It Even Rains in LA…

You know, it can be really hard to stay positive when life rains down on you unexpectedly. However, I’ve always tried to expect the unexpected, and stay open. I also always try and stay positive no matter what. Well, that’s not always so easy. 

I had recently been living in my place for about a year. I loved it. One day, the owners decided to put it on the market and it sold within the first week! Suddenly, I had to find a new place within 45 days. Well, okay. Not convenient, but not terrible. 

However, it was raining in LA, and I don’t mean a little rain. I mean torrential rains up to four inches in one day! A few days later, the house began to smell really musty. I noticed the carpet was wet around all the corners and edges. Unfortunately, I’d stacked boxes of my children’s books in the corners and when I moved them discovered that they were damp and covered in mold and fungi. I was beginning to be concerned about the potentially dangerous air quality. This absolutely meant that I had to move quickly for my health. I was also worried that my things would get damaged.  It was time to go. 

It really stressed me out. I had always felt like I was a great manifestor and would be able to conjure exactly what I was looking for in my price range.  But I kept looking around and nothing I looked at felt right. I was getting to the point where I was willing to sign a lease at a place just to get out of there when a friend of mine contacted me on social media and said her mom was renting a place. I admit I wasn’t feeling very hopeful, but told myself to stay positive. I went to look at it and it was perfect. Eclectic, interesting, comfortable and in a neighborhood that was close to great walks, Griffith Park, and a new coffee shop to work on my laptop.  It felt like me and it felt like home almost immediately. 

It can sometimes feel really overwhelming when everything happens at once. I think the key is to not give up, no matter how impossible it seems at the time. I’m not saying that’s easy, it takes courage, especially in the face of any kind of disaster. Real life happens to everyone. To you, to me, to everyone; and it’s how we take on those challenges that make us who we are to become.  The most important thing is to have faith and believe that something even better is just around the corner. 

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2017

Creating Self Awareness

“Life can be a wonderful administration of the heart, the mind, and the soul. By listening to your heart and visualizing with your mind, you can come into alignment with your soul.” – G. Brian Benson

Knowledge is power. As we learn, grow, and become more self-aware our world opens up in amazing ways. It’s an ongoing process. We are here to learn and grow and when we are open to that, our lives become much more enjoyable and free. There are always people and situations that come into our lives at just the right moment to help us learn, if we pay attention and listen.

But what if, even when we are trying to always listen from our heart, we just can’t hear the message? What if we find ourselves “bumping into walls” so much that we can’t figure out what it’s about? What if all we feel is our limitations?

That’s also part of what the heart is sharing with you. It can be a steep learning curve. Once we become aware of our limitations, our unhealthy patterns, we can recognize them and begin to heal. It’s not always easy, but if we can stay present and listen and then let it go, we can move back into balance.

I’ve been working on myself for a long time and most of the time I am able to draw on past experiences which I have filed away. This has allowed me to really get to know myself and have the knowledge that helps me be a better me as I move into the second half of my life and hopefully continue to learn from past mistakes. The key I have found is to stay grounded and operate from my heart not from my head. When I operate from my head I often create false stories that lead to nothing but suffering.

Self-awareness is simply another way of listening, of paying attention to our patterns, of opening our hearts, minds and souls to change. Stuff happens to all of us, but having self-knowledge and staying open allows us to flow through it more easily.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2017

 

Taking a Step Back

It’s been a while since I’ve written. It’s not as if I didn’t want to, but something would always come up, feel more important, or need immediate attention. I admit there were also plenty of times when I just didn’t feel like it, or feel like I had anything to say. I think it’s vital to honor ourselves during our “hibernating times” rather than beat ourselves up for “not doing”, “not being enough”, “not accomplishing”, “not making it”. It can be difficult to trust and be open to what may happen when we just don’t feel like doing anything. We’ve all felt that inner critic who constantly rides us to keep going, keep doing! But the risk of constantly being on and moving forward, is that there are times we stop hearing that quiet voice of intuition.

Whenever we take some time and step back, new pathways open before us, or we realize we are on the right path as it deepens. We re-fill our creativity, our soul, and new opportunities (and yes, challenges) present themselves. It’s so important for me to remember to try and stay in balance. There are times I am pushing myself and I become a human-doing instead of a human-being. This winter was a time for me to get back in touch with myself, to trust my intuition, and to stay open to the power of YES.

