A key to how I live my life is having gratitude for the little things. No matter how small, or how unimportant they may feel, they are what will change how you feel about yourself and your days.
Right now, I have $5.85 in my bank account and I’ve never felt so confident. When I watch the money leave my account and use all the cash I have, that’s the part that stresses me out. But now, having gotten all that I needed to get done for the week and buying the things I’ve been needing for awhile, having $5.85 makes me feel rich. I have always had enough, and I always will. I believe that and I declare it over my life all the time. When I have nothing, I am given more. Imagine my delight when I was able to put two stamp cards together and get a free coffee! How amazing. I really do appreciate the little things in life. I know that I have enough petrol in my car to hold me over until my next pay check and tip money that I will receive until then. I’m grateful for my job, for my friends, for my local coffee shops, for my housemates, for my family, for my hairdresser, for my trainer, for my vocal coach, for my doctor, for myself. I am grateful.
My mom has taught me many things; to be hospitable, to be kind, to write thank you cards, to watch my tone of voice, to go after my dreams and make them reality. But one of the things that always hit me the most was to be content with my life and to never live with regret. When she passed away three years ago coming up next month, I wanted to find for myself why those things were so important to her and how I could live that way. I have done it, and I am doing it, and I have never loved my life more. This is me sharing those things with you all.
Go after it. Search out the things you want to see change in your life and work towards shifting those circumstances.
Find balance. Where something feels off in your life, find something else to combat it that would help you find peace.
Be confident. Learn to know that you are worth more than how you are feeling and that you deserve to live the best life possible.
Keep at it. DON’T GIVE UP.
Standing through pain
I recently had a short conversation with some people who knew me really well and who I’ve just recently seen again after being apart for months. The conversation was about how we have all changed so much (for the better) since last seeing each other, and in my friend’s response to this, he said, “…things become different when you are able to stand through the pain in the midst of your circumstances.” (paraphrased)
Yes, please. I want to be able to say that in my circumstances, when I’m hurting, when I want to curl up in bed and never be seen again, that I have stood in that season, through the crashing waves of emotions, and not been defeated.
A few weeks ago I was with some friends at the ocean, and within 10 minutes of being in the water my lungs were giving out from the cold and the exertion my body was using to stay up in the waves. I got to a point I could not longer stand and it was pretty difficult to breathe, but I didn’t want to get out just yet either since we had all really been looking forward to some beach time. As the waves would come, one of my friends would grab me and hold me up. We spent over an hour in that water, and he held me up the whole time. At one point, I decided to go on my own back to shore. Bad idea. The closer inland, the stronger the waves, and I was doing somersaults into the water, not even getting my feet planted before the next wave hit.
This is how my life feels at times, and definitely the seasons I’ve been going through recently. Trying to stand up on my own in the hurt and hard times has exhausted me to the point that I no longer could, and every time I would be about to give up, someone would come along and hold me up. This doesn’t mean that I was automatically okay. I still had to catch my breath, hold on to that person (those people), and keep my head above the water. But with their legs on the ground, I had something sturdy to be my stronghold when the waves did hit. I wasn’t defeated and I wasn’t alone. Also true that when I thought I could get back to my normal life (the shore) on my own, I’d end up pummeled by the waves again.
We’re not meant to walk through pain on our own. We’re not strong enough. None of us are.
Walking through your process with people helps you to stand through the pain of your circumstance. Pain will try its hardest to keep you down when you are hurting; life will do its best to keep you up when you are dying; friends will hold your hand and walk you through your process; and YOU will have the strength to stand when you feel powerless.
Just a bit of me; say yes!
So I realize that a lot of you don’t know what I do with my life. In fact, I don’t even know what I do with my life. I just say yes. When opportunities to travel come up, I say yes. When I feel a prompting to do something, I say yes. When a situation is uncomfortable, I still say yes. Though I may have some crazy stories about some of the things I’ve said yes to, I do not regret a moment of it. What I do changes my life and changes the lives of the people I come in contact with.
