A door was opened a few days ago that could potentially change things for the better! Now for the task of walking through the damn door (always easier said, than done). The caveat I’m realizing as I think about this new possible opportunity in my life, is not only being mindful to get very clear about what I want and to stand firm in that truth, but to manage my expectations. There’s only so much you can do before you have to simply let go and let the chips fall where they may, but not before you put up a good fight…and I intend to.

Almost as if the universe were speaking directly to me, not long after that door opened, I came across the quote above on Instagram and instantly felt more energized about this new venture.

It’s been awhile since my last Inspired post. It’s time. A few other words of wisdom keeping things in perspective as of late. Perhaps something will resonate with you, too. x

Inspired_March 2015_ATG FINAL (2){Click image to enlarge.}

Have a lovely rest of the week and weekend ahead!

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Image credit: The Old Door” by byronv2 used under CC BY 2.0 | Modifications: text added to original.
Collage: created by blogger via various images sourced from




One of my favorite quotes in the world comes from the man who was likely never at a loss for the right words. They hang in my apartment, framed over my bed. They are words that I stop and meditate on should my eye ever be drawn to that particular part of the room. They are words that speak volumes, even if that volume is only 5 sentences.

If you’re familiar with this famous quote from the prolific M.L.K., you might notice that the last line is not apart of the original quote as you’re used to seeing it. That’s because I actually combined two separate quotes from MLK into one. I found one quote (compromised of the first 4 lines) and then saw the other quote (the last line) and fused them together when researching some of his famous words a few years ago. For whatever reason, it really was the last line the cements the message in such a way that crystallizes the relationship between love and hate; and ultimately, why we must practice forgiveness as human beings. It comes down to not even allowing yourself to move into spaces that do not serve you, that are beneath you.

I do hope Dr. King will forgive me for massaging his words, though together, I truly believe they create one of the most powerful declarations I’ve ever come across.

Today, let us stop and remember how far we’ve come, yet how far we still have to go.

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Where is the time going? How is it already Wednesday? October is half-way over? Why am I starting my post with so many questions?

This week has been hectic so far, to say the least. I can’t seem to catch my breath long enough to feel totally grounded. My Monday night yoga class zen is already gone (and mind you, that was only the day before yesterday!). And though I think I work well and even thrive under pressure (I love a challenge!), I try to remember that it’s important not to get too caught up in the chaos – it’s how life passes you by and how you lose perspective. Since I can’t get to another yoga class to re-capture that zen feeling at the moment, I’m going to my next best resource – the words of wisdom I’ve been collecting as of late on Pinterest.

It’s funny, while I don’t necessarily get the same feeling as I might after an hour and a half of an invigorating yoga class, I do find stillness and inspiration in reading the right words. I have entire notebooks just filled with quotes I’ve collected since I was a teenager. Now in the digital age, I’m finding Pinterest is my new notebook. In the spirit of turning to good advice, I’m taking a mid-week pause to share words that are keeping me inspired and in perspective. I hope they remind you, too, to take a moment to just breathe, keep going, and keep your focus.

“Make today count, you’ll never get it back.” Find your zen within the chaos. x

Inspired ATG FINAL October 2014

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Peace, Peace, Peace.

May Peace Prevail on Earth ATG FINAL

Where: Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens
Location: 3500 West Adams Boulevard, Mid-City
Cost: Free

Peace Awareness Labyrinth Exterior ATG FINAL

“Peace, peace, peace.”

David, my yoga instructor, always closes with these three simple, yet powerful words at the end of every practice. I always catch this slight difference from the more commonly used “namaste” that’s traditionally expressed in my experience at the end of a class. And while “namaste” has an equally powerful connotation by giving the deepest levels of respect when greeting or parting from a person – there’s something about being told to leave in “peace” that decidedly has me going out into the world a little more calmer, perhaps awakened…but almost always in a more harmonious, focused space than when I arrived 90 minutes prior.

How long that feeling lasts before the chaos of the world starts to seep into my peace bubble varies from practice to practice.

I’ve heard more than once that it’s a life-long journey toward cultivating and maintaining an unshakable sense of peace as we maneuver through our days. I like to think of it as exercising a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger you become at it. It’s something that must be a priority and sought consistently to reap the rewards. And like weight training, if you stop too long, you may have to start from square one to build that muscle again.

How you go about your peace exercises differs. Perhaps it’s through a sitting meditation, yoga, or going for walk. For some, peace comes from treating yourself to a massage or facial, going to see a movie alone, reading a good book, or journaling. The point is, on some level, it’s something that we as human beings are seeking constantly – a space or a moment in time where you feel grounded in an ever-changing, uncontrollable world.

