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.

And If I could write about his soul it would take me to the moon

It is sprinkling like wafts of air
It touches my nose
Covered in butterflies
My head
Your Toes

I am a butterfly

What is the clutter on the ground
Dripping water like dew on trees
A song for the blackest bird

Imagining the clouds in air
They hover delicately
Drinking raindrops from me

I lie underneath the tree listening
To the sound of raindrops falling on my skin

Leaves in the night, they glare beneath the moon
My moon, a syncopated code I long to know, which stays with me even when I sleep, I dream to know

The meaning of what I need to know, each dull flap of my butterflies wings

Body in mind
Earth in soul
Falling in the rainstorm

A cold mountain

When you make art as a way to sacrifice your soul to the sun

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How do I make my spirit go?
The taste of unrelinquished things
Dim my unsettled heart
Like light seeping through the trees
You are my art
This must be a dream world
One where I am dead
You’re in my head
You’re in my head
A friend can’t see the things I’ve seen
How do I make my spirit go?
Solitude is my tortured friend
How do I make my spirit go?
How do I lay my dreams to rest?
In the summer your heart is thick as gold
Nail this body down, don’t let me go
Paint me a sunrise
How do I make my spirit go?
A world without you is so cold
The tiniest sense of peace slipped through my fingers
Light on a tree refracted back to me
I never should have pulled the trigger

 

She Waits Patiently Through The Storm for a Life She Deserves in Her Heart

When God isn’t There.

Sometimes there is that one thing in your life that you need to heal.

It will come and rock your world and show you why everything up until this point has been the way that it is.

Sometimes that thing can be horrifying.

Sometimes that thing will break you into a million little pieces

Those pieces will be the jewels that will eventually put you back together

stronger

more whole

more complete

Sometimes waiting patiently through the storm will bring us the life we’ve always deserved

Because after the storm you’ll understand things differently

You’ll understand compassion

You’ll understand grace

You’ll be brave

You’ll be strong

You’ll understand a truth that only the cracked can see

 

The Wind and Leaves – We Wake Up As Angels But Fall Asleep As Demons

Man must see that nothing really is, but that everything is always becoming and changing. Nothing stands still. Everything is being born, growing and dying. The very instant a thing reaches its height, it begins to decline. The law of rhythm is in constant operation. There is no reality. There is no enduring quality, fixity or substantiality of anything. Nothing is permanent but change. Man must see all things evolving from other things and re-solving him to other things, a constant action or reaction, inflow or outflow, building up or tearing down, creation or destruction, birth and growth and death. Nothing is real, and nothing endures but change.

The Kabala

 

The purpose of Buddhist chanting is to remind us of the sacrifice the Buddha made for his people in order to achieve nobility or enlightenment. Every Sunday, I bow to the Buddha in reverence for disciplines he has shared with me and others all over the world. Buddhist chanting also helps us become more connected to ourselves. During chanting and taking refuge within the Buddha, we’re able to see that all living things are constant. That aging is inevitable. That you’re accountable for your own actions. That you’re all things in this universe and you give thanks for creation and life. That hurting and killing is wrong and you love and cherish all of creation. The Buddha teaches us how you might lose yourself to find yourself. You’ve got to lose your mind to find your mind.

 

We Wake Up As Angels and Fall Asleep As Demons

 

A Buddhist monk once said,

 

“We wake up as angels, and fall asleep as demons.”

 

This is because of our wanting… The monk calls us demons because of our desire for ultimate security. Struggling with the desire to acquire more is probably one of my biggest vices. We’re constantly collecting things – people with influence, clothes, cars and more. We learn this behavior from other adults who are too addicted to security and affluence. Money has become more than just a tool we use in order to survive. Living beyond our means has become a lifestyle choice and it is a choice I readily and eagerly play into by defect. According to Buddhist philosophy, money is nice but it is not necessary for a fruitful life. I think this is the greatest teaching I can learn.

 

Because the truth is, the more we have the more we want more. And when is enough, enough? When do we stop honoring ourselves in order to achieve security?

 

But it doesn’t even end with the wanting of security. We’re constantly seeking different highs. We don’t want to feel our suffering because we’re used to numbing our own pain.

 

In every moment we have the potential to choose ourselves for a greater good. But do we really choose ourselves, our highest self? Within the thousands of possibilities, there is essentially only one that is union with you and your highest self – or god. Buddhist believe that this choice is only possible through getting rid of all superficial feelings and possibilities of being and thinking without contemplation about executing all things that hinder you from your highest potential. That’s a mouth full to swallow. The truth is, I am just a seeker of enlightenment, and I hardly, truly live by any of these principles. But I work on myself every day to be a better person.

 

That is why I become aware

 

In order to be able to be closer to your highest self and god, you must become aware of your thoughts, actions and presence. To be aware –

 

To be aware of beauty

To be aware of life

To be aware of growth

To be aware of pain

To be aware of people

To be aware of flowers

To be aware of trees

 

To become aware of our personal desires and how they shape our perceptions and actions. Becoming aware allows you to open your mind to experience, think and feel! Begin to experience the world and don’t be ashamed of it and accomplishing your dreams. That is the beginning of accepting the Buddha into your life.

