Friday, February 25, 2011

The Second Mural for NOVA


I lead a wonderful team of volunteers through the second mural project at Nova Safe Haven.
We had much more detail to paint this time, and fewer volunteers.

Click here to learn more about NOVA and here to check out the last project.
Although the mural covers an entire wall, I put the majority of the design in the center. It felt right at the time, but as a volunteer project, I definitely learned that my longer, more spread out design worked a bit better.

 The people up high were dripping paint in the hair of the people down low.
So I could have done some things a bit different, 'better' maybe.
Im Learning.

I am always learning. I am either learning or Im dead... 

We had about 12 people sign up, none of them "artists",
or so they said....


Ive come to believe that most artists don't KNOW they are artists, until someone points it out to them.


They believe that because they are learning, they are not artists.....
You are always learning. Aren't you?


There is a story of a famous artist in spain. A very Great artist, Francisco Goya. And when he was very old and had completed one of his last paintings he painted these words upon it:
 "I am still learning."



See? You think artists just have this art thing all figured out... but we don't.


Honestly, it wasn't until very recently that I came to know I was an artist.


You can also claim something for yourself and Become it, even if you are still learning. 

So, NOW.

Whatever you are doing:
Step into your full potential.
Dont hide under a veil of "I'm not sure yet."

If you make art... then you are an artist. 




That's it.


Maybe YOU will join me when I paint the next mural?

And we can learn together.




Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Tied Down

I hear it all the time. 


"If I didn't have this job, I'd...."
"If I didn't have the kids, I'd...."
"If I weren't in school, I'd"
"If I had the money, I'd..."

No you wouldn't.

I know you THINK you'd do all sorts of fantastic things if you weren't so

tied
down.

But I guarantee its not those things that are tying you down.

Its YOU.




Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stop

Looking outside for answers.

You will never find them.

They are inside.









 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Don't Judge. Just Notice.

A follow up to a question about my previous post on War

What if I don't know how? 
I don't know how to make the thoughts stop. I don't know how to let go.

Here's the real wacky thing. Wanting the thoughts to stop is exactly what keeps them going.
So Im going to take a little detour from the original question, but it all comes back around. I promise.

This is such a simple concept that it becomes enormously difficult to understand. So Im going to ask that you don't try to overanalyze what I say here, and just take it for what it is. Its really not that deep. The best way to think about it is not to.

In the previous post I talked about choosing sides. Wanting things to be different then they are right now.

The act of wanting is Desire, right?

Everything comes from desire.

We are pleasure seeking machines, we desire all day every day, and we BELIEVE if we get what we desire then we will no longer have that feeling of lack that desire directly creates. 

We think we want things, but what we really want is to end the sense of lack.


A new car, a better relationship, weight loss, world peace, less back pain, a dog that doesn't eat the couch.... the list never ends.

You feel a sense of lack? You want that feeling to go away?

You NEED something to be happy. 

Right?

Think about it. Thats why you do everything you do. Because you believe that once you do it or have it (get the new car, get the promotion, train your dog not to pee on your bed, get the newest smartphone, have 500 Facebook friends, a jumbo jack with cheese) THEN you will be happy. 

But are you?

Maybe momentarily. 

But then what? 

Theres something else, right?

You continuously need something else. 

Do you see whats happening? How you are just running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off, desperately seeking to end this feeling of lack?

And so you ask....

How do I make all these thoughts stop?

The desire for the thoughts to stop is desire itself.

Heres where the tricky part comes in.


1) Notice.

Theres nothing that you need to do, except notice whats happening. Notice yourself wanting things to be different. Just notice. Your anger, impatience, inattentiveness, indecisiveness, whatever... Pay attention to the feelings you are having while you are running around in circles. Be diligent. Pay attention to your feelings, relentlessly. Take note. And then take note again.



All day. Every day.

2) Don't judge. 

Don't judge your thoughts, don't judge your feelings. Just let them be. And most importantly if you catch yourself judging, don't judge you're judging.


I know, you think Im crazy. And I am.
You think this "noticing" isnt the answer?

This is how anything in your life has transformed.... This is how relationships have come to be, and also how they have ended. Its how you got your job and also why you've left jobs. Paying attention to your mind is the root of all Transformation.

Just think about the last big change that occurred in your life. Maybe it was a relationship. What happened? You began to notice feelings you had while you were with that person. You became AWARE of the way that person's actions affected you. You took note of the sensations that occurred in your body when you were around that person. A sinking in your stomach, a lump in your chest. You noticed that.

And then the relationship just sort of fell away...

It just kind of happened, right?

It all came to a head on its own.

Thats it.

Just Notice. Don't judge.




Friday, February 18, 2011

War


I used to be infatuated with the idea that suffering was bad and that I was put hear on this earth to end it.

 I wanted to end PROBLEMS. I got a degree in psychology so I could FIX people and things that were not working properly. I was so purely against people who hate and kill and Destruct, and self destruct.

I spent every waking minute trying to research information that may help to end the massive amounts of silent suffering going on in the minds of people all over the world..

Mental Dis-Ease.

Lets call it War. Because, it is, isnt it?

I graduated, with a degree in Mental Dis-Ease (They call it psychology). That Diploma... It didn't help.

I still could not help them. 

I could not change their minds.

I could not make them different.

I could not save them from themselves.

What I did not know then, that I know today: 

The desire to end War is war itself. 
When I tried to end this suffering, I was clinging to the idea that suffering was BAD. That not-suffering was GOOD.

That's what war is. 
Clinging to an idea that one way is good and the other way is bad...and then fighting to the death for it.

We must first end the war within ourselves, in order to end the collective war.

The only way to end the war within ourselves is by not attaching to the idea that the war needs to end.

We can not stop them from suffering, until we have stopped ourselves.

Let go.





Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Advice for the Indecisive


You are confused. Confusion is a flavor of Fear

So you've got to keep an eye out for what it is you are afraid of. My guess is that you are afraid you'll screw it up, you wont get it right, you'll choose one thing and change your mind later? It will all be a waste... Right?  Ultimately the reason is of little importance.

Notice the fear.

 Just sit with the feeling of confusion (fear) without striving to change it for long enough that it transforms. Cultivate it. Tend to it. Cuddle with it. Sleep with it. Have sex with it. 

Just keep allowing the fear. 

FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. FEAR.

A Storm of Fear.

Once the storm has passed, answers will become clear. 

Right now, you are striving.

Stop it.

Let go.


I understand you feel as though you are constrained by time, I realize this decision feels as though it needs to be made NOW, but it doesn't.  No need to do something you are unsure about just for the sake of making a decision. Just keep doing what you are already doing. And if you can not decide now, then that is exactly what you are doing, not deciding. That is why when you major in something there is an option of "UNDECIDED". 

Because, you can BE undecided.

So Be.

Until you are not.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love and Fear


There are only Two emotions.

Love and Fear.

I bet you thought there were more, right? 

Nope.  

But what about all the other sensations you feel? 
Isn't that what they are, Isn't that how you experience them? Sensations in your body? In your core. 

Happiness, Excitement,  Compassion, Empathy, Peacefulness, Joy, Forgiveness.

LOVE. Its all Love. Different flavors, but they all stem from Love. 

Surprise,  Jealousy, Hate,  Greed, Envy, Anxiety, Sadness, Depression, Shame, Prejudice, Anger.

FEAR. Different flavors of fear.

Its so simple, yet you make it so complicated. 

We cycle though love and fear all the time. Some days one dominates over the other, but its pretty much a Love Fear Salad. 
All day, Every Day.

This day (Valentine's Day) is devoted to Love. 
Happiness. Joy. Empathy, Compassion.
ALL OF IT.

What we don't do is set aside a day to Celebrate (Celebration is Love) Fear.
Why don't we?
Why do we deny this Emotion. There are only two, and we deny ONE! Isn't that ridiculous? Its like denying half of who you are.

Underneath all love is fear.

Fear that love will end.

And it will.

Everything will end.
And as soon as it does, it will begin again. 
Love      Fear      Love      Fear      Love      Fear
All day, everyday.

Fear must be embraced, with loving hands.
Because it is the embryo of love. 
If you nurture it and take care of it. Feed it the right things, it will grow. It will begin to kick and move around. Soon, you wont be able to sleep at night. Then one day, after much pain and agony, there will be complete Transformation.

There will be Love.

LOVE.

And then it will die.


Dont attach to it. Just notice how it comes and goes.
How it moves through you.

Just Notice.

Love and Fear.



Friday, February 11, 2011

Paint with a capital P

Friday night. Pajamas and tea.

Yes.


I'm really feeling this Paint with a capital 'P' thing.


I say it often. I write it often.


But today I feel it on a cellular level.

Do you know what its like to feel in that way?

When the whole world seems to align right through your core.
And you cant help but smile.
And cry.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fetus Update

Heres what I've been up to.


Take a look here and here for other lovely insights on this painting.

And, yes, Im quite aware it is upside-down.
Although, now that Ive spent a couple days looking at it this way, its beginning to feel right-side-up.

Cant it only be right-side-up?


This painting has become all about challenging myself.
Not trying to challenge myself, but rather--not taking the easy way out. 

I've been through so many ideas since I've begun this painting that tell me to make it easier. Hurry up, finish it. Move on to the next one. Give it up.

For example: See those fingers and toes? 
I was quite certain when I sketched out the baby, that Id have to paint a flower or something right over the feet, so I could at least avoid having to paint the toes. Because fingers and toes are hard. 

And I like it easy. 

I also like to paint quickly. I've got a just-get-it-done attitude.

I'll take any idea and run with it, as long as it gets me to the end quicker.

I want the product.
The finished result.
Screw the process.

But, something new is happening, and I've begun to enjoy the process, in its totality.


So this painting is taking a really long time. 

But it is so beautiful, you would not rush the sunset, would you?





See how much canvas is left?

(If you are any sort of painter you would know that I 'should' have painted the background first, but I didn't... Im breaking rules right and left with this one.)


When I get ideas about the way I think it should be (Like I did for yesterdays blog post) I just get up and leave. 

I get up and leave a lot. 
The process of painting this canvas has required more time away from it than in front of it.
And that time is equally valuable. 

Sometimes you have to take time away from things in life. Things or people, or situations, that you get ideas about. If you get ideas about people, and you don't walk away, before you know it those ideas will morph into beliefs. And in my experience, beliefs build upon each other to form boxes...

Boxes that are built around you. 
(Scary, eh?)


So, When you feel the flood of ideas and you realize you are getting nowhere quickly, just leave. 
Come back when your mind is clear.

Then listen for the whispers of guidance, underneath the ideas.
And run with that! 

The Guidance can't get though if You are trapped inside that box.

Now... If you've made the mistake and you are already in the box... You'd better start bustin' some windows and breakin' down doors. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bound.

I've written and deleted this blog post approximately 3 times.

Sometimes, when I come here, ideas flood in.

Ideas about how I want to write a good blog post, and be a good blogger.

I latch on.

I forget.

And then I notice myself trying.

TRYING to write a blog post.

And I remember.

The moment I try to be something, I move further from it. 

I am no longer free.

I am bound.

By ideas.

Of what I think I need.

And that is not what this blog is about.

That is not what I am about.




Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dishes=Your Life

****This Post has NOTHING to do with dishes***

When I moved into this shared residence, back in November, I took up a few bad habits. One of them being my level of cleanliness. My ability to wash the dishes and put them away had withered to almost zero. When everyone is doing it, it become easy to do it too. 

And who wants to wash someone else's sink full of dishes in order to wash their own dish? 

Nobody.

So we all just add it to the pile.

I dont like it. I don't like this habit I've picked up of not-caring.

So I made a sign.




Its simple.

So Incredibly simple that it has become quite complicated. 

Since Implementing this One rule, I've been met with a whole host of ideas surrounding how a person can get out of doing the dishes now that the sign is up. Or how a person could make the act of doing them easier. Here are just a couple examples:


1. I have been told that I would have to PAY for the dinner that was made, in order to eat a serving myself. (Thus the person cooking, would have the money to put in the jar so that he or she could simply forgo the dishes.)

2. Someone bought "Dish Drying Gloves". (Yeah, I was also surprised that these exist), but the idea here is that this will increase ones ability to wash dishes.) 

3. I was confronted with someones purchase of a household item and asked if the cost of it could be 'deducted' from the amount that this person would have to put in the jar in the future.


Heres the thing, and this is going to be a little hard to believe, but this has nothing to do with the dishes.

For me, this practice of washing my dish after I have eaten, is practice for my life. 

It is a practice in paying attention. 
A practice in following through.
A practice in finishing what you started, even once you are satisfied.
A practice in sharing, in caring, and believe it or not, In TRUST.

Because if I can make washing the dish as vitally important as eating, than I can make my dreams as vitally important as the work that I need to do to fulfill them.


So, hes my translation of what is going on in this house now:

1. The idea of charging for a meal in order to get out of cleaning up: Lack of trust. We all must see that the dish is part of the meal. With the meal, comes dishes. They are connected. One is not good, the other is not bad. They just come together, like pills come in a bottle. 

When one cooks dinner for others, and they eat it, they then become connected to the dishes. 

If you are asking them for money up front, to put in the jar, you don't trust them to do their part.

TRUST. Ask for help. 

Explain to someone your feelings: "I am very tired right now, could you clean up for me? I promise to clean up for you next time." There is only one rule about the dishes, and nowhere on that sign does it say you cant ask for help.

SHARE and CARE.


2. Dish Drying Gloves: This stems from the belief that we NEED something to follow through in life. "If I had that filing cabinet, Id be more organized". If I had a nicer car, I'd take better care of it". Thats all Baloney. If you aren't doing it now, you wont do it when you get this thing either. Practice with what you've got.

3. Putting dollars in the jar, for future dishes you might forget to wash: This is you making the decision that you are going to fail. If you have your mind set on failing, you will. Every time.

What you do HERE, at home, with the people that are close to you is practice for what you do out THERE, in your Life.

Screwing up and putting a dollar in the jar is what you want. Every time you have to pay that dollar you're diligence and mindfulness grow exponentially for the next time. 

