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Answering Random Questions

answering random questions

Who makes you laugh more than anyone?

Sam, a female White Golden Retriever that I adore.

What did your mother teach you?

To be unconditionally loving.

What activity do you do that makes you feel most like yourself?

Meditating. (Also dancing, but I don’t do it often.)

If you had a clone, what would you have the clone do?

Clean and organize.

What’s the best sound in the world?

A brood of chicks. It’s the most angelic sound I’ve ever heard.

What’s perfect about your life?

The fact that my dog is healthy and thriving. I’m so grateful for it!

When were you most afraid?

When my dog was extremely sick.

What do you cook better than anyone?

Sauces and dressings.

What’s the biggest mistake you ever made?

Not being kind to myself in my youth and neglecting my health for decades.

What’s the first concert you attended?

The Smiths, shortly after the Meat Is Murder album was released.

Where do you most hope to visit?

Tokyo, Japan.

What’s your dream job?

To be paid to be me.

What is your most-used emoji?

The cluster of stars.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

Ceramicist.

What’s one of your favorite memories?

Camping on the beach in the Bahamas.

Who, or what, was your biggest teacher?

Life.

What’s one thing you’re certain of?

Death.

What does success mean to you?

Unstoppable joy.

Where is your happy place?

Next to my dog, Pen.

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Questions for Answers

IMG_1296

You ask me questions, and I’ll give you answers. Today’s blog post is a melange of questions asked by readers this week. You can ask some too! The people that connect with me through Sunday Is For Lovers are my e-friends, my e-family, my e-community. I’m always honored & happy to engage with you. Simply email me your questions (link here) or leave them as comments. I’ll either reply to you directly, or include the answer in a blog post. (I will never share your personal information, only my general answers.) So feel free to reach out.

You’re always so cheerful. How do you do it?

There are certain things that make me agitated & miserable, I try to keep them out of my day/life. Sometimes I have to do them, or sometimes they creep in, but if I keep them in-check or at bay, I can stay pretty peppy & inspired. Below are a few examples:

Fitting in with social norms and engaging in small talk.
Doing work that feels out of alignment with my values.
Being stuck in traffic or in noisy/congested/polluted areas.
Eating or drinking acid forming foods in excess.
Not having the space or time to contemplate/simply be.
Sitting in chairs too long, not feeling free to move.
Having too much stuff or feeling burdened by luxuries.

What does A.P.S. mean?

A.P.S. [Rainbow] is a shortened version of my name, plus my dog’s name.

The A is for Aimee, and the P. S. Rainbow is for Penelope Super Rainbow. My dog was already named Penelope when I adopted her, and my sister added the Super Rainbow.

What have you learned (or are learning) about yourself?

I learned to question myself/life; to see if I am doing something out of social influence or a natural gravitational pull. I learned that my life is more magical when I surrender and give up ‘control’/overthinking. I’m learning to listen more, see more, and to be kinder to myself. I learned that much of what I hated about myself as a child is now becoming my strongest and my most loyal/unique trait. Awareness becomes more & more important to me as I get older. To observe, watch, see, listen, feel, be… it’s paramount for me.

Is [meditation] as simple as quieting the mind?

You don’t quiet the mind. You simply get simple and the mind gets quiet.

There is no activity, nothing that needs to be done, no A to Z journey, no goal — not even quieting the mind. Only being, or being simple.

Think of it this way: think of those blissful moments when you are on the toilet pooping, and a great idea/insight pops in your mind! It could be in the shower, or while waiting for a bus, or going for a run, or looking out the window of a moving train. These moments are simply spaces. Moments in time when you’ve totally relaxed and had space between your thoughts, and that space gave your mind the opening to have an insight, clear view, ah-ha, or great idea. That’s what meditating or being feels like. It’s very relaxing & effortless, it happens on its own. You could be still & planted, or be somewhere doing something, but you aren’t identifying with it. You are simply being, in a state of flow, or being moved, being breathed, being thought, being relaxed. It’s not you, it’s just life happening through you. And when you let go, you can feel the spaciousness/vastness of it, you can be the space.

Is chanting necessary [for meditation]? If so, why?

Absolutely not. Chanting is not necessary.

Chanting can be helpful for people with busy minds, that need routine or are beginning a practice, but it’s not necessary. In general, it’s scientifically proven that you can not think of two things at one time. You can multitask, but your mind switches back and forth between the activities, it doesn’t/can’t hold both in thought at the exact same time. It has to fluctuate its focus, focusing on one thing at a time. So… if you meditate, and you repeat something, you can’t entertain other thoughts. Which is good. You can’t say Om and think of laundry in the exact same moment. And if you think Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om, Om… (you get the picture)… laundry is no where in your mind, because there is no room! It’s focused and filled with Om. And of course some chanting/mantras hold special vibrations or meanings, etc. But they aren’t needed. Nothing is needed to be. Being is meditating. Being is natural from birth. (And before birth, as you were ‘just being’ in your mother’s womb.)

