Giggles for Gratitude- A Visualization Technique that Gets You Grounded

I have no clue how, when, or whereabouts this started.

Actually, it’s rude to begin a blog post with a lie. I’m pretty definitely, positively sure this started on my daily commute to a job I used to work… and HATED.

Oh, I tried to like it. I tried to sit myself behind that grungy cubicle every day, 9-5pm, and convince myself that a light shone from within me, shielding me from the negative comments, complaints, and bitterness around me. I tried to convince myself that this Eeyore-the-donkey-vibed environment was making me stronger, building my character.

But no, let’s be honest: it was sucking me dry. As much as I prayed, sang, and upped my frequency in the car- as soon as I sat in that cubicle, for even an hour, I would be back to my original sadness and desperation.

And so, I developed a morning “Tune-up” routine to prepare myself for war– er, I mean work.

Every morning, I envisioned those around me, family, and friends snorting and laughing. Seeing their joy in my mind gave me strength, at least for an hour- but it was enough. It was a start. It was also enough for me to realize that the environment I was in was toxic, destructive, and did not fit my goals in life. Daily, during this practice, I was able to get a gleam of happiness- and knew it existed. I also knew that gleam died quickly in the job I was working. So when I got laid off, I saw it as an opportunity… and I knew it was the universe KNOWING I hated it there, but also knowing that I would never give up. I’m a good little worker-bee, after all, and I don’t back down. (Thanks Universe, for having my back!)

imagining the joy my family has gives me strength.

 

So here! Have another tool for your happiness toolbelt! If it doesn’t work for you, but some other tool does- please share!! I’d love to hear more.

If It’s Not Broke (and it never is)- it’s Abundant!

Keep holding on! Life is full of many twists and turns

Recently, I’ve gotten away from diving in and writing a blog post. I got sucked into my old habits of overthinking and analyzing my choice of words, so much so that my initial, beautiful message came across inauthentic– at least to me. I’m breaking down that barrier, and here’s what inspired me!

There has been wonderful news on the job front. Last I spoke, I believe I had been laid off (boo- hiss!) and due to complications running my own business, I was not eligible for unemployment benefits. Depression annoyingly booped me on the head as I realized I was now unemployed and BROKE.

And see that’s the thing. I felt broke…broken.

It took some digging out of that hole over the next few months to reconnect with my spirit and realize, “Girlllll, you ain’t broke!”

I was actually pretty abundant. All that time I spent wallowing in my little hole of despair, I could have spent recognizing this free space as just that… free. I was in the land of the free! When the fear of losing everything and not being able to pay bills clouded my judgement, I became insufferable, especially to myself. The stress was so much that my boyfriend and I took a break to recalibrate.

Financially, it appeared I was in ruin. Spiritually I was drained. I lost sight of myself, what brought me joy, and my old peppy nature vanished into… well, I have no idea where it went…

But what once was lost, was soon found.

Having been through trials and tribulations before, I took this as a hint from the universe to figure out my shizz.

(Recalibrate!! Recalibrate!!)

What did I want in life? What did I actually, truly, reeeeeeally need?

Being “broke” taught me the lost art of simplification. I didn’t need to only eat organic food from the most expensive store. I didn’t need to stop for breakfast every morning before work.

What I needed was my family, friends and a reason to get up in the morning- and my reason was: I needed to serve others.

And so began the job hunt! Tirelessly, I sent endless cover-letters and resumes out to the internet. I reconnected with a past retail job I had loved, so I could be surrounded by beautiful friends and beautiful clothing/jewelry I actually enjoyed selling. It isn’t a ton of money- but it’s more than nothing, and working customer service keeps me sharp.

I also reconnected with my high performance coach, who always believed in my capabilities, and became her executive assistant as she helped me on my own path.

Along with the lost art of simplification, I remembered the lost art of appreciation. And with it came new opportunities.

“Them that’s got shall get…”

I was getting. And it wasn’t my overflowing bank account (hah.) that was proof, it was my new perspective, light and happy, that now allowed new opportunities for further abundance to pop up.

