#6 Alyana “Love Paper Pen”
18 minute read
Perhaps the most rewarding part of running Lossul.com is the amount of inspirational people that I continually get exposed to.
This is true for every section of the site, but there is no doubt that these ‘people’ features have been the greatest resource, introducing me to an abundance of like-minded, positive, determined and driven people.
They are keen to make a difference in the world and to have their voices heard as individuals, yet paradoxically they also understand the need to work together in order to have an even greater impact.
And that brings me onto this latest ‘people’ feature where it gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Alyana of Love Paper Pen.
Alyana and I have been conversing for some time, and one or two of you may recall that I contributed a post of my own to Love Paper Pen late last year. You can check out that feature by clicking here.
One of the greatest advantages of allowing a feature to come together over an extended period of time is that you get to establish a really good understanding of what makes each person tick, and as such you are able to really find out who the most authentic people are.
Alyana has been a true pleasure to work with, and her message is one of love, peace, and unity. I am truly excited for you to get to know her too and to see what Love Paper Pen is all about, what inspired its creation, and what it is that makes it such a rewarding place to visit.
Elliot – Hey Alyana! Welcome to Lossul.com. It really is great to have you here!
I understand that you created your website, Love Paper Pen, because you felt that the world could use a little more positivity and a little more love. With this in mind, what can the reader expect to find when they visit your site? And could you also share your story as to what inspired you to create Love Paper Pen, and what your journey has been to date?
Alyana – Hi Elliot, thank you for having me, I am thrilled that our paths crossed. I am a big fan of your message and I’m honoured to participate in Lossul’s ‘people’ series.
The inspiration behind Love Paper Pen is based on my burning desire to make a positive change in the world. I use Love Paper Pen as a vehicle to share the message of love, peace and unity. Many people feel that their actions are too small to make a real difference, but I believe small acts of kindness have a compounding effect and that together we can make our world a gentler, kinder place.
Love Paper Pen is dedicated to sharing inspirational stories, thought provoking ideas and practical tips for improving our outlook which can help us get back to our true nature, love.
I want this site to be a resource for people to reassure their trust in the world and to be reminded that there is an abundance of goodness all around us if we take the time to notice it. Perhaps most importantly I want people to know they are not alone on their journey to find purpose and meaning in life.
Elliot – Your desire to make a positive change in the world is something that is very apparent on your website and I do believe that we can all help make a difference. What is really great is that you don’t just help to inspire others, but you also actively encourage others to get involved and to contribute to the message you’re sharing. But that is something that we can come back to later.
There is a very definite sense of spirituality, of self-awareness, and there is a feeling of peace that is embodied within your words. Would you say that you have always been this way, or was there ever a point where you said ‘enough is enough’ and where you knew something had to change in your life? What guided you down the path you’ve taken, and what would you say your spiritual journey has been?
Alyana – This is an important question, thank you for asking.
I believe we are the product of our environment. Our urge for survival forces us to adapt to almost any condition, which is pretty remarkable. But in less dire situations it may not be as beneficial; in fact, it may do more harm than good. To answer your question, I did not always have the outlook I have today.
I moved to New York from Eastern Europe at the age of 12. As you can imagine, this age is a particularly vulnerable one. It is a time full of insecurities and doubts and I had to go through it in a language I didn’t know, surrounded by a culture I didn’t understand. This may be a complete surprise to you (wink) but New Yorkers have a reputation for being tough. They are exciting, passionate and very proud people. Proud not only of their hometown but also of their background as most people immigrated there at some point.
While I believe understanding your background is an important part of self awareness, I also realize that being overly proud of our heritage can divide and separate us. Nationalism often overshadows the beauty of learning and connecting with other cultures. It prevents us from seeing people behind the flag. In many cases it even calls for hating others just because they live on the other side of an imaginary line on a map.
But survival comes first and so we adapt. To make it in New York I had to get tough, I had to prove that I fit in. I had to skip school to be cool and get into fights to be respected. While I successfully put on the mask and blended into my surroundings, in the process I got further and further away from my true self. I lost myself trying to be like everyone else.
