On October 4, 2013 I flew one-way to LA from NYC. This is a thrilling and crazy time, and I am excited to share the experience and lessons I’m learning with you! I am as prepared as I possibly can be, for all of the ups and the occasional and inevitable downs, that I trust will ultimately lead to more ups.
Each entry will have a “Lesson of the Day”. They are written from my perspective, because I realize that not every lesson works for everyone. But read them, see if they apply to you, and let me know!
Let’s do this. Yeah.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Wow. Ok. Lesson learned. Jeeeez.
You know how people say that you should think positively? Umm well people are onto something. You guys, I got strep again! For the second time in a month! And as I’m downing Penicillin every 8 hours – again – I have to stop and check myself, because it looks a liiiittle bit liked I wrecked myself. But I’m coo, I’m coo
The doctor said that it’s because of the move and stress. She said my immune system just isn’t what it usually is because of all the change, and that makes sense. She’s absolutely right. I’ve been crazed!
So I moved here 2 months ago, and ya know the whole ups and occasional/inevitable downs thing? Yeahhhh basically it’s been the bumpiest, weirdest roller coaster ever. Every time I think I’m down the hill and the roller coaster is coming to a stop, there’s another hill! And sometimes it just feels like too much! But on days like today, after the Penicillin has kicked in and I’m back in my right mind, I can realize that it’s not too much – It’s truly and simply… what is.
I believe in the power of positive thinking. I also believe that our brains are innately negatively biased (I read that in Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson – kickass book). And even though there is this crazy thing that seems to be a curse on all of humanity, we can accept the challenge of actively turning our frowns upside down and finding the opposite of our negative thoughts to replace them with positive ones… It’s not easy to do. I mean, wait… IT’S SO FREAKING EASY TO DO! haha see?
I’m learning. I’m learning. And I will keep on learning. And if I all I ever do in my life is learn, then I have lived a very full and rich life.
LESSON OF THE DAY: Today, now that I am feeling like I’m getting back into *me*, I will explore the opposite of every negative thought. Additionally, I will observe myself and my surrounding without judgement. Simple observations.
Namaste, my loves <3
Sunday, December 8, 2013
Los Angeles! I am so excited to announce that on my 24th Birthday – Saturday, January 25 – I will be having a Birthday/Album Release Partayyy! It will be at Amplyfi, starting at 8pm… and I have a NINE-piece band backing me!!! This is a dream come true. Oh wait, AND… Did I mention there will be Nutella cupcakes?! Heck yes there will!! This night can’t come sooner… and at the same time, I’ve got A LOT to do to get ready!
Amplyfi is an all-ages venue (adults over 21 – Stay tuned for after-party details), so EVERYONE is welcome, and I will be so happy to have you there! Please help me spread the word. The more, the merrier my loves!
LESSON OF THE DAY: Life is a party. Today I am letting go of the expectations I have for myself and others, releasing judgment, and just living this party!
*Wanna be on my mailing list, so that you can find out about upcoming shows and exciting news? Just email email@example.com, and we’ll get you on there! No annoying spammy stuff, I promise
Monday, December 2, 2013
Well, I’ll never complain about 70-degree weather on December 2! But I will complain about how stupidly dry my skin is! What is with this whole dry heat thing?! I could definitely use a little humidity in my life, but if I have to choose between constant sunshine/palm trees and a moist face… I’ll take the sunshine. Also, the word “moist” is gross, but you get the point.
I will never lie to you. So I will be honest right now and tell you, I haven’t been having the easiest time recently. Man! When I got here, it felt PERFECT. And here we are, with the ups… and the downs. But as I said when I first started to write this blog, I trust that these occasional and inevitable downs will lead to ups that are even higher than the ups I had before… I trust. Because I have to. But truthfully, it has been hard to smile at times, and crying has been very cleansing. I just start to miss New York sometimes. And I start to miss feeling comfortable. I miss my every-day routine. It really just goes to show me that I can breathe in ocean air and look at mountains and palm trees from the freeway, and I can get myself into the swing of things here, but at the end of the day, my emotions are contingent upon my perspective. Thanksgiving and the holidays in general, are a time of giving thanks. Well, sometimes it’s a challenge to FEEL thankful. So today, in the car by myself, I started saying affirmations out loud:
“I am happy. I am safe. I am comfortable. I love myself. I love myself. I love myself. I am living in abundance. I am receptive. I am proud of myself. I love myself. I love myself. I am grateful. I love myself……..”
And even though I was saying these simply on a cognitive level, I know that the repetition is so effective. I have repeated myself into this funk I’m in, and now I’m going to repeat myself out of it, until the positive thoughts sink in so much, that I FEEL them with every ounce of my being.
Last little story before I say good night and shut the computer:
So I was driving out of a parking lot today, about to make a left turn onto a HUGE street, and I realized that this was not a good idea. The street was too busy, and it didn’t feel right. So I decided that I was going to back my car up and turn around to go another way out of the parking lot. Well. My wonderful car that I do love SO much, is very tall. And since I was coming out of the parking lot, my car was on a bit of a downward slope, which made it so that I couldn’t see the smaller car behind me, and next thing I know, I’m yelling profanities and shaking because I can’t believe I just hit that car! Well, it ended up being my lucky day…
The sweetheart of a driver behind me got out of his car and said it wasn’t a big deal at all. He made light of the whole thing, and I felt so much better.