So, let yourself just be yourself to free yourself. I know you’ve heard me say that before, but I need reminders too and that’s what these past few months have been. Keeping an open mind and just showing up also means showing up for yourself, not everyone else. Take those long walks in nature, allow yourself time to read, take a bath, enjoy some evenings with friends, and try to avoid getting down on yourself if everything doesn’t seem to be going according to plan. Because, and this is important, everything IS going according to plan! So expect the unexpected and be you! And know I’m working on that too.

It’s great to be back!

At the Risk of Being Judged…

I recently learned something about myself. I learned that I was not as thick skinned as I previously thought I was. My recent book “Steve the Alien” received its first poor review on Amazon. It’s amazing how one bad review can really shake a person’s foundation. Up to that point, I had received only 5 Star reviews. I was extremely proud and grateful for each and every one, but when I read the stinging review, my heart sank down to my boots. I’d worked my ass off writing and producing that book. I knew that my hard work had paid off. I was getting all kinds of positive and kind feedback. How could this be?
The poor review brought up all kinds of fears for me. The fear that someone considering purchasing the book would see it and then decide against it. That fear transformed into the “I will never sell another book again” which then transformed into “I will never reach my other goals and intentions” which then transformed into “I will never be successful” which then ultimately transformed into “I am a failure.” Which of course isn’t true…I know that. But it’s not that easy. That review triggered parts of me that need healing. I realize that not everyone is going to like what I do…it comes with the territory of sharing work in the public realm. Being reviewed is never easy…it’s essentially opening oneself up to being judged in some way. No one likes to be judged, (unless, of course, it’s all good). I wondered if I was cut out for this. I know that sounds dramatic…which typically I am anything but.
The thing that bothered me the most was that the review wasn’t even about the book. It was about an accidental one-time printing glitch from the publisher. Apparently it printed two books inside the cover instead of one. Not a big deal. But in big bold letters, the headline stated, “AWFUL PRINTING!” Why didn’t they just email Amazon, let them know and get another book sent to them? Hell, I would be happy to send her a book.
I wanted my book to put a smile on someone’s face, not create an unhappy situation. However, I needed to remember that all people are subjective; one person might love Picasso, another might love Van Gogh. We all feel differently. I started to read the positive reviews again, but even with all of the glowing reviews, it was hard to hear anything but the negative one.
At the end of the day, the entire point of my book “Steve the Alien” is to show compassion, kindness, and to be open to making new friends in spite of differences. If I am going to walk my talk and be like the characters in the book that I wrote, I need to simply hold space for this woman, even if it’s uncomfortable. There is really nothing else I can do but take the high road with grace, compassion, and gratitude. Oh…and to also realize it wasn’t personal. 😉
We must never be afraid to create. We have to do it for our own personal happiness and sanity. We create to spread beauty, to share ideas into the world, to bridge misunderstandings and to form connections with one another. We do it to connect with our spiritual nature, to something bigger than ourselves. And we have to do it even at the risk of being judged.
Copyright G. Brian Benson 2016

It’s Never Too Late…

It’s never too late.

Did you know I first started writing “Steve the Alien” way back in 2004? I wrote about half of the story yet couldn’t quite figure out how to finish it. I set it down for 3 years and picked it back up and finished it in 2007. I then signed a contract with a company in 2010 that was going to make “Steve the Alien” into a moving picture book on an app. I was thrilled! Then after about a year and a half, the company ran out of money and “Steve the Alien” was shelved again. After getting them to release me from the contract “Steve” sat another 5 years before I got the courage to bring him to life this year. Today it sits climbing the Amazon best-seller rankings on its long awaited book release launch today. Life is strange.

I am truly thankful that I finally got to bring “Steve the Alien” to life. It’s a project that always gave me a lot of joy while I was writing it and I had hoped way back then that I would be able to see this rhyming adventure spring to life in vivid illustrations some day. And although I had to wait 12 years…that day is finally here!

You know what else? I am also thankful that “Steve” waited this long to join us. It was worth the wait. It’s never too late.

www.SteveTheAlien.com

To Be or Not to Be…

-open to change and growth
-in your own personal flow
-totally owning who are and where you are at in your life
-doing things to help yourself stay in life balance
-trusting your intuition and working with it
-loving and accepting yourself simply for who you are and what you have to work with.
-stepping out of your comfort zone
-non-judgemental
-trying something new
-focusing on what you have to be grateful for
-happily expecting the unexpected
-giving more than what is expected of you, but not at your own expense
-slowing down to refill your cup
-admitting that you are scared, but not letting it hold you back
-surrounding yourself with positivity
-placing a higher value on yourself
-doing what truly makes you happy (in all forms)
-allowing yourself to create
-getting lost in a book
-spending time in nature
-sharing your authentic self
-allowing yourself to love and be loved
-knowing that YOU are ENOUGH

I would love for all of you to Be …

 

 

I Will Continue to Love…

I will continue to Love…   To set an example.