Much to my surprise, right in the middle of Los Angeles in the most unsuspecting of places lies an entire sanctuary to assist in the journey. A few weeks ago, I learned of the The Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens and instantly was on-board to check it out. Their mission: to provide an oasis for anyone looking to reconnect with themselves, to take a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and just breathe.

Peace Awareness Property

Fountain ATG FINAL

Set on the estate of a restored mansion along the busy Adams Boulevard, the stunning property welcomes you just beyond wrought iron gates. Behind the historic manor boasts a labyrinth and exquisitely designed meditation garden, the entire space fabricated with the goal to envelop all things beauty and peace.

The labyrinth might find you in the midst of a calming walking meditation as the wind chimes that hang on the trees nearby gently sing. No matter where you sit in the neighboring mediation garden, the soothing sounds of water surround you as you gaze at the endless greenery, the bamboo particularly prevalent, and the lily pond complete with fish.

Down to Meditation Garden ATG FINAL


I’ve sat in many beautiful gardens in my time. I’ve experienced many attempts (and admitted failures) at learning the art of meditation. And yet, there was something about this place in particular that takes the experience of peace to another realm by simply inviting yourself there and being present to the gifts around you. You find that you don’t need to work so hard at quieting the mind, the setting does it for you.

Peace Awareness Fountain

Peace Labryinth ATG FINAL

Interestingly, I lived a few blocks away from the Peace Awareness Labyrinth & Gardens for a year after college and never knew about such a special place less than 5 minutes away from my duplex. What I think is unique about retreats such as these when thinking about those aforementioned “peace exercises” is using it as a resource in a manner that feels right for you, no pressure involved.

Mediation Garden Walkway ATG FINAL

Mediation Garden View ATG FINAL

In fact, it’s best said by directly quoting from their website,”PAL&G is here to promote peace and help you reconnect and renew spiritually in your own way.” I suppose all I needed in that moment on that beautiful Sunday was a space to kick my feet up, sit still, and just breathe – the perfect supplement toward strengthening that muscle and building a stronger peace bubble.

“Peace, peace, peace” be to you as well. x

Meditation Garden 2 ATG FINAL

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A mid-week pause for some soul encouragement.

But first, a word.

I came across the quote above yesterday. Reading it immediately solidified something for me when thinking about labels, paths, and women.

It’s no secret that women are more likely to encounter the struggle of walking the fine line between the perception of assertiveness and bitchiness, something most men presumably don’t think about (or defend) when maneuvering through life; and if they do, “bitch” (or the male equivalent) is not always the first thing that comes to mind.

Now before I offend anybody, naturally it depends on the person (irregardless of gender), the situation, and how a specific person interprets another, but for devil’s advocate sake, let’s focus on that fine line and what I think makes all the difference.

Obviously, I’ve never met Madonna, and I certainly don’t know the complete circumstances of how she was quoted here, but on some level I think she’s commenting on that aforementioned fine line, following her path anyway, and accepting whatever label comes with it. I can respect that. However, this post really isn’t about her or a comment on her as a human being, so much as the train of thought that her words provoked, inspiring me to write this post. So bear with me.

Let me preface that I’m not at all advocating that women should say, “ok, fine then” and be as much of a total battle-ax as necessary to get where they need to in life, or that we need to start more openly imparting such labels on men to stick it to them in the name of equality. While there’s certainly a vital conversation that could take place regarding the blatant gender hypocrisy at play, that’s not the aim of this post. Instead, what I am advocating is being who you are, despite perception, as long as there is a level of grace to it.

Be assertive, yes. Speak your mind. If you need to raise your voice a little higher so that people can clearly hear you after you’ve already repeated yourself twice? Perhaps that’s necessary. But with anything in life, there should always be grace present. How you’re perceived from there is really out of your hands.

I would describe myself as an independent, assertive woman. I was raised by a single mom so it’s what I witnessed and absorbed firsthand during my childhood. As I’ve gotten older, I think the most delicious thing is learning to take my own path, but on an even deeper level. I’ve become much more selective about how and with whom I spend my time. I don’t have time for disrespect, games or drama. I pick my battles (though this one’s hard!).  If I don’t want to do something (within reason, obviously) I don’t. And typically, when I have something to say, I mean something to really say, I think about the best approach and then go for it. Sometimes it goes just fine, others…well…

The more I think I about it at this moment, I’ve always had these attributes. I think they are simply becoming more defined as I age, and are a work in-progress. I’m still a work in-progress, by no means perfect.