I do believe in signs. I do believe that there are people and events that come into our lives that help us and teach us… and sometimes remind us TO CHILL OUUUUTTTT And I’m not mad at myself for hitting his car. I know exactly why it happened and how to prevent it in the future. And I feel very, very lucky.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I will repeat positive affirmations to myself until I FEEL them. I will view my surroundings and myself through beautifully-colored glasses, and I will keep cleaning the lenses
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
I like to listen to Krishna Das in the car and when I do yoga… and all the time. He’s so peaceful. Sanskrit is known to be a sacred and powerful language. It is said that every sound in Sanskrit opens a different chakra… and if you don’t know this about me yet, I’m very into this stuff Part of the reason I love it, is because there is no ego. Music is ancient. And when it started, it is assumed that people used what was naturally available to them – their voice and things they could bang on to create a rhythmic sound. How beautiful is that – that one of the first instrument known to man was the voice? It really makes me stop and think, especially sitting here writing as Krishna Das sets a peaceful and mystical tone, using dynamics and a chorus of singers to chant these beautiful mantras. I don’t even need to know what he’s saying. It’s very interesting to read translations, and I love being able to pick out certain words, but it’s so much more than that. It’s about the FEELING. It’s about how he’s just SINGING. No riffs or stylistic notes unless they come purely out of spirituality… And you can definitely tell.
I’ve been singing since I could talk. And when you’re a little girl who sings, everyone wants you to perform all the time and says things like, “Ohh, someday I’m gonna say I knew you when…” And that’s so sweet and so kind, and the attention feels nice. But then, if you’re like me, as you grow up, singing starts to become this thing you do because you think it’s going to lead you to a place where people can say they “knew you when…” and it begins to come from such a conscious place. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing… I like awareness. I like consciousness. I appreciate mindfulness. But in this situation, sometimes you start to get away from the real reasons for singing… the spirituality of singing. I want to get back to the root, always. And no doubt music came from a place of FEELING good. People would sing and dance when they were happy or hopeful or sad, and it healed. And it still does, especially when it is coming from such an authentic place, that all it can possibly do is heal.
I want to heal people. I believe that I was put here to help and to heal. And when I notice myself singing to fit a mold and fill an image of what I think I’m supposed to be as an “artist”, that’s when I have to stop and really reflect on what is REAL.
I believe in music as a healing, no-ego, safe realm to sit in. And I am striving to constantly create that. I am getting ready to release my new album, and I really couldn’t be more excited. My producer, Matt Anthony and guitarist/very close friend Andrew Miramonti came into the studio every day with no ego, creating music with me that is real and from our roots. I appreciate them so much for being constant reminders of why I love to make music.
Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving! There is so much to be grateful for
LESSON OF THE DAY: Today I will sing from my soul. Today I will only do what feels good, right, and real. And I am thankful.
Friday, November 15, 2013
No more strep throat! Phew! It’s been a crazy week, but I’m feeling much stronger and better than I was… Umm… Can we talk about Penicillin for a minute? Ok, awesome.
So put yourself into this *hopefully* very hypothetical situation: You come down with a case of strep, and the back of your throat is ridiculously swollen… and what are you given to treat it? A huge, pointy pill! Oy! The first couple days of that were ROUGH. “Jagged Little Pill” by Alanis has been stuck in my head all week. I’m ok with that part, cuz I think she’s pretty much so much better than sliced bread…
Anyway, I’m feeling MUCH better and had a very productive and emotional co-writing session today. We’re writing one of those songs that sometimes when you write, you just really need to write it. Even if no one ever hears it. I don’t know if it will end up on my album or not – still deciding. But no matter what, it’s a song that is personal and strengthening.
This week has been a slower one, because most of it has been spent healing. And I couldn’t sing. And that sucked. BUT… good realizations:
Every once in a while, I have the realization that my purpose in life is to be happy, make other people happy, have fun, enjoy simplicity, and make other people’s lives fun and simple… And every once in a while, I let that get away from me and take my life too seriously. I let this go on, until I finally get to a point where I say, “DEVYN! What is the point in all of your goals and all of the things you’re doing if you’re making them stressful for yourself??” Life is supposed to be FUN. Life is supposed to be SIMPLE (not always easy, but mostly simple).
LESSON OF THE DAY: Today I am making a promise to myself that I will stop and allow things to be fun! I’m going to smile and laugh whenever I have an opportunity to, and I am going to create my own opportunities. I am going to sing from my soul, simply and fun. And I’m just going to enjoy life as much as I possibly can, recognizing that if the root of all things is either Fear or Love… I’m choosing Love.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Betty Hoeffner, the founder of Hey U.G.L.Y. (Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You. - www.heyugly.org), likes to use the analogy of a sore throat when it comes to the pain that we often go through when we are bullied or depressed. We can’t imagine feeling well again, but when we get to the other side of it, we can look back and know that the pain was temporary. And we CAN get to the other side of it and feel AMAZING.
This is a subject I’m messing around with a bunch right now, since I went to the doctor today and was told that I have strep throat and have to start taking antibiotics every 8 hours to get those bad bacteria – those bullies – out of here. I know that this ridiculous pain I’m feeling when I swallow is temporary, but it’s so hard to imagine it going away… I’m sure that tomorrow or the next day, I’ll be a new lady, writing about how great I feel!
