Facets and Rabbit Holes

Workshop Schedule

Dance Resource Posts, Tips, & Tricks


As a seasoned and passionate dancer in SL, if I can save one person hours of frustration by learning from my mistakes, goofs, and “what was I thinking????” then my day is complete.  If I can inspire others as they inspire me, then it’s a good day.  If someone uses what they learned, makes it their own, and excels to new heights they enjoy….that’s an amazing day.

My motto:  there are no rules, observe everything and be open, do what makes sense to you, and most of all – have fun!  ~ Eva

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Intention

Bah, some mornings it’s much harder to get my head to switch to the “on” position. Even coffee isn’t working this morning. I’ve been working on my morning rituals and the headspace app is one thing that helps kick in the “ok, time to get going on the day!” feeling. Anyhoo, as I’m always working on my time management skills (or lack thereof) I tapped on the prioritization activity. And….

The word of the day is INTENTION

It totally smacked me upside the head with a big DOH! Why do I do the things I do, focus on what I focus on? The intention doesn’t have to be preparing for a marathon or anything, but it definitely shouldn’t be “because I always have”. Intention is a close cousin to motivation. If intention is “a determination to act in a certain way”, motivations is the “why” or “the reason(s) one has for acting for behaving in a particular way.

Every month or two I review my finances to see where my money goes – the AMC member movie card when I haven’t been to a movie in months, channel subscriptions that I don’t really watch, etc. Funny thing is, I haven’t done that so much with time. It gets filled up with stuff but for a long time I haven’t thought about the “why”. When I start unpacking the “whys”, it gets a bit bigger. I haven’t taught workshops in a while. Why do I want to teach? Why did I take a break? What was behind taking a break? Those are things I need to work through.

The other thought is – time is a lot like money. There’s only so much of it to spend. We’ve all heard that before I’m sure, but it doesn’t really hit us until we’re open and ready for it. I’ve been dipping my toes in the water of doing a “time checkup” and thinking about my motivation and intentions about things I do in both worlds.

But wait! There’s more! This can apply to creating a dance can’t it? What is my intention? What is my motivation? Without having an idea of the intention for my dance, it wanders all over the place. I work on it, drop it, completely change it. Struggle over it. I don’t need to have a firm vision for a dance, I like to leave some space for it to speak to me and evolve, but I need to have a motivation for creating it right? Something more than “I need to make it for <dance venue> to perform in two weeks.” If I tap into my motivation and create intention, then I can follow it with action.

So hmm…let’s think about this. I have a dance called Nocturnal Serenade that I’m reworking from a pit stage to a full sized stage. What is my motivation? What is it about this song that speaks to me. I feel a dark Victorian vibe, a bit vampiric. Innocence, beauty, black, red, fog that hides secrets, street lights shining over cobblestone. The song goes back and forth with longing and ferocity. In reworking this one for the full stage I have to change it. It was designed for a 360 view, not to face an audience. What is my motivation for the dance, and from that I can set my intention in what to do with it. By thinking through my intention, this overcomes the dominating mindset of “I have to finish this by x day”. Now I need to follow this with action, making it happen, which also follows setting my intentions for the day/week/month – don’t you think. Kind of deep thoughts there.

Hmm…also makes me think, what’s my motivation and intention for this blog. Is it still the same as when I created it? It definitely does need a facelift…

Happy dancing – and may you have good intentions (followed by great action)!
~ Eva

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The moment between sleep and waking, and Barbarians!

I was not dreaming about barbarians…although that might’ve been nice too…

Sometimes in that moment between sleep and waking, a thought so fully formed pops in my head that makes me think “oh, there you are!” and it just feels right. This morning it was about revamping the blog and how it needs recording snippets and lots of TLC. There’s a saying from Tony Robbins: “Energy flows where attention goes. What are you giving your energy to?”

I wish energy was a never ending well sometimes, but it’s more like a pot isn’t it? There’s only so much in there before it needs to be replenished. We can eat right, sleep well, take care of ourselves and grow the size of our pot but it’s still a pot. Some days my energy pot feels this big <holds fingers together to the teeniest tiniest amount>.

