Category: Interchange

World Domination 2013

Sauvie Island, Portland, OR

Sauvie Island, Portland, OR

Though I haven’t written much, I’ve accomplished a ton in the past 6 weeks. Writing hasn’t fallen to the wayside for lack of inspiration or something to talk about. My mind feels like it might explode every time I look at the date. It’s July!? Where did the year go?

Rewind: last October I started Interchange, a counseling program that explores different philosophies and techniques in therapy. My original intention in starting this program was to figure out if I want to pursue psychology as a profession. Since I am a self-proclaimed self-help nerd, I knew I would get a lot out of the training based purely on my love for introspection and self analysis. I fancy myself a pretty good listener and I am proficient at speaking about my feelings. Interchange took me to the next level. I am proud to say that I have completed the ten month program and have received my certificate!

Celebrate good times with a pinata!

Reward yourself  with a pinata!

As far as my original intention, I am clear at the moment, that I have no interest in a masters in psychology. I am intrigued by life coaching, general counseling, and people who create personal brands. I love talking to people about their problems and their passions. Helping others to connect with their dreams and desires in order to live happier lives excites me. However, I am not in the space at the moment where I wish to make that my profession. Similar to my dream of starting a hostel, I do not rule this out as a career, but know that it is not for right now. Either way, completing Interchange was a longer term goal and I am proud to have achieved it!

WDS 2013!

WDS 2013!

Through Kate Courageous, a lovely woman who taught a marketing series at Interchange, I managed to get my hands on a ticket to the World Domination Summit. When I told people about this conference, many thought it had something to do with CrossFit, which I found very amusing. The World Domination Summit is actually a conference with people from professions across the board, coming together to talk about how to create change. It’s about refining your skills, unearthing your passion, and turning your dreams into a reality. It’s about focus and connection.

I traveled to Portland, stayed with a good friend, and listened to Chase Jarvis of Creative Live, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger, Danielle LaPorte, and Nancy Duarte, amongst others pour their hearts out. The whole conference was incredible! Chris Guillebeau did an incredible job orchestrating WDS. The events sounded insane. I missed a lot of it due to visiting with friends. I had a tricky time balancing the old with the new, and really needed some down time after mingling and listening to speakers from 8am till 4pm each day. I would love to attend again and make sure to take full advantage of each of the special events.



A specific goal that I have had for a long time is to attend a Armory tour here in San Francisco. I finally managed to do this. A friend of mine was equally as excited about the idea and said “let’s go!” So we jumped online, set a date and bought tickets. Of course as I am waiting on the steps in front of the Armory, I run into some other friends who are also going on the tour. I love how small the world is. The armory is magnificent and has totally piqued my interest as far as its business model is concerned. We all know sex sells, but Kink seems to be operating as the change it would like to see in the world. 40% of it’s employees are women, while 60% of their directors are female. Apparently, this is unheard of in media companies. Let’s take a moment to ponder what this means as far as the production of porn. Women at Kink have significant influence over the type of porn being produced and are controlling how it is being put out into the world. This is a big deal. I like it.

June and July are demonstrating just how crazy busy life can get. New goal: simplify simplify simplify. I am ready to get back to some passions of mine that haven’t been nurtured in a while. This means drawing, letter writing, and reading. It also means hanging out without scheduled meetings on some afternoons and getting my ass in the ocean to try surfing again. 2013 is more than half finished. How are you going to spend the rest of the year?

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A Self Defining Declaration

Self Portrait Painting 2005

Self Portrait Painting 2005

I had Interchange week 7 this past weekend. The focus was Deconditioning. A fun exercise that we did was writing self defining declarations. We began by brainstorming and remembering times when we felt most like ourselves. Our aim was to come up with optimistic statements versus affirmations and to describe what we do rather than what we are. Rather than typing up my notes I am going to share the first draft of what I wrote.

A self defining declaration written in 20 minutes.

Stille Wasser sind tief” my mother says to me in German. I am as calm deep blue as the ocean, embracing ever-changing tides, weathering storms, and washing up on sandy beaches. I am fascinated by the world around me, exploring the activities and ideas that speak to my authentic self.

I am creative and optimistic in my outlook on life . I exercise this through not subscribing to clicks, but rather cultivating my own tribe of vagabonds, rabble-rousers, and misfits. “Prost!” we cheer as we clank biersteins, champagne flutes, whiskey shooters, and martini glasses. We keep it classy at our underground sweaty parties.

I choose to do things with intention: if you can’t get out of it, get into it. Act how you want to feel. Fake it till you make it over the moon and you are so high you barely know which way is up. Redefine success for yourself. I do things because they lite me up. I love myself like my life depends on it. I seek out Fun Type B because I won’t rest till I know myself inside and out.

I love fiercely. I ride my bike and feel the wind in my hair as it breaths on my neck and whispers “freedom” into my ear. I act like I may only live another year, fueled like I may live another 300. I strive to accept myself as I am today. I explore my sexual and sensual nature, knowing that in the depths of these waters are multiple orgasms: because Life is That Good. There are  experiences of ecstasy and unity waiting to be had that currently may seem unimaginable.

I play because it makes me strong. I aspire to be a ninja-woman with cat-like reflexes and motivate others to celebrate their bodies through movement. Do it because it needs to be done. I am an idealist, wandering, but not lost.

Love, strength and vigor!

Sunset Saturday March 30, 2013: Fort Mason Center, SF

Sunset Saturday March 30, 2013: Fort Mason Center, SF

Why Do I Feel Guilty?

What does good?

What does good?

