Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Tis the season for self reflection, goal setting, and let’s admit it, jealousy and competition. Whether we are talking about sibling rivalry flaring up at holiday functions, competition for bonuses at work, wondering why we didn’t get invited to that holiday party, or are our own worst enemy in the goal-setting and self-reflection department; the green-eyed monster is as evergreen as that needle-shedding star holder we put up each year.

I like to think that my experiences in open relationships prepared me to foresee and handle my envy in a healthy and constructive manner.  But the truth is, I can suddenly find myself seething with the angry-hating-blaming-scathing-gossiping-fearful bullshit as much as anyone.  And being currently devoid of lovers, or even wanting to enter into monogamy (gasp) doesn’t give me a free pass.  Instead, as we approach the end of the year, I find my jealousies bubbling up around my art instead.  Do you want the bare-naked, ugly truth of what’s been happening in my head?  Ready or not, here it is:

Why is this or that person more successful than I am?  Why haven’t I won any awards lately? (Besides the fact that I haven’t entered any competitions??)

Why is it so much easier for that person to master that move that I’ve been struggling with for years? (Have you actually been focusing all of your energy on that move?)

Why is that person thinner than me, when I work out so much? (Because they are them, and they are you.  A little self acceptance please!)

Why is it so hard for me to commit to a weekly writing schedule?  Or finish the freaking book I’ve been working on for a decade? And why is that person who can’t even spell properly getting published? (Let’s look a little more honestly at your time commitments, shall we?)

Why was that person offered that job/gig that was half-promised to me, or that I feel like I suggested/inspired?  (Uh, did you even really want that job? Was it really promised to you? Did you really deserve it?)

If only I had regular access to a studio (and/or a car), I could polish and choreograph the ideas that I have more easily.  I’d have more time, more energy, be able to make more money.   IT’S NOT FAIR! (If it’s not working, you’ll need to figure out a new solution.  Time to start saving for a car…)

And even, yes, why is dating suddenly such a barren, non-existent thing in my life? What’s wrong with me? At least I used to just have trouble keeping a partner, now I can’t even get a date? (Do you even want to date?  Do you have time?)

Jealous Cat

For me, the end of the year is about looking back at what I’ve learned and forward to what needs to happen next.  This inevitably involves some self comparisons to people that have accomplished more, less, or specifically what I wish I had, in the past year.  I spent a glorious evening last week wallowing in my envy and self-pity.  It felt good like hot dogs and macaroni and cheese feel good.  Like a comforting, unhealthy indulgence.  And then the defeated, depressed hangover kicks in.  And luckily, my experiences confronting jealousy on the dating playing field, and a little kick in the ass from my best friend who got sick of listening to my whining, came in helpful after all.

The realizations that I came up with in delving into my artistic career path insecurities is remarkably identical to what I’ve encountered before in romantic situations.  Jealousy seems to come from 3 emotional sources: Fear, Envy, or Defeat.  Which, looking deeper, means it signals 1 or more of 3 things: That you care about something or someone deeply; that you aren’t on the right path to get, or are not being clear about whatever it is that you want; or that something about your current tactics/habits isn’t working.

For my artistic journey, identifying what of these factors is triggering each jealousy has cleared the way to better planning, scheduling, and goal setting overall.  First, that while I think that I want certain jobs/gigs, they may actually not be right for me, and even be a hinderance on my overall broader goals.  What I’m really wanting is the acceptance of my peers when being considered for a job.  For instance, right now I have exactly the right balance of teaching and creating that I need.  What I need is a little more time to work on my personal projects, without abandoning the work that I do with my troupe.  It would also seem that I want an artistic partner-the right artistic partner-someone who inspires me to work harder and who I can communicate well with, and who commits to meeting and working with me at an equal level.  Without examining what exact aspects of being passed over for certain jobs was making me jealous, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with clearer goals and needs moving forward.  Nor would I be able to realize that I don’t even want some of the jobs I’m jealous of, in order to focus on working harder to get the ones that I do want.

Next, I needed to realize that if I’ve been working on something for a long time and its not coming together, then something in my approach obviously needs to change.  Perhaps I need to be honest with myself about how much effort and commitment I’m actually putting towards what goals and re-prioritize.  Maybe I need to be a little gentler with myself in the realm of how much one person can realistically accomplish in what amount of time.  Or you know, I could ask some experts for help and guidance.  Probably all of the above wouldn’t hurt.  Without examining this area, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a new game plan and I wouldn’t have the excitement and fresh inspiration of the new challenge that I’m taking on for 2014 (I know, you can barely wait to hear more, right?).  I’d still be defeated and self-pitying, eating mac and cheese with my cat.