Just last week I was part of an experience that impacted who I am. I have spent the last month in Santa Barbara, California at an Artist Boot Camp. Let me tell you, it really was a boot camp. There were 3 different focuses at this school (acting, music, & film production) and I was in the acting portion of it. I spent over 5 hours a day in acting class and several more hours doing homework for it. When I wasn’t doing that, I was in sessions with incredible speakers who are changing the world through the arts. It was such a change from “normal life,” being stuck on a mountain with barely any cell service, internet, down time, or sleep, but it was absolutely necessary for who I want to become and what I am working towards.
In my last class with my acting group, we all did a connection exercise that will stick with us forever. It started by pressing hands together in a circle (20 or so of us, with the rest of the camp sitting around the edge of our little class room watching us), and making eye contact with each person in our group. From there we were to move as a group and create a company of actors who breathe and work as one. We did this. In a way that left every person in that room with tears running down their faces. I can’t explain it or do it justice. Without knowing what we were doing, we worked as one, connected with each other, and our final move as a group was holding hands, taking a bow, and clapping for each other. The moment we did this, the music stopped, not a dry eye was in the place, and we ran together for a final group hug, knowing that what just happened was an experience that would forever change us. All because each one of us looked at each other and said yes to the moment.
Even though I haven’t slept in a month, and today is my first day home, saying yes to what I knew was right was the best decision I could have ever made. The people I have done life with this summer from all over the country, the friends I’ve made, the places I’ve been, and what I’ve learned about myself, has impacted my life in ways that will never stop increasing.
I am blessed, blessed, blessed. And I am so incredibly thankful for each person that has been a part a it, and helped me through it. I will never be the same.
I believe in saying no, and I am in the process of writing a post on that too, but right now it’s about saying yes to you, yes to your heart, and yes to others. Go for it, be you, be inspired. There is always a way. Know that, believe that, live that.
If you know you, trust your yes.
Love always, Makari Asriel
My acting track 9’14’15
Living with the Boss
We are all servants of a higher being. No matter who or what you believe that is. To some, it’s God, to some, many gods, a higher energy, a person, the earth.. We all believe in something greater than ourselves, no matter how narcissistic you could be.
Ever have those points of your life where you know there has to be something more? That there has to be something else out there that makes life worth more than it is in your own little world? Ever feel anxious and you don’t know why? This is one of the reasons for anxiety in peoples lives: they’re searching. They’re figuring out their beliefs, and because they don’t know what it is that they’re trying to find, everyday can become a struggle. I encourage you, be aware. Look in your everyday life for encounters that can prove to you who you are serving. If you know your Boss, life changes from searching for something greater, to living with something worth dying for. A servant: a person who is devoted to or guided by something. Devoted: having strong love or loyalty for something or someone. If you can find out who you serve, your level of love, commitment, loyalty, devotion, and satisfaction for life will rise. Your anxiety has to drop, because you can’t be guided by something and still be stressed out about the future. A guide: a person who helps to direct another person’s behavior, life, career, etc.
As you decide your next journey and the life you hope to have, don’t forget how to live. Everyday your conscience is telling you to search for it.
A reality of loss
Loss is relevant to everybody. Every one of us has experienced loss in some form. Whether it be the laying off of a job, the death of a friend, the death of a family member, dropped communication with someone we love, losing valuable possessions, and on and on. We all experience loss differently. Based on what is important to us in our lives, that determines the level of hurt and the depth of pain that comes with our loss.
The reality. No one will understand exactly what you are dealing with, but a lot of people will try and sympathize based on what they have lost that is close to the depth you are experiencing.
The problem with this.. is that people try and relate, thinking that it sympathizes at the same level, when they don’t ever really understand the pain that you are feeling.
A lot of times people remember a past experience that they have dealt with, and even though they know that it was painful, they either 1) don’t want to bring up the pain that they felt, or 2) think that because they got through it, so will you. This sometimes creates the emotions in them that you are already fine and therefore don’t need the attention and help that you really do need. Or heaven help us, they give you the advice of things that helped them, without acknowledging the fact that your situation is completely different (and for the love of all things good, everyone’s emotions and feelings are all the same, RIGHT??!?!…) As a result of this, we have broken people who never get true healing and starve for affection in all the wrong places just to fill a hole that was never properly filled.
This. isn’t. everyone. I’m not stating that I know every human being and that this world is awful. Not what I’m saying. From my personal experience and spending time with hurting humans, this is the reaction people give a lot of times when someone is dealing with loss.
