Sunday, April 26, 2015

Creativity Coaching - Lesson 11

1. Ask for something you want.

I want the discipline and the time to work on my creative projects.

2. How do anger, envy, disappointment, and similar feeling color the way you communicate.

Anger makes my communication harsh and irrational. When I get angry I start to shake and my genetic tremor becomes with large.   Finally, I become upset with myself for losing my cool and becoming angry and then I start to punish myself with thoughts about lack of self worth. In the end my self esteem becomes very low.

Envy makes me small minded and sullen and my communication becomes inauthentic. Envy also brings out the martyr in me. I question why someone got something I didn't.  Then I go through a laundry lost of all my faults and become depressed.

Disappointment makes me sad and isolated and leads to lack of communication with me just wanting to hide myself or roll up in a ball. Disappointment can lead to depression. It can also stifle my voice and make me not want to try anymore.  When I get disappointed I lose my clarity and lose track of my intentions and larger goals. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Creativity Coach Training - Negative Self Talk

2.  Try to notice your self-talk this week.  Write down any self-statements that you find interesting, perplexing, particularly negative, etc.  You don't have to "do" anything with them, just become better aware of them.

I had a very challenging week at work.  On Friday night I got to look at an empty loft space in downtown Los Angeles that I was to make into an art studio for Thursday filming.  The director and producers were adamant that the place look like an artist/professor of painting had lived there for 30 years.  They were also insistent that it look like one artist had made all the paintings.   This artist was supposed to mainly paint his college female students. In addition, there were very specific paintings mentioned in the script: a fat black woman, a hairy man with a large penis, and two paintings that when one was turned upside down looked like the yin yang symbol.

 I wasn't sure how I was going to pull off this enormous task. I didn't panic but I knew it was going to take a lot of work and I also had about ten other sets to dress for different characters before Thursday (a bar, a 2nd grade classroom, a school hallway, a boy's room, a single mom's house, etc. ).  I started to remember artists that I knew and began making calls as we were driving to the next locations to scout for filming.

I worked all weekend for free to find the art and furniture.  I found the perfect artist who had lots of painting who charged a decent price because I also had to function within a small budget.  I decorated all the other sets on the schedule too and by Wednesday afternoon I was completely exhausted.

On Thursday,  when I opened the set.  My expectation was lots of compliments.  That set (I believed) looked fantastic.  But when the director walked in, all that was on her mind, was specific paintings she now wanted, that were never discussed as being needed.  In all the meetings I had attended there were only 4 hero paintings.  Now she wanted miraculously every painting that was mentioned in the dialogue (which before she didn't need to see).  She also wanted to see a bedroom and kitchen dressed, which before she told me when would never see. So I scrambled, moved things around, and got very angry.  My thoughts were, thoughts I have many times:

I hate being a set decorator.

I hate this career why am I still doing after 20 years?

I hate the film and television industry the people in it are cruel and sadistic.

Why did I give up my whole weekend and work for free when I could have been working on my own art or even just relaxing?

Why am I not making a living as an artist?

I can't handle all this stress.

I am terrible under pressure.

I am terrible under stress.

Why do I let these assholes get to me?

Why did I think anyone would be pleased?

Why am I expecting compliments?

Why do I need to be affirmed?

Why did I get attached to this product when I know to stay detached?

Why did I believe the director when she said she wouldn't see the bedroom or the kitchen when experience tells me not trust anything said in the meetings?

Why did I take on finding the scripted paintings when in fact that is job of the prop master.  And now I was wild goose chasing and being blamed for being helpful and a team player?  Why did I not just say that it's not my job.

Why do I focus on the negative?  The producers, cinematographer writers and production design thought the set was marvelous.  Why do I need to dwell on the crazy maker director?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Yoga Nidra Chakra Healing Meditation Script

If you are interested in hearing this Yoga Nidra email me at and I will dropbox you a recording. If something is in parantheses it should not be read 


 (Setting Up):  If you have a cell phone make sure it is off.

Prepare for the practice of Yoga Nidra by lying on your back in Shavasana – if this is not comfortable put a pillow under your head or if back hurts bend knees or put pillow or blanket under knees, lying on side if you are pregnant, Sitting in a chair, on the floor back to the wall. You might want a blanket because the body temperature tends to drop in Yoga Nidra. Also put a blanket under any area that is sensitive. Try to be aligned, symmetrical from feet to head. Feel your spine aligned. In shavansasana, arms away from sides palm up or down.  If anything is on you tight like glasses or a wrist watch you can take it off.  Eyes should be closed to avoid visual distraction. .  Say to yourself mentally “I am practicing Yoga Nidra for the chakras. . . I will stay awake for Yoga Nidra for the chakras”

(Relaxation): Take a full breath in with the exhalation think letting go. Do this atleast 2 more times…. Become aware of the body relaxing. Feel supported across the whole body. Feel the feet supported, Feel arms and hands supported, feel the legs supported, feel the shoulders and head supported. Feel every place where the body is supported and allow yourself to release more deeply.

