Seven Magic Mountain, near Las Vegas.  Photos taken on Google Pixel 2

Seven Magic Mountain, near Las Vegas. Photos taken on Google Pixel 2


to the colorful journal of Marissa Berrini, creative director, traveler, artist, and curator living in Los Angeles. Launched back in 2010, as Bourbon and Goose, Marissa's blog serves to be an inspiration for those times we’re stuck in a rut and help expand our community to dive deeper beyond the eye candy and more into the soul all while discovering self-worth, love, being present in the moment and creating the life you were meant to live.

Love + Presence

Love + Presence

“We think too much and feel too little.” ― Charlie Chaplin

I would agree with Charlie Chaplin. Based on my own experience, my thoughts tend to be nonstop. My personal pendulum has been swinging on the side of "thinking" and it's utterly exhausting. But thanks to a practice of meditation, I can finally turn off the monkey mind throughout moments of my day. Most of the time, those endless thoughts, feel like a long run on sentence that really isn't benefiting my future self and if I turn on the TV, you better believe it just fueled the fire. So for 2019, I've decided that this year I'll forgo the traditional New Year resolutions and pivot back to more of a Desire Map approach: what do I want to FEEL? As I pondered this question in the last final weeks of 2018, I realized my core desired feelings I craved the most is LOVE and PRESENCE. Two words, concepts, and ideas that are complicated but yet so simplistic if I gave them a chance and proper discipline of showing up.

I will admit, LOVE scares the hell out of me. Even at this stage of my life, it is one of those things I still haven't quite figured out. I mean don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE my family, friends, the planet and so much more but there are moments where I think I know LOVE and then boom something comes and throws me for a whirlwind, and at times off the path. Oh, and don't get me started on self-LOVE. That would be best described as "it's complicated," especially since I started walking the healer's path in 2016. For those that don't know, it's not all roses and daisies while sitting on your Zen cloud. It's actually hard work that usually comes with a few dashes of major changes, including new friendships, jobs, lifestyle habits, shedding of one’s old skin. Basically items that aren't part of society's "norms" and if you aren't in the flow of letting go, it's even more of a bitch to take in.

So why put myself in place to discover LOVE as a core desire feeling? Well, to be completely honest, during the majority of 2018, I had vast moments of loneliness. The last 6 months, were especially challenging. I lost long-time friendships, had my heart crushed by the actions of those with power (yes, I'm referring to the Patriarchy), met and danced with my shadow (not like in a Peter Pan kind of way, more like Rocky and Apollo Creed in Rocky II) and faced the possibility of losing one of my soul companions, Buju, my beloved dog and IRL alebrijes. All reality checks that were unexpected. Some might say, a Tower card type of year.

While this past year was rough, it also was the most soul-fulfilling concerning personal and spiritual growth. I traveled to Park City to collaborate with amazing creates and one of my favorite brands. I took on a new role at work. I became certified in How to Start an Animal Sanctuary at Best Friends Society in Kanab. I climbed 150 feet into the air to witness Mother Earth’s beauty in the Pacific Northwest but also the cold hard reality of clear-cutting occurring in our forests. Participated in ceremonies with healers from all over the world. Got lit at EDC in Las Vegas with a behind scene tour of all the art cars and performers. I also embraced new expanders that have raised my awareness to new heights. As well as discovered a more profound love for my husband, journeyed with a fantastic friend to be in communion with 700+ women for 5 days, and many more experiences that I didn’t document on social media. But when I finally got to those quiet moments in between, I had to really look at myself. Those not so pretty areas of me that were still there waiting in the silence, and I was left with the fact that loneliness was very real in my life. Thankfully that’s where the work came into play. I had signed up for Lacy Phillips courses at the first of 2018, and with my accountability bestie, I rolled up my sleeves for a dive into the subconscious of who I am. As well as a community with my classmates at 22 Teachings who will forever be my heroes for doing this type of work. This my friends were one of those “I can't blame anyone else” types of months/year that required work to be done and still continues today.

Basically, it was a no-brainer that the subject of LOVE needed to be explored and if I am really here to get curious and explore the Universe, then why not on a subject matter that my soul and the world needs more of? I have no expectation of what this overarching theme will look like. What the route will be and how I will be expressing it. I'm throwing it out there to the Universe and, will be catching the waves provided. In the matter of starting this year off, it's been less than 48 hours, and LOVE has already become a teacher. This coming from my daily routine of opening up the house, greeting it in the morning with LOVE and affection, verbally expressing to the plants how much I LOVE and appreciate them and profoundly looking into the eyes of my furkids and letting them know too, that I LOVE them. These little acts of LOVE, require presence, and that leads me to my next core desire feeling.

Is presence a "feeling"? In my world, yes, it is. Maybe because it's been a fleeting moment that I have touched base with on occasion instead of hanging out there for more than a pause, it's incredible how time has literally flown by but also feels nonexistent. As if it is a continuous moment vs. chapters of my life. I've heard many astrologers and healers speak to this as a new paradigm shift, but in lots of ways, I feel it's coming from the changes I see within myself. Those fleeting moments of touching base on presence showing me that can be expanded.

I've finally found the culprits of distractions that have led me to get sucked into a vortex of funk. I'm looking at you Instagram and Facebook. Which I've officially added to my list of less is more for 2019. Sure to be a challenge as my job title might include director of content. But as I'm sure others can relate, once I "take a minute" to enter into the social world, I am instantly taken out of the present. Whatever I am feeling or experiencing in real life at that moment is lost into a timesuck of spiked energies: positive or negative, resulting into feeling worse about myself and needless to say, a habit that's not serving anyone's highest good.

In a recent conversation with a good friend, we chatted in length about how being present has become something we all aspire to do but actually, most of us are failing miserably at it. Think about it: the last time you gave yourself a goal, and you achieved that goal. Did you relish in it or say to yourself: now what? Did you get a case of the blues once you hit the mark and won the grand prize? Or did you swiftly advert your eyes to what's next? If this sounds like you, then you and I have something in common. Most could define this as future tripping, ambition, motivation or maybe even distraction from being present with yourself? The majority of my bucket list has been accomplished (minus, of course, a couple of little big things). But it got me questioning, why I didn't really celebrate those previous achievements?

In some cases, I really thought I had celebrated them, but honestly, I didn't. I just kept on pushing forward. Like the fear of not pushing forward would cause some sort of falling backward. This question struck a cord recently when my beautiful mentees (and in turn mentors in their own right), pointed out what an exciting and fun ride my life has been. That I've lived life. But when I think about that statement, have I really LIVED life?

So that's when these questions hit me: if you rest and receive, does that mean you're lazy? If you stay present, does that project to the world you're complacent? Well, I'm taking this year to test it out, and if it works, that means my Human Design of being a Generator really is an accurate fit. Hello, Presence, here I come.

This is sure to be a HUGE challenge for me because I can't sit still, but that's where the meditation practice comes in. I've seen its results and how life-changing it was for me. In the beginning, it was uncomfortable and hard. Like nails on a chalkboard hard. I couldn't deal with it, but just as I was about to give it up, I finally got a dose of what that Transcendental Meditation hype was all about and just to be clear, it's not hype, it really does work. Now, I'm not saying that I'm your star student that does it twice a day, every day. At first yes, I was, but then a full-time gig and side projects kicked me off my meditation mat. Now my priority list has been rearranged and meditation is a must, not a reward. Discipline must be exercised continuously. No excuses.

Also, you don't have to practice TM. There are many options to be considered for "meditation." Some of my favorites: Jessica Snow's guided meditations, Vibrant Mama's suggestion of dancing in your living room, tea ceremonies (this is AMAZING, a must do for anyone) or something as easy as a run, walk or hike in your city. Basically, it's carving out at least 20 minutes for you to clear your head and get into your body. For me that's TM. As a creative, it helps me to unlock my imagination. I call it a bath of my brain. Kind of gross now that I see it in writing.

It's important to note that I tend to be a private person when it comes to my spiritual practice, political views and overall feeling of today's latest trending news. So writing this blog post isn't the easiest thing to share and initially, I told myself I'd post on the New Year so I can give the message to the Universe I'm committed, but that didn't happen as you can see. Instead this time it was a choice I made because I was present with my family, my friend who was visiting, and my body so I don't feel guilty about it. The important reminder that my wellness is in my own hands.

Throughout the next year, I'll be exploring all facets of this high vibrational word and the art of presence. I hope you join me for the journey and share your own thoughts, feelings, and views on love and how you live in the here and now instead of future tripping. Most of what I'll be sharing will be here on the blog and Instagram (yup, I just contradicted myself from my early declaration of less is more) under the hashtag #loveletterstotheuniverse. This isn't about an end goal of monetization; instead, this is an experiment of love, and for that, I am truly inspired and ready for.

Love Letters to the Universe 01

Love Letters to the Universe 01

travel: moorten botanical garden in palm springs

travel: moorten botanical garden in palm springs