Posted on Leave a comment

16 Easy Ways To Enjoy Life Right Now

Have you ever begrudgingly wondered how some people manage to make being happy look easy? You think, it’s probably genetic, luck, or they’re just too ignorant about life to worry incessantly like a real adult. Honestly, the reason it looks easy, is because it is much easier to be happy than most of us think. A lot of us have the tendency to think that happiness requires a giant shift in our lives. We either think we need a big fat bank account or to find ourselves on a mountaintop somewhere. We tend to make happiness this complicated unattainable thing that requires habits, routines, and balance. Honestly, it is so simple that it’s almost embarrassing. Here are 16 simple ways you can enjoy your life more, starting today!

1. Focus on you, yourself and I

You, take care of you and follow your bliss. People will have their opinions, demands and suggestions. They will share these demands, opinions and suggestions. They may argue their demands, opinions and suggestions. They will lovingly express their demands, opinions and suggestions. Ultimately, however, it’s you, and you alone, that will have to live with the decisions you make in your life. Focus on what makes you happy.

2. Create time to relax

Relax, take time to just hang out with yourself and clear your mind.

 

3. Avoid the news

It’s easy to get sucked into public drama, gossip, or world catastrophes = online and offline. Trust that if something important happens, you’ll know about it. Otherwise, save yourself energy and spend your time on something more worthwhile… Like watching butterflies flutter.

4. Nurture your positive relationships

Hang out with people who are positive, inspiring and wonderful. Avoid people who are full of drama and constantly complaining about their lives.

5. Meet new people

Making a consistent effort to meet new people helps us fulfill and introduce new ideas and perspectives. It keeps things fresh and exciting.

6. Explore new places

New places and cultures offer a different perspective on the world and add a healthy dose of inspiration and possibility to our lives.

7. Spend money on experiences, not possessions

It’s experiences, not possessions, that create memories and meaning.

8. Cut down your junk

Physical clutter equals mental clutter; reducing the amount of stuff around us fosters a calmer mental state, too.

 

9. Make time for gratitude and appreciation

Creating a routine of writing down three things we feel grateful for each day helps us focus more on what we’re grateful for in life.

10. Be deliberate in your choices

We’ve never had so many opportunities to create a lifestyle that we truly love, yet many of us still live life on autopilot. Be deliberate in your life choices: remember that it’s your life and no-one else’s.

11. Invest in yourself

The more self-aware and self-accepting we are, the happier we are. Make time to read personal development books, journal, and focus on being compassionate towards yourself.

12. Allow yourself to feel happy

Many of us find it challenging to enjoy a calm, “normal” life. Give yourself permission to enjoy a drama-free existence and focus on finding pleasure in your daily experiences.

13. Practice mindfulness

Noticing how we feel and what’s around us right now is an effective way of getting out of our heads, detaching from our worries, and returning to the experience of what it’s truly like to be alive.

14. Get outside

Feel the wind on your face, the sun on your skin, and enjoy a good dose of Vitamin D and fresh air.

 

15. Speak your mind

When we hold back our thoughts, opinions, and desires out of fear of displeasing others, we’re not being true to ourselves. Speak up and feel uncomfortable in the short-term and you’ll enjoy life more in the long-term.

16. Record happy moments

Take photos, journal, draw—whatever you need to do to record happy moments and memories. Every time you remember an experience, you relive it, make the memories good. Enjoy.

Love you guys – Rafi

Posted on Leave a comment

The Future Is Now

We spend so much time worrying about the future.

spartan

What if, for just a moment, you imagined that life is all happening right now?

Even when it’s happening Right now, you are experiencing it in you mind.

You may be told that you are not being realistic, or that you need to think about tomorrow. The truth is, the only moment we really have is right now, this very moment when you are reading this. Look around you, hear the sounds, look at the colors, feel the temperature and breath… This is happening.

Tomorrow is a figment of your imagination, as is yesterday. Experience this moment now, change it if you don’t like it or milk it for all it’s worth if you do. Right now is your only guarantee so you might as well be here.

Just a thought.

Posted on Leave a comment

Happiness is a State of Perception

Recently I finished a piece called “Contemplation.” It is a painting of a woman who is deep in thought and the magic of her intention is floating around her. As with most of my pieces, I stared at it for a very long time after it was finished and wondered what people would think of her.