I will continue to Love…   To remind others that it is our true nature.

I will continue to Love…   With empathy and understanding.

I will continue to Love…   To mend differences.

 

—–

I will continue to Love…   Those who live in fear.

I will continue to Love…   Those whose actions are born out of fear.

I will continue to Love…   Those who look different.

I will continue to Love…   Those who live differently.

—–

I will continue to Love…   Top open the lock of misunderstanding.

I will continue to Love…   To begin a dialogue of hope.

I will continue to Love…   To bridge the gap of fear.

I will continue to Love…   To cast a vote for peace. 

 

—–

I will continue to Love…   To heal the pain of hate.

I will continue to Love…   To balance the scales of inequality.

I will continue to Love…   Those that are hurting.

I will continue to Love…   Those that are misunderstood. 

 

—–

I will continue to Love…   To speak for those who have no say. 

I will continue to Love…   To give hope to those who have lost it.  

I will continue to Love…   To feel for those who have become hardened. 

I will continue to Love…   To shine a light for those who have lost their way. 

—–

I will continue to Love…   To move through my fears.

I will continue to Love…   The parts of me that are incomplete. 

I will continue to Love…   Because it’s fuel for my heart.  

I will continue to Love…   Because it brings me joy.

—–

I will continue to Love…   Because we are all in this together.  

I will continue to Love…

-Copyright G. Brian Benson 2016

www.gbrianbenson.com 

That “One Thing”

Through the years, I have had the tendency to be pulled of my path in thinking that “one thing” was the answer to my happiness. It could have come in the form of a woman (relationship), job, pull of the slot machine handle to cure my financial woes or to cross the finish line of an Ironman triathlon. More recently it has come in the form of creative endeavors (writing books and acting). Don’t get me wrong…I have happily listened to my intuition as I created and am grateful for all that has come through me, but subconsciously I was hoping that whatever I created would “spring me to the next level” and everyone would know who I was, love me and clamor for more. It’s a bit embarrassing to even acknowledge it now, but I was looking for validation.

Truth be told, there is no “one thing,” person or action that is the answer. Lasting, sustainable success comes from building a strong foundation through hard work, inner work and listening to your intuition. It’s a whole bunch of steps comprised of inspiration, belief in oneself, failure, success and growth to be prepared for when the time does potentially come.  Steps that I have taken but with the underlying caveat that I would be lovable when they were completed. I now know that I am lovable no matter what I do. I could sit on my butt for the rest of my life drinking iced tea doing crossword puzzles knowing that my self worth is strong and getting stronger by the day. Don’t ask me why it took this long. Sometimes self-awareness and growth are triggered by an event, other times we are just finally ready. I guess I was just tired of carrying all that extra baggage around.

Now with all of this being said…YES! I would love to have all of those things happen. Who wouldn’t want to be in a great loving relationship or have a best selling book or a job that makes you happy to get up in the morning? But I can tell you with certainty now that none of them are the individual keys to my happiness. They are a whole bunch of experiences and opportunities to love, create, connect, enjoy life and grow. As cliché as it sounds, true happiness does comes from within. And it wasn’t until recently that I understood that. I now like myself for just being me, not for any of my accomplishments or successes. And with that simple realization, I am now FREE. It’s a huge game changer. I no longer have to grind, push and strive to please and create just for my own validation.   I can create for the sheer joy of creating. I can now focus authentically on what I truly want to do, not something that I feel like I have to do because it offers me the best chance to reach that “one thing” to fill that void that was within me.

I feel like a new person. One who can be true to himself and live and create from an authentic place. But the ironic thing is…it has always been inside of me. It is our true nature. I just needed to get out of the way, stop believing the false stories I told myself and allow it to come through. Things are so much simpler because I am in loving control of my life now, not my fears or feelings of unworthiness. And you want to know the very best part? Getting rid of that extra baggage has made room for all kinds of truly fulfilling things to come into my life. Works for me!

Planting Seeds

I was thinking recently about how hard I’ve been working and wondering if anything that I have been creating and involved in was going to pan out. It felt like I was continually spinning my wheels without any forward movement. And that got me down.

