What we’ve learned through the last year on the road…

29 Jul

So this week, having just passed the one-year anniversary of living on the road,  I decided to ask everyone to come up with the most important thing they’ve learned over the last year. Here are all of our answers.

Reggie: How to deal with stress. Heavy drinking, medications, crush your emotions down and deal with them later. Seriously, how to deal with my partners in a more mature way.

Evie: That I’m a stronger person than I thought I was.

Kasi: Not to argue with people in my head. I don’t know who said this, and I’m not qualified to defend it on an international level, but I have definitely come to believe it on an interpersonal level: “It is impossible to simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” No matter how private I think my thoughts are, if I’m waging war with someone in my head, they’re going to feel it. And even if they don’t know exactly what they’re feeling, they’re going to become convinced that they’re being attacked. And then they’ll attack back. It’s better to just let go of whatever it was  in the first place, and to resist the temptation to defend yourself when you feel like you’re being attacked.

I have to say, I think we’re all surprised that we survived the last year. There have definitely been some rough patches, and everybody has had to make many, many compromises and learn to let go of a lot of stuff. It hasn’t been easy, being stuffed in such a small space most of the time, constantly worried about money, trying to keep up with the demands of doing shows almost every weekend (and having to make stock for all of those shows!), and not having the luxury of an actual house to relax in. But we’ve all grown a tremendous amount, and we’ve had to constantly recommit to each other and to our common goals. I think, despite the bruises (mostly emotional) and the growing pains, that we’ve done a hell of a job pulling together and supporting each other. There isn’t any doubt in my own head that we’re all a lot stronger than we thought we were. And I, for one, am looking forward to the next adventure-filled year!

 

Bouncin’ in Denver

27 Jul

Hello, all – Babs here.

Well, we’re back in Denver for a bit. We got to go to Thunder in the Mountains, one of our favorite events. It was great to see people that we don’t get to see very often, and make a few new friends too. A busy weekend, but lots of fun (as always).

So now we have a couple of weekends off so we’re hanging around Colorado for a bit. Then we’ll be heading to Vegas for a show, after which we’ll stay in that part of the country to visit Salt Lake City.

This week Kasi is all excited because “her” movie is coming out. You might remember that she got to be an extra in the new Mila Kunis/Christina Applegate movie, “Bad Mom.” We think there’s a possibility of seeing the back of her head in one of the PTA scenes, so make sure you go and keep your eyes peeled for dark, fuzzy hair in one of the aisle seats! Reggie is waiting for the new Jack Reacher movie, where he got to wander around in a military uniform. I have to say it was kind of amusing seeing his face in an episode of SCI New Orleans. At least his was from the front!

I hope y’all are having a nice summer. We’re trying to build our stock back up after the wild few months we’ve had. It’s been a busy year so far, and we’re looking forward to more adventures. Hope to be able to see you as we come through!

Better get back to work. Reggie is starting to get “that” look. Gotta bounce!

The Second Agreement

8 Jul

Hello – Kasi here again. Everybody else is pretty busy so I’ll keep going with my series on The Four Agreements–if that’s okay.

The second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.” This is something I’ve been working on for a long time, and I have to say it’s not an easy thing to learn.

I was thinking about a good way to illustrate the point, and this is what I came up with. Suppose you were at a nursing home, and a little old lady came up and started screaming at you, calling you a Nazi and accusing you of having had her family murdered. Now, this would probably be an upsetting event, right? You might feel very bad for the woman, for what she’s lived through, and for the fact that her mind is obviously not all it could be.

But would you lie awake at night wondering why she would treat you so badly? Would you be angry at the fact that she seemed to hate you? Would you obsess about it and replay the conversation in your head over and over again, coming up with witty or sharp comebacks that would have put her in her place?

No, you probably wouldn’t do any of those things. Why? Because you know that the episode was about what was going on in her head, not about anything you’d actually done.

And that’s a healthy way to look at anybody who you think is attacking you. Even if they think you did something to them, and even if you did, their attack is more about what’s going on in their head than what actually happened. You might legitimately owe them an apology, and if so you should offer one.

But the usual reaction is to get mad back, focusing on the fact that they’re attacking you. Then after the event we tend to obsess about it, feeling more and more aggrieved that they had the nerve to get angry at you. You want to make them feel like an asshole for making you feel like an asshole.

It’s kind of a vicious circle. Now they’re mad at you and you’re mad at them and nothing gets resolved. It’s a much better solution to accept the fact that they’re upset, offer any apologies you might owe them, and then realize that their anger is theirs to deal with, not yours. It’s not actually an attack on you; it’s simply them reacting to what’s going on in their own head.

