Monday, July 28, 2014

Braving New Adventures & Learning to Carry a Lighter Rack

I should probably explain the title before I begin to ramble like I do. For those of you who do not climb, specifically trad/alpine climb, let me explain a few details about the sport so you understand the analogy as it applies to my present journey.

A rack is the collection of protection you use on a climb. Each climb requires a different amount and type of protection. When you set out for a long alpine climb you have to consider how much protection you will need and how much of that protection you can do without.  The goal is to only carry with you the necessary pieces so that you can move quicker and be more efficient. The gamble is leaving some pieces behind - although you know you probably won't need them and you rarely ever use them on this type of climb - there's always the slight chance these pieces could come in handy - then what? More then anything it's about the security of having too much because of the fear and challenge of not having what you think you need. 

This morning I began to pack boxes of belongings as I prepare to move in a month or less. I'm going through my closets and cupboards finding myself faced with the decision, do I take this with me or do I leave it behind? I'm moving in with a friend who owns a home about a half hour from Boulder in Golden. It's a beautiful location and will offer a lot of new benefits such as a shorter commute to work and to climbing areas, access to a garden by walking out my back door, and the company of new roommates who can share life experiences and lessons with me. It's exciting and it's very scary. I like my apartment now, I like when and how and where I commute to. I like my roommate. I like where all my things are. I've been in this apartment for four years now and it's a place of security for me. So why move? Well my current roommate is branching off on a new adventure and getting married. I can't afford to live alone and at the same time I wasn't having luck finding someone to move in - actually I was hardly making an effort to look. I knew in my heart that it was time to branch off myself and seek a new adventure. I have learned a lot about myself and about the life I want these past four years of living in Broomfield. Now it's time to use that knowledge and move on to the next destination - one that offers new excitements and new uncertainties.  So what do I take and what do I let go of? It's like going from climbing in Boulder Canyon to climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park. I know the canyon and where I can go and what I need to take. It's easy to get to, it's low commitment/risk, and its very easy and acceptable to carry in too much gear - just say it's for weight training :) It's still a fun and enjoyable place to go, but maybe it's time to branch out and adventure somewhere new. Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park is exciting but uncertain. It forces you to pack lighter and hone into the experiences you had in Boulder canyon and apply those lessons and skills to a new, bigger climb. One that will have you thinking more critically and creatively.  
This is why i have chosen to move to Golden. I could spend the rest of my life in this apartment but then I know I would be ever more complacent. i wouldn't grow - I would miss out on the chance to have new struggles and find new joys. It is exciting to be on the approach to a new adventure. You have a sense of what it looks like and may feel like, but you're not quite sure 100% of what the experience will bring. As I pack and prepare I find myself with the decision to let go of much of what I hold onto in my apartment now, I know I don't need it, I rarely use it - I need to learn to trust, have faith, and carry a lighter load. 

This doesn't just apply to my climbing or living situations - but I'm also finding it applies to my career and to my relationships. Let me start with career..

I made a significant leap of faith this summer by not working the extra few part time jobs I have these previous summers.  Owning a business and teaching doesn't bring in a lot of cash - I make my ends meet every month - but there's always that fear that eats at me of not having money. So instead of just trusting that the one or two jobs I have is enough, in the past I have had up for six or so jobs at one time. It's a lot to carry and I am very very tired - mentally, physically, and emotionally. So I let go and made the decision to keep the jobs that are necessary to continue on my adventure of my career, and leave behind the ones that aren't. Last week I had my first rejection from a possible client. Another tendency I have created is that I will go after any opportunity for a new client even if it doesn't always appeal to me in terms of production, content, or budget. In my head everything and anything is better then just a few or nothing... 
I didn't really want the production, but I was afraid of what would happen if I didn't take it. Would I regret it later down the road? Would it have saved something in my life? Probably not. But it's a constant concern. By not having it however I am more available to really focus on what I do have for projects without all the extra weight on my shoulders.   If I have learned anything in my five years of living on my own it's that I have never been without. And at the end of the day - or end of the month (bill time) - I always have what I need to get me through to the next day.. month.. etc. Take the protection you know you need and feel confident enough that you will get to the next pitch safely even it brings a little struggle. 