 Let go of all effort of holding the body.  For a short time notice the rhythm of the breath. Now, extend the awareness outward listening for sounds in all directions.

Be aware of distant sounds.  . . sounds outside the room . . . sounds inside the room . .. sounds of the body… Become aware of the sound of your breath.

In Yoga Nidra, it is best if the body remains still.  If you become uncomfortable you may move but come back to stillness as soon as you can.  Say to yourself mentally “I will remain still for Yoga Nidra.” (pause)

It is time for the Sankalpa.  A sankalpa is  a short positive statement in the present or future tense. It is a resolve, intention affirmation. Repeat the sankalpa 3 times with the exact same wording and full attention.  If you do not have yet have a sankalpa use the resolve “I will find the right sankalpa for me” Repeat your resolve 3 x each time with same wording.

(STAGE 3 - Rotation of Consciousness): Moving on to the rotation of consciousness through the body.  The body remains motionless. When a part of the body is named either repeat the name of the body part in mentally, bring awareness to the part of the body, or visualize the body part. We will begin on the right hand side body.

Right hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, right palm, back of the hand, wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, arm pit, right waist, the right hip, the right thigh, the right kneecap, the right lower leg, the right ankle, the right heel,the right instep, the right sole of the foot, top of the foot, the right big toe, 2nd toe, third toe, fourth toe, fifth toe

Bring awareness to the left side of the body starting with the left thumb. Left hand thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky finger, left palm, back of the hand, wrist, lower arm, elbow, upper arm, shoulder, arm pit, left waist, the left hip, the left thigh, the left kneecap, the left lower leg, the left ankle, the left heel, left instep, the left sole of the foot, top of the foot, the left big toe, 2nd toe, third toe, fourth toe, left 5th toe. Stay awake.

Bring awareness to the top of the head, the forehead, both sides of the head, right temple, left temple, the right eyebrow, the left eyebrow, eyebrow center, the right eyelid, the left eyelid, the right eye, the left eye, the right ear, the left ear, the top of the nose, the right nostril, the left nostril,  the right cheek, the left cheek, the upper lip, the lower lip, teeth, tongue, jaw, front of the neck, right collar bone, left collar bone, the hallow between the collar bones, right chest, left chest, center of chest, upper  abdomen, navel, lower abdomen, pelvis, buttocks, lower back, middle back, upper back, right shoulder blade, left shoulder blade, the whole spine, back of the head, top of the head.


Now Pass through the Chakras

Crown of the Head
Eye brow Center
Base of the Spine
Base of the Spine
Eyebrow Center
Crown of the Head
Right Arm, Left Arm, Right Leg, Left Leg
The Whole Front of the Body, The whole back of the body
All the Chakras together
The whole body together

(STAGE 4 - Breath Awareness)
Exhale as though you are breathing from the top of the head down at the crown chakra to  the base of the spine at the root chakra Imagine that the breath is flowing along the spinaI cord in a milky white stream from the base of the spine to the top of the head.
from 27 to 0 with awareness moving from the root chakra at the base of the spine to the crown chakra at the top of the head
Inhaling 27 – root to crown, Exhaling 27 crown to root, 26, 25
Inhale as though you are breathing from the base of the spine, up to the top of the head.(pause)
If the count is lost start again again at 27 (pause)
If the count reaches zero start again at 27 (pause)
Stay with the counting (pause)
Stay with awareness of the breath moving from root to crown and crown to root (pause)
Stay awake and aware  (pause)
Now let go of the counting and let go of awareness of the breath from root to crown and crown to root
and come back to natural breathing

Bring awareness to the spinal column.
Feel only the spinal column and no other part of the body
Imagine the spinal column very heavy
the coccyx center is heavy, the sacrum is heavy, the solar plexuses are heavy, the heart is heavy, throat is heavy, the  third eye is heavy the crown of the head heavy is heavy. The whole spine is heavy the whole spinal column is heavy as if were made of lead

imagine the spinal column light the crown of the head is light, the third eye is light, the throat is light, the heart is light, the solar plexuses are light, the sacrum is light, the coccyx is light.  The spinal column is light as if it could rise above the floor light a feather.  The whole spine is light

 Awaken the feeling of cold
Concentrate on your spinal cord and develop the feeling of coldness and shivering
Concentrate on the breath in your left nostril and develop the feeling of cold in the whole body
Every breath you take makes the body cooler and cooler
Concentrate on the left nostril and the left breath
With every breath you take into the body experience the cold
Concentrate on the visuddha chakra in the neck – it is the seat of the cold experience
Concentrate on throat chakra

