I normally wake before the sun rises. I can feel the silence of the new day creeping in and I’m serenaded by the sound of crickets while I slowly adjust to the day before me. This is the time for me to gather my thoughts, go for a run or the gym, read my latest find, say a prayer and set my intentions, all while savoring a cup of coffee. Sometimes when I’m really motivated I work on design projects. It’s incredible how making time for this daily ritual this really sets the tone and propels me into the day. I used to say I don’t have time to read and it’s true, I wish I had time to set aside a day and just hide out and read, but I’m all for small obtainable goals. I made it a priority in 2016 to set aside 20 minutes every morning to read what will inspire me or help me grow. Over the past year, I have read: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo, Financial Intelligence by Karen Berman and Joe Knight, You are a Badass by Jen Sincero, Flying Lessons by Pamela Hale, Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For by M. J. Ryan, Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehenreich, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Letter to My Daughter, by Maya Angelou and currently, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. Some of these have obviously helped to increase my business acumen but all have increased my life acumen. None of these are eBooks because when I read, I underline, highlight and write notes on the pages. I draw hearts. I write expletives. I write names in the margins where the passages have reminded me of someone. I like the weight, the feel and the smell of books. It’s interesting to me when I think about how they all have come into my life, bounded pages with specific messages I’ve needed at that given time.
For over a month, while I’ve found inspiration from other authors, I’ve put aside my love to write. Before this morning, I felt that taking to the keyboard in the past month would not be inspiring but be an avenue for me to purge this ugly, hideous monster called anger. I have been struggling with this emotion. It’s a natural feeling that can occur when something doesn’t go in the matter that you had intended it to. People want to feel valued and respected, and when something that you put all your efforts into or someone who you thought would never harm or betray you does, it’s a blow to your being. Have you ever experienced this feeling? The funny thing about anger, is that it can be a great motivator, but it can also tear out your soul. The fires that burn with anger, blind your sense of sight and emotion to let anything in, especially compassion. It provides power to the feeling that you can’t be stopped and the natural reaction is to enact revenge in some form and to hurt the person as much as they’ve hurt you. So instead, I chose to return to my family and friends, my faith, my work and these authors to inspire and empower me.
“Put yourself in the way of beauty.” Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough
I recently had a conversation with of my cherished childhood friends. We were talking about adversity and the struggles we experienced when we were growing up. I was remembering how incredibly poor my family was. There were summers we went without water or times when my mom relied on commodities to ensure my brother and I ate. There was no remorse, anger or sadness in my comments, just stated in a matter-of-fact way and how it shaped me in who I am today. She turned to me and said that she had no idea. She confessed that I and my home were her sanctuary and the reason she spent so much time at my house because she felt the love in my family that was sometimes out of reach in hers. Her profound statement struck my heart to the core because while we go along thinking about the struggle and adverse experiences we might be experiencing, we have no idea what positive impact we still have on others—that during these times, we might be a refuge or inspiration. It made me think of Flying Lessons by Pamela Hale. The author asks the question about “your landing space”, when the rest of the world is off kilter or you think it’s falling apart around you, where do you go? What’s your safe space?
“Now that we’re awake, we see how asleep we really were, just going along for the ride and chiming in every now and then—perhaps to complain.” Pamela Hale, Flying Lessons
These moments with friends and spending more time with my children propelled me to talk to an impartial person to help me work through my emotions and to not let the words or actions of others diminish my light and what good I can do. I know there is jealously and resentment that surrounds my being because I choose not to be small or to settle. It is not a sense of entitlement; it is my God given right to believe in the power I have to be the best me, for myself and the world around me.
“The force is within you…This is about believing, even when things are at their most uncertain or absolute crappiest, that there is a shiny flipside within your reach…This is about your faith being stronger than your fear.” Jen Sincero, You Are a Bad Ass
I returned to designing instead of writing because I knew it was another powerful way for me to release these emotions in such a beautiful way. Through Hopeless + Cause Atelier, I utilize upcycled materials in my creations. In the past two years, I have received five donated wedding gowns. As I think about this concept, something that is the “THE dress” has the opportunity to be rebirthed into something new and refreshing. And that, to me, is a beautiful way to look at life. I plan to have a couple of these refashioned looks in the SS18 collection.