This got me thinking about the different perceptions people have about art. Some people would think she was absolutely beautiful, others would just scoff at her and walk away. I wondered what kind of person would scoff at something beautiful and whether or not they were happy people.

It was then that I remembered that I was a very different person in the past. As much as I love art and am excited to see the uniquely awesome creations that people create, back then I was cynical and would scoff too. I can honestly say I wasn’t very happy, I pretty much complained and criticized everything.

This got me thinking about the weather. Yep, the weather. It’s been infuriatingly hot here in Pensacola and as much as I would love to stay inside and hibernate in air-conditioning, I have things I have to do outside.

I thought about people I know who don’t seem to be bothered by the heat and how much happier they seem during the summer months. I thought about hot days at the beach and how the weather isn’t really that big of a deal.

Downtown Pensacola Mural By Rafi Perez
Downtown Pensacola Mural By Rafi Perez… and it is hot.

Perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses. So I played around with the idea of deleting the heat and focusing on the things I enjoyed. I focused intensely on the small breeze, the cold refreshing water, the sound of the fan running in the background, the birds tweeting and how good it felt to wipe the sweat from my skin. Slowly, I started to shift my perception to other awesome things, such as the feeling of walking into air-conditioning after being out in the heat or how the shade feels so good.

I realized that the things I perceive are not good or bad, that judgement comes a split second after I’ve experienced what ever it is. If I spend my entire time bitching about the heat, then all I’m doing is making myself miserable. Instead, I’ll delete the bitching, focus on the beauty and milk that as much as I can. It works wonders for me.

In the past I criticized everything and made myself miserable, guess it’s better to just focus on what you want to see. To see the beauty in a flower on a hot day, listen to the sound of birds chirping, the sound of thunder in the distance or admiring a unique piece of art and taking it all in with a smile. Sounds way more fun.

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Why the refrigerator is always glue when playing indoor tag

When playing indoor tag as adults there are a few rules that are set in stone. Not just stone, but the most indestructible stone in the universe. I realized I had to write this article when I… Well, this is how the event played out.

As I was walking out of our art studio, I tagged Klee (my wife) on the arm and said “Tag you’re it.”

glue

I caught her bewildered look as I made my way to our kitchen. I grabbed something out of the refrigerator and set it on the counter just in time to see Klee sneaking her way towards me. I jumped back and touched the refrigerator and exclaimed “GLUE!” we then proceeded to run around.

Later she touched the post where she hammers metal and exclaimed “Glue!”

“That’s not glue.” I said.

“Why can’t that be glue?” She asked.

“Because the refrigerator is always glue.” I responded.

“Where does it say that?” She asked.

“In the rules, look it up.” I suggested.

She did, and there was nothing on the vital all important rule on how the refrigerator is always glue when playing indoor tag.

So here it is:

Rules For Playing Indoor Tag

1 – The refrigerator is “glue” or all chaos will ensue causing the house to blow up into a puffs of marshmallow.

2 – No Tag Backs can only be called out by the tallest participant in the game.

3 – If your name starts with the letter “R” you are allowed to mind tag. This means you can just say “Tag you’re it” and the other person is it.

4 – These rules are void if they do not work in the favor of participants who’s initials are “RP.”

Klee Agreeing To The Rule.

Klee Agreeing To The Rule.

So there you go, it’s on the internet and everything you read on the internet is true.

Posted on Leave a comment

7 Easy Steps To Relationship – Love Is Simple Series By Rafi Perez

I recently started a new series in order to visually interpret my thoughts on the simplicity of love.

Love-is-Very-Simple-Rafi-Perez-4

Many people walk around on this planet looking for the “one” person that will make them complete. Relationship after relationship will end the same way. In the beginning things seem to be great, you become attached to the other person and feel as though they have all the answers to the void in your heart. Then, almost like clockwork you find yourself wondering what the heck you were thinking. The truth is things with love and relationship are complicated because we’ve complicated it… It’s really quite simple. My new series is a suggestion of that simplicity.

Love is simply love. It needs to start from within. Here seven things that work really well for me.

Start by no longer abusing yourself. I have found that even people in an abusive relationship are still being abused slightly less than they abuse themselves. No longer allow yourself to speak to yourself in a negative way. Begin to think positive about yourself and realize that you are perfect just the way you are. This will change the way you feel you are being treated.

