Sasha Darling & The BellJar Blog
Nothing Good Ever Happens After 7pm
When I was in my 20's I went out like 6 nights a week, all the while working 3 jobs, going to school full time, dating 3 different guys and pulling it all off seamlessly (or so I thought). I loved being around people, dancing, flirting and standing in 3" heels in tight clothing while downing cocktails. I often thought, "I will do this of the rest of my life" and I imagined myself as a glamorous Felliniesque character at 60 wearing sequined dresses and attending rooftop parties in Rome with royalty and drag queens. I thought I'd be a glam girl forever. Then one night I found myself at a party, crowded, sweaty and loud and I thought to myself; I'm done, I'm never, ever doing this again. I sold all my high heels and tight clothes, got a netflix and hulu account, a couple of dogs, some comfortable stylish cotton lounge wear outfits, a few mumu's and basically have not left the house at night for about 8 years.
Sometimes it gets lonely, sure. Especially when in-between boyfriends. It makes dating challenging too, but really, am I going to find my like minded awkward, sober boyfriend, who wants to lounge in comfy cotton while eating cheese in bed, reading books and binge watching Gilmore Girls or old films, out at a bar on Saturday night? Not likely. And at this juncture of my life, there is nowhere I feel more lonely than in a crowded room, full of drunk people in tight clothes, having small talk. I never, ever feel that lonely siting at home drinking tea.
Sometimes I'm worried I'm boring. But hell to the no, on that. I'm charming and smart and creative and stylish and chatty and warm and active, just not after 7pm. And I wonder, who decided all the fun has to happen when the lights go down, anyway? Who made this decision? Because when it's dark, all my body wants to do is sleep, but baby, at the crack of dawn, when there is only a sliver of light I am up and ready for any adventure you throw my way. We can dance to bad disco in our underwear. We can spend hours playing dress up in my closet. We can road trip to a cowboy bar in the middle of the desert and eat BBQ. We can climb to the top of a mountain and see all the world and everything we want to be, or we can just stay in bed and snuggle between linen sheets. Also nobody brunches better than me. And making out in dark crowded bar??? Obviously you have never made out to an early morning sunrise, because that beats the pants off of any other make-out in the world. Also flea markets! Discotheque darlings never ever get the best items at the rosebowl...they are too busy nursing their hangovers.
Did you know that the early morning hours before the sun comes up are the hours of absolute magic? The universe is more open to your energy and your prayers from 4am till 7am. And you know who gets to access all that magic? The people that fall asleep at 11pm on a Saturday night, that's who. All the magic I have been accessing these past 8 years, being an early to bed, early to rise kind of girl, makes me the perfect partner to frolic through fields with, while wearing daisy chains in our hair, falling and laughing in the sunshine while giggling till our sides hurt. The perfect person to share icecream cones with while holding hands and dreaming the kind of dreams, that only come, at the end of summer, when the the light begins it's decent into golden glow, just a wee bit earlier than the day before. Because I'm a magical daytime dreamer that will forever entice you with my version of the life changing party, that you cannot miss, it just happens to start at 6am.
Faith is Everything and by Everthing I Mean You
Faith! faith. What is faith? Is faith believing in god? What is god? Well, we all know (if you have read my other posts) that I think god is our connection to our internal self. Our true self. Our soul. Our inner being. Because everything is connected...so your soul is everything. Your soul is you, your soul is me, your soul is the universe, the earth, the trees. Your soul is a tiger, your soul is the newborn, your soul is infinity. So, if faith is the trust in god, which is the trust in our inner-self, then faith is the trust in everything.
Phew. Ok. So what the heck does that mean in practical terms? What does that mean on the days we wake up gripped by the inner-fear of whatever is going on in our life right now; whatever is our current biggest struggle. Be it, finances, romance, health, family, global warming, humanity and on and on and on. Pick all the above; there are plenty of things in all of our lives to focus on to prove to ourselves that it's futile!! The jig is up. Life sucks and I'm a huge failure. And trust me, we all have days like this. My last one was actually Tuesday. Yep just two days ago and today I'm sitting and writing a post about faith. And why?? Because I have found a way to foster this faith in myself, so thoroughly, that even an anxiety filled day just a mere 48 hours ago, that had me comatose in my bed, reeling from the fact that I am still single after divorcing 13 years ago, that my business is 12 years old and still nowhere near the scale I had envisioned, that I do soooo much self work and still wake up so unbelievably depressed sometimes that all i can do is lay in bed, cannot keep me down. The screaming meanies may visit my thoughts but they cannot rock my internal faith.
