Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World
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I’ve dealt with anxiety as long as I can remember.
As a child I was a nail biting, thumb sucking little ball of energy who carried my teddy bear, Mr. Kamunka, with me everywhere I went. Growing up an only child of an alcoholic mother meant finding comfort in any way possible. My parents divorced when I was three, thankfully, because hiding in a closet from the fighting is still one of my first memories.

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I remember so many nights as a small child not knowing where my mom was or what kind of mood she would be in when she got home. Would she be sweet and wake me up with a surprise or would she be sick or would she be angry, looking for someone to take it out on? Often times she was just crying and sad and needed someone to listen to her. I was always all of those for her.
My childhood was a roller coaster and while she eventually gave up all parental responsibility to my dad, she still would show up randomly, outside our house, when she was needing someone to vent to. The neighbors didn’t appreciate it and I didn’t either. I never felt safe or secure. She would show up wasted or high to my school or soccer games and pick fights with anyone who said something to her. Once she locked me in a bathroom because I embarrassed her in front of the McDonalds clerk who she was probably trying to flirt with for free food during our first time together in months.
As a teenager, I desperately tried to connect with her during her sober stints, spending summers in Las Vegas with her and her new baby, my amazing little half-brother, Kellen. (I say “half” to explain the paternal difference, although he is very much my full brother by heart!)

IMG_3144 I wanted to be close with them but watching her put him through the same roller coaster and often times worse situations, was something that tortured my heart and made me angry beyond belief. I was experiencing panic attacks in school and doctors put me on xanax and ativan at 16 to keep my anxiety under control.
I eventually cut her out completely and focused on the things I could control in my life and vowed to never be weak like her. I pushed myself to start my own career and be reliable to the people I cared about. I kept everything under control, quit all medications at 18 and began treating my anxiety herbally. I learned that self discipline was key. I became very hard on myself when I made mistakes because I never wanted to be anything like my mother.

LINDSAY hawley live more happy lily jasper community volunteer lmh promotions

Feature in LILY+JASPER when I was 23

I did my best to pick up the motherly slack she left with my brother, who like me, ended up bouncing around with his father and father’s family most his childhood. I resented her for not being there for him, for leaving me with the hole to fill but it motivated me to be better for him and to show him what the possibilities are when you work through the darkness.

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All of this has been like a shadow in the beautiful life I have created for myself. As a child I didn’t share it because cruel kids made fun of me. As a teen I didn’t want to seem weird or different. As an adult I didn’t want to share my story because I didn’t want anyone’s pity or to be defined by it. “Wow, you have come so far considering…” YUCK.
I worked harder to make the stories less powerful over me, yet the anxiety never subsided.working hard

I had to heal the root of the problem and I set out to forgive and set myself free. I went to workshops, personal development seminars, I wrote closure letters, I read books and joined support groups. I surrounded myself with positive people and created a community. I found myself no longer hating her, but feeling sorry for her that she was not a part of my life. I had created such amazing things and people around me but she was unable to share it with me.

EvoRoom community san diego meditation

EvoRoom community in San Diego

full circle venice community center andrew keegan

Full Circle Venice Beach community center

My brother and I became closer than ever and have had the most honest  talks about addiction and mental illness. I have been able to share the wisdom and the knowledge I earned on my own, with him. He knows I am always here for him no matter what and most importantly, I know it too.baby brother
Almost two years ago I saw her walking down the street in my neighborhood in San Diego and I pulled over and got out to talk to her. She was so high and angry and incoherent I couldn’t have a conversation like I had hoped but I gave her a hug and drove off, with sadness and love in my heart. I didn’t hate her. I wanted her to find peace, like I had.

A few months later, while planning what I thought was my next chapter in life, marriage and my own family, I learned my soon-to-be-fiancee had been having an affair, and my world came to a screeching halt. I had been betrayed and abandoned again. I wasn’t safe in my own home I had created with him and I could not trust him or myself. I felt all the same wounds open back up deeper than before.

What was wrong with me that the people I love and trust most, treat me like I’m disposable?

Then the anxiety came back and the nightmares began to get worse. I felt like I was starting all over and then some. I was determined to heal as quickly as possible, to get back to the peace I had felt before learning the truth about him. I went to women’s groups, energy healers, seminars, workshops, tropical getaways and still, no matter how packed my schedule was with positive productivity, I could not shake the anxiety and nightmares.

yoga lindsayI would replay scenarios and lies he told me over and over in my head. I couldn’t stop trying to “solve the case” even months after I had “moved on.” Desperate for answers, sitting on a beach in Bali, staring off into the gorgeous sea and feeling anxious in paradise again, I searched for alternative therapy in San Diego. I was going to give it a try as soon as I got back. I couldn’t deal with another beautiful morning wasted, waking up in paradise, from a nightmare, about some douche bag thousands of miles away. ( Apparently, spending years dealing with a sociopath can cause PTSD. )

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Luckily, a trusted friend recommended her closest friend, Kristyn, a hypnotherapist in San Diego and I booked four sessions right away. I went into each session with a very open mind and willingness to absorb my own insights and to heal. I was ready to release and forgive and feel peace in my heart. I finally finished all four within a few months but the improvement was apparent in the first few weeks.

