owl you are

the Truth about Full Circle Venice

tuesday tales, lifestyle, photography, discussionLindsey1 Comment

I've been spending a lot of time around Full Circle, and the truth is, it's not really a cult at all. I was fired from church at 14 years old and have rejected organized religion ever since, so I was a bit wary too- especially after reading that Vice article. (It's a long story.) However, what I've seen at Full Circle is a space for like-minded individuals to come together and explore their spirituality. There is no dogma, there are no rules, and no one leader that dictates- it's truly an open space for community collaboration. After 13 years of refusing to step foot inside a church aside from baptisms and funerals, it feels good to have found a space and a congregation where I feel free and welcomed.

My first experience with Full Circle was actually one night I was on a date with that hairdresser. (Remember him? Catch up here.) We heard music coming from the temple and walked in to check it out. Turns out Mr. Hairdresser cuts Andrew's hair, so we were quickly introduced that evening. Fast forward several months later, a few weeks after that Vice article went viral- I ran into Andrew Keegan again outside a restaurant in Santa Monica. Before I knew what was happening I was saying hello like we were buddies, and he came up to me and gave me a huge hug. Then he looked at me confused, and asked how we knew each other. I explained we didn't and introduced myself. I brought up the Vice article, and expressed that I wanted to do a piece giving a less biased write up about what was happening on my blog. He was super sweet and receptive and we went inside and chatted more about it. Andrew Keegan was not my childhood crush (I was more into Heath Ledger), but our meeting still felt serendipitous.

For several months after that meeting, we played a lot of text tag about meeting up about that article I never write (or perhaps I'm writing it now?) and started running into each other at events on a pretty regular basis. I started attending yoga classes and  some weekend events at the temple, but I was still wary about attending any kind of 'service'. On Valentine's Day, I attended Munifisense, (an event Andrew helped to co-create) with my beautiful yogi friend, Jewels. She was working with Andrew, but had recently decided to make the move to Thailand for a year of soul searching and exploration, so she took me under her wing to help with the transition.

I started working with Jewels and Andrew, which meant I was spending more and more time at the temple. What I saw was a team of dedicated, humble, and self-aware individuals working tirelessly to create a safe and vibrant space for the Venice community. Andrew was always present, working alongside his team, and acting as a motivator not a dictator. The more I witnessed behind the scenes, the more I felt compelled to check out the Activ888 Sunday service. Soon after Jewels started training me, she let Andrew know that I was also a photographer. He contacted me soon after about shooting at their Easter service where ABC would be filming a segment for Nightline. (Did you see it? Catch up here.) I happily obliged and attended my first Easter Sunday service in 13 years last month. 

What I experienced was pretty magical. The service was well attended and we kicked things off by going around the circle introducing ourselves and sharing what we were there to Activ888. I expressed that I was there to activate joy, as being part of a bigger community when I'm living so far away from my family, makes me feel full and joyous. After everyone took turns sharing, we directed our attention to the panel of speakers. The panel was diverse in their interests and talking points, but the one thing they had in common was a commitment to enhancing our communities and surrounding by working together to spread art, music, and love. Not only were the panelists diverse, but so was the audience; plenty of attendees were peers, but also families, children, and elder members of the community were in attendance.

Since attending the service on Easter Sunday, I've been making it a weekly ritual. I feel blessed to be welcomed into such a loving, respectful, and open-minded community and know that support is imperative in spiritual journey. So for all my friends who have expressed or felt concern for my involvement with Andrew Keegan's cult, don't worry- I'm ok. And if you're local, come join me at Full Circle this Sunday!

Xo, 

Lindsey

recipe for Ginger Kelp Noodles

wednesday wellness, recipe, lifestyle, foodLindseyComment

So I'm on a bit of a cleanse. No dairy, sugar, gluten, soy, or meat for me for a few weeks. Of course, one day in and I found myself craving noodles, so kelp noodles it was. I made this recipe up on a whim with whatever fresh veggies I had on hand and I was very happy with the results. These kelp noodles are only 12 calories per serving, but you'd never know it! Seriously, give this a try. 

Ingredients:

1 package of kelp noodles

1 cup of brussels (halved)

1/2 cup cabbage

1 tbsp of minced ginger

2 tbsp coconut oil

1 splash red wine vinegar

2 tbsp coconut aminos (may sub soy sauce)

1 tbsp cilantro chopped

1 lime squeezed

Salt, pepper & cumin to taste

1 tbsp of tahini for topping

Directions:

Start by soaking the kelp noodles in cold water for 10 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Heat up a large pan on the stove and add coconut oil and ginger and saute for a couple minutes on medium heat. 

Then add brussels and cabbage and saute for a couple more minutes. 

Add kelp noodles and remaining ingredients and toss on the stove until all ingredients are combined. 

Top with a drizzle of tahini, salt and lime.

Enjoy!

Have you ever tried kelp noodles? Will you give this recipe a try? Link to comment up top by the title!

Xo, 

Lindsey

from Food Stamps to Self-Employed

tuesday talesLindsey1 Comment

Finding the time to blog these days has been next to impossible, which is actually a good thing. It means I'm busy. This past two weeks is the longest break I've taken from this blog since it went live over a year ago. At first not posting made me anxious, then sad, and now I've just accepted that I'm going to post when I can and feel that that's enough. 

Most of you who have been following along know that I left my job back in August, over 9 months ago now. Well, technically I was fired, but I was ready to go. Looking back at all that's happened since, it feels like a different lifetime. At first, I was energized by the prospect of working for myself again; I've always had that entrepreneurial spirit. After college, I refused to apply for jobs at the height of the economic collapse, and instead started my own business at 21 years old. To say I gained a lot of experience and broadened my skill set is an understatement, but ultimately, my inexperience led to some missteps early on that negatively affected the profitability and longevity of the company. About a month after leaving my job and struggling to find clients, I remembered these hardships and fear started to overwhelm and impede my process.