So, today as I become mindful about where I place by focus and flow my energy, I surfed YouTube for new music ideas. (Yeah, need to consider how often I do this. Files YouTube under the “procrastinating” category). I came across this great video and so many aspects spoke to me. Let’s see where it takes us:

The video: Ashes – Barbarians, by RB Dance Company

Often I’ll post videos like this and only touch lightly on what intrigues me/pulls me in. Today I totally want to spill the tea.

Highlight moments:

  • simple set
  • starts out with a solo dancer, dramatic pauses
  • dancers enter from the back through the darkness (not walking through walls!)*
  • bold dramatic moves
  • formation changes
  • animation changes that match music change to drumbeat
  • dancers pulling together during spoken section then bold explosion of movement and spreading out during music change
  • Strong finish

First thought of so many may be: but we can’t do this in SL. My answer? Why not?

Unless we own our own mocap studio we can’t perform those exact moves – but there are so many animations in SL that would fit this music. Bold, sweeping, minimal…I challenge you that you could. We have fog to work with, shadow prims, mover systems for formations, dramatic poses.

Not all music and not all dances will speak to everyone, but this performance spoke to me – I could feel it, and those drum beats rattled my bones. The movement was powerful and interesting, the formation changes drawing my eye. So much good stuff in this dance performance, inspiration that can easily be brought into the world of SL.

Should we mimic in SL? Nope, definitely not. But I find so much inspiration in RL choreography videos.

Happy dancing!
~ Eva

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Reflection, Focus, and Today’s Thoughts

My head just swirls with thoughts…sometimes becoming this whole jumbled tornado of a mess…which then makes me stressed which just throws everything else off kilter. My handy dandy notebook is helping, plus I use OneNote and google calendar. Seems to be working so far.

I always thought that I was disorganized and a procrastinator… and well, I really kind of am (definitely the procrastinator for sure). But…some of the disorganization was really from being overwhelmed and over-committed. I have a tough time say no, or trying to pack too much into a period of time. Filling my calendar with non-urgent/important things when I have a special dance that’s very important to me to work on. Sure, I enjoy doing those non-urgent things and it feels good when I get them crossed off…but then I get stressed when I run out of time to really focus on the dance I’m creating or have to rush to toss together the costume for someone else’s dance I committed to and want to be in.

I will say…there’s an amazing feeling when I know I’m ready. Everything is put together, I’m happy with it. I can take a deep breath. Biggest thing is I don’t have those voices in my head telling me what I should’ve done or what’s not right.

I feel like I’m constantly re-inventing myself…but isn’t that part of life? Pick myself up, brush myself off, and keep learning and growing? Disorganization and procrastination are habits I’ve been challenged with my whole entire life, RL and SL. Each day, I think it gets a little better and natural not to be although I think it’s also part of my nature. How my head works, my passion, and focus to want to do it all, try it all.

Ever have something to do and “don’t feel like it” or avoid it? Even worse is when it makes you uncomfortable. For me…that’s fear. Fear is one of the biggest reasons I procrastinate. I’ll have to put effort into it, or it’s something new I’m not comfortable with, or I’m putting something out there and what if it’s not good enough? That nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach…that’s fear. Maybe it’s because I don’t know how to do something and am not sure I can figure it out, or I need to have an uneasy conversation with someone. That’s fear.

There’s a saying “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. When focused in a creative sense, you’re uncomfortable because you’re stretching out of the unknown or you’re sharing something important to you with others – putting yourself out there. When I get that uncomfortable feeling and I *don’t* want to do it, I’m slowly starting to realize that means it’s the thing I need to do. Sure, those simple things or distractions are happy easy things but they’re instant gratification. They usually don’t help me accomplish what has true meaning to me.

