9.10.2014

soul blossoms and such.



hey guys.
so this is me, right now--sitting in a coffee shop loving life. sure it's not easy right now--i have zero direction as far as where i'm going (no job ideas/offers, i could move to any city, work for just about anyone, and i'm certainly not dating anyone which always brings with a sense of anxiety for some ridiculous reason), and sometimes that's really overwhelming.

but today, instead of being overwhelmed, my soul is shining right out of my eyeballs (see picture). why?? because marcel proust said: 
“let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” that's why.
so let me count the ways in which i have soul blossoms--soul peonies, gerbera daisies, daffodils, and soul sunflowers....
1. amazing parents who support me, cry with me, send me snail mail cards with surprises, emails with endless love notes, encouragement, they pray for me and fast for me, and they make me feel like i can do anything i want.
2. old friends. a friend who brought me my favorite cupcake when she picked me up from the airport. talking with old friends on swings about life and things that are hard and put your mind in SPANX that you want to break out of...and things that are enlightening and invigorating. you know who you are.
3. new friends. new friends who have been to India and want to eat Indian food, and new friends who are interested in the same things and energize me to continue to pursue my dreams because she is pursuing her dreams!
4. and the guy at the coffee shop that sings so loudly and off-key to CCR and pink floyd. and does adorable dance moves while he's sweeping to some indie band i've never heard of. and brought me over a free drink because i've been here for hours and i told him i couldn't afford anything.
turns out, that my gratitude has been enlightening, soul-filling, and more than anything has brought me hope. melody beattie, you nailed it, whoever you are:
"gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."


3.20.2014

BECAUSE WE'RE HAPPYYYYY: on making tough decisions.

this post comes from two spaces in my brain, venn diagraming like crazy.

space #1: 

today is the UN's national day of happiness!! click on that link, and go through each of the homemade "happy" videos. i laughed/smiled for an entire hour straight. plus, minions and pharrell are taking over my news feed and i'm not mad at that.


space #2:

i've come across another transitional period in my life where big decisions are being made. i'm talking rest-of-my-life decisions. those huge almost-paralyzing ones where you fear one step in the wrong direction will catapult you into the depths of unhappiness for the next 65 years. okay, not that bad, but we've all been there. and no, i'm not getting married.

so, as i've been searching desperately for answers in just about any place i can find, i was reminded kindly and gently about the love and power of our creator. turns out, everyone is so concerned about making "the right decision." we've been trained and cultivated to look for heart burn and enlightenment (vs 8, 9) and that's often confusing. we sit and wait for those two magical feelings to take over our consciousness. sure, that is how it works sometimes, and there are the privileged few who experience that every single time.

but here's my problem. i'm proactive, and believe in creating perpetual forward movement in my life. elder scott (in the best talk ever on this subject) taught us that we need to make educated decisions, and that if they're wrong as we progress forward, we will know. doors of opportunity will be slammed shut in our face, and we can go back to the drawing board.

here's where the venn diagram comes in. the beautiful space where happiness, true joy, and making decisions coincide to create giant glittery glowing spider strings that lead us to the direction our souls call us--and ultimately in the direction God wants us to go, where we could make the biggest contribution.

i believe we have a creator who loves us dearly and wants nothing more than for us to be happy in this life. thus, these set of scriptures have become my guidance and direction when making decisions: 
 12 And now, verily, verily, I say unto thee, put your trust in that Spirit which leadeth to do good—yea, to do justly, to walk humbly, to judge righteously; and this is my Spirit. 
 13 Verily, verily, I say unto you, I will impart unto you of my Spirit, which shall enlighten your mind, which shall fill your soul with joy; 
 14 And then shall ye know, or by this shall you know, all things whatsoever you desire of me, which are pertaining unto things of righteousness, in faith believing in me that you shall receive.
i believe that for the most part--whatever it is we are seeking an answer for (majors, future spouses, careers, kids, where to live, which Target sandals to buy, etc.)--that if it fills our soul with joy, if it makes our wheels turn, if it keeps us thinking, excited, if it's something that makes you want to do good and be good, and we totally believe that we will receive an answer, then this is our answer! i mean, ultimately, doesn't it fit the previous criteria of the heart and the mind working together at the same time??

so, what's the take away? find those things that make you happy and enlighten you. be a chaser of light, and soon enough you'll find your answers and what you've been looking for. meanwhile, i'll be taking my own advice and let you know how it goes.

here we go!


ps on a totally unrelated note, i started a 
super silly tumblr with some doodles. check it out.