But here’s something I’m thinking a lot about today… In order to treat this strep, I have to get rid of the “bad guys” by resting, having compassion for myself, AND… taking an ANTI-biotic, which is the ANTI-bacterial (or ANTI-bullying) medicine that gets rid of the bacteria. What would happen if I went to the doctor and she said, “Yes. You have strep. I’m going to prescribe a dose of strep to fight it off”? Um… I think I would probably get really sick, huh? Also, in treating this sickness, what would happen if I said to myself, “Devyn, YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH! Get off your butt and work!”…….. That hurt me just thinking about it! Now is the time to stop self-bullying, have compassion and self-love, and get rid of those bullies in my body by using a loving dose of antibiotics… Hm… Maybe this is how we should handle regular bullying situations…
Now there is one flaw that I can see in this analogy. After I am done with these antibiotics, the bad bacteria will no longer exist. What would be awesome, is if the antibiotics made the bad bacteria good instead, but that’s unfortunately not how it works when it comes to strep throat… In life, we must “fight” the bullies with compassion and love, or we must drop the bully ball that was thrown at us. Feel free to expand on this analogy. I’m interested in your thoughts!
LESSON OF THE DAY: Today I recognize that pain is temporary. Also, I am extremely grateful for my friends in LA. Being sick 3,000 miles away from my old home would not be as easy if it weren’t for them. And lastly… I am so happy to be the national spokesperson for Hey U.G.L.Y. Betty is incredible, and I love all of the students I get to meet, who have a huge impact on the way I choose to live my life. Feeling grateful… and temporarily sick. Good night
Monday, November 11, 2013
I’m finally getting back to writing! Wow, they’re not kidding about this Mercury-in-Retrograde stuff. A few weeks ago, I was on my computer and it just blacked out! Lovely… Thanks to Apple, it is as good as new, and I’m happy to have it back!
Aaand now I’m sick. I always think that sickness is the body’s way of saying it needs to chill out. So I’m taking this as a sign, and I’m taking it easy today. I did go to yoga at 7 this morning because I made a promise to myself that I would go, and I thought it would make me feel better. It did, but ultimately, this just needs to ride its course, and I kind of have to force myself to relax, so that I can get better and give 1000% again soon.
But More importantly… Happy, Happy Veterans’ Day! I am so grateful to all of the veterans out there and especially think of my grandfather today. My “Pop-Pop” passed away a year ago. The stories he used to tell us about World War II were just fascinating. My favorite thing that he told my family and me, is that they put him in charge of the weapons during the war, because they knew he could handle it… But he never used them. The way he said it was so beautiful and genuine… “They gave me the big guns, but I never hurt no one! I never hurt no one!”
There’s something to be said here about power. Power is… well, it’s very powerful! We all have it, and it’s up to us to make the right choices with the power we have. Some people loudly use their power against people, out of insecurity and the need to prove themselves. Some people quietly use their power against people, by anonymously posting mean things on the internet, out of fear… And some people use their power to help people and to teach by example. Power doesn’t always have to be a loud thing. In fact, I think quiet power is sometimes the most powerful. My grandfather was quiet and secure in his power. He knew that he could use those weapons, but every day that he was armed, he made choices out of a deep understanding that, just maybe, the most powerful thing he could do was not to hurt anyone.
This is a message that I want to get across to every school in America. People who bully other people have an insecure sense of power. It is up to the victims of bullying (which means, BOTH the BULLY and WHAT WE CALL THE VICTIM) to find their own power INSIDE of themselves. True power is deep and can change the world.
I am grateful for our troops and for all of the veterans. Thank you for your strength, bravery, and undeniable power.
LESSONS OF THE DAY: Today I will CHILL OUT. I will allow my body and mind to heal so that I can give my all as soon as I am back to feeling 100%. I will also be aware of the power inside of myself and all of us, and I will quietly use my power for good.
Friday, October 25, 2013
This week has been so much fun! Super productive and a lot of learning.
On Tuesday night, my friend Jackie and I went to a songwriter/producers-in-the-round seminar at the Grammy Museum. The featured writer/producers were Christina Perri, Makeba Riddick, Lauren Christy, Deana Carter, and Claudia Brant. They all shared their beautiful stories and insights, and it was very inspiring.
After the seminar, I went to Hotel Cafe to see bassist Zach Rudolph play with singer/songwriter Ernie Halter. If you haven’t yet, Check. It. Out. (www.erniehalter.com). Such a kickass show.
The rest of the week has been meetings and singing. Last night I sang at Don’t Tell Mama. It felt so good to get up and sing in this new environment. If you’re in LA, check out “Taking Back the Cabaret” at Don’t Tell Mama on Thursday nights, starting up again on November 14!
Oh Oh Oh! AND I got a bed!!! I love me a good deal, and I got one! Sweden is just the best place ever. Swedish Fish, Max Martin… And IKEA! I found a REALLY comfortable mattress, and bed frame, and all that good stuff there. So glad everything fit in my new car. Thank you very much, Ella! (Ella is my car’s name, in case you’re just starting to read this blog now). I have to say, it would have probably looked pretty funny if you saw what I must’ve looked like, loading all those huge things onto the cart by myself…
LESSON OF THE DAY/WEEK: From now on, I will take friends with me to IKEA. It’s more fun that way, because we can jump on the beds together. Also, I can let them do the heavy lifting while I go order Swedish meatballs and cinnamon buns. THAT’s teamwork
Monday, October 21, 2013
I am SO tired today! Maybe it’s the couch I am definitely buying a bed this week! But so far, today has been awesome. I had a couple of meetings this morning – I love starting my day that way! It really motivates me.