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The nightmares stopped, my nail biting subsided to where I was able to quit getting fake nails and finally wear my natural nails with out shame.

healthy nailsBoth of my businesses took off in a really big way and I suddenly was not angry at my ex anymore. I found my old blackberry full of messages and photos from our first year together and I was not sad or angry, but nostalgic for a happy time in my life and I felt excited for what was ahead and having that kind of happiness again, but for real this time. I was finally free and even my best friends said they could see a difference in me.

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I’ve been able to take my meditation practice to a new level. Before working with Kristyn I could never quiet my thoughts, especially before bed. Now I put on a guided meditation almost every night and morning and can find myself at peace. Even the one time I dreamed about my ex since our sessions, instead of there being a altercation or argument, I just kept on walking past our house. I just kept on walking. It felt good to wake up from that one. I had found the release I needed.

lantern festival travel lover wanderlust adventure explore

As I sit on another beach in paradise, writing this, I am grateful for the difficult people and the pain they caused because I have learned to over come the struggle and abandonment and feelings that I am not lovable. I have learned to forgive and find peace in my heart. Without drugs, with out alcohol, without sex or shopping or any other crutches. (although I admit I have a travel problem, hee hee) I have found the healing I needed right inside myself. Its been there all along and its up to me to keep it.

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Suffering from a broken heart, anxiety, depression or just lost in life?

My favorite books: Love, Freedom & Aloneness by OSHO, Power of Kindness by Piero Ferrucci, & A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

My Love, Life & Self Expression Coach: Jess Johnson

My Hypnotherapist: Kristyn Caetano

Connect with your community! Get involved, give back and donate your time to those that need it. Nothing makes me feel better than helping others.

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

I arrived at Residencia Gorila in Tulum, by following a pin on a map a friend had sent me with the message “You will find people like you there.”

They were right, I instantly felt right at home. 

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

I arrived just in time for acoustic guitar and brunch and was greeted with a piece of vegan chocolate birthday cake. Karen, one of the Gorila’s residents is managing the vegan cafe and is apparently a wiz with coconut oil and bananas. As a cake connoisseur myself, I was impressed.

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

I then met Alfonso Garrido, or “Poncho,” the coordinator and director of all things Gorila. What started as a film studio, has evolved into a community and living space for musicians, artists, film makers, photographers, creatives and activists. The motto of the Residencia Gorila is crecer, crear, compartir, (create grow and share) and they follow this ethos in their art, their activism and their daily lives.

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

“While you are creating, you are healing yourself and growing. Both in a spiritual and personal way. The growth also happens when you share knowledge and ideas. Sharing is key. “ -Alfonso Garrido

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

Alfonso showed me videos of the recent projects they completed in the last year, including a mural series by local street artists of nature, marine life, as well as Mayan culture. Their art also addresses social issues, like endangered species, environmental sustainability and the threat non-native species, like lion fish, are creating for the Caribbean.

 Anna Fishkin / everystring.com tulum art project residencia gorila

Photo by Anna Fishkin / everystring.com

 Anna Fishkin / everystring.com tulum art project residencia gorila

Photo by Anna Fishkin / everystring.com

 Anna Fishkin / everystring.com tulum art project residencia gorila

Anna Fishkin / everystring.com

 Anna Fishkin / everystring.com tulum art project residencia gorila

Photo by Anna Fishkin / everystring.com

I love the way they leveraged the tourism and the local businesses, as well as art and video, to create awareness and solutions to the lion fish issue. By educating the local dive tours and shops, they are promoting the sport of hunting lion fish and collaborating with local chefs and restaurants to create culinary experiences with the delicious white fish. This is helping to reduce the rapidly growing population and restore balance to the delicate eco system of the Caribbean.

Lionfish Project (Episode 01) from Residencia Gorila on Vimeo.

Its a wonderful example of using creativity and community to create positive change.

The coolest campaign to come out of Gorila in my opinion, is the Finding Infinity project.

With the collaboration of Ross Harding, Gorila hosted “Solar Parties” around the world, raising funds to provide renewable energy for under developed communities in Mexico.

Finding Infinity Residencia Gorila Mexico

Ross is now living in Australia, growing the project by consulting and developing important sustainable projects worldwide.
See the clever and informative animation the Gorila Films created for Finding Infinity below:

Like Residencia Gorila, I was powered by sunshine, feeling energized from the sea breeze and integrated with the nature all around me. We rode bikes around Tulum, swam in cenotes and lakes and  the warm, turquoise Caribbean water.

