Active Love + A Renewed State of Mind

The one day this week that the train was on time, I got to the station late because of the snow. But this is why I just let God have His way: I made a new friend! A really nice family man with a lot of positivity and good stories to share about his life in Nigeria and England before moving to Canada. Honestly, why hide yourself in a quiet zone when you can be open and share who you are with strangers? Why not show a genuine interest in the people you see on a daily basis and make new friends everywhere you go? Why ignore our nature to love and be loved, to comfort and inspire, to share and to listen?

I recently had a tragic and sudden loss in the family. On Friday January 31st at 7:10am my mom phoned me as I sat on the train. Crying, she told me granny Sylvia had passed away. Immediately I burst into tears over shock, confusion and desperation. A thousand thoughts ran through my brain…. How did this happen? Why now? We just saw her… I won’t see her again? It all came rushing down and out. It took a few days before I could really find understanding, acceptance and eventually peace. There’s a confidence in my heart of who she was and a reassurance of her return Home that makes this easier to deal with. Despite the immeasurable sadness of her not being in front of my eyes, or no longer hearing her voice or never again getting to holding her hand, there is a joy in my heart that where she is now in the Place where there is no more fear, pain, worry, depression or discomfort. How could I ever express the joy I feel when I imagine her with her biggest Love, her Lord? In His arms and reunited with loved ones… Seeing more, feeling more, experiencing more. There is such comfort in that thought. It’s where she lived her whole life in pursuit of — where she always wanted to be.

Considering that and applying it to my life changes my perspective and inspires me to behave differently. Life is short so there is no logic or sense in keeping to yourself, being prideful and selfish, taking your blessings for granted, being unaware of how much you have, mistreating your family and friends, abusing the ones who love you, using people, hating people, complaining, being negative, “ranting,” fighting and arguing, going after what you want without any consideration for how it would affect others, the list will forever go on.

When I walked into work with tears in my eyes that Friday, I could see the sorrow and compassion my team had when they saw me, knowing what had just happened a few hours ago. Without caring about politically correctness or possible embarrassment or anything, one of my team members stood up, walked over, gave me a big hug, and told me “Go home to your family. You don’t need to be here right now.” I will never forget that compassionate gesture. The next few days my Facebook was flooded with kind words, sympathies, words of encouragement, prayers, and support from family who were sharing the same loss and friends who never met her. My family received cards, flowers, and phone calls offering comfort, and my whole church shared our sadness. I am forever grateful for this affection and that’s why I think it’s so important to be loving like that all the time.

There is only time to love, respect, share, learn, listen, honour, cherish, believe, CHANGE for the better, observe and be aware, be gentle, patient, kind, consider others as more valuable than yourself, look ahead but learn from your past so you don’t repeat the same mistakes… and so on.

From the moment I open my eyes in the morning I make the decision to thank God for letting me see another day, I kiss my parents “Good morning,” I fill my mind with positive thoughts and I head out to the day knowing that anything could happen that could shake me but I will never lose hope and I will always do my best to love actively. Not because I expect love in return and not because I want to be more popular. Only because I understand that every individual is valuable and because I know I am strong enough to be the person who doesn’t let the hardships of life turn me into a monster.

Best to you all and with love,

Sarah

A Desire for an Unwanted Season

Sitting in the living room of my aunt’s beautiful house in Trinidad and perusing the photographs and music recommendations of a much favoured musician of mine, a thought occured to me when I came across a particular image. There was a man walking towards the camera… head down with a slight smile across his face, his expression disguised behind thick-framed glasses. Snowflakes littered his slick hair and shoulders as he glided through the wintry air. The monochromatic photograph — a moment frozen in time — made me miss winter. In that moment the season, so often taken for granted by Northerners, became something tranquil and beautiful. Perhaps it’s my current location (a warm, breezy island in the Caribbean that I dearly love) that has me longing for the dusting of snowflakes and chilly, ice clean air… but I can see winter as a cold wonderland rather than a frustrating, unwanted season. When I came across the photograph a sense of love overwhelmed me and I am ready to return from my warm, blissful vacation to my frosty, white home. To a country blessed with four seasons (possibly to offer residents spontaneity and appreciation for each of them): Canada, in two & a half days I will gladly greet you.

