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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Searching for Happiness…the film

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It has always been my goal to be a positive and inspiring influence as I move through life.  I have tried my best to share my personal experiences as I moved through my own lessons and growth because I know that we all have a lot in common and if I could pass on some wisdom or give another person hope…well then it was a good day.   In addition to writing, I also enjoy acting and film making.  Today I would like to share with you a couple of projects that I am very proud of and that are very close to my heart as well as completion.

I need your help.  For these films to be completed (edited/special colorization effects) I am asking that you watch my fundraising campaign video (placed below this paragraph) with an open heart and either make a donation or send it a blessing and share it with your networks.  I would be very appreciative.  I am one that has always tried to do things on my own and it isn’t easy to reach out.  But I realize that pretty much anything that is worthwhile in the world took a team to make it shine.  I am asking you to be a part of a team that will help put two short films out to all corners of the globe to hopefully touch those who watch them and inspire them to be the best that they can be.

www.indiegogo.com/projects/searching-for-happiness-the-film/x/3717065

Sincerely,

G. Brian Benson

To Go or Not to Go…

I just had an audition today for a play that I almost didn’t go to.  For some reason…I wasn’t feeling my normal confident self and began to be very fearful…so much so that It almost kept me home. It was one of those times that no matter how many pep talks I gave myself or looking back with confidence from all of my past successes made any difference.  But…deep down I knew if I didn’t show up to the audition that I would have much more disappointment and regret inside of me…than if I went and performed poorly because I was nervous or not confident this particular day. I then made a decision to just show up authentically…in a vulnerable state and all. Whether I get the part or not was insignificant compared to stepping into my fears.  I certainly didn’t expect them to show up this morning but they did and I eventually met them head on.  Because I took that step I can add this experience to my foundation that is becoming more and more solid each and every day.  Had I not showed up…my foundation wouldn’t be as strong and I would have had to live with the regret of not showing up for something that took only 5 short minutes of my life….but will no doubt positively reverberate for years to come.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

http://www.gbrianbenson.com

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Sometimes it takes an Auto Accident…

Last Saturday morning while driving my car through surprisingly light LA traffic on my way to a favorite hiking destination; I stopped at a red light.  My head was a bit sleepy and my thoughts mellow as I innocently began my day.  Seemingly out of nowhere came an extremely loud crash which brought my attention front and center as I then noticed a car heading right for me spinning out of control.  My natural reaction was to duck down as glass and small debris rained down as the car narrowly missed me by inches.  It seemed to be over as quickly as it started.  Then things got even more interesting…in a really good way.

Although it’s cliché to say that “life is short and that we should embrace it with gusto because tomorrow is promised to no one”…it can be really easy to overlook that fact as we lead our busy lives.  My experience this morning provided a stark reminder that as cliché as the “life is short” statement is…it’s 110% true and things CAN change in an instant.  That is why it is so important to truly love and enjoy every moment that we can.  But with that being said…sometimes we need an experience to really shake us up to point ourselves back to the present moment.  I wonder if that was the case for the two drivers involved in the crash.  I also wondered if this was a wake-up call for them to modify or tweak their present circumstances.  I certainly know that I have had my fair share through the years.  That is the beauty of life…we are here to learn and grow and there are so many different facilitators to aid in our growth process; parenthood, religion, war, economic status, environment, sexual preference, trauma and accidents just to name a few.

When I got out of my car to see if both drivers were ok…I began to “feel”.  I felt their fear; I felt their anxiety and I felt their mortality.  I also felt totally alive.  By bearing witness to and almost being a part of their traumatic accident I began to feel at a much deeper level.  Although this may sound crazy, it was an honor to bear witness to that and have myself opened up to feel at a much deeper level; something I have been working on lately.  And by feeling their feelings… I was able to experience those same feelings housed inside of me.

Over the course of the next 30 minutes as emergency responders came and statements were given I felt very connected to humanity.  It was very cathartic.  As spiritual beings having a human experience we in truth are always connected…yet sometimes it takes a traumatic experience for us to really get out of our mind/ego state to truly let down our shields and allow that connection to flow through.  It is our birthright and true nature to be connected.  I give thanks that I was the one “placed” there to truly feel my feelings, be a calming influence for the drivers AND to be reminded of the connection that we all share.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

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Where is Your Special Place?

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Do you have a special place that you like to go to get away from it all?  A place where you can release the mindless chatter and thought patterns that can fill your mind with doubt, anxiety and fear?  A place where you can rest, regenerate and reconnect with your higher self?  A place that helps you remember who you are and what you are capable of?  If not, I would highly recommend it.  Here are a few suggestions to help if you are looking.