Relationships are a hard area to admit excess to, at least for me. I tend to want to hold onto every person that comes my way just in case..
What if I have no one to adventure with? What if I have no one to talk to? But as we move on in life relationships will inevitably change and sometimes you have to decide to leave some behind. Carry with you the ones who have always been there, the vital pieces you always know you can fall on and will get you through the new cruxes of life. Hold onto the few that promise more. It's ok to leave behind the pieces, or people, who have been great to you but aren't necessary to keep and carry forever. Feel free to have a lighter burden of who you give your heart to so that the few you do keep with you really have it. 
Security for me isn't a good thing. It really does convince me to cap where I'm going and what I want. Moving to Golden is my new adventure. And I'm going with a lighter load of materials, relationships, and jobs. I have a sense of what I need and I'm looking forward to being challenged to be creative and work with what I have for whatever may come of this new mountain. I am quite nervous about this all and very hesitant of what to pick and choose to take and what not to.  I am nervous about letting go of some relationships to free myself up for something better. I am nervous about not being overloaded with work and just being productive with a few projects. But I'm excited too for all of it. I know this is the right time to be adventuring out into some new areas. And challenges will come but so will pleasures. And I'm capable of continuing on with life and going for these new climbs with the essentials.
Its not always better to have more then less. (the battle of quantity versus quality). I want to know that mentally, emotionally, and physically I am ready and I don't need to burden and exhaust myself. And I do believe when I look back on this all I will be thankful I took only what I needed. 
And then there's times when you just want to leave all the gear at home and just head up the mountain with the company of a best friend.  Adventuring with Jess as she & I both anticipate our own new adventures in life. 

Seize every day as an adventure and your spirit 
will soar when you discover the wonderful 
surprises life has to offer


Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Cards We're Dealt

I woke up this morning singing "you gotta know when to hold them... know when to fold them.." Somehow it's appropriate for where I have found myself as of late. Kind of cheesy but bear with me.. 

Back in February I received an email telling me the courses I was currently enrolled in for grad school were not going to count towards my degree … huh? How could that be? But after some email exchanging it was confirmed that I had enrolled in two classes that specifically were not considered for the program I'm in. What to do? These courses were on-line classes, which if you've ever taken a class online you know they demand more time then in-seat courses. The irony of it all was it was the first time in my grad school career I was really enjoying my classes and I was really putting in a solid effort. The horrific part was that my graduation date was postponed and I was out a lot of money. Again what to do? My first reaction was to finish the courses - push through since I had finished seven of the ten weeks they involved. At the same time, which may come as a surprise to you, I was really overbooked with work. No one ever told me that starting a business was like having a child - it demands 100% of your time and energy. So between work and school I was pulling 85+ hour work weeks and trying to squeeze in the little bit of outdoor friend time that I could. I had a climbing trip planned to Canada at the end of February so if I stayed in the classes I would be writing my finals in Canada. I tried that once, taking finals on vacation, last year when I went to Mexico & California in November. When I look back at those two weeks all I can think is what an awful experience that was. I'm not suggesting that ice climbing is more important then my studies - although it's much more enjoyable - but I realized sometimes you just need to know when to walk away or in this case run. And so I did.

I think its important to hold true to values, standards, and draw lines of what you believe is right and wrong for yourself. If I've learned anything in my short life it is that if I allow myself to do so, I will take life way to seriously. And I will leave this earth a very tired, grumpy old woman. Life isn't all fun and games, but it isn't all work and stress either. When I was in Canada there was a day when Cheryl was just very tired and the ice wasn't so great, and so I asked her what she was thinking.. and she answered, "I'm asking myself what's my motivation right now?" Why am I doing what I'm doing? Not that every decision or action we make should bring us happiness, but some things just aren't worth comprising yourself or your peace of mind over. It's like when I hear women planning their weddings and they're just stressed over the details and the work of it. I can't understand why you would then keep on planning your miserable wedding.. it's not worth the anxiety. And in my case with school and work and the idea of vacation I realized that my motivation to complete the courses was because I was scared of failure. My motivation was to please others, to respond the way everyone would expect me to respond, and to comprise my own sanity.. In this case I knew I had to run. I was about to turn my vacation into a miserable experience.  I don't regret dropping the courses and I'm hoping by the Grace of God I can get my money back. But the decision I made allowed for me to have an opportunity that brought me the upmost joy. I spent 10 days in the Canadian Rockies with my amazing mentor and friend Cheryl. 