Once Upon a slip of paper…

While working my last job, stuck behind a sad cubicle, migraines on the daily, I decided to try the whole “manifestation” concept again. It had worked before. I set a goal, asked the universe, oh so politely for my desires, and diligently continued on with my life as if I hadn’t done so. Then POOF, it appeared. So I gave it another shot. I wrote on a piece of paper what my dream job would look like:

  • surrounded by supportive employees and bosses
  • trusted to go out and about to meet clients
  • not stuck behind a desk the whole day
  • better lighting- more light!
  • doing what I love to do and getting paid to do it
  • valued.

Hah.

So many hahs. Why? Because POOF it appeared.

Once upon a Gallery Night…

While walking from one gallery to another, in celebration of Erie’s community-wide Gallery Night, I happened across a local marketing business I had heard about before, but never looked into. As my gaze turned toward their front window, a little internal “Ding!” noise went off in my head, as if someone was letting me know “take note!”

The next day– and I do mean the very next day– a new job listing was posted for this same marketing company. (Ding, ding, ding!!) I applied immediately. And instead of spending hours overanalyzing my cover-letter and berating myself for it’s minuscule imperfections- I said SCREW IT and sent it as fast as I could; perfection had left the building.

And now I work there.

The job I got hired into surpasses my expectations every day. Initially hired to do graphic design, I am now also recognized as a valuable copy writer, photographer, and videographer. Hot damn- I seem to be doing everything I love? And getting paid for it? Um, whaaaatt? And the people I work for are encouraging, supportive, and trust me to get work done. And don’t get me started on the amount of natural light pouring into the office. It takes little to no effort to get out of bed and off to work, and so I am feel very grateful.

In the end, it took recognizing I was already abundant to allow abundance back into my life. Seems so simple, but it can be easy to forget. I created daily Tune-Up routine to help connect myself back with that “rich” mentality. Next week I share part of this tune-up routine in a video so you can learn to bring in more abundance yourself. Stay tuned for a new Sunday Session with Sooz on, you guessed it, Sunday!

Thump Away ‘Dem Feelin’s!

Here is the first ever Sunday Sessions with Sooz!!

I recently got back into the swing of things on YouTube. In the past, I used to upload vlogs and offer helpful tips I used in recovery to overcome debilitating anxiety, depression and eating disorders. There were over 200 videos up at one point. The insights I made drew attention and I was even contacted by OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) to be involved in a documentary at one point. The project fell through, but man it felt good to be recognized!!! Oprah? Oprah… calling me???

Ok, well, Oprah wasn’t, personally,  but that experience made me realize that people were seeing my stuff. A large part of me made the videos and posted them to track my progress and revisit tips I would need in the future. And I found that helping others helps me feel better.

However, in 2013 I realized that I wasn’t taking the time to really focus on feeling better, off camera. I wanted to have a professional career and worried that my past would come back to haunt me. Ashamed, embarrassed and feeling very vulnerable, I removed the majority of the videos that had helped so many men and women. For the next few years I allowed myself space to breath and re-center. I’m glad I did! Now I’m back with even more insight, and know which tips work best.

And man, I didn’t realize just how MUCH of my life was documented! I’m able to pull from the past, when I was at my worst, and share tips and tricks that helped me get from there to here! I’m forever grateful to myself for recording so much. I know at the time, I just felt compelled to write everything down, to video-tape my every move (even if it was cringeworthy.) and to turn my emotions into art.

Every Sunday I will be uploading a new Sunday Session with Sooz, which will cover a different topic surrounding depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Topics may be dark (suicide, self harm) and I am sensitive to those in different stages of their recovery process.

If there is a topic you would like to see covered or you have a question, be sure to comment on the video or send me a private message. Help me help you!

A Song for My Winged Friends

So, I think I may be starting a band? Or… maybe I already have?

I’ve started recording music and songs I write and calling myself A Serious Artist, to poke fun at the idea…

However, I’m really liking the idea!!