But whoops! I have been so focused on other things, that I didn’t properly plan for my visit to the DMV to get my California State Drivers License today, so now I have to reschedule the appointment. That’s ok. I forgive myself. I think the little lesson there, is that I have to allow myself to settle in more, instead of expecting to have EVERYTHING done in the first 2 weeks (or even month) of living here. There have been a ton of moving parts, and I still don’t even have all of my boxes here yet! This continues to be a bigger move than I realized it would be, but it’s allll good. I am allowing everything to keep falling into place!
I’m going to check out a yoga class, followed by meditation tonight. I think that will be good for the body/mind/spirit. I could use that connection again. It’s crazy how I notice this pattern. I really do start to get tired, cranky, and disconnected if I go a little while without yoga. But I’m so thankful that I have found that as my solution! It’s good to know the cause of emotions, so that I can take steps toward changing them if they’re negative. Yoga definitely gives me a connection to myself, unlike anything else, because it is solely for me and nourishes all of the other things I do in my life. I’m really looking forward to it tonight.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I will no longer equate exhaustion with sadness! Just because I’m tired, does not mean I have to feel sad or annoyed. I can except the fact that I am tired today and do things to utilize that feeling, instead of fighting it and letting little things bother me. I’m sitting at a coffee shop (NOT a Coffee Bean – I switched it up today! haha) with a chai latte, slowly and calmly going through my to-do list for the day. I will not force anything, but instead I will trust myself to get everything done and allow myself to be tired… and happy
Sunday, October 20, 2013
I spent the beginning of today relaxing and getting back into the swing of things. I don’t know if my brain has any idea what time it is! Coming back west is easier for me than going east when it comes to the time differences, because I gain an hour coming this way. But WHOA. Just a bunch of traveling and change the past couple of weeks.
Tonight I finished recording a new song with Jordan Higgins, a kickass producer that I am so happy to know in West LA. We had so much fun figuring out what sounds to put on the track, and recording is my absolute favorite thing in the world.
Do me a favor, and remind me that I MUST get a bed this week! The couch in my room is actually super comfortable, but I think that buying a bed for my new room is going to make me feel like I live there more. I’m still transitioning… One step at a time…
LESSON OF THE DAY: At the studio today, I learned that I have to TAKE MY TIME. There is no rush when it comes to creating a product that I’m satisfied with and proud of. Jordan and I have a great time working together, and I learn a lot from him. I really appreciate how meticulous he is. He doesn’t settle for something that sounds *almost right* or *OK*. I appreciate that in a person, and it reminds me to slow down and create exactly what I want to create.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
SUCH a fun Saturday night! I’m continuing to meet wonderful, smart, positive people in LA. Tonight I went to dinner with some good friends, all people I met in LA a few months ago, with the exception of my friend Heather (my VERY patient friend who spent 9 hours at the car dealership with me). We went to Cafe Gratitude – my favorite vegan restaurant in LA so far. I have to check them all out, but this one ROCKS.
After dinner, Heather and I went to a party with some of her friends. It was so good to spend time and unwind after a very beautifully emotional few days in Michigan. We all went to IHOP at 12:30am and had every pancake you can imagine! It was pretty rad I’m talkin’ red velvet pancakes, cinnamon bun pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes, and… it wouldn’t be Fall without pumpkin pancakes! I really, really loved every minute of tonight.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I’m giving myself permission to take nights off to just have fun. It is a necessary part of the journey, and there is so much opportunity to meet other people and find out more things I love about life that way!
Friday, October 18, 2013
I am forever changed after the few days that I experienced in Michigan. I am still reflecting on the questions and comments that I heard from the students that I am so thankful to have met.
Last night I flew back to LA. I am so happy to be back *home*. Now I think moving here will feel REALLY real
So yesterday was awesome. I got to the airport for my 6:15pm flight, and when I got there, I found out that my flight was delayed 2 hours. I found out that there was another flight to Los Angeles leaving in a half hour, and they told me that if I ran to the other gate, I could give them my name for Standby. So I ran. I ran like crazy to Concourse C, got to the other gate, and gave them my name. In the back of my head, I was hearing, “Devyn, what are the chances of you making this flight? It’s going to be full. Plus, there are 5 other people who want seats on this flight!” But I chose not to entertain those thoughts. After the lessons that I taught and learned this week, I chose to entertain the OPPOSITE of those thoughts and brought those to my mind: “Devyn, you’re getting on this flight. It’s gonna be awesome! You’ll sit down and get to LA sooner than you would have if your original flight had been on time!”
3 people traveling together gave their names as well, and they were called. In the back of my mind, I thought, “There’s no way they have more than those 3 seats available. I’m so jealous of them. Why do they get to go on this flight instead of me? Ok… I’ll just go back to my gate and wait for my plane…” But I chose to entertain other thoughts: “Oh, I’m so happy for them! That’s great. Whatever happens for me will be meant to be. I’m just glad they made it.” And next thing I know, I hear, “Rush? Devyn Rush?” I yelled, “YES! I’m right here!” And that was it. I was the last person to get on that plane, and I landed earlier than I would have if I had been on the original flight. Wow. The power of positive thinking!
Once I got on the plane, I sat down with a huge smile on my face, wearing my Hey U.G.L.Y. shirt (I didn’t have time to change my outfit after my last assembly earlier yesterday). The man next to me asked me about my “very interesting shirt”, and I told him why I was wearing it. His name is Sam, and he is from Ghana. Sam and I talked about bullying, bully prevention, his government and the evolution of his economic system back home. Such a smart, kind man, and I was so lucky to have him on this 4-hour flight to keep me entertained. The time went by so quickly!