Finally, I may need a certain amount of patience.  Like when I sit wondering why I haven’t been asked on a date for a whopping two months (seriously, that seems so long!), I have to admit that I didn’t want to be.  I hate the institution of dating.  I like meeting people naturally, being friends, hanging out, getting to know each other.  But, I’m working on my art right now, which involves more alone time, physical work and exhaustion, and self reflection than hanging out drinking and socializing.  And I’m loving the friendships that I’m building that are about training and creating more anyways.  So, “yes” Envy, thanks for coming over to visit and all, but you can take your leave now.  I need to get back to work.


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Black Rock Spatial Delivery is doing a cool project for Burning Man this year, where veteran burners can write love letters to a newbie.  I really enjoyed sharing my advice and getting all homesick for the desert.  So I’ve decided to share it with you.  For all the virgins out there, I hope its helpful.  For all the non-burners, I hope you can find some default life application there too.  ;)

Dear Virgin,

You are about to enter a wonderfully powerful place.  Even if you’re not one to believe in things like the energy of a space, there is something quite amazing that happens when 60,000 people come together with intention.  This space can be heaven or hell.  It can bring things to the surface of your consciousness that you didn’t know were even there.  This can feel like gifts and it can feel uncomfortable or even intolerable.  Try to take it in stride and choose to view things as the former.

Be sure to check out the big sound camps and dance, dance, dance!  Get a body wash at Poly Paradise at least once.  Take a skim through the Who What Where/When early on so you don’t end up missing that one thing you really wanted to check out.  Talk to someone you probably wouldn’t in your daily life.  Be careful what you wish for out there on the playa (because you’ll probably get it).  Drink more water than you ever have in your life.  If it all gets too much, head to Buddha Dome or the Temple for some quiet.  Give back with your time, your smile, and the gift of sharing yourself with someone rather than worrying over tangible gifts.  Have a center camp coffee.  I don’t know what it is, but a latte in the middle of the desert is always the best coffee I’ll ever have.  Try to be open.  Try not to judge anything you’re going through or observing too critically, including yourself.

Remember that Burning Man is not a world of anything goes, though it may seem like it sometimes.  It is a community of intentions (read the 10 principles) and with those intentions, there are “don’ts.”  These are mine.  Don’t impose yourself sexually on someone just because they are naked, pretty, drunk, seem into it, etc.  Ask first.  This includes ‘grinding’ on people who are just trying to dance and have fun.  Don’t approach the week like one big party.  It totally is, and it totally is not.  Take a little time for non party like stuff too.  Don’t sleep in everyday.  Black Rock mornings are just as beautiful as Black Rock nights.  Don’t rely on everyone else to take care of you.  They probably will when you need them, but there is great joy in self reliance.  Don’t feel you must do anything specific to fit in.  Dress up if you’d like, or don’t.  Go naked if you desire, or don’t.  This is your experience.  Just don’t forget to share it with the magical city of others.  Speaking of others, respect their experiences as well.  Don’t pee on the playa, don’t bring things that will leave your moop (matter out of place) on the desert for teams of people to have to clean up later.  Don’t desecrate the port-a-potties.  And finally, don’t worry too much if you miss things.  You can’t do it all.  Go with the flow.  And leave some experiences to have when you return in the future.

My virgin burn was magical, and I hope that yours is as well.  I wish I could do it again.  I am hoping to be out there this year, but am still in the planning stages as I write this letter.  If I am out there, I will be the girl who is dancing on her trapeze of fire.  So, probably not too hard to find.    Though if everything lines up for me to get out there, I will probably be camping solo this year, so a meet up may have to happen by chance.

Whether I ever meet you or not, dear virgin burner pen pal, I wish you the best week of your life.  I send this with much love and peace and joyful energy.  I hope that you have the exact experience that you need to have.  And hope is really the wrong word there, because I already know that you will.

Love and Peace,

Erinina Marie Ness


This cat is so ready for the burn.  But, don’t actually bring your cat to the desert please.  ;)

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Dear Ms. Universe,

There have been times in my life where you’ve just smashed me over the head until I understood what you are trying to tell me.  Usually a whole host of ugly, bad things happen because I’m stubborn and trying to make something work that won’t.  I don’t mean an “I should keep trying and not give up” type of scenario.  I mean a “that’s nice that you think you’re stuck or have to do it this way, but hello, dummy it’s not working” kind of thing.  Usually just accepting that I’m on the wrong path opens up a whole host of opportunities, because you are a good Universe when we listen.  Like when I couldn’t go back to Greensboro College because of money.  I got nominated for an Irene Ryan award, traveled to Oxford School of Drama, seriously boosted my employment experience and then got to go to Sarah Lawrence College, which was really a perfect fit for me.  You really did know best, when I finally listened.