A room in your house –

I remember as a young kid, how I used to love to retreat to my bedroom and get lost in all of my hobbies and interests.  I had meticulously decorated my room with posters of my favorite sports and music stars.  I could get lost for hours looking at or organizing my favorite baseball cards while listening to records and dreaming.  There are no limits on what you could do with a room in your house.   Put up your favorite art, make a small altar with meaningful mementos, set up a small bookshelf next to a comfy chair and make your own personal library or meditation retreat space.  The options are endless…just make it your own.

Nature-

My special spots usually end up being in nature.  Thinking back to all of the different places I have lived, I have always found a place that I enjoyed hiking to and be rewarded as I would sit back and relax and let my worries just roll off into the earth.  Minto-Brown Island Park in Salem, Oregon…Tahoe Rim Trail while living in Reno…Calico Basin west of Las Vegas and Griffith Park here in LA.  Each place offered me the tranquility and connection to nature that I needed to get out of my head, let my intuition flow and know that everything was going to be OK. I am grateful for each and every one.   I would highly encourage everyone to do the same thing.  Not only does being out in nature help me relax and clear my mind…it also helps me get some exercise and that’s important as well for life balance.

A favorite vacation destination-

How about a vacation destination that continues to give you happy memories and allows you to “turn off” for the duration?   Although you wouldn’t be able to access it as conveniently as a room in your house or a hike in nature, getting away for a period of time at a favorite vacation destination can be a very valuable tool in waking your system up and treating it to the joy, rest and happiness that it deserves.

Listening to your favorite music-

This can be done anywhere.  Just grab some earphones and your favorite music and escape into your own happy place.   Music has always played an important part in my life.  Whether I was listening, meditating to it or playing my guitar.

Pick up a book-

Pick up a book and get lost in it; nothing better than letting your imagination come alive as you bring a book to life in your mind.  And just like music, the beauty of a book is that you can read one and take it with you practically anywhere.

With all that is going on in our lives, whether it be work, family, tough decisions etc… it is imperative that we have a place to go and fill our tank with positive, perfect and loving energy.  It will not only help us navigate the flow of our lives, but it will help us find life balance and allow our intuition and inner guidance to come through stronger.   Take these suggestions listed above or come up with some of your own to create your happy place.  Anywhere that brings you happiness, regeneration and peace of mind is all that is required.

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com

 

Writing Tips

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From time to time I will get an email from someone asking me for writing tips.  And when I did, It always kind of threw me because I had never really formulated any in my head.  It seemed that when it was time for me to write (when the inspiration came) I just sat down and made it happen.  But as I took a closer look at my habits, I realized that I did have some definitive ways of working and although I didn’t realize it at the time, I can offer up some ideas or “tips” that I had made my own just through the process of trial, error and intuitive nature.  I realize that we are all different and some of us beat to a different drum than others; but here before you are some writing ideas that have worked very well for me.  

-Write an outline

This is really important for me, as most of my ideas just come at the most random times. And these ideas, as I begin to flush them out on my computer, usually form the basis for a successful blog or more importantly, part of my next book. When these ideas come, I will get an intuitive hit that will be loud and clear…almost a knowing that the information will be very important for me…something that I will want to use, but just not sure where or when.

So as I get clear on my article, book, blog, etc., I will form an outline with the major headings, which may or may not become chapters. But as more ideas begin to trickle in, I will then either make them a heading which to use as my foundation or place it under one of my already established headings to expand on. And as I progress, things become clearer for me since I already have my outline formed.

It also helps make my projects more doable. I know a lot of writers feel overwhelmed feeling like they have a whole book to write. I don’t think that way. I just focus on one outline heading at a time. It allows my brain to relax because I am not trying to organize everything all at once…it eliminates the potential jumble of trying to manage your whole book idea in your head. I am then free and clear to let more ideas come forward as I just focus on each outline or chapter heading. Then as I progress…it may be that some things get changed around a bit as the book takes shape…no problem. But an outline is of the up most importance.

-Hang onto everything that you write

This is really important. I can’t tell you how many times that I have shared a few sentences on Facebook or Twitter about an idea I had or a mini epiphany I was experiencing. I always make sure to copy and paste it into a folder that is titled “Possible Ideas.” I may have not even thought about expanding it into a blog or including it in a book at the time but know that it may very well be the missing link to something down the road.

-Trust your intuition

It ‘s simple…trust those ideas that come through you when you least expect it. They are the potential writing gold that you are looking for. Even if it may not seem at the time something that might benefit you; write it down and file it away.