Now for the big voices inside my head – not good enough, who are you to be teaching this, etc. etc. etc. The thing I keep reminding myself is, I’m me. This is mine. This is my art. This is what I’m sharing with others. Maybe they’ll enjoy it. Maybe they’ll be inspired. Maybe they won’t – and that’s ok. What I teach is what I’ve learned from my own experiences and from others, some is innate. People will take from it what they will. The MOST important thing of all – I create because I love to create. I teach because I love to teach. Everyone has their own preferences in learning or in what they enjoy. No one can be everything to everyone, and no one is me but me. Along those lines, I can’t be everything to everyone and will just burn out if I try. No comparisons. I do things my way and I’m content with that.

On that note, I thought about workshops and what I enjoy the most. This spun off into two new workshop series:

Art of Animating Dance – speaking through movement More Info Here
Spot On Smooth Dancer – A to Z, Animating Art

Instead of offering workshops on individual topics, I’m going to start my focus on the two I love the most:

  • The art of creating animation choreography, art not technical
  • Spot On Smooth Dancer, an on-going technical series as we focus on how to use this tool to create the art. Eventually transitioning to the other Spot On Tools.

Almost like being part of a RL dance school…every session picking up where we left off and continuing to build our skills. Lots of focus on practicing and trying new things with the tool. Very hands on and open for sharing.

Ha..I sometimes procrastinate writing blog posts because I know I’m always going to explore deep thoughts and it takes a bit of time.

Thoughts for today:

  • Move and Sync’d both have individual animations from a pack on sale for “Happy Weekend” – 60L each. I need to add a bit of new energy to my animation collection. Might be good to check it out!
  • Mixing up creating with some breaks in between to stay fresh
  • and…give yourself enough time to do something well! Best to create one fantastic dance in a month than three so-so ones in my opinion. (I have to keep telling myself that.)
  • Apologize to no one for being who you are and doing your thing. Especially don’t apologize or feel bad when someone is critical of you or your choices. Their truth isn’t yours!

Happy Dancing – and BE YOU!

~ Eva

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Madness Matters

I think madness matters when you’re creating. It’s that insane place where anything is possible, ideas run rampant, and reason takes a back seat. Almost 90% of the time my ideas twist and turn as I bring them to life, but I think that’s what gives it flow and energy..not being too rigid. If I was building a house…probably good idea to stick religiously to the plans. Creating a dance? There’s definitely wiggle room! I think it’s those little details that can really make a performance special.

So what’s happening? “F” words. (No not THAT word!) Focus…feasibility…fun. Figuring out what I can accomplish within the time I have and what’s most important to me. Big one…time wasters. So much easier to sit there browsing the news for an hour than trying to work through a creative block. What does it get me? Lots of anxiety! (Both from the news and from procrastinating.) It’s good to step away sometimes…take that mental breather. Ever wonder why some of the best ideas happen in the shower? Because you aren’t overthinking it!

So…thoughts of the day.

  • MocapAnimations has moved their sim and has a free 1000L GIFTCARD FOR GROUP MEMBERS (ENDS 2/27/2021). I think the join fee is 350L, they occasionally do the gift cards for group members, and they have some great animations. I love the contemporary and queen packs. Gift card is on the back wall, go straight after entering the store. Click on it and choose deliver. New LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/MocapAnimations/131/16/24
  • Paragon Dance Animations is moving, 2/26/2021 is their grand opening & 2 year anniversary. DJ’s, giveaways, and all kinds of fun 10 am to 7 pm. Landmark still under wraps so make sure to check!
  • Be nice to your dancers. Name your movers (I use numbers: 1 LIGHT etc, 2 LIGHT etc, 3 LIGHT etc), etc. This let’s your dancer use area search to find their mover and sit on it without camming around madly. Especially good if the movers are hidden.
  • I have an entirely new organizational system. A OneNote notebook for dance ideas, workshop notes, venue details, DJ notes, etc. and a small binder with a calendar and pages for daily tasks, dances coming up, goals, bills to pay, etc. (have to have internet – right?). Last but not least, new organization of my inventory – especially for upcoming shows and when I dance with someone else. I feel better when I know what’s coming up and where to find info/things. So far, so good!
  • Workshop news: I’ll be setting up/playing with a new Discord channel/server for Harleyquin Workshops. This will let me share my screen for classes about editing music with Audacity, etc.
  • March workshops will be announced this weekend…finally!

