Alex and Andrew Parsegian first session JUNE 2015 BK, NYC

Another reason to love Greenhouse Holistic BK

I met this wonderful human being in Yoga class!

Great things will happen!

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Here I go again on my own…(Hollywood)

Having no distractions or phone or Internet or family or friends or dogs or cats etc etc lead to my creative brain waking up and going into overload!

This is why I love to travel, especially alone.

Lyrics, melodies and observations came flooding out of me. Furiously I scribbled about love, music, life and dreams that I had forgotten all about. Most of the scratch was free writing and wouldn’t make a whole load of sense to anyone. What started as lists and aims ended with damning realizations regarding the cloud I had allowed myself to live under. This cloud is what lead me to this point. I felt the only out was to escape on a plane.

I am obsessed with notepads and little books for this very purpose. Once you start writing, releasing the expression of your soul, all of a sudden you know why you have been feeling this or feeling that. You have to find ways to look in the mirror that doesn’t focus on reflecting.

I had to have many words with myself on that plane journey. The chat went from cursing out my knee jerk escapism to comforting my inner child that was, truthfully, just scared of what was on the other side.

The West side.

Hollywood.

Before that though, Harassment by Airport security!

 

‘This is not your home’ – They literally love saying that.

 

Planet Earth is my home and the last time I checked LA was hangin on in there like the rest of us.

So I got a bit philosophical on Friday and this is what happened…

As I sit here in McCarren Park I can’t help but ponder life.

I am struggling with balancing ambition and my incessant need for new experiences with being in the here and now and present in the moment.

For instance today, it is a beautiful day and my plan was to go to yoga, then grocery shopping and then start some new work that a friend has introduced me to. So I walk the 30 minute walk to my new yoga studio (loom in Bushwick – review and yoga journal up soon!) and get there a bit early. For most people I would imagine that this is their ideal. For me being early always can put whatever I am early for in the ‘optional’ box in my head. Especially if the sun is shining and its mid September. Yoga is something I enjoy immensely, and at the moment it is important that I go as much as possible – My back is out of wack from a summer of dancing and adventures.

All this being said, and knowing how important it is long term for me to go, why did I not go? Why did I choose to sit in the sunshine for a few hours instead?

This is a consistent theme of my life and as I am reaching mid 20s (yes Tony, REACHING MID 20S. I am NOT nearly 30) I am trying to figure out where my priorities are at these days. I thought Yoga was a big priority, but it turns out that even that is subject to change depending on the weather?

I think it is because I am British, and when the sun is out in Brighton, UK you would think it is city of The Unemployed! Everyone flocks to the beach and the drinks flow until way past sunset – Mid week!

So anyway, back to how my day has rolled out (It is still only 1.30pm – My NYC Brain is in full effect, clearly). I’m in McCarren Park with the idea that I am going to go and be all Yogi in the Park and concentrate on being in the here and now, and all I have done is thought about things I would like to do in the future or aims I have for my time over here.

This is all very in line with my Piscean profile, I spend a lot of time in my own head idealizing life and pondering how great XYZ would be blah blah. So it is all positive thoughts and ideas and planning etc but how do I achieve any of these things if when it gets to it, the sun is out or my fickle fish self flows on by whatever I had planned.

Am I really doing things I want to do, or are they just things I have convinced myself that I want to do over my 24years?! OR Do I just have no discipline and follow through? OR am I ruled by my own expectations? I think that might be it.

The book I am reading at the moment is called The Power of Now and it’s by Eckhart Tole. I am so trying to practice with the thoughts in this book, and also building on the Tao of Pooh that I listened to as an audiobook sometime last year.

I suppose this is more of a shout out to anyone feeling philosophical at this changeover of season time for any advice.

Any ideas on how to get shit done whilst in keeping with being happy and present just the way everything is in the now?

My first idea would be to get a solid meditation routine in, but what if I do not feel like it one morning? Do I force it because I know it is good for me long-term OR go with my flow of that moment?

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Peace peepsx20140907_125749_Adrian_Burn

Philosophies spurned by Sun Burn Sleeplessness @ 5am

So I am just past the halfway point of my family holiday on the beautiful Island of Menorca, part of the Balearic Islands – Also home to another of my favourite Islands, Ibiza. I have just finished watching the sunrise after not being able to sleep because of a rookie self-inflicted ailment – Sunburn. The dreaded bloody sunburn that I vowed I would not get this year because my days of sun worshipping are over, or so I thought.

In my head I am a proper Hippy. I try to stay away from chemicals of any sort as much as possible, this includes sun cream – especially the generic Hawaiian tropic sun cream that is so readily available, despite it smelling like delight and sunshine. My solution to this problem was to stay out of the sunshine as much as possible, and for the first 3 days I was in and out and up and down and doing a pretty good job of keeping the burn at bay.