I'll tell you what that internal faith looks like. My brain. "You are an unlovable failure". Internal me "I hear ya, and you can hang for a second, and I'll love you, sad mean thoughts, but you are not reality and even thought you feel bad today, you are going to be fine tomorrow."
Does that sound too simple? it's not. I have trained my inner-self to come out, big and bold and wise when needed, to talk my brain off the ledge. My inner-self is very kind and patient with my, sometimes, insane head and always wins the battle in the end.
How did I train my inner-self? It was a lot diligent work, that I often failed at, but always went back to. I have listed all the things I do and have tried in a past blog post, so I'm not going to do that again. I'm gonna talk today about the one, very specific thing I do to retrain and reprogram my thoughts so that I can lead a happier life filled with faith.
Mantra. Yes. Mantra. You can pick it, whatever you want it to be. Mine has changed a few times. Pick your manta and I'll explain how to use it. To me a mantra is just a little prayer that disrupts your wandering, sometimes mean brain, and connects you back to your inner-self (god). Your Mantra can be, god please help me, sat nam, gods will not mine, soul please take over, scooby doo I love you, just whatever calls you back to your soul (god). Simple enough, right? And now I'll give you a very concrete way to use it through example.
For many years after my divorce, I was obsessed with the fact that my ex was re-married to the women he left me for and that they were 10 times (in my mind or in reality) more happy and successful than me. And I felt like no matter where I turned, even when I was trying to not think or see anything about them, the universe constantly, put them and their life in my clear vision. I would try and stay away and someone would bring them up, or one of their posts would pop up on my popular page, or I would go to a blog and there would be an article about them. I felt like I could not get away and they occupied way more of my thoughts than was healthy. My unhealthy obsession was seriously attracting information on them into my realm. And not only was it attracting info on them, but it was blocking my access to happiness, success, love and to my inner-self (god). Finally I was so fed up with myself that I said NO MORE and I picked a mantra to relieve me from this insanity. The mantra at the time was, "God please remove this obsession", and every-time they popped in my head for even a tiny mere second, I immediately, over and over said this mantra. After about a month I felt relief. After about two months people stopped bringing them up; I stopped seeing signs about them out in the world. After about three months they scarcely entered my thoughts. After about 6 months I just didn't think about them and no longer needed to practice the mantra. After about a year I was able to open my heart to the thought of them and feel genuinely not affected. After about two years when they randomly popped in my head I thought of them fondly, with love and admiration.
Through this simple tactic of constantly retraining my mind by interrupting the harmful thought and connecting back to god, I was able to move past something that was very painful (and rooted in other childhood trauma and abandonment fears) and not just move past it, but eventually get to a place of love and forgiveness. It's so simple and has been so effective in my life. It has completely instilled in me an unshakable faith. I know now, deep in my heart, that even things that bring me pain, even hard times, eventually will make me grow and heal and become a better person.
I can take it one step further. Not only do I feel affection towards them, I am 100% thankful that I went through everything I went through with my ex. That is probably a different blog post, but because of everything that happened I have a way bigger and better life today than I may have without that pain. I know it's annoying and cliche, but everything happens for a reason and with enough time and clarity you can find growth and gifts from all of your most painful experiences. And knowing this makes it sooooo much easier to get through the hard times. Now when they appear I go, "ok hard times I'm ready for you, and I'm so excited to eventually find out why you are here and to receive all the eventual gifts form your arrival" (there are also swear words and moping in between my mantra).
Find your mantra...and practice it like a full time job. And in time the peace that comes from true faith will become part of your second nature. It doesn't mean, no more pain, it just means a sturdy bedrock of peace for your pain to play out on. That peace comes from complete faith in EVERYTHING, because you understand you are, EVERYTHING. So no matter what the universe slings at you, you will know that your connection to self and to everything and to god, will not only get you through it, but eventually make you a better, happier person. This is real faith and it's already inside you.
Universe can you hear me??
I have been away from home and life for about a month. I went Northern California for around 11 days to see friends and family over new years and then came home and immediately left for Spain and Lisbon.
It was my very first time traveling overseas by myself and I was pretty worried at first. I even thought about cancelling my trip a few days before departure because I was feeling so scared and overwhelmed. Everyone kept telling me, "traveling alone is such a great experience", and what I heard was, "yeah I also do not have a partner to travel with so I have to convince myself that traveling alone is great".