So now, I’m in a similar place.  My current night club job is no longer working for me.  The late hours, some negative energy, my exhaustion levels…not conducive to the launch of my amazing circus career!  Its getting harder and harder to train working the graveyard shift.  I want you to know, my friend, I hear you.  I am getting the message.  I think I should be awake at relatively the same time as the sun.  I mean, I’m not talking 7 am, let’s not get crazy people.  But, going to bed at 3-5am is getting way old as I get older.  And my body is feeling it.

At the same time, I need to make a certain income.  And I don’t want to take a step down to some $15/hour over-worked, sell out thing that I can’t be at all passionate about.  I know, I’m stubborn. But I’m also building a trapeze and writing career that are actually getting some attention and momentum and I need a certain level of fulfillment, flexibility and time to accomplish those things.  So what’s a girl on the cusp of hitting the tipping point towards her dreams to do in the meantime?  I’m genuinely confused. Do, dear Universe, enlighten me.

Well, what’s a personal growth blog like this for, but to ask advice?  So, here it is.  I’m looking for part time or freelance gigs in the following areas, or a job that can support me in those areas.  And I’m asking you dear blogosphere for your feedback, or connections, or maybe just a virtual hug. ;)

Projects I’m currently working on that are making various levels of progress:

-Upcycled art and curated jewelry design: (http://cirquecouture.storenvy.com/  or  http://www.etsy.com/shop/Erinina7)

-Fire Trapeze, Burlesque Trapeze, Theatrical Aerial, Performance Art Aerial, Silks: (www.erininamarieness.com)

-Writing and blogging: (here, quixoticfiction.wordpress.com, unabashedlyyou.wordpress.com and a private blog with some interestingly more edgy, underground NYC stuff too)

-SEO, Social Media, Etc: I have been learning a ton about this stuff, learning curve only to improve.  This has been like my homework and fun reading for the last few months.

-I love food, food politics, how nutrition affects different people different ways, and ways to move and workout to keep your body healthy

Jobs that I think would be a good fit:

-Teaching kids aerial, teaching all ages theater/performance workshops-also available on aerial.

-Performing my stuff, for now: static, dance trapeze, burlesque trapeze and silks.  Fire coming very, very soon.

-Writing for Ezines, publications, web content that falls into my areas of ability and interest (fantasy fiction, happiness/self-help/inspiration articles, reviews of theater, food or events, underground NYC tales, travel)

-A part time, positive environment, afternoon office job where I can write as long as my work is done, & no customers are there.

-Travel gig.  Writing about travel, small trips or big.  Reviewing places, etc.  Not looking for 24/7 on a plane like a flight attendant.  ;)

-Places where I can learn/practice skills I love as an additional benefit to the qualifications I bring to my job (rowing, sailing, circus, fitness, physical theatre, burlesque, art making)

-Part time, flexible, good pay.  Sorry, I’m 32 and do have a lot of skills, and a lot of bills…not looking for internships or entry-level stuff.

-A book advance on one of my various projects (no idea how that works, do you?).

-I also have a very small amount of money that I would invest in the right Start-up.  Small amount and right Start-up are the key words here.

Experience I bring to the table:

-Management (of people and spaces)

-Theater Direction/Coaching


-Burlesque/Go Go Dance



-Social networking, Promotion



-Customer Service


So, there you go Universe…I’m putting it out there.  I need a new part time gig.  Probably an interesting combination of part time/freelance gigs.  Trying to keep an open mind.

Your friend,


Image Source: http://media.photobucket.com/image/recent/Zwrench/God-Cat.jpg

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Today I am revisiting how I deal with mistakes.  Because, well, they’re always happening.  If they’re not happening, you might want to check to see if you’re breathing…or your ego.  Once upon a time I blogged about how you have to accept mistakes as a part of the process and that you can’t let them derail you from where you’re going.  Good stuff, good stuff.  Now I’m going to totally contradict myself.

It seems that there is a tendency to become a little too accepting of your mistakes.  Especially with something sneaky and ‘reward’ based like cheating on a diet, drinking alcohol, drugs or smoking cigarettes.  The fact is, these things are deeply wired into our reward behavior patterns and the pleasure centers of our brain.  That’s why they’re so hard to change.  So yeah, mistakes and slip-ups are going to happen.  But thanks to a great man at my great quit what ails ya recovery program (that because of the fact that its a recovery program unfortunately has to go nameless), I have a new perspective on this whole mistake thing.