Then I went to the Beach.

The Beach at Cala En Porter is absolutely gorgeous, and lives up to all the Pinterest board pictures for sure. The water is so blue that you could easily check your face to see if you are wearing sunglasses that make everything look dialed up a notch colour-wise. La Playa is just the right size so it couldn’t get busy busy, and luckily is a mixture of Europeans and Brits so it is a world away from some of the tourist resorts I have visited over the years. Tourist resorts running with tribal tattoos and twat tans, beer in hand. But guess who now has a twat tan / sunburn?!

Me!

Bloody me and my stupid ideas of no sun cream on the beach, where everyone knows that a high level of tanning is inevitable. A combination of not much shade, cool breeze and refreshing ocean made a fabulous recipe for a very sore and slightly red back. This incident has taught me some valuable lessons :-

  1. Always trust your instincts.

Before I came away I had a niggling thought in my head to go to my local health shop (Infinity Foods, Brighton) to purchase the hemp based sun cream that I used a lot last year and the year before. Why I ignored my own sensibility? Because my crazy rationalization said that I didn’t need suncream because I wouldn’t get burnt. Nice one Brain, way to override yourself! My instinct did make my legs go to the health shop, but my brain ignored the sun cream section and went straight for the much. *rolls eyes* #standard

  1. DO NOT GO IN THE MIDDAY SUN IF YOU HAVE NO SHADE TO DIP IN AND OUT OF.

This is NOW obvious to me.

  1. Being up before sunrise really does have a certain Je ne ce quois about it in terms of creativity / productivity.

This morning I have nailed down some more verses to a track that has been on my mind a lot lately, but hadn’t quite found the time/mindframe/confidence to just bloody write something. I have written this article, caught up with a friend back in BK and caught a beaut sunrise. Everyday, Every second I am shown that everything happens for a reason, and although this cause of creativity and action has been particularly physically painful. I have for sure learnt my lesson not to play with the sun because she means what she says! She will burn you, and no she will not apologise!

Peace for you and your skin.

Hot bod is only ok internally de temps en temps 😉 

Xxxx

p.s I found this post about natural sunburn remedies. It is full of recipes and is very informative about why certain ingredients are so great at soothing scorched skin.

http://everydayroots.com/sunburn-remedies

Song of the day – No sleep for the Sunburn addition!

So up until I heard a podcast from Brighton DJ, Mike Panteli around the pool at the Villa I had NO idea that the Kelly Rowland version of this song wasn’t the original! D’oh Alex, D’oh to you, you fool! 

I always loved that song, and thought that whomever had written it was a real gifted melody writer. I was right! 

Daylight is always a surprise no matter the circumstance, and my circumstance this morning spurred all sorts of positive energy. 

So I tip my hat to Womack for writing a track around a time of day that truly is special and magical. 

Boom Bobby, thanks Doll. You are a ledge. 

Observation is Key

Lesson 2 of my Creativity course! – ‘Observation is Key’

Week Two, and the theme is  ‘The Power of Paying Attention’. In this lesson Tina talks about the importance of always being aware and engaged with our surroundings.

‘Focused observation and commitment to seeing what’s happening is an important key to innovation’

So it was only a short lesson broadcast by Tina but she shared a number of excellent resources all relevant to ‘Paying Attention’. A lot of the focus day to day lies within ‘What am I doing tomorrow?’, ‘What happened yesterday?’ or ‘Shoot, I really need to do XYZ by XYZ or this or that will happen’. Even whilst we are having an interaction with someone it can be hard to focus on what they are saying, or even notice our surroundings because our brains are so busy and our lives seem to be non-stop.

The first of these resources was a TED talk by Julian Treasure. Julian talks about the importance of listening and offers some exercises to practice ‘The Art of Listening’. He believes that through the evolution of our intelligence and resources we could be harming our ability to listen and retain information from one another.

I know I am guilty of this, especially out and about and say, expecting a phone call. Gone are the days when I would prioritize an important call that could contain important information as 90% of the time the caller will summarize with ‘Well I will put all of this into an email and send it across to you’ I would think, Phew, that’s me off the hook! We rarely have to retain information in our heads now as we have every kind of resource thinkable available to us. From the Internet, to our smartphones to note pads even. (Of course all of these things are brilliant and exceptional developments in our society, but you get my gist)

The first exercise Julian suggests in order to listen and observe better, is simply to just enjoy some silence or quiet for 3 minutes a day to re-calibrate our ears and brains.

The second exercise could be a little tougher, but also pretty interesting and could be a great brain workout. Julian talks about creating your own personal mixer in your head and trying to work out how many channels that you have going at any one time. The next step to this exercise would be to try and control the volume of these channels, so you could work that part of your brain in preparation for a time when it could be difficult to focus.