I love having a dog, I learn so much from her. She’s the best mediation teacher I’ve ever had. She can sit and look at me for hours. She can sit and stare at her doggie blanket for hours too! She’s happy to walk, sleep, eat, drink, or do absolutely nothing. She just holds the space for it. When sitting, she sits there. When eating, she’s fully engaged in eating. When sleeping, she gets right to it! She’s present, fully present for all of it. Being is presence. It’s awareness. It’s being with what is. A meditation cushion could help, so could a certain schedule — or it could not! It’s whatever works.

I totally think the best meditation practice is the one someone will actually do. If mantras work well and bring someone grace, peace and mental space. That’s a winner! If walking meditation is great for someone, or sitting on a zafu staring at a wall, or floating in a salt water swimming pool — whatever it takes! The point is to let go. Find a way to let go and gain greater awareness, greater peace, greater acceptance — spaciousness, openness, expansion, compassion. Whatever is grease on your relaxed being wheels is a good thing. But no, mantras are never needed. They can help though. For some people.

Is it okay to meditate lying down?

The difference between sleep & mediation is the fact that you are aware. If you can lie down and stay awake, stay present, stay in the moment — then I think it’s totally acceptable. Some might say you are giving your energy to the floor/bed, or that the energy in the spine can not rise to the head, etc.. I think it’s more important for you to develop a practice and do what feels like restful being. Siting upright in a pretzel-like pose is not restful being in many cases. For some people, it would drive the mind wild. I would simply avoid that. Sit on grass, lie on the floor, take a hot bath — do whatever will bring your mind into a state of grace, gratitude and simplicity. The more you practice this, the more you will be able to do it in any position, comfortable or not. But I would not begin with uncomfortable. Start with where you are. Start there. Get comfortable. Stay awake. Breathe and be.

As a side note: If you are using meditation as a way to fall asleep, then I would say you need more sleep. Do not use meditation as a way to fall asleep. Be kind to yourself, understand that you need more rest. If you fall asleep while meditating, it’s a good sign! You now know what you need to do. Get more rest and reset your daily priorities. Do that first. Get that caught up and in order. Once you are ready, begin a practice of meditation with full wakefulness, full presence. And if that means at night lying on your back — that’s totally okay. Just remain present. Stay with the feeling of being at ease and awake. This is why meditation is typically done in the morning and afternoon. It sets the tone for how to live each day. Going though our busy lives, with a mind that is clear, at ease and fully aware. Fully present.

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13 Questions for AimeeLovesYou

15 Questions

1. What is something you intended to do today, but didn’t?
Make a video.

2. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?
I rattle off things that I am grateful for. This works 100 percent of the time. Some nights it takes a higher count, but I inevitably fall asleep.

3. What’s something you should throw away, but can’t?
I hate to say this (and believe me when I say this is the only thing like this, I’m usually the type of person that throws everything away, even the most sentimental things), I have a very small velvet purse, from when I was 7 years old or so. It’s in the shape of a clown; a very plushy, cotton-like and soft, handmade clown. The purse has a name (he has a name tag, that is sewn into the side of his costume) it reads: Cottonfield. That’s his name, that’s what I call him. He seems to only reappear when I move (to new cities) and clear-out closets.

4. Who is the most famous person you have ever met?
Madonna.
I worked with her on the MTV music video awards. This was years ago, over a decade. She was super-humble and really sweet. She is also the healthiest looking person I have ever seen. Her eyes where so shiny and bright.

5. What is your favorite quote?
It’s a tie between two:
“No self, no problem.”
“Where there is love, there is no question.”

6. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “fun”?
Cuddling.
Second thing; vegging in cuddly blankets.

7. Which movies have you watched over and over again?
Amadeus
Philip Glass in 12 Parts
You’ve Got Mail

8. What one word best describes your mother?
Jovial.

9. When you have nothing pressing, where does your mind drift?
It immediately goes into questioning.
I begin to wonder what the point of life is, and the questions continue from there.

10. What’s something that amazes you?
Nature always amazes me. Always.

11. What advice can you give about how to conquer fear?
You have to move through it, be intimate with it, embrace it and live it with full presence. If you can do that, than you can transcend it.

12. What is one of your favorite souvenirs brought back from your travels? Where do you keep it?
A wooden stool was custom made for me in northern Italy (when I was there working on a project.) It was a gift. 
I use it as a nightstand.

13. What’s your favorite expression?
Where there is a will, there is a way.

If you have any questions at all for me, please email them via my contact page or leave them in the comments section below. I’m always happy to answer questions. Hooray!

