What Do You Desire?

This video, a must watch by Alan Watts, is thought-provoking and inspirational.  And I send it to all the artists, writers, musicians and creative people. To all my family and friends.  To the people who feel trapped in life and incomplete.  To the dreamers and the doers.  To those who want to and are ready to live their un-lived life.  To those who have no clue and just follow that path they feel they need to follow.

Reach for that goal that will alter your destiny.  Ignore the pounding in your heart that tells you to turn back.

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A New Year…No Fear

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A magnet came in my Christmas stocking: “do one thing every day that scares you”…and I immediately said yes that is my New Years Resolution.  Should be everyone’s resolution.  Maybe not James Bond type adventure; not scare the shit out of us scary and dangerous, but put the fears in life aside and live life.

It might be something adventurous like skydiving or mountain climbing. Enter a contest or a race.  Say yes to that adventure when offered.

How about dance like a fool in public or jump on a stage and sing.  If you’re called to the dance floor…go out there and who cares what anyone thinks.

Might be changing your look, or buying something new you never thought you would.  Wear a fun, crazy or sexy outfit you never would have before.  Impulse buy!

Maybe tackle a new challenging project, start a new hobby, take on a new career or volunteer somewhere you never thought you would.

Talk to that person you’ve been wanting to talk to or talk to the one you never thought you would want to talk to.

It’s trying those things you’ve been wanting to do all this time and overcoming the little tug of fear that has kept you from trying.  Nothing is ever going to change in life if we do the same things we’ve always done.  Fear conjures up many excuses and these excuses always give us a reason to never take a risk and always play it safe.

No, these opportunities that may scare me won’t come up everyday, but when they do, big or small, I think I’ll go for it and give it a try.  Maybe it won’t be anything monumental…something small or maybe it will be life changing.  I may laugh at myself or feel proud of myself, but I can say, Hey, I gave it a shot!  The magnet is on my fridge…there for me to see every day of this New Year.

Pain in the…

…Shoulder!  Geez, I use my right arm for everything!!!  Well, last week the shoulder area was bothering me so I lightened up my workout, but still kept at it thinking lighter weights were still a “rest”…sort of.  Then by Saturday after I vacuumed (why do I feel the need to clean sometimes), it hurt even more; a throbbing pain all night.  Some were worried: go to the doctor – could be a tear – you may not be able to workout for weeks.  WHAT? Hell no!

Ok, so I eat pretty strict Paleo to avoid inflammation (I know it’s not arthritis or my bones) and I try not lift more weights than I’m supposed to…like I said I try.  My head tells me I just pulled something or it’s stress in my neck and shoulders.  Nothing that rest and a deep tissue massage won’t cure, right?  I am trying rest for a week or 2, whatever it takes.  No doctor yet.  I don’t do doctors well besides the $40 co-pay will turn into an enormous medical bill I’m sure.

I guess what has put me in a bad mood about all this is, first of all, I cannot work out like I usually do.  Cardio?! YUCK!  Everyone knows I do very little cardio…but I am doing it just to do “something” and not use my arms.  On leg days, well there is more I can do, but I am used to doing dead lifts and weighted squats and lunges and now it’s just using body weight, which isn’t bad, but now I have to do 250 squats compared to 4×15 weighted squats!  Pain in the ass…I mean shoulder.

And not just that, it is amazing what I use my right arm for like vacuuming, mopping, washing dishes, laundry, drying my hair, walking the dogs…it’s almost impossible not to use it just getting ready for work in the morning.  The worst part, however, is not being able to paint.  I attempted to gesso (prime) a canvas and get ready to paint my next big painting and it killed my shoulder.  I tried with the left arm to no avail.  Frustration.  This is screwing up my new schedule of fitting in time to paint.

I will try again today to paint and go easy on the workout.  I have to.  I have goals I need to meet and a lousy shoulder problem cannot stop me!

New Artwork!

Blessed are the weird people, poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters and troubadours

for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.