I then remembered all of the cool projects that I’ve been involved with over the course of the last year as well as the ones I am currently in the process of creating.  I had been working so diligently I wasn’t able to “see above the trees.” It was hard for me to see the bigger picture because I had multiple projects going and because most of them had an unknown future.

As my thoughts became more focused, I realized that I was totally operating on blind faith and trust. My profession requires a lot of this. Of course I hoped that the films I was involved in would get finished and turn out “special” and that my writing projects would be read and make a difference in the world.  But as I rode this “rollercoaster” of trust that’s provided me this grand adventure of twists, turns, loops, shutdowns and straight-ahead break neck speed, I realized that what I am basically doing is just planting seeds.

I also realized that some seeds I have planted are going to take a little longer than others to bloom and provide the fruits of my labor.  Believe me when I say I have more than one project that I started over five years ago that is finally coming into fruition.  It just needed a little extra time to grow.  Sometimes growth meant the “right” people needed to come along to provide some needed info, expertise or energy to my project.  Other times it was because I personally wasn’t ready in my own growth process to finish it. By giving it extra time to grow, the project became better and more evolved than I ever could have imagined simply because I allowed it to grow at its proper pace.

I truly believe I am starting to see the fruits of my labor.  In 2016, I have three feature films and three short films that I was involved in that will be released.  I have a small recurring part in a TV show that is beginning to find its legs.  I’m beginning work on a very exciting screenplay with a dear friend and award-winning writer.  I am in the process of writing another book that is unlike anything that I’ve written before as well as write a bi-monthly column for a brand new E magazine that will be offered in all Apple Stores. I initially forget about some of these projects because they were still in the growing phase.

Keep planting seeds.  Some may take a bit longer than others to bloom and that’s okay. Trust in YOUR process, believe in yourself and stay in the present moment while you are creating.  You will be rewarded with a beautiful garden.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2016

Just Get the Scone

I just had a mini epiphany while waiting in the drive-through at Starbucks to get my daily dose of ice tea. The revelation said in no uncertain terms “you are pretty darn hard on yourself, Brian.” After sitting with that for a few seconds, I then had no choice but to agree. I am hard on myself and I realized I do it to myself in a variety of ways that are all based on my own personal expectations of perfection. I can be affected by something as simple as what I choose to eat or how I spend my free time. Let me explain. I eat pretty darn healthy…it stems from all those years of training for Ironman triathlons. I got into a lot of good habits and enjoyed how I felt eating healthy food. So while I was sitting in the drive-through…I had a desire for a scone. And as soon as I thought about actually making the purchase, I began to feel guilt and shame with myself because it “wasn’t a healthy choice.” I felt like if I ate it I was not allowing myself to be the best version of me I could be. I then realized that all of these years when I did allow myself to eat something not particularly healthy…I never really truly enjoyed the experience because I felt I was letting myself down. How crazy is that!

I can also be hard on myself when I take time off from working. There is a part of me that feels like I should be constantly clawing away to reach my goals and intentions and if I don’t I will lose ground and risk not “getting there,” wherever “there” may be. I think my chosen line of work has also played into this. I don’t have a traditional 9-5 job where I can come home and allow myself to relax knowing I put in a good days work. I am an actor and writer. Both jobs could be considered competitive as well as sporadic. Because of this, it feels like I’m on one continuous hamster wheel of trying to create content, network, be noticed, audition and find work. That is one hell of a tiring existence if one doesn’t allow some time to breathe, play and set aside the grind from time to time.

This method of operation has been both a blessing and a curse for me. Being focused and driven has allowed me to accomplish a lot of things that I have truly enjoyed, made a positive difference and which contributed immensely to my personal growth process. But some of this occurred at the expense of trying to reach a destination instead of truly loving my journey. I want to love my journey. And that is where I need to let go of the “perfectionist” in me. According to Elizabeth Gilbert, “perfection is a fancy word for fear.” She also thinks that it can advertise itself as a virtue but that it kills joy and happiness. I couldn’t agree more. It has a sneaky way of making you feel special and different while potentially sapping away your ability to start or even finish something.

I can’t be too hard on myself because of the way I used to operate because I know I am here to learn and grow and wisdom comes from forgiveness, which originates from compassion, which is founded in love. And this love must be directed at myself before I can truly share it with others.

I want to move forward and allow myself to truly enjoy something as simple as a meal, time off from work or loving exactly where I am in my journey. Sometimes I make it harder than it should be. And if I take it one step further, it really comes down to me feeling worthy of receiving these simple pleasures that I have been denying myself that life affords. Sounds like fodder for another blog.

By the way…I did get the scone and it tasted amazing!