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12 Life Changing Questions

life changing questions

This week a friend sent me a link to some interesting questions. They were 35 life changing questions written by Jason Nazar (in 2013, at Forbes). I’ll share only 12 of the questions with you (because 35 is a lot!), and then I’ll answer them myself. Feel free to email me or comment with your answers too. It wold be fun and interesting to know how people are answering the questions.

  1. What are you pretending not to know?
  2. Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing?
  3. What are your values and are you being true to them?
  4. Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your happiness?
  5. If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way?
  6. If you weren’t scared what would you do?
  7. What/Who did you make better today?
  8. What do you want your life to be in 5 years?
  9. What can you do today to improve?
  10. What’s your WHY?
  11. If we could wave a magic wand and do anything together, what would that look like?
  12. How would your role models act and carry themselves?

What are you pretending not to know?
I’m definitely pretending not to know how much ignorance (which manifests as hatred, greed, stress, mindlessness, destruction and abuse) is in the world. You see, I pretend not to know as I indeed know. Who I am is a direct result of all that is ‘wrong’ with the world. The optimism I carry, the beliefs that I have, the work that I create, the blog posts that I write, the goals that I pursue — they are all aimed to raise the level of awareness, and to be more mindful. In order to carry on this way, it’s best for me to ‘tune out’ of the news, shopping malls, rat race, and other mind & spirit influencing distractions that program the general population — often programing them in the worst way.

Why don’t you do the things you know you should be doing?
Mostly because it doesn’t feel authentic to me. And sometimes because I’m simply being lazy and enjoying my freedom to be in the moment.

What are your values and are you being true to them?
Integrity, Openness, Well-being, Forgiveness, Awareness, Creativity, Authenticity, Excellence, Fairness, Trust, Self-discipline… I could go on and on. Some are easier for me than others. The hardest ones are probably Integrity and Authenticity. I do a lot of things to ‘save face’, and I don’t like that about myself. I wish I had the heart to ‘tell it straight’. But often, I don’t want to hurt feelings. This also can be turned around on myself. Sometimes I go on too long with things, before I look myself in the face and get real with myself.

Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your happiness?
Sometimes. I’ve lived a very alternative lifestyle for a very long time (and practiced cutting out the shoulds). So I don’t have shoulds that rule me. Not in friendships, family, or work. Except… the ‘save face’ part that I mentioned above. Sometimes I do say or do things (like visit, call, small-talk, etc.) because I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. But it’s not often. And if it is, or becomes more frequent, I try to snip it in the bud. I’m definitely aware of it, which makes it easier to see and stop.

If you achieved all of your life’s goals how would you feel? How can you feel that along the way?
I would feel a sense of lightness and completeness.
Again, it’s very similar to the answers above. I’d like to connect with people on a deeper more authentic level. I’d like to be more bold, more communicative, more straightforward — even at the risk of hurting feelings. I think I would inspire more people, than people that would have feelings hurt. I noticed the more I hold off, hold back or shut down — the heavier I feel and the more incomplete my life is. If I can boldly stand in who I am, and what is important to me, and how I feel — so much more can be accomplished. Life would be much more clear and straightforward. There would be a power present, that isn’t fully present now.

If you weren’t scared what would you do?
I would make videos. I would vlog. Fear is a big part of that, but a lot of other things are wrapped into it. I’m not used to being in front of a camera, so I feel like I wouldn’t be comfortable or have anything to say. But the only way to know for sure, is to test it. To actually do it and see how it feels and unfolds.

What/Who did you make better today?
I definitely feel that I made two people better today. In the way that I usually do; encouraging them to be better/brighter. I’m always doing this for myself (giving pep talks to myself), so it’s easy to do it for others — and I enjoy it.
I also ate super-healthy today. So I would imagine I made my health a little better too. And my dogs too! :) We took a great walk in the sun, and we both ate healthfully, and we had plenty of snuggle time.

What do you want your life to be in 5 years?
Powerful, Peaceful, Promising.

What can you do today to improve?
Look at what I wrote today, and take mental note.
Get to bed early.
Wake up early.
Say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when I am being asked something.

What’s your WHY?
The big why for most of the choices in my life (that seem odd to most people) is because I cherish freedom. I protect it. And often, when I am making big decisions, I compare it to my need for freedom. Will it give me more freedom, or take it away? If the answer is the latter, I tend to stay clear of it. Of course this is not the case for everything, but it is true for many things. Especially my work and relationships.

If we could wave a magic wand and do anything together, what would that look like?
If I could do anything with someone, being silent and just being comes to mind. Maybe make a video. Maybe dance. Maybe star gaze or go for a walk. Maybe help someone in need. Something simple. Something personal and intimate. Something loving and appreciative of Life.

How would your role models act and carry themselves?
Bold and loving. Fierce* and giving. I also think they would have a direct/strong presence, and be in tune with nature and animals.
(I mean fierce in the slang way.)

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