My fear surrounding this trip and my disbelief that it could actually be wonderful is surprising, considering how much I enjoy spending time alone. I really do not mind doing things by myself and sometimes I prefer it. So this all out anxiety war against the basic working of my personality and preferences was just ridiculous. SO I boarded that plane like a boss and took off for 14 days on my own! Well, now the secret is out; traveling alone is pretty awesome.
Of course there were a few times that I felt frustrated or lonely, but I got to go at my own pace, do the things I really wanted to do. I was able to sleep when I wanted to, eat when I was ready and take detours or change my plans if I felt like it. All in all, I got to have the trip that I wanted without worrying about someone else's needs. It almost feels a bit selfish to travel alone! It's very indulgent.
It was important for me to take this trip and to take this time to really invest in myself and have some time to get inspired again. I have been feeling a bit stuck in my life, both personally and with the business. We had a few slow months, Christmas picked up but I fell a little behind with my clothing line due to the slow down, I have been feeling a little unsure about my path in lei of these issues. It's so darn personal when you own a small business. When times are tough its hard not to take it as a personal assault from the universe. It can make you question everything. It's all tied to ego, fear and and a lack of faith. These are all the things I'm always working on. You have to be a tough cookie to be in small business. You have to be able to deal with ups and downs and take it all in stride. It's just part of the game and usually something I'm pretty good at but right now I just kinda fell a bit like I'm floating in limbo and waiting on everything. And by everything I mean the universe and god and myself, to bring me a sign, or some help or some direction. And I really felt like taking this trip might open me up and help me get some clarity.
I've only been home a few days and at this point I'm still just trying to get back on my proper sleeping/eating/exercising schedule, but I feel like some answers are going to start coming to me soon.
I spent a few days in Barcelona and was so happy that my old dear friend, Anne, from SF reached out and told me she was living there. Those of you from SF will remember her based on her old business. She owned Minnie Wilde the go to Boutique in the early 2000s for cool girls in SF. It was kind of kismet to sit down with a former successful shop owner and designer who completely changed her life. She is living in Spain, no longer designs and everything is different. She is happy and excited about her new life. It got me daydreaming of running off to a new country and starting over.
While I was in Spain I went to the Island Of Mallorca for seven days to do some Kundalini Yoga training. It was an interesting way to split up the trip. Part sightseeing, hanging out, eating and just plain old vacation, mixed with seven intense days of meditation and training for about twelve hours a day. I was hopping after this I was going to come home and write the most amazing post about my spiritual awakening and deep understanding of the universe and all it's cosmic workings, but so far at this point I feel like all that information is just floating in the atmosphere and has not yet landed inside me.
After the yoga retreat I went to Lisbon for five days. I HEART LISBON. I don't know if was all the yoga and meditation, but I got there and just felt shiny and bright and peaceful and at home. It's seriously one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to; pastel colored building set on top of cobblestone streets perched on hills overlooking the Tagus river, that looks more like a bay as it opens to the Atlantic Ocean. I felt like I never, ever wanted to leave.
But leave I did, and now I'm here back in LA and nothing has changed. I don't know what I was expecting to happen, but I had some deep intuitive feeling that if I went on this trip and went to Yoga training that the universe was going to somehow open itself you to me and and quickly start creating massive change in my life. And you know? Maybe it is? Maybe in the background the inner workings of my life have already started their steps to a change in my destiny. Maybe I'm just impatient?
And I probably am, but I do know that this year, is going to be a year of really expanding and setting my intentions towards more success, more happiness, more love and more travel.
I never sat down and did my New Year intentions but I did scribble a bunch down during the full moon in Leo meditation that I did in Mallorca, so I will transcribe them here. Let you and the entire universe know what my passions, desires and intentions are for my future. Ya gotta ask if you want to receive, right? SO here goes nothing!
- BellJar and Sasha Darling to expand. This means more money, more employees, more sales, more customers, more social media impact, more creativity more fun! Just more!
- New creative opportunities/investors, partners
- A possible design show
- Invest and help more people. Help my staff expand more. Do more work with other women to help them expand and have happiness and success.
- Write more (hello blog)
- Work less (yes I want more of all the success and less of the hard work & I really do believe this can be a reality)
- Travel more (Greece next)
- Feel more validated and appreciated by people in my life or people I work with
- More money
- To have the cash flow to finish all the repairs and decor on my new house
- Another AIrbanb
- Retreats with other women
- A jewelry Line
- Other secret creative project that I cant divulge here and investors to partner with me on them
- A handsome, successful, spiritually inclined, hard working, funny, smart and fantastic in bed Life Partner.
