Sunny Sides

Come Sail Away

As summer has been in full swing, I’ve finally had a chance to breathe. I’ve begun working as a therapist at La Vie Counseling Center in Pasadena but the course load at USC has been lightening up. You would think I would feel relieved. And sure, that lasted about a day.

Now, I feel guilty.

Any spare time I have should be spent toward my next book to write, fitness class, marketing for speaking engagements—(fill in the blank with your own tasks). Instead of just being happy to relax, I have been burdening myself with unnecessary worries. Sure, these tasks are important goals but what good are they if I am not feeling well rested and spiritually nourished?

I think this is something we punish ourselves with all the time. Any chance we have to watch a movie, read a book for pleasure, or just sit and do nothing—we worry and fret over it. We think of other excuses that diminish this very much needed time, so that even when we do have an opportunity to enjoy, we judge ourselves for it.

We have to remind ourselves that it is okay to rest. It is not a bad thing to not be productive every waking hour of the day. It’s okay to not be productive for an entire week! Part of why I write this is because I need to remind myself to accept this free time openly. I need to embrace these days of unscheduled time and for once, not write a to-do list. Be okay with the unknown of the day. And if I just read a book, instead of write my next one? So be it. It is not in vain.

The other day I visited our family beach house and began painting. As an avid Lilly Pulitzer lover, I painted the nautical print with sailboats breezing by. It seemed fitting as I listened to the waves. In that solid hour of painting, I did not feel burdened to talk, plan, or prepare. I could just be. We call this concept “flow” where you can lose track of time and truly be present in the moment. It was such an enriching experience that I can’t wait to paint more prints next week.

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As I wrap up this post, I want to leave you with a quote that I heard a therapist say the other day:

“Too much of the time, we are human doings. We scurry around, busying ourselves with tasks. Instead, let us focus on simply existing as a human BEING.”

So, as we move through this week, are you a human doing, going through the motions? Or are you present, living and breathing as a human being?

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

Raise Your Hand High

o-CLASS-HAND-RAISING-facebookI spoke at my high school today for their annual Career Fair. I gave my presentation on the process of becoming an author, working in the entertainment industry and general interviewing/networking suggestions. When it came time to answer questions, all hands but one stayed down.

I could see it in their faces. Sure, they had questions, but their hand stayed seal-shut glued to the table. I remember being one of those students until a motivational speaker shared how important it is to raise your hand. Staying silent is fear personified; we let the power of judgment, embarrassment, defeat or confusion consume us.

Afterward, we’re left with a dull ache, wishing we had just asked that question or shared our idea. For the times we HAVE overcome our fear and raised our hands, the feeling of bravery and courage is freeing.

I know it’s not easy to make ourselves vulnerable; to offer a potential perception of ignorance when we humble ourselves to ask a question or divulge an opinion. But it is with speaking that connections are formed, interest is expressed and knowledge is gained. There is no harm that can come from it. Often times, the best questions lead to further comments which lead to great discussions which lead to fundamental and perhaps pivotal shifts in thinking.

Raise your hand proudly. Whether you’re asking a question, praising or dancing, don’t let anyone hold you back. This is one of our essential freedoms. Life is too good to not gain as much knowledge and create as many connections as we possibly can.

Next time you’ve got that nagging feeling of a question or thought coming on (oh, no!), just go ahead, and speak. You won’t regret that you did—in fact you’ll be glad. People want to hear what you have to say and chances are, some of them are thinking the same thing but are too afraid to speak up.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

A Growing Garden

Don’t you just love springtime? It’s absolutely beautiful out and after receiving this video, I had to share it with you all. Especially if you’re having a stressful day, taking a few minutes to watch the sheer magic of nature will give you a fresh perspective. Sit back, relax, and enjoy nature.

Keep shining,

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook

The Sunny Girl, Lauren Cook
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