Last night a song came to me and I recorded it. It’s possibly still in the demo phase, but I was itching to share it and hear feedback, so I uploaded it and am sharing it now!!

 

Lyrics (work in progress):

dragonfly, where ya goin’
is it some place far away?

i can see you are sad
by the light of the day

don’t be sad just spread your wings and fly
isn’t that what wings are for?

dragonfly don’t be scared there is nothing to fear
i believe in your capabilities, is that all you need to hear?

look up high and rise past those fears
you won’t die, you will overcome

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
butterfly you are so pretty but what’s going on inside?
I can tell you’re unsure and you feel like ya gotta hide

But you can’t cuz your always on view
that’s ok, cuz there’s something great, that’s in store for you

Let them laugh, they don’t know you, they’re just a waste of your time
Let them point, they just judge you cuz they know you’re one of a kind

it’s got nothin’ to do with you
fly above and carryyyyyyy on throughhhhhhhh

(chorus)
take a breath prepare for lift off
the wind is there to help you overcome
just trust in yourself and you will be rewarded
and soon one day you will reach your home
buzzin’ bee what’s the rush? where do you have to be? (hah, get it?)
i just heard that you’re the one to beat, and it’s pretty clear to see

don’t you wish you could let go of the anxiety
you don’t have to constantly move around

do you fear the calm and what your mind may think and say to you
are you afraid you’ll fall behind and that there’s someone better than you?

slow it down, smell the roses and have some fun
if you don’t you may miss a ton

I Saw Myself in a Mirror Today and Judged

I saw my past in another person today. At first I blamed them, judged them… but then I paused. I allowed myself to feel their struggle: unapologetically, unbiased. And in doing so, I saw myself in a new light. I realized I was not blaming them, judging them- I was judging me. Although I lived like I had forgiven my past and the burden I felt I had been- I had not. Not entirely, at least. I tried, as I must every time the chance arises, to forgive myself. I had hurt others by hurting myself- and in the past, instead of showing myself love and compassion- I further beat a beaten man. Own worst enemy? You betcha. That was me.

5But it isn’t anymore.
When I feel myself judging someone and their hurt, their guilt, their shame- I am further beating that beaten man- Still. To this day.

We all judge at some point in time. And during those times, we must follow-up with forgiveness, to promote stability and growth in our own lives. Acknowledging the past and respecting the struggle helps build the belief we have in our own capabilities and perseverance. And since we all struggle, and mirrors of ourselves are all around, we have so many opportunities to build and grow. Forgive ourselves. Love ourselves. Respect ourselves. Cuz’ we dope ASFUQ, and we are all deserving of love and compassion.

If you are struggling and feeling like no one can understand your hurt,
and agonizing even more because you wish they did,
but beating yourself up because you know you are preventing that growth…

You are not alone.
Feeling this way does not make you unlovable, deserving of more hurt, or mean you are incapable of overcoming this. It means you know you deserve more, want more- although you may not know what “more” is.

So why not start with self love? Be your own best friend, especially if you are scared to find one outside of yourself. Why not start there? And when you’re ready, I’m here for Bestie spot #2.

I don’t judge. And if I do? I’m not judging you.

It’s Always About the Process

Ya know, I record music in my spare time. I like to write my own songs, and make new arrangements of old favorites. This one here? That I’m sharing? One of the first ukulele songs I learned and still a favorite of mine. I tend to nerd it up, play ridiculously for my own entertainment, and this is me exposing that.

I know I had mentioned in a previous post (this one) that I grew up surrounded by music and musicians. Everyone in my fam-damly played at least 3+ instruments and sang. Boom. We’re magical like that. I tended toward voice, because my arms often feel like noodly-bits and my fingers spastic. But hey! Learning Ukulele on my own has been very rewarding. Am I mad-awesome? Not really, but I enjoy it, and as you can see in the video it brings me great joy and makes me feel like a kid again. So, I share this to let you guys see it’s OK to not be the best, and OK to be OK not being the best.

