Feeling Powerful In Three Steps

I created the “EMPOWERMENT” series based on self empowerment, as a tool to be used as a daily reminder. This is my social commentary on the way that people talk to themselves or the way they see themselves. I believe we all have the ability to feel confident and strong, but for the most part we have made it a habit to talk to ourselves in a way that makes us feel powerless.

Believe By Rafi Perez

In reality, personal empowerment is not something we feel, it’s something we do. Our sense of empowerment is a reflection of the increased personal value and self-worth that comes out of our experience of having real influence in our lives.

Empowering ourselves and creating change, which ultimately leads to the increased sense of personal value and self-worth we call the “feeling” of empowerment, involves some very specific steps.

Bonafide By Rafi Perez
  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. Start improving yourself

People tend to compare themselves to others because at times it will make them feel better about their lives or something they are trying to do. For example I know a lot of artists that feel better about their ability to create art because they compare their art to stuff they consider inferior. This is a double edged blade, because they will also compare their work to other work that they consider vastly superior. When they do this it leads to a devastating realization that their work isn’t that great. The truth is, nothing is better or worse than anything else, it’s just our perspective which can change.

Life By Rafi Perez

When you resist comparing yourself, you will be less engaged in judgement, and self-judgement, YOU WILL focus instead on your work – this alone will be empowering.

Belief By Rafi Perez
  • Take responsibility.

Taking responsibility means simply to be responsible for the way you respond to a situation. Most importantly, no matter how much you want to blame someone else for the way you feel, it’s important to remember that no matter what anyone does, you are ultimately responsible for how you respond to the given situation.

There are many small opportunities throughout the day to take responsibility for your emotions, play around with the concept. This will put the power back in your hands and no longer let your emotions fluctuate depending on the people around you.

Create By Rafi Perez
  • Do Something. Take Action!

One of the best things you can do to feel empowered is take action. Think about all those things you wish you did or that you want to do, but maybe you feel lazy or unmotivated. Whenever you don’t take action on it, it can have a devastating effect on your self esteem. Make it a habit to just take action and stop thinking about doing it.

Golden Glow By Rafi Perez

Taking action means remembering to have fun, at least that’s what it means to me. Have fun!

There are lots of ways to empower yourself and create positive change in your life. These are just a few things I try to keep in mind daily, or remind myself if ever I’m feeling less than empowered. Above all, remember that you are a beautiful luminous being, and go out and rock this life thing!

A Love Connection With Self

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! Time to sacrifice a goat in a cave, slap people on the street with its bloody hide to help with fertility and purity, and then party all night! Well, maybe not any more. Luckily, the origins of this very loving Hallmark holiday is way in the past, so today we celebrate each other and our loved ones in a less sacrificial blood and chanting way.

I’m sure everyone who is in a relationship is planning dinners, gifts, and private moments, so I’ll get right to the point. I would like to add a little something else to this day, to be your own Valentine. I’m saying, let’s take the opportunity to watch how we talk to ourselves, trust me it’ll help your relationship.

Much of our self talk has a huge impact on our relationships. This stems from low self esteem and negative self worth. Many people find themselves not good enough to do or be something, and they make sure to remind themselves of this often.

In the area of love, this is one of the things that complicates our relationships. We sometimes get into a relationship with someone and convince ourselves that happiness lies in the other person. This is because we feel we are not worthy to make ourselves happy, and that we are incomplete.

Incompleteness is a silly concept, although it may sound romantic to tell someone that they complete you, really when you think about it, it’s stupid.

It is a concept full of expectations and assumptions. You expect the person to always complete you, and that will lead to resentment and judgment because ain’t nobody got time for that.

We tell ourselves that we are incomplete without this other person because we think they fill the void we feel in our being. They do not fill this void, they remind us how to fill it ourselves because they love us and we temporarily see ourselves through their eyes. This wears off eventually, and oh boy can things get complicated.

Rafi and Klee Silly In Love

Hey, all I’m saying is if you love someone, you better love yourself and be nice to yourself, or you’ll be making yourself miserable no matter who you have around. You’ll also be making the person you love miserable. Food for thought.

Love you valentine! From both of us!

Being Happy Is A Creative Job

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.

Rafi and Klee Nerds

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.

Define Happiness.

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.

Rafi Talking About Philosophy and Art

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.

~Alex Shalman

Appreciate Now.

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.

Rafi With Klee Art

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.

Rafi and Klee Art

When you’re working on being happy, you are the type of person that created the possibility that you are not currently happy.

~Roger Smith

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. 🙂

A Letter To Myself In A Moment Of Darkness vs Light

I wanted to let you guys in on a process that I do when I’m feeling overwhelmed or dark. I write a letter to myself and then respond from a different point of view. This isn’t something that someone typically shares with folks, but I know I’m not typical, so here it is.

Warning, you may read things that concern you, don’t worry, I’m fine, this is just a way to get the feelings out in their rawest form.

“Dear self,

This week has been a tough week for me. I’ve been wading through an emotional cesspool of insecurities and old painful memories. As a result my environment has lost some of it’s vibrant color. I am walking around in a world that I recognize, yet haven’t visited in a long time. It is a dark grey world in which the sunlight is nonexistent. For a person such as myself, an artist who thrives on vibrant colors and light, this is what I imagine hell would feel like.

Rafi Stressed

It’s interesting to me that when your mind takes you to a dark place, it seems like the entire world has conspired against you. It’s like you’re in a movie and the set design is based on the overall feeling of the main character. You watch yourself on the silver screen of life following an old dramatic script that you have rehearsed so many times that it seems like it all comes so naturally. You are the main character, yet no one else is experiencing what you are experiencing, feeling isolated and alone, surrounded by smiling faces, yet totally by yourself.

So, my question is this, what do I do now?”

Rafi in a messy art studio

After a short pause… I read the letter, take a deep breath and respond as best I can.

“Dear Dramatic Self,

Good question! Well, you get off your ass and out of your head. Listen, I understand that sometimes shit happens. You are going through a point in your life that might be transitional. Maybe you feel like you lost a sense of direction, maybe you are going through something emotionally taxing, maybe some button got pushed that hasn’t been pushed for a long time, maybe things just suck right now. No matter what it is, you have every excuse to feel the way you do, but that’s the thing, they’re just excuses.

In my opinion, things that people call emotionally chronic are simply practiced. You’ve spent years practicing how to be dramatic and respond to certain thoughts or situations in a certain way. That dramatic script you mentioned is a real thing, people can follow the same script over and over in their lives without even wondering if they can change it. They can feel like their thoughts are thinking them, instead of them thinking their thoughts. 

Do What You Can Rafi Perez

You find yourself in a rut and what do you do? You sit, slump, cry, withdraw, and replay events over and over in your mind, and repeat. You find something or someone to blame for what you are feeling. Maybe you even pull yourself momentarily out of your funk by putting all your energy into being angry at this person or situation. Yet, nothing changes, this just keeps replaying over and over in your life. So much so, that you think this is just the way it is, “this is my life”.

You believe your story, you shape the world after your story, and discount anything that challenges that story. The story has to be true, if it wasn’t true, then it means you are torturing yourself for nothing.

Well, guess what? It is true. It’s true because you think it’s true, and your brilliant mind is going to do everything in it’s power to make it the truest thing you have ever experienced. Your doubt is going to punch you in the face, your insecurities about yourself are going to knock you down, your judgments and fear about people will come true, and everything you surround yourself with will be a constant reminder of your misery and fear. 

Rafi Perez

Do you know what else is true? That your courage will destroy anything doubt can throw at you. Your determination will pick you up when you fall, stronger and better equipped than ever before. Your hope and unconditional love will present itself to you in overwhelming love and kindness, and everything around you will glow with vibrancy and light, this being a constant reminder of your sense of optimism and hope.

It’s ALL true… Every last bit. The question isn’t who is right or wrong, or what is true or untrue, or what you should or should not do… but simply, what would you rather do? How would you rather feel? What would you rather think? What do you want to focus on? Who do you want to be? And what do you want to believe, right now… in this moment?

Office Decorated By Rafi Perez

We don’t carry feelings in our pocket, or find them in a box buried somewhere. We produce those feelings based on our perspectives and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us. You can believe what ever it is you want to believe about yourself and what is possible for you, and you can do that right now.

Honestly, this moment is all we really ever have, this moment, right now. So make a choice, despite the script you have been rehearsing all your life. Just make a choice.

Now quit whining and pick yourself up like the awesome person I know you to be.

With Much Love, -Rafi”

And that’s it! Welcome to my world of crazy 🙂

 

 

 

 

Ignited From Within

I’ve been thinking this morning,

I recently sold a piece of art that symbolized a very special story. When I posted it on social media I captioned it with:

Life can be a thrilling ride, or a terrifying one. It’s just a matter of perspective. It’s not always easy to remind yourself that you are on fire for life, but it is necessary if you want to ignite yourself, and blaze your own trail.

Ignited By Rafi Perez

This piece symbolizes what I think all of us have inside, a flame that burns and refuses to be snuffed out, no matter how hard we might try.

When I look at my life, I can see a very clear separation between the person who buried their ambitions and dreams behind a wall of fear, and the crazy risk taking weirdo that I am today. I’d be lying if I said that I am completely devoid of fear, but it is worlds away from the old version of me.

Ignited By Rafi Perez

The thing is, that if you ignore that flame, that passion that burns within you, it doesn’t go away, you are just constantly reminded of the things you are suppressing.

We are all such beautiful creatures, with amazing potential. I feel that we all know that to some level or another, but might be too scared to express it.

But the flame within you doesn’t go away.

Ignited By Rafi Perez

We are brilliant in our uniqueness. In the history of the world there has never been anyone like you, there is no one like you, and there will never be anyone like you… soak that in for a moment. Yet, we tend to compare ourselves and put ourselves down.

But the flame within you doesn’t go away.

It is simply a matter of perspective… The flame within you, is that part of you that sees your beauty, ability, potential, brilliance, your worth, and uniqueness. It see’s what you really are…

Amazing.

-Rafi

 

The Power Of A Child

“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

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez
The Power Of A Child – Acrylic On Canvas  24X30

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.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

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.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

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.

The Power Of A Child By Rafi Perez

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.

6 Things That Are Awesome About Your Life That You May Overlook

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.

Pants

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!

sunlight

Daylight

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!

rafi

Internet

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.

Breathing

Yeah… This should be a no brainer.  THANK YOU BREATHING, YOU ROCK!

Go on an appreciate with you badass self :)

 

 

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

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.