Relationships can be like that too. Friends, family, significant others - "what's my motivation.. why am I doing what I'm doing?" More often then not it has been to please the other. Sometimes that's a good thing - a great thing - but not always. And it's been a tough lesson for me to learn. I remember realizing after Christopher died that I had been spending my college career working so hard to:
1. Earn respect and prove myself to my department, my colleagues, and my employers 
2. To be the opposite of Christopher who couldn't succeed in school and work

I really have hurt myself with the motivation of another's happiness. In the past few years I've learned however that sometimes you need to hold on to the cards, and people, in your life even through the challenges because it's what grows you as a person. And sometimes you just need to cut your losses and walk away. Not to worry about the "what-ifs" or feeling like you need to hold on with the fear they'll be the only ones to come into your hands.  Let these lessons prepare you for when new relationships do begin- kind of like playing cards. You know what works and what doesn't. There's no need to hold tightly when you know it's a loss. And sometimes you find yourself given a hand that has potential and it's worth at least seeing through. For me, that grey area is a hard spot to be in.  I'm so afraid of failure or disappointing myself, or the other, that my reaction is often to run. Meagan spoke some truth to me the other night however when she said "Anne you're not the girl you use to be. You wouldn't let yourself fall into the old tendencies you use to." Hmm.. kind of like when I went to Canada over working. Yes when I was 20 I would've stayed, canceled my vacation, and worked. But not this time. 

I'm thankful for the hands I've been dealt in the past - the ones I've kept and the ones I've walked away from. And I know throughout life I'll be given more that I'll need to make the decision to keep or discard. But at the end of it all it has to come down to what's your motivation - what do you value - what's the result of your decision. For me it's about always pursuing peace with the journey I'm on, not always running but not always holding on either. 

So whether its work, relationships, school - uncertainties will continue to pop up, and you will have to decide what's the worth of it to you. And in each a decision will be made to hold, fold, walk away, or run.  But remain true to yourself. Think of what your motivation is, and don't regret when you finally make the decision. I don't believe in an easy road out - I think every decision comes with some kind of doubt and/or sorrow. But that's just the beauty of life - we're able to keep moving forward and if we have faith we will be given all that we need. And we will have peace when we're done. 

Speaking of peace..  

“Take pride in how far you've come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don't forget to enjoy the journey"


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Eudaimonia - The Result of Living a Virtuous Life

As if it was something new to report, life is extremely busy - but for all the right reasons. As 2014 rolled around I was trying to wrap up old projects and prepare for new projects. My life in the past year has gone from waking up most days of the week thinking.. "what should I do today to pass the time?" to waking up with an inbox full of work emails and meeting emails and new adventure emails, an office space calling to me with nine drives just waiting to be fired up so they can spit out hours of video footage, and running around in my little SUV bouncing from shoot to meeting to class to socializing to climbing. How does she do it? Honestly, I really have no idea. I have a thought to actually count my work hours, climbing hours, and sleeping hours but I think I'd rather just pretend like I'm a balanced person ;) 

I ended 2013 at home with my family and my friends. The trip was extremely restful, refreshing, and enjoyable. There is something so special about having a history with someone. The ability to connect after many months.. and even years... have gone by and still have a deep rooted love with that other is a tremendous gift. I moved to Colorado without much of a plan.. and in the past five years so much has evolved it's hard to really grasp where I'm at and what I'm actually doing - let alone figure out where I'm going. But in the midst of all of it, I found my constant in my life are the relationships I've formed along the way.  They've seen me through a lot, and know me inside and out.. and even though we've all changed in our own way, our relationship hasn't. That's really precious and I'm really grateful. 