~Jacob Nordby

Well, I finally finished a painting and what an awesome feeling it is!  There is still a couple other unfinished paintings I just had to put aside and not worry about finishing right now.  Maybe I have lost interest in them.  I am now committed to concentrating on painting or drawing what I feel at the time…thinking now about what to do next…I have a few ideas in mind.  Stay tuned…

A few people were sent progression photos of this painting and I thought I would include them for you to see the development of my painting.  Of course all artists proceed differently, but it will give you an idea of my thought process.

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Changes…

 I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.

~Andrew Wyeth

I’ve been focusing on the positive in my life; trying to keep to what is real to me.  So I’ve changed the look of my blog.  I wanted to focus more on the healthy balance of life and I will start another separate blog focusing on New Orleans.  A challenge…yes it is.  I also want to focus on my Paleo lifestyle and the positive affects it has on me.  With many parts of my life falling into place, I suddenly got my inspiration to paint once again…to paint what is real to me and what feels good at the time.  I think I was feeling I had to paint what others wanted, but art is individual and subjective…maybe you will hate the painting I am working on or maybe you will love it.  I will paint or draw a subject which pulls me in.  What I realized is that it doesn’t matter what you think, but how it makes me feel and if it makes me feel whole, then I am on the right track.  It’s the same with my blog…it’s for me as much as it is for you.  I thought my blog was scattered and indecisive, which resulted in a rut, so I’ve decided to stop trying to please with my words; just put down what I feel I want to at the time.  So, it may go from a recipe to the meaning of life, but it’s as scattered as my thoughts are sometimes and that’s okay.  I want it to be quirky and meaningful at the same time, because that is me.

Physically I feel right, mentally I feel perfect.  Now it’s time to take that feeling and express it in my art and my words here.

By the way, this is a favorite song of mine and some words have a lot of meaning for me…so please take the time to find the meaning for you also.

It’s Not Just a Diet, It’s a Lifestyle

Paleo diet, Caveman (or Cavewoman) diet…whatever you want to call it, it’s more than a diet, it’s a decision to change your life for the better.  It’s about obtaining and maintaining ultimate health…more and great sleep…forming a community…little stress…making time to play…make time for yourself…positive attitude…loving yourself…more fun…lifting heavy things and enjoying it…happiness.  It’s getting back to the basics.  Adapt to nature.  It’s about spending time with family and friends, laughing together, eating together, playing together…sharing life.

When I took on the diet part I didn’t know about anything more than taking control of my health, which really, when you take care of this main part the rest of it falls into place.  With all the research I did, I realized in order to have the best health possible I would have to put the whole picture into perspective.

Surprisingly most of the changes came naturally with the diet; hard to explain.  Even though I’ve adapted to the diet 100%, I am still working on the lifestyle…this requires more discoveries, more time and more changes I am more than willing to make.  I like this life.

  • Exercise becomes more natural.  Lift heavy things.  Take long walks (walk dogs).  Feel stronger.
  • Enjoy nature.  Listen to the night sounds.  Savor the sound of waves on a beach.  Watch sunsets and sunrises. Encounter nature alone or with others.  You will just be more aware of your surroundings.
  • Discover all the parks around you.  I know of several parks in Southeast Louisiana that I would love to visit again.  It’s peaceful.
  • Enjoy the sun and feel the benefits of natural vitamin D without coating our skin with chemicals.
  • Sleep for 8-9 hours a night because it makes us feel good, productive and necessary for good health.
  • Learn to appreciate real food and how it is made.  Discover real farmers who raise animals, vegetables, eggs and fruits in a natural way.  You will just be more thoughtful about your food and make better decisions about what you put in your body when you commit to only eating whole real food.
  • Discover new local places to get your meats like a local butcher or a farmer’s market.  Plant some vegetables or herbs.
  • Researching to know what foods make you healthy and why.  What nutrients and vitamins are contained in food you eat.  It not only gives you more knowledge for yourself, but you will be able to help others.
  • Spending time with family and the people you love.  My last trip home was more significant to me than I ever thought it would be and that is saying a lot. Laughing, playing, cooking together.  From sunsets and boating to a concert to happy hours to BBQ family gatherings to cooking together and laughing together.  Really enjoy good times.
  • Finding people with like interests with the Paleo lifestyle and forming a little community of friends to bond with.  Maybe it’s in the city or an online group.
  • Simple living.  Cut things out that have no meaning.  Throw things away that aren’t necessary.  Maybe it’s time to just live a little more basic because it is really all you need.  You will find you will appreciate what you own more than before.  It might be papers, books, Mardi Gras beads, clothes that don’t fit.  Maybe it’s people in your life that clutter your head.
  • Enjoy slow living.  Have a campfire or make a fire pit.  Walk in the rain…I do have my shrimp boots :). Have a picnic.  Go camping.  Go canoeing or kayaking.  Go fishing. Go boating to enjoy that sunset. Plant a garden. Stare up at the sky and star-gaze.  Play games.  Be silly. Throw water balloons.  Build a fort inside or outside.
  • Be creative.  Creative art, writing (hey who would have thought I would have started a blog!), photography, building things, collecting, sewing.  Make it fun.  Creating makes you happy…believe me.