Then the sweetest guy in the world picked me up from the airport, and here I am, back in LA with a new found appreciation and love for everything and everyone around me. I’m excited to continue the beginning of this amazing journey!
LESSON OF THE DAY (and week!): When I have a negative thought enter my mind, I will STOP and think, “What is the opposite of this negative thought?” Then I will CHOOSE to entertain that one instead. The more I repeat a thought, the more I will believe it, so I am choosing the positive thought to believe in
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Today has been an emotional, empowering, inspiring day. I’m still nearly speechless, but I think I’ll be able to write a little bit about it, since I was able to express some of what I’m feeling on the phone with my mom. Hey U.G.L.Y. is reminding me and helping me to be a gentle, accepting person. I’m emotionally drained and exhausted after this morning’s assemblies, but I know it’s because I had a chance to give so much of my Self to these incredible students.
I knew that Hey U.G.L.Y. was a special organization (www.heyugly.org – firstname.lastname@example.org), and I knew that going to these schools to speak and perform for the students was a fun and fulfilling thing to do… But I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me this morning, when I walked into a school in Michigan that would change my life forever.
During my assembly presentation, we talk about bullying – we talk about WHAT it is, WHY it is happening, and HOW to end it. There is a solution, and so much of the solution has to do with learning how to become aware of your emotions, accept them, and fill yourself up with so much love, that love is all you have to give to other people. You can’t give somebody something you don’t have. Anger is the Cause of Anger. Love is the Cause of Love. Bullying is the Cause of Bullying. So I gave my presentation, and I sang for the students… and then it was time for the Q & A. And these brilliant and open students got on the mic and asked/said things that I would have never expected.
I heard some heavy, terribly sad stories. I answered questions (and sometimes didn’t have answers to questions) about what should be done if someone just can’t love him/herself, about what should be done if someone just can’t look in the mirror and imagine feeling worthy… about what should be done if someone feels like life just isn’t worth living. My 45-minute presentation ended up being 2 hours long this morning. The wonderful principal of this school recognized that allowing the students to express themselves was going to be more important than sending them back to class on time. There were so many tears and so many hugs and so many SPECIAL, BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, POWERFUL people in this assembly today. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to witness something as life-changing as this. I can’t even explain it to a point that will give it justice. It was truly an experience, and I am so thankful that I was able to be there to see these students break down walls and open up to each other.
Just remember: We can tell ourselves anything 3,000 times, until we believe it. We have the power to CHOOSE what thoughts are put into are brains. We are POWERFUL, and we can CHOOSE to use our power for good – to help and heal ourselves and others, or for bad – to contribute to ruining our own and others’ lives. What do we want to choose?
LESSON OF THE DAY: So many. I learned that self-expression is so important. Giving someone the floor to express and be heard is one of the best things you can do for another person. I think we really do have 2 ears/2 eyes, but only 1 mouth for a reason. I was also reminded of the power of a hug. I think the best thing about a hug, is that when you give one, you also get one! I also learned that we must constantly remind ourselves and each other about the importance of our existence on this beautiful earth. We are all making a significant contribution, and we are all worthy of love and respect – from ourselves and from others. We must always remember that and never take each other for granted.
Thank you so much to the school that I visited today! You taught me so much, and I will always remember you. KEEP LOVING YOU. I DO.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
This has already been an incredible trip, and I haven’t even gone to the schools yet!
This morning, Mike Cortson – sound engineer and a very kind and generous friend to Hey U.G.L.Y. – recorded “I Am Enough (How to Love)” as my bonus track for my EP! I’m so excited about the way the recording came out, and my biggest wish is that the story I tell in the song helps tons of people.
THEN, Matt Anthony – my awesome, spectacular, badass producer in NYC – sent me the final mix of “4 o’clock”, which is also one of the songs on my next EP! It’s really coming together, and I seriously couldn’t be more excited.
This time away from LA is allowing me to take a step back and just appreciate… Appreciate where my life has been, Appreciate where my life is heading, and most importantly but most frequently overlooked – Appreciate where my life is RIGHT. NOW. I’m such a past and future person. That’s why so many of my songs are about time (e.g. “Time”, “4 o’clock”, “Too Soon to Know”… there’s a pattern there!) – My head is constantly spinning. Sometimes it’s spinning backwards, and sometimes it’s spinning so far away from me that I can’t catch up and just feel like Regan from The Exorcist! :-P
I’m learning about *The Now*. I’m learning about the little details. I’m learning about exploring. This is an exciting time in my life. And so was last year, when I moved into my studio apartment in NYC. And so was the year before that, when I was on American Idol. But right now… Right now is particularly exciting… because I’m getting to experience it RIGHT NOW! I mean, how cool is that?! I don’t have to look back on *Right Now*, because it’s happening RIGHT NOW. What? Am I gonna wait until next year to feel it? Absolutely not!
LESSON OF THE DAY: I am so thankful for the past, because it has led me to where, what, and who I am right now. And I am so thankful for right now, because I am able to experience and feel it in this moment. I am so thankful for the future, because soon the future will be my new now, and I will get to experience and feel that too. Also, in all honesty, what just came up for me when I wrote the line about being thankful for the future, is that I’m scared. But fear is the opposite of love. And gratitude is based in love, not fear. So I am choosing to change my fear, to replace it will love and gratitude.