I didn't make any new year resolutions but I do think it's important to set new goals or intentions  in your life to strive for. And this year I want to work on being better at chilling out and just being fine with what each day gives. "Do not be anxious, but instead pray about everything, and give thanks to God for all he has provided" It's true, I'm well taken care of. He's given me a family in Pennsylvania, and now a family in Colorado. I tend to really worry about what is next.. who will be in my life.. who is going to leave my life.. where my next job opportunity or climbing opportunity will come from (or will it come at all?!) But if history shows me anything it's that I'm never without.   So this year I'm striving to remember that and to be happy with that - to celebrate my life and my relationships daily.  And to be ok with waiting for the next opportunity, but still continually moving in the directions I feel called. 

In business, adventure, and love I have met the most amazing people and continue to do so. And through it all the history I've made with others remains - thankfully! For Christmas my mother gave me this little bag that said "see the world, but come home for love" It's true. I am going to see the world, and the best part of these journeys will be the people I meet along the way and the new relationships I have the chance to form, but nothing compares to the home I've found in PA and in CO. 

Thankful for all the love and support throughout these few short years, and thank you for all the encouragement to keep on going. I know this is where I'm suppose to be, and today I just feel so energized to be on the path I'm on - even if its long and unclear of the destination - if you know me, I'm all about the heinous approaches ;) 

I posted this on FB, but thought I'd share it again - It was an excerpt from some reading I had to do for a grad course in building partnerships and businesses - I thought it was good and resonated well with my own intention to start a company and pursue production. 

All human beings desire happiness. For Aristotle, “Happiness” or eudaimonia is the result of living a virtuous life. This “happiness” could also be described as fulfillment and flourishing (success). Acting virtuous means doing things well or acting according to reason excellently used. But happiness is not a purely individual matter, for it can only be realized within a network of relations with others. We are social animals and we need one another in order to reach our perfection as human beings. So the notions of virtue and eudaimonia are nested in a yet a wider context of society or community. Virtue implies a social context. Virtues by definitions place one in a relationship with others. In such a framework there is no distinction between self-interest and social mindedness. Acting virtuously takes on to respect others in the community while at the same time perfecting oneself and living a meaningful existence. In this model the important point is that doing one ought or striving to be virtuous is not counter but conductive to the good life. Fulfilling one’s responsibilities helps one to become the sort of person one wants to become, leads one to respect others, and fulfills and gives meaning to the actor.

Me and my grandmother hanging out ! 


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Muscle Memory

It been a while since I've sat and filled this space with thoughts and updates. I don't really have a profound statement to make today, or a life question to offer into the world, I am simply just trying to bring myself back into the routine of writing. A friend told me the other night at dinner that getting back into writing is just like getting back into any practice, you simply have to just start. And soon with some time, and muscle memory kicking in, the words will begin flowing again. 

Since my enrollment in grad school, I have lost serious interest in reading and writing recreationally - mainly because reading and writing is so heavily required at school. But lately I have missed the excitement I use to feel when I would sit and write. And I have really missed the engagement I use to find with a good story. Now if I sit still long enough to open up a book, I'm out - dead asleep. (Which also happens when I try to read all the required texts for class too.. oy I'm an awful grad student!) 

Life has been going and going and going these past few years since I've moved to Colorado and the benefit of this blog for me is that I can go back and remember the little moments of my journeys that have been lost in the overall picture. 

I reread my blog posts last night from my time in Nepal and it was as if I was experiencing it for the first time again. TomTom (my roommate) and I were talking last night how Tolkien's writings are like that - you can go back and reread his books time and again and always find something new that you didn't remember from the last time you read his stories. Not that I am anywhere close to being the brilliant author as he was, but I have found that the benefit of writing gives me the chance to go back and find things about my own journey that I didn't notice, realize, or remember. 