Concentrate on the heat surrounding the body
Develop the manifestation of heat in the body
Concentrate on becoming enveloped in an atmosphere of heat throughout the body from head to toes, permeating the entire body
Concentrate on the breath in the right nostril
And with each inhaled breath, increase the feeling of heat in the whole body from head to toe
Develop the feeling of heat in the body by concentrating on manipura chakra in the navel area
From this center you can produce heat and distribute it throughout the body
Generation of heat in manipura, the navel center and in the right nostril
Concentrate on the heat you created around the body


Discover the psychic center of the chakras

Feel the positions of the chakra as if they were being touched gently by a feather

1) Muladhara, the Root Chakra at the Coccyx, base on the spine, here is the root of all growth and awareness. Muladhara means base support.
2) Swadisthana, The Sacral Chakra at the Sacrum. Swadisthana means dwelling place of the self. This chakra is associated with feelings, emotions, desires and the imagination.
3) Manipura, the Lumbar Chakra behind the navel at the solar plexuses. Manipura means dwelling place of jewels or gems. In this place we find the pearls of clarity, wisdom, self-confidence and well being.
4) Anahata, the Dorsal Chakra behind the heart. Anahata means unstruck, unhurt or unbeaten. The Heart Chakra is revered as a center of devotion and transformation.
5) Visuddha, the Cervical Chakra behind the throat. Visuddjha means especially pure. Meditation on this chakra brings calmness, serenity, purity, the command of speech.
6) ajna, the Spiritual third eye Chakra behind the eyebrow center. Ajna means command. It is the eye of intuition and intellect, the mind’s eye.
7) Sahasrara at the crown chakra 6” above the head. Sahasrara means 1000 petaled lotus. The sahasrara chakra symbolizes detachment from illusions. Crossing the sahasrara chakra takes the yogi beyond worldly desires and gives him or her authority over the lements. Whatever he or she wants happens.
Now again
7) Sahasrara above the head.
6) Ajna behind the eyebrow center.
5) Visuddha at the throat.
4) Anahata behind the heart
3) Manipura behind the navel
2) Swadisthana at the sacrum
1) Muladhara at the base of the spine

Again feel each chakra is it is named
1) Base of the spine, 2) Sacrum, 3) navel center 4) heart, 5)throat, 6) eyebrow center, 7) 6” above the head

Bring attention to the chiddakasha the mind space
Concentrate on the symbol of each chakra
1) Inverted red triangle  at the base of the spine (x 2)
2) Orange Ocean waves at sunset at the sacrum (x 2)
3) Bright yellow sunflower at the solar plexuses (x2)
4) A Candle Flame at the heart
5) Drops of honey at throat  (x 2)
6) Crescent moon  at the eye center (x2)
7) A ritual fire 6”  above the head (x2)
Now visualize the simple images that will be suggested
Inverted red triangle … inverted red triangle
Ocean waves at sunset… ocean waves sunset
Bright yellow Sunflower… bright yellow sunflower
A candle flame … a candle flame
Drops of honey…drops of honey
Crescent moon… crescent moon
Bond fire… bond fire
Come back to eye brow center, the chiddakasha, the mind space infront of the closed eyes
Bring your awareness to chidakasha
Concentrate on yourself seated in meditation with your eyes closed
You are seated in a mediation and there is someone seated in front of you, an important person
This is an important event in your life
You are sitting in meditation and this person is sitting in meditation
Your eyebrow center and the person’s eyebrow center are one
Both of you are breathing through the eyebrow center
When you breath out you touch the person’s eyebrow center
And when the other person’s breathes out they touch your eyebrow center
A link is established
Now let go of the visualization
And  let go of chidakasha
And come back to the heart beat
In your heart beat hear your Sankalpa

(STAGE 7 - Sankalpa): Now it is time to repeat your resolve, your sankalpa.  The same resolve you made at the beginning of the practice with the same wording. Repeat it mentally 3 times with faith it will come true.  And say simply, say, as you did in the beginning “I will find the right Sankalpa for me”

(STAGE 8 - Externalization) 
Become aware of your own breathing. Listen for sounds in this room, sounds outside this room. Find the furthest sound that you can hear. Start to remember this room: the walls… the ceiling… the floor.  Remember your place in this room.  Remember what’s in this room with you…  Become aware of your body lying on the floor, (or sitting on the chair, or against the wall)… Notice the weight of your body and all the points where your body is supported…. Extend your attention through your entire body…  Become aware of your entire body from you head to your finger tips…. Become aware of your body extending from your head to your toes…  Be aware of your breath… Become aware of the entire physically body and the breath inside your body…. Consciously make your breath deeper and full… Make your breath deeper. … Inhaling and Exhaling deeply… Make your breath very full…. Keep your eyes closed. Say to yourself mentally “The practice of Yoga Nidra is now complete.”…. Start moving your body and stretching. Making your movements larger and larger. Inhale your arms over your head. Remembering to be mindful of what’s near you.  Stretch (3) Yawn. Gently roll to a side. (long pause) Open your eyes. Slowly push up to a seated position fully alert and ready to go on with the rest of your evening.  Namaste.