The last part of this TED lecture (and my favorite) is the anagram RASA. This is a Sanskrit word for Essence. I love a good Anagram (The US must be rubbing off on me – teehee)

Receive
Appreciate
Summarise
Ask

See the full video here

The final resource to mention  is a snippet from a lecture by Tom Kelley, from IDEO. His premise comes from the phrase ‘Think like a traveller’. What he means by this phrase is, think like you are on vacation in a place that is different from your homeland/culture.

Tom notes that whilst in a different habitat your brain naturally dials itself up to being hyper aware of all the differences laid out before you, and you naturally draw comparisons and opinions based on your surroundings. His advice for creativity would be to note these observations down, be it in a notepad, diary or on your smartphone or tablet. As he states, nobody is more of an expert of your own experience than yourself. This is our greatest attribute and should be kept in mind whilst trying to come up with new ideas. It can train our brains to make different pathways for solutions to any problems we may face, be it in the workplace or in our everyday lives.

I am going to end this tremendously long post with a fabulous quote that Tom left us with.

‘The real act of discovery consists not of seeing new lands, but seeing with new eyes’ – Marcel Proust.

http://ecorner.stanford.edu/authorMaterialInfo.html?mid=2099

So I am off to get started on my listening exercises and my assignment!

Wish me luck!

Peace! Xxx

PS – Another gem of an idea Tina talked about is this fantastic initiative, you must check it out.

New Yorkers, Your Commute Is About to Get a Whole Lot Cooler

Stanford course update!

Creativity: Music to My Ears by Tina Seelig, Stanford University

My first Stanford assignment with Tina Seelig was to create an album cover, and playlist that would tell the story of my life. I had such fun compiling the playlist but had a bit of a struggle with the album cover and title. My life is so full of twists and turns that I had no idea where to even begin.

So this is where the lecture came in handy. Tina talked about the different factors that help to encourage creativity, I soon realized that what could have been inhibiting my creativity was my habitat. I didn’t properly allow myself enough wiggle room physically to think about what picture or title to use for the cover. So low and behold, I changed my setting and I managed to complete the cover in no time at all!

I learnt the key pillars of creativity:

Imagination – framing and re-framing problems

Knowledge – Pay attention to life

Attitude – Quilt makers rather than puzzle builders

Habitat – Physical space

Resources – NOT MONEY

Culture- how said organization deals with failure

I also learnt that if even one of these were not included in the process, it would not be as organic and free.

Tina also shares different resources to inspire our creativity and this week they consisted of interviews with artists such as Jason Mraz and Josh Groban to discuss their creative process and how different factors can affect their creativity.

I found Josh’s description extremely helpful as he talked about the differences between living in LA and NYC. I totally identified with his description of NYC as a hotbed of culture and inspiration, and he also talked about how you have to choice but to participate in life whilst living in NYC, whereas in LA you can choose to not see a soul between your car and the studio.

Jason’s playful outlook towards creativity is a gift. Something he talked about was collaboration and how important it is to free your own creative process up.  I will definitely be trying his game whereby you take any word and make a song out of it, for fun! Just to have fun with your friends and to get the juices flowing.

Jason Mraz “rain dance” from Stanford Tech Ventures Program on Vimeo.

This reminded me of a game I used to play with my family back in the day on a long drive or something. We would create a story one line at a time, one person at a time. The stories would take very interesting turns because we are all such different people with such different outlooks!

Genius thinking by my stepdad, must have kept us quiet for a while haha.

Busy Week!

So looking forward to this week, it is going to be a busy one! With good weather in the city apparently too! Finally. Not going to lie, being in NY whilst back in Blighty it was nothin’ but sunshine and blue skies… kinda…. SUCKED.

So as well as my usual daily routine of working, yoga and walking across the billyburg bridge here’s what else I have in store.

MUSICAL THINGS…. Yaaaaayyy!

First I thought I’d share a really amazing FREE course I am starting on Wednesday from the people at NovoEd and Stanford university (Ooooh get me..).

Creativity: Music to My Ears is a six-week course designed to explore several factors that stimulate creativity in individuals, teams, and organizations. 

Sounds right up my alley. Tina Seelig of Stanford is teaching it and I am super excited to start. I will try and keep the blog up to date with news and things I learn along the way, as no one can ever have too much creativity in their lives right?

I also am starting my Jazz vocal course on Thursday, and could not be more ready to get that show on the road! Feels like I have been waiting for all of these things to kick off for an age, and now it’s all go! WooHoo!

So I gotta run now, I’m hoping to catch the sunset on a rooftop somewhere…and maybe even find a good Gin Sour to enjoy it with 🙂

Peace Love and Fun!

I’m out.

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