Once you start practicing this, it becomes much easier to handle when someone’s angry at you. The best way I’ve found to practice it is to use a mantra from A Course in Miracles:  No attack thoughts. Realize that if you feel attacked it’s because you’re attacking back, even if it’s only that you’re offended that they’re attacking you. If you can let go of your defensive reaction, then it becomes easier to not see their anger as an attack. And once you can stop seeing it as a personal attack, it eventually stops being a personal attack. Don’t ask me why; I don’t understand it, but it seems to work.

Like I said, it’s a difficult concept to grasp, but practicing it has really contributed greatly to my peace of mind. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

Bouncin’ Around Chicago

6 Jul

Hello, all – Babs here.:-) Hope everybody had a good Fourth of July! Personally I spent it under the bed–I just don’t see what they get out of those loud noises and flashing lights, but whatever.

So we’re in Chicago this week. We’ve had a week off so we’re just hangin’ out, bouncin’ around and making stock.

This weekend we’ll be at EXXXotica Chicago. These events are kind of new for us, and I have to say, they’re pretty interesting. I mean, humans could take a few lessons on the subject from us bunnies (just sayin’), but it’s kind of cool to watch them in action (so to speak).

After that we’re heading to a nudist resort in Indiana for an event the next week. Now, that IS amusing. Many of the humans there are completely comfortable with public nudity but my bunch just aren’t quite there yet. I’m hopeful that they’ll just get over it already, but I guess time will tell.

So, anyway, as always, if we’re near you please drop us a line and maybe we can get together! Talk to you later – gotta bounce!

The first agreement

1 Jul

Hello again – Kasi here. Time for another one of my philosophical ramblings.

But first, an apology from Babs. We’re hanging out this week in Illinois, near the Tall Grass Prairie area, and she’s been going crazy. She ate herself into a tall grass coma and is only just coming out of it now.

So, back to The Four Agreements. As we read through the first agreement, I was kind of surprised. I’d remembered “Be impeccable with your word” as a sort of keep-your-word and don’t-make-promises-you-can’t-keep thing. While that’s a good thing to do, it turns out the book was talking about something a little different.

The one thing that’s stuck in my mind all week after re-reading the chapter was the statement that however mean you are to yourself, you’re going to tend to be exactly that mean to other people. I know the first thing almost everybody is going to think here is “No, I always keep that stuff inside. I might want to let it out, but I don’t.”

Well, I’m betting you have several friends and family members who would disagree that you always keep it inside. We all tend to lash out sometimes, no matter how nice we think we are.

I heard once that whatever is done to you, you’ll do to other people. You might think that you won’t, because you know how miserable it was to be treated that way, but when your patience wears thin you’ll snap without necessarily being aware or having any control over what you’re doing.

So anyway, the “Be impeccable with your word” thing is really about not hurting yourself or other people by blaming, judging, etc. This isn’t to say that nobody has to take responsibility for their own actions; but beating up yourself (or someone else) for making mistakes doesn’t help anything.

It’s not easy to resist the urge to yell at yourself or to assign blame when things go wrong. But in the long run it’ll improve the lives of you and everybody that has to deal with you. So for all our sakes it’s something worth working on.

 

The Four Agreements

24 Jun

Hi – Kasi here. Everybody else is super busy right now, so I guess you get more of my esoteric ponderings. Sorry.:-)

If you haven’t read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, it’s a book I highly recommend. We’re reading it now as a family, but it’s been awhile since I read through it, so I can’t really summarize it for you. Except to say that if you work on the program in the book by practicing the four agreements, your life will be a lot more enjoyable and manageable.

The four agreements are:

Always be impeccable with your word

Take nothing personally

Always do your best

Make no assumptions

The second one I’ve always found the hardest to manage. I mean, how can you not take some things personally, when they’re obviously meant to be personal?

But the more I thought about it and worked on it, the more I realized that even if they were meant personally, they’re still not personal. If someone says something hurtful to you–in anger or otherwise–it really says more about that person than about you.

I don’t remember if it was in that book or another one, but I read someplace that if you don’t take things personally, eventually they will stop being personal. I’ve spent a lot of time working on that (and have a lot more progress to make yet!) and I think that’s kind of true. If you refuse to let someone hurt your feelings, eventually they’ll stop trying.

Now, that’s not easy. When someone hurts me, my natural reaction is to protect myself. I mean, right? I tense up and start trying to think of clever and hurtful things to say back to them (like, “Oh, yeah? Well, you’re an asshole too!”). But that just makes everything worse, because they’re only hearing your attack on them, and they tend to be completely unaware of their attack on you. (And vice versa.)

The Course in Miracles says that when you defend yourself, you’re actually attacking. That goes along with the not taking things personally, I think. If you take something personally, you’re going to automatically defend, and that comes across as an attack to the other person. I think a good practice is to, whenever you feel attacked, stop and think about how that means you’re attacking back, even if you don’t think you are. (Because, believe me, the other person probably does!)