It’s 8:50pm Central/9:50pm Eastern/6:50pm Pacific. My brain has no clue what time it is. No clue. At all! So I’m just gonna go to sleep now… so that I can wake up refreshed and ready to perform for 2 schools tomorrow! Let’s prevent bullying. RIGHT NOW.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
I’m on my way to Chicago O’Hare Airport for my “I Am Enough” bully prevention school tour this week. Everyone at LAX seemed to be in a really good mood today! I witnessed some amazing acts of kindness before I boarded the plane.
I always love when people say, “Pay it forward” after doing something good for someone else. That is what we are all about as a society – we pay forward what we have received. If we receive kindness and good deeds, we are usually way more inspired to pass that kindness to the next person in our path. And if we are the brunt of someone’s anger – or as Sara Bareilles puts it so, so well in her new single, “Brave”, if you are “the backlash of somebody’s lack of love” – you are more likely to pass down what you have received, the same way he/she passed what they received down to you. (You go, Sara!)
We are a Domino Effect society. It’s up to us to decide which way we want to tip the dominos that fall on us. And the beauty of it is, even if a domino of negativity, frustration, and anger falls onto us, we can make the choice to say, “Uh Uh Domino, I’m going to lean back toward you with kindness and change the direction of this.”
WE HAVE THE CHOICE, you guys! And it might not be easy. But it is very, very simple. (Read yesterday’s Lesson of the Day!)
Now look, we are imperfect, and we have to accept the FACT that we are not always going to wake up feeling chipper and ready to start a brand new day with love and kindness. Sometimes we wake up and want to go back to sleep. Sometimes we’re angry at something or someone! Sometimes we’re just angry for no reason at all! No matter what, these emotions are part of who we are; they are our many dimensions, and we must accept them. “What you resist, persists”, so there is no need to resist negative emotions – There is simply a need to acknowledge, accept, and choose.
I’m so excited to meet all of the students I’m about to meet! This school tour fills my heart in an indescribable way. By the way, for more info and to book me at your school, feel free to check out www.heyugly.org and email Betty Hoeffner at email@example.com. Betty is the founder of Hey U.G.L.Y., and she’s the coolest, most spiritual, and kindest person you can imagine. And to think she used to be a bully…
LESSON OF THE DAY:
1. Acknowledge: I will acknowledge what I’m feeling, with the idea that if I give my emotion an identity, I will be able to level with it and look it in the eye.
2. Accept: I will accept that this is how I’m feeling IN THE MOMENT (all emotions are temporary, because we are not them and they are not us). Once I have accepted the way that I’m feeling, I can get to the root of the emotion so that I can either make it last if it’s good… or kick it in the butt if it’s bad
3. Choose: I will make the choice to pass down my positive emotion, or sit with myself and get to the root of my negative emotion, so that I can change it. “Choose to Change” – Betty Hoeffner, Founder of Hey U.G.L.Y. – Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You. – www.heyugly.org
Side Note – The girl in the seat next to me on this plane is flying for the first time. I just got to see her face LIGHT UP when we took off. Super cool. She said it gave her butterflies. We should never get so used to something, that we take it for granted
Monday, October 14, 2013
I think I should give up my apartment and just live at this Coffee Bean, I’m here so much! Loving my new neighborhood and all of the people in it so far. I’m home
I’m getting ready to fly to Michigan tomorrow for my Hey U.G.L.Y. (Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You. – www.heyugly.org) bully prevention school tour. I will be there Tuesday through Friday, speaking and singing to students. Representing this organization and giving this assembly presentation mean the world to me. I have been finding out a lot about myself the past few years, and one big passion I have found, is doing my part to make sure every child (AND adult) feels heard, listened to, and emotionally aware. We are all capable of kindness, no matter what age we are. Bullying DOES NOT have to be an inevitable thing, you know? It’s just something that our society accepts, with the idea that “Boys will be boys” and “Oh, girls are just catty at that age”, but it doesn’t have to be that way! If we learn about our emotions and are taught how to utilize our minds and hearts to do GOOD at an early age, it will lead to a lifetime of true happiness and kindness toward ourselves and other people.
You can’t give somebody something you don’t have. That is my motto. Think about it. When you squeeze an orange, do you ever get apple juice? When you feel angry and anger is all that is inside of you, what do you give to yourself and to other people? It is up to us to TAKE control and keep ourselves happy! It’s not always easy, but it can be simple…
That is a huge lesson that keeps coming up for me: Ease vs. Simplicity. “If it were easy, everyone would do it” is often a very true statement. But so many times, we make things more difficult and complicated for ourselves than they have to be. I am… so ridiculously guilty of doing this. Plus, I’m a control freak, so any bit of remaining sanity gets thrown out the window when I try to take control over a situation that I’m already making too complicated for myself… But aaanyway… It’s not always about making things EASY, because sometimes they’re not. But so many times, things can be made SIMPLE. Moving to LA from NYC was definitely not easy, especially in the little amount of time I allowed for myself (Early May is when I made the decision to move, and early October is when I moved). But moving to LA from NYC was very, very simple. And I realize that now, looking back. Everything just fell into place, and I think that’s because it was right. I think that when something is right, it requires very little or no force, which is why we can allow simplicity!
LESSON OF THE DAY: When something seems difficult or “off” in some way, I am going to re-evaluate it and find the simple solution. I will take my time, and I will stop to breathe and make decisions out of positive simplicity, rather than negative chaos that drives everyone crazy!
