Mad Awakening

Sometimes you just wake up feeling different. You don’t know why. You don’t know when it happened. Someone just flipped a switch and there you are.  Images are flooding your brain. Images from your dreams. Images from the day before. Images from months gone by. Images that shoot arrows through the walls of protection around you.

Your heart aches a little, you turn to tell the one you thought was there while you slept, only to find there hadn’t been anyone there at all. You sit still with it. You feel that presence that isn’t really there. You weep a little and lay back down. You pinch your eyes shut, reminding yourself that things are not so bad, it just feels that way right now.

You remind yourself of all of the things you love about your life and you tell yourself that timing is divine, it is everything and it is nothing. That souls still speak to souls, even when you figured out you weren’t listening.

It doesn’t change the fact that all of a sudden, your heart feels split wide open. You tell yourself it must still ache with the weight of waking up. You admit that you are filled with want. You remind yourself that want is valid and stronger than need and you are allowed that. You are allowed to want. You are allowed to desire. You are allowed to follow that and it doesn’t make you weak. Being vulnerable and open is not weak. It makes you strong. You are stronger when you want and when you fill yourself up. You are open. You are full. You are awake.

Awakening.

Mad.

Awakening.

 

Writing Prompts: Book Talk

One might say I’m really dropping the ball on this. But I’m just gonna keep rolling with it and get through all the damn prompts. Ideally more consistently, and daily, after today.

In the interest of keeping up on my blog, I’m shifting this from Facebook to here. Plus, these are actually fun prompts that I should be posting over here anyway.

#8 – A book you love and one you didn’t.

Well hmmmm. That’s a SUPER hard one.

*comes back after putting away laundry for 10 minutes. *

Damn. Seriously, this is tough.

I can tell you for sure the book that is most disliked on my end was a book called “The Girl in the Box” by Ouida Sebestyen.

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It has traumatized me since I was a teenager. In fact, I didn’t even finish the book. Most who know me, know that:

1) I ALWAYS finish a book, no matter how long it takes.

2) I never read the ending first.

This one was so depressing, for pages and pages, that I had to skip to the end to see if it ever ended. It didn’t. There was no resolution. The whole book was going to be torturous to read and there was no end in sight. So I turned the book back into the library, forever haunted by the knowledge that this whole book was about a girl who got kidnapped and was never rescued. She was left abandoned in a box and still alive at the end of the book. I will never read another book by this author, no matter how brilliant it is deemed to be.

So now I have to pick one that I love…..hmmmmm…I can’t pick just one favourite. I’ve mentioned some of my other favourite books in a previous prompt, so I’ll add something new here.  517mee7CTTL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_“Rebecca” by Daphne DuMaurier.

I read this first when I was a teenager. It was such a haunting book, with all of the plot twists, intrigue and romance you would imagine.

DuMaurier’s style of writing inspires visions of rich, beautiful images, haunting memories and sleek sophisticated characters. The movie was great, but the book was better. Truly one of those books that stands out in my mind as I think back. It inspired me to read her other books which I thoroughly enjoyed also.

 

So there you have it.

 

Writing Prompts: 10 Things I’ll Tell You About Me

10 interesting facts about myself? I’ve always felt “interesting” is in the eye of of the beholder. But I will endeavour to choose the best facts I can come up with that seem interesting enough. I hate to be rote and just list off, but I’m lacking the brainpower today. Here we goooooo…

1. I used to drive a bus. Way back in the day. Mostly because people thought I couldn’t. So I made them lose their money when they bet I wouldn’t pass my DMV test. Hah!

2. I’m a sucker for anything lightshow/fireworks/lazershow oriented. I love sparkly lights.

3. I used to spend so much time reading as a kid, that my parents limited me to only reading after 7pm on the weekdays. Keep in mind, my grades weren’t suffering. They were just afraid I was becoming anti-social. Which, in a way, might possibly have been true. But I didn’t care and still read all the time anyway when they weren’t looking.

4. I have a tattoo that I got when I was 18. It’s two roses intertwined in a circle, which is a symbol of one manifesting their twin soul mate.

5. I love interior design and am known for reorganizing my house 3-4 times year.

6. I love fancy hotels. I love the designs and walking around the grounds. Especially the historic ones. It explains much of the first 10 years of my career working in them.

7. Dancing is my outlet.

8. I’m a LOT geekier than I let on. You see, back in the 80’s and 90’s, being a geek wasn’t the “cool thing” like it is now. I learned to hide it well to avoid the merciless teasing that true geeks had to endure.

9. My CD/Music collection numbers in the thousands. It’s a serious addiction for me.

10. I’m a classically trained singer.

There are lots more I suppose. But that’s some fun stuff I thought of off the cuff today. I’ll write more in depth on tomorrow’s post. 🙂

Unnumbered sparks fly through the sky, created by cellphone signals

This is amazing. Just beautiful.

TED Blog

Outside the Vancouver Convention Centre, people gather to interact with Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks. Photo: Ema Peter Outside the Vancouver Convention Centre, people gather to interact with Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks. Photo: Ema Peter

“It looks like it’s holding up the clouds.” “It’s like a sky jellyfish.” “I love how the light moves across it along with the sound.”

[ted_talkteaser id=1164]These were some of the comments heard at TED2014 about Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks, a collaboration between sculptor Janet Echelman and data artist Aaron Koblin. This monumental sculpture stretched 745 feet, from the Vancouver Convention Centre where TED was held, over an open-air plaza on the edge of Vancouver Harbor and up to the top of the Fairmont Waterfront hotel. Every night while the temporary sculpture was installed, from March 15-22, 2014, dozens of people could be seen across the street setting up cameras and tripods to capture the glowing spectacle. Meanwhile, underneath the sculpture, even greater numbers of people gathered, most…

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Inspiring Lessons

I’ve learned in my life that there are many ways to live it. Some of us wonder why we are even here. Some think they know. Most of humanity feels stuck in the very “system” that humanity itself created. For themselves.

Nobody is making us do things the way we do. But for some reason, the human race has chosen to live in anger, sadness and despair. Hopelessness. Some refuse to acknowledge the feelings and situations that are meant to transform them. Some mask it in controlling others, by telling them what to feel, what they should think, what they should do in their lives. Some mask it in addiction and substance abuse. Some are completely unable to be alone at all. It’s painful to look at personal issues that we can just as easily drown out by never spending a moment alone.

But, really that’s the very thing they should be doing, is turning the focus on themselves and fixing the very things that they criticize others about.

One of the things I’ve learned in my life as an artist, is there is thousands of people who look to art as a means to express themselves. Some people think artists need to conform to a “norm”.

That’s not what art is for.

“Norms” are for people who are too scared to hold themselves accountable to living an authentic life, being true to who they really are.  Art is for the bold and the daring. The people who are willing to walk away from what’s “safe” and “acceptable”. People who don’t want to see that, are certainly free to go elsewhere. They do have a choice.

But for some reason, critics of art have a perverse need to control the situation.  To make people “see” the error of their ways and completely change their whole way of living and being to suit the critic.

Artists, I’m imploring you to remember this, and critics take this to heart:

Artists are here to inspire you, not to take care of you.

Yes, we are inter-connected. But not interdependent. There’s room for everyone, but only you make your own success. Nobody can do that for you. Yet our society has apparently bred a sense of entitlement, that somehow people owe us something. They don’t.

This dependence on external people to make us happy, to fulfill us, to carry the weight of a life that is not theirs, has caused unrealistic and unfair expectations and doesn’t allow people to fully be themselves and grow.

We all have that instinct that wants to “fix” things. But we can’t “fix” anybody. They are who they are. You can either choose to accept that or choose not to. That’s up to you. But you can’t make them be someone that suits what you need in life. That’s not their job. That’s yours.

We’ve defined “help” by doing things for people instead of inspiring people to do it themselves.

As human-kind evolves technologically, we have not evolved spiritually. There are battles still being fought that have been fought for thousands of years, in the name of religion, money and power. There’s a disconnect on respect and compassion and remembering that there is room for everyone to succeed. Instead there are people out there who still act like they are five years old and get mad when people start playing with their toys.

As we battle these age old problems, we have brave souls who put their foot down against these bullies. We’ve developed social reform and aid in an attempt to balance the scale of equality. But now we have a society who has it better than any other past historical era of this world, and they think they are still victims. They still want the handout.  And then the people who really need the help are left behind.  The programs have backfired on us and has bred a huge attitude of entitlement.

This is a form of evolution we have contorted. Instead of independence, we’ve bred a culture of codependence. People who, instead of taking on a task on their own, play the victim and place the burden of their work and success on other people.

People have become too mired in fear-based thinking to realize the potential of being compassionate, decent, and polite human beings. All they can think about is who is not giving them what they need, why they can’t succeed  as long as so-and-so is keeping them down. They try to manipulate situations and people so they can get what they want. So they can feel emotionally empowered and validated. Because they don’t feel that on their own, from within the root of their own soul.

Throughout the ages, art has sought to point out all of these negative traits and bring awareness to them. Sure, Hollywood has a propensity for happy endings. But why shouldn’t we strive for that? Art has pointed out dysfunctions, prejudices, diseases, insanity, lust for control at the cost of human life, religious persecution on the side of the religious and the non-religious. And then shows us the possibility of how it could end, should we actually have the courage to do things differently. And then for those of you who like realistic movies, there are plenty out there who have less than stellar endings. So what would you do differently?

Here are the top ten things I’ve learned in the course of living an artist’s life (you are welcome to disagree, but posting even the most compelling argument will not change what I have tangibly experienced in my life. I trust that you know what’s best for you).

1) Religion has no place in politics and should be personal. Whatever religion you decide is for you, make sure that it’s based in love, not shame and anger or abuse and doesn’t demean anyone due to skin color, race, or sexual orientation.

2) Being defensive is not necessary. You will never convince anybody that they are wrong about what they think or feel about you. Most of the time, people spew hurtful words and actions because that’s what they fear in themselves. They have no sense of self-validation, so the need arises within themselves to cause conflict and chaos to feel important. It’s dysfunctional. Those are the people to walk away from. Or, if they end up walking away from you, because you don’t play the game, don’t follow them.

3) Standing up for justice is necessary. Anything that harms another human being’s right to life is not love.

4) Do things because they are the right thing to do. Not because you’re banking karma points or future favors. (Playing guilt trips on people is a shitty thing to do. Do something because you want to. If you don’t want to, then don’t do it.)  Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If it feels wrong, then it probably is. Put on your adult pants and take a stand.

5)  Fame is a fraud. If you are only doing things to become famous, you will end up a hollow shell who sold your soul. Do things because they inspire you to be more than what you presently are. Do things that are fun and add value to your life. Do things that are life altering for you. That’s where the rush is.

6) Forgiveness is key. You are allowed to feel and channel every last angry tear and euphoric smile into your art. But at the end of the day, forgiveness is key. Not for them. For you.

7)  Say please and thank you. Let the other person go through the door before you. Smile and say hi. But don’t be a fucking doormat. You are allowed to say  no – thank you. You are allowed to let the door close if the person is dawdling inconsiderately. (We all need to respect each other’s time). Smile and say hi in any given situation regardless.

8) Go see movies. Go to art museums. Go to concerts and shows. Go see theater.  And don’t bitch about how it wasn’t “realistic”. Lighten up. It’s fucking Hollywood. I don’t go to movies, TV or art shows for my formal education, I go to be entertained.  I’m inclined think everybody should have that same intent. It’s much more fun. Plus, contrarians are boring.

9) Take care of you FIRST, before you take care of anybody else. Meaning, eat well, exercise, meditate, and dress snappy and confidently. Get your check ups. And don’t tell me about the woes of no insurance. I haven’t had it most of my adult life. There are resources out there if you look for them. And if you have a very serious illness to deal with, then get your priorities straight and set yourself up with good healthcare ( yes that can be found too )  You are useless to help anybody if you are too broken down yourself.

10) BE GRATEFUL. For everything. Yes, many American political systems are broken. But we are still better off in many ways. We have a beautiful vast world of nature at our feet and in our sky. If you live in LA, like I do (or any expensive city for that matter), be thankful that you are making it in one of the most expensive cities in the world. That’s no small feat.  Be thankful for your loved ones.  For losing toxic jobs that make way to healthy new jobs. There’s a silver lining in everything. (Go ahead and grumble all you want. You’re just doing it in an attempt to avoid the truth: You know there’s a silver lining in everything ) Everybody dies. But everybody lives too. Remember to live every moment. Don’t take one damn minute for granted.

Remember, art improves our life vastly. Take responsibility for you. Have some fun with your life. And take some vitamins while you’re at it.

How Do You Relate?

I have been observing social behaviors lately. And it’s gotten me thinking. In this day and age of “reality” TV, new media, and online platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, boundaries have become increasingly vague on how we interact with each other as human beings and how we present ourselves. I think there is such a thing as “Too Much Information”. It has also been breeding a new mentality of “Me, Me, Me, Give Me, Give Me, I Need, I Need”.

If you know me personally, you know that I am not prude by any means. We are human and less than perfect. However, there are things that I keep to myself. There are things that NOBODY wants to see if they don’t have to.  Where do you draw that line? How do you relate? What do you present?

For instance, have you ever been talking to somebody, and mid-sentence-as you are talking about your take on a movie you just saw – the person starts picking their nose. I don’t mean a light pinch because something tickled them, I mean FULL ON digging in the nostril. It’s so f***ing awkward. How are you supposed to respond to that? Do you ask them, “Hey, did you get that elusive booger?” or “Do you need to go get a kleenex and wash your hands?”. The even more awkward moment (as if it couldn’t be awkward enough) the person wants to shake your hand, or give you a hug goodbye, or even reach out and touch you to make a point about something they are saying. EWWWWWW. I don’t want you to TOUCH me after you just dug all that shit out of your nose! What makes you think I would even want you to????

Here are some more gems:

You wanna know why swine-flu is being passed around? Because people won’t COVER THEIR MOUTHS WHEN THEY COUGH or SNEEZE. I don’t want your germs. Don’t sit next to me and then fail to cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze. What is wrong with you?? Whether you think you are sick or not,  I don’t want to feel the spray of your saliva as I am sitting next to or across from you. COVER YOUR DAMN MOUTH!!!!

Then there’s the dining conundrum: chewing with your mouth open. On top of that? Trying to talk with food in your mouth!!! You should take a bite that is small enough to chew with your mouth closed, nobody wants to see what you’re chewing, nor does anybody want to HEAR the sound of you smacking your food.  It’s gross.

Another personal fave: adjusting your underwear/thong in public. Yes we all know that it goes up your ass. That’s what a thong does! Why the f*** are you wearing one if you don’t want underwear up your ass? I don’t want to see your hands down your pants, digging in your crack, trying to dislodge your thong. And don’t try to touch me after your done doing that either!

There’s more. But I am going to stop here. Otherwise this blog will rival “War and Peace” and that will just get awkward.

Next I could comment on general common courtesy. For instance, when you are out running your errands or just spending time in public spaces, people seem oblivious to those around them. There is no sense of personal responsibility to contribute to a pleasant public environment.  There seems to be this lack of thought, courtesy, and manners. Now I could run through a whole host of things that people are rude about in this day and age. But we all have those complaints, we all know when they are. I am going to refrain here because I don’t think I need to re-iterate points that are probably posted in many blogs throughout the world.

Moving on to: Life online. I guess sitting in front of a computer screen gives you license to speak in ways that you wouldn’t normally speak in the real world. Apparently you don’t have to know how to spell, nor do you have to use good punctuation.  Amazingly enough, you don’t have to be nice or respectful either. You can insult, yell, talk smack and send inappropriate messages to people. All under the guise of a fake name that doesn’t reveal your identity. I feel if you are going to say something, have the balls to own up to what you are saying and be held accountable for it. If it’s not something you would normally say in your “real” life, what are you doing saying it on a computer? It’s time to look inward and investigate whether you have control issues.

But there is also some very passive-aggressive behavior that happens too.

You can “lurk” online. Which means you can observe people without them knowing, and engage in crossing inappropriate boundaries such as adding friends and family of your ex in hopes to somehow stay in their life instead of just letting go. And then if your ex stops talking to you, you can email their friends and family asking “Why?” instead of speaking to your ex directly.  All from the protective shield of sitting in your home in front of your computer screen.

Another fun one: Someone can comment on every picture and every status update, to the point that your friends assume this person must be your new love interest.  Then the comments start getting bossier. The person can “butt” into every conversation you have because they now feel like they “know you so well” and start addressing your friends instead of you.  Nobody questions it. Pretty soon you can’t say ANYTHING without being topped by this person.  Then your real friends stop commenting because they don’t feel comfortable anymore. They can’t have a quality experience on your page because of this person.

My favorite though is when somebody starts drinking and then logs into Facebook. Oy. You don’t even have to go to a bar anymore. You can be on the receiving end of blatantly uncomfortable inside jokes, comments, drunken “PM’s” and all sorts of inappropriate behavior, all in the comfort of your own home.

Wow. How the world has changed.  It’s enough to make you start “de-friending” them but then you have to deal with the fall out. Of course you can adjust privacy settings or block someone. But you think they don’t notice? You think there will be no drama? Think again. The online flame wars commence. (Really? How old are we now?)  Then in a fit of temper you close everything. And then you realize there were people that you actually wanted to keep in touch with, so you take it all back.  And you do your best to manage. Lesson here: be sure you are not one of “those” people I have described above. If you are, get a therapist and change it up for the love of all that’s holy!!

And what is up with posting every single thing you do and everywhere you are going down to the minute details of : “I am at the store buying TP.”  What makes you think people need to know that? Are we so insecure in our daily lives that we think nobody cares about us? Are we trying to garner love through our status updates? What has happened to our sense of belonging and community? Since we don’t run into anybody we know in the store anymore, do we feel the need to announce it to feel less lonely?

While I do maintain a Twitter account and Facebook account, I keep my status updates vague. And should I choose to share where I am, it’s usually something that is common knowledge and I adjust privacy settings. I refuse to turn on the “Location Feature” of any of these. I don’t want people knowing where I am every minute of the day. Nobody needs to know where I am 24/7.  I don’t need to “Check-in” anywhere unless it’s beautiful hotel in Hawaii.  What gets me, is the reaction of those engaging in such an open display of their lives. Should you choose to utilize these features, don’t be surprised when that awkward moment with your ex happens because they knew where to “happen” to show up. Or your boss fires you because you called in with “the Plague” on a day of deal-breaker meetings and general busy hub-bub, but then tweeted that you are having a blast at the Coldplay concert at Stonehenge.  What were you expecting to happen?

Since I refuse to partake in any of the revealing aspects of these sites, I have been left to wonder, what am I doing on networking sites then? Lately, I have been toying with the idea of taking a hiatus from these online networking environments. I have completely cleaned my Facebook page and have really not participated as much as I used to.  I don’t do apps or games. I use it to interact with others though.  But I am not sure what value it is adding to my life at this point. When I figure that out, maybe I can come up with an alternative. Who knows.  I find it’s bit overwhelming to process the information of so many people all at once.

With any evolution of culture, we venture into new territory. I feel we have almost evolved so fast, we have blurred the lines of being “human” and being appropriate. We haven’t learned how to adjust yet. Just because bad behavior sells on so-called reality shows, does that mean we should engage in said bad behavior in our real life?  Just because we can engage in sketchy scenarios on the internet, does that mean we should?  Does everybody really need to know where everybody else is, what they are doing, what they are thinking etc….?  What’s the line between being human, maintaining appropriate boundaries and asking for love and companionship of our friends and family online?

As with everything, it all probably boils down to personal choice.  But when you are out in about in the world, on or off line, it’s worth taking an inward look to see how you are presenting yourself. Is that how you want to be known?  Is that what you want to be remembered for? Are you being authentic to your spiritual growth in this life?

I’m just sayin’………