New Chapter

studio luminous mirimar

After much soul-searching and uncertainty, I’ve turned the page to a new chapter. This website is the metaphorical title and this post is to share with you what studio luminous is.

My journey in life has taken me along many paths, from building speakers and washing cars to owning a electrical contracting business and teaching yoga. Much of what I have been searching for along this way is how to find contentment through my work and in life in general. The way I understood how to do that was to be as selfless as possible and then somehow, through that, I would find a way to be happy myself… After experiencing the peril of that mentality more times that I would like to admit, I moved to Santa Barbara and I decided to look more closely at my life.

During my ownership of a 10 employee construction business in Minnesota during the great recession, I poured every bit of myself into trying to keep my business alive. It took me working 100 hour weeks for well over a year to realize that wasn’t possible… It also showed me the limits of hard work and determination.

Nearly destroyed by that experience, I knew I needed some time to reflect and recover. When I moved to Santa Barbara I created that time. I also began a regular yoga practice. Yoga felt amazing! It gave me relief, self-reflection and a discipline to heal physically and emotionally. As time passed though, I started to apply that same ideal of ‘selflessness’ and self-starvation to yoga. Rather than an internal anguish this time, I created the dysfunction in a physical form. The beauty of what yoga and giving was for me transformed into something that injured me intensely and felt very much like everything else prior to that in life. In addition, yoga seemed to enable/promote my willingness to give everything to others and leave nothing for myself.

Again, I felt destroyed. Not only did I feel that what I was doing wasn’t right for me, but I felt that I wasn’t able to find anything in life that didn’t hurt. Through this process, as well as the work with a dear friend of mine, Voge Smith, I began to remember events that had happened to me when I was a child that I had blocked from my memory. This ripped apart the foundation of what I had thought my past was and I started to seriously question everything. I saw that what I needed to destroy was my confusion rather than myself. In order to do this, I needed the freedom and space to abandon my belief system as well as the means to give to myself in the ways that I had felt unable to in the past; I sold everything that had tied me down, quit my work and committed myself to following my heart and unlearning my broken beliefs.

Over the last 6 years, I’ve been able to see things in a new way and find some clarity. I’ve realized that I need to give to myself in the way I had thought I needed to give to others. This site is a space for me to do that as well as house the things in life that I find beautiful and inspiring while following my creative process whole-heartedly. I’ve purposefully left the concept of the site open-ended enough to give space to all my skill sets and whims. It’s also a public setting to embody a model of self-love and compassion that isn’t widely supported or even understood. It is my belief that as I do this, the contentment and love that I’ve created will ripple out to the people in my sphere.

Right Effort

studio luminous right effort

I have been doing some remodeling on a clients home in Palm Springs and much of the labor I am doing personally. I will travel down on a Wednesday, stay with my mom nearby and then work from sunrise to sunset until Sunday. I have just recovered from a work week that completely exhausted me and now that Sunday is near I can say that I am finally beginning to feel normal.

The trip before last, I logged over 60 hours in 3.5 days and it’s fair to say I was still feeling the effects of that trip when I went down again 2 weeks later. I thought I would pace myself after coming out of that trip… Take it easy. I was closer to 40 hours in the same amount of time and on the drive home I did feel much better. To my credit, if I would have left it at just that things might have been better, but I had committed to helping some friends light a new studio when I returned and it pushed me over the edge.

After all the yoga and teaching right effort I still have a lot to learn about the balance of what my mind wants and what my body/being wants. How do we know when is enough and when is too much. If yoga was the solution to everything, one might say start in your body and get familiar with the right amount of effort there and that will inform the rest of your life. In my opinion, yoga isn’t the only solution and it proves difficult to always apply metaphors into all aspects of your life.

For example: There is a deadline, you have a set amount of work that needs to be done by the deadline and it’s up to you to do it. Well, the mind says you can have it all done a day early and you might even have time to relax for a swim or two. As the hours go by you begin to have a sneaking suspicion that it may only be one swim or you might even need to stay later the last day to get the job done. Most likely you won’t think of Warrior I in that moment and say “Oh yeah, that’s what I need to do!”

I assume you have experienced a situation like this… I have repeated it over and over. When I had my electrical business I had roughly 600 jobs a year that me and my employees churned through. As the free market dictates a fair price and consistent expectation, a business owner must find a balance in all of that or perish. Well… I perished. A few big jobs that I didn’t get paid for and it all crumbled. That, took 4 years to recover from.

I am nowhere near the 100 hours a week I worked then but I still have the idea in my head that if I think it I can do it. I don’t think this thought process is unique to me and from much of the rhetoric of the yoga/new age community it seems to reinforce that to some extent. Just believe and it will be. Your thoughts create things. The problem, I believe, begins with why we want what we want and where are we placing our expectations.

What is the real goal? Who and what created the deadline? What, if anything, happens really when that deadline or expectation doesn’t get met? How do I know when I need to stop and when that is just laziness? Why are we so scared of laziness?

My guide in finding the answers as of late is listen to yourself. Listen to the part of you that says it’s enough. Try not only going in the direction of bigger, better more. Try pulling back and observing. Whether it’s your yoga practice or your workplace, observe and listen to the little intuitive hits that come up.

If you are consistent and persistent, your level of effort doesn’t need to be 110% all the time. If everyday you wake up and spend 5 minutes meditating and being still, that’s more effective than sitting down for 60 minutes once a week. If we don’t enjoy our experience as we are moving through life then what are we doing? Why are we doing? What is it satisfying?

This is not to discount dedication and diving in deep to our interests; often going beyond what is comfortable is necessary to gain a new perspective. My main point is to look at the prime mover or the purpose of the action. If it stems from inspiration and love for what you’re doing then this article might seem irrelevant. If it stems from a sense of obligation or responsibility I think it may speak more to the point.

Most of us have responsibilities that are not inspiring and parts of our lives that feel like they take rather than give to us. It is my hope that by practicing observing and then acting on our inner wisdom we can be guided to find a more enjoyable experience. Thank you for reading ~