- Farm in sebastopol.
- More social media followers (yes we are all striving for this and it's ok to admit it)
- To become more magnetic & Happy and fulfilled
- Surplus in my finances
- To workout more and to have the energy and dedication to my sadhana meditation practice
- To be in Domino, Sunset Magazine, Apartmento, NY times, and more!
- To be creative, happy, manageable work hours with freedom and an unlimited access to money! More love!!
So not too much to ask for? Right? And written during full moon in Leo (with an eclipse) and I am a Leo, so I'm sure it's all in progress right now! This is gonna be my year! Do you hear me universe? Ready to receive!
Apparently I've always been searching
My family is here in LA staying with me for the holidays. We all know that family is the #1 source for pushing our buttons and bringing out the very worst qualities in us. Of course they do....they did all the programming on us and they know every little thing to say and do to get a reaction out of us. And when they don't get those reactions, they have no idea how to relate anymore. They don't know what to do when you stop playing the games with them! So they are forced to have a new experience with you.
I've been in Alanon for a few years now, and I have really gotten better at not taking the bait. And the amazing thing is, the less I react to all the old family games and unwind all this programming, the less my family even tries to engage in unhealthy ways. It's no fun to fuck with people that will not play along. Eventually through your non reactions, they just lose interest. And then something amazing happens; you start to have real relationships and conversations with your family. You leave the old roles and get to know eachother as humans. And that is amazing. Trust me...if I can do it, any of you can. My mothers programming goes so deep and I don't know if it will ever be even slightly loosened. But over the years, as I have learned acceptance, healthy detachment, the ability to pause when agitated (like 80% of the time), forgiveness, and most of all patience, my mom and I have a totally different relationship. And I'll tell you, she has not changed much. So you don't need other people to change in order to have more peaceful relationships. With the right tools, you can really set the tone and change the dynamic. My fav thing to say these days is, "that is interesting" or "you might be right". These two phrases save me from hours of arguments and bad feelings.
This, honestly, isn't even what I wanted to write about, but it's because of these tools, that I had the conversations with my mom the past few days, that inspired this post.
My Mom was a hippy and she thinks of herself as a spiritual person. But she does not meditate, I don't think she is very connected to her source, and she is kinda freaked out by how spiritual I have become; especially about me using the word god so freely. So we talked about it and dissected why it felt unsettling to her.
It was what I would expect. The word has all this complicated baggage for her. Christianity, hateful gods, repression and all sorts of things come up for for her when she hears the word God (and I totally relate, used to feel the same way). Although she believes in something, she is not sure what it is and it's kinda scary for me to have all these strong beliefs that I formed all on my own, without my families input. It's also hard to see me change (even if she sees it's for the better) because it makes her feel like a bad Mom or like I'm moving away from her. This shit is so complicated to unravel, but it feels so good when we can.
Anyway while we were talking she told me a bunch of stuff I had totally forgotten about from when I was a little girl. Like I said in my last post, I did not believe in God 8 years ago. Not only that, I was mad as hell at the God I do not believe in. But my Mom reminded me that when I was a little girl I always asked her about God and what religion we were and wanted to know why we did not have more of a spiritual aspect to our life. She also reminded me that I always went to church with my friends families. I went to every kind of church you can think of. I even let, much to my mothers horror, some Johavoh Witnesses into our home to talk to them about God. This all went on till about 8th grade.
It was around this time that my life got really tumultuous. Family stuff got really bad. I was very unhappy, I started drinking and doing drugs and was on the road to being pretty dark. But even then, I would do acid and think I was having a spiritual experience. I was pretty much looking for God my entire childhood. I had totally forgotten about all of this. I thought I only became interested in spirituality 13 years ago when I went to see a healer in SF, after my divorce. But the truth is, I have been on this path since I was brought into this world, in my current incarnation.
I'll tell you what? It felt really good to find this missing piece to my journey. And I would not have realized this, or maybe not as soon, if I didn't have such a wonderful and repaired relationship with my mother today (who is the exact same person she was always been). 8 years ago I could hardly stand to be in the same room with her and most the time, when we were, we were screaming at eachother. I'm so thankful that this isn't our reality today. I am truly blessed to have her and I'm so happy to receive her insight and wisdom.