Hurting people are not broken people. Why do we always think that they are?! Get out of your bubble, take off your tainted lenses, and come to every person believing that they are great, loving, fun people who just happen to be in a difficult place. We all go through them, and we all need people walking through them with us.
So what can you do?
Learn to serve people. Turn off part of your brain for 5 minutes (trust me, you can do it, I believe in you) as you talk to people who are in pain, and listen to their story without already creating the situation in your own mind. Hurting people need to be heard. Let them know you are listening. And no, you don’t need to tell them your life story afterwards to make them feel like they’re not alone. This often times makes them feel like you are saying your life has been just as hard and trust me, that’s not what they need.
Give them your time and affection and show them that you care before they even ask for it, and learn how to love people specifically to how they receive it. (It never hurts to ask)
Most importantly, just be wise.
Resting in life
We are most powerful when we are at rest. When everything we do, say, choose, and believe comes out of a place of rest. Stress helps nothing. Our society is built around stress. I hate to say it, but if people lived out of a place of rest and living free from deadlines, the ideas and innovative creations that would come out of this world would be phenomenal. We would be at a whole other level as a planet.
Being at rest helps you to know that the decisions you make, you are not going to regret. You will know that you chose the best option you could while considering all possible options. Being at rest also absolutely helps your body. By being able to eat healthy, exercise properly, and keep your body relaxed, rest will help you.
So how do you live from a place of rest, even in stressful situations? Let me give you some ideas.
1, Know that everything is gonna work out in the same amount of time as it would take if you were stressed or not. So you might as well stay peaceful instead. Being at peace will keep your mind clear and help you to make better decisions about the given circumstance, and in some cases even speed up the process of the situation.
2, Think positive thoughts. Convince yourself that you are still going to be okay, because you know what…you can do that! What you think about the most will become your reality. Your mind is brilliant and can store so much information, but the things that are most frequently on your mind, will usually have the most influence on your life, so convince it with positivity!
3, Eat healthy. This is definitely going to help your life. Whether you are a person who likes to eat for stress or someone who doesn’t eat at all when stressed, eating healthy is going to help your body to keep functioning properly. This will make staying at rest much easier for you.
4, Exercise regularly. This is a great stress reliever as well as a way for you to stay more relaxed in your everyday life. Plus, it’s an added bonus that you look great too! Which will also help lower stress since you don’t have to worry about your appearance.
You got this, Makarios
My bleeding thoughts
It’s hard to talk about just what it is we are thinking about. We’re scared that our inner being is too fragile or too “bad” to share how we actually feel. But if we did, we would understand how to better love people specifically based on their thought-life (i.e. encouragement if they’re thinking negative, hugs if they’re feeling lonely..etc.)
I don’t want to be worried about other people’s opinions about what I think. If you have a different opinion, great, that’s your opinion. I won’t be satisfied with keeping my mouth shut about what I believe. I know that I don’t know everything, and in many areas I’m still figuring out what it is I believe and what feels right to me. It’s a process, it’s a journey, and I’ll be on it for a long time.
This is how I choose to think about the way I have decided to live my life. I’m not okay with doing what I’m “supposed” to do or what I’m “told” to do for this reason: if I don’t go out and experience the things that I don’t know, how will I ever know what it is I really believe or ever truly understand people who believe differently than I do? I won’t.
The whole “learn from other people’s experience” thing does not work for me. Maybe you’re cool like that, but I’m definitely not. Everybody’s different, so if one person believes they have made a mistake, it might not actually be a mistake to somebody else.
There is so much judgment about people in this world. Most people fear what they don’t understand. Also, most people don’t know how to respond correctly in situations that they have never had a “connection” to, or an experience of.
Some of my best friends have been able to experience this since knowing me. I’ve been able to open their eyes to a whole new aspect of loving people they used to only love from the “outside” and because they’re “supposed” to love everybody, but now they can love them truly as they love themselves because they understand these different peoples worlds. How amazing.
I haven’t necessary made the best choices while pursuing this lifestyle but I can tell you that I wouldn’t change it for anything. I am who I am because of it and I get to live an amazing life where I can travel, experience different cultures, and make friends everywhere I go.
I am so loved because I choose to love. I am understood because I choose to understand. Everyone wants to feel like they are understood, so everyone who sees that you trying to understand them will accept you, faults and all.
