Interior Design

Over this past holiday weekend, my wife and I redecorated our bedroom. Redecorate’s a generous way of putting it; we never decorated in the first place. Our bedroom was a mess of paintings and art thrown together to fill the big-white-wall when I filmed Girl Night Stand in the space years ago.

Sidenote – from one filmmaker to the next, don’t shoot intimate scenes in your intimate spaces. I digress…

Wikipedia defines Interior Design as “…the art and science of enhancing the interiors of a space or building to achieve a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user.” I’ve fallen in love with the term “Interior Design.” Through the lens of yoga, and trying to get a handle of our own interior workings through meditation, breath control, mantra, etc., our day-to-day’s the art and science of enhancing our personal interiors to achieve a healthier, and most definitely, aesthetically pleasing environment for the end user [you and me].

Our surroundings are a reflection of our interior workings, in many ways, self-created. The process of redoing our bedroom was a beautiful meditation on this. We had an idea, it seemed overwhelming, but it was just a matter of tackling the endeavor one step at a time, taking the images in our head and bringing them to fruition. The most simple way of putting it – turning our dream into reality. Interior design’s a wonderful demonstration of this concept, which carries through in all aspects of life. First, there’s an idea. Next, we have to figure out how to bring the idea into the world. Finally, we must take action.

I’ve been reading Ray Dalio’s Principles. Last night, as a perfect summation of the weekend, I read “Learning how reality works, visualizing the things I want to create, and then building them out is incredibly exciting to me.” By gaining control of our own interior, and seeing a life that matches with that interior, it’s up to us to take that interior design, take action, and externally design a life that matches with it. Through trial and error, slowly, your dream home (and life) take shape.

Book I’m currently reading: Principles

Favorite song of the week: Playground

Favorite recipe of the week: Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash substituting the sausage with Beyond Meat to make it vegetarian.

Reflective Run

Definitely the happiest runner at the #NYCHalfMarathon Go @jennalaurenzo !

A photo posted by Aine O’ Dwyer (@aineod8) on Mar 15, 2015 at 6:11am PDT

It’s March! How did that happen? I’m going to write about running again…

After the Philadelphia half marathon, my fiancé entered us into the lottery for NYC’s half marathon.  Well, I got picked. Solo. Running through Times Square was an amazing experience. The lights, the cheering people – it’s all a bundle of inspiration that ignites the spirit to push further.  I hope to do a full marathon one day.

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With the solo time I was able to go into deep reflection over the past year.   January marked the ten year anniversary of wave day:

I can’t help celebrating life recalling that memory.  While the experience was scary, I wouldn’t trade having faced fear head on.  The reality is, we create so much drama for ourselves.  But having been on a ship that near capsized, it helps keep the “drama” in perspective.  Thank you Semester at Sea for teaching me what “high stakes” really means.  I try to keep life grounded, and bring the high stakes to my writing.  It’s a worthwhile challenge.

Within the year I got engaged, bought a condo, met Radhanath Swami a handful of times, studied with my yoga teacher, lived in a LA for a few months, developed a stint of Alopecia (what?!), grew that hair back, blamed LA for the hair loss, got over that, wrote a ton, and ran two half marathons with a lot to reflect on.  The second of which I never stopped running.  Those neon pink shoes kept a continuous pace pounding the pavement for 13.1 miles.  It was a personal victory.  As all trial, tribulation, success and triumph should be.  We all have our own mountain to climb.  Fulfillment lies in the ability to bring our personal peak performance inspired by experiences and people who teach us along the way.

I couldn’t help but smile through the race.  Gratitude inspired each step.  It’s been a hell of a year and I knew pancakes awaited me after the finish line.

Ride the Wave

 

SURFvenice_Jul202014_3665During a yoga class, recently, I found myself asking why the hell I was putting myself through anguish after we had been holding a posture for what felt like eternity.  “Why did I willingly show up for this hell?!”  But once the drama in my head calmed down, a thought bubbled up to the surface: Because it’s good for you.  That same weekend a friend of mine took me surfing for the first time.  It was a whole lot of falling before I finally stood up.  When exhaustion set in and a giant wave smacked me in the face, again I asked myself “What the hell am I doing!?”  But after regrouping and sitting on the board looking out into the ocean I thought, “This is a learning experience.  I’m game to play with the waves.”

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Often enough we relish in the drama.  Our patience is tested, our minds start to yell, and then our emotions join the party.  Before we know it we’re distracting ourselves with so many fantastically developed narratives about what’s going on instead of sitting in what’s actually going on.  Sitting in a posture for a extended period of time allows us to confront ourselves, head on.  Once the muscles start aching and sweats falling in the eyes, we come face to face with our threshold and are given a choice.  Do I flee from the posture by either jumping out of the pose and/or distracting myself with a novel worth of thoughts?  Or do I hold steady and allow the sensation to keep me engaged in the present moment to explore and find a way to find ease within that moment?

I was forced to write 7 drafts of a single script within a week.  My patience was tested and I literally wanted to punch someone.  But my mom said something pretty wise: “Sweetie, at least with each new draft it gets better.”  It was true.  The story and comedy came to life in a more focused and specific way with each new draft.  And now the final script is exactly what it should be [of course there will always be tweaking]. The excessive rewriting gave me the opportunity to stick with the process through the frustration and eliminate all that didn’t best serve the execution of telling the story.

Each day we have the opportunity to practice staying present through the waves of sensation we find ourselves riding.  Through the waves we’re given an opportunity to learn something about ourselves and then we can move on, hopefully a little lighter, slowly removing those storylines and tangents that don’t best serve the story we’re trying to tell.

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Don’t flee from the wave.  Ride it! Maybe even fall a little.  Every time you stand back up you’re bringing newfound knowledge.  When fatigue’s set in, remember beneath the wave there’s an all pervading calm we can always return to.

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Commencement

Commencement: a beginning or start.

I love to break up my morning writing sessions with a good commencement speech.

There’s so much promise in a commencement speech, sending graduates off into the world with wisdom that hopefully inspires choices that lead to actions, that somehow equate to success and happiness in their future.

The fact of the matter is we don’t need to graduate from anything to indulge in a good ‘ol commencement.  The dawn of each new day allows us to indulge in such on a daily basis if we choose.

With that knowledge comes great responsibility – it means that every day, upon rising, we set off on an adventure.  Remember those choose your own adventure books? Every day we step into our own story, and choose our own adventure.  Our personal story is our own choosing.  It’s terrifying!  Do I choose to wake up and reach for my phone, check my e-mails, etc.  Or do I wake up and decide to slay a dragon on that particular day?

I’ve been consciously trying to partake in activities that make me uncomfortable.  I went paddle boarding last week – paddled hard and got nowhere, real fast.  My fiancé and I were not informed how bad the current was.  But it was an adventure.  It was something I’d never done before.  And then I went skimboarding for the first time in ten years.  I HATE being bad at things.  It was rough. But it forced me to dive back into that childlike playfulness I often loose track of.

Now, in fairness, I was on somewhat of a vacation – which inevitably provides time to play and have adventures.   BUT – creating space for a daily adventure, even as mundane as an early morning walk vs. the immediate jump to e-mails, creates space for us to choose our own destiny instead of blindly walking into a fate determined by habit vs. our own free will.

A lifetime is a series of commencements leading up to an ending that’s as climactic as you make it!  Step into your own adventure book and write the page-turner worth reading.