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.

 

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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. 

 

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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. 

 

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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!

 

Keep Moving…

Recently there was a car parked out in front of my home for five days. It had a flat tire. Having a car parked in front of my residence was nothing new.  It was normal to have cars come and go from that spot; I got used to the variety and the flow. 

Seeing that same car day after day, coupled with the fact that it had a flat tire, began to make me feel uncomfortable. Each day thereafter, noticing its presence made me wish it wasn’t there.  Interestingly enough, I didn’t feel that way with the other cars that parked there; maybe because I knew they were temporary. It made me feel like the energy of the parking spot was always in flow.  So on day five when I noticed that the car was finally gone, I let out a sigh of relief.  And that got me thinking…why did the anchored car bother me?

I then realized that everything consists of energy, and energy needs to be fluid.  Because we are part of that equation, we struggle when we stay stagnant and immobile. If we don’t allow ourselves to breathe, flex our muscles, and grow, it feels unnatural and joyless. That’s why it’s so important to keep expanding ourselves. 

Keep your body and brain active, step out of your comfort zone, and stretch. Maintain the flow of your energy; don’t be like the static car in the same parking spot too long.

A Zen Moment at the Dentist’s Office

Sitting in the dentist chair I unexpectedly was able to effortlessly relax and fall into a deep meditative state.  In the dentist’s chair of all places!  I hadn’t felt that way in a long time and my body craved it. My only obligation was to be in the present moment, breath and not think about anything else; a necessity that I haven’t been giving myself at all lately. I have found clarity and moments of being present while hiking sometimes…but living here in LA and trying to make strides with acting and other endeavors has left me quite tired.  It seems like a constant “what can I do next” energy anxiously flows through my body which hasn’t allowed me to ever really find true moments of surrender, peace and acceptance of where I am.

As my awareness blooms, I want to straddle that fine line of trusting in the process and giving myself time to truly relax while fervently going after my goals and intentions.  When I was racing in triathlons back in the 90’s…I saw a lot of folks get very unbalanced with how much training and racing they were doing.  Some of the over training led to injury or burnout, some led to divorce. Living in LA has hardened me in a number of ways.  It’s made me tougher and more confident, but also sadly less sympathetic to others.  I am glad I’m here…I intuitively know it is where I am supposed to be.  But I would like to alter my method of operation and outlook.

I have found it isn’t always easy managing goals and expectations.  It starts to wear on you always being on the lookout to find or make that break to get to the next level especially here where it is so competitive.  My current mind set hasn’t allowed me any time off both emotionally and physically for fear of missing an opportunity.  I have been here 2 years now and very rarely have I allowed myself to truly put away those feelings of needing/wanting to advance. I know there is more to life than booking an acting job; much more. And that my self-worth doesn’t hinge on a part in a movie.  But going through the process can wear on you. I realize at times I have been living in fear instead of in trust.  I would like to think I know better…I am sure we all do, yet I temporary lost sight of my ability to trust, manifest and enjoy the unique beauty of my journey.

No Place to Hide: My TEDx Talk Journey

As I was making the fifteen-minute drive to Pasadena, site of my impending TEDx talk, I turned on the radio in search of some musical inspiration that would both pump me up and quell my nerves. I knew this day would come when I decided to share my story on the TEDx stage. But now that it was here, it felt surreal. Preparing for it had become part of my daily life – I carefully chose every word, rehearsed it alone in my apartment and in front of any friend who would listen. And, more often than not, I danced in that confident space that I could deliver this speech just as I had been successfully practicing it countless times. I was excited and ready. Not just in an “I got this” way – but in an “I have arrived, and no more playing small” way.

Sure, I had my moments of doubt, but each time they crept in I gently pushed them away, finding that soulful center that had always created a safe haven and guided me intuitively forward. For me, following a burning desire to follow my inner voice, or even just a hunch, often turns out to be beautiful and unexpected. So, when I turned on that radio, I was taken aback to hear these exact lyrics, “There’s no place to hide, but I don’t think I’m scared.”

Those words cut me to the core. That was going to be me in only an hour! I would be on the TEDx stage in front of a large, live audience with cameras rolling, and had no place to hide. But was I scared?

The lyrics hit me hard, and raw emotion came pouring through me. Instead of fear, I felt validation hitting me square between the eyes, saying “You are ready, you are prepared, and you deserve this moment.” I recalled all the things I had worked so hard to do just to be able to stand on that stage: speech classes, Toastmasters, co-hosting my own radio show, acting and improv work, creating my own workshop, and writing books. It had been a challenging march, fluctuating between courage, doubt, bordering on self-flagellation, to gain enough confidence to share my story in front of others.

Although each step strengthened my foundation, that foundation was about to be tested. Would I be rock steady, as I let down my shields and insecurities in front of that packed theater? I thought so. My tears were a tangible reaction to the lyrics; my intuitive inner knowing supported the tears.  I was ready. I wanted this test. I knew I could and would welcome the audience sharing in my vulnerability.

When we share our truths, pains, and imperfections, we shine light on our true essence. It brings us closer together as a community because that is what I believe we all truly desire in our lives: authenticity…and sharing, offering, and receiving that creates joy. When we reveal ourselves, we stand unencumbered in truth: there is no place to hide.

Living authentically and openly this way is freeing: I have never felt more free than when I walked off that TEDx talk stage after sharing my journey with (potentially) the world.  I want to continue to stand on that stage, albeit a figurative one, as I move forward with more adventure, learning and sharing.  There is quite a beautiful view to be had up there.  And I know I’m not scared.

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