It is a beautiful day, or else, a terrible one, depending on what you focus on.
As I sit to type this, my mind goes into instant overdrive, as I'm relearning to single-task and the world is one giant, social-media-ball of distraction. I have an incredible headache. My feet are cold. I've been sick for almost a week. There's construction banging away right across the street from the chilly apartment where I sit, by myself, halfway around the world in Kiev, Ukraine away from my life, my home, my love, and my darling kitty that I miss so dearly and haven't seen in two months now.
All of which sounds pretty shitty, but despite all this I am overcome with joy and with gratitude, because of what I am choosing to focus on: I am on a trip around the world, because I am chasing my dreams. I am doing it. I have medicines from an inexpensive doctor in Paris and am sure that I am almost back to healthy. I have fuzzy socks that are mismatched and beyond comforting. Sitting and watching the construction team across the street is more fascinating than television. I have a whole day to sleep in, to catch up on emails, and to send photos to the incredible people who support me and my redikuluss quest for Worldwide #WhiteGurlBootay Domination..
So should you ask me - It is in fact an INCREDIBLE day.
Basically, I am embracing the power of Focus. Where your attention goes, energy flows, and endlessly making and remaking the choice to focus on the beauty and endless joy of this present moment. After all, the present moment is all we have.
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It becomes more and more apparent to me that, at some point along the way, I have lost my ability to focus. An hour ago in the shower, while mindlessly scrubbing I was a million miles away, thinking of past conversations, future emails, travel plans, and endless hypotheticals, usually involving me in some sort of confrontation in which I am rich in justification for my anger.
I believe that is normal (right??). We all have mundane, daily tasks that we check out from. But what about the beautiful, incredible, irreplaceable, inspirational, unbelievable moments that my life is often filled with...?
I've sadly discovered that even when I am off fulfilling the dreams that I have manifested for myself, my mind is still a million miles away, self-creating a headache from the stress and anxiety of a thousand unreal scenarios.
And I often miss the beauty that is around me.
I'm sure it is some coping mechanism I have developed throughout a rather.. unideal and abusive childhood, but being in the present moment scares the shit out of me. Sitting down to meditate, to write a blog post, or to eat a meal with a friend without any kind of predetermined end time, literally have me in fight-or-flight mode (I'm sure the past decade of constant social media-ing also has some influence on my diversion of focusing...).
Being present in the moment though, while something I am constantly striving to do, isn't quite enough. I can name plenty of instances that I am right the fuck here - and guess what? They are all negative. When someone cuts me off, when I get in a fight with my sister, my spouse, a stranger on the internet, when I ask for no cheese and they bring it out with fucking cheese anyway..
But what about when I'm naked in the forest, creating a career out of using my body as art, and doing what I love most?
I can tell you exactly what I was focusing on:
I'm so tired.
My hair SUCKS.
I want to be home.
I am literally creating my dreams, and then missing them when they become a reality!!
This past month I was lucky enough to be a part of European Studies Association (ESA) that had nearly 100 of us, in all age ranges 17-70+, living in dorms in Paris, France; Taking french classes five days a week, and off on incredible, inspirational, educational adventures almost every day. And being a part of such a big group of people (something my life is often lacking, being a model is quite an anti-social existence in the 'real world') reminded me of something very funny and very innate about human nature...
Humans love to complain. "Breakfast is just bread and cereal, I expected a real meal for my money." "Three hours is too long a class." "The teacher should slow down." "My roommate is a total idiot." "They're bringing that table their food already and we haven't even gotten water!" Complaining will literally unite strangers, neighbors, enemies, if they can share in the same bitch fest.
And it's terrible. And addicting. And contagious. And powerful.
Yesterday I was shooting for 12 hours. I hadn't gotten much in the way of sleep for three days, and my cold seemed strong as ever. How truly tragic though would it be if I had missed out on my day exploring the monuments, forests, and sunflower fields of Kiev, Ukraine, where I am being paid for my time, my talent is appreciated, my photographic partner is collaborative, sweet, and professional, and is also helping me to document all of it to share in my upcoming, completely crowdfunded webseries, because of something as petty and insignificant as a friggen cold??
Clearly, I'm far from perfect. And I looooove a good bitch sesh. Or at least, I did.. but I've been doing a lot of changing this year. Being in a group with 98 other people, switching between one whiney, petty conversation to the next, you start to feel the ugliness of it all. Why not be grateful to wake up and have fresh baguettes from around the corner that literally won best baguette of Paris, and are the same ones served to the president of France? Or commit yourself to the three hour class you paid to be at, and embrace the keep-up challenge of listening to a native french speaker? Or appreciate that while your roommate is an idiot, she's also very sweet and willing to listen and learn and have some sympathy for the environment she grew up in that has her so lacking in self-awareness? Or take the time at dinner to laugh at the cliche rudeness of your french waiter, have some compassion that he's serving 40 riotous, entitled American 20-somethings all by himself, and take the opportunity to get to know the person sitting next to you a little better?
If you haven't noticed yet.. I am officially complaining about complainers =) Haha - loophole! JK, for real, let's be better.
So here's to letting it all go, moving forward, and seeing the silver lining in every situation. Or, often more accurately, the big honking pot of gold that is your life just to be here, to be free to express, to create, to love, and to live.
I decided to travel the world, spending most my time naked and traveling solo, creating art to inspire others, to express my own, fragile human nature, and to spend time with people, places, and things I never would have experienced otherwise.
I have so much to be grateful for. And I'm going to do my best on not only focusing on the present moment, but focusing too on how fucking awesome this present moment is.
Thank you for being here! Thank you for being an incredible part of the rock-n-roll jet fuel behind my worldwide travels! I am focusing on being the best god damn blonde babe of an international little badass that I can possibly be, and I'm doing it for me, and I'm giving credit for all of it to you.
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All images are ©Charlie Noble Photography