There have been times when I am doing my clients hair and I become quiet, I have a look of intensity on my face, my stare becomes centered and my eye color darkens and becomes black, I work deeply and methodically, everything around me softens. This look on my face can make my clients feel uncomfortable. Out of the silence my client will talk to me and when I process what they have said my demeanor goes back to normal, my stare is softened, my eyes relax, and I am aware of my surroundings.
What the hell is that about? Why the intensity?
From time to time when I am really feeling the experience of working someone’s hair I fall into a state of flow. The sounds around me soften and almost disappear, the voice in my head stops, and I am 100% present in what I am working on.
You might be thinking, “Yeah that’s cool and all, but what the hell is flow?”
Flow is a state of consciousness when you are present in the moment and the neurology in your brain shifts. This allows for the creativity to take hold and guide you in that moment. It is almost a form of meditation, performers enter this state when they are on stage, writers get it when they are ‘in the zone’, athletes experience this in competition, and even our Navy Seals enter flow when they are in the field.
Flow allows a person to act and react in what they are experiencing. It allows a person to enter a mind-altering experience without the use of mind altering substances. You can tap into flow in almost any activity you are doing, it’s about dropping into that experience, being 100% in that moment, then you fall into effortlessness, selfishness, and timelessness.
Why is any of this important? Flow is important because it allows a person a sense of freedom to be themselves and express themselves and what is more liberating than a personal sense of freedom. Any successful person has propelled themselves forward by learning how to hack into a state of flow. The Navy SEALS hack into flow to work in the demanding situations they are presented, Google CEO’s hack into flow when programming or designing the brand of Google, they also allow time to hack into flow in other environments, like Burning Man.
Hacking into flow doesn’t need to derive from something that you are creating. Flow can be experienced through others work, for example, if you’ve ever been to a concert, or a music festival you achieve flow as a collective group when you are entranced and lost into the music, into the art someone is creating for you.
Flow is necessary for all of us to experience, it allows us to drop the surrounding noise in and out of our head, it taps into a sense of creativity, it propels us into unusual ways of thought and different experiences in the world. Flow allows us to operate at and/or beyond our capabilities, it is the pathway to self-actualization and discovery. Flow can shift us away from patterns, feelings, and thoughts that do not serve us.
My question is, where do you find flow in your life and are you tapping into the potential of what the state of flow has to offer? If you can’t think of ways you find flow, seek it! You can achieve flow in all areas that you are excreting your mind and/or body. By dropping into the experience, you allow your thoughts to come and go as your please, let them pass like clouds in the sky with no judgement, focus on what you are working on or creating. Lastly breathe, allow your breath to move in and out of your body fully.
The next time you get your haircut and if I have an intense look on my face and the conversation dies down, don’t take it personal, it just means that I’m in a flow with your hair. This is where I like to live when working with hair, in yoga, or writing this blog, it allows me to be in tune with what I am trying to create, and this is how I create my best work.
If you would like to learn more about flow I highly recommend checking out Jason Silva’s YouTube series, Shots of Awe or pick up the book Stealing Fire by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s topic, until next time.
On Friday I was at the Di’namik bouldering competition at The Front and met two lovely people who just moved to Salt Lake City form LA and Chicago. By the way, The Front is a rock climbing gym in Salt Lake City and bouldering is a form of rock climbing. Anyway, we were talking about what a great gym The Front is and the how facility is out of this world. We also talked about our lives, career, hobbies, ectara. They told me they’re flight attendants, who like the gym, running, and yoga. I shared some of my story that I’m a hairdresser who climbs, practices yoga, bikes around the city, and am a drag queen.
The gentlemen, John, said, “Wow you do a lot!” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this. I’ve received similar responses from my clients and friends, they ask, “How do you find the time?” or “I wish I was as motivated as you.” Or my favorite. “I’m not that passionate about anything, you’re lucky to have found a job your passionate about.” I never know how to respond to any of this. With John I simply said, “Yes I do, and I love it.” As I chuckle uncomfortably.
This week I want to share with you my idea or theory on finding passion in life.
Everything in life starts with curiosity, the classes we take in school, the jobs we take, the people we talk to, it all begins with curiosity. Finding something or someone that sparks a light deep within us. If we don’t explore that small light it will slowly die out and vanish, but if we explore that curiosity, my sense is you will surprise yourself. This is how all great journeys and passions are discovered, not simply by mentally observing on the wonders in our mind, but by physically acting out and exploring the biggest and smallest wonders of the world.
All remarkable stories begin with a spark of curiosity. In Star Wars A New Hope, R2-D2 finds their way to Luke Skywalker with a message from Princess Leia, that message sparked a curiosity in Luke that lead him to Obi Wan Kenobi, Obi Wan sparked Luke’s curiosity in The Force that lead him on an adventure that changed his world forever… and changed the galaxy forever. The world-famous hairdresser, Vidal Sassoon was trigged and inspired when he looked at architecture, he asked himself if he could take similar geometry and apply it to hairdressing. That wonderment led him to change the world of hairdressing forever, giving us beautiful, timeless, classic shapes like the five-point haircut, graduated bobs, and bobs with an increase of length in the face (A-lines).
Curiosity leads us to change the world forever, it may not influence on a vast scale in the way Sassoon or George Lucas did, but it can shift our world forever and in turn the way we look at the world. If our perspective changes on the world, the world unfolds and changes before our eyes. It takes one step in any direction to unfold a path that we never knew existed or could exist.
Anything that sparks a light in us should be explored, let’s say you’re interested in photography, take some classes, get a camera, and the more you dive into that curiosity you will discover more and more about yourself. If this doesn’t fulfill you, put the camera away and explore the next curiosity, just because you’re not interested in something anymore doesn’t mean you should stop exploring other things of interest, it means you need to explore the next curiosity.
Before I began designing wigs for Utah Opera I was curious about what that entailed, I worked towards designing a show and after I got the position and did it for a brief time I realized it was not fulfilling, so I let it go and moved onto the next curiosity. After graduating college, I explored going into Psychology as a career, after diving into the curiosity I decided it was not a fit, I let it go and moved on.
Explore interests and the wonders of your mind, taste a sample of what makes you curious, ask yourself questions. Make a list of every single interest you have; no matter how small and large they maybe, write it all down, and slowly explore them. If you are restricted to explore them because of cost or your location, explore the ones you can, or find what these interests have in common and explore the commonality of them all. The age of technology has propelled the human experience in such a way that you literally hold a tool in your hand to dive into the world. Of course, I am referring to your smart phone, the internet has made it incredibly simple to learn and explore the world we live in.
On a final note; life is short, time is fleeting, and life is impermeant. If we do not explore our interests today, that spark of curiosity will only slowly fade away and become a dual light in the background. The reality is that in the end we will die, and we do not know when or how, so we need to live as if it’s our last day, we need to explore the cracks of curiosity before it’s to late. Unleash the wonder junkie that is in all of us, find love for the world, and enjoy the wonderment of it all.
Become the Luke Skywalker in the movie that is your life.
Summer is such a great season, picnics in the park, hiking and biking, beautiful bronzed skin, sun kissed hair, and of course all the delicious foods like barbeque, watermelon, iced tea, and burgers (or in my case veggie burgers). With all the amazing and beautiful gifts summer gives us, it does come at a price, like sun burns, chlorine hair, dry hair, dry skin, and hair color lightening. This week I break down some hair and skin struggles that we experience during the summer and how to prevent/fix these problems.
Take these tips and tools to keep your hair and skin healthy during this summer season, if you have any tips or solutions you’ve discovered for summer problems add them in the comments below.
Until next time, much love!
Last weekend was the annual Utah Pride Festival, a program put on by the Utah Pride Center. Utah Pride has a lot of events and activities throughout those few days, you have the festival itself with live music, Princess Kennedy’s roof top party at the Green Pig, Club Trayngles Steak Fry, the Sunday Parade, workshops and discussion groups, and all the drag shows a person can ever ask for.
This week I performed in one show and attended the Parade in drag as, Trixie Belmont, I was in drag for two days, other drag queens didn’t have it as easy as me. My close friend, Sister Molly Mormon was in drag for five days in a row, either performing, hosting shows, or being in the parade. There were conversations on the best way to get sleep and do drag, some queens sleep in their makeup so they do not have to wake up at 5:00am to reapply all the makeup again, some will find ways to cut corners on the makeup so they can save time. It can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three hours for a drag queen to get ready.
It takes a lot more than cover girl to cover boy.
If you’re like Molly Mormon and in drag for five days, Pride weekend can take it out of you, not only does it take so long to get ready and be on point all weekend, but they also come up with different concepts on the different days throughout Pride, for example, the theme this year was Get Salty, so the drag performers for the parade where in that theme, the night before they were performing in a totally different look (depending on what they were performing).
It’s a lot of work to do the makeup, style the wigs, make the outfits, and perform all weekend long. Why do we exhaust our self for this one weekend? Because love is love, we drag performers put ourselves through all this to express our love for the community, to come together as a community in all our variety, to show the progress we have made since the Stonewall days. I feel honored and grateful every time I get into drag, there were people who fought and died for the right for me to express myself, just like voting, I feel I need to exercise that right when I can.
Being in drag during this weekend is about showing that gender expression is fluid just like sexuality. The goal is to educate the community, that underneath the sexuality, the gender expression, and all the wigs and makeup, we are all the same; gay, straight, white, black, tall, fat, skinny, brown, male, female, Mormon, Catholic, and everything in between, we are all human beings seeking love, truth, beauty, and connection with each other.
With all the expression that one sees in the Pride festivities, the glitter, the wigs, the makeup, the temporary rainbow tattoos, the gender blending, the drag, and the everyday. With all the vast amount of people that attend from all backgrounds we come together in one common goal. Love. To express love, to share love, to give love, and to receive love.
Hair, wigs, and makeup, these are just tools to express yourself. Drag performers fought for freedom of self-expression, exercise that right to express yourself and above all to love yourself. That’s why we do what we do, to express love for ourselves, the community, and the craft that we do.
Below are photos of this past weekend, we have Sister Molly Mormon in the pink wig and again in the popcorn, Gemma Nigh as the rainbow, Anne Ominus, Sonnei caught performing on the stage, and myself Trixie Belomont as the Morton Salt Girl.
Express yourself, be yourself. Love always,
THE GEOGRAPHY OF HAIR
The Geography of Hair is devoted to share experiences and stories in cosmetology and how it has affected people, myself, or us as a society.