1.17.2014

this is the day i write my manifesto.



this is the day i write my manifesto. the day that i promise myself to become more okay with departures, and welcoming of new souls into my life. this is the day that i will start becoming good at love--that i remember love is something i need to practice and nurture. to remember that i can't dull the pain, and expect to feel the freedom that love brings. because i know when i mute one feeling, i silence them all.

i will become more willing to embrace situations with no guarantees. to remember that i am grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means that i am alive! to be determined to do something that makes my palms sweaty, makes my voice shake, makes it hard to breathe, and makes my chest tighten--every day. to become comfortable with things that scare me. i want to embrace adventure, to seek the ever-changing horizon, but never to become reckless.

i want to rewrite my narrative, and not allow false messages to dictate my worth. i want courage to lace my feet, that they take me down correct paths more and more frequently, and more intuitively.


i want to allow my eyes to twinkle at new discoveries,
and not be too proud for amazement.

i want each body part to know and understand its unique worth, and it's integral part in making the rest of my body work; my eyes to know that even though they don't look or function like a nose, it doesn't make them bad, but different and irreplaceable. 

i want to love all of these things in myself, so i can more fully love them in others.

i don't want to hide from settling into pain--it is a natural part of life. instead, i will give pain permission to be a sign, reminding me that with pain comes beauty.

last of all, knowing that sometimes i will fall short, but remembering i am an individual capable of more than i've ever imagined. to do this all with grace and humility. to allow myself to laugh so hard and so often, that someday my face will be a testament to the beauty of life through my skin, wrinkled with memories of growth, heartache, and joy. this is my symphony.

1.15.2014

on the moment you forget you're boiling an egg, and it pops.



i've been having a crisis as of late. not quarter-life. i already passed that one, with vagaries of life leading me to my current situation in arizona. now i'm having (was having) just an i'm-not-sure-who-i-am-anymore crisis. and let me tell you this: when you look for truth (read: pray for truth), be ready for the answers to accost you from all sides, no matter how contumaciously you fight to be independent, and individual. turns out you can still be independent and individual, and ask for help.

i was finding myself wondering who i was. it seems quite silly to talk about it in past tense, when this past tense was really recent--like two weeks ago. ANYWAY, why was i going down a path that had suddenly taken it's own life? why wasn't i doing the things that i loved to do anymore? i realized i hadn't: danced, played field hockey, learned a new non-church piano piece, read a fun book, painted or drawn, or really created anything in years! at one point in time, all of these things had once been part of my identity.(does anybody watch new girl? you know a few episodes ago when Winston's like...every decision in my life was made for me! they gave me a basketball when i was born! well, i was kind of feeling like that all of a sudden).

suddenly, serious anxiety took over my consciousness, and earnest prayer was the only way i knew how to find answers when the following series of events changed my life forever:

.5 this only gets a half bullet point because it doesn't really count, but was sort of the moment my wheels started turning. so, i watched the notebook and bawled my face off. i mean, i had liquids running from all over my face. but you know she discovers that she doesn't paint anymore, and then decides to go with noah? well it got me thinking about the list i created above. i didn't do the things that i loved anymore, the things that got my heart pumping! i mean, don't get me wrong, i love going to school and learning, but it's just not the same. okay, read on.

1. i read this discourse on resolutions and regrets for a discussion group. it reminded me that we are majestic, that we have godly heritage, and that we "arrive in this world...'trailing clouds of glory' from the premortal sphere." digest that for a second. the talk also reminded me that "we are capable of so much more. for that, good intentions are not enough. we must do."

1.5 i stumbled across the picture above. another small seemingly insignificant event.

2. i then attended an inspired conference for thousands of individuals. in the opening remarks, sheri dew (a woman i esteem and admire), was very raw and honest with us. her plenary guided us through some key events in her life where she was either lost, put in a difficult and stressful situation, or is still experiencing painful things outside of her control. and yet, with power and wisdom, she told us this: "when you know who you are, it changes you. figure out who you are, and it'll change your behavior. it'll change what you do, what you wear, who you date, who you're friends with, the way you treat your family, and the way you treat yourself."