The challenge is that many things in life require a compromise so you don’t always get your way 100% of the time (unless you’re someone like Madonna); however, the beauty is learning what those areas are and should be, while also keeping in alignment with your chosen path. You may have to walk the curb for a while in the name of compromise, but at least you’re still going in the right direction.

It’s even more complicated when taking into account that most of us still want to be liked and loved and respected as a person, while on said path. After all, you can’t do everything on your own.

Clearly, not everyone you meet is going to gravitate toward you or like you. And this is why I use the word “grace” when advocating being who you are. I think the best way to meet like-minded people stems from that. Grace is subjective, like beauty. You’re bound to meet people who gravitate toward your grace and those who don’t. When the “those who don’t people” arise, remain cordial, but keep pushing forward.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to understand that women typically have to accept labels if they want to want to make a mark in the world or stay on their chosen path. I think what makes all the difference is in how you go about maneuvering it. Essentially, it really comes down to being who you are, staying on the path that works for you, while still being able to live in the world with all kinds of personalities and situations that are inevitably out of your control. As I write this and wrap up my thoughts, I see the intricacies involved in that fine line. Grace is your guide. The pendulum of that fine line. It doesn’t necessarily prevent the more harsh perception, I’d say, so much as keeps you grounded and your intention pure, coming from a good place.

While this post has officially become more than “a word” (sorry!) this quote and those below are keeping me inspired at the moment.

Happy hump day. See you Friday!


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Words That Gave Me Pause

Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.― Aristotle 4

This week took a nose dive with everything that’s been going on in the press as of late and it’s creating much discussion about the severity of depression and addiction. I recently signed up for The Daily Love email after stumbling across Mastin Kipp on Mastin calls his blog “a dose of love” and the message he spreads “a free daily e-multivitamin for the soul.” I can get behind that.

In the wake of the tragic news of Robin Williams’ passing, he sent out a poignant and expressive post yesterday, “Goodbye Genie, You’re Free…,” about depression and addiction that eloquently created a real life “ah-ha moment” for me. It was these words that gave me pause:

…we know that depression has something to do with the brain. I believe it also has something to do with the spirit.
My therapist told me many years ago that re-pression tends to lead to de-pression.
What’s that mean? It means that our spirits are meant to be free. They are meant to create, to Love and be Loved.
When that process halts itself because of repression, we can get depressed.
We are meant to be free. When a series of events happens in life that prevents that freedom, naturally we lean towards depression. Because there’s a part of us that knows that we aren’t living our purpose.

“Re-pression tends to lead to de-pression.” Wow. In all my years as a student of life, I’ve consciously made it a point to absorb the wisdom of others, particularly, when it comes to spiritual/life development. Yet, I don’t think I had quite ever heard this idea expressed so succinctly and powerfully. And though there are certainly different levels and forms of depression; ranging from a possible severe chemical imbalance in the brain, to hormones, to simply experiencing a string of bad days – I think back on the times when I’ve been down and this one sentence seems all too fitting. I was likely in a state where I wasn’t in full expression in some area of my life, that therefore, manifested itself into feelings of sadness.

As human beings, we can all relate to this. I would argue that this feeling is cyclical, meant to return in our lives as an S.O.S. when it’s time to move to the next stage. Our spirit is speaking to us. The goal is to learn to listen, then act accordingly.

While resonating with me, these words might not be enough for someone with a clinical form of depression. More intense resources are likely needed (long-term therapy, medication, lifestyle changes, etc.). I won’t get into all that because I’m by no means qualified to speak to it.

What I will say, is that the news of Robin’s passing was a huge shock to many of us, myself included, because of our perception — or better misperception — of a person. When we’re used to seeing someone smiling and joking, we assume that all must be well in their world. The fact is we never really know what’s going on with a person. It’s especially difficult if they want to keep it that way. All we can do is be there for those that we love and make sure they know it; reminding them and ourselves that every sunrise and sunset, no matter the storm we may find ourselves in during those hours, is a gift. And like all gifts, my hope is that we’ll get the opportunity to see what’s inside. Essentially, it’s life.

I had always hoped that we might see Mrs. Doubtfire make an on-screen appearance again (and there were strong rumors of a sequel a few months ago). It’s still one of those films and characters that make me smile and think of my childhood. Peace to you, Mr. Williams….and to all of us.

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Image credit: “Beach” by Catherine, used under CC BY / text added from original.