Sunday, October 13, 2013
I saw Smokey Joe’s Cafe at the Pasadena Playhouse with my friend (and beautiful singer/songwriter/actress) Malynda Hale (www.malyndahale.com - Check out her music!). The show was amazing. I admittedly haven’t been to a show like that in a long time, and this show was FLAWLESS. I selfishly am so glad that Malynda’s husband had to work, so that I could go to this with her lol (We missed you, John!!) This little Jewish girl felt like she was at church the whole time, let me tell you! It was like a religious experience – 9 people on stage, singing their faces off, 1000% from their souls. You can just tell when someone is singing from his/her soul vs. to get a reaction. And these people were ALL soul. It was inspiring and invigorating.
LESSON OF THE DAY: Get up and do things spur of the moment! If an opportunity presents itself, I’m going to have an open mind and heart about it. And when I take those opportunities, I’m going to do them with every ounce of my BEING, from my SOUL. Because that’s where true life comes from – our soul.
Saturday, October 12, 2013
It has officially been one week since the move! Life feels good here. I’m continuing to meet people who are so generous and so real. It goes to show that there is no need to believe the stereotypes when you go to a new place. So many people like to give their opinions about things, based on their personal experiences. I think we all do this, and a lot of the time, it’s because we care and want to protect each other. But sometimes it doesn’t work and ends up hindering a friend’s experience rather than helping it along. So many people told me that people in LA are so fake and that driving in LA is so scary… And no doubt there are people and other cars to watch out for (this is the same wherever we go)- but I really believe that you can find your place anywhere you go, if you have a sense of stability and a ground within yourself.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I am listening to advice with open ears, an open mind, and an open heart. With that, I am also open to creating my own experiences and viewing my life through my own lenses, so that I can form my own opinions.
Friday, October 11, 2013
Getting settled. Today was a fun, very chill day. I had brunch with my good friend, beautiful singer/songwriter Malynda Hale, who is kicking butt out here! I love catching up with friends that moved from NYC to LA before I did. So proud of her. Then I stopped by Paul Gregory’s house – He is my go-to guy for head shots, and he is such a cool person (www.paulgregoryphotography.com). It was great to see both of these awesome people today, and comforting to know that I have these friends in LA.
I was finally EXHAUSTED today. I have had so much energy this week, and I finally crashed a little bit today… which led to feelings of guilt. Ugh. I hate that! I always feel guilty if I’m tired or just want to relax. In my head, I know that’s ridiculous. But I have an incessant fear of laziness, which is dumb. If I’m living and feeling and breathing and going and HAVING FUN WITH MY LIFE (making life fun – what a concept! haha), then that IS ENOUGH. The work comes. The doing part of life happens. I’m glad I had my friend Evan to remind me that it is not only OK to take breaks, it is necessary.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I am a human being, NOT a human doing. And human beings get really energized and motivated, and human beings also get tired and need to just sit and watch the Dodgers play against the Cardinals from their couch… Wait. Hold on. I’m sorry, did I just say that I was watching *the game*? WHO am I??
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Here I am. Sitting at a Coffee Bean in my new neighborhood. People are so nice here! I have this theory, that when you’re in a new place, your head gets into a new place too, and your energy changes to let in the new space. And when that happens, you end up somehow emitting a frequency to the people around you that screams, I’M THE NEW GIRL!!!! So it’s nice. I’m meeting a lot of new people by sitting in a coffee shop. I think they smell fresh meat and want to help me. And it’s great! I’m loving the conversations! My new friend, Cat, is a barista here. We went out on her 30-minute break and I got to talk to her. Super cool girl. She was born and raised here, so she knows a thing or two about being comfortable in LA.
LESSON OF THE DAY: Be real with people! When you’re new to something, TELL PEOPLE. They’ll want to help and be a part of your journey. And that, my friends, is what the journey is all about
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
YOU GUYS! I CAN BREATHE!!!
I drove on the freeway today, in the rain (which, I’m sorry – what? Rain? In LA? I did NOT leave the East Side for this!). And I breathed and drove – AT THE SAME TIME! I am… quite the multi-tasker.
I FINALLY got to a yoga class tonight. It was exactly the fun challenge that I needed. Having that mind/body/soul connection should never, ever be taken for granted. Going 2 weeks without a class can never happen again! But it definitely felt good to be there. Whenever I want to find a comfortable community in a new place, I find my yoga studio, and I always feel more at home. I think it’s important to find a space for that, no matter what you do.
LESSON OF THE DAY: It’s great to find a space that gives me freedom and a sense of community. Human connection is the best thing ever, and I really appreciate it.
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
More great meetings with more great people. I’m loving this city!!! Now if I could just breathe, that would be great. It’s getting a little bit easier. And the more I practice allowing myself to be accepted and accepting myself in each moment, the easier breathing is becoming. I’ve also been taking a few minutes each morning to collect my thoughts and let myself think. If FEELING isn’t happening right now, I will at least sit with my thoughts and listen to what my brain is saying.
I went to a show at the Viper Room with my friend Matt Linsky (of Hunnypot Unlimited - www.hunnypotunlimited.wordpress.com), and it was great. So much talent here! We saw Western Bells (www.twitter.com/WesternBells) and then Guardian Ghost (www.twitter.com/guardianghost1) – Both really really awesome, soulful, spiritual bands.
It feels good to get out and experience everything here!
LESSON OF THE DAY: When people walk across the street while you have a green light and are trying to make a right turn, they reserve the right to walk as slowly as humanly possible.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Ahh Mondays… I love Mondays. I can feel productive and get stuff done! And for me, since it’s Day 3, that means getting things in order in my new house… and going clothes shopping!