2013 has been a full packed year - I started my own company, I enrolled in grad school, I was blessed to be a part of new productions that truly challenged me in unbelievable ways and moved me forward, my nephew was born, I took on some larger mountain objectives, I bought a new car, I moved my company into it's own office space, I am a part of two amazing documentaries that truly are making significant strides in community and leadership building, I have made some amazing new friends and climbing partners who not only encourage and grow me in the outdoors, but also as a person, Alyssa and I finally put our crafts in a public show, and I have the great opportunity to experience some of my dearest friends finding their soul mates and begin planning their wedding life together, Chris and I have made some really good meals, and I've been able to grow in the relationships and roles of my life. 

Its been a whirlwind. And the other day I was telling my Mom that 2014 is already filling up, I'm about booked until September! It is hard to fit in all my commitments and desires into my day-to-day and sometimes its even harder to then remember all the special details and moments of those days. So here I sit, in an effort to document and to share this life of mine.  I'm getting ready to travel for the holidays and be with my family. And I'm looking forward to the new year and all the adventures it will offer. I'm looking forward too to remembering to take the time to sit, write, and reflect - Happy Wednesday.


“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though I oft have passed them by
A day will come at last when I
Shall take the hidden paths that run
West of the Moon, East of the Sun.” - J.R.R. Tolkien 


Friday, January 4, 2013

From Rock Star to Rock Climber

Have you ever paused and taken notice to how our dreams, hobbies, outlooks, relationships, interests continue to change as we grow older. Well of course.. its because we gain perspective, experience, and acceptance of what can be and what can never be. 

I was very excited the other night because I was able to purchase my first brand new set of ice climbing tools. I love this sport, like deeply madly insanely love this sport. Frozen water is truly magnificent. And I am humbled by the grace it gives for us climbers to hack sharp objects into it and ascend on up. It's actually a very odd activity now that I think about it but I never would have thought of myself as an ice climber two.. five.. or ten years ago. 

This morning I received an email that a lady wanted to purchase my guitar for her daughter. I put up an ad the other day to sell it and all of the accessories I've gotten for it over the years because truthfully it has sat in the corner of my room the past three years that I've lived in my apartment practically untouched. (I did pick it up once about seven months ago to play, but as I was tuning it the strings snapped and so I put it back on the stand and went for a run instead.) Ice climbing is an expensive sport, and so is buying groceries. So I thought its probably time to get rid of the things that are collecting dust in my life and make a little cash to pay the odds and ends. But I was humbly surprised at the instant reaction of resistance  to answer this woman's reply now that the time has actually come to sell my guitar. Its very special to me. Two of my dearest friends from High School gave me this guitar for my 21st birthday present since my dream at the time was to quite everything I was doing and play at coffee shops in the city.. my boyfriend then gave me beginner books and encouraged me to play and my roommate put up with me practicing the same five cords over and again for months because it was all I knew.. and all my free time and money was spent going to concerts and admiring/observing the way the musicians flowed with their instruments hoping I one day too would be able to play so well.  So I'm saying goodbye to more then just the physical guitar. I'm saying goodbye to the way the relationships once were and to the dreams I once had and the life I once wanted.

I was just home for the holidays.. Pennsylvania that is. I don't go back East often mainly because it's expensive and I'm busy, but the opportunity to spend Christmas and New Years with family and friends opened up and so I traveled back for a week. When I call home to my parents or talk to my friends I always get the same sound bites.. "oh nothing new here. Nothing ever changes in Butler (Pittsburgh).." but that's not true. Again I was pleasantly surprised and humbled by just how much things have changed in such a short time. And how I noticed more since I've been gone. My relatives (forgive me for saying this) are aging and so the conversations and energy have changed. Its not bad but I had to come to terms that no one lasts forever. I'm really really thankful for my family, and am madly insanely more in love with them then anything else I have in my life.  It was something that I realized or took notice to more when I was with them. How I wish I could take all of them back to my life in Colorado or how I wished I could bring my life in Colorado back to Pennsylvania. That can't be the case, but still I wish it could. Home for me is no longer in PA, but sometimes I wish it were. 

