Maybe it’s the fact that it’s the beginning of a new year, maybe it’s because I’ve been feeling under the weather the last couple weeks, or maybe it is because its been gloomy all day, but I’ve been thinking about happiness.
I figured that happiness is all about creativity. What I mean is you create your own happiness. You can’t really find it in your pocket or in the glove box. So, here are the Three things I came up with today that allow me to be happy. I figured I would share, and see if you can enjoy them as well.
Come up with your own definition of what it means to be happy. Make sure it is your definition. I like this one, I borrow it from time to time.
Happiness is being the creator of your experience, choosing to take pleasure in what you have, right now, regardless of the circumstances, while being the best you that you can be.
Whenever I’m in the moment, and I’m really present to what I’m feeling, seeing, hearing, or doing, I allow myself to experience a sense of euphoria. It isn’t often that in our fast paced society we are able to stop ourselves from thinking about the future, or dwelling over the past, so a nice dose of now is a refreshing change.
Don’t Become, Just Be.
If you’re constantly thinking into some future where you can be happy, you’ll be in the habit of trying to be happy. If you are trying to do happy, you aren’t doing it, you’re just trying. Instead, if you just become happy with your current situation, you can be happy any time and place.
When you’re working on being happy, you are the type of person that created the possibility that you are not currently happy.
And that’s it… I know that hardly covers what it takes to be happy, but it is definitely a start… Besides, I have art to create. 🙂
I talk a lot about ways to empower yourself and investigate some of the patterns we play out in our minds that may cause us to feel like victims. To determine whether or not I am feeling powerful, I ask myself whether a situation, circumstance, or person makes me feel like a victim, or do I feel empowered.
Anything that causes you to feel like you don’t have control over your emotions is a sense of victimhood. I don’t mean expressing those emotions, you can sit down to have a good cry because you know it will make you feel better, that’s empowered crying.
A good way to feel empowered and happy is to spread it like a contagion into the world. I do it through art, but I also have a few weapons in my arsenal against feeling like a victim.
1. Smile at people.
It’s amazing to me how powerful a smile can be.
2. Be positive.
Be conscious about your words and actions so that you can be a positive force, rather than, you know, a drag.
3. Give genuine compliments.
I’m a firm believer in saying what you mean, when you want to say it. That means being genuine. What is interesting is that a lot of people assume that being genuine means being mean, but I find that when you are truly genuine with yourself and others, everything is infused with love.
4. Encourage creation.
Themed movie nights, to adventure walks, to art parties. Encourage yourself and others to have creative fun.
5. Live outside your comfort zone.
6. LOVE real big. QUESTION everything.
In every given moment there is an opportunity to fear, judge, or love. We sometimes have to seriously question our own beliefs and where they came from in order to get to love. The thing is, the more you love yourself, the more you can love the world… So start by questioning beliefs about yourself.
Being an agent of positive change in this world is a label that I’ve proudly given myself. I ask that you also wear it wisely and wear it well. It takes real determination and commitment, but it brings color and wonder back into the world.
I seem to have always been fascinated by birds, from the pigeons in Chicago with the iridescent neck feathers, to the occasional happy bright red cardinal.
Recently someone asked me “So, why do you paint birds?”
I though about the question for a moment and said “Overwhelming fascination.”
When I was a wee little artist, my mother who was young and dangerously overprotective, didn’t let me go outside much. For years, my entire world was from a large third floor picture window that looked down on a busy street.
I spent hours a day looking out at the people going about their day, the different birds roosting and flying about, the abstract landscape over the buildings, the little bit of greenery that would emerge from fascinating places in the concrete. I also gave everyone personalities and stories, people would have daily novellas play out in front of me, and so did the birds.
But, although I felt that the humans had dramatic stories of heartbreak, turmoil, and moments of happiness, the birds symbolized something powerful.
Birds symbolized freedom and perspective. Because they fly high into the sky, I believed they were messengers who provide humans with a bridge between the mundane daily routine and powerful spiritual life.
I know, I know… I was a weird kid.