This weekend was an Interchange weekend. The theme was development: reparenting. I like the idea that we are all vessels of resources (a resource being a skill or human trait that allows us to get our needs met); some of them we have developed fully and can exercise them skillfully, like ninja-warriors. Others lay dormant or under-developed, scarcely allowing us to recognize them. Then others still, are completely absent and only our brothers and sisters can help us to acquire them. I think the part of development that I find so awesome is that we aren’t focusing on breaking things down, but rather on building things up. Let’s focus on the positive, people.
Haha, I say this as I am about to dive into something quite vulnerable. Our homework for Interchange this weekend was to come up with a list of unanswerable questions that we currently have in our lives. We came up with all sorts of delicious things: Who am I? Why can’t I get my shit together? Why can’t other people get their shit together? Why can’t I tell that I belong? How can I live fully expressed? How do I get off the roller coaster? Is it safe to be me?
I enjoyed this assignment because this is exactly the type of exercise I get nerdy over. I can play this game for hours. I came up with plenty of my own questions: How am I not myself? (I Heart Huckabees reference DUH)
How am I not myself? By Kate Pugsley

How am I not myself? By Kate Pugsley

Am I committed enough? Can I make it work? Where? Where should I live? Where should I start a business? Where should I travel to? Do I settle in? Do I settle down? Do I run amok? Am I running away? Am I running towards something? Can I have a home base and still travel a lot? How can I make money doing something I love? How can I make money? Will I have enough? Will I ever stop comparing myself? Why do I feel guilty? If it’s never a a good time is it always a good time? What does true balance feel like? Will I be able to move past the fear?

One of the exercises that we did with our groups over the weekend, was going around in a circle and each choosing one question that seems to resonate with us in the moment. Group members helped each other to decipher which one seemed most poignant. For me, we chose “Why do I feel guilty?” Ouch.

I guess this is an excellent question for me to meditate on because my response is still “Ouch”. The following exercise was for us to identify which resource we are missing that could help us with our unanswerable question. As the group came around to me, I felt pretty sure that the resources attached to my question were boundaries, self-awareness, and not taking things personally. While those are all true, our group leader asked me how I felt about getting group attention (all eyes were on me as we were exploring which resource I may be lacking for my question). I felt nervous. The group leader says that being nervous is feeling afraid of something. What am I afraid of?
How am I not myself? Compliments of the University of MIssoula

How am I not myself? What am I afraid of? Compliments of the University of Montana, Missoula: Art Department

Damnit. That rings true. Stab stab. What am I afraid of?

I believe I mentioned something about how a lot of people are afraid of receiving so much attention. He responded with that not everyone is nervous or afraid for the same reasons, nor is everyone afraid of receiving group attention. What is it for me?

Something funny about this situation is that my default mode of responding is frustration, like: “FUCK!” Gah, I feel like I know the answer, but it is getting all stuck and jumbled up inside of me! I react with faux frustration. Wait, it’s not fake, but it’s dramatized? Here I am, floundering, once again to figure it out. It’s funny because it is actually exactly what I want. I want someone to push me. No, not just a little push. Really fucking push me, like you care. I want the attention, I want help figuring it out. I want the group/my friends/my family to be a part of my process.

So what am I afraid of? With a group of 20 people looking at me, what makes me nervous? It shows up in my body as a fluttering. It is some kind of vibration that ripples through my body. I wouldn’t even describe it as bad necessarily. Overwhelming, sure, but it is also a nervous excitement. I am scared of looking stupid, like I have said before. I am afraid of being judged. And you know why? Because that is what people do. They judge. I judge. I am at Interchange and I am judging. Perhaps because I know how un-compassionate my judgments of others can be, I figure others do the same and I am terrified of being the target.

Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon, great place to cheer others on.

Escape from Alcatraz Triathalon, great place to cheer others on. Badass athletes.

I used to pride myself on not caring about what others think, but I am officially throwing that out the window. I am coming to terms with the fact that I care about what others think of me. I do not see that as a bad thing, though I am feeling guilty about it… I see that I need to reconstruct my thought patterns around this if I want to feel less scared and less guilty and more empowered in front of groups.

What do we have so far?
My unanswerable questions: Why do I feel guilty? What am I afraid of?
Some resources around those unanswerables: Judgement, boundaries, self-love
Resources I can work on: Self-acceptance

My group came up with self-acceptance as a resource I should develop further. This came in our discussion around my fear of receiving attention from the group. Part of me is thinking “What? I totally accept myself.” Shit, do I? Now I’m confused. Wait, I just wrote a whole post about if I am confused, I should contribute instead of focusing on myself. But I’m not done yet! What is self acceptance anyway? Then I find myself asking, if no one else loved me, would I still love me? Then I remember that just a couple of days ago I was sitting in the park outside my work, crying to my sister on the phone, asking “what if this is it? What if this is all I ever accomplish?” Do I accept myself? How do I not accept myself?

I have trouble accepting that I still weigh more than I ever have in my life. Why haven’t I lost weight like all the other girls at CrossFit? I am trying to accept that I am working in the restaurant industry despite saying that I don’t want to work with food. I struggle with living in the United States when I have an E.U. passport. I hate that people say “do it now, while you are still young” because I start having an anxiety attack that I am doing “it” all wrong. I can’t decide if I feel great single or if I am constantly judging my self worth by men being attracted to me and being in a relationship. Do I mind not going for a masters degree? Am I a failure compared to the rest of my family? How can I accept myself through these things?

Pachygerm Portrait

Pachygerm Portrait

Guilt and fear are alive and well in all of the above.  What happens now? I need actionable items. I am looking for my resource: self acceptance. How do you accept yourself? How do you show up in groups? I want a “Hell Yes! I am a badass.” Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine.