Meet Me in the Middle

 

 

Meet Me in the Middle doesn’t mean that we will agree going into the conversation or leaving the conversation, but rather that we agree on the manner in which we will respectfully listen and communicate with one another to find solutions. 

We are not Red or Blue States — We are The United States.

“Rising in Love”

We’re all looking for LOVE, but if we’re honest, most of us aren’t even really sure how to love OR what we truly want from a relationship in the first place. It’s like getting in our car to go somewhere, but since we aren’t sure of the final destination, it’s impossible to say if and when we will arrive. To make matters more confusing, let’s presume that we don’t even know the make or the model of the car we are driving and we are low on fuel. A recipe for disaster!

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how extremely painful it can be to put yourself out there time and time again, hoping to “fall in love” with “THE ONE” that will “complete you”, only to realize that your efforts have yielded nothing but heartache and loneliness. Getting lost in the drama of what you or s/he did or didn’t do, lack of trust, failure to communicate, ulterior motives, insecurities, resentment, and the list goes on . . .

Instead, we could be spending our valuable time “Rising in Love” by learning how to love ourselves first.

It’s hard to believe, but it has taken me 34 years to realize the importance of self-care and self-love — BEFORE ALL ELSE. Over the years I’ve been a chronic people pleaser, but somehow along the way I forgot how to please myself. I became comfortably uncomfortable making decisions to make everyone else happy (or what I thought would make them happy anyway), but it ultimately resulted in my own unhappiness. These days, I have been spending my valuable time paying more attention to myself. I’ve learned that my wants, my needs, and my desires are just as important as anyone else’s — Putting my needs on the back burner to appease others is something that I am training myself to NEVER do again.

I don’t regret a single one of my relationships, but if I’m honest, few (if any) of my partners have ever truly known the real me or cared to know the real me — beneath the surface of my looks (sex), perceived celebrity, or what they might stand to gain from dating me. Those that did, I’m grateful to, but somehow we still didn’t quite work out … Did we give up? Were we trying too hard? Did we go too fast? So many questions and too few answers it would seem, but that is the nature of putting ourselves on the market and learning how to love.

Truth be told, I’m not looking for anyone to complete me. I am already complete, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t enjoy finding someone to “journey with” — someone that would embrace my light and dark parts just as I would theirs. It would be a true gift to stumble upon an organic connection sexually, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually that could withstand the storms and continue to surprise me over the years, but until then — I remain committed to being to myself that which I hope to find in and be for a partner one day.

In closing, don’t worry about falling in love with anyone else! Instead, find new ways to “Rise in Love” with yourself each day … LIVE, LAUGH, and BE GRATEFUL for all of your blessings. You don’t need anyone else to complete you or to make you whole, however when the right person(s) does come along your cups will be overflowing with abundance.

Namaste,

Ronnie

 

 

 

Friendship Awareness Month

I think the time has come to realize that we no longer need *Bullying Awareness Month, because we are more aware than ever that bullying exists. Most recently, it has led to the untimely and most unfortunate death by suicide of a 9 year old (Jackson Grubb) and 13 year old (Daniel Fitzpatrick) boy.

Starting this year (2016), I suggest that we re-name October from “National Bullying Prevention Month”, to “Friendship Awareness Month”.  

At Friend Movement we are shifting the conversation from “anti-bully” to “pro-friendship”, working to prevent victimizing behavior, building self-love/confidence, removing the blame game, focusing on the positive, and finding solutions together as a community. After all, what we focus on expands. So, if we continue to focus on the problem and treat the bullies like villains, then the problem only can get worse. Instead, let’s work together to have a conversation about how we are communicating with one another, what our needs are, and how best to heal through love and acts of friendship.

I hope you’ll enjoy the following interview I did with “Laughing Eddie” Lobo on The Left of Str8 Show/Scott Fullerton (Start at 20 Minutes):

*In 2010, the fifth annual event grew from a week to a month with October designated National Bullying Prevention Month which unites communities nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention. The event is expanded to include free, downloadable activities, education, and awareness building for the entire month and the message is realigned to engage, educate and inspire other to join the movement. Educators, students, families, and individuals who care about students access the tools to address bullying in their school, recreational program, and community organizations. Over 700 partners and champions joined PACER Center against bullying join the cause. Yahoo! Kids features the campaign on their site for the third year and Facebook, Demi Lovato and PACER partner to reach millions on a cyberbullying prevention message. The month is featured on CNN’s Anderson Coopers Town Hall meetings. Ellen DeGeneres lists PACER Center as a bullying prevention resource on her website along with several other national media resources, such as CNN.com.

Burning Man

I entered Burning Man as Ronnie Kroell and left as Earnest (On The Playa). My name was given to me by a man named Blue that I had just met. He said that I was truly Earnest and that I should hold that close to my heart and always embrace that quality wherever I went. I was served delicious tea by Clue. I was inspired by Joe Peach. Luke gifted us all amazing sound bowl meditations. I was helped by Ed when my bike needed fixing. Tracey gave me a reading and some powerful aromatherapy oils. Robby did some word slam poetry for me. Wish invited me to check out his amazing fashion line. Victoria was an angel and pointed me in the direction of the 9e tent for some energy reading and healing. Jahan and Artie jump started the RV after the battery died, but first in their loving Persian way fed me and showed me so much love.

Parker’s show took my breath away and inspired me to find a way to engage Friend Movement to collaborate and add value as the project expands. Nikolai stole the show with his magic piano that lit up when he played it. I gave Justin and Oleg Angel readings and appreciated the warmth of their soul that was apparent by looking into their eyes as we sipped tea. I picked up moop and put it into the trash. Sam gave me a cool dust mask with an American flag. I slept many a night in the cuddle puddle filled with larger than life plush teddy bears. I felt an overwhelming sense of love, kindness, and gratitude as my authentic self became less and less afraid to dance about. I left my sadness, regret, and love for those that have passed on at the Temple. I shared meals and fellowship with my fellow Olympus campmates.

I stared in awe at a mesmerizing fire breathing octopus. I explored the art installations and got caught up in playa dust storms a plenty. I had a chance meeting with my new friend Ibok and we journeyed across deep playa to say good-bye and honor his father and brother at the Temple followed by dancing the night away on an art car until the sun came up and we celebrated the mystery of life …

I gave and I received, but above all else I realized that this feeling of connectedness to my fellow man did not have to stay in the desert, but that it was possible in the “real world” too … It’s only a matter of time and being the change that we wish to see.

Love,

Ronnie

Making you believe, that I believe!

Dear Friends,

This blog is the first time that I’ve been able to say that, “I’m an actor”, and I truly believe it . . .

Back in 2008 I had the blessing of being on a popular reality TV show called, Make Me A Supermodel, on Bravo. It was the beginning of what was going to be a truly bittersweet journey for me. After competing on the show, I moved to NYC from Chicago to follow my modeling career. I walked the runways for fashion week and had numerous successful campaigns, but a defining moment was when I was tapped to pose for PLAYGIRL Magazine. It was edgy, controversial, and everyone had their opinion about why I should or shouldn’t do it. However, with all their opinions in mind and in true Ronnie Kroell fashion, I did it my way …  No regrets.

Soon after that, I was given the opportunity to be a part of Eating Out Drama Camp. I had SO much fun working on this film and at that point there was no denying that I had been bit by the acting bug. I went back to NYC, packed my bags, and started plotting out my move to Hollywood. I went on to act in and help produce a number of independent films, including: Into The Lion’s Den, Scrooge & Marley, Birthday Cake, The Men Next Door, I Hate Valentine’s Day, and Kissing Darkness. However, even with all of these experiences under my belt, there was a part of me that didn’t believe that I was actually an actor.

I know that I’m not alone when I sometimes think to myself, “I’m such a phony” or “I wonder if they’ll catch on”. As artists, we tend to be our own worst enemy. When we get into our head too much, we risk losing contact with reality and the physical world around us. Couple that with the stigma that goes along with being a reality TV show personality and all the shade that can come your way, it can be a recipe for diminished confidence and low self-esteem. That’s part of what happened to me anyway, but somehow I’ve been able to break through to the other side and realize just how talented I really am.

Over the past four years, I’ve lived in Los Angeles. I like to say that Chicago is my heart and that NYC is my backbone, but it it here in Los Angeles that I have been discovering my voice and how to use all of the aforementioned in harmony. My mid-western heart and sensibility were the perfect target for damaged souls and those that sought to use, abuse, manipulate, and take advantage of my light. However, again I somehow have been able to make it out alive (I’m pretty sure I have a legion of Angels on duty at all times). Sure, I’m still licking a few wounds that haven’t healed, but I am grateful for the scars that have formed. They serve as a reminder of the light and dark that exist in all of us and the importance of finding balance, being grateful for the process, and the importance of forgiveness.

I’ve battled the light and dark of others, but it has only been recently that I’ve been able to make peace with my own capacity for light and dark. I no longer see the dark as something bad that I must shake my fist at, but rather a necessary contrast to help me better realize my blessings. By doing so I have been able to not only reclaim my power, but recognize that without the darkness it would be impossible for me to shine. We all have the ability to shine, but sometimes we get caught up in the fact that life gives us the tests before it offers up the lessons. It is at this critical point, where we risk losing hope and want to throw in the towel, that we must keep going and NEVER GIVE UP.

I’ve had the privilege of taking acting classes from greats like Lesley Kahn, Groundlings, Killian McHugh, David Zimmerman, Jack Plotnick, Michael Testa, Jeffrey Tambor, and most recently Hunter Lee Hughs of Story Atlas. Each one of these teachers has gifted me with a bit more insight into who I am, not only as an actor, but as a person. In my opinion, it is impossible to act well unless we are willing to be vulnerable. We must learn to move beyond fear and at times revisit dark experiences that we have buried deep within ourselves; a futile attempt to avoid feeling through the pain. It’s not easy, but from my experience, it has been well  worth going deeper and allowing myself to open-up.

I left Story Atlas tonight with a feeling of true accomplishment! For the first time I can say that I’m an actor, and I truly believe it with every fiber of my being. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and have overcome numerous obstacles that, to the inexperienced self, could seem like calculated attempts by the Universe to tear me down. In reality though, the obstacles were sent to build me up. I’ve finally reached a point in my life where I realize that the negativity and shade that others have/may throw my way has nothing to do with me, rather it is a projection of their own insecurities, a lack of self-confidence, and deeply rooted pain.

So, where am I going with all this you ask?

Well, it all boils down to this simple, yet very complex conclusion:

As an actor, I am faced with the challenge of, “Making you believe that I believe”. After leaving Story Atlas class tonight, I can honestly say that, “I believe”. I am no Meryl Streep quite yet, but I am no longer held captive by my own insecurities, or those of others that get thrust upon me. I have made a serious commitment to myself to acknowledge, develop, and to truly celebrate my talent with the utmost of humility. At the end of the day, my job as an artist is to polish my talent and share it unapologetically with the world.

That is exactly what I plan to do, but with the added commitment to encourage and inspire others to go after their dreams along the way …

Thanks for reading!

Ronnie

 

th(IS)me.

The following is an interpretive poem that I have written, inspired by original song lyrics co-written by BJ Bingham & ME.

this is me.

not the ME that YOU want me to be,

not the ME that I think I am,

BuT hErE i StAnD . . .

this is me, this is me, THIS is me!

This is me naked, This is me vulnerable.

u|n|i|q|u|e in so many ways —

th(IS)me.

Smoke In Your Eyes

How can you see me with all that smoke in your eyes?

Drawn to my light, but unable to embrace my pain.

Wanting my body, my connections, my highs —

Taking my sunshine, but confused by the rain.

From the outside looking in you’re free to fantasize,

but very few are allowed to enter my private space.

Inside there’s a heart, a mind, and soul that is wise —

Invisible to those that are caught-up in the race.

Like a moth to a flame we go at it strong,

but as time goes on the air grows cold and stale.

Fantasy fades and it feels like we don’t belong —

Our hearts exposed and afraid to fail.

Perhaps if we didn’t go so fast,

but looking back that seems impossible now.

The spell was cast —

Curtain call, it’s time to take a bow!

Hearts for Haikus

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Thank you to everyone that participated in my Hearts for Haikus promotion! Your poems about friendship were truly beautiful to read. I wish I could give all of you hearts, but below are the recipients of the 10 amethyst stones that I have to give away. Each of them have been supercharged with light and love from one of my mediation sessions  🙂

Joey Galon

You are a mirror
Reflecting all that you see
Shining light and love!

Joshua Rex Vanderhoof

To find a true friend
Do not search from sea to sea 
Create, friend, in thee

Erika C Lowenkopf

I was so lonely
You smiled and listened to me
Now I am renewed

Orean Keels, Jr.

Friends like raindrops joined,
coming together as one
great river of change.

Markus Counts

Friendship’s only fee
Love extended with no strings
Hearts bound eternal

Shannon Duncan

Swan on the stream swims;
Ever flows the harmony
One with the other.

Joe Wicker-Welch

Friendship is true love
Hearts and minds combine for life
Creating our world.

Taylor Michiels

Meeting can be fate
All thanks to life’s mysteries
Resulting in friends

Jason

Friendship is a gift
One that should often be used
And always returned.

Aya Nobleza

Time you want to spend
When you’re straight and when you’re bend,
Proud ! You have a Friend.

 

LET’S LOVE LIKE SARAH!

On Sunday July 26th, 2015 a new angel got her wings. Her name is Sarah Friend Amento and she taught us all how to love by example. Friend Movement co-founders Ronnie Kroell & Laughing Eddie Lobo presented her with the first annual “Thank You For Being A Friend” award in 2014 and this is what she had to say …

“Thank you guys, SO much. I met Ronnie before being diagnosed with cancer and I saw what the Friend Movement was doing. I have five children so I grabbed onto it. Ronnie is so amazing and the work that the Friend Movement is doing is saving lives. It’s inspiring others. I’m often told what an inspiration I am and I clearly tell people real quick that I’m not. It’s the love from others that inspired the greatness to fight this disease that I’m fighting. Everyone deserves love like that and friendship like that. The Friend Movement is taking the emphasis off the bullying and putting the emphasis on friends.

A lot of people believe that change can’t happen and I know change can and it can happen with each and every person in here by caring for others. By taking an active role in their lives. When I was told that I wasn’t going to live … When the doctor said with toxic levels of chemo, you will not survive this. I didn’t think about all the things that I’ve never done in life. I didn’t think about all the money I’ve never made and things like that. I thought about the legacy I was leaving behind and I thought about how many lives have I touched?

Each of us has an opportunity to touch and change lives and that’s what Friend Movement is doing, that’s what Ronnie is doing. This is literally life saving. It’s fun to mingle and everything, but this is saving lives. So I hope everyone continues to grab on to Friend Movement and save lives together.”

Sarah Friend Amento
http://www.friendmovement.com

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