The Freedom to Choose – An Artist’s Narrative

When you let yourself experience the freedom of choice your life will open up to endless possibilities. Everyday we make countless of choices that define the narrative of our waking lives. Choices are presented in a variety of different ways from the cereal boxes in the grocery aisle to making the next big step in your life. Sometimes we feel stifled by our inability to choose for ourselves. We’re crippled with anxiety so profuse that we hold back and sit calmly waiting for the internal clammer to calm down, so we can stay in the straight and narrow. I’ve always found my ability to choose to be an overwhelming feeling, I struggle with the choices of daily life never knowing if I’ve made the right ones. I think that is where the majority of my anxiety comes from. As a critical thinker, I constantly evaluate and then reassess my personal actions (usually after I have already impulsively acted.) But at least that means I have a little bit of awareness into my own behavior, right? However, as an artist when I have given myself the freedom to choose my personal expression, and I allow the universe to flow freely through me without doubt or hesitation. I experience creative intuition so vast and profound it changes the course of my work. Somedays I doubt my capabilities as a creator. Somedays I wear different hats: psychologist, trauma survivor, millennial, marketer, teacher, artist. However, I think at the core who I really am is an artist. My art seeps into everything that I do. Whether it be finding new ways to move my body while cooking fish for lunch, or writing poetry in my journal to process the shapes and colors I’ve seen in a day.

I am constantly searching and looking at the world through an artistic lens.

What I have discovered most about my relationship with myself and my art is that when I am experiencing the freedom to feel and think without constriction. I am inspired to think and create without restriction. I don’t look in the mirror and critique my movement as if I am comparing myself to some of the world’s most elite dancers, nor do I create a painting with the mental block of inadequacy or personal hostility regarding my technique. I am just experiencing the proverbial flow of creation and heart. I am in the midst of being. I am exactly that. I don’t think or try. I just do it. And what I feel is release and growth in understanding my own personal identity but also healing the identities that have been structured for me by society. I allow myself to choose my personal movement and how I define what it means to move. I am outside of a structural discourse and pattern of archetypal realities. When I give myself the freedom to express with the freedom of choice, it is as if I am awakened to the potential of the millions of choices we can make. Neither one of those choices being right or wrong but apart of a cloak of intricate possibilities that shape our own personal realities.

My Identity As An Artist Is Defined By My Freedom

I think one of the biggest moments of reprieve for me in Paris was walking around the Modern Museum of Art. I was in tears half of the time just walking in one of the world’s most advanced exhibits of abstract and modern art. Literally, I was walking around this museum balling crying. I feel that the reason why some people don’t always understand modern or abstract painting is because they don’t see that these artists have embodied personal freedom. They have created their own narratives and identities as artists. When you’re an artist and you understand the awakening to that potential and you see it mastered. It is something that will change your ability to view and appreciate art itself.

Matisse, Modigliani, Kandinsky and more weren’t exceptional at realism or any of these tactile art forms. They interpreted their personal expression of the world through shape, color, light and movement. They didn’t need a name for it. They just did it. It was the freedom they allowed themselves to express.

What Can We Take From This?

I think whether or not you’re a 19th-century modern artist, you can give yourself freedom. And you can express it however you want. Take your coffee with two extra sugars and maybe stand naked in front of the mirror and laugh. Giving yourself freedom is one of the most amazing things because it will create an appreciation for the absurd or the undefined. The things in life we can’t make sense of because the truth is life is chaos. Living your life with to choose your personal freedom is how innovation, poetry, art and love are all re-conceptualized.

Practicing Mantra’s That Will Bring You More Love

A mantra is a simple phrase, or a sound that resonates deeply within us. It is a phrase you repeat over and over again. One of the greatest mantras I’ve ever used is the Tibetan mantra: Om Mani Padmi Hum. The phrase is perhaps one of the most widely used mantras in our world today and for good reason.

For newly practicing yogis or mystics like me, a lot of confusion can arise when repeating the mantra. Little thoughts surface to the top of my head like, “What does this even mean?” “Why am I doing this?” However, once you begin to practice the mantra a little bit everyday you can feel a difference. It’s true.

The first step to practicing the mantra is hearing it outside your body through your ears, saying it aloud and truly thinking about its meaning. So, if you begin to practice the mantra, Om Mami Padme Hum, you begin to think about it and you inquire “Well, what does this mean?”

According to Ram Dass, author of novels like Be Here Now and The Only Dance There Is, Om means, like Brahma, that which is behind it all, the un-manifest. Mani means jewel or crystal. Padme means lotus, and Hum means heart.

So on one level, what you’re essentially repeating is that the entire universe is like a pure jewel or crystal right in the heart or center of the lotus flower, which is me, or you, and it is manifested, it comes forth in brilliant guiding light, in manifested light, in the center of your own heart.

So to begin chanting mantras, you start off chanting Om Mami Padmi Hum and what you’re saying is, “God in pure energy is like a brilliant crystal in the middle of an emerging lotus, manifest in the center of my opening heart.” You repeat is over and over again while in a state of serene relaxation and you feel it in your heart, and what you’re essentially experiencing is a trip. You’re experiencing, an awakening of your conscious perception. Informally experiencing a journey through the gateways of your corpus callosum all the way to the right hemisphere of your brain where you’re expansive and one with the cosmos.