I’ve altered his analogy a bit to fit my personality, but here ya go.  If you were riding your shiny new Steampunk train through the Wild, Wild West and it broke down half way to Oregon, you wouldn’t just walk back to the godforsaken town you’d run from, right?  Of course not.  But the point is, you’re in the middle of nowhere on an important journey (a race to prove your machine’s magnificent capacities perhaps?), you might not want to let the blasted contraption fall apart in the first place if you can help it, right?  Can you tell I’m working on a Steampunk story right now on my fiction blog?

So that about sums it up.  Mistakes are allowed.  They’re human.  But that doesn’t mean you get to just let them happen.  You still have to do the work to try to stop them.  Keep your engine running and your tracks clean as it were.  There will be plenty of mishaps that you can’t control.  Try to level the playing field by controlling the ones that you can.  I tip my hat to ya, and as usual…here is your cute kitten for reading all the way through.  Let me know what mistakes you’re trying to prevent this week in the comments!

Mistake Kitty

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Something I’ve been learning lately (as I get older, eek) is the balancing act of when to stick to your guns and when to hold on to something loosely.  This can be particularly challenging to a person like me that can get obsessively goal-oriented and also terrified of change in others.  Interestingly enough, I tend to instigate change in myself and my surroundings as often as I can manage it.  Perhaps this is why I unfairly want everyone else to be more grounded.

So holding on loosely has definitely become a mantra for me in relationships.  I have a tendency to obsessively panic over distances growing between old friends or about the ebbs and flows of my romantic relationships.  But when I look back, I’ve generally had the friends that I’ve needed when I needed them and some very, very special friends have flowed into and out of my life at different times.  The reality is that I’m not alone.  And distance from someone is rarely permanent, especially in this modern technological age.  The other reality is that worrying over my lovers tends to only create clingy weirdness and a tendency for them to run in panic.  Thus, holding on tightly to people seems to never bring the desired results.  Completely taking for granted and abandoning people doesn’t seem to work all that well either though.  Thus, holding on loosely.  This is a concept that I’ve been struggling to practice over the past year especially, and I’m glad to say that I’m getting better at it.  Though, I’m definitely nowhere near mastering it yet.

What I’ve realized in the past couple of weeks though is that goals are a lot like people.  I think I finally understand what people mean when they say ‘learn from your mistakes.’  See, I tend to think of that phrase in connection to big failures or changes in life decisions.  For instance, I chose to start a theater company and then realized that it wasn’t serving my or my partners’ artistic paths.  This was a big failure in my mind (though much of what we accomplished was quite successful).  There were lots of mistakes to learn from.  I got it and moved forward in a different path.  But its not just these kind of big changes that you’re supposed to learn from.  Arguably, its the little mistakes that you make on your journey towards goals that you should really pay more attention to.  And learning from them doesn’t usually seem to mean choosing an entirely new path.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I decided to post daily here, on my private blog and now on my fiction blog.  At the same time, I made a daily chanting and workout goal (and got some great workout videos to do for those days that I needed to workout at home for cost and time management purposes!).  This went great, by the way, until I realized that I needed to also have days where I went out and had fun and lived life in order to have a life to write about in the first place.  So, I took a day off.  Then I took two days off of my workout routine.  And now, I’m reassessing how to make sure that I can keep writing, managing my spiritual life, as well as continuing my journey as an aerialist.  Not to mention a social life!  God forbid!  Because I learned that it turns out that writing 4 hours a day makes you a stronger writer, a smarter blogger and a little too self-absorbed.  It also severely cuts into your training time on the trapeze.  So, this week I’m gonna try something new.  I’m not going to stop posting.  I’m gonna spend more time on my trapeze.  Unluckily, I’m also going to spend more nights working this week.  But I’m going to reassess and try to find a way to make it all work.

Maybe I’ll time my blogging.  Maybe I’ll get up a little earlier.  Maybe I’ll only blog outside of my apartment in order to feel more focused and less isolated.  Maybe I’ll try working out at a new studio a couple of days that’s closer to my apt.  Maybe someone will gift me wooden beam clamps and some gymnastic mats so that I can trapeze some of my time at home (friends definitely invited!).  The point is, I’ll try some new things this week.  And some of them will probably work, and some of them won’t.  But I’m holding on loosely to those goals, because I think like in relationships, that’s where the joy and success probably comes from.