What helped me break through this thick skin was continuous inspiration and motivation from a very special person in my life. My best friend and husband has been a part of my journey for over 14 years. Over the years he has continuously pushed me to think outside the box, he questioned my predispositions and called me out whenever I was not acting from a place of love. At times it was difficult and extremely uncomfortable dealing with this type of criticism. But by keeping an open mind and owning up to my actions I slowly but surely let down my guard and let love in.
I believe each and everyone of us is capable of shedding years of conditioning, anger and hurt in order to reach inner peace. With proper guidance, patience and an open mind we can let go of everything that’s weighing us down and change the direction of our focus. Since I opened my heart to unconditional love I feel less stressed, infinitely more content and most importantly I developed a burning desire for spreading the message of love, peace and unity.
Elliot – Thank you so much for being so open and I really appreciate you sharing your story with us. It’s particularly inspirational that the person you are now is not the person you once were, and it serves as a lesson to the rest of us that it’s never too late to change.
In many ways it sounds as though your husband has been something of a mentor for you over the years, and that your strength and love has been key to the changes you’ve made. What advice would you give to anybody who is feeling lost and needs to find direction in their lives? And if they don’t have the strength of a relationship to help guide them, what can they do as an individual that will get them closer to where they want to be?
Alyana – I would start by assuring them that feeling lost is not such a bad thing. On the contrary, it is the starting point of transformation. I believe it’s this very feeling that pushes and propels us to get out of our comfort zone. I know that feeling lost can be frightening and overwhelming, I’ve been there, but I choose to see it as an opportunity. This is the perfect time for reflection and re-evaluation of our purpose. It is a sign that we need to get to know ourselves a little better and a chance to align our lives with our values.
I believe people are capable of achieving incredible things if their motives are driven by their passions. When feeling lost, I recommend asking yourself…
What is it that I love?
What excites me?
What makes me smile?
How can I do more of that and can I build a life around this passion?
What helps me find my balance when I’m feeling lost or misguided is helping others. I feel myself come alive after I find a way to give back. There are a million ways to infuse the world with a little love. From donating time or supplies to local animal shelters, to cooking meals for the needy or homeless, tutoring kids or volunteering for the elderly and much more. I promise that after contributing your time and giving from the heart you will feel a beautiful fulfilment that will embrace you with the most genuine smile. But I must warn you, this feeling is addicting.
I understand that not everyone has a partner they can rely on as they navigate through their journey of self growth and that’s perfectly ok. As a matter of fact it can be an advantage. A free mind and spirit can drift between opportunities and experiences unapologetically.
I believe each and every one of us has the strength to take control of our mindset and therefore our destiny. Fortunately with the help of the internet we no longer have to go at it alone. There are countless videos, articles, books and podcasts that focus on the good and give helpful tips on improving our outlook. I am always discovering new ways to be inspired and I am more than happy to share those resources. By surrounding ourselves with positive input we begin to change the way we interpret and respond to the outside world.
One place to start is by signing up to www.lovepaperpen.com where subscribers receive weekly motivations and inspirations delivered straight to their inbox. I also welcome anyone to reach out to me directly, to make a new friend, to share a touching story with the world, to join our Facebook community and to become a part of our warm and loving network.
Elliot – I think giving to others is often undervalued in terms of what it can do for ourselves as individuals. I don’t believe that we should ever ‘give to receive’ and if ever we’re going to do things for other people then it should be done so on a completely unconditional basis. But the amazing thing is that when you do give to others, when you share your love with the world, and when you bring value into other people’s lives, there’s no doubt that ultimately it all comes back to you in ways you never thought possible.
Having spent some time reading through your website and also from the answers you’ve already given, I think it’s clear that you have a genuine interest in people. We both have that in common. But what would you say it is that fascinates you so much about people?
Alyana – I love people. I view humans as ingenious beings capable of incredible wonders. Unfortunately many of us are too caught up in the day-to-day mundane to realize the awesomeness we are capable of.