“Change always creates a death and the possibility of rebirth.” M. J. Ryan, How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For
I also started working on the Rock n Fashion show scheduled for September 8th, which is the ABQ SS18 preview. The concept is another way for me to work through my angst like a punk rocker, in a creative manner with big gratitude. As I’ve opened up this gratitude, for my gift to design, I found the ideas for the looks just started to flow and all the right people began to fall into place. Again, this will be no small feat, but if I am able to create what I envisage, something incredible for this city to see.
“The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: creativity, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust – and those ingredients are universally accessible. Which does not mean creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is always possible.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic
I’ve talked about Big Magic before. Elizabeth Gilbert talks about her struggle to create, how not to get sucked into the vicious cycle of what others think of you. As an emerging designer, I’m not able to do my passion project full time and Ms. Gilbert was the first one to say with authority, “that’s okay. Work your day job until you can afford to otherwise.” She was the one that reminded me, that people will try to diminish your passion, or will raise you up on a pedestal as easily as they will push you off it and that’s okay. Do it anyway. Do what feeds your soul. So, I choose to focus on what a thrill Austin Fashion Week was, and just like that I received an email encouraging me to apply for Dallas and Houston Fashion Weeks. I then received a curious email from a blogger, Luna Elise, who had attended Austin Fashion Week. Her comments rocked my socks off, “Hopeless Cause Atelier caught my eye as my favorite gowns of the night. Velvet, silk and flowy organza all made their way into this collection in a number of gorgeous gemstone colors and unexpected cuts.” I had to share her comments and the link to her blog on my social media channels. I received a direct message from her looking to collaborate and encouraging me to apply for Kansas City Fashion Week. The next day, another email came through my website from Society Fashion Week. The opening line made me jump for joy, “I would LOVE to have you participate in The SOCIETY Fashion Week this coming September for New York Fashion Week, and also Los Angeles Fashion Week in March of 2018.” In 2014, I set my intention to show in NYFW within 5 years. While I’m still investigating costs, responsibilities and viability of these fashion weeks, it would be a dream come true to show in these venues and grow the line and brand outside of New Mexico. Okay, I know you are just skimming this blog…go back and re-read what I just wrote, there is NEW YORK FASHION WEEK in this paragraph.
“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World and it will one day return there.” Paulo Coelho
These emails came to me while I was Seattle, WA with my daughter. I had the opportunity to attend one of the most inspirational events I’ve ever attended, the National Conference on Volunteering and Service. I am always reminded that we have the power to change the world for the better through service to others. And this brings me to my current read, The Magic by Rhonda Byrne. I come from a place of gratefulness in everything I do, but it isn’t always the first place I land when things aren’t bright and sunny. Talk about blessings and inspiration, that was the few days I spent with Cati. Our conversations were deep and wonderful. Our shared love for art and the outdoors was brought to life and I started every morning reading a chapter and writing my blessings while setting my purpose for the day. During this time, my son was in Nebraska for theater Nationals. I was living vicariously through him and the workshops and plays/musicals he attended—especially, the costuming workshops.
Two days ago, I received the book Letter to My Daughter. The book is made up of short stories, poems and life lessons. I read it in two hours. Again, I underlined, added notes and hearts to areas that were especially profound. Then, an idea dawned on me. I decided I would temporarily gift it to my children. I asked them to read it and add their own thoughts and highlight what was profound to them. After they’ve done this task, I want them to return it to me because I know they have so much to teach me. So far, the lessons learned in the past month are: 1. to find the seed of good in every adverse situation; 2. when you struggle there is still an opportunity to inspire or provide sanctuary to others; 3. to take negative feelings like anger, and use them to create something beautiful. Don’t try to bury those emotions, find your landing space—your faith, talking to someone who cares for you or even a professional–but CREATE. You can always take something and recreate it into something new and just as beautiful; 4. when you focus on gratitude instead of negative emotions you will attract the good around you, and 5. to cherish that time before the sun rises and all the time until it finally sets.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them. Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. Do not complain. Make an effort to change the things you do not like. If you cannot make a change, change the way you have been thinking. You might find a new solution.
Never whine. Whining let’s a brute know a victim is in the neighborhood.
Be certain that you do not die without having done something wonderful for humanity.” Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter