To live with intent- what a glorious thing- such power behind a single word.
My passion for intentional living has multiplied amply over the past few months, changing my way of thinking, feeling, and acting. What does it feel like to live with intention?
Powerful, surely. Invigorating, of course! It also requires daily consistence, a commitment to your authentic self to be the champion of the core beliefs within you and that little voice that resides inside.
Your gut, your God, your angels- call it what you will- we all have it and it is always guiding us along our path. Much like Alec Baldwin narrating the Tenenbaum Clan, it soothingly reminds us what we have always known and gently sways our focus to where it truly belongs.
To honor that daily commitment and keep that focus is a delicate act of gentle love and tenacious communication with our true selves. Do you know your true self? Do you know what you truly believe? Yeah, I thought I did too and THAT, dear reader, is where this love note begins- somewhere between an easy breeze and a much needed awakening (insert loving, musical “thud” here).
My personal journey towards intentional living began not too long ago- or was it a lifetime ago?- when my inner Alec Baldwin, my Source, led me right to the luminescent and achingly chic, Mr. Michael C. Bryan.
First, a glimpse into the journey for my authentic self (#allaboutme).
Here is one of the first things I learned about my inner voice, my Source: it is your perfect partner in intentional living because it always guides you to what is best for YOU. Any resistance you have towards that internal compass, is coming from somewhere else.
For many of us, myself included, that somewhere else is often belief systems we have created based on experiences and/or our environment- conditions that have led us away from trusting unfathomably in our Mr. Baldwin.
To those of you who tuned into the podcast, I had an epiphany regarding my own outdated belief systems after my conversation with Jon and Michael that I thought important to share. My belief system was not centered on money vs. the arts as I originally believed. When it came to finances, my parents always taught us that money comes and goes, that it was important to be happy and know your abundance regardless of your current financial state.
My life is always abundant, so this is a belief I am happy to keep and expand upon. And having been creatives themselves in their youth- my mother a dancer and my father a writer and musician- my parents always encouraged being creative, which my little right-brained brothers and I appreciated. Yes, their adult lives may have implied that wealth did not stem from the arts, but there was still a missing piece I could not place.
And here is the eureka moment I had while listening to the podcast: at some point, I created the belief system that wild freedom and imagination do not co-exist with a successful, thriving adulthood. Do you see how different that FEELS? (maybe not because it’s MY old belief system, but I’m telling you when it occurred to me: chills!)
None of us really believe that creatives can’t get rich- we see it in our own cultures now more than ever! Yet somewhere along the line, I began to believe that to be the strong, powerful- albeit still wildly feminine and charming- adult woman I knew I truly was, I would have to eventually abandon my thirst for rebellion and freedom. I thought that THAT woman I had envisioned in my childhood dreams would only have hints left of a reformed, wild youth.
This was a belief system I only propelled by marrying a very sweet, very traditional young man who shared that same belief. In the infancy of our marriage, we would laugh at how fun it would be to look back on these wild years of freeing abandon and rebellion.
Oh, the memories we would have when we finally settled down with our white picket fence, curly haired cherub children, and 2.5 cars in our family home. I shunned responsibility, parenthood, sobriety, and even ambition for years- likening it to Medusa- like I would freeze into eternal, boring adulthood the moment our eyes met.
We were living in a perpetual state of leisurely courtship and fun.
Almost ten years to the day later- do you know what my sweet, traditional husband said to me the day he left? With tears streaming down his face, he said, “Veronica,” he rarely used my first name, but when he did it was always with a Spanish accent, so be sure to roll your ‘R’ when you read that, “you will never be ready to settle down. There’s always another adventure, always another vacation, always more fun. It will never be enough. You are never going to grow up. And I’m tired. Baby, I have to go.”
If by “settle down”, he meant give up my freedom, my rebellion, my spirit, then he was right. Ultimately, as much as I thought I loved him, I could not act against my authentic self. It broke my heart, and I cried for weeks. Even when I did not realize that my belief system was complete falsehood- my gut, my soul, my Source knew, and it was already stronger than I imagined. I just did not realize it yet.
At that point, all I could consciously acknowledge was that something from within was unwilling to honor the life I had originally agreed to…and that something from really, really deep within suddenly felt free.
I have long ago released the guilt that came from planning a life I could not deliver on. We are the better for it and I wish him all the best. And I cannot tell you the relief I felt to finally be able to identify and subsequently vanquish this outdated notion! What a beautiful thing though- to be so engaged with your inner being that you can literally FEEL and know when something is coming from a place other than your Source.
The minute I said it on the podcast- I felt that there was something more to uncover. Of course, I now know THAT woman- aka. me- needs all of her wild charms, rebellious spirit, and ample freedom to take on the world as she is meant to.
Enter the fabulous and immaculately dressed: Mr. Michael C. Bryan of MCBHappier.
I met Michael at my place of work while approaching a line of clients waiting for assistance. For reasons beyond my conscious knowing- cough, cough, my Source- I skipped over the first two individuals in line (#sorrynotsorry) and gravitated right for him.
Within minutes of meeting him, I already knew enough about our marvelous universe to know our encounter was pure serendipity. When we met, I was really starting to settle into my own financial savvy and independence. I was in love with a fellow creative, I was traveling, and had just acquired my first solo apartment in the city.
My name, my credit, my income- no roommates or man- and it felt great. So why exactly did I summon Mr. Bryan into my world? Once again, as I had done repeatedly in the past, I was under-performing at a job I disliked so intensely that it impacted my day-to-day happiness.
Within THREE weeks of meeting him, however, my approach went from one of daily heartache to personal productivity so vast I was becoming known as a top producer- all from simply changing my focus.
Michael and I were doing more than tackling the old belief systems, ALL of which I could not believe I had housed for so long. I was relearning how to know my Source, feel my power, hold a steady focus while still keeping my natural, free spirited vibe, and to really love my authentic self. I have always been confident, positive, and enjoy adapting to life changes.
New city, new job, new boy, new life- I love it, I thrive on it, it always gives me such a sense of adventure and excitement for what is to come. What Michael was teaching me was how to be all of those things and much more, unwaveringly so and despite my daily conditions.
Michael was teaching me that if we can FEEL good within, the conditions around us being equal to the task, will rise to the occasion and match how we feel. Sounds a little too hippie for two ex-corporate successes with good hair based out of the city that never sleeps, huh?
Read on, skeptic.
Things happened as they should when you are shedding outgrown beliefs and relearning anew: my life was shifting and I was attracting new things. Old needs, old priorities, old loves (oh yes, there is great love after divorce, alas that is for another essay) they were falling away- not because they were wrong for me, that is an important distinction- but because they had provided the lessons I needed for that time in my life. I appreciated them immensely. We have chosen everything that comes to us in our life, and it all comes for a reason.
Thanks to this newfound approach and appreciation for every aspect of life, I was able to rediscover skills and professional strengths, as well as develop new helpful habits. I started helping a friend more and more with his company, a growing clothing brand whose culture I admired and enjoyed contributing to.
The universe was giving me hints at what my career path looked like: comments artists would make about my presence and the ease with which I could navigate communications and transactions amongst creatives. It was there, I could see the outline. But how to proceed?
Did I mention I was experiencing great success at my corporate job? There were talks of promotions and bonuses and metaphorical back slaps aplenty. It must have sounded something like a vinyl scratch when- exactly one week after announcing that I ranked amongst the top tiered performers in the country- I was “let go” from my company.
Now, most old belief systems and many Carrie Bradshaw fans would tell you that being an unemployed single girl (with a well-documented shopping/travel/fun habit) living in New York City is…less than ideal. Well, I have never been most people, and I was certainly less so now that I had my Fairy Godfather, Michael C. Bryan, in my corner.
Now. Here. Comes. The. Magic. Like never here-to-fore and forever after onward, my new belief system kicked in and it was a thing of magnificence. All I could think of were the ripe possibilities and opportunities waiting for me. It is our time, Source was cooing excitedly as it always does after a big life change, and this time I listened with my whole being.
I wasted zero time.
First, good-vibe-emergency meeting with MCB. Check. Next, meeting with my friend: what does your brand need and what can I do? Check. Breathe, meditate, stay focused yet chill- THIS is the big show we have been training for, sparkles. Check, check, check.
Michael and I came up with a plan- I wrote out my ideal life.
Imagination gone wild, go cray cray, Michael exclaimed. Inspiration struck and I was hooked. As someone who usually had a passive, “let the universe take the wheel” approach, this time I acted more daringly and spirited than ever before- not blindly though- I let my feelings of elation and freedom guide me, trusting all the while that my Source had my back. And boy, did she ever!
Less than a month after being let go, I was co-creating and curating an international art residency program taking place in the spring of 2017, debuting in Japan and expanding from there.
I meet with creative entrepreneurs, business owners, and like-minded parties- deciding on their vision and elevating their company to the next level. Communications expert, talent magnet, dream aficionado, boutique proprietor, mastery of first impressions, permanent resident of “outside the box”- I have been the wearer of many hats and developed many a skill in the quest for my dream job.
And wouldn’t you know it- each one of my lovely chapeaus is coming in handy in receiving my dream CAREER, supporting my kindred daydreamers, and building my own sparkly empire.
To live with intention and attract what is truly best for the authentic you, is an ongoing commitment to yourself. It needs your focus, your consistency, your love, and your truth- all of your truth. The belief systems we all have in place, for whatever the reason, are ours and ours alone.
We implemented them and we have reinforced them- only we can know which beliefs have already served their purpose and when it is time to discard the outdated ones. Remember, we are who we are because of the life we have lived. Every smile, every story, every tear helped guide us to this point.
Appreciate this life in its magnificent entirety, while still enjoying the fact that we are so much more than the sum of our experiences.
When Michael asked me to evoke a word and a vision to embody my idyllic feeling it came readily and deliciously: freedom. Do you know what picture immediately and still comes to mind when I think of that word, which is often in our work? NO, not Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (although he is a close second). It’s me at 14 on a road trip with my family through Northern Arizona- lush, green forest surrounding us.
There were heavy droplets of dew in the air and I was sticking my head out of the car window- as I always have and forever will do on road trips- with my eyes closed and a huge smile on my face.
My father was playing his favorite road trip soundtrack: a combination of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Beach Boys, and Bob Marley, when he turned and said to me, “Make sure you make a memory of this moment. Take a picture with your mind of how it looks and how it feels..”
Can you imagine- the same person who contributed so strongly to an old belief system I no longer wanted, also simultaneously helped create my visual token of independence and wildling nature.
That’s my dad- fiercely, unapologetically divergent. A reformed rebel, a silent wit, a cynical hopeless romantic. I am sure he had wished for a simpler life for his only daughter. And I was almost willing to oblige him. Almost. What beautiful contrast the universe shows us through our every life experience. What a life, so much to be thankful for!
It must be said, I am also so very thankful to Michael C. Bryan- for not only fortifying the appreciation I had for every moment of my life, but for also helping me regain the essence and magic I once knew as a child. Michael sees us as our Source sees us.
As you could probably tell on the podcast, I still well up with emotion sometimes when I hear him describe me as the woman I once daydreamed I would become. It has come to be- I am her, and she is me, unequivocally and irreversibly so. I blow a kiss to the brave, little girl inside of me. In the face of lost loves and lost jobs, she was the toughest part of me and she never gave up on who she knew we were meant to be, even when I could only see glimpses of her.
Everything worth doing- be it rebellion or creation, revolt or transformation- is done better with intent. Yes, we are always creating our own reality. Yes, the universe is always working in tangent with us, always with our best interest at heart.
So support that with action- you have an entire UNIVERSE rooting for you- be bold, dream bigger! Don’t effort- it’s not hard- start from your authentic core and find where your love takes you, where it feels good, that sweet spot that makes your knees shake and lights you up from the inside out and ACT on that feeling.
We are always, always, always on our path, as Michael (always) says, so there is everything to gain. Like a magnifying glass, intention is what gives focus to the spark, and that focus is what grows your spark into a wildfire.
I’ll leave you with one of our favorite Rumi quotes, “Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” Now repeat after me in your best Alec Baldwin smirk and rasp, “Burn, baby, burn.”
Thanks to Jon for allowing me this platform to share my passion and story. Writing always brings me peace and this was especially therapeutic. I hope it brings some clarity and levity to the journey we are all always on.
And all my love to Michael, for helping me regain the essence and power I once knew as a little girl, and turn it into the wildfire that it is now.
Veronica is currently “living with intent” and her sunflowers in Brooklyn, NY and loves wandering the city, writing in the park, and commingling amongst the vibrancy she is so happy to call home. She is a lover of adventure, collects experiences and photographs, and has been known to book international travel within a week of departure, because “Paris is always a good idea”.
Veronica is a consultant and partner to creative entrepreneurs and like-minded agents of imagination, assisting in elevating their brand to match their vision. She is also a champion of the local creative community- supporting and partnering with local galleries, schools, and artists, as well as helping place talent in a variety of projects and homes. Veronica’s passion projects (and she passions hard) includes sponsorship acquisition and fundraising for an international art residency program she is co-creating and curating to debut in March 2017 with a focus in bringing modern art and performance to a rural, traditional Onsa (hot spring resort) currently being restored in Ishikawa, Japan- a town known for its exquisite craftsmanship, zen-filled properties, and majestic, ancient traditions. Through this project- aptly named Fusion- they will be offering art-centric workshops to the local communities and presenting a modern, vibrant, interactive event, while also providing 10 urban artists the experience of a lifetime and showcasing their art in a unique and organic setting- merging our cultures in a truly magical way.
For any collaborative inquiries or further information including talent, content, media, unicorns, etc.- feel free to contact Veronica at veeurrea(at)gmail.com and you can also find her on Instagram @thenewyorkimport.