- SD

Trinidad: My Sweet Home. January 2014

Las Cuevas Beach, Trinidad

It’s been a gorgeous week so far in my home islands Trinidad & Tobago. Since January 2nd, my family and I have visited relatives and friends, had amazing reunions with delicious food, went swimming and best of all, had a beach day in Las Cuevas. The air is moist and cool with the ocean breeze drifting inward. Warm rain showers that fall daily bring life to all the lush plants and flowers around the country. This is truly a place like no other. Full of paradisiacal views, calming weather and cheerful island residents, Trinidad is the perfect place to return to to begin this new year in my life. I am so blessed to be able to spend 17 days in my birth country and I thank God for working everything out so my whole family could be here.

I bought a Canon Rebel t3i DSLR camera to capture moments from this vacation and temporary return home, so if you want to see why I am so in love with this place, check out my gallery HERE.

I’m full of so much joy right now!

Cheers everyone,

Sarah xoxo

Singing in the new year! Goodbye 2013, hello 2014

I’m sitting in my bedroom — it’s all tidy and organized after a few hours of really late spring cleaning. The family is getting everything ready for our flight tomorrow night to go to Trinidad! We haven’t been back there since 2009 so it’s long overdue. I can’t wait to spend time with my extended family, grandparents, cousins and relax in the sun. There’s a pool at my aunt’s house so I’ll be a mermaid for three blissful weeks. Thanks be to God for making this trip happen for my family — somehow we’re all available to take the time off at this stage in our lives. It’s the perfect way to bring in the new year.

As for tonight I’m jamming out to the voice of Hayley Williams, the singer of Paramore. Each of the songs I listened to today brought me back to a different moment in my life. It’s nice to see my journey so far in retrospect.

In a couple hours my best friend and my boyfriend will be arriving to chat about some resolutions, play some games with my family, maybe even watch a movie until the countdown begins.

I am so thankful for everything that happened in 2013. I graduated from my post-grad program in Journalism, interned at Tribute Entertainment, survived gallbladder surgery and spent quality time with my grandmothers, diligently worked at my second internship – Trend Hunter, got hired after my four month session with them, and all that’s left is this amazing night and a great trip that will begin tomorrow night. I made great new friends, held onto treasured old ones, challenged myself and achieved my goals, and trusted God the whole time. I’ve improved on taking risks, I’ve become more self-aware and conscious about the kind of person I want to become.

Every year you live can be wonderful to look back on. Think of your life like a story book and every year is a new chapter. This book is about you and the story you tell will be read by the people in your life, every time you write a new page.

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, ’cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” – Will Smith

“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’” – Erma Bombeck

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

Many people believe in the power of the mind, but I believe that it’s God’s power and greatness that works through us. We have the amazing gift of being in control of ourselves, the decisions we make and the way we think. This power we have can be used with negativity to tear people down and ripple into an ugly storm, or it can be used with hope and positivity to bring people up and be the light in the lives of others.

I hope you spend tonight reflecting on last year and that you set some goals for yourself for the new year. What do you want to be like? What do you need to change? Who do you need to treat better and how can you show love to people who need it?

Have a great night wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Smile as the clock strikes 12 because this is another year where you have life and you are loved.

Cheers my friends! Happy new year!

xoxo

Sarah

“Speaking from experience, anger is a lot like the alien from Alien. It begins as an attack. Something terrible happens (facehugger) and it plants something in you (chestburster). You wake up, thinking everything is fine despite the attack. Little do you know, you are now host to a growing parasite. That parasite gestates inside of you, eating you up. You feel all the negative symptoms before it bursts out of your chest, spawning an unimaginable beast. In Alien, you can’t stop it, but in real life, you can fight it.

You can either be Tom Skerrit or Signourney Weaver about it. It’s your choice. (Just dont be Winona Ryder).”

Jake McDowell

Man of Steel: A true hero

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Man of Steel was amazing. Zack Snyder did an incredible job at portraying this well-known hero using modern cinematography without losing the foundation of what makes him the hero he is.

There was a lot of criticism against this film, as with all comic book adaptations, but despite the challenges of bringing Superman back to the big screen I think Snyder and Christopher Nolan did a great job. That being said, I didn’t think Amy Adams was right for Lois Lane. She’s got the look and she definitely rocked the reporter role, but Lois is a much richer character with great purpose in Superman’s life. Adams didn’t stand up to the previous Lois Lane (Erica Durance) from Smallville. After seeing Durance’s portrayal, Adams was a bit of a disappointment. She’s a great actress but not the best choice for Lane. In addition to that, the chemistry between her and our Kryptonian hero was very weak.