My friend Lisa is AWESOME. When I told her I was moving, she said, “Well come live with me! There’s an extra room in my house!”… And here I am! Unpacking all of my stuff. Woohoo!
Something weird that’s happening, is that I’m having a hard time breathing. Do you ever have that anxiety that doesn’t necessarily make you constantly feel stressed, but that you know is there because you can’t breathe? Ugh. It sucks so much. I know it’s stress, because it comes up every time I drive, every time I’m on the freeway, every time I meet someone new, every time I’m in a new place… so that’s… Oh. That’s all the time. Also, I haven’t been to a yoga class in 2 weeks, and my body and mind feel like they are completely separate from each other, and I’m not sure where either of them are.
LESSON OF THE DAY: In LA, wearing a tank top with UGGS and a beanie is not only accepted… it is correct.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
My friend Jackie invited me to her house tonight. She had some girlfriends over, and they are AWESOME. And… it kicked in. Finally.
My sister told me it would. She said not to worry, because there would be a day when I finally felt it – the fact that I moved here and that I live here. And it did.
I realized that *my car* was parked outside and that I was in a brand new environment, with brand new people… And I was the new girl. It actually felt a little bit like middle school all over again. And I’m so glad I experienced that, because I’m heading to Michigan in about a week for my “I Am Enough” bully prevention school tour on behalf of *Hey U.G.L.Y.* – Unique.Gifted.Lovable.You. – www.heyugly.org. There I was, new, awkward, and feeling out of place… and a little self-bullying. There was nothing holding me back from fitting in with these girls. They were so sweet and so smart – like, really the type of people I like to be around. The type of people that nourish you. But MY problem was that I was holding MYSELF back from allowing myself to be accepted!!
A good friend and sensei in NYC, Jonathan, once told me that acceptance is a two-way street. It’s not just about being accepted – IT’S ABOUT ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE ACCEPTED. And I was having a hard time with that tonight, listing reasons why I wasn’t worthy of being a part of their group. Telling myself I wasn’t as pretty. Telling myself I wasn’t as successful. Telling myself that I WASN’T Enough. Taking it all in with this negative energy… That is NOT me… Or is it?
Ya know what? Yes. Yes, it is! And I accept that! Because it’s ONE OF MY DIMENSIONS. And if I am going to love myself unconditionally, I BEST be lovin’ every single ounce of every single part of my being! And that’s what I’m going to do.
LESSON OF THE DAY: I am practicing self-acceptance and allowing myself to be accepted by these new friends in my life.
HEY U.G.L.Y. ”I Am Enough” Bully Prevention School Tour!
Saturday, October 5, 2013
And… now I really feel at home. You know when you’re in a place that just feels right? That’s what this feels like right now.
I spent the ENTIRE day at the car dealership with my friend Heather. My very smart and PATIENT friend Heather “No no, I’m staying and waiting with you!” is what she said when, after hour 9 at the dealership, we were STILL waiting for my new baby (my car’s name is Ella, and I refuse to refer to HER as “my car”, but I don’t want any rumors about me having a new baby to be floating around the internet lol) to be detailed. They must have scrubbed her with the smallest toothbrush EVER. But there she was, and she is so pretty and I love her…
And I’m terrified, because this means that I have to drive on the freeway. Every. Day. Ahhh!!!
I’m looking at this as an empowering experience though. A few months ago, when I was visiting LA, I swore I would never live here because I didn’t want to have to get a car and drive. And then I realized…
Well that’s dumb! To hold yourself back out of fear, Devyn? Is that something you do? Do you base a decision on fear? Uh uh. I don’t think so, lady!
And here I am. Home after a looong day, feeling accomplished and empowered… and very, very scared
LESSON OF THE DAY: I am allowing my fears to nourish my journey, rather than feeding into my fears.
Friday, October 4, 2013
I’M MOVING TO LA TODAY!!!!!!!! I can’t fully put into words what I’m feeling… because I feel numb. I think my brain is doing this thing where it makes itself numb so I don’t have to sit inside of the fact that I’m leaving everything I have ever known. I understand this and can say it out loud, but the emotional awareness doesn’t feel like it’s fully there yet. Wondering when it’s going to kick in.
There were definitely tears when I hugged my mom and sister goodbye. My mom just kept repeating, “You’re gonna do it. You know that right? You’re gonna do it.” That made the feelings sink in a little more, in the best way possible. It makes me think, Do What? What am I going there to do?
… So many things.
Mostly, I’m leaving NYC and flying to LA to make a change in my life and get outside of my comfort zone, to eventually make this “discomfort zone” my new comfort zone. I’m not doing it to run away. I’m definitely NOT doing it because I’m unhappy in NYC. New York is my HOME. But let me get super cheesy for a minute and remind myself that “home is where the heart is”… and one beautiful thing that New York has allowed me to do, is to find my home inside of myself. That means that wherever I am is exactly where I AM (those are the brilliant words of my beautiful friend and amazing songwriter, Anna Krantz – www.annakrantz.com - who moved to Nashville just a few months ago).
LESSON OF THE DAY: I AM home.
Can I have both??
Thursday, October 3, 2013
I’ve been waiting for today for such a long time! Today is the day I can officially say… I’M MOVING TO LA TOMORROW!!!!!!!!
LESSON OF THE DAY: I have to experience the present moment, no matter how slow the time is going, no matter how much I’m anticipating something. Because eventually, even if slowly, that moment will be gone, and what I ultimately want WILL come.
^^ This is how I said goodbye to my Mom-Mom before I moved…
Ok, but really, how cute is she?