On Change & Challenges

The last few months have been full of change for me. I came to the realization that human instinct wants to deflect and resist change. Movement brings the unknown, the unknown can be scary. We're taught that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush... but how is that true?! The only way we can catch on to something beautiful is to have open hands and a free mind. A free mind is a beautiful mind, we were born free.  Three months ago I knew I needed change. I loved the life I lived so much that I stoped questioning it. Instead of curiosity leading my creativity, routine and will power took over. I loved working so much that every night I’d log all of the intricate details of my day into an excel document and rate myself on discipline and achievement. I knew my dreams could come true if I had the work ethic, drive, and didn't let anyone stop me. I was my own drill sergeant and I somehow thought I loved that.  Then one day clarity seemed to knock on my door.  I wasn’t using my creativity, I was trying to calculate it. I wasn’t pushing myself to succeed, I was judging myself. How happy I’d be at night depended on how much I thought I accomplished that day. How excited I was in the morning depended on how much I knew I had planned for that day. I knew I was moving forward but the days seemed to blur together with numbers and computer screens. I was isolating myself out of dedication to the dream, not realizing that every day is it’s own dream if you choose to awaken it. I wanted to be a machine. My life revolved around work, but isn’t creativity a result of a life filled with adventure and diversity? Chaos, romance, risk - all of the meaningful things in life take courage. Before I could be courageous I had to give myself grace, trust, and freedom to mess up.  So I jumped. I moved out of LA. I told myself I’d make the decision about whether or not I wanted to move back in 6 months and not change my mind before then. I started prioritizing my health, my friendships, my message. I started trusting myself more, taking more risks. I let myself breathe again. I ran and frolicked around the beaches with my headphones on because I wanted to, not because I needed to check off my daily running quotas. I took SoulCycle & boxing classes, dove in deep with a mental and physical detoxification. I learned the difference between being mindful & being mind-full. I learned to let go of expectation while remaining fully committed to discovery. My health flourished, my stamina increased, my friendships deepened, my creativity reawakened, and my work blossomed. (Health Journey Blog Coming Soon).  I dove in deep with my friends, went across town to hang out with them and would stay up all night catching up on memories. I shared time freely and that somehow seemed to give me more of it. I prioritized people over work and convenience. I tossed my phone away as much as possible and stopped sorting my day into 1 & 2 hour windows. I stopped looking at the clock. I felt like I was watching my own evolution. It was beautiful. I realized for the first time that if I allowed change to direct me instead of pushing back against it I could live in a constant state of peace and curiosity. I learned that curiosity brings delight and adventure. Time is ever fleeting but when we share it, it becomes a memory that lasts and stays with us as we go.  I stopped grudging how exhausting and difficult life can be. I stopped resisting the struggle. We came here to fight for what we love - that’s how we know how much we want it. Thats how we know how much we’re capable of. Thats what turns our potential into our possible and our possibilities into our present. I started asking myself questions: questions about what i deeply longed for, what I sincerely believed, what I hoped to become.  The one thing we can count on is change. So what if we went on a journey with it? What if that’s the point? Change is freedom. Challenge is an opportunity. They keep us alive and give us purpose. They are our freedom.  

The last few months have been full of change for me. I came to the realization that human instinct wants to deflect and resist change. Movement brings the unknown, the unknown can be scary. We're taught that a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush... but how is that true?! The only way we can catch on to something beautiful is to have open hands and a free mind. A free mind is a beautiful mind, we were born free. 

Three months ago I knew I needed change. I loved the life I lived so much that I stoped questioning it. Instead of curiosity leading my creativity, routine and will power took over. I loved working so much that every night I’d log all of the intricate details of my day into an excel document and rate myself on discipline and achievement. I knew my dreams could come true if I had the work ethic, drive, and didn't let anyone stop me. I was my own drill sergeant and I somehow thought I loved that. 

Then one day clarity seemed to knock on my door.  I wasn’t using my creativity, I was trying to calculate it. I wasn’t pushing myself to succeed, I was judging myself. How happy I’d be at night depended on how much I thought I accomplished that day. How excited I was in the morning depended on how much I knew I had planned for that day. I knew I was moving forward but the days seemed to blur together with numbers and computer screens. I was isolating myself out of dedication to the dream, not realizing that every day is it’s own dream if you choose to awaken it. I wanted to be a machine. My life revolved around work, but isn’t creativity a result of a life filled with adventure and diversity? Chaos, romance, risk - all of the meaningful things in life take courage. Before I could be courageous I had to give myself grace, trust, and freedom to mess up. 

So I jumped. I moved out of LA. I told myself I’d make the decision about whether or not I wanted to move back in 6 months and not change my mind before then. I started prioritizing my health, my friendships, my message. I started trusting myself more, taking more risks. I let myself breathe again. I ran and frolicked around the beaches with my headphones on because I wanted to, not because I needed to check off my daily running quotas. I took SoulCycle & boxing classes, dove in deep with a mental and physical detoxification. I learned the difference between being mindful & being mind-full. I learned to let go of expectation while remaining fully committed to discovery. My health flourished, my stamina increased, my friendships deepened, my creativity reawakened, and my work blossomed. (Health Journey Blog Coming Soon). 

I dove in deep with my friends, went across town to hang out with them and would stay up all night catching up on memories. I shared time freely and that somehow seemed to give me more of it. I prioritized people over work and convenience. I tossed my phone away as much as possible and stopped sorting my day into 1 & 2 hour windows. I stopped looking at the clock.

I felt like I was watching my own evolution. It was beautiful. I realized for the first time that if I allowed change to direct me instead of pushing back against it I could live in a constant state of peace and curiosity. I learned that curiosity brings delight and adventure. Time is ever fleeting but when we share it, it becomes a memory that lasts and stays with us as we go. 

I stopped grudging how exhausting and difficult life can be. I stopped resisting the struggle. We came here to fight for what we love - that’s how we know how much we want it. Thats how we know how much we’re capable of. Thats what turns our potential into our possible and our possibilities into our present. I started asking myself questions: questions about what i deeply longed for, what I sincerely believed, what I hoped to become. 

The one thing we can count on is change. So what if we went on a journey with it? What if that’s the point? Change is freedom. Challenge is an opportunity. They keep us alive and give us purpose. They are our freedom.

 

Blog # 7 Expressions

Please note, this blog was created primarily as an exercise for public speaking. Click on the link above to listen.

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Life is an experiment to see how willing and capable we are of opening, releasing, and expanding our own souls. How many of us truly want to go on that journey? My favorite poem speaks about the entangling nature of Joy and Sorrow…

“Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the same well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears. ...And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. 

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives? 

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "No, sorrow is the greater." But I say unto you, they are inseparable.”

What I’ve come to realize is that beauty is broken, broken is beautiful… and that’s what makes us human. What do you feel the most joy or sorrow towards in your life? What about that makes it beautiful?

Vulnerability takes courage, your vulnerability proves your strength. Your shadows prove the sunshine. The same author goes on to say,

“You have been told that, even like a chain, you are as weak as your weakest link. This is but half the truth. You are also as strong as your strongest link. To measure you by your smallest deed is to reckon the power of the ocean by the frailty of its foam.”

What I love about music is that it opens us to unequivocal truth. Its melody paints the colors of our heart and all of it’s longing into sound and space. Its mess becomes art. Its story becomes our anthem. All art is beautiful because its expression. Glimpses of our soul can become an everlasting song.

Blog #6 On Time & Christmas

I wish I could be 5 years old again, even if just for a day. Cuddled up beside that glimmering Christmas tree with my family laughing and sharing stories all around me. Pajamas, twinkling lights, ornaments, that fireplace - sipping on hot apple cider, nibbling on Santa’s warm cookies fresh out of the oven. Not a care in the world about calories, boys, paying bills, accomplishing “enough” every day, becoming successful.  I wish I was 5 years old fully loved and protected - no far off oughts to distract me, no business meetings, no social media. I wish I could go back and relive any one of those days - coloring books, gingerbread houses, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and all. I think I might cry with how overwhelmingly grateful I'd be to know how special that was. Part of me wants to go back in time just to tell my younger self to breathe it all in and understand how limited and quickly it'd all be over as if somehow that help me hold on to it. The other half of me is glad that I can’t. I’m glad that somehow that careless joy was never taken away. I wish I could be in Paris again stepping out of that car in the pouring rain while the Four Seasons Valet held one of their black umbrellas out to help me in. Feeling special, safe, valued. Feeling captivated and intrigued. Feeling like a prize woman, stepping into my own fairy tale for the first time. Elegant, unique, and beautiful. Young at heart for the first time in almost 2 years. I wish I could feel me falling in love again. I wish I could go back to shell of a woman I was 3 years ago broken and betrayed by love and tell her to let go and hold on to her future. That it’d get beautiful again. That she’d feel whole and alive again. I want to relieve that moment of utter excitement that made me want to squeal when I saw my mother as I told her about the joy I felt even if I knew that feeling of was just towards an idea of love that wasn’t created to last. I wish I was in that airport again, at the beginning of the journey. Stepping into the long awaited moment that I knew would change me profoundly with my suitcase in hand and my mother by my side. That moment I had hoped would come for years and years, the moment I knew would soon be over, the moment I was overwhelmingly grateful to be living in. Life is like a waterslide: you’re thrown into it, sometimes in darkness sometimes in light - falling so fast you can never catch it. You never have a say in the matter, you never have the power to slow it down. Every moment is ours and nothing is ours all at the same time. Every joy taunts our soul with its limits. Every moment escapes before we can touch it. I wish I was 5 years old again. Innocent and doe eyed - unaware of reality and yet somehow more aware of the purpose of it all.

I wish I could be 5 years old again, even if just for a day. Cuddled up beside that glimmering Christmas tree with my family laughing and sharing stories all around me. Pajamas, twinkling lights, ornaments, that fireplace - sipping on hot apple cider, nibbling on Santa’s warm cookies fresh out of the oven. Not a care in the world about calories, boys, paying bills, accomplishing “enough” every day, becoming successful. 

I wish I was 5 years old fully loved and protected - no far off oughts to distract me, no business meetings, no social media. I wish I could go back and relive any one of those days - coloring books, gingerbread houses, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches and all.

I think I might cry with how overwhelmingly grateful I'd be to know how special that was. Part of me wants to go back in time just to tell my younger self to breathe it all in and understand how limited and quickly it'd all be over as if somehow that help me hold on to it. The other half of me is glad that I can’t. I’m glad that somehow that careless joy was never taken away.

I wish I could be in Paris again stepping out of that car in the pouring rain while the Four Seasons Valet held one of their black umbrellas out to help me in. Feeling special, safe, valued. Feeling captivated and intrigued. Feeling like a prize woman, stepping into my own fairy tale for the first time. Elegant, unique, and beautiful. Young at heart for the first time in almost 2 years. I wish I could feel me falling in love again. I wish I could go back to shell of a woman I was 3 years ago broken and betrayed by love and tell her to let go and hold on to her future. That it’d get beautiful again. That she’d feel whole and alive again. I want to relieve that moment of utter excitement that made me want to squeal when I saw my mother as I told her about the joy I felt even if I knew that feeling of was just towards an idea of love that wasn’t created to last.

I wish I was in that airport again, at the beginning of the journey. Stepping into the long awaited moment that I knew would change me profoundly with my suitcase in hand and my mother by my side. That moment I had hoped would come for years and years, the moment I knew would soon be over, the moment I was overwhelmingly grateful to be living in. Life is like a waterslide: you’re thrown into it, sometimes in darkness sometimes in light - falling so fast you can never catch it. You never have a say in the matter, you never have the power to slow it down. Every moment is ours and nothing is ours all at the same time. Every joy taunts our soul with its limits. Every moment escapes before we can touch it. I wish I was 5 years old again. Innocent and doe eyed - unaware of reality and yet somehow more aware of the purpose of it all.

Blog #2 On Fear & Courage

I’ll never forget those last few weeks spent at home preparing to embark on the journey that has brought me to where I am today. I was scared that it was crazy to let go and leave everything I’d ever known and loved just to try and reach for a new kind of joy and satisfaction. I was scared that there was no such thing as the best of both worlds, and I was scared that the cost of chasing my dreams was too high a price to burden another with. Yet, somewhere along the way I learned that those fears were actually okay. That courage has less to do with fearlessness and more to do with how we react and face things which dishearten us. So here I am, pursuing my dreams as avidly as I know how, in the midst of a journey that is taking me from where I’ve come from to where I want to be.  Although being ambitious and having tenacity are crucial characteristics needed to achieve success, I’ve found that the equilibrium between striving and contentment is the most important thing to comprehend. While I may not know what opportunities lay ahead, pushing forward and applying myself to the best of my abilities is what keeps me in check with my purpose.   “To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” ― Winston Churchill On the other hand, I’m learning that maintaining balance, a sense of (moderate) moderation, and rest are equally essential. There’s a reason day turns into night, summer turns into fall, and peaks turn into valleys. Life was set up in symmetry and balance; serenity and contentment are equally important to initiative and zeal.  There’s a very definite line between comfort and adventure. As I press forward and accept the inherent risk, uncertainty, and spontaneity required to pursue my purpose and desire to impact the world, I must also stop, breathe, and look back in contentment at the beautiful country road that helped bring me here. That’s where I am today, speechlessly in awe of the beauty that surrounds me, basking in the sunlight and seeing its impact on everything it touches. Here I am realizing, maybe for the first time, that I do in fact have the best of both worlds and that my efforts have and will be worth it.    

I’ll never forget those last few weeks spent at home preparing to embark on the journey that has brought me to where I am today. I was scared that it was crazy to let go and leave everything I’d ever known and loved just to try and reach for a new kind of joy and satisfaction. I was scared that there was no such thing as the best of both worlds, and I was scared that the cost of chasing my dreams was too high a price to burden another with.

Yet, somewhere along the way I learned that those fears were actually okay. That courage has less to do with fearlessness and more to do with how we react and face things which dishearten us. So here I am, pursuing my dreams as avidly as I know how, in the midst of a journey that is taking me from where I’ve come from to where I want to be. 

Although being ambitious and having tenacity are crucial characteristics needed to achieve success, I’ve found that the equilibrium between striving and contentment is the most important thing to comprehend. While I may not know what opportunities lay ahead, pushing forward and applying myself to the best of my abilities is what keeps me in check with my purpose.  

“To each there comes in their lifetime a special moment when they are figuratively tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing, unique to them and fitted to their talents. What a tragedy if that moment finds them unprepared or unqualified for that which could have been their finest hour.” ― Winston Churchill

On the other hand, I’m learning that maintaining balance, a sense of (moderate) moderation, and rest are equally essential. There’s a reason day turns into night, summer turns into fall, and peaks turn into valleys. Life was set up in symmetry and balance; serenity and contentment are equally important to initiative and zeal. 

There’s a very definite line between comfort and adventure. As I press forward and accept the inherent risk, uncertainty, and spontaneity required to pursue my purpose and desire to impact the world, I must also stop, breathe, and look back in contentment at the beautiful country road that helped bring me here. That’s where I am today, speechlessly in awe of the beauty that surrounds me, basking in the sunlight and seeing its impact on everything it touches. Here I am realizing, maybe for the first time, that I do in fact have the best of both worlds and that my efforts have and will be worth it.    

Blog #1 Rebirths & New Beginnings

 
 

“My sun sets to rise again.” ― Robert Browning

Dawn excites me. There’s something about a cup of steamy hot tea, the sounds of birds chirping in the early light, and those beautiful warm pastel colors seeping over the horizon that have ceaselessly enchanted me. Each morning comes and goes so quickly that it seems as if we can never quite catch it, but maybe that’s part of its beauty and worth. It’s only when we are awake and allow ourselves to be a part of the world that surrounds us that we can capture its memory and keep it forever. 

What dawn really brings is endless possibilities. It’s a fresh start, a new doorway to walk through, a different path to mark. It’s the beginning of 24 hour cycle that we can choose to make as memorable or invaluable as we’d like.

‎"Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.“ - Martin Luther King Jr

So here’s to that. Here’s to being awake. Here’s to being alive. Here’s to being grateful. Here’s to living intentionally and seeing each of our days as a gift - an extra 24hours - another chance to live, enjoy, change, and build upon. I believe everything in life is a potential and a possibility, so here’s to taking responsibility for life and the moments at hand. Here’s to being reborn each morning.

Blog #3 Reflections

Sitting here trying my hardest to hold on to my last few moments as a 22 year old. Still feel in awe of this intricately beautiful world we live in. Still trying to wrap my head around time and how quickly it passes us by.  Wondering if maybe the point of life is that we don't know all the answers. Maybe the best part is that we can be whomever we want to be - that we can try our hardest, fail miserably, and rise again.  That as we live we learn what grace, love, and truth are. We learn them from the moments we are undeservedly given them,  we give them in the moments we grow. Thinking back on 22 and everything it meant to me: heartbreak, adventure, family, friendships, progress, joy.  I realized more than ever how beautiful and important friendships are. How much oxygen and truth they can give. How important it is to find the people who love you and listen to what they tell you. I learned how important it is to be vulnerable and brave with who you are - to dare greatly, to strive greatly, and to be content with who you are in this moment. I've learned that hard work pays off and that in the end integrity and work ethic supersede uncultivated talent.  I've learned that if you believe in yourself and you respect yourself others will too. I've learned that there is nothing more significant than right now. The moment you're in is all you have. I've learned how important it is to not let it slip away.  I've learned that sometimes the best things to do are the hardest and that it's important to challenge yourself to do the hard things and the right things even when they aren't convenient. I've also learned some things the hard way. I've learned the most important thing in life is to love. I've learned that the key to happiness is gratitude.  I've learned that every person you meet is a beautiful soul and that everything you do can be an opportunity to make their life brighter even if it's just in the smallest way. I've learned that I'm just me and that's all I have to be :)

Sitting here trying my hardest to hold on to my last few moments as a 22 year old.

Still feel in awe of this intricately beautiful world we live in.

Still trying to wrap my head around time and how quickly it passes us by. 
Wondering if maybe the point of life is that we don't know all the answers. Maybe the best part is that we can be whomever we want to be - that we can try our hardest, fail miserably, and rise again. 
That as we live we learn what grace, love, and truth are. We learn them from the moments we are undeservedly given them,  we give them in the moments we grow.

Thinking back on 22 and everything it meant to me: heartbreak, adventure, family, friendships, progress, joy. 
I realized more than ever how beautiful and important friendships are. How much oxygen and truth they can give. How important it is to find the people who love you and listen to what they tell you.

I learned how important it is to be vulnerable and brave with who you are - to dare greatly, to strive greatly, and to be content with who you are in this moment.

I've learned that hard work pays off and that in the end integrity and work ethic supersede uncultivated talent. 
I've learned that if you believe in yourself and you respect yourself others will too.

I've learned that there is nothing more significant than right now. The moment you're in is all you have. I've learned how important it is to not let it slip away. 
I've learned that sometimes the best things to do are the hardest and that it's important to challenge yourself to do the hard things and the right things even when they aren't convenient. I've also learned some things the hard way.

I've learned the most important thing in life is to love. I've learned that the key to happiness is gratitude. 
I've learned that every person you meet is a beautiful soul and that everything you do can be an opportunity to make their life brighter even if it's just in the smallest way.

I've learned that I'm just me and that's all I have to be :)

Blog #4 On Birthdays & Time

It's 2:57 am and I am awaken from faux sleep with a racing heart and open mind. Excitement overwhelms me as I become conscious of my reality. I’m to the point of tears, happy tears. Gratitude, contentment. How did I arrive here? How did I get so lucky?  My mind is in a trance, captivated by the thought of my beloved grandparents soundly sleeping in their adjacent beds. I imagine myself almost as a ghost hovering over them and kissing their soft cheeks and then proceeding to glide gently through every room of their home. Their home means everything to me, even in the moonlight I feel safe and warm there. Its my safe haven. As I walk a flood of memories play out in front of me. Most of my childhood and adolescence were spent frolicking around in their orchards, collecting rocks, setting forth on adventures, drawing blueprints of elaborate 2 story tree houses that I somehow rationalized as being completely possible for a cluster of 5-8 year olds to build. It is beautiful and full of color, even in the darkness.  In my dream I decide to transport next to my parents’ home. It’s weird to call it “my parent’s home” and I still wonder at what point it stopped belonging to me. I miss it. I think of my angelic mother, strong and resilient and peacefully asleep in her bed. I imagine she had a long and hard days work but probably encountered every moment of it with care and a cheerful joy. She is a saint and incapable of selfishness, it still befuddles me. I am grateful for her rest. She is a princess with the heart of a maiden - beautiful, selfless, and pure. After I kiss her cheek I proceed down the hall to my brother’s room. He’s sleeping there, door shut. I smile because he is stubborn, isolated and tough on the outside but delicate and kind deep down. In fact, for as tough and leader-like as he is I not so secretly think that he still has that big-eyed, noble boy scout heart going on deep down. He doesn’t show that side much anymore but the most important thing is that he’s THERE. He's home and I am grateful for that.  Lastly, I watch as my mind transports my spirit far up north to San Francisco. It’s a city I would have never guessed I'd get to call home. It still doesn’t feel like home, I think of it more as a hub that houses one of my favorite people to ever walk the earth, my Dad. San Francisco is a city so perfect in beauty and balance its hard not to associate with Disneyland. Disneyland mixed with the fourth of July. Just being there makes me feel more American. I see my father is asleep in his bed. I imagine how clean he must be and laugh, needless to say I get all my germaphobic tendencies from him. I miss him dearly and I can almost feel the ache in his heart for how much he misses us. He is my hero, he's my standard for love and grace. Both my parents are.  So again I find myself both in wonderment and relief: how did I get so lucky? How did I fall into so much favor? All these questions circling around in my head for years now seem to be finally and simply answered.  The peace that this dream brings to me is a revelation. I had woken up in a panic from a nap the other day: my heart was racing as I nervously realized that I am a mere few weeks away from my birthday. How did another year come and slip away so quickly? Time is a daunting phenomena that has a way of forcing itself on you the moment you look away. My heart searches for the answer to my ever-present question - how do I seize life and not let it slip away? That’s why this dream brings me to tears. For the first time I realize that I already arrived. I have everything I hoped for. Life’s complexities are encompassed with a simplicity. Everyday for the rest of my life is merely and wonderfully a gift. It’s a superfluous joy that I get to color in whichever way I choose. It’s always been that way but I am lucky enough to finally realize it. This dream is just truth personified.  I’ve been living in worry and fear while I’ve already had it all. I've already been blessed with overflowing memories of friendship, family, adventure and love. I've already been blessed with my dream apartment, a life of education, and the cherished opportunity to dive headfirst into my passions. I’ve fought for my love of music, self expression and creativity, but I finally realize that if those 3 dreams I’ve built my life around don't work out as careers, I can surrender that too. They were still a gift, a beautiful undeserved blessing, and I am forever grateful. So why not live the rest of my life as if it really were a gift? For once I realize I should surrender my ideas, my 10 year plans, my hatred of time, my expectations - all of those petty things that build up barriers and dilute the beauty and purpose that God granted us through the simplicity of life.  Why not surrender my imperfect talents? And my numbed heavily guarded heart? I feel proud of myself for choosing the high road as often as I find it, I realize the importance of choices and balance. I feel like all “life” is meant to do is kiss us as we pass through, saying noshi jaan (which is Persian for “to your health!”) on our way out. It was a gift, it is a gift, it will always be a gift. So why not live the rest of my life enjoying that, believing that, and that keeping truth as my foundation? Here’s to twenty-three, here’s to twenty-four, here’s to life thereafter - forevermore.

It's 2:57 am and I am awaken from faux sleep with a racing heart and open mind. Excitement overwhelms me as I become conscious of my reality. I’m to the point of tears, happy tears. Gratitude, contentment. How did I arrive here? How did I get so lucky? 

My mind is in a trance, captivated by the thought of my beloved grandparents soundly sleeping in their adjacent beds. I imagine myself almost as a ghost hovering over them and kissing their soft cheeks and then proceeding to glide gently through every room of their home. Their home means everything to me, even in the moonlight I feel safe and warm there. Its my safe haven. As I walk a flood of memories play out in front of me. Most of my childhood and adolescence were spent frolicking around in their orchards, collecting rocks, setting forth on adventures, drawing blueprints of elaborate 2 story tree houses that I somehow rationalized as being completely possible for a cluster of 5-8 year olds to build. It is beautiful and full of color, even in the darkness. 

In my dream I decide to transport next to my parents’ home. It’s weird to call it “my parent’s home” and I still wonder at what point it stopped belonging to me. I miss it. I think of my angelic mother, strong and resilient and peacefully asleep in her bed. I imagine she had a long and hard days work but probably encountered every moment of it with care and a cheerful joy. She is a saint and incapable of selfishness, it still befuddles me. I am grateful for her rest. She is a princess with the heart of a maiden - beautiful, selfless, and pure. After I kiss her cheek I proceed down the hall to my brother’s room. He’s sleeping there, door shut. I smile because he is stubborn, isolated and tough on the outside but delicate and kind deep down. In fact, for as tough and leader-like as he is I not so secretly think that he still has that big-eyed, noble boy scout heart going on deep down. He doesn’t show that side much anymore but the most important thing is that he’s THERE. He's home and I am grateful for that. 

Lastly, I watch as my mind transports my spirit far up north to San Francisco. It’s a city I would have never guessed I'd get to call home. It still doesn’t feel like home, I think of it more as a hub that houses one of my favorite people to ever walk the earth, my Dad. San Francisco is a city so perfect in beauty and balance its hard not to associate with Disneyland. Disneyland mixed with the fourth of July. Just being there makes me feel more American. I see my father is asleep in his bed. I imagine how clean he must be and laugh, needless to say I get all my germaphobic tendencies from him. I miss him dearly and I can almost feel the ache in his heart for how much he misses us. He is my hero, he's my standard for love and grace. Both my parents are. 

So again I find myself both in wonderment and relief: how did I get so lucky? How did I fall into so much favor? All these questions circling around in my head for years now seem to be finally and simply answered. 

The peace that this dream brings to me is a revelation. I had woken up in a panic from a nap the other day: my heart was racing as I nervously realized that I am a mere few weeks away from my birthday. How did another year come and slip away so quickly? Time is a daunting phenomena that has a way of forcing itself on you the moment you look away. My heart searches for the answer to my ever-present question - how do I seize life and not let it slip away?

That’s why this dream brings me to tears. For the first time I realize that I already arrived. I have everything I hoped for. Life’s complexities are encompassed with a simplicity. Everyday for the rest of my life is merely and wonderfully a gift. It’s a superfluous joy that I get to color in whichever way I choose. It’s always been that way but I am lucky enough to finally realize it. This dream is just truth personified. 

I’ve been living in worry and fear while I’ve already had it all. I've already been blessed with overflowing memories of friendship, family, adventure and love. I've already been blessed with my dream apartment, a life of education, and the cherished opportunity to dive headfirst into my passions. I’ve fought for my love of music, self expression and creativity, but I finally realize that if those 3 dreams I’ve built my life around don't work out as careers, I can surrender that too. They were still a gift, a beautiful undeserved blessing, and I am forever grateful.

So why not live the rest of my life as if it really were a gift? For once I realize I should surrender my ideas, my 10 year plans, my hatred of time, my expectations - all of those petty things that build up barriers and dilute the beauty and purpose that God granted us through the simplicity of life. 

Why not surrender my imperfect talents? And my numbed heavily guarded heart? I feel proud of myself for choosing the high road as often as I find it, I realize the importance of choices and balance. I feel like all “life” is meant to do is kiss us as we pass through, saying noshi jaan (which is Persian for “to your health!”) on our way out. It was a gift, it is a gift, it will always be a gift. So why not live the rest of my life enjoying that, believing that, and that keeping truth as my foundation?

Here’s to twenty-three, here’s to twenty-four, here’s to life thereafter - forevermore.