As I was driving to and from visits with friends I realized just how beautiful Pennsylvania really is. The trees and the open fields are incredible. I would go on morning runs up and down the hills, past frozen lakes and around old houses and have complete excitement for the views and fresh air. I never noticed just how peaceful and promising this place was. And for the first time when I was in Pittsburgh I saw just how amazing this city is. The structures and layout is incredible. When production crews use to come to town members I worked with would rave of how timeless and great Pittsburgh was. (I thought Pittsburgh was old and dead to be honest.) But now, after leaving and coming back, yeah it really is beautiful. And the buildings hold history and stories and passion. I could have walked in awe of that city for hours.

Four years really has changed a lot. Friends have moved away for work and love. Friends have stayed for work, found love, and are now having babies. Some friends are working on trying to find new love and new jobs and new directions.. And yet it doesn't feel like I've been gone that long. What I wasn't expecting was to feel the resistance to let go of what once was. I'm very excited for all of them and I'm excited for myself. But maybe for the first time I allowed myself to feel a bit of sadness that when I do visit again some of these friends won't be in town to catch up. And some will have to bring their children along so they can't go to karaoke bars anymore. And some will have wives and it won't be acceptable to hang out with their old gal pal Anne alone. These are not bad things, oh my gosh these are beautiful exciting new directions, but I have put PA and my memories there in a bubble and now I have to break that bubble and let all those I love so dearly be freed to grow and move and change in my mind. 

For the past few months I've had this "out-of-body" perspective where I've seen my friends and family in Colorado change, grow, move in new directions and it's really exciting. But with that comes the ultimate reality that I have to be willing to change too. In my own life I'm constantly moving, exploring, seeking, changing... but I think in a way I've always expected everyone else to just stay put so that I can pursue my own desires but I can also have them stay exactly where they are so I don't lose them. Its selfish and silly. I really do love to see my friends and family grow and chase their wild dreams. It brings me a lot of joy to see passion being lived out the way I try to live out my own passions. But it also gives me slight anxiety when I have to consider how their new dreams change the dynamics of my life. This is growing up. I think what 2012 really presented to me was preparation that things will begin to change more rapidly and dramatically so its time to face it. It will come with some growing pains on my end, some acceptance despite disagreement on the dynamics that need to change in certain relationships. And I have to wonder and consider how my own life and decisions and dreams have effected and will effect others. 

Change is good. New dreams are great. And so are new experiences, relationships, perspectives, and opportunities. When I was 21 years old and received that guitar as a gift I wanted to be a kick-ass news reporter, I wanted to bring justice in the Middle East, I wanted to live in a city and wear pretty dresses and drive an SUV and travel all the time.

Now, five short years later, I still want to travel all the time. And occasionally I want to put on a pretty dress. But I also want to climb big mountains, and I'd rather ride my bike then drive. And although I still want to use media as a means of social justice, I have a very different approach. And the relationships that surrounded me at the time of my guitar are still in life, but they are very different. I'm happy and blessed by it all.   I have to smile, tear up, and enjoy the dreams that once were and be excited for the dreams that are now. So this is goodbye to my guitar, hello to my ice tools. 

Through it all its really awesome to know that the best things in life, the love and support and memories and laughs shared with those I love and share life with will always.. always stay the same.  

Out with the old

In with the new

Monday, October 15, 2012


I had originally constructed a blog with this title "Realizations" a few days ago, but didn't feel really into it and was very hesitant about posting it. Normally when I write I just go with it.. type it all out, proof it quickly, then post it and let it be... 

I was thinking about this unposted entry tonight and how I wasn't telling you anything new, or anything I haven't said in a different way before. The past month or so I've been a part of the Boulder International Film Festival Selection Committee.. which means I'm on the jury that yay's or nay's submissions. One of the biggest critiques into why a lot of films don't make the cut is that they aren't telling us anything new. Same old story.. told the same old way. NEXT!

Sometimes themes have a way of repeating themselves in our lives just like they have a way of repeating themselves in movies.  Doesn't mean they aren't worth telling but the question or challenge should then be, are you going to tell the story differently? And if so, how?

I was driving home tonight from a long day of conversations. Good conversations. Conversations about new opportunity, current struggles, people standing up for what they believe in; and I had this crazy warm energy stirring up in me. I really just wanted to take that energy and go for a long run to embrace it.