Always listen to those little nudges or ideas that come when you least expect. Trust your hunches. As I go through my day…I have learned to really decipher the wheat from the chaff in regards to what pops into my mind at any given moment. The special ideas just feel different. For me, it is almost a “knowing” as it comes through and speaks to me. These are the ideas that make me light up and give me the basis for many of my blogs and even books. Trust your intuition!

-Take a break

If you just aren’t feeling it while trying to write…take a break. I realize sometimes we are able to break through a bit of a stalemate…but if you honestly aren’t getting anything productive done get up and go do something else for a bit. One of my favorite things to do while feeling “stuck” is to go for a hike. Getting out into nature ALWAYS works for me. It helps me clear my head as well as allows me to listen to my intuition in a much stronger and clearer way.

When I get reconnected to my intuition, my creativity almost always follows and helps me get back on track. Another thing that has been helpful for me is to get some exercise. Whether it be going to the gym or going for a bike ride…exercise is extremely helpful in getting rid of those feelings of “being stuck.” Maybe taking a short break isn’t enough. Maybe you need a few days off to regenerate. That is fine as well. Take a day trip to get your juices flowing. Enjoy a couple of movies…anything to take your mind off of the writing. Before you know it you will be ready to dig back in!

-Let it breathe

I have found one of the keys for me is to just ease into my writing…I always try to keep an open mind and not get to stiff with how I feel it should go.  I let my creativity flow through it.  Rome definitely wasn’t built in a day and it is so true with a book or even a blog!  If I can be open to it changing ever so gently as I write it and as I let it breathe…it is amazing sometimes what comes out of me.  I suppose it is no different than life.  I let go of my expectations as I journey forward and let my intention guide me without any specific goals.  My life and my writing I truly believe are so much fuller because of this.   

Write on!  Brian

Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com

Feeling Stuck? That’s a Good Thing…

If you are anything like me, you find yourself in what feels like a holding pattern from time to time.  At first it really used to bother me…I felt like I was standing in concrete and had nowhere to go even though I desperately wanted to move ahead.  I used to try to push, pull and force myself forward even though my energy and creativity appeared to be on vacation. 

After many repeated attempts of trying to “work” through this phase and accomplishing absolutely nothing; I finally got it.  I finally received the message that was coming through loud and clear, even though I had had trouble hearing it for so long.  I was being told to take a break, rejuvenate and get centered.  Not sure why it had taken me so long to finally understand what was going on…but I think my somewhat driven nature wouldn’t allow me to see it.  Once I finally understood what was going on and allowed myself to relax into this holding pattern so many things became sharper and clearer to me.   

We have all heard the terms, “addition by subtraction” or “less is more”.  They should definitely be on the Mt. Rushmore of wise sayings. I know that once I embraced my need to take a break and be OK with it, a few really cool things started to happen.  First of all, I felt much more relaxed and at peace with myself.  I realized the importance of regenerating and was excited to get myself back to my creative, energetic self.  Secondly once I relaxed and bought into this rejuvenation phase I also noticed a lot of guilt I had been carrying around in regards to my need to be working all of the time went away. 

How did I spend my time as I backed off and allowed myself to regenerate?  Lots of things…I went hiking, I watched movies, and I went to my favorite coffee shop with a book and left my computer at home.  All the same things that I tried to do while I was grinding away…except this time without the guilt attached that told me I should be working instead.  Big difference!  And you know what?  That difference is what allowed me to regenerate and re-fill my proverbial cup.

Taking a break could be the best thing you ever did.  I know that many of us have been taught to work extremely hard to reach our goals and advance in our companies.  I know that achieving things does take hard work…but I would like to think that that mindset is changing a bit as people are beginning to work smarter instead of blindly working harder just for the sake of working hard.  And I realize that some of us work extra hard to appease that part inside of us that feels the need to validate ourselves.  I know that I have been guilty of that in the past. 

There is more to life than work…and as you take a physical and emotional break from your work, explore that which you want to explore.  Enjoy without guilt what it is that you enjoy.  You will be happier, you will be re-energized and when you do go back to work, you will more than likely find what you produce to be more creative, focused and productive.  

Trust that taking a break is going to be the best thing you ever did for yourself.   Listen to your intuition when you feel tired and your creativity isn’t flowing like it normally does.  It’s not the end of the world…actually it is a blessing in disguise.  Spirit is telling you to slow down, relax and be in the present moment.  I am at the point where I no longer fight taking a break.  I look at it as a well-deserved rest and imagine myself continuing to move forward toward my intentions and dreams which in all actuality I am.

-Copyright G. Brian Benson 2014

www.gbrianbenson.com