 

That is the beginning of becoming conscious of our wanting.

The is the beginning of realizing you’re a conscious, evolving, growing human being.

When Space for Existence Becomes the Only In-between in The After Life

 

The movement of water

like ice in my bones

lies beneath the lid of your eyes

stagnant water

melts the pines

needles coarse

he says, “we don’t have time”

he says, “why can’t it be simple”

I’m complicated

like a bird

I float like water

stagnant in breath

moving in motion

matter

Ravens are birds, blind in soul

they fly over me

above me

below me

watchful

I’m a bird

A rabbit

A swollen chord

directions to no where

I’m a bird

you’re a raven

I fly

that’s the only reason why

 

When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.

When you feel love, act on it. Speak your heart. Be truthful. Remain open.

 

The spiritual relationship

 

The spiritual relationship can give space for others to grow

The spiritual relationship does not seek to cling

The spiritual relationship love through infinity, time and space

The spiritual relationship is always grateful, always happy for others successes

The spiritual relationship is two children who grow up side by side

The spiritual relationship does not expect or complain

The spiritual relationship can cause deep pain and suffering

The spiritual relationship is a mirror of our darkness

The spiritual relationship seeks to heal

The spiritual relationship will challenge you and make you grow

 

We cannot identify with others until we have identified wholly with ourselves. The soul knows no bounds to the infinity of the nature of our own internal beauty. Love is intelligent and aware; it knows you better than you can seek to know yourself.

 

The Path to Love – Deepak Chopra

 

Proving loves existence is as simple as believing in the power of grace. Unifying our spirit with love will bring joy and peace beyond our wildest dreams. Giving up on our personal sagas and relinquishing fear for the potential of love is what everyone deserves.

 

Love is meant to heal

Love is meant to renew

Love is meant to make us safe

Love is meant to inspire us with its power

Love is meant to make us certain, without doubt

Love is meant to oust all fear

Love is meant to unveil immortality

Love is meant to bring peace

Love is meant to harmonize differences

Love is meant to bring us closer to God

 

This is my path to love:

 

I want to heal my past sorrows and emerge like a butterfly afraid of the betrayal and torture that was acted on me. I want to walk in the streets and feel bliss without the worry of a man attacking me in cold blood. I want to heal all past love. I want to renew my love for myself and the person I am meant to spend the rest of my life with. I want to renew my passion for the world. I want to feel safe with other men. I want to believe that men are meant to be creatures united with women. I want my love to be powerful, true, strong and real. I want to fall in love with someone who sees my true beauty. Someone who truly believes in me. This person guides me and ushers me in like a ray of light. Whenever we’re together he makes me laugh. He allows me to be my complete and total self. He is centered in Christ and faith. I want to adventure the world with someone who will drop everything and just adventure and explore with me. Who will do anything to try new things with me. A man who respects me and values my worth. Someone who will take on the world with me in full-force. Who isn’t afraid. Who is strong in his convictions, real and true to his word. A man who believes in change and growth and will climb any mountain with me. He believes in creating beautiful art and music. He can see beyond himself in any given situation and practices gratitude and peace. I want to feel love at all times.

 

I pray for love. I pray for self-love. I pray for hope. I pray for life.

Loving Peace like the Happy Buddha  

Sitting on the steps of the Chau Dai Bi “Compassion Temple,” a small Vietnamese woman approaches me and says, “Thank you for coming, are you happy like the buddha?” Her smiling face is plump and her cheeks are peached by the calming serenity and crisp air of the early November morning.

Happy like the Buddha. Out of all of the different buddha archetypes, I think the most resilient amongst the Chau Dai Bi temple is the happy buddha. This is easily noticeable by the way the patrons of this temple feed the foreigners, like myself, delicious vegetarian soup with smiling, happy faces.

Loving peace is a manifestation of happiness-  Saintliness is arguably the same as pursuing happiness. What makes someone resilient like the happy buddha? What separates those who experience happiness despite their circumstances against those who experience sadness? I think there is an internal need for self-satisfaction that creates an individual’s drive for purpose in life.

The only way to survive eternity is to appreciate each moment.

The totality of life is experienced within a multitude of moments and many of those moments are created by our personal actions and choices. With every morning light, we are brought to the realization that we are better served rejoicing the day than cursing it. Inevitably, your life is colored by who you are and who you want to be.

 

Witnessing Suffering as the Buddha

I believe the greatest lessons the Buddha teaches us are those about suffering. For it was Prince Siddhartha himself that would go into the capital city of his father’s kingdom to see how the other people lived. It is here amongst the people, that the Buddha witnessed the vicious cycle of suffering and developed a sincere wish to free them from their suffering. It was through lifting the veils of ignorance that the buddha was able to become a fully enlightened individual.

However, how do we apply the mythology of the Buddha to the struggles of our daily lives. The story of Siddhartha is a simple reminder that there is suffering in the world. I think that without suffering we would not begin to understand the complexity of nirvana or enlightenment. We must be broken to allow the light of our souls to shine through the desolate cracks.