Just my thoughts, Makarios
Facing sudden pain
We all have tragedies in our lives. It’s what we do in the face of them that defines who we are and where our heart truly lies. If we are not truly okay inside, the real feelings of our heart will come out when we are faced with disappointment.
Pain makes people snap. The things that we never thought we would do, are now a product of our lives because of a hurt we had to deal with. Who do you look up to that became great in the face of pain? And how are they handling it two/three/four years from that time? We have many reactions to tragedies in our lives. Let me talk about 3 of them:
1, people do what they “know” is right, and sometimes never actually deal with the problem. These are the people we usually look up to for how they are handling the situation. When in reality, they listen to what their mind has been told, but not what their heart is actually saying. They will go to church, read their bible, say all of the things that they “know” they should be feeling (i.e. I’m not mad at God, God is good, I can do this, I know that person would never intentionally hurt me, it’s not their fault, it’s not God’s fault, etc.) These things are good. But if you never allow yourself to express the deep, dark, hurting emotions, how will you ever process through them?
2, people run to something that will numb the pain. We all know these people, and at times throughout our lives, we are these people. Numbing the pain can happen in so many different ways. Now let me tell you something.. if you think you are not this person because you don’t run to alcohol or drugs, look again. Running could look like distracting yourself by being with friends, going to concerts or movies, engulfing yourself in work or school, and even in some cases, spending all your time with God. Let me explain this. Running is anything that takes you away from dealing with the problem. Though spending time with God is amazing, if you are doing it out of “what you think is right” but aren’t using that time with Him to actually figure out what it is you need for the season, you’re running away. Don’t get me wrong, you are running to the greatest thing you could possibly run to, but if you don’t deal with the situation in that time, you will eventually end up blaming or being disappointed in God because the situation has happened or isn’t changing.
3, people face it. They take the time, they pause their lives, and they search out help from people or leaders they trust. This is the hardest in some senses because it means that now everything is on hold, people feel broken, people feel like a mess. But this is honestly the easiest solution in the long run. You will go deep, grow fast, be challenged, and break free. Everyday is a new challenge, a new day for growth, for receiving love, and for accepting where you are. By facing your pain, you will be able to deal with your situation, and walk out in freedom.
Sudden tragedies change our lives, and sometimes, everything about who we are. What are you going to do about the situation you are in? Will you choose God? Will you choose you? Or will you dive deep into a process that is life-transforming, even if that means facing the pain head on.
Your choice. Always your choice. Don’t let it be your downfall.
From dark to light: vulnerability
The title for this post is meant for anything that is hidden and isn’t the best part of you, brought to the light and dealt with. It doesn’t define you, it also doesn’t kill you because of the shame of it. My goal as you read this, is for you to discover for yourself that how you choose to live your life will change everything about you and the people you influence.
I wish I could explain to you just how important it is to live life right. But the truth is, I can’t explain it to you. Because we all learn differently and we all believe different things. Your right is different than mine, and if you think about it, what really is right? So I would just like to tell you about some of my process and why it’s been important for me to choose the best possible outcome of my circumstances.
I’ve done the wrong things. I’ve lived in that place, where the love I give comes from anger, and the peace I carry comes with discomfort. In that place, the choices I make hurt people, and the life I choose hurts me.When I’m not okay with my life, and when I have no vision for my future, everything I do comes with pain. And I end up ripping people’s lives apart. Trust me, it does make me feel “powerful” and in “control” and in a sick twisted way, it “satisfies” me. (I put these words in quotes because it’s how I feel in the moment, not how it actually makes me feel, because in reality it is going against my identity.)
Because of how I choose to live my life now, my challenge in those seasons isn’t to love people really well, or to believe that God still has a plan. My challenge is to create a safe place where I can just be, without feeling like my life is falling apart all around me. In those hard times, I know that what I am feeling won’t last forever. I know it is only a season, and my conscience is set on discovering the best way to deal with the struggle in front of me. I think one of the things that we have to remember in these times is “who do I want to be when I come out of this?” and then make that the end goal.
