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How I keep from feeling overwhelmed – The Morning Pages

11 Apr

“Be willing to be a beginner.  Good things will happen.” – Julia Cameron

New Project 1

People often say to me, “You’re so laid back,  you’re so easy-going,” to which I nod my head and smile. But the truth is – I’m not.  Well let me rephrase that.  I am those things. But the real truth is, I have to work at it.  I have had days and weeks where I become overwhelmed with the things I have to do or think about, have trouble sleeping and become irritable and grumpy and I shut down. Projects I want to do, things I HAVE to do and all of the steps that go in hand with those projects can make me anxious.  The mind is a crazy thing that will just run rampant with anything you feed it!  I usually try to organize myself very well so I don’t get overwhelmed and that’s been a huge help.  But last year, I discovered a tool from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way to really work with anxious thoughts.  That tool is the Morning pages which I talk about in the video below.  The morning pages is a daily exercise that allows you to get all of those thoughts out of your head and into paper so they no longer bog down your brain and you are free to STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM.  I found for myself that doing this exercise daily (for weeks!) lent me relief and I actually had better days because of it.

How do you begin doing the morning pages yourself?  The steps are:

1 – Get a notebook or looseleaf paper.

2 – Write 3 pages every day, in long hand (print is fine).  3 pages = front of a page, back of the same page and front of one other page.

3 – Don’t think.  Just write.  Anything that comes to mind.  No really.  Anything.

This is not Shakespeare, this is not a writing sample for your job search, this isn’t even Dear Diary.  It’s a literal brain dump.  Complain.  Curse.  Be disgruntled and ugly and as mean as you want to be.  If you can’t think of anything write, “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write” until something comes to mind.  You may be surprised at what you want to gripe about!

This is a tool that I am so glad to have in my bag because when I use it, my day literally has more time in it and I feel clear-headed.  Watch the video to learn more about how it helped me learn how to deal with – well, myself!  Maybe it will be a help to you too.

Thanks for watching and talk to you soon!


“There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.” – Julia Cameron

New Project 2

Me laughing at while looking back at an illegible, manic-looking entry.


The Fear and Art of Falling

14 Jul

There are a lot more things I’m afraid of as an adult that I don’t remember being afraid of when I was little.  For example, as a 9 year old kid I remember paddling out far into the ocean, hopping on the boogie board with my friend Lindsay and riding the waves to shore with zero reservation.  Not so much now.  I asked Lindsay if she remembered this part of our friendship. “Yes but I wouldn’t do that now,” she said.  Why does that happen, I wondered.  Why exactly am I afraid of being taken down by a wave?  Why can’t I do handstands or backbends or all those awesome things I used to do when I was little?  What is holding me back?  These are in fact, easy questions for me to answer.  It’s my fear of falling, of getting hurt, of my head hitting the floor on whatever I’m being thrown into.  And of course, looking like an idiot.  In fact, lets go ahead and put “Looking like an Idiot” at the top of that list.  I use the excuse, “I don’t have health insurance,”  when I don’t want to do something I’m afraid of.  So far, it’s worked.

I often tell my yoga students to pretend they are that seven year old kid they once were who wasn’t afraid to hang upside down from the monkey bars by one foot, who wasn’t afraid to swing as high as they could on the swings and leap off.    Because some things we try in class are a little scary.  You need to remember the inhibition and fearlessness you had as a child sometimes to allow yourself to really go for it.  So here it is ladies and gentlemen.  First you have to try.  Then, you have to practice.

Because really, if we want to be good at all those amazing, flying asana’s, to learn how to stand on our hands, balance on our arms with our face hovering 5 inches off the hardwood floor we have to actually DO IT first and then we have to PRACTICE!  Right?  And lets face it, we’re going to fall so we might as well stop worrying about looking like an idiot and fall/face-plant anyway.  How far down do we actually travel anyway?  Not very.

And so, back in September 2010, 4 months after teacher training and not even knowing how to do a decent Bakasana, I went to my first Arm Balance/Inversion workshop at BluePoint Yoga.  And it was awesome of course.  All I needed to do was learn how to get into these crazy, pretzel-y forms by hearing a tad of instruction.  It’s really that simple.  And after you learn technique, practice.  And fall.  And fall again.  And fall and get a bruise.  And watch the back of your arms bruise up a bit too.  And maybe fall on your face once or twice.

Want to see how I started out?  Sam took these pictures a few hours after that very first workshop.

Remembering the technique.  Is this right?

I”m up, I’m up, I’m up….!


Hey that wasn’t so bad!  Let me try it again.