I just stood in MocapAnimations writing the second part of this blog entry…oops. They probably think I’m crazy – oh wait! that ship has sailed…grins.

Happy dancing and stay crazy!
~ Eva

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MetaHarpers (MST), Spot On, and Sneetches

Over the last few days, I’ve been questioning two beliefs that I’ve always held true – is it possible to be independent and that a teacher can teach anything. What brings about these doubts? Dance systems in SL. I love tools, and I will use any tool that allows me to do more and/or makes things easier. Exploring what MetaHarpers can do has been on my list. I’ve been asked so often about MST that I planned on teaching it too.

MetaHarpers and Spot On both provide complete dance performance systems for SL. Everything from dance animations/choreography, movement, rezzing sets, creating dance routines to control an entire performance, and more.

For MetHarpers, the key component is MetaHarpers Show Tools (MST) which consolidates most everything using this one system and is the only tool needed for dance performances. They also offer two different Choreo HUDs, a Dancers edition and a Directors edition. The dancers edition can be used to create dance sequences or freestyling up to 80 people.

Spot On offers separate tools for each function – Smooth Dancer HUD for animations, Choreographer Design System or Formation System for dancer movement, Stage Manager for rezzing sets, and Performance Director for easily creating routines and controlling all of these functions from one HUD.

Both systems have their strengths, weaknesses, and things one can do but the other can’t. MetaHarpers has controlled audience view (cams) which allow you to control what the audience sees, creating a unique experience. Spot On seems to be better at moving movers larger distances such as understage to onstage. Neither is “bad”, neither is the “right one” or “wrong one” to use. I feel like Dr. Seuss and the “Sneetches” story:

Now, the Star-Bell Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
They’d hike right on past them without even talking.

One of the dance groups I belong to is moving to everyone using MST for performances. I must say, I’m starting to like the Dancers Edition Choreo HUD for freestyling and inviting people. With up to 80 dancers, I’m definitely looking at it hard for running crowd dances. It might be an improvement from what I’m using now.

For dance performances, I use Spot On. I love Spot On. I’ve used it for years, I know it, I’m comfortable with it. In a recent workshop, I shared info about a number of different tools – dance systems, animation HUDs, rezzers, etc. Do you know what I found? I unintentionally highlighted the Spot On tools and was more lackluster about the MetaHarpers tools. That definitely isn’t what I call independent. Is it because I don’t feel comfortable with MST? Know it as well?

When there are two competing systems and you are an avid user of one of them – is it possible to teach both systems equally? or will I always highlight the “weakness” of one over the other? Is it better to learn MST from someone who is as passionate about MST as I am for Spot On? Is it doing a disservice to others that may find the other system is a better tool for them but were perhaps dissuaded by my approach?

I’ve heard comments from MST users that were a lot like the Sneetches. That because they used MST it was somehow considered “less” or “not as good” as using Spot On. They were judged based on this fact. They didn’t have “stars on thars”. The Sneetches had a good message on that.

In dance – should the tools really matter? I don’t think so. What should matter is what someone creates, whether they use two spoons and duct tape or the fanciest dance system available to get there.

While I don’t believe I’ll teach MST at this time, I’m now aware of my unconscious emphasis of Spot On when communicating about different tools and can consciously even it out.

Learn from others, explore, research, try the different tools available – and make up your own mind. Don’t let someone else’s passion (or lack there-of) about a system be a factor in your decision.

To all the Sneetches, stars on thars or not, happy dancing!

~ Eva

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Deep Thoughts and Technicolors

I’ve missed rambling here, one of the reasons I created this blog. Have you ever had so much packed into your brain that you spun in circles not knowing wear to begin? Yep, that.