Hello you all-
I'm out her in Joshua Tree while Airbanb does a final home check! I got approved to be art of Airbandb Plus which s so ahhhhmazzing! I really love having and running vacation homes and beautiful spaces that I can share with other people. It is one of my true passions and one that I'm looking at more as I map out my future. If there is one gift that I know I have, it is the gift of making lovely spaces that people connect with. Spaces that make people feel good. I really want to look at that, embrace it and use it as a way both to connect with others and provide for myself. So this is a step in the right direction. The airbandb photographer told me he has shot like 40 places out here in Joshua Tree and so far only four have been approved. Feels like a clear signal that God and Source and Universe agrees this is a good path for me.
And so lets talk abut my use of the word God. When I first got sober and I would go to AA meetings where people would talk about God and higher power, I would literally feel angry!! I hated that word and I was pretty sure I was going to get indoctrinated into some Judo/Christianity cult. I was totally irked and annoyed and pissed off. But I was also sad. I was also broken. I also felt completely unlovable, worthless and desperate. So I stayed. Because I did not know where else to go. I had tried therapy, yoga, healers, tarot readers, psychedelic drugs, drinking more, abstaining form alcohol, getting married, getting divorced, buying a home, quitting my job, starting a business, moving to a new city and on and on and none of it was working. I couldn't figure out why I had such a huge gaping hole in my heart. And honestly you guys, I didn't even drink that much. I drank about as much as your average drinker. A few drinks a day. Some nights too many. Some-days none at all. But I was just broken and having (i didn't know it at the time) a spiritual bottom. I needed a life that was more meaningful, but what I thought was meaningful was totally out of whack. Honestly what I needed to fill that hole was God and other humans. I'm sure you all are thinking...yep she got abducted by the old AA and is now some religious freak. They got her.
But here is the thing. I think at our base and at our source we all want to know God (call it whatever you want). We want connectivity, we want love, we want life to feel meaningful, we just can't figure out how the hell to do it, because we are raised in the dysfunctional system (paradigm) that rips us away from connectivity and makes all the things that separate us from eachother and ourselves, our Gods; money, fame, looks, success, sex, being better than everyone, being the winner, getting more more more at all cost. And don't get me wrong, all of these things are great in alignment, but when they become the source of all of our inspiration, we end up so disconnected and out of whack, that we can't understand why we have everything we ever were taught we should want and are still miserable. And the reason is simple, our # one priority should be a connection to ourselves, to source to others and to God. When we start there everything else will fall into place.
I learned this lesson big time in my own. After growing up in a pretty chaotic home, I had this vision of my life where I could finally be in control and be happy. This vision included a great career where I made a ton of money doing something creative, was married to a good looking man, had a home, a nice car and to travel frequently. And by time I was 30 I pretty much had all those things. And I was still miserable. It eventually all fell apart and I decided to make a huge life shift. I quit my job and started BellJar. I had always believed I was meant to follow my own creative voice and if I did this, I would finally be happy! And it worked, for a few years until it didn't anymore. Once again I had created my vision of my life and felt empty.
This is when I moved away to LA. I was convinced I just needed a change of scenery and then I would fell better. But I didn't. This is when I finally crawled into AA broken and sad and angry at a God I DID NOT BELIEVE IN.
And I stayed and I listened and I did the things, that those weird people told me to do. Slowly I started to let in a sliver of light. I decided it was ok to say higher power and think of the trees as my higher power. And that literally was all it took for me to start to grow and heal. Here I am, I think, 8 years later, throwing the God bomb around like it's nothing. And no I am not religious. I am not a member of any religion, I am deeply spiritual and have a wonderful connection to my source. But also, I no longer have resentment towards any and/or all walks of spirituality and/or the word God. Whatever gives you peace and whatever connects you to LOVE I am down with it. Now if your God speaks to you of hate, separation and judgment, I'm not down with that brand of God. If your religion tells you you are righteous or better, I'm not signing up for that plan. If you think of God as vengeful or hateful, well that is not my God. My God is the universe and the tress and the stars and all the planets and all the people and all the creatures and God is me and God is you and on my best days I love you and me and everything (everyday is not necessarily my best day).
Letting just a little bit of God in was really all I needed to get on the right path. I still desire money, I still want success, I still feel like I need to be known and to be seen and to have a husband and a nice car and a nice home, but what I want more than anything is a connection to my source. To be in the rhythm of the universe. To know God. And on the days that I can start there, on the days that I can really remember what it is, that feeds me and my soul, well it's on these days that I know a glimmer of what peace feels like. Usually it feels like being in the cosmic flow of energy while eating a giant big hot fudge Sunday, while being embraced by pure grace and love and a hot guy that looks like Elvis. Sign me up for that forever...