For my friend,
You rang through the hallows of times better seen,
I felt you from the shadows I come from,
and respect the light beyond the darkness that you so fondly dream.
Some footsteps we make are footsteps we repeat again,
It is okay to make mistakes as a man,
for what beach is not made of many grains of sand?
You fear that you hurt your lover,
you feel that you hurt your friend,
but they stood by you through weep and tire,
they'll be with you til the end.
Feel the strength you have
now that you see where you have been weak,
a humble man is a great man ,
and a man that good women seek.
What is too err if not to learn from?
and isn't that why we are all here?
what are we to become?
if not to face our inner fear?
I know you feel shame and sorrow,
but with all the love in my heart, my dear friend,
remember to believe in the hope of a better you, tomorrow.
As all great things come about in the patience of time, so it seems my post regarding Life Diet come into fruition, yet it is upon an experience that brings a sense of inspiration which compels me to share with all of you what thoughts and revelations were born.
Today I shared a favorite pastime of delighting in a spot of tea with my dear friend Rachel Biggs, a masseuse and profound person. As all of our conversations tend to go, they delve deep within ourselves and experiences to share groundbreaking, self evaluating, life changing epiphanies with each other that can do no less than inspire the other for more of said spiritual growth. Today's tea we discussed my recent endeavors and how far I have come in my experience since beginning my Life Diet. While it has been the best thing I have ever done and I have found great strength in it, I have come to a point of imbalance. My struggle lately has been to figure just what exactly is imbalanced, so that I may solve the core issue.
I know that I am happy. I have fun, socialize, enjoy every moment I am alive, create, share, love others, love myself, and yet all of these wonderful things aside, I have found a part of me that seems to diminish a little more each day.
Before my Life Diet revelation this summer, I had a great routine of waking up at 7:30am and hitting the gym. I would eat well (and healthy), do some work for the business I run, then hit the town at night. Until my Life Diet, there was a sense of emptiness in all of that. Curious enough, in my transition and re-evaluation of my life and what is important to me in the Life Diet process, my work-out routine and eating healthy seemed to fall to the wayside as creating and socializing with like-minded and positive compatriots seemed to become my top priority.
While it may seem to be quite obvious, as most obvious things often take state of obvious slightly after the case of consequence, I began to noticed that even though my happiness was at an all time high, my health was not. Then the question comes into play of sustainability. What is a life for living if a life not fully nurtured?
I've written before how you are your own best friend. You were there when you were born, you'll be there when you die, you know how you like to be touched, what movies you like to watch, foods you like to eat, what fears you may have, what makes you smile, and knowing that about someone, knowing such intimate personal details about someone, gives weight and great value to that friendship. A friendship that close means you would never do anything to hurt them, in fact you would go out of your way to protect them, to help them because you want them to have the most out of their life experience.
Let me advocate this point from another angle, in that the body is a temple, a castle, a home for the soul. Ideally, one would tend to their home or place of solace with great care, respect, and devotion. (Granted, I have seen many homes that certainly lack the aforementioned, please note that I began that sentence with, 'Ideally".) Without this temple, there is no great spirit to be housed or celebrated, and in basic, you're basically dead or dying.
Let's get even deeper. When I think of the person closest to me, who I think the most highly of, I think of my brother. I hold him in such high regard that I would sacrifice anything and everything to know he is well. My brother, in his infinite wisdom, knows better and would say (in different words but something of the kind) a man who sacrifices everything has nothing, while a man who takes care of himself, provides for himself, nurtures himself, has everything to give. Which goes back to the old saying, you cannot love another until you love your self. The prolific point of that statement is often misconceived in regards to find one's mate of matrimony or spouse, when in truth it means when you love yourself, it is such an eternal fountain of love that you cannot help but have enough for everything and everyone. It means you really and truly appreciate all that you are apart of in the miracle of the life experience.
Let's go back up for air. To harmonize a balance in your life, you must love yourself. In order to sustain that you must nurture that love by taking great care of the body that gets you around on the day to day. That means exercising, working out, or some sort of physical activity (regularly), in addition to eating right and eating well. It also means being responsible for yourself and your actions. It means not putting yourself in situations that might compromise your ability to have as many doors open to explore the next day as you did today, if not more. Tomorrow or maybe even 10 years from now, you may want something you never knew you wanted, and again, as obvious as it may seem, take care and be wise to allow yourself as much of a chance to be able to have that want and provide for it when the day comes. Your best friend will look out for you, i'm sure of it. That's what they're there for.
Until next time, keep up the great work in exploring yourself and your place in the universe. You're doing wonderful at it.
Enter the Theater of the Womb. Day two of Skyin with me on paintbrush, Justin James on drums, and special guest Jesse Hahn. The video below is approximately 30 minutes but if you can make it all the way through it, you can witness how our magic takes place, unfolds, and blossoms into something tangible and beautiful.
This piece was particularly hard to make for strange reasons that can only be described with feelings of which there are no words to describe, yet upon its creation, its meaning came to light and made perfect sense, thus its name, Theater of the Womb.
A year following my showcasing at what used to be a venue on Rainey Street in Austin, Tx, I finally met the son of Danny Huhn. Danny happened to be in town from Germany visiting the owner of White House, the venue I chose to showcase at for my winter collection in 2013. We met there on the porch over a cigarette and clicked in that way like minded friends do. She makes frequent trips here for various reasons and this time we were able to meet again, her son Jesse along for the visit. Jesse Hahn is a delightfully talented 16 year old pianist, who lives and breathes his art. One of the rare youth of his age who seems to have his mind in the right place.
Justin and I, have on a rare occasion, brought someone else in on our Skyin art form, which I explain as an experimental art form where painting and music are created through conversations with one another. It is always interesting to subject ourselves to the sounds of other musicians, just as old friends might let a stranger take part in their usual conversation. It was especially exciting in that this musician came from an entirely different country. Danny took the liberty of shooting a few clips with her smartphone, you can see one below.
'We Grow Together' was a piece I created a few weeks ago when I first started work with Justin James at his drum studio. We began to explore something neither of us an artists had done, seen, or even heard of before.
While he played his drumset, or keyboard ( sometimes at the same time ), the music fueled my paintings, and in perfect exchange, what I was painting fueled what he played. Then we discovered there could be a language between sound and color. In our discovery of both science and art, we began to have conversations through our art forms, with one another.
We gave it the name, 'Skyin'. It's levels beyond the technical showboating of Jazz, it goes beyond modern art abstractions, it's a collaboration of both music and painting, both gaining from one another, the product produced is the energy between the two while it's being created, not necessarily the music recorded for later listening or the painting when finished.
'We Grow Together' was painted in approximately 13 minutes, (the time lapse video shown below cuts your watching time down to 3 or 4 minutes, for your convenience) and is a wonderful example of how when we begin Skyin, there is no intent or idea initially, its just feeling what's out there, feeling the universe, going with it, embracing it, growing with it, acknowledging your gift from the universe and giving thanks, showing appreciation by using your gift in wonderful effortless gratitude. When you really feel thankful for how beautiful life is and how amazing it is that we're here to even feel all, creating has no rules, no boundaries, it's just you and the expression of creation.
When I look at what I created with the musical collaboration of Justin James in this painting, it depicts the essence of the individual's relationship with the universe and the grounded bond between the two and how they grow as one through that tie.
More vids, art, music, and discoveries to come.
Art is the reason for every moment. Live that.
There are a few people who didn't go to ACL. I personally have never been. I'm just not interested in it and never have been. I would rather water and nourish a seedling than join a piss parade on plastic trees. Instead of attending the tinkerbot fanfare, I heard Danny was performing at an amazing alternative event. Ditch The Fest fest, which for $5, you can see something like 20 bands from 4pm though 2am at Scoot Inn.
That's an awesome deal if you're breathing or interested in basically anything at all. Did I mention it only cost $5?
Most of the line up consists of the next in line to be Gary Clark Jr famous. (Remember when he made a clean sweep at the Austin Music Awards? What a boss.) My point here is, if you get a chance to see any of these folks perform before they get super famous, its a story you can tell all the young people who are cool in the future and listen to older music, just like the amazing phenomena of when a young person jams Led Zeppelin or Miles Davis, about how you got to see them, throw a drink back with them, and see all that magical artistness that beams like lightning bolts from their eyes.
I met Danny over the summer at my dear friend Sheakaz's ( Kaz, for short ) birthday party. Every year, Kaz throws his own little KazFest, where he has a couple of bands he likes perform in his living room and all of close friends get together and do all that 'man we've been friends for so long it's awesome' good time kinda party stuff. Kaz invited Danny to come play, Danny came and blew us all away. I'll post that video some other time. At any rate, It was then that I became Dannyfan.
So here I am on a Saturday night and we all meet up at Scoot Inn to catch his Ditch The Fest fest performance and one song in, it starts to rain. Not a sprinkle, but a straight up downpour. You want to see dedication? I turned around and saw loyalty like no other. Fans with open arms embracing the rain, cheering for Danny to play, play, play! It was a magical moment. Watch him perform and you'd swear he was born with a guitar in his hand and a song in his voice. He watches his audience, as he sings, as he plays, his eyes are watching everything, his mind thinking, wondering, pondering all kinds of things. He feels his audience, hears their hearts and connects with them on such a deep level, with a sound that you can't help but move to. Finishing up a 30 minute set, he closed covering a soul riveting rendition of Tool's Aenima. We were dancing up and down in the rain while he screamed, 'Learn to swim, learn to swim!'. It was epic.
Here is his website. Buy his new album.
This video is absolute shit quality and doesn't do him justice, but if you're into his sound, you won't mind.
PS. Wish you were there.
I had a pupil of mine stop by for a session yesterday and we went over the points highlighted in my Art of Happiness article from several months ago. One of the parts he had difficulty with was loving himself. I felt, as I aim to progress sharing the concept of a Life Diet with all of you, that this is one of the key elements to being successful in the endeavor.
It's interesting to me that it could be such a difficult thing to love oneself. We all grow up in contrasting social developments and yet in them, we have one common veil that blinds us all. The only real way to grow as a spiritual being is to think and feel as the soul that you are. We must separate yourself from the idea of being a mere animal foxtrotting about with a material purpose and obligation to the benefit of others before ourselves. I realize that last part sounds a bit bold, but as a dear friend told me once upon an epiphany, "The best way to help others is to help yourself."
Let's dive into the construct of the veil that blinds us. There are two kinds of paradigms that should be noted first.
1. Those who attempt to desperately control their reality, which is an impossibility, thus futile and a negative.
2. Those who create their reality, which is encumbered by endless possibility, a positive.
The veil that blinds us in the trial of identity itself. When we are born we know only the love of our maker and beyond that, there is a constant battle of people vying for identifying us as extensions of their own ego.
Imagine being a guest in a new country. You don't know the language and everyone is dressed in outfits you've never seen before. They have cultural traditions that make no sense at all. All of them want you to be like them, wear their outfits, speak their tongue, and take part in the activities that make them feel as though they are one with something. That is you the moment you are born.
The best thing to do, as difficult as it is and insane to comprehend at first is to try to realize just how much you do not know, for example, you know just as much about what is going on inside of you as you do the strange and miraculous world around you.
The body is a machine. The mind is a computer. The soul is the operator. That was the hard part, the rest is easy. First of all, you have to disassociate the labels of the constructs in your memory data storage in order to begin the process of self-ratification, then, re-identify those pre-existing constructs with labels you identify with as your own.
Think back to when you saw your first circle. If this is difficult, fast forward to the first time someone identified that object as a circle. This person is responsible for defining how you think to this day.
Disassociate this memory. Forget that person and their label for that object. Call it whatever you wish, you may even call it a circle, but it is your label now, your construct.
Repeat this step for every single construct in your data core. Fundamental objects are like elements, they are constructs for complex real time parameters, just as elements are used to create complex compounds.
Unraveling this a bit further, understand what it means that your mind is a computer. It utilizes hardware, software, electricity, etc. When you disassociate your pre-existing labels you are free to see your mind at work and how every moment you are associating, referencing, labeling, filing, and documenting the world around you.
The goal now, is to isolate the various programs at work, they will be running simultaneously or triggered after certain circumstances. Isolate, identify, prioritize and execute new commands.
Take a moment now to soak all of that in. The universe doesn't understand labels. It isn't in its language. All it knows is beauty because the universe is a constant explosion of perfect moments becoming new perfect moments becoming new perfect moments becoming new perfect moments, etc.
Self love is accepting that you are another perfect moment of the universe, you are the universe, just as your nose is you, your toes are you, your eyes are you, your atoms are you, all of those are part of the universe. When you step in front of a mirror, pass by a window, or look over the side of a boat into ununscathed waters and to see your reflection, all you should see is the beauty of the universe at work.
When you see that, tell me, what's not to love?
Recently, in my pursuit of living my life through the steps I laid out in my earlier post, 'Art of Happiness', I have come to find that it can go so much deeper than merely the steps listed. Much like when you are in a dream and lock on to something, focusing on it, it doesn't ever stay that same construct you originally saw, it sort of evolves in slow motion, only to reiterate how everything around us in a constant state of change. All that aside, I'd like to introduce everyone to a philosophy and lifestyle remedy I have coined as, 'Life Diet'.
This is a powerful tool. It's almost so powerful that it's not for just anybody. It takes a serious amount of conviction and living with great intent. It means being able to know what is right for you (not the same as what society or anybody else dictates as to what is right for you) and being able to focus on positive things, people, and circumstances. What you may read in this post may not sit right with you, it may not be something you feel comfortable doing, but for people in your shoes there are wonderful institutions with rules you can follow to make you feel like you're accomplishing something with your existence put in place such as church, AA, and any other groups that harbor a secular identity and mantra to keep exclusivity appeal in order to fund infrastructure and administration costs. Those institutions are not bad things, and you're not bad for taking part in, supporting, or enjoying your time spent there. They're great for people who want something more out of life but aren't really sure what or where it is. Fortunately, I'm writing down, expressing into words, as clear and concise as I possibly can so that 1. I can better understand the journey I am on of taking my life experience to a new level and 2. Inspiring any one of you to become more than what you are in all your endeavors.