You get the idea.  I still like the Paleo or Caveman lifestyle to describe it…maybe that forgotten world is really what it’s supposed to be like for us humans. We know all animals should eat, live and play in their own natural way, but that’s changed for us, but why? Sure progress is wonderful, but not if we are too sick, too busy or sad to enjoy it.  It’s a nice feeling to eventually have a stress-free, peaceful, happy life…one in which I am fulfilled on the outside and the inside.  Euphoria.  That’s what I’m striving for.  I feel I make discoveries about myself, my life and my surroundings daily.  Ever-changing.  Becoming fearless.

Love this song…it’s a little primal in sound and the only words “Don’t think about all those things you fear, just be glad to be here”.

Be Prolific, Not Perfect

“Rabbit’s clever,” said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has Brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose,” said Pooh, “that that’s why he never understands anything.”
– A. A. Milne ~ Winnie-The-Pooh

Just a thought tonight.

(And who wouldn’t want to hear a quote from Winnie the Pooh and Ghandi in the same post?!)

We do this to ourselves and mostly others convince us of this…be perfect.  Be disappointed in yourself if you are not perfect.  Wow, how messed up!  I do this to myself in my art…trying to make it perfect, but why?  Will it be worth more? Or is it just to make me feel better about myself…make it look like I tried harder, but only to myself.  When I just have to look at my painting and say Yeah, looks pretty damn good and I’m done. Sign it and it’s over.

Some are so busy trying to be perfect that they self-destruct or fail miserably.  They are so consumed with their perfection they would rather lose a relationship, lose respect or lose composure than to be seen as imperfect.

For others sometimes I see this fear they have of what “they”, will think of them.  “They” can be family, friends or people you don’t even know.  I see people judge and be judged all the time. Hell, I see it on Facebook daily…wear this…this job is better than yours…you can’t be in this type of relationship…you must believe my religion…you must vote for my guy…the “you are wrong I am right” attitude.  How pompous!  They don’t say these things because they care or really want to give guidance. This person can believe what they want, but they don’t need to impose it on others to make you perfect in their eyes. People want to tell you how to live your life; if what you do is acceptable to them.  If you allow them to run your life, first they will feel they need to control everyone else in their lives in the same manner, and second you will not be living your own life.  This person cannot tell you how to dress, what job you should have, who to vote for, what God to believe in, how much money you should make, or what relationship is perfect for you in their eyes.  You live this life to be happy…to love yourself…to love others…a self-satisfying life.  Don’t question yourself because of the intrusion of others thoughts, live your life according to your own beliefs and believe me happiness and inner peace will prevail.

We need to be creative to the best of our abilites…be productive in all that we do….live a life that completes us.  And just stop and be satisfied that we have done our best according to ourselves, be happy with what decisions we make and know we don’t have to be perfect.  We can make mistakes and still succeed knowing we were prolific and not perfect.

And yep, be happy with the work we did, sign the painting and move on.

 A “No” uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a “Yes” merely uttered to please,

or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

~Mahatma Gandhi