The things that happen in your heart are on display for everyone you encounter. One of the goals for my life is to always go through process in the best way possible. I’ve been in situations that tore me up to the point of hysteria. Everything I thought I knew came crumbling around me, and there is not much worse then feeling like your life is falling apart and there’s nothing you can do about it. Because I’ve had several of these situations in my life, I think it’s important for me to share some tips of how I choose to overcome in the midst of my circumstances.
1, with love. You have to understand that if you saw your best friend going through what you are dealing with, you would have so much grace for that person. Show that grace to yourself and understand that you need to love yourself through it in the same way you would want to love them.
2. with a heart of perseverance. You will win in the end, but only of you choose to. If you can live knowing that one day you will see the finish line, you will be able to persevere through anything. You’re not allowed to let yourself give up. Especially with everything you have already faced and overcome. You will win.
3. choosing to know in your heart that you are strongest person you know. Every night in these seasons I felt like I was going to die. And every day that went by was another day that I chose not to give up. When you are able to look back a week later, a month later, a year later, and see that even in the shittiest time of your life, you still lived a life worthy of love and acceptance, you will see how strong you truly are.
Hello from Patara, Turkey! I’m here on vacation, enjoying the beach, learning about different cultures, trying new foods, and resting in peace. My only dilemmas for today were the choices of food to eat at breakfast, and later if we should 1) swim in the Mediterranean, 2) walk through the ruins to see an ancient lighthouse, or 3) sit in the sunroom and drink a beer. Let me just say I’m having an amazing time. I’m allowing my brain to turn off and my thoughts to run free. Taking a break from life is sometimes the perfect remedy for life’s insanity. We can try so hard to take care of the soul and spirit that we forget that our body is just as important.
The city I’m staying in currently (Patara) is actually the birthplace of St Nicholas. Being able to stand where he stood and explore the ruins where he would have walked makes my imagination come to life. It’s amazing to think that the icon we know today around the world as Santa Claus was actually a real person whose good deeds eventually brought him fame. I encourage you to learn more about him if you can. An orphan child who used his wealth to help and serve people became a bishop very young and was part of the council that established the Trinity. He was imprisoned and tortured for his faith but never lost sight of his calling. St Nicholas was an incredible man who left an incredible legacy.
A walk in the dark
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly and difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy–the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~Brené Brown ‘The Gifts of Imperfections’
Boom. My life at this moment summed up in a quote. We need to believe in who we are if we truly want to live in wholeness. We need to be open, vulnerable, and live in ownership of our lives in order to be powerful and not a victim to our circumstances. Stop shoving things down, stop hiding in the shadows, stop pretending we have it all together. ‘Me against the world’ mentality will crush you. People are not made to live outside of God, away from community, and without leadership speaking into our lives (I say ‘and’ instead of ‘or’ because those three cannot be separated.) If you do, you will only last so long feeling ‘good’ about your life and be continually searching for something to fill the void of emptiness in your heart. Listen to the experiences of many…nothing will. You could have everything seemingly together (finances, great relationships, choosing to believe all the right things about yourself (i.e. joy, love, acceptance), a stable job, a happy life, etc) but without God as your everything, without a community around you, and without leadership speaking into your life, you will not succeed to the fullest that you were created and born to be. You were predestined to be more than you are capable of by yourself.
I love the last sentence of that quote, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness…” then we will find our light. The darkness is meant to be walked through. Otherwise, how will you ever find a way to turn on the light? Nothing will ever happen if you just choose to sit there in it. As one of my pastors recently said about walking through difficulty, “the darkness is there for us to recall what life was like when the lights were on.” We need to be able to recall who we are and what God says about us so that in dark times and dark places we are able to still find our way through the darkness to turn on the light. This is also another reason for community! In times where we end up feeling stuck and don’t have the strength to get up on our own, that’s where friends come in the room and turn the light on for us. Now hear me…be smart. Understand what I’m saying. I’m not telling you that you can just sit there and always let someone else turn on the light. Who of us would actually expect a friend to come and turn the light on for us when we need to get up in the middle of the night or when it is dark? What I am saying is that there are times and seasons in our lives where we just can’t do it ourselves and need a friend or leader to shine light on our situation. It requires vulnerability. It may be tough. It may be messy. But it may also be the best way for breakthrough in our lives.
I hope you are willing to go on this journey with me. To see yourself as God sees you, to be known in the darkness, and to find your light.