NEW YORK CITY, ITHACA
This is not the season to hibernate! While it may be a happy, cozy and sparkly season (or just the opposite for some) its one of the BEST for business. Between the new year approaching and holiday season, many people are cheery enough to consider and more open than ever to new possibilities. Contrary to what people say, I have experienced THIS month to be THE month to pitch, propose, reach out and connect...
More on this soon (busy pitching 2018 plans to new partners!)
1. Change that winter recipe, warmth from the soul!
Old Recipe: cold + don't want to do anything = Netflix
New Recipe: cocktails + chocolate + anything else worth obsessing over = exciting winter ahead!
I'm so excited to announce Cocktails for Conservation!! For the past six years (since 2012) we have produced events where fashion meets conservation. All Fashion for Conservation events share many forms of art: fashion, music, live performances, and now we're adding specialty cocktails to the mix! I'm so excited. Maybe I shared that already.
What excites you creatively, or professionally? Become obsessed with it this winter! Plan themed dinners, brunches, parties, (or meetings!), etc. to share the excitement with friends and colleagues. Warm up this winter from the inside out (or you can always just wait until global warming catches up). Identify it!
The video below shows our team in action during our last event, now we're preparing for Cocktails for Conservation in Seattle on Nov. 28th!!
2. Make some noise, tell the world!
Share, share, share! What are all the ways you can invite people into your new winter excitement?
Here are a few:
Specialize an Instagram
- > I'm getting pumped up for Cocktails for Conservation via a new handle @CocktailsforConservation
Public Speaking // Facebook Live
-> DISCLAIMER: Science says people's NUMBER ONE FEAR even more than death, injury and loss is public speaking. So its understandable for this one to be as INTIMIDATING as it is for me...this month I will be speaking in front of millions, twice!
On November 18th I will give a TEDX speech in Seattle broadcasted on tedtalks and at the end of the month I will be featured on a reality TV show (won't tell you which one yet! :)
3. Pee your pants, or make someone else pee theirs!
Laughter kills. So do haunted houses. A friend (Michelle Green) was recounting her night before November 1st (Halloween) which she spent volunteering at a haunted house and she made some lucky lady pee her pants...this story almost made me pee mine too, everyone she told laughed. The funniest part was not even the story, it was how EXCITED Michelle was to be scary (contrary to her daytime career as a super model). We all celebrated her success. CELEBRATING our successes (and failures), whether professional, silly, depressing, or all of the above like Michelle's story IS KEY TO WARMING UP THIS WINTER.
Excitement is EVERYTHING. Identify it. Share it. Celebrate it!
Instagram live feed @ava.j.holmes
CHALLENGE: GET READY TO SURVIVE THIS COMING WINTER BY CELEBRATING WHATS EXCITES YOU CONSISTENTLY!
LOS ANGELES, SAN DIEGO
The highlight of this entire month was walking along Venice beach in LA and then Pacific beach the next day in San Diego catching up for two days straight with my best friend who I see once a year. This time for me is always reflective, happy and motivating...
We ask each other questions like "what do we want to be able to say we accomplished a year from today by the time our next annual reunion comes around?" We reflect on all our other reunions over the years past, its like watching yourself grow up and evolve in someone else's eyes.
Three years ago we got to be together right before new years. I was not the happiest. Not that I was unhappy, but I already knew what I needed to be doing differently and I just wasn't doing it. Isn't that the odd thing about goals? Usually, we know exactly how to achieve them and the only thing standing in our way is ourselves (or the courage to give up something we have for what we want more!) Why was it that my simple goals weren't accomplished? It was the really challenging over-the-top projects that seemed to be accomplished more easily than the daily/weekly/monthly goals around health and wealth. That year I waited until the new years to make the declaration to re-commit to these practices, and once again an entire year went by, accomplishing the giant projects like building an eco-lodge in the jungle (hojanueva.org) and hosting events in six different countries (fashionforconservation.com) but still, once again, neglecting health and wealth.
It was this month last year, a few weeks before our 2016 annual reunion I refused myself from telling her the same story when I saw her, and I declared to make my health and wealth goals happen that month. That October was the month I attended the most dance classes in three years combined, maintained a daily mediation practice and created additional income. This was my first "New Years in October."
What happened October 31st-December 31st was typical of most new years resolutions...
ON AVERAGE A NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FIZZLES IS ONE TO THREE MONTHS.
By New Years eve my efforts fizzled. Of course people surrounding me suddenly starting sharing their first round of declarations, and that's when I realized I actually had a second chance to commit. Since I had already done the trial version of my goals in October, I knew what did and didn't work about my practice. October is not only an amazing trial period for your goals, it is an opportunity to JUMP START your new year!
This time during our 2017 annual life updating session, I could finally say I had achieved my health and wealth goals!! I meditate daily, dance weekly, and working toward wealth daily...
Thank you NEW YEARS IN OCTOBER!!!
CHALLENGE: JUMP START YOUR NEW YEAR BY MAKING YOUR NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS THREE MONTHS BEFORE 2018 THIS OCTOBER!!
LONDON, PARIS, MILAN, AMSTERDAM
I grew up running barefoot in forests. My father ran a wilderness survival school called Primitive Pursuits which gave me practical survival skills like building shelters, making bowdrill fire, and modern primitive luxuries like roadkill dinner. I have always been extremely connected with earth.
Today I work in fashion. And still between seasons of fashion week, I kick off my Alexander Mcqueen stilettos and run around wild places with a bare-feet on the earth, feeling completely wild and at home again. Being anywhere in nature is home, not just for me. Nature is where all of us originally came from. Earth is our first home.
In general most people would say that the wild has nothing to do with the business of fashion. I say they have a - lot to do with each-other. Combining the two worlds of fashion and conservation of nature is actually a crucial key to the survival of our planet.
Here are three reasons why fashion and the wild relate...
When I asked people guess what this first point means one of the responses were - we wear clothes to look good #survivalofthefittest. Ok fine. What I actually want to share here is what a wise tracker woman once shared with me. “The physiology of brand-recognition is evolved from our tracking instincts,” what does she mean by this? Consider our local wildlife: Amazon, Google, Apple, and Microsoft. I would be willing to bet that 100% of you could recognize their tracks, their logos.
We used to recognize the tracks of a local fox, a coyote and a gray squirrel just the same The reason we have excellent brand-recognition is because we evolved as trackers.
Another wise woman, my grandmother this time pointed out to me one year that shopping appeals to our primitive hunter/gatherer instincts. While this was a nice excuse for me to explain to my father I was out hunting and gathering with grandma, her comment was accurate according to science on the correlation of our continuous need to buy and our primal instincts to survive.
You also might be thinking, how is fashion relevant to me? Simply put: we all wear clothes. When you got up this morning and decided what to wear today, you chose to be apart of the fashion industry. What to wear is one of the most common consumer choices that we make every day of our lives. In fact, the global fashion industry is evaluated at 2.4 trillion dollars annually, resulting in it being the largest monetarily evaluated industry in the world. Fashion is this silent language that all of us speak. What you wear is the first cue that you give to the world about who you are, where you come from, what you believe in, and possibly what you do.
And the second part of this section is obvious. In order to survive on this planet, we must take care of it. Enough said.
A majority of the most popular fashion icons in history are continuously inspired by nature. Without the nature’s inspiration in their collections, fashion week set design, and editorial concepts, there would be no believe Alexander Mcqueen, Coco Chanel or Anna Wintour. Fashion excites me as an opportunity to express an appreciation of nature. At first, this is why working in fashion industry also felt like coming home, I was constantly being surrounded by expressions of nature.
But the more I worked in the business of fashion, the more I notice the blatant irony. The same trends influencing our consumer behavior are harming the very landscapes and sceneries that inspired the trends.