So when considering the post I had originally written under this title, I had a new realization.. I was telling the same story the same way about my life lately. So the question then to follow is do I want to make the story, the blog, different or do I just keep writing and expressing myself the same old way? Don't misunderstand this as me saying I've been doing things wrong lately because I don't see that to be true. But there are some things that I'd like to start doing differently. That's just growth and that is really exciting. This is me embracing realizations.

I'd like to be more centered. I would like to be present in the moment. So I bought a bike and instead of driving everywhere I now try to ride my bike as many places as I can. For one it cuts back on gas money so I don't have to constantly be worrying where my next pay check will be coming from to pay for the fuel in my tank. And for another I get to experience a different view of the streets and neighborhoods I travel down so much. Denver is gorgeous from a bike. I don't even mind traffic. And I love knowing that I can only go as fast my legs will peddle. Somedays thats a pretty decent speed and other days not so much. So however long it takes to get to my next destination depends on me being present and listening to my own physical strength. I really like riding my bike over driving. 

I'm back in school and its difficult. I realize that I"m treating grad school a lot like I did upgrad.. do a lot of work and spend very little time doing anything else. Same story. Well I'd like to really be present in my classes and I'd like to get to know the people around me. Its my colleagues that have much to teach me about life, servitude, education, travel.. I don't want to overlook or breeze past this opportunity.

I want to continue to be tenacious in my beliefs and grow in my passions. Its exciting for me to say that I have a long list that keeps growing of new productions and network opportunities. But it will require taking some big risks, walking away from some people and jobs that have been staples for me these past few years, and running forward with ideas and new connections that I have no idea where they will lead. But that's exciting. And its scary. But mostly exciting.. and scary. That to me is the greatest adventure we can journey off into. Dream chasing, risk taking, daring to be passionate. I'm jonesed.

I, more then ever, am excited about my work. What drives me to want to be a film producer? Human connections. Learning about lifestyles, beliefs, practices. Living and experiencing all that life brings with another, that's fulfilling to me. I'm not great at it, I do like my space.  However my job at the Farmer's Market has really created in me an urge to make connections. I've seen and felt the impact and joy and love found from making eye contact with a new person and inviting them into your world. (Especially over delicious food!) Relationships change. Some of them flourish and some of them fall out of sight. But there's always room for new relationships and there's always room to continue to grow and love the ones you're in.

Someone pointed out to me tonight that life is about making new moments. The real fun is finding ways to make the moments different and memorable. So be present. And be excited. Challenges come when you know you're on the right track. So go after them.

School, work, play, relationships.. I'm challenged by them all lately. But this has happened before.. so time to mix it up a bit, try something new, and realize that at the end of the day life is good and I am blessed.

“There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt.” Audre Lord



Friday, July 20, 2012

Learning from the Wildfire

I was in Colorado Springs yesterday for a production. We had arrived early to the area and so we were trying to kill a little time before we had to be at our location. My producer pulled off the highway and made mention that he wanted to check out this ranch that was iconic for folks in the Springs and around other Colorado areas.

Colorado Springs is a city that sits below Pikes Peaks and its sister mountains. Normally these mountains are lush and green and beautiful, just the way they were created to be. But not today. They were black and burnt. The trees and wildflowers were dead.  And as we approached, instead of seeing a ranch we saw a vast open pit that once was a place of joy for so many. The ranch and the surrounding neighborhoods fell victim to the great fires of the summer heat.

It was eerie to see the haunted mountains and even worse the black ash remains of someone's life, home, property.

I woke this morning to the news of the shooting at the movie theater in Aurora Colorado. I fell so deeply broken and hurt when I read about the tragedy, much like I felt when I saw the aftermath of the wildfires in CO Springs. But what hurt the most was the reactions I listened to and read about. There was a lot of anger in the air. Fire begins with a spark and with enough wind and momentum it can spread very rapidly without a bit of warning. And it can lead to a mountain of destruction

I can't help but cry when I see and hear the judgements, the anger, and the hate being fueled in the midst of this all. I'm not trying to justify what this young man did, but I am curious of the spark the initiated the flame that spread like a wild fire to lead him to do such a thing. You see, I am feeling the conviction that we all have this potential inside of us to hurt others, to cause disaster, to become desperate, hateful. Some of us use verbal abuse, some of us physical abuse to ourselves or to others... But what pushes us to that point that we actually allow it to burn everything in our path?

