feeding myself, "I'm a bad girl" soup?
I've never done a daily prompt before, but while browsing my Word Press reader to gain inspiration from all the other fun, witty blogs I follow, I saw this word, LECTURE, in the Daily Prompt and HAD to respond. Because, lately, I've been lecturing myself mercilessly.
Not long ago (the day before Thanksgiving to be exact) I was laid off from my job. I went through a whole range of emotions but ultimately decided this was a GREAT thing. I could do all the things I didn't have time for before. I could make all my dreams come true. Immediately. The sky was the limit.
Except for the fact that two months later, I'm not sure I'm any closer to my dream job, and daily errands are getting in the way of my much coveted writing jobs and acting business plan. And I am stressing. HARD. It's like I'm a kid in a candy shop. But instead of eating too much candy and getting sick, I look at my open schedule and end up banging my head against the wall. I SHOULD be able to blog and promote EVERY day. I SHOULD be able to get all my marketing materials out by now. I SHOULD be starring alongside Andrew Garfield in his next movie like YESTERDAY. All while working out 8 times a week and learning Mandarin. WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE??? Soon I end up in a cleaning binge (because if I can't control my career maybe I can control the mold in my shower) and end up looking like a crazed Julie Andrews.
What the heck is a chakra? And does it really matter if they’re all aligned? I mean, last time I checked my body stood straight upward. I’m not a New Age version of a play dough Gumbi. With one chakra way left, and another one squished into my face. I decided to investigate.
I’ve mentioned once or twice how much I LOVE Wanderlust Hollywood. Not only do they offer amazing yoga classes, they also offer meditation, kundalini, Sound baths, and my new favorite, Amplified Yoga. “What is this?” you ask. The best way I can describe it is you feel like you’re on ecstasy at a rave, except with no drugs. Which is an assumption because I’ve never done ecstasy. And I’ve never been to a rave. What it DOES have is a live DJ. (Yes! A live DJ playing a mixture of house and yoga music. It’s awesome!) And strobe lights. (Don’t worry. Those don’t go the whole class. I mean, we’d have a seizure.) But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The class started with us walking around the room making eye contact with each other. WHY IS MAKING EYE CONTACT so hard??? I feel like people today would rather stab themselves in the stomach and pull out their small intestines than smile as the make eye contact with a stranger. What do we expect to happen? The nice looking lady passing us on the sidewalk is actually Medusa? And if we look her dead in the eye we turn into stone? Or worse, forever undateable? Do we think if we make eye contact with a stranger they’re going to yell, “Stop looking at me Swan!” and then chase us ten blocks with a homemade machete made of glass? I mean, please. But, just in case, I’ll stick to smiling at people in crowded places. With lots of witnesses.
When I ask you how you feel about hugs, what do you say?
“Omg I LOVE hugs!”
Lies. People don’t love hugs. I mean we DO hugs. Obviously I hug my mom and Dad goodbye or I’ll hug a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. But these last about 1.5 seconds. And I NEVER hug the random guy I meet at a job interview. Or at Subway ordering a foot long. I’m not trying to get abducted. Or worse, have him smell my after gym B.O.
So I was blown away when I attended National Hugging Day at Agape International Spiritual Center yesterday, and was told that in order to feel the full effect of a hug it must last for over TWENTY SECONDS. It’s hard for me to wait the twenty seconds I put my coffee into the microwave after pouring too much almond milk in it. You want me to hug a stranger for 21 seconds?!?
This post is different today! I was reading a couple blogs by my peers (See. I do know that on the path of enlightenment EVERYTHING can't just be about me.) and I stumbled on a page by louisablog that was not only well written and informative, but also contained a prayer that resonated so deeply with me that I had to share. (Especially since just yesterday I was exploring how to restructure prayer!)
I hope this prayer awakens your own self love (cellulite thighs included) and inspires you to share that love today. And so it is!
SELF LOVE PRAYER