I was in northern California visiting friends while waiting to hear about a possible job opportunity with the LA Conservation Corps when my dad called me and gave me a lecture on how I shouldn't be vacationing while unemployed. I let his words spin around in my head and drove back to LA the next day, forgoing my plans to spend the weekend catching up with old friends. I started tackling the to do list I'd been avoiding and made my way over to the unemployment office to figure out my medical situation. It was a humbling experience to say the least. I witnessed what living in poverty looks like and felt it too- it's challenging, confusing, and depressing. I spent over 3 hours talking to at least 6 different case workers, shuffling back and forth between four different offices on two different floors to get it all sorted. When I finally finished up and walked out with a small sense of dignity, I realized my car had been towed. So I ended up with $200 in food stamps and $600 in fees to get my car out of the impound lot. Thanks, government.

Unsure I'd be able to pay my rent after the unexpected expense, I felt like I'd proven my dad right and hit rock bottom. As fear and worry took hold, my courage dimmed and I started applying for jobs. I locked myself in my apartment in attempt to save money, buckle down, and find something dependable but I grew utterly miserable and started questioning my talent. Posting on my blog was the only thing leaving me with any sense of fulfillment. I didn't want a job and I couldn't shake that feeling. I wanted to make my own way, instead of seeking something I knew would never serve me. My last job was just as good as any, I just never felt satisfied or fulfilled following anyone's guidelines but my own and felt if I found another one I'd ultimately end up in the same place. After about 6 weeks in isolation, looking for something I didn't want to find, I became depressed and defeated and I knew something needed to change. 

Instead of sitting in my apartment 'working', I decided to go enjoy the day and help a friend paint his new abode. When we were out to the lunch my friend got an email from a client who needed a last minute event photographer for a Halloween party. My friend passed along my contact information and I got my first paid photo gig since leaving my job. Suddenly I realized that getting out and interacting with my surroundings and building relationships was going to convert to work a lot more effectively than generic emails, cold calls, and uploading resumes to career boards. After this job and some birthday money on top of what I was collecting for unemployment, somehow I had enough money to pay my rent through December.

I decided to change my approach and stop applying for jobs for the rest of the year. I figured they'd probably go to the candidates that actually wanted them and I needed to go after what I wanted. I started listening to my inner guidance, tuning out the concerns and advice that was being thrown at me from others, and trusting that everything would work out according to plan. Hope, faith, and trust aren't easy to conjure without consistent practice and things did not immediately go my way. I quickly realized I needed to figure out where I wanted to go if I was going to get there. Everyone was telling me to focus on one thing: photography, design, cooking, blogging, painting... I scoffed at that notion, but did want to figure out how all these creative outlet would coalesce, so I started going after projects that made me happy- whether or not they made me money. I was commissioned to do a painting for a friend, started refinishing furniture (that I still haven't sold), continued shooting events (some paid and some unpaid), and slowly I began to recognize my strengths and what was making me happy.

I went home for Christmas, and although I was a lot clearer on what I wanted to be doing, I wasn't there yet and my family was worried. I was 27 years old with no real plan or dependable income. I was embarrassed about my predicament, but rather than compromise my desires and start looking for a 'real job' again, I resisted. I came back to LA and that's when I hit rock bottom. I crashed my car for the third time in 8 months. I had $200 in my bank account, all my credit cards were maxed out and I didn't have a single project lined up. Then something pretty magic happened- I didn't freak out. I didn't get upset, I didn't have the energy for that. I went home wrapped in a cloud of serenity and started working. I stumbled upon a Facebook ad for a family looking for someone to help with meal prep and sent them a message. I answered some emails I'd been avoiding, got my blog posts ready for the week and went to bed without a sip of alcohol for console.

The next morning I woke up and drove the the beach and fell into a state of ultimate surrender. I had an epiphany while driving to yoga, windows down with the wind making my hair wild and the sun shining on my face, I thought, 'If I had nothing, I would still have everything.' And I really truly felt it. In that moment of total surrender I felt more connected and alive than ever, and it was like suddenly the flood gates opened up. Over the course of the next few weeks, work started pouring in. I got the job doing meal prep for a family in Santa Monica, landed several new graphic clients for logo and illustration work, did some story boards for People Magazine, started asked to shoot events regularly, and started working with Andrew Keegan at Full Circle Venice helping him with photography and vacation rental properties. Now I'm in a position where I have consistent work flow and have even had to turn down projects. I'm also developing some new business ideas for family meal prep and personalized skincare with a focus on Ayurvedic principles and using food as medicine. I taught my first class on oil cleansing at Whole Foods in Pasadena last week and am starting a monthly residence teaching DIY skincare classes at Whole Foods in Venice starting this June.

So, things are going well now and lots of exciting opportunities on the horizon. I'm confident and grateful, and busy. It's still a hustle, a lot of hard work and uncertainty, but with risk comes a lot of reward. Sometimes I go out for brunch on Mondays, or for a walk on the beach on a Tuesday, and in those moments I am filled with so much joy it powers me through the 15 hour days, endless emails, bookkeeping troubles, and those fleeting moments of doubt. So to leave you with some advice on stepping out of your comfort zone and finding your own way, let go of fear, listen to your intuition, and trust it will lead you exactly where you need to go.

So that's why I've been quiet, but thanks for still following along with me- it means the world. 

Xo, 

Lindsey