Hundreds of endangered and threatened species listed under the UN Red-list are poached daily for their rare skins, their fancy feathers, and their exotic furs. For example, just today approximately 96 African elephants were killed so that their ivory tusks can be carved into and sold as jewelry and home decor labeled as “legal vintage.” This is why fashion is partially responsible for nearly one-fourth of all mammals, one-third of all amphibians and one-half of all reptiles approaching extinction or already extinct today.
A more subtle example: billions of gallons of water, chemicals, and countless resources are being used produce our clothes each season, the contents of which are constantly seeping into our environment.
Meanwhile an average consumer in the US discards 81 pounds of clothing each year. All of this resulting in fashion being amongst the top 3 most wasteful and environmentally destructive industries on the planet, up there with food and energy.
I am not here to list depressing facts on the fashion industry, though I’m happy to discuss them for as long as you can stand. later. I am also not here to tell you to go live in a cave to decrease your consumption, though I would be pleased to join you— I would say like my father did welcome back to the good old Primitive Pursuits days.
Anyways, these statistics in combination with a hypersensitivity to environmental concerns made it clear to me that I could no longer work in the business of fashion as it is today.
In 2012 I made a commitment to bridging the chasm between the business of fashion and the conservation of our planet. This is why I founded “Fashion for Conservation.”
Picture Coco Chanel, Anna Wintours, and Alexander McQueen.
Here are few of my favorite fashion icons behind brands that most of us will recognize. While these fashion icons are some of the most powerful voices in our society today, we hear surprisingly little from them on what is at stake behind fashion’s biggest trends. Simply put, fashion is a powerful messaging tool, allowing next season’s fashion trend to be more important than the devastating environmental impact behind them.
Now picture Aldo Leopold, Bill McKibben, Jane Goodall
Meanwhile here are our environmentalist friends who struggle to get their message across to audiences other than scientists, nerds and vegans—all of which personally I identify as and is why I feel at home with all of you here in Seattle. Think of local petitioners, grasping for even a hello or a smile, exhausted from begging you for “just 20 seconds” of your already too busy of a day. Even the most widely known faces that we recognize as environmental heros today were often extremely un-popular let alone respected during much of their careers as environmental spokespeople and activists.
This is the chasm between fashion and conservation, when the important messages shared by our environmentalist friends are largely undermined by fashion’s superiority in effective messaging and thusly our fashion icon’s brilliant ability to influence society.
I started Fashion for Conservation to put these people and their agendas on the same page.
Fashion for Conservation is speaking with the voice and power of fashion to fund the conservation of wildlife, ecosystems, and native communities who remain deeply connected with earth. It does this in three ways:
Fashion for Conservation is about inviting you to enjoy a night out that blend elements of fashion with themes of the wild while supporting conservation. A few conservation organizations we’ve partnered with brough our audiences fashion and performances inspired by Elephants, Chinese Giant Salamanders, Blue Morpho Butterflies, Tigers, rainforests and oceans,.
Fashion for Conservation is about making science sexy and fun to learn about through visually stimulating editorial spreads and engaging interviews that educate readers on science and conservation through our magazine, blog and social media. Here we are using the voice of fashion to capture readers attention, especially those who may not otherwise care about environmental issues, and empowering all of us to take action.
Fashion for Conservation is about supporting and growing businesses who are passionate about investing some of their profits in conservation. This is the business of fashion I am finally proud to be apart of.
I dream of the season where our fashion icons here are a conservation voice for the same flourishing sceneries and wildlife that they are promoting in their fashion design
I like to frame it this way, though I feel like the Lorax when I say this: just like we would pay to copy-write someone's design, I believe that it is necessary to pay some of the profits made off of nature's designs back to the conservation.
I started Fashion for Conservation to invite my colleagues in the business of fashion to have integrity in designs we're promoting and selling each season. And as consumers, If the brands we wear or the businesses we work for are profiting from environmental or cultural themes, I invite all of us to have integrity as consumers by investing in conservation.
I envision a world where fashion shifts from being a driver of environmental problems to instead being a part of the solution, and all of us as participants in this industry can be a part of this voice.
Our consumer choice is an opportunity to encourage businesses to give back. From a business perspective it makes sense: 80% of consumers are willing to switch brand loyalty for a similar product of the same price if it supports a cause, and 19% are willing to switch for a similar produce of an even higher price if it supports a cause.
Our current campaign is Elephantasia, an exhibition of elephant inspired fashion created by twenty-four international designers. Elephantasia recently rocked the runway at this season’s London Fashion Week with previews throughout Europe in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the conservation of African elephants.
CHALLENGE: EXPRESS YOUR APPRECIATION FOR NATURE THROUGH YOUR FASHION AND CONSUMER CHOICE,
Hold your sword high! The planets just lit a fire.
The feeling is like having been preparing for battle for a long time - and finally everything you need is ready. That book that you have been little by little outlining all your life, the relationship you have been seeking for the past 10 years, or the box you haven't unpacked since you moved in - there is suddenly an abundance of energy to take on what has been neglected for too long.
This month of Leo makes some people's blood boil; if all this extra energy isn't directed into achieving your life goals it may become frantic energy. Either way it is common for your insides to feel extra hot this month. Invest this abundance of firey energy in your life goals!
If there were ever a perfect timing for something (personally experience this to be a rare phenomenon) this is it, whether we like it or not. That which is not currently working will now fall apart this month, and that which you have been working towards for a long long time will now (finally!) have a moment under its much deserved spotlight.
So if this month makes you fall flat on your face career wise (or a significant relationship falls apart), yay! If this month feels like the rock'n rollar coaster of 0 to a million MPH in 30 days, put your hands up and enjoy the ride! If you are being invited into a new life calling and haven't already done so jump up and down and shout YES YES YES!!!
Besides, most successful people have reached a tipping point in their business and life when they fell really hard and had to get back up again, jumped into a situation before they were ready or had a coach to really stretch them into new possibilities...
This is it! You have been preparing and planning LONG enough. Hold your sword up high and charge head on into your power, esspecially embracing all the stuck, uncomfortable and (my favorite word) challenging. You have MORE than enough energy to do all that you need to this month. You are currently FULL POWER!
August 7th will be a particularly abundant day for those who listen to opportunities the universe is gifting through long-saught connection. Check your emails, phone calls, and be present to any random serendipetous meet-ups. Please read a full planet guide for this month if your interested why, it has to do with the presence of Saturn.
SURVIVAL TIP: GO TO WAR WITH YOUR ARMY, YOUR ARMOUR AND AMOR
Personal example from the battlefield: Making space!!! Lets use the brilliant metaphore of our phones.
When it is full and we want to take a photo, we delete at least one so we have room for just one more. When the battery is low, and we don´t charge it - it crashes. I had been living my life like this! My phone was full, my inbox was full, my suitcase was full and my schdeule was FULL. I was going non-stop and rarely recharging until I crashed over and over again in the form of sickness and fatigue.
In just the first day of August I used a friends computer to completely download and offload everything from my phone (sigh), pressed select all in my inbox and dragging everything into a folder I made called "past," and cleared every sunday in August for LEO TIME (doing other productive personal things that have been put off for WAY too long with various great excuses). I also gave away 3 out of 4 pairs of shoes I own and several pieces of clothing to a friend who extended her vacation 2 weeks with enough packed for the 2 days she had planned to stay - she had come for the Elephantasia fashion show at Atzaro Fashion Festival from which all these fabulous photos are from (fashionforconservation.com).
So don´t be shy...
Get ready to take action, super star!
CHALLENGE: WHAT ARE YOU COMMITTED TO COMPLETING ONCE AND FOR ALL THIS MONTH? FIRE IS ON YOUR SIDE!