I wholeheartedly believe that all people are good at heart, or at least when they come into this world they are. I am an advocate for peaceful parenting because I believe children raised with love, peace, and respect grow into emotionally intelligent adults who in turn make the world a better place. Life is not always fair and some are dealt a more difficult hand but even then there is always opportunity to turn the struggle into motivation.
Despite our varied backgrounds I believe our similarities far outweigh our differences and if we look past our conditioning we can begin to understand each other instead of judging one another. I think all of us, deep down at our very core are fragile children living out our childhood wants and needs, yearning to be loved, to be heard and to be understood. Every one of us holds the key to our own happiness, yet so many search endlessly for it on the outside. Understanding this concept and learning to harness its power is the key to true emotional freedom and inner peace.
I am eternally grateful for having the opportunity to see our world through lenses of love and I take every opportunity to help others see their surroundings in a positive light.
Elliot – You just raised a very interesting and extremely important point there about searching endlessly for happiness on the outside.
What would you say are the pitfalls of searching for external happiness? What forms can this take? And what can a person do to find happiness from within?
Alyana – The interesting thing about happiness is that people get to make up their own definitions. To some, happiness comes in the form of wealth, to others it’s attention, popularity, power, etc. All variations of these definitions have one thing in common; each one of them depends on an outside element.
So the question is, if we take away that element, will the happiness remain? Will you be wealthy without possessions? Will you be popular if there is no one to give you attention? Will you be powerful if there is no one to control? What remains in the absence of these elements?
The difference in true happiness is that it needs no other element. It is a force like no other that is sustainable in almost any environment. Inner happiness means being at peace with yourself. It means accepting and loving yourself just as you are. I believe true happiness is found within and therefore it starts with self-work.
The following practices help me find my inner peace and happiness.
1. Realizing and addressing your inner demons a.k.a. insecurities
Some of the biggest culprits of unfriendly behavior are insecurities. Get to know yours, be honest with yourself and address these areas of weakness. Sometimes simply acknowledging the existence of our insecurities is enough to stop their rule over us.
2. Chip away at your ego
Too often we don’t realize how much our ego stands in the way of our progress.
3. Practice yoga or meditation to quieten the mind
These exercises help clear our mind clutter and reach a state of inner calm which enables us to respond to the outside world with clarity and empathy.
4. Begin exercising self love instead of self criticism
Positive inner talk leads to positive outer talk.
5. Realize that you are so much more than your possessions
This is a tough one for many folks in today’s society and it is not their fault. Our material world does a fine job convincing us that we need all this shiny stuff even if we can’t afford it. Begin seeing past these messages and free yourself from the spell of consumerism.
6. Practice gratitude
Appreciate big and small things alike. Nothing brings us back to zen better than counting our blessings.
7. Aligning your values with your actions
Are you doing the things that matter most to you? Does your career entail any of your passions? Aligning our values with our actions enables us to live a fuller and more meaningful life which rewards us with a sense of purpose, happiness and inner peace.
Elliot – Thank you so much for your insight and this will give the readers some inspirational ideas for ways in which they can find happiness from within. This is something that I am in complete agreement with because to pin your happiness upon external factors can essentially mean giving away the ability to have any control over your own happiness. If you can find what you need from within, then that’s an invaluable life skill to achieve.
I know you have a passion for travel and so I am curious as to what you feel the personal and spiritual benefits of travel are? And do you have any upcoming trips or adventures that you can share with us?
Alyana – Traveling is the best gift we can give ourselves. I believe that exploring the world is worth much more than any man-made riches. Nothing compares to seeing our planet through our own senses like sight, sound, and touch. How can any textbook match up to that kind of learning experience?
I also believe that submerging in other cultures allows us to become more open-minded as well as helps us deepen our understanding. We can either learn that we are not that different from one another or learn just how different some cultures can be. Despite these differences, I believe that travel reveals an unspoken universal truth. It shows that no matter how different we may be, we can still be kind and loving to one another, as if we are all distant relatives.
Many people think that traveling is too costly and is therefore out of their reach. But I don’t think this is true at all. It may be true if you’re the type to only stay at five star hotels, which will quickly break the bank. But, if you are the down-to-earth type, you’re in luck my friend, there are millions of reasonable accommodations that will not only make travel affordable but will also bring you closer to local culture and therefore more unique life changing experiences.
There are many organizations that will provide lodging in return for volunteer work which can be anything from working on a farm to helping with a local community project. There are also many families that will welcome you into their home in return for your help and/or expertise. The opportunities are out there, you just have to think outside of the box.
I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to visit many places in Europe, Middle East, Caribbean and of course many corners of the United States which is where I currently reside. This year I had the opportunity to drive deep into the valleys of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and I can honestly say that my life will never be the same.
I am now absolutely infatuated with mountains and I plan to visit as many as I can in the near future. I hope to take many road trips next year and of course I plan to bring along my 5 year old boy.
What better way to grow and learn than to see the world through the eyes of travel? One day I wish to visit Indonesia, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, oh and Hawaii of course…so much to see, so little time.
Elliot – It’s so true what you say about how nothing can compare to experiencing the world through your own senses. It always reminds me of the scene in the movie Good Will Hunting, when Sean (Robin Williams) says to Will (Matt Damon) that if he were to ask him about Michaelangelo then he’d probably be able to recite his life’s work, political aspirations, sexual orientation, etc. But then he goes on to say that he bets Will wouldn’t be able to tell him how it smells in the Sistine Chapel, or what it’s like to stand there and to ‘look up at that beautiful ceiling’. It’s just so true. We can read books and watch television programmes, but nothing in this world can compare to first-hand experience of travel, of relationships, of anything.
And to continue the theme of first-hand experiences and also of the interest that you have in people, your website has a new ‘contributions’ section which I’m particularly excited about. Could you share with us what your aspirations are for this section? And if anybody reading this interview would like to contribute to this, what kind of submissions would you like from them and how can they do this?
Alyana – I am very excited about Love Paper Pen’s new Submissions segment. Like you Elliot, I am intrigued by people. I see a learning opportunity in every meaningful conversation. Every one of us is unique; none of us share the exact same set of experiences. Therefore, I think many people possess invaluable information about life’s challenges and triumphs. We’ve all lived through our own variations of love, strength or endurance and by sharing our stories we can help one another overcome life’s toughest hurdles.
While many people have a story to tell, not as many have an available channel for their voice to be heard. This is where Love Paper Pen comes in. I want to help people get their story out into the world. I want to share their inspirational experiences with like-minded individuals who may benefit from their advice. I hope to create a warm and welcoming environment that will foster a meaningful exchange of ideas and revelations that will contribute to a kinder and gentler world.
Everyone is eligible to participate. You do not have to be a professional story-teller or an experienced writer to contribute. If your story is meant to be heard I am happy to help bring your words to life. Love Paper Pen is an outlet for real people dealing with the real world, as long as you are honest and genuine you will have an opportunity to touch someone else’s life with your unique contribution.
Learn more about Love Paper Pen’s Submission Segment by clicking here.
Elliot – You’ve provided us with so much valuable content in this interview and I really appreciate you taking the time out to chat with me and for opening yourself up to my readers too. Thank you.
Throughout all your answers there is a sincere message of peace and love. You’ve gone through a number of personal challenges in your own life and you’ve found a wonderful relationship with a man that you can proudly call a best friend as well as your husband. As you reflect back upon all that you’ve experienced and the obstacles that you’ve had to overcome, what would you say your philosophy is for finding true love?
Alyana – Thank you Elliot, it’s been a pleasure connecting with you.
When it comes to true love, all I can say is that love is raw, messy and imperfect, which is why we shouldn’t expect perfection from our partners. We should strive to understand and welcome them as they are and be willing to support them as they grow and transform in pursuit of their highest good. We should be available to them not only when they are happy, but also sad, overwhelmed and confused, for these are real and honest emotions that visit us all from time to time. The definition of true love to me is finding a bond with another soul that is strong enough to withhold each other’s growth.