Would you rather put 500 dollars in the jar and end up landing a super amazing job out there in the real world, due to your newfound attention to detail, your capacity to share and care, your uncanny ability to follow through and your unshakable trust...

Or would you rather find 500 ways to get out of putting money in that jar and then make all your mistakes out THERE in the real world?

This is your LIFE.


So, wash your dishes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Enjoy The Ride.

I sketched the second mural for NOVA today. It was quite the adventure. I was asked to paint Summer, because Fall was a big hit. 


I went in thinking I was going to be drawing one thing and ended up drawing something completely the opposite. Thats how life works, though.

Plans dont work.
They fail, every time.

You have no control.

You think you do, but you don't.

Just try it out, grab on to the gigantic steering wheel of your life and TRY to park this thing right where you want it

Whats that, you cant do it?

Its too big? Its too heavy? Its pulling too hard?


Good. So you get it.

Now let go of the wheel.

Relinquish control.

Breathe.

Enjoy the ride. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Not So Super Bowl

Super Bowl, not so Super for me. 

Im not so into Sports.

Mostly because my competitiveness is a bit overwhelming. I have a problem in the area of sports-like competition. Im that child that threw a tantrum when she lost at Chutes and Ladders. 

Im an only child.

As in: Only Me
Nobody else.
Got that?

I was all I had.

And when I lose, I throw the controller across the room, and scream "I PUSHED JUMP!". (My father will testify to this.)

When met with the challenge of another I stand strong and fierce, 
I am always ready to fight, to the death.

My determination to Be the Best has nearly been the death of me on more than one occasion.

Im a bad loser.

I've worked on this for years now. I've worked on being okay with not winning.

From the longest time I just had to sit on the sidelines... of life. That was pretty much the first step of recovery.

 Because I did not have the capacity to Live without the competition.
So I just sat out. And I felt the burn of others winning.

Over and over and over.

It has been a LONG journey. One that has caused enough fire inside me to burn up the entire Universe. 

But, slowly. So.. very... VERY slowly, my capacity to surrender to showing-up-exacly-as-I-am has grown.

I am nearly able to participate in everything now.



Except Sports. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ramblings on God and Birth

The Fetus is coming along nicely.


Its beginning to take on a lovely glow. 


 Im realizing big things about this painting. Big things! 

This painting is much like dreaming. Its very metaphorical and reminiscent of my life. You know how you cant try to dream? You cant decide what you want to dream about and exactly how you are going to dream it?

 It just sort of plays out all on its own, as soon as you Surrender... to life. 
And let Sleep take over.

Thats what this painting feels like. Its like surrendering to life.

I honestly made no decision to paint this thing, and along the way, Ive had absolutely no control over what happens with it or to it. I also have no plans for it in the future. It just shows up this way.


And the nice thing is, that this time I like it. Its a 'Good' dream. I think...
But, I could see how it might be possible to Paint this way and have a 'bad dream'. 

It could go all wrong in an instant. 

On a side note, or possibly the same note, there are many Birth days this month. I realize there are many birthdays every month, but this month is particularly important to me, because I was born in February.... (Well the World was born, but thats an entirely different post!)

The 18th to be exact (In the case that you'd like to mark your calendar and send me a card). 
9:09pm, Arizona Time, in case you'd like to call me at the exact moment that I was purged from the womb (although my mother will probably beat you to that one.)

There are people who are very important to me who were born this month. I feel like Aquarians are incredibly special people. We are artists. We are pushers-of-limits. We are are Creators. Everyone is a creator. And so... we are 

God. 

I am God. 

We are.



Yesterday I made a little addition to my painting...in the corner there. 


Something calls me to write things in my paintings. 


Secret messages from God. 




From Me.


From You.















Friday, February 4, 2011

First-Friday, February Fourth, Phoenix

I think the title pretty much says it all.


Now, Go Forth Unto the World of Art.

Or click here for the lazy version.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Being The Tree Painter

The tree phase is over.

Im not sure If Im over it, or its over me.
The last 3 trees I painted were lackluster. I got exceptionally wrapped up in the making of them and they became work.

I forgot why I had started. I wasn't painting trees because I had to. I was painting trees because thats who I was. 

I was A Tree Painter. 
The Tree Painter.

I dreamed of trees, I breathed trees, I had trees on my toast. 

Then, suddenly... the trees fell away. I turned on the faucet, and trees did not rush out. 

It was dry.

 I went to the canvas and I sat down, thinking I needed to keep painting these trees.

Heres what happened. 


 Perhaps these paintings look pretty similar to the others. 
But they do not Feel the same as the others.


See, painting trees and Being The Tree Painter, are two completely different things altogether.

Do you get it?

And I can not Force myself to Be The Tree Painter. 

It just happens.

So, I ask you.....Are you painting Trees? Or are you Being The Tree Painter?




The Music.
The Moment.
You Own it.
Dont Ever Let it Go.