Blog #5 Even If

“My dear, In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm. …And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” - Albert Camus It’s a beautiful hot summer Friday in Los Angeles and I am sitting here alone in an office reflecting on the mere week left between my birthday and I. I love birthdays the same way I love New Years Eve - they are both excellent excuses to celebrate and even better excuses to pause and reflect on the woman I want to become this next year. The words that come to mind and challenge me are “Even If” - even if life hands me lemons, I will still make lemonade. Even if I fail, I will still rise up and try again. Or perhaps learn from it, adjust, and try as daringly and passionately as I did the first time.  This is not simply an idea, it’s a necessity. Because what if you fall in love and end up empty-handed? What if you do everything you can to invest in those around you but still feel lonely? What if you sacrifice 365 parties a year to work at your dream but still feel a million miles away from it at times? What if you feel on top of the world and then get unexpected news that knocks the wind out of you? You can drown in what ifs. You can get lost in the black hole of asking why everything happens the way it does.  We have to truly embrace the inescapable aspects of life in order to thrive. When we ask “what if?” and “why?” we become powerless and afraid to step fearlessly towards our future. On the other hand, if we determine who we are first we can create an unshakeable foundation that informs how we handle the world around us. Only then can we gain control over who we are. If we don’t let who we are inform our circumstances we let our circumstances change who we become. We keep spinning on about how bad things happen to good people and never stop to wonder if sometimes good people happen to bad things. Same circumstances, different perspective. I want to be one of those people. I don’t want my character, grace, or optimism to be determined by my circumstances. I want to influence my environment instead of being influenced by it.  I think the truth is if we don’t live our lives with a standard of resilience we will lose ourselves along the way. Life is unpredictable so if who we are depends on the challenges we face we will we succumb to the chaos. We have to carry on and be strong and not forget to laugh and love along the way. C’est la vie.   Photo by Thomas Oldham


“My dear,
In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
…And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” - Albert Camus

It’s a beautiful hot summer Friday in Los Angeles and I am sitting here alone in an office reflecting on the mere week left between my birthday and I. I love birthdays the same way I love New Years Eve - they are both excellent excuses to celebrate and even better excuses to pause and reflect on the woman I want to become this next year.

The words that come to mind and challenge me are “Even If” - even if life hands me lemons, I will still make lemonade. Even if I fail, I will still rise up and try again. Or perhaps learn from it, adjust, and try as daringly and passionately as I did the first time. 

This is not simply an idea, it’s a necessity. Because what if you fall in love and end up empty-handed? What if you do everything you can to invest in those around you but still feel lonely? What if you sacrifice 365 parties a year to work at your dream but still feel a million miles away from it at times? What if you feel on top of the world and then get unexpected news that knocks the wind out of you? You can drown in what ifs. You can get lost in the black hole of asking why everything happens the way it does. 

We have to truly embrace the inescapable aspects of life in order to thrive. When we ask “what if?” and “why?” we become powerless and afraid to step fearlessly towards our future. On the other hand, if we determine who we are first we can create an unshakeable foundation that informs how we handle the world around us. Only then can we gain control over who we are. If we don’t let who we are inform our circumstances we let our circumstances change who we become.

We keep spinning on about how bad things happen to good people and never stop to wonder if sometimes good people happen to bad things. Same circumstances, different perspective. I want to be one of those people. I don’t want my character, grace, or optimism to be determined by my circumstances. I want to influence my environment instead of being influenced by it. 

I think the truth is if we don’t live our lives with a standard of resilience we will lose ourselves along the way. Life is unpredictable so if who we are depends on the challenges we face we will we succumb to the chaos. We have to carry on and be strong and not forget to laugh and love along the way. C’est la vie.  

Photo by Thomas Oldham

Oxford.

Oxford.

I feel as if I could spend a lifetime discovering the reasons why it left me so enchanted. The truth is I have never been anywhere that breathes even remotely like it. It bursts with simplicity, sophistication, & art. What I love most about Oxford is that beyond its beautiful facade you can find the less tangible but more significant sense of authenticity it carries. Everything there has a purpose. Everything was built with meaning and reason. Nothing was created for tourists, and that might be the best attraction of all. It’s beautiful because it celebrates beauty, not because it tries to imitate it. The streets are winding yet small enough to be discovered. The buildings are centuries old yet somehow vibrant and bubbling with life and education. When you walk you overhear conversations about books and studies instead of gossip and trivialities. You understand the history that brought forth great thinkers like Tolkien & C.S. Lewis. Being in Oxford made me forget myself and fall in love with the reality of something far greater - the coupling of my insignificant yet significant place in history. Walking through its quaint streets left me in a state of childlike bliss; one moment frolicking in the sunshine, the next racing through the downpour of rain - smiling & laughing through every minute of it. In the midst of shire-like hills, gardens, churches, & universities - I felt like I belonged. And although my time there was brief, I can dream about myself being there again on a different journey, in a different lifetime. Completely submerged in the city, enchanted.