New Moon Goddess - Earth Day Mandala

At the Yogi Tree Center for Growth on Saturday night we practiced Yoga and then chanted these words at New Moon Goddess Women's Circle in Celebrating of Earth Day.


pthiv (earth)  mahi  (great)

medin (soil)   bhūmi (land)

vasudhā (ground)

Oṃ  pthiv mahi medin bhūmi vasudhā

These mandalas were made in response to the following questions:

1) Ask yourself, where in my daily life am I not living up to my environmental values? What can I do in my daily life that I am not doing that will lessen my environmental impact?

2) Think about your food choices. We can make a choice to align (or fall short)  with our environmental values every time we go to the grocery store, every time we sit down to the table at home or a restaurant. I am not just talking about local organic food, I am also speaking about the type of food – (organic and non-organic) meat and dairy.

3) Also think about your use of water. Use of water can include food choices (some foods take an incredible amount of water to produce), maintaining a leak free environment, shower length, cleaning choices, gardening and lawn choices, etc.

4) Reflect on reducing your dependency on fossil fuels. Buying a hybrid car or choosing to walk or take public transportation are great steps to take to reducing greenhouse gasses.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

No Kids

I wrote this for my friend Bart Plantenga's Upcoming Book, NO KIDS.

I may have taken me a long time to get back to you about this piece NO KIDS because it is a source of sorrow and regret for me.  Why don’t I have kids?  Why was I on the pill for 27 years not getting off until I was 43 years old? It is complicated for me. There are several reasons.

I have worked a tremendous large amount of hours as a Set Decorator primarily working in television.  My work week starts at about 70 hours a week and many weeks hover around 90.  I felt like I couldn’t  have kids until I worked less.  My husband is a screenwriter, and I believed if he could sell a screenplay and I could start working less we could have kids.  It hasn’t happen yet.  He hasn’t gotten the golden ticket.

I was afraid to have kids with such a busy schedule.  My mother was a career woman.  I felt that she wasn’t around for me and I suffered because of her absence.  I didn’t want to make the same mistake.  I thought if I can’t do it right why bother.  I watched women in similar work situations as me, cry in the bathroom because they missed the dance recital or the baseball game because they were stuck at work in the demanding profession of film and television.  Shopping until ten and eleven o’clock at night for a work day that had started at 5 am or 6 am in the morning I often joked when people asked me when I was going to have kids, “When I don’t hear Target will be closing in fifteen minutes.”

My husband was also not onboard.  He didn’t want to have kids and often joked “we are our own kids.”  I think his lack of interest in having kids came from growing up without a father and also wanting have enough time to do his writing when he also had to work a full time job.  But I guess that is his story to tell.

I am also an artist.  And I wanted to work on my artistic projects with the little time I had left in the week.  And this selfishness about having time for my own creativity also kept me from having kids.  I believed with the addition of kids to an already hectic life there would be no time left for my art.

Sometimes I would see fit women jogging with double strollers in Los Angeles and I would want to hit them with my car.  I was so jealous of them. How come they get to have it all and I don’t?  Why can’t I work my life out to fit in everything?  I even had names for my unborn children; Sonja and Zeno.

There was a time a had a mattress ad with two kids that looked like they could be mine on the refrigerator with the names Sonja and Zeno written on it.

While travelling in India in the winter 2013 and doing a lot of meditation and yoga I started to have some imagery during meditation of a young girl who I felt was my unborn daughter asking to come out.  She appeared in a white dress with lots of extraneous fabric and was dancing.  By the fall of 2013,
I decided to get off the pill and try to have a baby.

I told my husband I was going off birth control and if he didn’t want to have kids he could either get a vasectomy or not have sex with me.  He didn’t chose to do either.  I haven’t done anything proactive to have kids with fertility doctors. I just opened it up to the universe.  Nothing has happened so far. No pregnancies. I never had regular menstruation in the past and I have been irresponsible with the pill many times and I have never gotten pregnant so I may not be very fertile.  I don’t know. Perhaps I waited too long and I am too old.  But somehow I feel less sad and the longing isn’t quite as bad anymore now that I am at least trying.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Sketching Around Los Angeles


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Japanese Garden at Sepulveda

Japanese Garden - Reclamation Plant

Burbank Boulevard



Tree People

Tree People

Figure Sketches from Richard Morris's Class

3 minute Costume Sketches in Mark McDonald's Class