How I Became the Best Me… and Saw Some Dance

I attended the first annual Best You Expo in Long Beach, CA this past Saturday. And IT. WAS. AWESOME.

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But, at first, I came in skeptical because I got the tickets for free. And let's face it, how good could it REALLY be if they're handing these things out like demo tracks on Hollywood Boulevard? (And even THOSE cost $10 if you actually take one. Trust me. One time I was chased.) I received the tickets because I've taken a class on mindvalley.com and they sent me an email. I needed some kind refresher so I signed up for one along with another friend of mine.

When we first got there I still wasn't 100% sold. I was worried there would be red tape, like we could only see the speakers in the booths in the basement, who would tie us up and torture us with meditation until we bought their self help program. But it turned out we had access to everything. Still didn't know what everything was. But we had it.

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The first speaker talked about basic concepts like living in the now, instead of the past or the future. I've heard that one a billion gagillion times but, still, it was fine... until he showed us the trailer of the movie he is producing based on his life. Dude, I love your passion, but 1: You had a typo on the slides you showed us, proofread; and 2: your video quality was grainy and dialogue unoriginal.  I did not come here to see a similar version of my own life under florescent convention center lights. I wanted ANSWERS.

The second speaker we saw was on the Main Stage and deemed herself "The Happiness Guru." She was a very quirky lady who was OK being 100 percent herself. That in itself is a great message because I'm already second guessing my previous paragraph. Was I too mean? Will they know I'm just joking? Do you think the anonymous guy I was talking about will be one of my 57 readers? Anyway, she talked a lot about not listening to anyone else and following your own intuition. Also, don't focus on money. Focus on what makes you happy. Great. I really like writing this blog but I also need to pay rent. Suggestions, PLEASE?

Then comes Kyle Cease. Whom I am now IN LOVE with. (He has a fiance but does that REALLY matter in Hollywood? Joking. Kind of.) This isn't a physical thing, though. I love him because he is ME. He's doing what I want to do. And doing it very successfully and effortlessly. He is a stand up comic that uses his comedy to make people laugh at reality, simultaneously bringing a transformational message. I mean, he opened with ten minutes on how bad the venue was, calling the convention center an airplane hanger, calling out the other booths making noise. "Alaska airlines flight now boarding at Gate 1," he retorts when when we hear someone talking on a bullhorn off in the distance. I cannot do him justice but trust me, he was hilarious. He then went into the core of his message and I want to share the three main points I learned from him.

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  • FALL IN LOVE WITH NOT KNOWING

Fall in love with anything that is happening. Remember, what you resist persists. I instantly know this is why I was called to this Expo. He goes on to say that you'll never be happy WHEN something happens. First, BE happy, then something happens. Don't worry about being right or wrong. We only do that because we're trying to get something. If we're trying to get something that puts us in a place of lack and pushes it away. Translation in my head: Stop worrying about how many people read this. I do this because it's a passion of mine and makes ME happy. And like five people consistently read it.

Also stop worrying about what's going to happen. He points out that we get anxious by the thought, "I don't know what's going to happen." That's because we have a belief that we SHOULD know what's going to happen. Instead, feel your anxiety or your control issue, love it, and let it go! FALL IN LOVE WITH NOT KNOWING! That's when freedom happens!

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  • TAP IN TO YOUR INNER APPLE TREE

We've all heard that we can go inside and access the infinite, unconditional love that we are. That's the basis of meditation, getting in touch with God and hearing the truth from our souls. But how often do we REALLY trust this? Kyle assures us that we all have an Oprah or a Ghandi inside us so stop trying to be successful. Trust and let God and life flow. Stop being addicted to controlling things we can't control. Go inside and ask yourself, "what feels light and expands me?" Then follow that passionately. Stop caring what everyone else thinks! He asked us, "Do you think Elvis passed out comment cards after a show?" Do you think he cared? NO! He was freaking Elvis!

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The One Where I Learn About Chakras

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.

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To Fear or Not To Fear: Getting my head right

It's been four days since I've been officially out of work. A huge amount of emotion has run through me. Strangely, I had many feelings of sadness due to leaving this job. Not because I love serving people at a restaurant. (or at my old place of work being their actual servant!) I think I mourned the loss of community. Now, every day I'm by myself. And while I definitely crave more alone time to be productive, I'll also miss being a part of something bigger than myself. Of course, this is the time to create something NEW to be a part of that is bigger than myself! But that leads me to my next fear... how do I do that???

The one where I go to a cool bookstore and learn something new

An author named Brad Warner wrote a book called It Came From Beyond Zen! The book cover is complete with cool Sci-Fi lettering and a Buddhist monk entangled by a green slimy monster with 7 eyes. The blurb about his book mentioned he uses humor to put classic Buddhist teaching into modern language. He also used to be in a punk rock band and wrote another book called Don't Be a Jerk. My kind of guy. I was sold. I mean clearly our life purposes are the same. Except for the part where he's an ordained Buddhist Zen monk and I'm a waitress. And the part he was in a punk rock band and I still struggle to get from a G chord to a C chord on my guitar. And he knows who Dogen was and I had no idea. OK. Enough. We both don't take meditation so seriously we wear Mala prayer beads to breakfast and drink boba tea while dissecting our own auras. Good enough for me.

DAY 21: The one where even though I lose, I win.

Today is Day 21 of Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 day meditation challenge Desire and Destiny. Hallelujah!!! At the top of the meditation Deepak congratulated me for completing the 21 day challenge. (It's pre-recorded. He doesn't know it actually took me 45. But who's counting?) The centering thought of this very special mediation is, "My Destiny is joy." And it all focused on the idea that nothing is too extraordinary. If you can dream it, then you can do it. So go ahead, dream a bigger dream for yourself. I LOVED this meditation especially. I actually listened to it two days in a row because I was awaiting good news and expected to write you a jubilant conclusion to my meditation journey to prove that dreams really do come true. Except when they don't.

DAY 20: The one where I find another perspective

And we're in the home stretch!!! Day 20 of Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day meditation challenge Desire and Destiny. I've learned a lot on the journey. #1: Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. #2: Sometimes it's OK not to hit every single deadline as long as you're making progress and enjoying yourself on the way. And #3: I need to learn social media and marketing because at this rate I'll grow my page slower than my grandma can figure out how to send an email. And that is SLOW. But I really have learned a lot on this journey, along with my fair share of struggling. The biggest perk has been that the meditations give me a thought to focus on in the midst of my many emotional mood swings, peppered with anxiety and a dollup of depression.

DAY 16: Follow Your Bliss

Today is another day of meditation and enlightenment! And what better place to do this than at DISNEY WORLD?? That's right. I'm in Florida with my family for the next week tapping into my inner child. (Not that that's too hard. I'm pretty much a goofball all the time!)  So when I sat down to do day 16 of my meditation challenge Desire and Destiny it seemed perfect that the centering thought was, "Bliss be my guide." Uhhhh if I can't find bliss at Disney World then my problems are more serious than I thought.