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As a confirmed book-worm, I’m always a little shocked by people who don’t read.  I mean, how do you learn anything?  Yeah, yeah, TV, internet…but what do you do when you’re on the train and bored out of your mind?  Oh yeah, I forgot, gaming!  But even if you’re not a reader like me, the truth is you probably have books you’d like to get through someday (not all info comes from Discovery Channel after all) and science has proved that learning new things (which you can do while reading) can help prevent Alzheimer’s.  So, what to do if you just don’t know when, where and how to fit that reading in?  Here are some tips for finally finishing that dusty book on your bedside table, straight from your friendly, book-toting nerd.

It might surprise you to know that as much as I love to read and constantly have my nose in a book (think Hermione in Harry Potter, Belle in Beauty and the Beast), that I too have books that I find difficult to get through or find the time for.  So, here are some solutions for the busy, bored, or overburdened to get that reading in.

– If you don’t already, read in the bathroom.  And if the magazine rack in your water closet is full of all your enjoyable reading like US Weekly, I recommend replacing it with the stuff you find most challenging to get through.  After all, you’re a captive audience.  Feed your mind while you empty your…oh, too far?  Sorry.

– Read to fall asleep.  Pick your reading that’s not too exciting and not too boring or difficult for bedtime.  I recommend any positive affirmation, spiritual devotions or language learning before bed as you are basically feeding your dreams.  Pick happy, peaceful or educational for a good night’s sleep.

– Get that book on audio.  Think audio books are for dummies?  Think again.  Listen to your book while you drive or ride to work to wake-up, engage your brain and arrive smarter or in a better mood than you otherwise would have listening to whining radio show hosts and the same old pop music.  The same goes for the commute home.  Hint: Pick that fun, guilty pleasure book for this time and going to work and sitting in traffic become things to look forward to.

– Put your blogs in a reader.  Ever wonder how some people keep up with all those blog posts from friends, family, interesting news sites, etc?  Does keeping up with the technology of it seem daunting?  Well, my friends, here’s the secret.  Its called an RSS Feed…you’ve probably heard of it.  It’s just a place to keep all the blogs you subscribe to in one handy place to access whenever you feel like it.  Try Google Reader, WordPress Reader, FeedBurner, etc.  There are tons.  Update the corresponding app to your smart phone, tablet, Google home, eReader, etc.  Then, find yourself in a situation where you have to eat dinner alone?  Need ten minutes of escape from the daily grind at the office, quitting smoking and wondering what to do with all those looming 15 minute increments?  Click on your feed reader and feel connected and up to date.  You can also add apps like kindle or nook to these devices to keep up on regular books too.

– Of course, there’s also always the traditional way of turning off the TV and picking up a book now and then instead.  If the silence bugs you, turn on some classical music.  The relaxation and satisfaction might surprise you.  And trying new things also prevents Alzheimer’s by the way.  It also makes life a little more adventurous.

What about you guys?  Where, when and how do you read?

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Help!  My Ego is swallowing my Id and my Super-Ego seems to be gone fishing!

Okay, so I promised myself that I’d post in the happiness blog everyday, work on my different shops, status posts, promotion, website, etc a little bit each day.  This has been great for solidifying my ‘brand’ as my BF calls it.  It has challenged me to just sit down and write each day and I’ve learned so much about Twitter, Facebook, Social Networking, SEO, Online Sales, YouTube promotional practices and Copyrights, Etc, Etc.  Seriously, I feel like I took a self taught online marketing class last week.  And I’ve made new friends in the blogging and online world.  That’s the good part.

The drawback?  Thinking about myself is starting to make me feel actually sick.  Self-promotion is the name of my business, yes…all of my businesses actually.  But I feel like all the searching through photos and videos, posts, and inner reflections about yours truly is like an addiction.  Ego stroking has become being Ego’s bitch.  And my Id is seriously pissed off (sorry for the swearing mom, please keep reading my blog!).  And even the parts of my businesses that I’ve tried to really focus around helping others or leaving a good mark in the world feel self-serving.  Even chanting doesn’t help. Or doing good works.

Is this just a part of my chosen professions?  Is part of being a successful artist/creator/inventor/writer having to be uncomfortably self-promoting everyday?  It may be true…at least until you can afford to pay someone to do it all for you.  And I’m aware that the discomfort may be some part of my unconsciousness trying to get me to give up or back off on my daily forward progress goals, so I’m not gonna just quit.  But I’d truly appreciate any advice back from all of you more successful bloggers and self-promoters about how to deal with this part of the whole social networking industry.

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