This blog post is long overdue. I feel like I have to start every blog post by saying sorry. Sorry I don't post more frequently. I really am. For you, and for me. My friends and followers deserve more updates, and I deserve more time to sit down and process and reflect on everything that's going on - each day, each week, and each month - as I move through this year in Hollywood.
I've often told myself that I'm good at reflection - good at evaluating situations and their effects, good at reflecting on myself. But I have to admit I'm nowhere as good at it as I'd like to think. But I can also admit that I've been getting better.
Through YAV, and DOOR, and My Friend's Place we talk a lot about self-care. It's crucial for our mental and physical health. But me, I've never really been too good at it. I sometimes get jealous of and frustrated by people who seem to just know what they need for self care. I've always been one to just push through and say I'll be ok. But then I burn out, somehow gather the pieces, and start over again. It's taken this year for me to really start focusing on what tools I need and have to care for my own well-being. What I have known is that I need a good balance of being surrounded by good people and some quality alone time. Lately, I've actually been using some of that alone time for meditation. I've always thought about practicing mediation but have only lately been making it happen. It isn't always fully successful, but when it is my head becomes clear and I feel grounded and more peaceful. It's grand.
A few Mondays ago, we went up to St. Andrew's Abbey for a mini silence and solitude retreat. I absolutely loved it. I spent the morning atop a desert mountain just past a cemetery. I found a good little spot and plopped down. After jotting down some initial thoughts, I let my mind go blank and allowed my spirit to take over my body as I moved around my sandy plot. I then just laid there until it was time to move down the mountain and have lunch, silently, with the rest of the group. After lunch, I found a totally different spot and laid down in thin grass under some pine trees. I rotated between little naps, just being, and reading. I may or may not have also been rotating from laying in different piles of what I imagine was rabbit poo - but hey, I was one with nature. We broke silence over dinner and then headed back home. It was a very grounding, calming, and clearing day and couldn't have come at a better time.
Let's keep talking Mondays. We don't go to our respective placements on Mondays and use that time to spend together as a community. We usually take advantage of these "Community Days" to take care of business - house meetings, grocery shopping, and whathaveyou. The rest of the time we fill with some quality family fun. Earlier this month Brent and I planned a community day out at Paramount Ranch. It's a cool park in the Santa Monica mountains with old western movie sets. The sets are still used today and while we were there they were wrapping up shooting the hulu series Quickdraw. I dressed the part and had a big ol' time posing for pictures.
We also recently took a tour on Skid Row, which contains a concentrated portion of Los Angeles's homeless population. Rudy, a grand fellow who works at Housing Works and a couple of former dwellers, drove us around pointing out some [not always so] successful agencies and resources. Rudy was full of good stories and info. One of the main things that stuck with me was dumping - hospitals and law enforcement agencies would just literally dump homeless folks at a street corner.
Skid Row is downtown and we spend our time working in Hollywood, so it was cool, so to speak, to spend some time in this infamous part of the city.
Last Monday, we headed out to Venice Beach for the day. John and Tara put together a fun little photo scavenger hunt, so we spent the morning running around taking pictures of random things with random people. We had lunch in Venice and then spent the afternoon chilling on the beach.
Makes Mondays not so bad.