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence fortune 421

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

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After just a few days at Residencia Gorila, I felt more inspired and excited about my own projects with Givebackpackers and all the possibilities for creating an impact through art, culture, travel and experiences. 

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

That is what Residencia Gorila is: an experience. From the food, the music, the conversations, the art and the expression of ideas, in the middle of paradise, Gorila provides the setting to connect with nature, experience culture and collaborate with creatives.

residencia gorila tulum mexico maya riviera mexican volunteer art community culture tourism artists collaborative residence

I personally see a lot of opportunity to grow our projects for Givebackpackers but also see Gorila as a place for all creatives to find new inspiration, expand your heart and mind and receive the support from the global community, while collaborating with other “people like you.”

If you are interested in staying or bringing projects to Residencia Gorila, they are currently accepting inquiries and are happy to discuss options for lodging and offer a variety of creative services and promotion for your project. I know I cant wait to get back soon for my own creative retreat. Who’s coming with me?

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lindsay m hawley san diego lmh promotions givebackpackers live more happy

Burning man has been over for a few weeks now and our newsfeed is flooded with strange pictures of dusty characters with bug eyed goggles and status updates about the magic of the playa.

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Burning man was an incredible experience full of surprise and adventure around every corner.

Burning Man Did Not Change My Life.

I have heard, like many of you, that Burning Man is “Life Changing” and being the thrill seeking, life expanding, adventure junkie I am, I had to see for myself what all the hype was about.

I saw the most amazing costumes and theatrics, art and technology explode out of no where in the middle of the desert, with no other purpose, other than to enjoy the moment. That is the true magic behind burning man.

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With a lifetime of events and parties already under my belt it would take quite a bit to “blow my mind” so the first day during my first burn, I was surprised to find myself speechless. I was an observer of the radical and my mind simply flooded with thoughts and ideas and all I wanted to do was write about it.

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My marketing mind searched for a reason WHY all of this energy, time and money was dumped into this. There was no branding, no sponsors or even signs of what or where anything was going on. I felt like I was in an alternate universe where time and days no longer mattered and it was just about staying hydrated, sleeping a few hours at a time but waking up before sunrise to make it to the best parties. Everything was dirty and everyone shared without a care of germs or disease. Its like everyone felt immune as long as we were on the playa. We were all one big happy family.

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Parties were stopped for “moop” collecting and although I am always collecting trash in nature, I was delighted in seeing all the “cool kids” suddenly give a shit too.

Then I realized WHY Burning Man is so unique and special. Its the only place in the world I have ever been where everyone acted like friends, everyone respected their environment and everyone wanted to have a good time while finding any way to make everyone around them have a good time too.

The social norm called for it. It was still the peer “pressure” of wanting to be accepted into the community, of not being the odd one left out. Radical Inclusion, they call it. Everyone is IN.

(As long as you follow the Burning Man ethos!)

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As I was waiting for my luggage at the Reno airport, a healthy, safe, 4 feet from the carousel,  (so I could see when my bag was coming but not block anyone else,) I was excited for all the fun and cool people I was about to meet, some of which were standing all around me, embarking on the same long journey “Home.” No ones eyes met mine, no one hugged me or even smiled at me. Then, one obvious “Burner” shoved himself and his large luggage cart right in between me and the comfortable distance I was leaving between the carousel.

So what is the difference between Burning Man and the Reno Airport? Its certainly not the people. It is the social pressure. No one expects you to be loving, giving, considerate and friendly at the airport.

I am. I love making friends, smiling at strangers, at TSA agents and helping people with their luggage. I do not need to go wear my underwear in the desert to feel the joy and freedom of being self expressed and happy to help others. I can be that way every day and everywhere if I chose, and so can you.

Burning man is a place where this reality is actualized, where humans agree to create a happy world of peace and unity. Its possible, but only if we make it cool.

Burning man did not change my life because this is my life. I’m hoping its yours too.

Love, “Flamingo”

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“Do you live in Vegas now or what?”  many people have asked me recently.

I will always call San Diego home, but I am addicted to Downtown Las Vegas.

Why?

Today I watched a drum circle of all ages in front of a praying mantis sculpture that shoots 20 foot flames and a shopping center built from recycled shipping containers with a Swiss Family Robinson tree house in the center.

 

Two years ago when I first visited Downtown Las Vegas I was afraid to walk down this block alone.

 Where once there was a run down Motel 6, there is now a community hub with live music every day and a place to eat shop and play while actually getting to know the community.

This kind of magic didn’t happen over night, although it feels as if it has just sprung up out of nowhere.

When I made my first visit to Downtown Las Vegas in January of 2012, I didn’t know what to expect, but after being invited by one of my business idols and inspirations, Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh, (pronounced Shay) I jumped at the chance to see what he was so excited to show me. We had met at an event at Sundance Film Festival a few weeks earlier and I took the opportunity to express my admiration for his book, Delivering Happiness, and the impact it had on me and starting my business, LMH Promotions. On the spot he invited me to visit Zappos headquarters and Downtown Las Vegas and the next week I was getting a walking tour from Tony himself.

He pointed at empty lots and run down buildings and told me of the plans they had to bring in Burning man art instillations, a dog park, community centers and places for families to eat and shop while their children safely played.

Tony and the Downtown Project have invested 350 million into these different revitalization projects along with innovation and creativity to create a community even I would want to live in. I was immediately enchanted with the vision of this quirky and convincing man who was so excited for what was to come.

The past two years I have taken every opportunity to visit Downtown Las Vegas and have watched as empty lots have become magical community spaces and run down buildings are now beautifully designed work spaces packed with tech start ups, fashion designers and artists.

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This empty motel was transformed into an art gallery for the Life Is Beautiful festival in October while other walls all over Downtown were completely covered in gorgeous murals by world famous street artists.

downtown las vegas street art life is beautiful

The old 7-11 on the corner of Fremont and Las Vegas Blv is now the Inspire Theatre where you can catch a “TED” like talk, grab a cup of coffee or drink at the rooftop bar and browse through the worlds largest magazine rack.  The Gold Spike casino is now a fun and funky hang out with giant sized board games instead of slots and card tables and secret surprises through out.

Just bar hopping down Fremont East is a fun night out without all the typical Vegas drama.

Zappos headquarters is now in the old Las Vegas city hall and is famous for its fun and zany company culture where people love their job and enjoy coming to work. The “offices” are decorated and they celebrate any and every occasion plus pajama day and their very own Zappos bar. The campus is open to the public so anyone can join the fun. I highly recommend a guided tour though Zappos and Dowtnown, including a tour through Tony’s penthouse at the Ogden where many of the Zappos and Downtown Project staff live. Imagine grown up dorms.

There is a reason this place has become my second home. It is quickly changing the game in Las Vegas, which was once the City of Sin is now a place you can leave feeling smarter and like a better person. Let me know if you want to visit, I can make sure you get a great tour and some of the secret spots like the speakeasy at Commonwealth and hidden see saw behind Park. I promise you will fall in love with this community like I did.

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Cori Gerstein was 12 years old when she visited Rady’s Childrens Hospital for a broken finger. She saw the little girls in the cancer ward who had lost their hair and had the idea to use her love of crafting and started making hair bows on headbands for these girls to brighten their day and bring a smile to their face. With that idea, Bows for A Cause was created! She started the facebook page and began making them herself and collecting them from others around the country who saw the page and wanted to help. For Christmas, she delivered 212 bows to the Children’s Hospital!

Pictured below is Amelia, just after her surprise bow arrived. The smallest act of kindness can make all the difference in the life of a child!

For Valentine’s day, Cori’s goal was 100 bows and we wanted to help her reach that goal. Friday night, February 1st, at my home, we assembled a team of 15 women and a few awesome men to make bows. Our friend’s at Pura Vida bracelets donated 150 of their new “hippie” headbands for the bows to go on.  We had a blast crafting, hanging around the fireplace, making smores and making friends. We reached our goal of 100 bows and had a blast doing it. More photos available in the gallery. 

hair bows cause kids cancer children give back philanthropy craft purpose help
hair bows cause kids cancer children give back philanthropy craft purpose help
hair bows cause kids cancer children give back philanthropy craft purpose help

We encourage you to contribute with supplies (listed below the photos) or even make the bows on yourself, eve have your own “Bow Party” and get them to Cori who lives here in San Diego.  You can find more information on the Bows for a Cause facebook page! Please like it!

Subscribe to Live More Happy for an invitation to future “Craft for a Cause” events.

Anyway you do it, Thank You for helping make this world a happier place.

Here is Cori on the left and on the right is Amelia, a child who received a bow for Christmas and wanted to help Cori make more for other children.

Supplies for making hair bows:
-Glue Gun and Glue sticks
-Scissors
-3/8 Ribbon
-7/8 Ribbon
-Hair Clips like these 
-Elastic headbands like these (can’t be too thin since a lot of the girls do not have much or any hair and the bow must be able to clip on)
-lighter (to quickly melt the edge of the ribbon to prevent unraveling)
– gems, buttons, flowers or anything cute to go on the center of the bow! (pictured above Corie and Ameila used a bottle cap kit purchased from a craft store)
If you want to try some cute and simple bows here are a few cute felt and lace bows I found and might try to make as well!
Of course we need headbands for the bows to attach to and here is a great way to make cute headbands from old tee shirts!

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