And if you keep practicing, you will amaze yourself.  This is guaranteed.  You will amaze yourself with your strength, with your grace and your perseverance to do something you really really REALLY want to learn how to do.  I still can’t do a handstand without using the wall but I practice all the time and I know I will hit it soon. And as I get closer to my goal I can’t help but think to myself, “This is so fucking fun.”

Oh and that fear I had of being swallowed by a wave?  Guess who learned how to body surf this month, thanks to one quick lesson from Sam, Cindy and Chris.  And a special thanks to Chris who told me to put my hands in front of me to avoid getting hit in the head with anything.  Thanks for putting that vision into my head!

So good luck, good practice and have fun 🙂

 **To start practicing your Inversions and Arm Balances, come this Saturday to Nataraja Healing Arts where Dharma Richards will be leading a workshop titled, Advance your Backbends and Inversions from 2:30pm – 4:30 pm.  $25 dollars.


14 Jun

That is not the scream of despration, it is the scream of something I saw that I LOVE!  Drawings on pages of old books is perfect project for me since a) I like to read and b) I actually BUY books – still.  In fact, I have a ton of books that don’t even fit on my current puny bookcase.  The only problem may be that since I love all of my books so much, choosing one to deface may prove difficult….

Anyway, I officially know what my next project is.  It may have been done before but it hasn’t been done by ME!  Stay tuned to see what I come up with and how I handle the book dilemma.

To see more of these check out Etsy shop, nommon.  In fact, just click here.

It's time to ask.

13 Jun

I just got back from a week at the Jersey Shore (yup) with the organization I work with part-time.  I was lucky to get to go on this retreat since my official title ends with “Part-time/Temporary.”  And lucky because of the following lesson that was spoken to me not once in the last week, but twice:  Ask for what you want.

The first time it happened was with a fellow admin.  I had spent 3 days with him in New York City for work, where we got into the conversation of his moving into the city.  As current resident of D.C. and an actor he felt a move to New York would be a good thing for him.  “I think I will move here one day,” he said as we sat side by side in a Times Square restaurant.  “Yes, probably but I have a good job right now so we’ll see what happens.”  What has happened since?  His boss has been transfered to the New York City office and has requested that this young man make the move with her to continue working with her.  And he’s doing it!  He gave me the update this past week in New Jersey where I congratulated him and reminded him of our conversation earlier in the year.  “Sometimes you just have to say it out loud,” he said to me, smiling.  “What do you want Patricia?  Come on tell me, I’ll give it to you!”  “Wait, wait,” I said.  “Let me think about this!”

Later on in the week, the President of the organization stood up to address us all and speak fondly about a woman who is retiring after 25 years of service.  In her review with the president she mentioned to him that when she retired she would like to learn to play the piano.  Which led the president to stand in front of the entire organization and announce that he would be having a piano delivered to her home in Weehawken next week.  As the audience clapped and cheered, my co-worker leaned in to me and said, “Sometimes when you want something, you just have to say it out loud and it can happen.”

Okay, is there a camera on me or something?

So I got home on Friday afternoon feeling irritable, cranky and exhausted from spending 5 days with sort of strangers.  But I could not forget these two stories and they kept re-playing themselves in the back of my mind.  But today, something hit me and made me realize that I have to do the same thing.  I should make my intentions known.  Otherwise, they’ll just live forever in the folds of my brain and never see the light of day.  So in honor of that jolt of realization, here is my list.  One by one, unapologetic, things I would like to bring in to my life.

1.  Starting simple:  A blender.  Yes, I would like a blender.  A blender to make my own, almond milk based, fruit and vegetable smoothies to start my day on the right foot.  Easy, right?

2.  Develop a new website with a new purpose.  I am currently working on getting a new website with a new name, look, purpose behind it.  I have two websites right now and they have pretty separate goals.  I want to combine the two into one to be something like what Mastin Kipp, Gabby B, Kris Carr, Kim Snyder and Tricia Huffman do because I really think they work to serve people and that’s what I want to do.  Only make it my own mission, my own thing, my own experiences and stories and ideas, pictures, yoga, artwork in to it.   And since I like to write I also like to idea of being a contributing writer on other sites, magazines, etc.  I think an iPhone, iPad or new laptop may be good for this.  But that’s an entirely different list.

3.  I want to travel to San Francisco and Boulder and see what those cities are all about.  I met some really awesome people this week who live in both of these towns and who claimed to love living there.  I think I would too but would like to start simple with a visit.