The anger you feel and express is only fueling the spark created. And that spite is going to spread until your heart is full of burnt up love and grace that all will remain is a burden of ash.

We were all created in love to love. To be green and lush and beautiful like the mountains. And if we're not careful and we're not aware, the heat of our emotions are going to continue to destroy anything that once was perfectly and wonderfully meant to be - Love.

In my own response to the shooting, victims and the suspect, I feel the great need to pray for both, and to love without conditions because no one is too far from salvation and redemption.

A great article shared with me today.

How to react to Colorado shooting
(hint: no dark knight rises)
The Colorado shooting during a screening of the Batman movie 'The Dark Knight Rises'
will evoke calls for ways to prevent more mass killings. But such tragedies only point to
Americans having to learn how best to react personally.
By the Monitor's Editorial Board / July 20, 2012
As with other recent mass shootings in America Columbine, Amish girls, Virginia Tech,
Fort Hood, Gabby Giffords – Friday’s killings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., has evoked
a desire to prevent another senseless tragedy.
People try to discern the motive of the killers, the means used, the lapses in security. And
simply bringing justice, such as a long prison sentence, isn’t enough for many.
The ultimate goal is reliable protection.
The most popular demands for ensuring public safety from mass murder will likely be calls to
better screen public places, tighten controls on guns, and demand less violence in media –
assuming that action flicks like Batman movies actually provoked the killer to open fire in the
Such solutions can change society on a large scale for the better. Gun laws do often work.
Young children do now watch less fictional violence. Law enforcement has become better at
detecting potential killers.
But the best protection lies within each individual, not only in improving one’s physical safety
but in the mental, emotional, and even spiritual ways we react to horrific events.
Killers often seek to evoke anger and fear in crowd shootings, perhaps out of a perverse
need to deal with those same emotions within themselves. Simply reacting to such murders
with anger and fear – while certainly understandable – may only reinforce such behavior.
The best antidotes are the opposites of those emotions. They include openness, empathy, a
respect for individual rights, and even forgiveness. These undermine the emotions that lead
to violence because they have a long-lasting reality, as seen in how human civilization has
advanced to embrace them as the core foundations for governance and daily life.
An open trial for this killer in a public courtroom will include many of these defining qualities,
such as a fair treatment of the facts and an adherence to the rule of law. Such traits may
take a long time to have their effect on violence-prone people. But history shows that
violence has declined as more societies adopt the humane ideals of justice.
Ultimately, those touched by the Colorado shooting – the survivors, the families of those
killed, and even the public at large – may be asked if they can forgive the killer.
The best example of this difficult but bold act was seen in 2006 after a gunman killed five
Amish girls in Nickel Mines, Pa. The Amish families of those killed immediately went to the
home of the gunman’s widow and humbled themselves in Christian faith to forgive the killer
and his family.
“Our forgiveness was not our words, it was what we did,” said the father of one slain girl. The
families brought gifts of flowers, food – and hugs. Dozens of Amish attended the killer’s
The Amish faith compels such action. It sees forgiveness as essential to reflecting God’s
qualities of love for mankind and a necessary part of one’s own salvation.
For the nonreligious, modern psychology also embraces forgiveness as a part of personal
healing and as an antidote to revenge and hatred in society. Such good qualities are seen as
both necessary and natural.
That doesn’t mean killers shouldn’t be locked up, often for a long time. Others must be
protected until the convicted comes to accept those qualities that bred nonviolence in
individuals and thus society. They must find their own forgiveness for their acts, a process
helped along if they feel forgiveness from others.
After the Aurora shootings, the media, law enforcement, and others should watch to see if
Americans have better learned how best to react to such tragedies. All the better to prevent