Taking a step back… In this film audiences grow with Clark Kent (through flashbacks of his life in Smallville) as he develops his powers and faces many challenges on his way to understanding his true identity: Kal-El. There is harmony between the story of Clark in Smallville and the history of Krypton.

Clark’s complicated relationships with people, his loneliness, his curiosity about his birth parents and other world — everything was overwhelming for him. But he did not resent humanity for rejecting him and he did not hate his parents for sending him to Earth. He did not show hatred and anger to the universe… he accepted the truth and remained solid and good. This is what makes him a wonderful example of what it means to be a real hero!

Can you imagine someone so good they’re almost incapable of evil? Can you imagine someone so determined to serve and protect others, and make sacrifices for the greater good of mankind? These values are embodied in our Superman. In fact, it reminds me of Someone even greater and mightier. Great film, great narrative, BEAUTIFUL CGI and soundtrack, and excellent casting.

9/10

Mackenzie Boyd-Garrison Biography & Interview

Featured aspiring actress: MACKENZIE BOYD-GARRISON
Written by Sarah Dos Santos

Acting student at Seneca

Acting student at Seneca College

After interviewing young aspiring actress MacKenzie Boyd-Garrison, I found out how much awareness she has about the industry, how she plans to break barriers down, and what opportunities and experiences make her confident. She wants to inspire others to take risks despite the competition.

A CAREER WITH RISK

 With the growing film industry and directors presenting more creative and risky stories, more aspiring actors believe this is a good time to prepare themselves in hopes of getting a chance in the spotlight.

A risk with entering this career is that with so much competition, actors often have to settle for roles based only upon their appearances (type-casting), or with roles where they have little room to be creative and grow.

Despite these challenges MacKenzie still wants to pursue a career in acting. Her work experience consists of several independent film productions (lead female characters).

In the interview she shares her experiences, inspirations, challenges, the balance between positive aspects and negative ones, as well as how she balances her personal life with her career goals.

THE INTERVIEW

 Q: What inspired you to get into acting?

A: “I don’t really know what initially sparked my interest in acting, I just remember I’ve always loved to entertain people. When I was little, I was a dancer and did lots of school plays, so I think it all just came together from there.”

Q: What experiences have you had so far?

A: “Since entering my post-secondary life, I have been involved in a few independent movies: one was a horror film called The Dark Chronicles, a comedy called Four Twenty, another horror called Found Footage, and I just recently participated in a short film competition, the 48 Hour Film Project.”

Q: Do you think your program is helping you prepare yourself with the right skills? What are some of those skills you are learning?

A: “I really think the program I’m in is benefiting me in a number of ways! We have a lot of different classes that are all really exciting and helpful in furthering our careers. We make use of the studio for dance rehearsals, fight choreography, play and scene rehearsals, improv, mask classes, and movement classes; we use another studio for green screen work, three-camera shooting, and editing. We are learning all the basic fundamentals of on-camera and stage acting, as well as what goes on behind the scenes.

Q: The film industry is a very competitive place to find work. Does that involve compromising yourself for an opportunity?

A: “I think that whatever is most important to you is something you should go for. Careers are a challenging journey for anyone, so we all have to make choices based on how important the career is to us. Acting is my life, so I will do what I can to make sure I’m the best I can be, and hopefully one day I can make a living out of it! [Laughs] On the other hand, I love my family and friends, and I am so lucky to have them, so I hope they’ll be along for the ride with me!”

Q: What has been the most challenging part?

A: “The most challenging part for me (so far) would probably have to be opening up in front of people. When you can really feel the emotion that your character is feeling in a scene, you break down barriers and let people see who you really are. That’s been challenging, but so rewarding.”

Q: What is your favourite part about working with people with the same goals?

A: “I LOVE the support. We all are such different people, but our passion for acting unites us and makes us all a big family. We support each other unconditionally, which I think will make this an incredible journey.”

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED

There are many challenges out there for aspiring actors, and we have seen many successes and failures through the media. There are actors like Zooey Deschanel who have been type-casted countless times but still perform extremely well. Then there are actors like Christian Bale who change even their body weight in dramatic ways to take on a different character. The film industry is incredibly fascinating and it wouldn’t be what it is if actors didn’t get out there and take those risks.

“I believe that taking risks is part of what brings one to success.”

– MacKenzie BG



Stay posted on MacKenzie’s career journey!
http://mackenziebg.wix.com/mackenzie-bg
@MacKenzieBG