I’ve developed my own little system of when I feel like someone is attacking me, I imagine it as them throwing arrows at me. I then intentionally stop all my reactions and imagine myself turning into a mist, so that their arrows fly right through without sticking. If I defend myself, I see it as grabbing the arrows and throwing them back–which is an attack, and just makes the situation worse.

I know that might sound silly, but it’s been working pretty well for me so far. I’ve gotten a lot better at not being reactive and prolonging bad situations. Anyway, thanks for listening to my ramblings! I hope you all have a wonderful, prosperous day!

 

Hoppin’ to KC!

22 Jun

Hi, all – Babs here.:-)

We’ve been relaxing in Denver for the past couple of weeks, with the exception of last weekend, which was Denver Pride. It was a great show, as always, with lots of really cool and fun people (well, since the temp was close to 100 degrees I guess they were pretty hot, but they were cool too).

Today we’re heading to Kansas City. We haven’t been there since the RT romance convention a couple of years ago, where I had my picture taken about a million times. (Does anybody remember meeting me there?)

This show is going to be really different, I think. It’s called a Maker’s Fair and it sounds like it’s going to be people who invent or handcraft things, including a bunch of kid inventors. That’s pretty cool. We’ve never done a show like that, and I’m kind of looking forward to hopping around to see all the different inventions. (That is, unless some wiseass invented a rabbit catcher or something!)

So, for those of you (and you know who you are!) who live anywhere near Kansas City (and I do mean Kansas or Missouri), make sure you contact us so we can try to get together for coffee or lettuce or something.

Reggie’s anxious to get on the road, so I guess I gotta bounce. See you in KC!

Being Happy

17 Jun

Hi everybody – Kasi here.

So this is another of my wu-wu self-help hippie posts.:-) In case you don’t know, I read and think a lot about how to be happy. It might seem like a superficial, selfish kind of thing to think about, especially in light of all the terrible things in the world, but I really think it’s the most important thing you can work on.

Why? Because if you’re miserable, you’re going to make everyone around you miserable. The way I see it, you have two choices: you can get freaked out by every little thing that doesn’t go the way you think it should, or you can learn to deal with the shit that comes up in your world while maintaining your own peace of mind and a sense of contentment.

There’s an excellent book that I talk about a lot. It’s called “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. One section of this book is particularly resonating with me lately. Mr. Singer says that people will say things like, “I want to be happy, but my husband left me,” or “I lost my job,” or whatever. This is saying that the world needs to be a certain way in order for you to be happy.

When you stop to think about it, this means that you can never be happy. Let’s face it; the world (and your life) is never going to be exactly the way you want it to be. It would be like playing Whack-a-Mole: you are always on guard,  watching for the little moles to pop up, hoping for a time when they stop so that you can finally relax and be happy. The problem is those moles never stop. You have to learn to be happy even while you’re dealing with them. It’s a long road to get to that point, but I have faith that it’s possible.

The first step along that road, I think, is to recognize when you’re trying to force things to be a certain way, and to learn to catch that thought: “I could be happy if that happened.” I’ll leave you with my new favorite saying: The cause of all suffering is knowing how things should be.

Take care and be happy!

Bouncin’ Around Denver

15 Jun

Hi, all – Babs here.

Well, we’re back in Denver for a couple of weeks taking care of family business and recuperating from the crazy month of May. It’s been a nice, relaxing time visiting friends and family but almost time to get back to work.

This weekend is Denver Pride. We always look forward to this event. There are so many wild, crazy, colorful people and they’re always so much fun to watch. This year, of course, there’s a huge damper on the festivities with the recent tragedy in Orlando. We’re extremely sad for the senseless loss of life and the grief and sorrow that it brings to the friends and family of the victims. At the same time, we feel the obligation to show our support and our solidarity with the LGBT community by using Pride to celebrate their lives and the enormous strides taken for public acceptance and tolerance of alternative lifestyles. Our thoughts will be with those who are grieving.

Next week we’ll be heading to Kansas City for a Makers Faire, something we’ve never done before. We’re hoping it’s a good event and that maybe we’ll get a chance to see friends in that area. If you’re between Denver and Kansas City, or in the Chicago area, please hit us up and see if we can’t get together to say hi in the next few weeks!

Happy Pride to all of our friends in Denver, and anywhere else that’s celebrating it this weekend, and I’ll talk to you soon. Gotta bounce!

How to be Happier

3 Jun

Hello – Kasi here. I found this great article on Purposefairy.com and wanted to share it with you. It’s a list of the fifteen things you should give up if you want to be happier, and I think it’s absolutely brilliant advice. Here’s the link to the article online, and here’s the list:

1. Give up your need to always be right

 There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame

 Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk

 Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs

Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle

6. Give up complaining

 Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take off all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change

 Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.
“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” 
Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels

 Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.
“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
 Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13. Give up the past

I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.

14. Give up attachment

This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another,  attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves.  You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

If you want to learn more about HOW to let go of these 15 things, check out the book with the same title, available NOW on Amazon for order and worldwide shipping.

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