What is a Life Diet?
A Life Diet is much like a nutritional diet. While nutrition is a very important part of a good Life Diet, it is certainly not the only aspect. A Life Diet is basically the process of trimming out all or as many negative influences from your life as possible in order to maintain a positive state of progression and live the life that was originally meant for you. It is a multiple phase process that involves a great deal of courage in facing the unknown, yet when one realizes that we are always facing the unknown, it is the embracing it that makes us strong, and this is the essence of what a Life Diet can do for you. It allows you to allow yourself to be fully engaged in your life experience. Over the next few blog posts I will share in depth what you can do to implement this incredible purging process into your life and you will be forever transformed into the you that you have always dreamed that you could be.
The summer was unlike any other and I embraced every moment I could to rise above everything I ever was so that I might become something more. In my adventures I lost friends, gained friends, closed doors, opened doors, and reflecting upon all of that it is clear to see that those experiences were hardly just a summer thing but an ongoing facet of our life experience that one must learn to adapt to.
For a long time I put my love for painting down to the wayside, giving myself to other parts of life that would be offered and when I did, while much of it was entertaining, I found a ever present feeling of emptiness in my heart. Recently, in my last few days, I have spent time with my good friend Justin James Hanrahan, an Austin musician, in his drum studio experimenting with a new way to create art. While he practices on his drum set and occasionally on keyboard, I work on a new painting. It's an incredible experience in that the music fuels my creativity almost dictating the next direction the painting might go. It is such a high, in that moment, where everything else in the world disappears and i'm both lost and found in an amazing grace of pure creation.
It does help that I found my muse. I never really had one before. Many people ask me what my inspiration has been for my work. For years I never really had any one thing that inspired me other than just how I saw the world, my place in it, expressing my perspective of that place, and perhaps characters along the way. Suddenly with a muse and this wonderful new way to paint, I feel so excited and alive, like never before. I feel this sort of I dont care about anything else but getting out of my heart what is in it and onto canvas. The feeling is relentless and I could do it all day, everyday, forever on end.
Its hard to describe what its like to have a muse and what that means to an artist. It's kind of like being alive tens upon thousands of years ago, hungry, lost, and cold, and suddenly finding a campfire with food prepared and a nice place to rest one's head after years of struggle. There is this sort of curious feeling with having this experience that one does not see or feel at first. The fire is so warm and inviting, the food tastes so good and the bedding is as if a cloud had been hunted down from the sky to be laid upon. These wonderful things are so dearly cherished as they have never been seen before and only dreamed of, and even in those dreams it were only concepts of desire. Through the night as the stars dance above, the food has been eaten, the fire is not being fueled and the cold is creeping in. What is rest then? Suddenly, an overwhelming feeling washes over and one looks about for kindling and fuel to add to the fire, longing for it s enchanting warmth to continue on. This could go on for ever, assuming there were enough vegetation and/or animals to resource for food to cook, and so on, yet with the passing days as the forest the kindly home was made in has slowly become something of an open field, and one looks upon the fire seeing it is no longer the dream that was dreamed of, but a fire that has become one's own. It is no longer the same, it has become changed, tainted, and with that, the entire forest poisoned with an impossible dream. There is nothing left to do when there are no more trees to cut down, no more food to eat, and the fire which was once so surreal and full of life becomes little more than a memory of a dream that once was. There is little to do but pick yourself up and go on, see what else there is that could be out there.
What I take away from that is there is so much beauty in the world. There was beauty in the travelers struggle, there was beauty in the oasis that was found, there was beauty in the lesson learned, and finally there is beauty in the possibility that despite potential hardship more dreams could be seen, had, and enjoyed. While there will never be a home like the first one found, that is no reason to never leave its resting ashes in search of what dreams may come. Its indeed a sign that dreams are more in the waiting.
Somehow, I've been so lucky to stumble upon this warm, kind, and gentle little campsite and now that I've laid my head down with tummy full, I dream it will always be so. The flames whisper in cooing echoes to me that the place I call home is the lucky one, for whom else would cherish it so? I never stopped to think that this place was made by someone else, perhaps for someone else, or destined by the universe for another, yet here I am in love with the moment as if it were all my own.
How I love to create... what greater joy than to do so?