For me, SL is an extension of me. No matter how hard we try I’m not sure we can truly separate RL from SL. I am who I am, my thoughts and feelings still me in both worlds. What I share and with whom are very different however – the goofy fun DJ side I can let loose in SL…not so much RL. (They’d up my medication) Dance and creating in SL is an extension of my personal art. Dancing in the kitchen is about as close as I get with that in RL.

My point is…the motivations, drive, unconscious fears that sometimes stop me in my tracks are the same in both worlds. Whether it’s learning new skills for work or creating in SL, both are testing my boundaries. I procrastinate in both (imagine that…ha).

I’ve been reading/listening to a book on “Deep Work” (which isn’t just for work). It’s recognizing that space where you are intensely focused and find your most creative and thinking self. It’s about how we as a society have begun to lose this ability.

To reach in and find that technicolor place where imagination and deep thinking roam free generally takes a recommended 90 minute block of time without the “quick satisfaction” distractions such as checking facebook/emails/etc. that draw our attention away.

I find that I procrastinate relaxing into creativity more often than not…looking at my list of to do’s which is 80% easy things that make me happy when I cross them off the list. I can say “see what I did today?” and point to all those items. Some are pretty necessary – wash dishes, pay bills, grab that Abranimations advent calendar gift, but others could wait.

The other thing I sometimes do? Schedule so many commitments that time isn’t left to really focus and create something new that makes me really happy. Some of my favorite dance performances have come together pretty easily, others have been evolution over weeks and months. The key to those? For each I sank into that deep space where creativity took over and I stopped overthinking or rushing.

So today, I let my mind drift and consider my motivations. What makes me happy when I create? What feeds me? What inspires me? This applies to dance, work, and even home. Finding these helps me find the key to unlocking the door and stepping into that creative space – instead of distracting myself browsing the news websites.

May your imagination fly free and creativity abound.

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Next Workshop: 11/7 & November Schedule

Due to RL juggling and Halloween madness, the 10/24 & 10/28 workshops have been rescheduled to Wed 11/4 and Sat 11/7. Note: there will now be 2 different workshops each week, both offered on Saturdays and Wednesdays.

Wed Nov 4th @ 4:30 pm & Sat Nov 7th @ 10 am:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Music

During this workshop it’s all about the music! We explore different styles of music, transitions, pauses, the audience, ideas, inspiration, and soooo much more!

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Wed Nov 4th @ 6:00 pm & Sat Nov 7th @ 8:30 am:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 1: I Wanna Dance!

Let me introduce you to the Smooth Dancer! During this hands on workshop we focus on the basics – loading animations, inviting others to dance, playing animations, how to reinvite and remove dancers. We also review what it can do and why it comes with a toolbox!

Goal: Feel familiar with your HUD and ready for a second date!

Length: 1 hour

Everyone welcome! Smooth Dancer HUD not required!
Prefer to listen and follow along? Comfortable seating is provided!

Sat Nov 14th @ 8:30 am & Wed Nov 18th @ 6:00 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 2: Creating Sequences

Sat Nov 14th @ 10 am & Wed Nov 18th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Animations

Sat Nov 21st @ 8:30 am & Wed Nov 25th @ 6:00 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 3: Tips & Tricks

Sat Nov 21st @ 10 am & Wed Nov 25th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Transitions

———————————————————————

Late arrivals for Activity Workshops:

If arriving after an activity workshop has begun, please find a seat to listen and follow along. Kindly minimize disruption as possible. Thank you!


Disclosure: Harleyquin Learning Center isn’t affiliated with or receives compensation from any dance tool creator. Expanded tool workshops are planned for the future. Use whatever tools work for you and always keep an open mind!

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My new favorite thing… Animation Name List Generator

I’m always on the hunt for tools and tricks to make things easier or better, and this is one thing that’s been on my list for a looong time. So what is it?

Animation Name Printer

It’s an inexpensive script that you add to your animation HUD. Click on your HUD and it will list all the animations in local chat, then the script self-deletes.

But didn’t Spot On add this to the Smooth Dancer HUD, you ask? Well they did, but each animation name is in a different chat message, so you get all that date/time/hud name junk before the name of the animation.

This hud lists 30 animations in each chat message until it’s listed all animations. No junk stuff to erase/ignore/trim off! Just animation names!

Why would I use this? When I’m creating sequences, I load up a HUD with animations that I think will work then create the choreography as I listen to the music. As I create my sequence notecard, now I have a nice clean list of animation names to copy and paste from.

Easy peasy.

<pictures here>

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Excuse the construction dust – Workshops are BACK!

You heard it right – Harleyquin workshops are back with a remix! What’s a remix, you ask? Taking the best pieces, shaking up the environment, and putting a fun and playful spin on things!

LM: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Bluebell%20Island/59/72/3403

Coming up in October:

Sat Oct 3rd @ 10 am & Wed Oct 7th @ 6 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Music, Movement, Message, and the Kitchen Sink

During this workshop we look at some of the key elements in creating a dance: choosing music, animations, movement and tools, the dance message and connection with the audience, costumes and sets, special effects and particles

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Sat Oct 10th @ 10 am & Wed Oct 14th @ 6 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Dance Tools for Animation, Movement, and Coordination

During this workshop we talk about different types of dance tools, a suggested process for learning, and tools available from Spot On, MetaHarpers, and Barre.

Sat Oct 24th @ 10 am & Wed Oct 28th @ 4:30 pm:

Creating Dance in a Virtual World: Choosing Music

During this workshop it’s all about the music! We explore different styles of music, transitions, pauses, the audience, and soooo much more!

Length: 1 hour
Everyone welcome!

Sat Oct 24th @ 8:30 am & Wed Oct 28th @ 6 pm:

Spot On Smooth Dancer Animation HUD Class 1: I Wanna Dance!

Let me introduce you to the Smooth Dancer! During this hands on workshop we focus on the basics – loading animations, inviting others to dance, playing animations, how to reinvite and remove dancers. We also review what it can do and why it comes with a toolbox!

Goal: Feel familiar with your HUD and ready for a second date!

Length: 1 hour

Everyone welcome! Smooth Dancer HUD not required!
Prefer to listen and follow along? Comfortable seating is provided!

Stay Tuned for November!


Late arrivals for Activity Workshops:

If arriving after the workshop has begun, please find a seat to listen and follow along. Kindly minimize disruption as possible. Thank you!


Disclosure: Harleyquin Workshops aren’t affiliated with or receive compensation from any dance tool creator. Expanded tool workshops are planned for the future. Use whatever tools work for you and always keep an open mind!

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Inspiration, voices, and letting go

I had to pause for a moment as I thought these words in my head: “when I met P!nk”….

Then I realize – I haven’t actually met her. I was so very lucky to have been able to attend one of her concerts earlier this year. If you’ve seen her…you feel like you met her. She’s so real…she just lays it all out there. She gives it everything she has, and it was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. The audience milling about outside the arena was a literal melting pot, and I felt overwhelmed with…acceptance. No difference, no judgement, each of us were unique and I felt as one with every single person there. I almost put “but I felt” but there are no “buts” – there is only and. and I felt as one.

In society today, acceptance of who we are feels harder. Maybe part of it’s the media, a plethora of other things. What I know is me. My circle of influence, the people I surround myself with, and me, myself. I can’t change the world, but perhaps…just perhaps I can share that feeling of acceptance with others. That feeling of oneness. A friend shared with me these words yesterday, “there is room for everyone”, and there is. I may not understand everyone’s choices – but do I have to?

Today, instead of worrying if what I do is good enough or that I’m letting people down. If I’m “past my prime”. Instead of letting judgement cloud my head, worrying about who has stars on thars…today, I will focus on being me. Laying it all out there and giving it everything I have. Not think about what is expected, but releasing my voice…loudly. Letting go. Dismantling the wall inside.

I’m so very moved by this, and thank a very special person for sharing it with me.

Blessed be. Namaste. May the lord keep you and watch over you.
~ Eva

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