The benefits of this practice have lasting and serious beautiful psychological effects. Instead of thinking, “Gosh. I didn’t get the job promotion I wanted today.” “I wonder if, Bob, is ever going to call me today?” Instead of all the brain chatter, which crowds our minds on a daily basis, our inner roommate, you go into mantra and you are. Once the mantra has been going on for a while, it begins to change its nature. Instead of it being stuck in the upper part of your body, in your head, the humming and prayer moves down to the center of your body and resides in the middle of your heart. Now, at this point the linguistics or meaning of it has become irrelevant to you, and you have entered a deep meditative state of unconscious flow (Alpha State of Awareness.) This is the state of deep relaxation that is extremely beneficial for your health. When a mantra is performed correctly, the point of its practice is to become synchronized with the peculiar vibration and harmony of the universe. You’re essentially “in-tune.” You’re at peace.

Here is a beautiful mantra that is meant to evoke peace, love and understanding. May your day today be full of love.

 


  

How To Believe In Magic Again

For those of you who forgot what it means to be magical, it would be excellent for  you to listen closely.

Magic isn’t only found in the storybooks and fairy tales you might have read when you were little. Magic can be seen in the ordinary. It is that little fluttering in your heart when you stumble upon your deepest desires. The weird feeling you get when you are thinking about an old friend and then they pop up on your cell-phone two minutes later. Magic can even be seen by the sparkle in the corner of your eye when you think of something completely new and original.

In our everyday lives, it is especially hard to see the magic.

Lately, I’ve forgotten to see the magic in my own life.
Since the winter has come and my search for a job pre-graduation has reached a pinnacle level of frustration. I have forgotten to see the beauty in my own life.

This summer, I was in a state of self-discovery and it was one of the most beautiful, mystical adventures I had ever experienced. I was in a state of perpetual spiritual bliss. Instead of waking up every morning, checking my inbox and sending out resumes. I began each morning with a deep exploration and a run through the Austin Green Belt. I can’t explain the amount of healing I experienced at that magical and beautiful place. I truly felt connected to the earth. Nature is one of the most magical things this world has to offer us. It is a place to be wild, free and completely loved. I would spend my nights under the moonlight topless and dancing as if I was some mysterious nymph no longer bounded by the laws that govern society. During the days, I would take my books of poetry, philosophy and mysticism down to the banks of the water and dip my feet in reflecting on what it truly meant to be universally compassionate to others and myself. When I would feel anxiety and the weight of the world crash down on me; I would walk the Green Belt’s trails. There I would look into the trees and sing with the birds. Little songs. And I felt magic, I felt love and I felt alive.

So, how should we continue to feel more alive everyday in our life? How do continue to see the magic?

1. Spend Time In Nature

We get up everyday and the world beats down a little harder. Our alarm clocks rings and the message from our computer beeps: 14 new e-mails. Quickly, we begin typing away, hoping, Barbara, from accounting on the 4th floor doesn’t send that incorrect excel file to our manager. In a jolt of anxious frustration, our heart just about races and flies through the roof. We develop this practice instead of taking the time to enjoy the fact we’re alive this morning. If I could offer one piece of advice. Begin your mornings with a walk, observation and contemplation of the nature that is all around you- magically. Get out of your own reality and step into the magical, infinite reality of the universe. Find peace, space and reflect. Then when you’re ready. Open your computer and begin your morning completely fresh and rejuvenated.

 

2. Slow Down

One time, I was running with a couple of great girl friends and we were running through a new part of the city. One of my favorite places to visit that looks like wetlands. I remember thinking in the back of my head, “how I am supposed to sit and enjoy this beautiful view if I am running?” When you’re spending your life always trying to catch up to something. Trying to be something. You miss the beauty that is right in front of you. You miss the birds flying with their wings stretched wide like the beautiful grasp of a mothers embrace. You miss the turtles diving from the lily pads and the sound that is reverberated from the water.

There is nothing more magical than breathing, listening and taking in the enchanting song of the wind. Of sitting with the rain and letting it wash away everything you’ve ever feared.

The only way you can find this peace is by slowing down and listening to the surrounding that encompass you.

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3. Stop Taking Nature For Granted

It’s when we stop being thankful for all that nature has given us that we stop seeing the magic in our lives. When we stop recognizing the change in the seasons and the leaves that fall like sand from the branches on the trees. We lose sight. We lose hope. We can only begin to re-connect with the healing and loving properties of nature when we realize it or we won’t always be around. When we need to get outside and breath the salty, sweet air. When we do these things. We begin to realize we aren’t superior. In fact, we’re anything but superior beings. We are conscious and awake but we’re 1/10 of million times smaller than we’d ever imagined we could be. We’re blades of grass, falling snowflakes in the infinite space that is the universe.

and it is those realizations that make you so grateful for being alive every single day.