Who’s imperfect? WE ARE!

When I posted my first uber-self-conscious-ukulele video (note: here), I was hella’ nervous. Comparing this new video to that, I see the growth I’ve gone through- both in my ukulele playing ability and my confidence level. It’s cool to be able to look back on who you were and how far you’ve come.

Frozen Fishy Memories

So this one day I went out to my car near my apartment building and saw this. And so, upon seeing this, I captured this.

So here’s this.

If I were give this photo series a message, it would be

“Don’t put your dreams on Ice.”

or

“CAPTURE the moment– even if it’s absurd!”

Let Loose, Get Kickin’ !

Swish

I always think of that one scene in Garden State, where Natalie Portman’s character says:

You know, back in High School I was a clown. I was in theatre, I was big (in spirit) and loud! I laughed, I danced, and I made weird noises… a lot like Natalie Portman in this scene. These days, I recognize how timid I am in comparison.

With fears centered around “don’t get fired”, “Make that money!” “be grateful, or else suffer!” It’s hard to live a life free, loose. It’s easy to fall into thinking about pleasing others first, because you have internalized society’s fears. It’s hard not to! We’re surrounded by it!

I miss those good old days though. Cliche’? I remind myself often that it’s a state of mind though. I am still technically that loud, slightly obnoxious teen who loved and lived life with open arms. Admittedly, I conked out in College. Depression and Anxiety set in, I missed my family and friends from high school dearly, and my sadness swept away my vibrato. I was lost for a few years, 8 to be exact. Then, I found the light again after years of therapy and realizing the light was always there, it had just gotten overshadowed for a bit.

I learned a lot from those dark years, and it deepened my understanding of the human condition for sure. My “empathy bone” (as I like to call it) grew, and I slowly learned the lost art of compassion. The biggest way to be compassionate is to first start with yourself. And every moment that I find myself thinking ‘I miss that lively girl I used to be” is every moment I could be living as the beautiful, matured, compassionate person I’ve grown into being. Yeah, Teen-me was a LOT of fun, and hilarious! And I still embody those traits, though they may be more subtle. I don’t need to beat myself up for NOT being the young, somewhat blissfully ignorant me. I can embrace this new chick; she’s pretty dope too.

And Ah, the memories! I have so many great memories to be proud of and so many more to create. Feeling sad missing the past robs me of the beautiful moments now, that will be just as memorable in 5 years.

Do not lament me, for I am still kickin’.

Marvel the Unknown

When I was 15,

52I snuck out of the house with my older sister one night to enjoy a full moon.

I believe it was Summer, and I had never done that before.

We were both good girls, obeyed our parents, didn’t do drugs, drink, and other shenangins. I didn’t even swear! But one night, my older sister came up with a fun idea for us, and I couldn’t say no. It seemed like innocent fun. We lived in a good neighborhood, surrounded by farms. We often left the door unlocked. The skies there were amazing, though I didn’t know to appreciate the view as much as I do now.

Now, I live in a city where the night sky is polluted by street lights and commercial signs. You can squint to try and make out a dot or two, but you rarely see the cascading array of individual stars that make up the milkyway like you can in the country.

God, I miss the country.

I appreciate the manmade lights for what they are, for who created them, but it’s all known. I know a person made lightbulbs. I know a person designed the shape of the sign. I might even know the cousin of whoever put the darned thing up!

But as much as I try, as much as I assume, preach, I don’t KNOW how the stars, the sky, the balls of gas, the infitinte galaxies out there popped into existence.

Aliens? God? Yamaha – er wait, Yaweh? Allah? Gaia? The Force?

Call it many things, it is all the same thing: Unknown.

Usually I hate the unknown. HATE. IT.

HATE! UGH! It’s terrifying!

Usually…

But when I look at the night sky, I can’t hate it. I can only marvel.

This photo was taken with a sucky camera, on a night with very little light, but it doesn’t matter. It still captures that relationship, that moment of human marveling the unknown.