4.  Grow my personal yoga practice to keep myself on the path AND be able to inspire my own students in their practice.  I’m realizing that I really need to be more of a student to make this happen so I really need to re-commit to my practice.  Teaching 7 classes a week and taking ZERO will not do much good for myself or my students.  I want yoga to always be a big part of my life and I also want to help make it a part of others lives too.  In order to help others with this, I need to dive in a little deeper – okay, a LOT deeper.

5.  Continue to paint, knit, create, play, draw, take pictures, write, have fun, pray, meditate and go forward trusting that everything will turn out exactly how it should.  It’s either all this or something better, right?  Right, exactly.

I AM a writer!

1 Apr

I love to write.  I’m not one to write a grand epic novel, that’s not quite in me.  But I like to write so much that I started this blog so I could simultaneously put up any artwork I do and write a little somethin’ down for people to read now and then and enjoy myself while doing so.

But recently, I have been thinking to myself, meh, I’m not really a writer.  I don’t say to people when I introduce myself, “I’m Patricia, I write!” I started to get a little down thinking how while I like to do this it’s never been anything that takes off or has been any kind of important.  And then I remembered that time that it had.

When I worked in New York, I was given the task from my boss to write a “blurb/editorial” about our company ILevel.  He told me it was for an article about things that are unique to New York and cannot be found anywhere else.  “It’s going to be in Avenue magazine,” he said.  “Can you do that?”

Uhhh, can I?  “Sure!” I said cheerfully, feeling doubtful.  Eek, can I really do it?  What if he doesn’t like it?  What am I going to write?  What if he hates it so much he fires me (this was an actual conversation in my head).  So I stepped away from the phones, went down to Two Boots pizza to take a load off and sat and thought.  And below, right beneath the section that says “ILEVEL” is what I came up with:

p.s.  My boss loved it!  It says his name for the byline but that’s okay because it was written word for word  by me.  Patricia Mendizabal, writer.

Down South

31 May

I was in the south this weekend, a town in North Carolina (it’s the south, I don’t care how many times the title says “north”) and was struck by the bright colors that are used to paint the houses.  This house was a favorite with it’s bold hot-pink doors and matching shutters.

It looked so cute I had to get a full shot of it:

And that’s when I noticed this little guy, trying to get into my shot:

Hello there!

Inspiration Overload

20 Feb

Every now and then I step my sneaker-clad foot into a life that I don’t really live.  This phenomenon happens about once a year when Fashion Week rolls into town.  This year I had an official, sealed in an envelope invitation to the Max Azria for Herve Leger show, thanks to a friend of mine who is a friend of Max’s.  Not an invitation that is to be turned down, no matter how little sleep you got the night before (thank you Atlantic City) .  So on Valentines Day I  donned my high heels and hopped into a cab to get to Bryant Park.

Once inside the lights go down, the music starts and the first dress to strut down the runway is covered in: studs.

Studs are obviously what have been missing in my life all this time.  Where can I find my own, I thought as dress after dress paraded out, studded to perfection.  How can I – I know!  Maybe I can get some individual studs and put them on my clothes!  Maybe a couple on my sneakers to make them less boring.  Or I can put some on a jacket collar to make it more fun, I mean I obviously can’t cover an entire jacket in them that would just be weird.  Maybe I can put them on little strips of fabric to make bracelets – oh, on strips of leather!  Yes, that would look great but where can I – oh I know! I can use the straps of all those old purses I never touch anymore….

Later that night I attended another show.  This one was back in Brooklyn at Glasslands.  At this show, anyone could get in if you just paid the 7 dollar cover, no fancy sealed envelope necessary.

The band was good but what I really took notice of was the great background created for the stage.  A pretty sky blue wall that had what looked to be white paper, origami-esque flowers stuck to the top to form an organic, cloud like structure.  If you look close here…

I mean, how neat does that look!  I can do the same thing in my room.  Of course my walls are a mint green but it would look really pretty if I took white paper and made those flowers we learned how to make in elementary school and attach them to the wall in a similar design.  All in white that would look nice.  Oh, I bet I could even take my leftover white paint and paint some branch-like pictures on the walls.  Or a tree, a big white tree, like the ones I learned to draw in my landscape design classes.  Will it look weird?   I don’t care, I’m doing it.  I can start on it in the morning when I wake up.  Oh but I also have to finish that scarf I started, that’s been on my mind too.  And I keep meaning to spray paint those jars on my shelf with that white paint, maybe I can do that tomorrow as well.  And I must remember to charge my camera so I can keep taking pictures and I really really don’t want to forget my studs idea.  And am I ever going to get around to painting the rest of the apartment???

I can’t take it.  I’m going to bed.