One suggestion I would make is to get to know yourself first. Do some soul searching. Find out what makes you tick, what sparks your fire and what values you hold dear. I recommend not only finding out what you love most but I would also urge you to understand your own limitations. Familiarize yourself with your insecurities and work on resolving them instead of loading them off on to your lover.
I believe that one way to know you’ve found true love is if you can be honest, real and vulnerable with this person without fearing judgement or persecution. True love should inspire, motivate and rejuvenate you, never limit, confine or enslave you. Love is one of the most beautiful gifts we can give one another, be patient and kind to it and it will give back tenfold.
Elliot – I really like that answer and the philosophy that goes with it is coming from a really healthy place. Oftentimes people enter relationships without ever really being at peace with themselves first, and this can often make the relationship become conditional and just masks the deeper lying problems. Their insecurities can lead to them suffocating their partners.
But by working on yourself first, before even entering a relationship, and to understand yourself, your values, and what you do and don’t want in your life; this will allow any new relationship to begin from a healthy starting point. The two individuals can feel strong enough and secure enough to be able to let each other grow without seeing that as a threat.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us.
Well that just about wraps up this interview, but before we sign off, go ahead and give yourself a plug and let the readers know how they can follow up with you and the work that you do.
And finally, what can we expect to see from Love Paper Pen over the coming months?
Alyana – Thank you Elliot, its been a pleasure diving into these topics with you. I welcome your readers to stop by my website at www.lovepaperpen.com to join our community where we focus on liberating ourselves from emotional predispositions and spreading the message of love, peace and unity.
For a limited time I am giving away a free copy of my relationship e-book Essential Love Tips with every newsletter subscription. This Essential Love Tips guidebook is designed to help us become better partners by encouraging patience, self reflection, mindfulness and effective communication.
I am also available on Facebook as well as on Instagram where daily I share thought provoking and inspirational ideas, you can connect with me at @lovepaperpen.
In terms of future projects, my current focus is on developing a YouTube channel where I will share my work to make it more available for folks on the go or those who prefer to connect through sight and sound. It is still in its early stages but I have quite a few videos lined up for release, including a very personal discussion on jealousy. You can check out Love Paper Pen’s YouTube channel by clicking here.
Thank you for the opportunity to work with you Elliot, and I look forward to collaborating with you in the future.
For now I’m sending you and your readers so much love, peace and good vibrations.
Elliot – Thank you for the opportunity also and it’s been a real pleasure working with you. Please do keep in touch with us!
Well Alyana, it sounded to me as though you believed that to be the end of the interview. However, I have a well established tradition in these ‘people’ features, and that’s to end with a completely random and off-topic question. So, here we go.
Think about the town or city where you live, and now imagine you’re there in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. Where would be the first place in that town or city that you’d think to take shelter? And what is it about that place that would make it such a good choice during a chaotic zombie outbreak? Finally, do you think you’d make a good zombie slayer?
Alyana – Hmm, if I found myself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse I would most definitely seek out shelter at a farm or at the very least in a supermarket. If there is one thing I learned after years of watching The Walking Dead, it’s that food is the number one priority should a zombie apocalypse occur.
Then of course we would needs lots of guns and tons of ammunition and a whole lot of combat training!
While I would love to tell you colorful tales about how I would become an amazing zombie slayer I don’t think most of us understand our true potential until we are put to the test. Some people are naturally driven to react and lead under pressure, like Rick, while others freeze and become numb, like Eugene.
I sure hope that my survival instincts will propel me to become a strong and fierce leader that will be compassionate and kind while still being physically and mentally strong. I guess I hope that deep down I am a Rick and not Eugene.
And so that wraps up yet another ‘people’ feature and I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed putting it together. Please do check out Love Paper Pen and be sure to get hold of Alyana’s free eBook, Essential Love Tips.
I’ve read it myself and can assure you that it is worth every moment that you spend reading it.
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