“I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We find parking spaces and honor our credit cards. We marry and dare to have children and call that growing up. I think what we do is mostly grow old. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are still innocent and shy as magnolias. We may act sophisticated and worldly but I believe when we go inside ourselves and find home, a place where we belong and maybe the only place we really do.”–Maya Angelou, Letter To My Daughter
This weeks tune to compliment the [field note] can be listened to HERE as you read, sing, jam out or do what you please. (Estimated read time: 6 minutes)
... Don’t wait. There will never be enough time or money. You’ll never acquire enough knowledge. The moment will never be perfect, for damn sure. Just do the best with what you have now. The process of doing it will teach you everything you need to know along the way. Move now.
This is what my inner nature was seemingly whispering to me as 80 hour weeks between school and work consumed me. On the outside, it appeared I had everything I ever wanted. Yet on the inside, I was questioning of letting it all go.
At the time, I was working within the fashion capital of the US on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. It had me craving more substance and depth within the superficial world of Rolls Royce’s, smoke and mirrors, and phony waves with forced smiles. Useless, daily topics of discussion would be thrown at me such as "picking sides" between whether I liked working with the people from Gucci or Dolce more. It had me questioning what existence this was.
Along this same stretch in time, I had enrolled in film classes at a community college and commuted 2-4 hours a day from the Ritz and glam of Beverly Hills to East Los Angeles and back. I guess, looking back, this was my need to escape the life I had built as a twenty-something year old questioning if there was such thing as a quarter life crisis. As my 3rd time in college as a non-traditional student, and this time using studio equipment, I was the minority, I was older than most of my peers, and I was on a tiny mission.
The mission started with a lens. Out of focus, it had been over a year since picking up my last camera. I was burned out, and the Canon's automatic focus felt senseless to me. I needed a dark room for processing film slowly, I thought, that could perhaps stabilize me from characterless motives I observed of the many faces and plastic I was subjected to in the flats of the hills.
As conversations were dry with shiny objects in this current life I was subjected to, I questioned if these people were really fulfilled. Distracted by this, the lens moved me forward with an ongoing search for questioning what really makes us human beings fulfilled.
Changing perspective, I decided to document the crowded streets of Downtown Skid Row, home to the second largest homeless populations in the US. This became my new outlet, in contrast, from the daily exposure to one of the richest cities with some of the wealthiest people in the US. Or at least, so I thought.
A simple, common thread began to unfold through each shot.
We all need to have our basic needs met.
We crave connection.
We thrive with a sense of belonging,
.... and we all have unique gifts and talents that the world needs.
It’s as if the colors are already within us, just waiting to get poured out and expressed onto the larger canvas of life.
The mission, through each ray of distant light, was evolving. Beginning to ask various people of all social classes, levels of education, and varying differences what they wish they had more time for, was an answer that continued this common thread. In continuous response, I'd hear the similarities; a desire to dream and the wonder of what could be possible to follow these dreams if distractions, regret and life's hustle weren't in the way.
Within an endless cycle of work, play, spend, and needing to work some more to keep up with it all, this stopped me. The trigger on the camera stopped too. I looked through my eyes without the lens. Dreams? I questioned what this fluff of a word even meant.
Dreams, for what they were worth, were tucked away on a spice rack in the far left corner behind the turmeric with nothing but a finger swipe to the glass behind the unblown dust glazed lightly atop this unopened jar of forgotten... dreams. As I glanced at my reflection in the mirror, my dreams and I felt old and as if I could hardly remember them. Saddened in dismay, I could only begin to desire making my dreams, if I could even call them that, a possibility again.
This documenting of everyday interactions as to what others found fulfilling was my so called mission, sure. However, now - what I really needed to do was dust off the glass before it had a chance of breaking or shattering. I sat down, got quiet with myself, and asked wholeheartedly what was going to fulfill me.
Although I couldn't recall my dreams, I began to find that I had a yearning to somehow acquire more time to do what I love, on my own schedule and at my own pace. I wanted more space to be alive and awake to the natural wonders of the world, recollect childhood dreams, and build upon them moment by moment. Could this be the start of such movement toward constructing any such dreams?
At first, I put up every rational argument of why this movement wouldn’t work. I’m too old. I’m too young. What if I go broke or have no place to stay?
I questioned everything to the point where there was nothing left to question. For me, after countless obstacles of “if”, “and” or “but”, the longing got stronger. My only choice became to take a leap.
After saying goodbye to my Prius, a 6-figure job opportunity, my Melrose apartment that overlooked the Hollywood sign and housed my 5 closets of vintage and designer clothes galore, I downsized to a single suitcase, hiking pack, some toiletry necessities, my tiger eye mala beads and yoga mat.
Experimenting with the notion of back to basics, where less is more, I am now taking time to explore my inner nature, my childlike wonder, and the dreams that I had when I was a little girl. Everything, here, is nothing. And it is vibrant in color, even within the environment of a dark room with unprocessed film.
I often get asked if I'm happy now, and it is a fleeting question I find overly subjective. All I can say, in short response, is that I don’t walk through every moment within an overly blissful state of insurmountable ecstasy and I don’t have any more or less answers than I used to. I just feel content, fulfilled, inspired and grateful for the mirror each of you bring to me when we're together or far as we travel here in The Magical Field.
Each day, in this ever-present, ever-growing space, I’m here to say to you just as much as myself, and more importantly, just as others indirectly said to me on my search through the crowded streets in LA...
... You have everything you need right before you to make a move in the direction of your heart. Even if you’re like me and forgot your many dreams and aspirations, Don’t Wait. The world, more than ever, needs you and all of your colors in this magical present tense.
Hey, have you watched the (less than 1 min long) video of the tiny house walls and roof building up? Explore here.