I met Ava when I was 6 years old traveling alone for the first time. I met another Ava when spoke in front of 10,000 people for the first time and another when I performed for millions on reality TV for the first time. I meet a new Ava every time I say yes to a challenge. The parts of us that remain constant through change is how we meet ourselves for who we really are and when friends who witness you go through change can finally say "I've known Ava for long enough to know Ava."
We only grow when we meet ourselves in new contexts. This is how to stay young and arguably how to stay alive. This is also how to grow the fuck up, once we figure ourselves out anew. This is why we travel. This is why we move. This is why we form and dissolve relationships. We are fully capable humans; we are genetically evolved for being adaptive and therefore genetically evolved to be able to express different parts of ourselves in different contexts. This is why we cannot allow ourselves to live our lives on autopilot, a depressed state where parts of you will never get to breathe not all your being will be alive.
So to be alive, say yes to challenges. The right ones. We can gauge smart from degrading challenges by understanding who they have made out of others that did them before you and deciding if similar results fit your life vision.
Disclaimer: I have done many wild challenges and come to realize I may be a challenge junkie. I have lived naked in a cave with just one tool for 3 weeks, travelled the world with a knapsack of belongings and less than 1k in bank accounts combined, shared bathroom sinks with strangers who ask me to get my own sink or stop washing their hands early to walk away in disgust, participated in competitions in dance styles in which I never had a single lesson, started a thriving business overnight (and many non-thriving), been intentionally mute for a week, un-intentionally deaf for my first few years, walked blind for 72 hours and been in a wheelchair for 24, and always more. I used to myself a weirdo when I didn't know how else to categorize all this. Now I just call myself alive. I am all of it. It's just who I'm evolved to be.
Every month I share a challenge (or a few!) with the results I got from completing it and an invitation for you too to get fired-up with me by saying life's most beautiful, dangerous, contagious, and lively word...
CHALLENGE: Ask yourself (or friends) what the most wanted and needed 30 day challenge is for your life. Then say the magic word!
1. LIFE IS SALAD
3. THE 3 TOOLS
There are some things that categorize everything. Take salad for example, a mixture containing a specified ingredient served with a dressing with dressing rhetorically defined as a sauce for salads (thanks Siri) This used to drive me crazy. My dirty laundry is a salad, a mixture of black socks black jumpsuits and black dressed with white detergent and dance party sweat sauce.
Like salads, everything in your life is a tool, "a thing used to carry out a particular function (Siri). This is more serious than salad. While your lovers and best friends are prized the luxury of getting to know your laundry salad however, most people don't judge you on that. They will however judge you on your tools-all of them they can possible find.
Disclaimer: I appreciate the sentiment of not giving a flying fuck about people other people's judgement but disagree entirely. I actually endorse judgement, respectfully so. There is a reason we evolved judgement and that is to keep us safe from danger in survival situations. Today, I am not willing to sacrifice the survival of my wildest dreams to live free of judgement. Yes judgement is used (perhaps abused suits better) to segregate ourselves from opportunities and beneficial connection to other humans. It is actually only when the judgement required to make smart life decisions and reintegration of segregation are realized together that our wildest dreams are not just surviving but completely thriving. As for other people's judgements, if we are smart enough to judge them judging we have just received gold, invaluable feedback on your impact of THAT PARTICULAR PERSON (and maybe others too) for which to be extremely grateful. More on the science and spirit behind gratitude later.
You are born with three tools. Although we start off using our instincts, we are from there taught how to use them incorrectly. A handful of us return to our instincts when we realize what we're taught is BS, a smaller handful have kept our instincts for a lifetime, and a smaller handful yet are currently using all three tools properly (naturally and instinctually).
These are the three tools people judge first. You can misuse and abuse all the tools given to you in the world and if you have these three right no one will ever question who you are or your worthiness (most importantly including yourself). I believe that every queen was once a princess is rags (and sometimes we play with rags as we dance around a fire to remind ourselves of the good old days). Now you are the lead judge.
GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
90% of your thoughts today are repeats of yesterday's. If you spend more than a minute to recall the last time your brain didn't have a single work, family or life-obligation related thought habitually run through your mind twice within a 24 period then it is URGENT to press pause, and here's how.
Call me fire in the kitchen. Your just starting to get back to work and you smell smoke suddenly. Now you're hearing the fire alarm! Come, quick! Let me show you where the fire is coming from, grab a piece of paper and write everything down that you think about most every-day, go!
Now look at all these fancy words on paper, strung together to mean one thing or another, do these words define you? When someone asks you who you are or what you do or how you are doing, how many of these words are repeated?
Too many questions are asked rhetorically. How are you? Fine. Whats going on? The usual. Hows life? Good...REALLY? Life is the same shit? BS.
The real answers to all these rhetorical questions build up every time they are asked. The honest answers build up ALMOST as much as our never ending checklists of words to check off. And when all of these words are on paper, we sometimes get tricked into asking ourselves if those 90% of words and tasks running hamster wheels in our mind are all that we are. STOP IT!
THESE WORDS AREN'T YOU AT ALL. YOU ARE NOT A BROKEN RECORD.
Music can play to a thousand moments and never feel the same to the different ears. You could be handed someone else's page (full of someone else's words that mean various places, feelings and faces to them) and start having those thoughts 90% of the time and still be you.
We forget our mind is a tool. Instead we get lost in thought, uncontrollable think of the same thoughts over and over again without advancing, and simply cannot stop thinking of certain things. This is your mind is controlling you versus owning your jedi mind power and using your mind. The majority of the words we write down are controlling us, sometimes so much so we think the words define us. This is not what our mind is for. Our mind is a manual tool, not to run on autopilot. It is an instrument to be played authentically, not to play itself. Just like others of its kind, it too can be put down as you walk away from it - guess what - still as you!
On your to-do list did you include these things? Breathe in, breathe out 30,000 cycles. Beat your heart 115,200 times. Pump 2,000 gallons of blood through your body. WAIT. I did not include these on mine! Quite frankly, I don't know anyone who does! Let me know if you ever find someone who does, I'd like to interview that weirdo.
Point is these vital activities remind us of what make us alive and truly defined as the human you are.
My life literally depended on a single tools once. I left my Machete out in the rain once and rust corroded it overnight. I chopped things over limestone which chipped the blade. I used it carve things and the sound and feel of friction increased with every stroke. By the time we actually need to start thinking about the vital activities above, our first tool of the mind will have seen better days as we too get rusty, chipped and out of toon as we age, especially when do not care for them.
CHALLENGE: Invest and care for the smartest tool in the box: your mind! Invest its longevity with time for a brain dump, reflection and creating mental space (practicing mindfulness mediation, being present for yoga, going on vision quests, experiencing extended silence, etc.) Break from the 90% that isn't actually you.
MOVE YOUR BODY
I watched my body do things I never imaged it could. When I danced every day for an entire month from 8am to wee hours of the next am, I felt my body move in speeds and to rhythms and with grace like I never thought it could. On survival trips I loose approximately a pound a day and although my body initially freaks out and goes into shock, I feel just fine despite no food by day 3 or 4. In facing severe trauma or death of loved ones, those moments where you're not quite sure if you'll be able to move on, I suddenly remember to breathe and realize important life lessons, for example: you are often more ok than you thought you were. Still breathing. Still alive. That's more than most people who have been on this planet can say I guess, since only 8 Billion of them are still living and the rest are dead physically for one reason or another. And other people have done actually impressive physical stuff - you can pick up a Guinness book of world records to prove it.
We are evolved to adapt. We are NOT are evolved to do things in just one way.
Yes, if you are still standing, life has already shown you enough of who you are to keep going and do stuff, but how you do it is a better question. How you do it shows the world who you are.
Thus, my favorite life lesson from swing dancing: Oh, 'tain't what you do; it's the way that you do it..
CHALLENGE: MOVE YOUR BODY RIGHT NOW TODAY WITH URGENCY IN THESE THREE WAYS
1. AWAKEN YOUR SENSES
We are evolved to try things on and experience what happens next.
Like shopping for new clothes that fit, you grow up and grow out of certain ways! Too many of us forget to shop for new ways of doing our life, thus acting in ways that no longer fit whether they are too small or so out of season your children have to beg you to borrow their clothes. Life becomes monotonous and at the extreme, plain stuck.
Today, right now, with urgency engage your senses in new ways!
Some of us are good at this sometimes (trying new restaurants, Instagram filters, or wine). Keep doing these things, but also look at where you could improve in trying new things!
Here are some of my favorites:
SIGHT: Get a handful of paint chips from the paint store and spread them all over the table comparing the colors every day for a week, life becomes more vivid!! Choose the colors that express your current personality and decorate your space(s) with it like its the holiday of the month. Mine are currently dark green, dark blue, and copper - I almost adopted a peacock for this season. Long story short, I instead gifted a bouquet of ferns inside a blue and copper rimmed vase to my air BNB at the time.
TASTE: Add new spices to food or at least order something else besides Pad Thai at Thai restaurants (point: new flavors).
FEEL: Wear different fabrics of clothing, get a textured phone case, touch more of the cool things in your house - take a hands on tour of rocks, curtains or cats whatever is most abundant over there.
SMELL: New detergents, new essential oils or perfumes, new soap, new candles. Our noses get particularly neglected in this stinky world. There isn't so much money in the nose hair product industry so society doesn't remind us its a problem to have numb noses.
SOUND: Stalk someone on Soundcloud instead of Facebook or better yet see how many of your Facebook friends are actually friends by seeing who says yes to a private message requesting to please make you a mixed CD!
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: move your body in new ways...
2. MOVE YOUR BODY
The place I see stuck-ness creeping up on people's bodies most clearly is screen use. It is no wonder to me why we have arthritis younger, more neck pain more often and curvier spines, we are stuck in the same body movements! Every beep, ring and robot voice results is us curling the pointer finger to support the top of the device, curling our pinky to support the bottom, curling the other fingers to passively chill, twitch our thumb between curling and stretching to type, hunching our shoulders over to get closer, leaning our necks forward to see, and shortening our breathe because you couldn't tell if that pirate emoji was intended to be like a I can't bare you because we're in a cryptic text arrrgument or like an I'm secretly winking at you face.
Today, right now, with urgency move your body in new ways! Be still! Be flowy! Be glitchy! Be chaotic! Float! I relate these earth, water, metal, fire and air. Also, stretch and tone your body every day to counter act stiffness, stuckness and slumpiness! (This is like brushing your teeth for your body which isn't only done at the dentist - you don't just do it at the physical therapist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, yoga class, gym or spa although those are all great check-ups to invest in - you do it every day and often!)
3. LET THAT SHIT GO
Our bodies are not good at keeping secrets, we physically manifests them. At best, our trauma is stored in pinched nerves, our anxiety in our tight muscles, our stress as acne on our skin, over consumption as fat, ADHD as restless twitchiness, etc. At worst, our stress feeds disease, secrets slaves to severe depression, craving for comfort food in such an uncomfortable society causing obesity, misunderstood geniuses diagnosed with mental insanity, and other things of which we see unprecedented medical documentations. Our bodies are storage units for all the stuff we don't want until we finally make a run to the dump and drop it off once and for all.
Today, right now, tell your secrets!!
Get the professional guidance you need to let that heavy, toxic, old shit go.
If I were to right in my journal about how it feels to be free I would leave the page blank.
A blank canvas is ready. It is always inviting my eyes to fill the page before I touch it at all so by the time my pen touches the page it as if the writing, the picture, the new possibility has already happened. This is life. When we approach a blank canvas whether it is a new city, a new job, a new hobby or a new day, we can see through our futuristic eyes how we want the experience to be before breathing the newness.
Fun Fact: The ability to think about stories in the future is the ONLY thing that distinguishes our brains from any other species (called our prefrontal cortex). Wow!
This week I parked in the truck load zone and ran intro Trader Joe's to buy 1 more can of coconut milk for the 21st Peanut Butter pie I was making that day (story for later). All I remember next was trying to hurry the clock for the line to go faster and the person in front of me to stop making conversation with the grocery check-out guy, that is until I heard the check out guy respond. He was....Ill call it spirited. Time stopped. He said:
"I AM HAPPY, THANK YOU. I WOKE UP TODAY WITH ALL MY LIMBS, STILL BREATHING, COLORFUL FOODS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, RUNNING CLEAN WATER, AND EVEN AN ENTIRE DAY WAITING FOR ME. I HAVE NOTHING TO COMPLAIN ABOUT HERE GETTING PAID TO BE MYSELF. I AM THANKFUL AND HAPPY TO BE ALIVE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION."
No kidding, he was freaking beaming. While I have in fact always viewed Trader Joes as a life sized Barbie Dream House (so many oversized colorful plastics), I never imagined working there could actually be a dream...everything he said was so contagious! Everyone in line was smiling and listening. In my own head I said me too. That last pie was the happiest pie I made that day. I was happy to be alive to make that 21st pie!
What is the difference between you when your happy and suddenly everybody else is happier around you, and you when you're bitter like everybody around you? It's you're spirit! Lifted spirits lift others.
If you've every been to an acupuncture session, a sound bath or a workshop with AMMA (the hugging saint) you're probably familiar with the experience of "high energy frequencies." The feeling is almost trance-like, the physical being is relaxed and even stunned into stillness at times while the mind is completely at rest. In these contexts, there are very high spirits because there is a lot of mental and physical space for spirits to be welcomed. I have witnesses people leave from these sessions healed of the wildest stuff, completely freed from illnesses and traumas. Personally, if it weren't for continuous acupuncture I may have been deaf my entire life. From the time that I was 2 to 6 years old I was completely deaf in both ears EXCEPT when I had acupuncture which allowed me to hear quite clearly with hearing aids for a few days following each session. During these few days, my spirits were also particularly high. Maybe it was just happiness from being able to hear, but I get the same feeling today - my mood is just higher from the spiritual activation.
Last week I had a particularly spiritually insightful acupuncture session. To some people it just sounds crazy. Here is one of those secrets Im closing to share with you anyways.
As I sunk into the normal relaxed physical state with that familiar blanket of energy circulating my body, my spirit completely left. I remember feeling more free than I ever have, my heart was full of pure bliss. I had never had so much space in my mind - so absent of any thoughts at all. When I came back into my body, my eyes fluttered open I realized I had been sobbing. My friend who did the session next to me was right next to me asking if I was okay. My voice responded to her saying yes I am fine, but I was not speaking. I asked the voice who are you? And the same voice responded, I am your mind....
Here is what I learned:
Freeing your spirit is a choice you get to make. Your spirit is the most authentic you. Without spirit, you are only your ego. Your ego lives in your mind. Living in your head is allowing your ego to control your body and mind making it very difficult to see all the possibilities of your blank canvases in life. Why? Your ego can only receive and process information from your human senses while your spirit can access other sense. You spirit is not constrained to your mind. Your spirit lives in your body's soul. It is also everywhere in the vastness of all that is imaginable. If you can imagine it your spirit can be there. Suddenly, there are so many more possibilities in life, all the way up to infinite.
If you're fond of abstraction, imagine your life like a painting for a moment. While your ego can only see through your human eyes and process human sights, your spirit can imagine the perspectives of many many many other eyes through which this Universe is seen. Through this awareness we can imagine how else the Universe may look to other beings which broadens the possibilities of what you create on your blank canvas. As a painters you can now create a painting with 6 version of the same image like a spider's six eyes (sometimes more), a painting in all red like the inferred eye of a snake or a three dimensional painting for a blind eye. As the painter of your life, you can now create 6 different plans for achieving a certain life goal like a spider, appreciate the detailed differences between the "same tone: of color or personalities like a snake, and use our sixth sense of intuition and "vibes" to feel out a certain situation, person or possibility
AKA: What I learned is who I really am. Though I see with just two eyes, I sense life's infinite possibilities. Now, like the grocery check-out man, every day that I wake up still breathing, seeing through my two eyes, hearing with my two ears, and feeling fully alive I chose to be myself in high spirits. No wonder our paren't didn't name us after our body and minds developed, they named our spirit. Who I really am is a spirit called Ava.
Our first 2 tools have overwhelming capacities to store stuff whether it is trauma as pain and unhealthy weight or chaos as disorganization and overly stressed busy-ness. At a certain point like a shelf piled too high with boxes too packed and too heavy, even we collapse on ourselves. Our bodies are heavy with unhealed physical, mental and emotional stress pinching our nervous system between our tight muscles and crunching our bones between stiff joints. There is just no more room. When there is no room, spirit does not have space to visit. You are actually not you.
How long are you going to keep adding to that mental and physical shelf?
The space we create in our minds and range of movement we practice with our bodies invites our spirit to breathe life into our soul.
Here is the point: We must get up and clean our mind and bodies to make room for new opportunities - don't be afraid to hire a team to help you (chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, reflexologists, yoga instructors, personal trainers, etc!) Our minds and bodies are just tools for our spirits to use for expression.
CHALLENGE: 1. Clear your canvas! Where is a space for you to be completely free to have space to be yourself through physical movement, stillness and/or creating art. 2. Create your spirit team! Who is a "space" for letting go of thoughts and activity?
There is no better investment in life than sharpening and tuning your 3 vital tools with which we were born: mind, body and spirit.
(About being fired up on what makes you YOU!)
When the month of May comes around I learn more more star wars metaphor for life than I ever wanted to. Maybe you can relate. I find myself adding to the many iterations of "May the force be with you" that pop-up everywhere like the "Got Milk" plague. "May the wild be with you," is an email sign off I've admittedly used more than once around the time our annual benefit fashion show to save the rainforest. And of course the title of this series.
May is a contagious month apparently. Here is just one more star wars metaphor I'd like to launch for now :) Its about lighting your inner force fire. Like your favorite Starwars character, your magical life posses many secrets that may only be revealed once you are already well versed in floating around that little mysterious universe you've created for yourself (called your life). Too often we are surprised when re-visiting childhood in someway-weather it be visiting our childhood home, hearing stories from our elders or seeking deep inner soul searching reflection. The"Aha" moments start to flood in as we connect the dots of childhood and today, sometimes accompanied by liberation and other times soulful tears. These realizations are so deeply profound they can launch us at light speed to a galaxy of life clarity; one moment it was too dark too see and in the next moment its hard to believe your eyes because all the information was right there the entire time.
Three dots to connect that reveal the full constellation of your secrets:
Relationship Secrets - On one of our long nature walks, relationship updates were the first of the themes that came up as my mom and I entered deep life discussion. Relationships are obviously defining to who we are today but I've noticed an unhealthy pattern: we focus on the most recent repetitive updates followed by equally repetitive advice from friends. This repetition is exhausting. While there are those who care enough to desperately instill seemingly idealistic solutions, its not the core of the problem. So she told me her updates, all the usual. Instead of problem solving the same repetitive problems with her, the ones that we all hear again and again from our friends, I simply asked her who this person reminded her of from her childhood. She had never thought about it. Maybe you have. Here are my keys to furthering this reflection...
In relationships, we focus too often on the bandaid instead of healing the wound, the one that started in our childhood.
Relationships from childhood re-manifest in our lives as friends, bosses, partners, etc. In allowing this reflection, identify that person. As a childhood survival tactic we tune out certain unpleasant memories and behaviors often so much so that we are immune to similar red flags, especially abuse. I've witnessed verbal, physical, substance and sexual abusive relationships repeat themselves in both in my birth family and extended life family. Identify those parallel red flags in EVERY relationship you give your friends updates on now with past relationships. On the happy bright side we can find positive familiar aspects in a person that helps redefine, forgive and heal past relationships where there was tension. I find that once I meet this improved version of a familiar personality I can recognize and invite other healthy relationships familiar to a sibling, cousin, parent, etc. into my life, celebrating that person that becomes family to let that the relationship thrive!
CHALLENGE: Identify similar personality traits in your relationships now and then to gain clarity on both your most deeply rooted childhood triggers in order to set healthy boundaries and realizing tangible ways to successfully celebrate and thrive in healthy relationships.
Adopted Habits - most of our habits start young. Where do we get them from? The first people who show us how to live, those in our immediate family of course. They too learned their habits from their immediate family and so forth. As a result, habits are passed on through generations and by the time it gets to you it may just be outdated - is that core belief about yourself really yours or your great great grandmother with a very different set of social and worldly limitations. Are you limiting yourself as if you were living in your great great grandmothers age? Know that today you are limitless. You are safe now. You are loved and always were. The staying silent, the tolerating of chaos, addiction to substance, all of it - the choice is yours. Is that high expectation life check list in YOUR journey something you created or did someone hand it to you who handed it to them a long time ago?
When taking the time to sort through the pile of habits handmedowns, I did find some gems: dancing throughout day to day life - me, my mom and grandma (until a week before she died) were three generations of swing dancers and I've kept on dancing since carry on the legacy. Writing is another - my gradnma and great grandma were journalists and my mom a film writer. An entrepreneurial drive is my third favorite - my fathers family created a life of pioneering new possibilities and experiencing the full-ups and downs of life's harsh lessons and nourishing gifts.
Meeting certain academic criteria, tolerating emotionless relationships, being restless from being a vagabond are habits I've worked really really really hard to overcome and still working on. My great great grandmother would be the most proud of for consciously choosing to cross out some some of these expired to-dos. Maybe yours would too.
CHALLENGE: Audit your biggest habits. Who did you get it from? How long have you had it? Is it serving you and those around you best? Or has it expired long ago? If it doesn't fit who you want to be in the world, work work work on replacing it - let that shit go.
Who am I - I get a deeper understanding of my inner calling every time I go back to the start. When I go into nature for extended periods of a few days, I feel like Im home because I grew up in the wild. Returning to nature brings me the feeling of being alive with a child-like wonder and yet I am a wiser woman when I leave. I feel the most authentic me when in a forest, an ocean, mountains, really anywhere that the skies let their shit go naturally - rain or shine - there are many helpful metaphors!
What were the first sights that showed you what the world looked like? Where were the places you marveled at for the longest? Who were the people that continuously blew your mind away about the possibilities of life? Why did you feel at home where you did? (and if you did, what were you most grateful for then?)
It seems to me that the best way to answer the life daunting question "Who am I?" is to first answer "Who was I?" Your first instincts of being alive on this planet are the path of least resistance to the path of maximum life fulfillment.
One thing in common with most of the friends that I surround myself with is a powerful life purpose rooted in profound clarity on the story on who they are. (I am quickly going to claim some bragging rights here). These women are natural leaders and fascinators. Strangers want to take their pictures in the streets. There is just something magical about the way they hold themselves, and then when they actually use words to speak all the powerhouse all the raw vulnerability and all the love is confirmed (and of course on particularly human days when we break down and loose our shit we share it with each-other more openly than a badge of honor and decide if how we will make a blog post or at least meaningful fuel for a really fun fire). They are masters at manifesting their lives. They are a walking resume of their life experiences. They are masters at telling their childhood story (though often stretching childhood to 20's, 30's and/or a lifetime). They are yes woman to any challenge: one is a comedian because childhood bullies showed her life was a big fat beautiful joke just like her, one is a 6-figure executive coach because her family failed at so many start-ups she accelerated in what not to do, one is a budding zen Buddhist salesforce developer because her techie father made fun of woo-woo stuff for it to start sounding interesting and went for it. Point is, they flipped their stories to be assets. I've noticed this to be the number one reason why authors, speakers, teachers and socialites are called inspiring, as if they ask you to do a handstand while they tell you a horror story and ask you to laugh at it upside-down.
It is so important to understand our inner secrets. They contain the missing part of the map to destroy what threatens your existence the most--your biggest fears, your limitations and anywhere in your life you are just tolerating and not thriving. While it is ok to get lost among the stars sometimes, it is necessary to take a step back and observe the full constellation.
CHALLENGE: Remind yourself of childhood. Play what you played, go home, ask your elders what you were like, do things you did then, re-awaken all your senses or journal 5 pages about the question who was I then and then replace all the "was" with am and all the "then" with now.
SEATTLE, VANCOUVER, PORTLAND, EUGENE, LA
We are a direct reflection of the top five people with whom we spend the most time. Does the same rule apply to places?
As the business insider says "when it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced — whether we like it or not — by those closest to us. It affects our way of thinking, our self-esteem, and our decisions. Of course, everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we're more affected by our environment than we think." Most media outlets seem to endorse the idea that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with since it was stated by Jim Rohn in one of his motivational speeches.
Are just the five people closest to you really enough to gauge who are though?
With an average of seven 30-90 minute meetings each day, traveling between cities every month, and working virtually with many people across many time zones, I have a hard time with choosing my top 5. 50 or 100 perhaps would be more accurate, even then leaving out the hundreds of people I communicate with weekly via e-mail, FB, whatsapp, IG, etc. who I consider somewhere between an acquaintance and a close friend.
What about the people you follow? And the people you meet who inspire you more in a few minutes than most people have in a decade?
I do not believe we are not the average of just five people, rather of every person, place and even object that we interact with. It is how we interact with these influences that accurately gauge of who we are as "individuals" (as we are questionably just a product of many others).
Here are the top 5 places I feel closest to. It is because of the people who I surround myself with in these places that make it feel like home:
Did you know Seattle is the number one city for running non-profits? It is home to the most registered NGO's. I love working with my team here to plan fundraising events that incorporate the art for which Seattle is known: film, music and yes even fashion (it was a huge part of bringing many trends to the global stage like the revitalization of the swing dance fashion, the grunge era, and the hipster movement). The community here values sustainability and philanthropy like no other city I have worked in. A few of my favorite non-profits I work with locally are Hoja Nueva through our annual runway to save the rainforest, Mary's Place through an annual gala supporting survivors of DV, and a handful of others.
Video: A collaboration with my closest friends in Ibiza.
Video: An I-phone shot and edited day in a life preview of living in Kyoto with my dear friend Crystal Uchino.
Photos: London Fashion Week Website, Eco Fashion Week Facebook Page
Photo of "Khan:" Hojanueva.org
CHALLENGE: Spend the most time with the people you want to be most like, in the places you want to relate most to and surrounded by the objects that you consciously choose to represent you. Spend less time with the people, places and objects you do not want to become.
SEATTLE, LOS ANGELES
Photos from "The Art of Fashion" Fashion Lab Series, Columbia Tower Club | Seatte, WA (USA)
It’s actually science!
As exercising, sleeping, drinking water, and breathing fresh air are proven over and over again to improve health, sharing your love with others proves again and again to make your relationships more healthy. In As addressed in January's article, your business is also your life. Express your love this month in as many ways as possible not just to your closest loved ones, also to your employees and business colleagues!
When the day is about to begin we have a choice to love it or fight it. When we LOVE what we do, LOVE who we spend time with and LOVE where we spend time, we are un-stoppable. To surround yourself with love in a business environment (and in your life) is to create purpose and meaning for the intention behind it. There is abundance even if what you are looking for is yet to be found. When we accept what we do not love, anything from mediocre to awful is welcomed into our professional and personal lives.
CHALLENGE: Share your LOVE to as many people associated with your business as you can; write notes, make pies, pop champagne, send flowers, deliver chocolates or fruit, tell them: "I love you!"
NEW YORK, SEATTLE
Photography by dear friend "Jiamin Zhu," Seattle WA
This new year is a demand for transformation in all four elements of your life.
The struggle, exhaustion and hit-or-miss efforts of constant networking, emailing and promoting yourself and your business expired on 12/30/2016.
Let’s face it. 2016 was shit.
Let's get clear now. It’s 2017. Your vision for the world must be greater than you. The world is calling you to the center of your stage to share this vision through your personal and financial success. So how do we know what center stage is?
First, lets check in.
You embody your business. The four elements of your financial success through your business mirror your personal success. Your vision. Your communication. Your strategy. Your image. Does this make sense?
AKA Fire. Water. Earth. Air.
Here are four questions to audit the four elements of your business (your life). Lets see which elements are ready for the operation called “reaching highest potential,” and which ones we need to further prepare in order to discover and receive all the best of what is possible.
How deeply do you really know these answers?
You vision isn’t just the value or your product or service or even goals of your business; it’s the meaning you find in your existence. Your team is your friends and family. Your strategy is what you do habitually and intentionally and who you coordinate with to accomplish your daily missions. Your branding is the message you share through your appearance, personality, and behaviors.Let’s get to the point. How you do YOU is how you run your business.
Are your four personal elements perfectly in balance for 2017? In other words, are you exactly where you want to be in your life?
Then don’t expect your business to be either.
Here is a nice metaphor to consider. We are hardware and software just like most things found in our office life. We update our hardware by eating, sleeping, exercising – constantly building, refreshing and developing our tool of a human body.
Like all hardware, we get old. Like all software, we eventually expire.
Along with your new years resolutions to do more, do better and do bigger things, there is one word that will have you forget the list and still have it all get done.
The word: Reprogram. What does this mean? If you knew, it wouldn’t be necessary. And maybe it isn’t.
Maybe you are a superhuman. If all of your dreams and aspirations have already come true, then this article isn't for you. If all you ever feel is joy, all you share is abundance and love, and all you see in the world is empowerment and peace, then you most certainly not paying any attention to our world.
If you have read this far, then you are probably ok with personal and professional growth. After all, you are probably a human too.
Truth is, everything need re-programmings. And not just overloading our potentially outdated systems of 2016 or before (depending on how long you have held onto your unhelpful habits). A fundamental reprogramming.
And guess what?
It is still possible to be a super human!
Can I make a suggestion? (Please stop reading if your answer is another to “Yes”)
Here is my New Year’s gift to you. My commitment to your success is suggesting you to another badass like you who supports you in doing whatever it takes to see you succeed. Someone who understands you personally, who is a friend and who is a successful badass you look up to before even meeting is who I want to connect you with.
“Standing on the shoulders of giants,” is to learn from those who have already done exactly what you are trying to, or as close of a thing to it.
Here are the names of twelve badass female *coaches, business leaders and producers I have worked with in taking "giant" strides in creating successful results personally and in the projects I am apart of through A-DOT.
PROFESSIONAL TEAM (VIA A-DOT)
Cheryl Engstrom - PR Consultant
Tracy Kintroth - Event Producer
Sara Bodine - Business Developer
Nancy Bouchard - Event Producer
Nazy Alvarez - Branding Consultant
Nishika De'Rosairo - Business Coach
Rachel H - Social Media & Marketing Expert
Emily Haynch - Executive Assistant
Many Others (visit adotproductions.com)
*Tamara - Leadership Coach
*Michelle Majors - Women's Empowerment Coach
*Tanyya Bernadette - Personal Shopper & Stylist
*Kim Brooks - Decluttering Expert & Stylist
*Jamie June - Public Speaking Coach
*Julie Danforth - Custom Clothing Designer
*Megan Davies - Nutritionist, Personal Chef
*Chery - Life Coach
*Maya Hampton - Life Coach
I strongly suggest building your success team to start 2017!
You are the synergy to all four elements in your life and in your business.
To support you, I created a document called “2017 Success Plan" with very specific questions for checking in with your elements, your intentions and goals to see who may be waiting to help you grow starting in this New Year (email me directly! email@example.com)
I am also happy to support you by referring you to any of the amazing *personal coaches that I got to work along side in 2016.
Success starts with you, choosing how you live YOUR life and choosing your personal and professional success team.
CHALLENGE: Plan for success! I am happy share my feedback on who could best support your vision in 2017.
Here is vulnerability.
From vulnerability comes the ability to read your own story, to find new strength in who you get to be, and to express yourself truly. From vulnerability comes access to creativity.
My story is being shared as encouragement for others to share theirs. In this particular blog post I am sharing the most vulnerable chapters of my life because it is the stuff I have been most hesitant to face. If you have been following my story this year, you know that I have given away almost all of my belongings. This is one of the last boxes of "stuff," I own to let go. I am sharing as a reminder that the up and down of it all is worth-it journey. Acknowledging the depth of our stories and individual roller coasters may realize higher productivity, better relationships and powerful creative expression throughout all aspects of our personalities.
Before we begin: "What is vulnerability?" To me it is feeling and expressing deeply routed emotions which allows for healing. If healing were easy, we would live in a very different world. It is so much easier to be numb. While those around me have chosen other numbing addictions such as constant drama, continuous trauma, substances, or chaos of another kind, my addiction of choice has been being extremely busy. The more busy I am, the more calm I become. I think of it like the eye of a storm. Most of us create chaos in some medium. Often, the chaos becomes habitual. Habits with strong defining ties to our personalities can become addictions. Remembering where our numbing habits and addictions to chaos come from creates awareness and the opportunity to change by replacing the medium, which may mean sinking to the muddy bottom before floating above it all again.
People have requested vulnerability from me in several ways. People have asked for me to share more of my creativity. People have asked to know more about where I come from. People have asked for me to continue being a leader, which means digging into what I believe strong leadership to be, being calm in chaos and finding strength in vulnerability. Here is all of that exposed.
And now we begin.
There is the one question people ask that I have never been able to explain in one sentence or word: "where are you from?" Here is the proper response of where I come from and who I am as a vulnerable human rather than what I do. Here is my story.
For the safety of those included in my story, please request an access code from me directly
CHALLENGE: Share part of your story with me here! I am happy to support you in fostering your creative expression.
There are a million ways to conceptualize a business other than your standard business plan. "Common" phrases tossed around in the start-up and corporate world are intimidating to many creatives I know that are unfamiliar with language of busines.. A great way to translate business concepts to creatives is by conceptualizing them into another familiar artistic language.
Take for example, the canvas we carry with us 24/7, our bodies! As a dancer, I view our bodies as a brilliant metaphor.
Business as a body:
Business starts with our toes. We explore an industry in the form of networking, an act of dipping our toes in the water of a potential market. The connections we make are establishing a network, the foundation of a business as the soles of our feet are the foundation to our bodies (where all the toes, our points of contact, connect).
Our feet/foundation leads us to the legs of our bodies/business. Our legs represent the pillars of our business, respective to our "business to business" relationships that enable our business to run. Our legs then meet at our bodies core, the center of all our body's movements as a unique value is the core of a business from which all actions should be made.
With enough support from our legs and energy in our core, there is momentum to carry our bodies forward. In motion, our hands reach for a handshake symbolic of a businesses marketing reaching for its clients ("business to customer" relationships). As we are in motion and making deals, we are bringing in resources to feed our bellies and thus sustain our "business."
As more resources are added and processed correctly, the business intrinsically grows until it can no longer, and then it must either pivot to a new stage of business or be completed all together. This is Business as a Body. A few of my other favorite business metaphors: Business as a Recipe, Business as a Garden, Business as a Band and Business as a Building.
A few of my other favorite business metaphors: Business as a Recipe, Business as a Garden, Business as a Band and Business as a Building.
CHALLENGE: What else is a metaphor for business to which you can relate? Feel free to share.
Can you imagine living for four months with one small bag of belongings? When we are limited, we prioritize. This summer was a metaphore for how simplicity is clarity. My style became clear because there was no room for the pieces I could not wear several diffent ways and didn`t love.
I just returned to the comparatively large amount of belongings I own. I plan on getting rid of most of it. I also realize a potential hypocrisy in being what friends and family call an "organization queen" to their closets. To continue encouraging others to constantly get rid of excessive things (like working out to get rid of extra stored energy) I am setting the bar high again.
Simplifying is a form of zen in anything we apply it to: style, food, business. It all becomes clearer when we boil it down to its purest form.
Here are all the contents of this bag. Above: Perfect for every occasion black vintage jumpsuit. Below: Basics while still keeping life in full color.
Modern platforms allow us to have temporary but unlimited wardrobes when fancier and sparklier attire is needed. Rent the Runway, Clothing Swaps and Buying&Selling via second hand shops or online platforms are a few ways to healthily cycle your clothing. This is a win-win for us in wearing new pieces without having to keep the old as baggage, and someone else having your old look as their new.
Challenge: Choose your necessities. What are your style basics? Get rid of the rest. (Zen isn't pretending by putting it in storage, get rid of it!!)
It is when things change that we notice how they were. Summer is starting to blow goodbye kisses and it feels like years of sunshine have passed since the wind was last this cold. The colors and winds of September remind us that everything and everyone is always changing.
I have become accustomed to adapting. What is normal in one place is the strangest thing in another. Most of my habits and daily "routine" are in constant flux including kinds of morning teas, styles of clothing, times at which to sleep, eat and drink, etc. My friends are so different one place to the next I sometimes wonder if they would even get along.
It is easy to take for granted the people that we don't think will leave anytime soon. Not until these people are absent, often suddenly and unexpectedly, do we express our appreciation fully. I lost a huge influencer in my life this month, a reminder to fully appreciate who we have.
Here are the influencers that have been apart of my business and life this summer that I want to take the time to appreciate.
These are just a few!
During my last days in London I stayed with a friend whose mission is to "capture layers of life found in the physical world that are under-appreciated" through un-edited photography. She has published over a dozen books on her work, inspiring people across the globe to look at whats around them in a new way (examples below). When you're an artist you realize how quickly things change she says. "You can't take anything for granted." (we did not take a photo together but above is some of her art). Now when I am waiting for train, sitting on a plane, or have time to think, I think of the places, products and people for which I am grateful. The may be gone tomorrow.
Challenge: Devote time daily to expressing gratitude toward the people and opportunities that support you routinely.
Business today is busy. It is a challenge for me to find one hour (even five minutes) to escape from constant communication devices. This month is the first in two years that I have gone more than 24 hours unplugged; I have been without a phone or computer for the entire month with access to wifi once every few days. Three things have changed from constantly having been connected to now (see below).
By unplugging, we create breathing room for thoughts to unfold and welcome more spontaneous interaction with the physical world around us. In experimenting with this concept of serendipitous in-the-moment creations this month, I decided to give myself 48 hours to create a film in Ibiza. On the first day I went to a fusion fashion/music/art party and met as many of the featured talent possible. 24 hours later, we were shooting at one of the most exclusive resorts on the island, at a beach, and in a cave with a full crew of models, dancers, a director, a designer, and video/photo graphers. The video below previews this spontaneous collaboration, one of the most enjoyable projects that I have done yet.
1. Efficient Computer Time. With clear goals and pre-thought out actions, time spent on the computer and connected to wifi maximised.
2. Conscious Habits. From habitually searching for my phone and computer every few minutes, I notice my habit of "checking in" is too frequent. When we're waiting for just about anything, we check our emails, texts or Instagram as if our virtual lives will disappear if we leave it for too long. I have made a habit of noticing my other daily habits now, as well as those around me. I ask myself if the things I do habitually are still working...
3. Old School Plans. Meeting someone at a certain place and time is a fading concept, one that I have revisited for almost a month. It has been am month of getting hopelessly lost with out google maps and being dependent on making new friends to use their phones.
Challenge: Spend 24 hours unplugged!
Life is made of stories. When we de-code humorous personalities, strong friendship, and self confidence, it is stories that are shared and how they are told that make them as they are. Each time a story is shared, it becomes apart of a new one. It is relived through a new audience's perspective and imagination.
When our lives become routine and when our city becomes old news it is important to share with someone outside of these boundaries. My favorite way to remind myself of the world's possibility (and how "normal" to me is extremely odd to others) is to travel. This month I am a new city every 1-3 days (for various motives) and ensuring that I hear stories from locals locals of their cities and their culture. To them their old city becomes a new story. To me old stories of what I do and who I am become as new as the friendship. These are the cities this July-September.
SEATTLE - BOSTON - NEW YORK - LONDON - COPENHAGAN - BERLIN - BARCELONA - IBIZA - MADRID - PORTO - MILAN - PARIS
Challenge: Explore a new place
Make time for what you love daily. Being "too busy" or "too tired" is a choice. Working extremely hard most of the year to afford relaxing, hanging out with loved ones and doing what we love for a small part of the year is all too common. Even our largest life goals are postponed for holidays or when we have "free time." The beginning of summer welcomes you to make a mini-vacations daily and small strides toward big goals by committing to a daily practice for an hour (even 5 minutes is superior to 0). It is not about "catching a break," it is choosing to create one.
Challenge: Choose a minimal amount of time to spend on one goal every day.
Thanks to an amazing team, A-DOT (A.) raised 15K for rainforest conservation at "Fashion for Conservation," May 11th! The mission of A. is to produce events that unite communities locally and internationally, give back to environmental and social causes, and inspire participants to fully express themselves via exposure to and engagement with dance, music, fashion, art and technology.
The A. team is very unique as an organization and on an individual level. Our core team members have personal missions that are variations of the title of this blog post. below are a few examples. A. team groups are inspired and named after by the four elements Air, Water, Fire and Earth (full book on this concept coming soon!)
1. "Save the world, one style at a time" - Victoria/Victor | air/media team
2. "Save the rainforest, save the world" - Samantha Zwicker | earth/production team
3. "Save the world, one runway show at a time" - Ava J. Holmes (me) | fire/creative team
This month actress Emma Watson also joined the collection of like mission statements during an interview on her continuous eco-fashionable red carpet appearances: "Changing the world one dress at a time" (view article here)
Challenge: How do you fill in the blank best? Save the world, one ____ at a time.
As pink flowers and fresh trends are blooming outside, fashion events and red carpet styes are booming too! From the new twist to floral prints as I saw first hand on the streets of Japan to the stylish perspective on sustainability I witnessed at Eco Fashion-Week, spring is full of fresh inspiration. Meanwhile, A-DOT's next event is just around the corner (May 11th! video preview below, more on adotproductions.com)
Don't forget to breathe! Amidst producing a show across four time zones (partners for our next event, May 11th, are located in Japan, Canada, New York and Peru), attending a marathon of other fashion and red carpet events, and traveling ten times in ten days internationally, it can be easy to forget something so simple...
Inspired by January's prompt and recent Spring fashion events these are three things that express my individuality this April:
1. Vintage Black Gucci Glasses - less is more! During the first day of Eco Fashion Week Canada, 2016, I found these at a nearby thrift store. In joining the mission of the event - to share how fashion can be recycled into new styles - I have been repurposing these gasses for almost every event this month. Among many others to endorse the movement this year, actress Emma Watson is wearing only repurposed couture this year!
2. Rompers Every Day - all in one! This marks my 9th month of wearing rompers or jumpsuits almost every day. While most spend a morning picking tops and bottoms or an afternoon shopping, my basics are covered in less than 30 seconds and shopping time limited to small jumpsuit selection (if any) and then straight to shoes and accessories. It also eliminates friend's gift-giving stress as the "perfect gift" is quite transparent.
3. Constantly changing hair - everything in life changes! Some things more frequently than others. Just this month my hair has been the full spectrum of blond from purple tinted to ash gray to faded yellow to platinum blond and beyond. During fashion week season, my head featured a new head of hair each day from a straight chin-length black bob wig to shoulder length afro-blond wig and to a wavy brown waste-length wig.
Challenge: Find time daily to breathe deeply, even in the midst life's constant state of "too busy" - at the end of the day all we are is breathing.
96 Elephants die each day. Arguably, it is fashion's fault as it is responsible for creating the demand for ivory jewelry and trinkets which drives elephant poaching. This month I produced a series of short films, fashion exhibits and media campaigns to raise awareness of this issue (view full campaign here)
One of these productions included a runway show at Vancouver Fashion Week called Elephantasia2016. It was an entire collection of elephant themed couture by desingers from 12 different countries and with 12 different interpretations of "the elephant." In collaboration with a Canadian elephant advocacy group Elephantatics BC, the exhibit also featured a speech by National Geographic Explorer and elephant conservationist, Jake Wall.
Audience feedback included shock regarding the extent to which this is an issue, joy that we are doing something about it and agreement of the movement to #saynotoivory. Some guests were event wondering if ivory products was still being manufactured and worn...
Ironically, I spent the rest of March after this exhibit in Japan where I was sickened by and witness to the hundreds of ivory trinkets being sold both casually in the streets as well as in brick in mortar here. In other words, we still have a long way to go.
Challenge: Do something artistic and inspired by the elephant to you share the message: a photoshoot? yoga pose? a decorated cake?
Who are you inspired by? This month I processed over 100 twenty question interviews with Seattle-local superheroes in fashion (published here) I had the honor of sharing the ins and outs of super-hero-dom from their favorite animal and best life advice to topics oppression and expression.
A few favorite quotes on success:
1. Success if bringing something to the world that is meaningful. Giving people in our world something special, something that they can believe in and hold onto. - Michele Rutherford, 25 Year Nordstrom Executive 2. The feeling of accomplishment - Nancy Bouchard, Producer and Co-founder of Eco Fashion Week 3. Success is finding something that you love, that you are good at, and make a living out of it. - Jennifer McCullum, Style Editor for Seattle Magazine
Brand names are becoming obsolete and counter culture formerly referred to as "hipster life" has become the norm. Today more than ever we encouraged to express ourselves individually because even our society has adopted a culture of "individuality."
So this month I am challenging myself and challenging you to ask yourself "What expresses your individuality?" Here are some of the responses from people expressing their individuality while at work in Seattle, WA (my response is revealed in the April blog post above!)
Giraffe Purse, Tea Republic
Pink Hair, Earth Bound
Floral Prints, Buffalo Exchange
Beautiful Smile, Sushi Restaurant
Great Health and Healthy Smile, Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe
Vintage Hats and Red Lipstick, Indipendant Artist
Yoda Backpack, University of Washington
Work Uniform, U.S. Postal Service
EVENT SUMMARY & CREDITS
May Events: Fashion for Conservation ("Runway to Peru") | Videographer: Joey Rock | Photographers: Samuel Gran, DeCarbon Azul
April Events: Hollywood Glamor Gala, Eco Fashion Week, Metropolitan Fashion Week | Photographers Anya Zaytseva, Red Carpet Events
March Events: Vancouver Fashion Week | Videographer: Branson Veal | Photographers Dale Rollings, Katherine Succie
February Events: Interview Series | Photographers: Sebastian Cvitanic
January Events: A-DOT Convention | Photographers: Sebastian Cvitanic