Love-is-Very-Simple-Rafi-Perez-2

Second step is to not take anything personal. You must realize that when your spouse and you are in an argument the words and actions have nothing to do with you. These are deep seeded insecurities and fears they have about themselves, so don’t take it personal.

The third step is to be honest about everything, tell it the way you believe it to be. Be honest about what you feel, be honest with yourself and your spouse. If you are not honest about who you are then you will never deal with the issue. Hiding the issue within yourself will lead to much heart ache, so just speak the truth. Do not say things to see what the other persons reaction will be. Do not try and manipulate a situation and do not tell the other person what they want to hear.

The fourth step is knowing that change is good. In a relationship we tend to fear change, embrace it. Everything and everyone is changing and evolving. You are not the same person you were five minutes ago. Release these expectations about you and your partner based on what happened yesterday because neither one of you is the same person.

Love-is-Very-Simple-Rafi-Perez-3

The fifth step is to live in the moment. Many people spend their entire lives living in the past or living in the future. They focus on how they wish things would be, they spend so much time there that they miss the moment they are living now. Live right now, in the moment and don’t allow yourself to miss a thing.

The sixth step is to appreciate the good. Too many people will focus all their energy on what they do not want. Live in the now and appreciate everything you have, cherish it. Feel the love that comes with appreciation of all the little things that you encounter throughout your day.

Love-is-Very-Simple-Rafi-Perez-1

The seventh step is to always be genuine. You are perfect no matter what anyone tells you, remember that their idea of perfection is completely different than yours. You are absolutely perfect in every way and you do not need to compromise who you are for anyone else. So always be genuine. Just be yourself, be happy with who you are, love yourself and you will find the love you have always been looking for.

Posted on Leave a comment

Can a Mermaid Feel Passion?

Although it may seem silly to engage in meaningless questions that have nothing to do with reality, the answer will surprise you.

Rafi-Perez-Art-176

As someone who spends a lot of time in his mind visualizing abstract concepts into images that may be able to communicate a feeling, I can tell you that imaginary creatures are vastly important. I believe that the imagination is one of the most powerful tools that we have at our disposal. The only limitation of possibilities in your imagination are set by your interpretation of the world and what you believe is possible.

In a rational, grounded in reality mind the idea that a mermaid could feel passion is absurd. Mermaids simply don’t exist, what would be the point in engaging in such childish behavior?

The brain is made up of over 100 billion nerve cells with each brain cell connected to around 10,000 other cells, which equals around 1000 trillion connections in your brain. The connections that you make up in your brain are based on habitual thoughts. Some of these connections get used over and over and become very healthy while other connections atrophy and die off. It’s all very fascinating stuff.

The point is that your imagination is where you engage in divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a thought process or method used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions. for example, look at some normal run of the mill every day item that is around you. Now, see how many other uses you could have for that item that have nothing to do with its actual use. In two minutes how many uses did you find? A lot or a little? Did you get stuck?

Psychologists have found that a high IQ alone does not guarantee creativity. Instead, personality traits that promote divergent thinking are more important. Divergent thinking is found among people with personality traits such as nonconformity, curiosity, willingness to take risks, and persistence… Basically every three year old I have ever known.

I think at some point we learn to conform and because mermaids are not real, they can’t feel passion. We have been told they are not real because no one has ever seen them, or there is no evidence of them. Yet, the word mermaid is in our vocabulary, it is something that conjures an image in your mind and it is as real as your imagination.

Rafi-Perez-Art-149

I think, there is so much power in visualizing and imagining possibilities that may seem like they are not possible. Even if it is simply imagining what it would feel like if a mermaid was describing what her and her people are passionate about.

Some people believe that they will never succeed at something simply because they don’t think it’s possible… Imagine what would happen if they used their imaginations to dream and visualize themselves succeeding… They would be unstoppable.

Posted on Leave a comment

Abstract Art By Rafi Perez?

It’s only been a few years since I decided to create art as a career. I have always been an artist, I just lacked the confidence to call myself one. Growing up in a very business minded environment where I heard phrases in Spanish like “Tienes que poner el huevo al tornillo!” which means you have to bust your ass and sacrifice what you love to get ahead, just didn’t inspire the artist in me. Ironically, that Spanish phrase translates to “You have to put the egg to the screw” and we all know they didn’t mean egg when talking about “huevo.”