Today find us mid-way through June and half way through 2014. I’m constantly amazed at how time continues to fly and seemingly gain speed as I get older. I recall being a kid bummed once Christmas was over that I’d have to wait a WHOLE YEAR before Santa would visit again. I now find myself 20 years later thinking, “I can’t believe we’re already half way to the holidays! Didn’t we just have Christmas…like last week!?!”

It seemed almost like time stood still when I was a kid, waiting for the day that I could be a “grown up” and make my own damn decisions, earn my own damn money, and pretty much do whatever I damn well please. And in many instances, it was worth the damn wait. 🙂

If you think about it, 60 seconds is still 1 minute, 60 minutes is still 1 hour, and 24 hours is still one day – the same amount of time as when we were 10 running around the playground. Nothing’s changed, but our concept of time and how we spend it as adults.

Therefore, knowing it’s Monday and how Mondays often get a bad rap, I realize that our resistance to them and their not so great reputation – say, compared to Friday, is only making time go faster because we just want to hurry up and have it not be Monday anymore. This could be one of the small reasons, among many, why time seems so different as an adult. I don’t quite remember having such an aversion to Mondays as a kid. (Then again, that could be due to an aging memory.)

So I’m kicking off the week on ATG with one of my favorites: quotes that I’ve been collecting as of late, putting them together in a dedicated space, then turning it into a blog post to share with you. Perhaps they’ll speak to you on some level, as they have done for me.

It’s Monday, yes…but let’s be inspired by it anyway.

Have a good week. I’ll see you on Wednesday! xx

Inspired FInal ATG

Inspired. Again.

There are those days where things just don’t seem to fall into place from the moment you step out of bed. You woke up late, stubbed your toe, the coffee machine breaks, you can’t find your favorite shirt, every other car on the road feels the need to cut you off for some reason (and then give you “the bird”), your computer greets you with tons of emails (some less than pleasant in tone), and when lunchtime rolls around – only then do you realize that you forgot your wallet at home. “Ugh. It’s going to be one of those days,” you think.

Then are those days where everything is just fine on the surface, you can’t complain – you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge. You’re working toward something, dreaming, and believing in whatever aspirations are important to you. And yet somehow you still feel like you’re going in one big circle in life, while others seemingly run laps around you, moving faster, sweating less (those bastards!). 🙂

I’ve come to learn that there are all kinds of days. Some good, some not so good, some life altering, but many in the middle. What has always helped guide my perspective, despite the type of day that I’m having, is collecting quotes. For half my life now I’ve always kept a collection containing advice that I’ve heard or read and written down; but in more recent times, an image with just the right words that I came across that resonated with me and started collecting them online. (Thank god for Pinterest.)

I wrote a post like this last summer and thought today is a good day to share more of my favorite quotes with you, perhaps turning “Inspired” into a new series for the blog. What I always (ALWAYS) appreciate no matter what mood I’m in: is good life advice, words of encouragement, and wisdom from others that uplift and motivate you to live better and be better.

Considering these words even exist to share, is a gentle reminder that we’re all in the same battle if you think about it – perhaps at different rankings, fighting on different fronts for different causes, but ultimately for the same end-goal. I think that goal is to have lived life to the fullest in whatever capacity that means to the individual.

So if any, or all, of these bring a smile to your face, or give you an ounce of encouragement and motivation to see the beauty in whatever is going on in your world – no matter how you started or ended the day  – then I’ve used my blog and done good.

Here’s to inspiration…

1-Blend #1 1-Blend #2redo











You Can’t Eat Beauty

Believe it or not, I can remember a time before the introduction of that little thing we call “the internet” made its way into the common household. I can’t even imagine what life would be like today if I couldn’t simply jump on-line to stay in touch with friends near and far with a simple Facebook “like,” email, or Google Hangouts session; check traffic to plan my way around town; catch-up on current events; pay a bill; peruse the blogosphere; or find nothing less than inspiration (overload) on Pinterest.

What has to be one of the most powerful things about the world wide web as I see it, is not only the ease of accessing any bit of information with the click of a mouse, but how we can share wisdom, what we’ve learned as we navigate through our days, never knowing how our message impacts those who find it in cyberspace.

On a rather ordinary Monday evening, I stumbled across this video in my Facebook news-feed of a recent speech from Lupita Nyong’o at the Essence Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon as she accepted an award for Best Breakthrough Performance. As I’d come to expect since following her career, I was prepared to hear her speak eloquently and thoughtfully. But THIS, I did not expect. Her take on how she’s learned to find beauty in herself in a world that traditionally celebrates pale skin and light eyes, floored me.