3. the next day in the same conference, i had the opportunity to listen to stephanie nielson. heartbreak oozed out of her quivering voice as she told us a first-hand account of a tragic and painful plane crash she experienced. most shockingly to me, however, were the feelings of despair and depression she shared with us. her most intimate feelings when waking up from a 3.5 month coma after burning 85% of her body, were those of wanting to once again fulfill the measure of her role as a mother and wife. she longed to put baby carrots in her children's school lunches. she missed the fact that her dog would dig through the trash and eat up dirty diapers--and subsequently she would have to bend over, and clean it all up. she missed being able to care for her husband, and the dexterity and usefulness of her extremities. she told us that everything that was once her identity was completely stripped from her, even her physical appearance. it took her months to have the desire to live again. it took until she finally felt she knew who she was again--a mother, a wife, and a beautiful daughter of God.

4. alex boye (link to his hilarious music video), the biggest ball of energy you will ever get the privilege of knowing, also gave a stirring break-out session in which at the very end he exclaimed, "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHO YOU ARE?!" i thought to myself, what do i really know about myself? the rest of the day was quite a blur as i continued to write in a stream of consciousness the things that i knew to be true about brook dorff. it's a great exercise in gratitude, self-awareness, and potential!

5. i learned about the principle of belongingness (i've linked the oh-so-scientific source of wikipedia, but it's basic and will get the gist across. if you want to know more, ask me. i'll send you oodles of long, intense, and incredibly interesting articles). but the boiled down version is this: humans need to belong, and they need to know they are part of something greater. this creates motivation--motivation to be better, to not let others and ourselves down, and overall true joy and happiness.

and that was the moment for me. you know when you forget about your eggs boiling on the stove? it's been about an hour and you've been a multi-tasking fiend when all of a sudden you hear a giant inexplicable explosion and you take cover because you think someone is shooting at you? and almost at the same instant you duck, the lightbulb goes off: it's the egg you started to boil about an hour ago...


(from here)

by the time i read about belongingness, discouragement and unproductive emotions that lead to confusion and anxiety had basically all boiled away. i popped (like the boiling egg), and realized the giant thread in this all. that life's vicissitudes will not necessarily disappear entirely, but become much less daunting when we know: where we came from, that we belong, have individual purpose, and a unique set of gifts.

so there you have it. the longest blog post you'll read in a long time.

game on, life.

xoxo, with purpose,
brookie


11.18.2013

unblock me.



you know those block games? the ones where you have to get the little red thing out the other side by moving all the other ones? it's so frustrating sometimes! you think all you have to do is swoosh, swipey, swoosh and you're there. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO... is keep pushing the little red guy forward as more space becomes available. wham, bam. but instead, you have to move the little red block backwards first in order to get it out the other side. moving backwards clears up the path. it's totally counterintuitive, and you think you're doing it wrong, and then all of a sudden the path opens up, and you feel like you've won the lottery!

well, sometimes i feel life is similar. i can often see the path, the end goal. there are other times i can't really see the end goal, but i know what i want and what makes me the happiest. i know what gives me spring to my baby steps. and maybe it's not getting out of a mess or juggling act (like it is in unblock me), but just moving forward period. i mean, word on the street is that you're either moving forwards or you're moving backwards. no in between.

but here's my question: how do you know the difference between forward and backwards? sometimes i think that i allow myself to prescribe to false messages of progression. it appears you're moving backwards (much like the blocks), but really you have to go through particular experiences and what appear to be "set-backs" in order to get to your end goal.

there are just things in every phase of life that are difficult. i've gone from having so many people i knew i could rely on, people ready and willing to hug me, to going weeks without doing anything with anyone (when i first moved to az). i've had friends that have moved back in with parents, packed their bags and called unfamiliar cities their new homes, lost or left jobs, had the courage to start or leave relationships, and so many more things! often the sentiment is that they're (we're) moving backwards, starting over, or that they feel like they're regressing. but really, i've come to realize that the step back is really just a step forward. it seems you're going back for a second (or month or year), but really in the end it was something to be felt, understood, and experienced to finally get us through to the other side of the path.

so here's the take away. don't be so hard on yourself. sometimes your idea of moving backwards just needs a little perspective, a step back to see the entire puzzle. and remember: some of us have to move and wiggle a little more to get out on the other side, but in the end, we always get there.