Let’s just say, putting my egg on a screw just seems stupid and irrational.

I did manage to have a huge art success even when I was hiding my artistic side in the closet.

I had pieces that juried into a show held by Starbucks and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. The event was called “The Avant Grande” and was held in the event warehouse of the Museum. It was sponsored by Smirnoff Vodka and it was the biggest thing a had ever been a part of.

So, how did I get in? Interesting story, my friend suggested I apply because the show was a big deal. All the art gallery owners in the River-north Art Gallery District were going to be there.

I said I would apply, but honestly I didn’t have the “huevos” to risk having my stuff judged by a jury. So my friend did what any good friend would do, they sent the application for me. A month later I was asked to bring my pieces downtown so that they could be professionally hung at the show. I was  shell shocked to say the least, but secretly I was doing cartwheels inside.

 

Long story short, it was an awesome show and I met a lot of high ranking professionals in the art world.

The only embarrassment I suffered was my father smacking my canvas a few times, saying it looked like vomit, then pointing at all the nudes and saying they were “real” art.

I would love to say that I was ready, but honestly I wasn’t. I just didn’t have to confidence and belief in myself to roll with what was happening. All the advice and compliments just didn’t make it past the self judgement and negative outlook I had back then. After the event, I chalked it up to a lucky mistake and went back to my normal routine in corporate life.

Do I regret not being ready back then? Nope. The truth is I am better at what I do because of the experiences I have had in my life that lead me to where I am now… I wouldn’t change a thing.

Back when I did the show, I had begun a body of work that was called Chaos in Harmony and was based on abstract action painting techniques along with some of my own special concoctions. The series was beautiful and the center piece for the show. After the show, I didn’t create any more pieces in the series. That was ten years ago and I believe it’s been too long that the series has been dormant.

I’ve decided to revive my Chaos in Harmony Series and roll with all the advice I was given years ago by the art professionals in Chicago. Mostly it was “I love these pieces, I would like to see BIGGER.” Which is super exciting to me now.

So stay tuned, this is going to be an awesome ride.

Posted on

Wizard Of Oz Painting

Wizard Of Oz Painting

I just finished creating an auction piece for the Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala event in January 2015. This piece is called “The Power Was There All Along” and is mixed medium on Canvas 24X36. One of the mediums I used in this particular piece is 80 Carats of genuine red ruby. I wanted to do something exceptional with this pre-debut piece that would pave the way for the other pieces in the series.

wizard-of-oz-painting-web

This Piece begs to ask “What if Dorothy know she had the power all along?”

I’ve always been fascinated with popular fairytale and folklore and have been planning on doing a full series using elements from the stories. Until now, I wasn’t necessarily sure how I would portray the characters. All of my artwork has to have some kind of empowering message for it to have the emotional drive that is necessary for me to create.

Since a lot of the old fairy tales have trials and tribulations that the character has to face before their growth in the end, I was having a difficult time putting the pieces together in my mind. They were a little more dark and troubling than empowering which is the common message in my pieces.

Why start with a Wizard of Oz painting? The Gala for 2015 is themed “A night in Oz,” which was the perfect opportunity for me to take the series from the conceptual stage to reality. Over a period of a couple months, I researched and sketched out several ideas that ended up in the trash bin. One morning after a dream about riding a dinosaur into a field of corn, the idea came to me.

I realized that I was trying to stay true to the nature of the stories, yet the story was being read by me and my unique perspective and interpretation. Instead of researching what someone else thinks the story means, I simply needed to express what I got from the story and my own twist on it. Immediately, the piece came together in my mind and I couldn’t keep myself from creating it, which is a good sign for me.

The series will be called “A Modern Fairytale” and will debut in September of 2015. There will be twenty works in the collection in addition to the BBBS piece.

 

The crushed rubies were an idea that I had earlier when thinking about the series. I wanted to add elements that are not typically used in art, but that are essential in the stories. I find it challenging and fun to push myself  beyond anything I’ve done before. Besides, who can pass up an opportunity to crush precious stones with a hammer.

 

Wizard Of Oz Painting was originally published on Rafi Was Here Studios