I’ve watched this video at least 4 different times now and it gets me every single time. I’ve shared it on Facebook, Twitter, and decided to dedicate some space on my blog today to spread the word on what has to be one the most poignant, profound, yet simple messages I’ve ever heard on the subject of beauty.

I can’t stop thinking about it.

Of course, we all want to look and feel our best. Essentially, we just want to be our best. And I don’t personally think that there’s anything wrong with that. However, the pressure to fit into a mold is where we need to learn to draw the line. Eight words from her mother and years spent reflecting on them before she found her way, was all it took. Lupita shares her story in the short clip below.

It’s moments like this that make that little thing we call “the internet” more than just a tool to make the day-to-day easier or a source for staying connected while equally creating disconnection. It’s moment’s like this that make the world wide web not such a big place after all.

“You can’t eat beauty. It doesn’t feed you.”



We made it to Friday. And that’s my highlight. (Scrooge, much?)

I can’t say that February has been particularly kind so far. Things have been rather chaotic on all fronts to say the least, and because of that I find myself off balance and not feeling quite like myself. Always the one to stop and ask myself, “what is the lesson here?” – I’ve spent the last few days processing the answer. Consciously, I know that anytime something isn’t going the way I’d like it to (or how I think it’s supposed to) it’s because I need to change my perspective or how I choose to react to the situation first and foremost. Given that I’m completely aware of this, I still have a hard time executing it at times. And this is because I get stuck on the “why?” and the injustice of it all, when ultimately the answer is that there are things that are just out of my control. This I know: address what you can and let go of what you can’t. What’s frustrating is that if I know this, why is it so hard to actually do sometimes?

On an especially lousy morning 2 days ago, my week saw an improvement in the simplicity of unexpected kindness. A colleague of mine walked over and asked me to join her for a coffee (let’s overlook the fact that I shouldn’t be drinking coffee right now recovering from a really nasty stomach virus). This is not too unusual – some of the gals and I grab coffee in the morning together a few times a week. What was kind about this particular excursion, was that she not only treated me to coffee, but asked me to sit outside and just talk for a while.

It’s pretty amazing how stepping away from my crappy morning, and indulging in one of my favorite addictions (iced vanilla lattes) over conversation about some of the things that had been bothering me lately and hearing about what’s going on in her life instantly improved my mood. The dialogue was at once helping me release a little pent-up frustration while removing the cloud over my head as I listened to her share her thoughts as well. In talking to her, it seemed like both of our spirits needed to take a deep breath and refocus. I could literally feel my perspective changing: Seethings aren’t so bad, you’re sitting outside on a gorgeous day sipping one of your favorite things, enjoying someone’s kindness and company. Smile, everything will be okay!

What I’ve come to learn about myself when I get riled up over something is that it oftentimes helps to just vent like crazy talk, to have my voice heard, even if I cannot change the situation. There seems to be some satisfaction in that for me. The funny thing is that this is not easy. I consider myself to be a pretty outgoing, opinionated, friendly person, but I’m not your classic open book that readily opens up to many people, and if I do – I do so very carefully.

So, again what’s the lesson here? You cannot change your perspective, if you can’t let go of what you can’t control anyway. (That’s a mouthful!)

It seems I found a way (out of thousands, I’m sure) to get the ball rolling on changing my perspective when things get sticky. Just taking a step back and intentionally doing something to alter my state of mind (i.e. joining a friend for coffee) released my attachment the “why?’ and the injustice of it all that I was re-hashing at the time. It even helped to constructively talk about some of the annoyances that had been bothering me that particular morning. It was through our conversation that I was reminded we all have “sticky” situations.

I’m not all suggesting that you find the next person available and verbally throw-up all over them, hashing and re-hashing things that happened weeks ago – but there really is something to that whole notion of enjoying someone’s company or talking about what’s on your mind if you feel comfortable to do so. Feeding off another person’s energy, advice, sympathetic ear, and kindness took me out of my self-induced funk. I found myself more present than I had been all morning.

The funny thing is that while I expressed my gratitude for the coffee and conversation, she’ll never know how that small act of kindness and simple invitation was the highlight of my week. I can’t say that the rest of that day or this even week went off without a hitch from there, because it didn’t. However, those 45 minutes was a lesson learned in the power of perspective. And I suspect, it will be one that I’ll spend this lifetime perfecting.

I love this simple, yet dynamic question above as I wrap up this post that I came across on Pinterest last night. Will most of what has made this week less than stellar matter in a year? The answer is no. Somehow outside of an iced latte and a good chat with a friend, my perspective just became all the more sharper.

Have a great weekend, guys! xx