Every once in a while I would see someone at a bench feeding bits of bread to the pigeons. From my third floor window I could see a powerful dance taking place between the person throwing the bread and the birds. I could see something beautiful, a powerful connection to something greater, a brief moment of stillness among the chaos of daily life. No one else seemed to notice, they just hurriedly went about their day, barely glancing up or interacting with one another.
Years later, with no window barrier between me and the world, I was part of that chaos. I hurried importantly past people to get to work, or anywhere for that matter. I pounded my fist and certain index fingers at people who drove too slow. I was an adult, I was busy, I had things to do, I was responsible, I didn’t have enough time, and I was miserable.
One day, the overwhelm hit a fever pitch. As I was barreling down the road cursing in my mind at the lady in the car directly in front of me, my heart started to beat out of my chest. I loosened my tie and found that my forehead was soaked in sweat. It was so bad, that I pulled over.
I stepped out of my car to get some air and walked over to a bench.
As I was sitting there, wondering if I was going to die in my stupid suit, on a dirty bench, in a strange part of town, I noticed an old man walking towards me with a crinkled up paper bag.
“Great, he’s gonna ask me for money, just look away.” I thought to myself.
The man sat down, opened his bag, and started to sprinkle little bits of bread on the ground in front of us. Like a scene out of the movie “The Birds” a hoard of pigeons and other birds descended on us.
Didn’t he see that I am an important person? I was appalled at how rude this man was, surely a bird was going to shit on my suit.
Then, my heart started up again, and I breathed in deep… and just relaxed.
Suddenly, amidst the gaggle of birds was a pop of bright color. A cardinal flew on to my armrest merely inches from my hand. I found myself mesmerized and just stared at it, we stared at each other for what felt like an eternity. It then jumped down, grabbed a scrap of bread and flew away.
I’m not sure how long I was on that bench. I just sat there and time seemed to slow down. I could see the world hurrying past me, people waving their fists in their cars, and others looking at their watches every five minutes. I felt like they looked so… so… stupid.
At that point the old man looked at me, I could feel him studying me.
“Taking time to do nothing often puts everything into perspective. Remember that, young man.”
Then he got up and left.
I get visited by that cardinal every once in a while, when I get caught up in hurrying through life. I sound like a crazy person, but it’s true.
They say that your surroundings are a reflection of what is going on in your mind. I believe that, and often find myself saying the words “cluttered house, cluttered mind.” Although, admittedly I say that mostly to the pack rats that are in my family who have a collection of printers from the 1980’s.
I think there is a value to being selective of what you allow into your space, making sure that it makes you feel one of three things, beautiful, empowered, and optimistic.
Now, I know that my personal brand of art is not for everyone, and because of the nature of art, it is open to all types of interpretation. But the following pieces are meant to empower your surroundings, thus empowering yourself.
I AM FIERCE – The fierceness of someone who stands confident in their own determination of what the world is supposed to be, surrounds themselves by things that make them feel empowered. When someone makes it their priority to change their environment by getting rid of the things that cause them to question themselves… They are truly fierce.
EXPRESSIONS SERIES – The Expressions Series represents a snapshot of time where the blinders are shattering. It is based on a experience that I had that completely changed my life. My life literally fell apart right before my eyes, and for the first time I saw the construct for what it was, blinders composed of my beliefs that I had picked up from other people that held me back.
MADE OF LIGHT – The other day, I looked in the mirror and saw myself coming apart.
I exploded into a vortex of light and color.
Suddenly, I couldn’t remember my story.
I saw light,
I was light,
I am light.
How could I ever judge my beauty?
This piece is a representation of the power I believe we all have within us. I hope it will be a constant reminder of your awesomeness and ability to overcome any adversity.
WRAPPED IN GOLD – We forget that we are star stuff. Gold is star stuff, and so are we. We wrap ourselves in something precious, and should always remember that we are precious… That, begins in the mind.
This work of art is a reminder and representation of the power we have to create circumstances in our mind… and whether or not we have taken control of that power.
To view the rest of my personal power collection Click Here.
Stay awesome! Take a good look around, it’s always a good time to reevaluate your surroundings.
“When you dream, you are free…to be the things you want to be. When you dream, you are free…to see the things you want to see. Sometimes in my dreams I fly, through the starry, starry sky. When I see the moon I laugh, it’s a great big bed for the tall giraffe.” -Anonymous
We know that kids have big imaginations. But sometimes we forget just how powerful they can be. We forget just how much joy and creative fire they can fuel within all of us. To let go of our imagination is to let go of our power to create wonder in the world.
So I created this piece to symbolize what I believe is the power that we can easily misuse as adults. As a kid, I was constantly told to get my head out of the clouds and grow up. Yet the most powerful moments in my life came as a result of allowing myself to dream bigger than what seems to be possible.
I think we all use our imagination… I mean, when you are stressing out about something that hasn’t happened yet, you are using your imagination.
I try to imagine several impossible, amazing things every day. Things that are full of possibility and wonder… Things that make me feel like I can achieve anything.
This little girl symbolizes the power of our imagination and returning to that magical time of being in control of what you picture in your mind. Molding your thoughts into impossible dreams of awesomeness.
I am stoked to announce that she made it into the Cinco Banderas Exhibition at Artel Gallery. If you are in Pensacola, stop by the gallery and see her. Reception for the show is November 4th 2016 from 6pm-8pm at Artel Gallery on Palafox.
On March 5th Klee and I attended an event called “Curated Compassion” in which several artist showcased art installations that would interact with the viewer. We set up a piece that would allow for several people to be involved in the creation of a beautiful work. We had over 30 people put their hands in the clay (or magnets) and helped create this amazing work of art. Thank you to everyone involved in making this project beautiful… Enjoy.
“Empowerment” is a Food drive for Manna Food pantries. I will be doing a live painting along with some other very talented artist. The painting will be auctioned off to raise funds for MANNA.
Along with amazing live art creations by awesome artists (Mikaela Schelt and Nate Lyle), there will be art, live music and food. There will be a juried art show with the theme of Empowerment and how each unique artist perceives it.
Music starts at 2:30 and will continue until 10pm.
The last “Empowerment” show collected 680lbs of foods for families during the holidays. The goal this year is to raise 1000 lb of food.
This is an awesome show for a very good cause.
When: Saturday at 2:00pm – 10:00pm 67°F / 49°F Clear
Where: First City Art Center – 1060 N Guillemard St, Pensacola, Florida 32501
What: “Empowerment” For MANNA food pantries
How Much: $5 + a non-perishable food item
Why: Because it’s an awesome event for a good cause
They say that finding appreciation for things will bring you more happiness. So there you are, doing this life thing as best as you can, wondering if things will ever get better. You keep hearing people say “Be grateful for what you have” and you wish you could tell them to shove it up their happy little butts. I mean, if you could actually find SOMETHING to be grateful for, maybe you would be in more of a state of appreciation.
The truth is, we are always surrounded by things to be grateful for. The misconception is that it needs to be this huge profound thing, but it doesn’t… Just simple little things that often get overlooked are huge when you think about it. Here are six to get you started.
Imagine for a moment, a world where you are wearing a smelly fur diaper to cover your privates, that’s what it was like several years back. Or your junk was just out in the open flopping freely in the wind and attracting all manner of biting or stinging insects. Pants, they’re awesome, I can fall and bust my ass without having severe scrapes. Can you imagine how many times I would have to tell people “ahem, my eyes are up here.” Thank you pants!
Imagine for a moment if there was no sun in our solar system… Oh yeah, you can’t because there would be no life on this planet. Thank you sun!
Toilets and Running Water
I know, you stop at a gas station and your bladder is ready to burst. You walk in, it is dirty and smells. “Oh, that toilet was disgusting… I had to hover.” Just be grateful that you didn’t have to dig a hole, or hover over a hole in a wooden shack that had a hefty collection of poo. People are not throwing buckets of poo out their windows and causing another black plague. Thank You Toilets! Thank You Running Water!
It used to take over a year to get information from one continent to another. Then it took a few weeks to send heartfelt telegraph messages like “John. Come soon. Stop.” You are reading this right now, on a platform that allows you to have all knowledge at your fingertips. You can communicate with several people all around the world in seconds. You can also enjoy hours upon hours of mindless fun. Thank You Internet.
Yeah… This should be a no brainer. THANK YOU BREATHING, YOU ROCK!