Late Night Rambles 

What the fuck am I so afraid of? Every person has a story, a history, a future and the power to act. Every day brings with it millions of opportunities for life to go one way or the other. It’s all about choices we make and the convuluted act of just going for it. 

We (maybe I should say I, but a collective make it easier to swallow) want to do something. Then, we spend so many days, months and years talking about it instead of acting. What is with human nature that makes us this way? We all know that life is finite, yet we procrastinate carelessly until it’s too late. Only then do some of us wake up and wish we could’ve done it all differently. 
Not me. Not anymore. 

I am going for it. I only have small inklings of what it is, but I will know when I’ve done it. I can feel that is the truth. I’m trusting intuition, finally. 

I am going to explore and do things I’ve never done and see what I come back with, or without. Mind games and tricks can put illusionary limits on capabilities. I am learning to quiet those unneeded thoughts. There’s a whole lot of brain power that I won’t allow to be left unused and potential lingering that needs to be ignited. 
T-3 days until takeoff. 

Things to Realize, Sooner than Later

  1.  It doesn’t matter your title or the company you work for, what matters is the work you do, day in and day out. Love it. If you don’t, leave it and find what you want to do. Then, do it. (*obviously, you have to have finances in order for this to work)
  2. There’s no such thing as “free time.” All time is the same. We get 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and so on. Only you can choose what you do with it.
  3. Possessions don’t make you happy. Relationships and experience are what really matter in life. You can buy things and realize that after a few hours or days, the momentary excitement is gone. You can go on a trip and realize that years later, the memory will still make you smile.
  4. Living too much in the future makes today more stressful than it has to be. Find a balance between short/long-term goals and your current situation. Do what you can today to reach those goals, but don’t live in the stress of what’s unknown.
  5. Back to number 4, you can’t really plan things out. Life is variable moment by moment. Be open to it.
  6. You need to love and accept yourself in order to love another fully, unapologetically, and healthily. If you don’t, all the flaws and holes you have will be projected onto them. You can’t expect someone to fill you up and do that work for you.
  7. Expectations breed a lot of disappointment and unnecessary arguments. Have standards, yes. But, expectations, no. No one deserves anything, except to be treated respectfully.
  8. Communicate. Over-communicate if you have to. People don’t read minds, and you shouldn’t expect them to. If there’s something you want, speak up. If there’s something that bothers you, talk it out before it turns into anger.
  9. Holding on to anger only hurts yourself. The other person is going to live their life whether you’re filled with fire or not. Go on and do the same. Let go.
  10. Competition is important, but you should be most competitive with yourself. Be better than you were yesterday. Build other people up while you make yourself better. Don’t tear someone else down to protect your ego- that’s just going to hurt yourself and keep you from leveling up.

Designing Your Life

Imagine that you’re given an empty room of any size in any kind of house. Your first thoughts will likely be- how to fill it with the things you need and how to decorate it so that it is aesthetically pleasing to both yourself and visitors.

Much like being given an empty room to fill, we are born into the world with untouched souls. They are pure and open for new experiences, teachings, downfalls, growth and meaning. In looking at life as a finite room, it gives the perspective that it is both open to interpretation and design, but also confined by the structures we’re born into, in this metaphor, the walls. Walls like race, arguably sex, and family are walls that as foundations stand without our creative touch and input. As much as we can design our lives the way we want to, we are categorized inside constructs and groups, the way that furniture must be measured to fit within a space. This is not to be seen as negative or limiting, but rather as a filter for how we come to see the world and decorate our lives.

Fortunately, we are the architects of our soul – we decide how we fill our time, who we interact with, and what kind of furniture we will allow to permanently remain within our space. This free will ushers in seemingly interminable choices and sometimes tough decisions that will shape who we become, to both ourselves and to the world.

The beauty in the design of life is that it’s malleable. While one choice leads down a path to a new intersection, your mind is always changing as experiences and moments move, shaping who you are. Therefore, when you arrive at the next crossroads, you have more experience to make the next decision- a ripple effect not a domino effect because ripples expand, while dominos fall.

Just like furnishing a room, tastes will change over time. While you decide to keep some key pieces (values), you will likely enhance or recreate the details surrounding those values with new choices (lifestyle).

Each phase of living in your room offers new function and informs new meaning. Nothing is permanent, and that is the essence of finding beauty in your design for it is all fleeting.

 

 

An Interpretation: Mark Tansey’s Achilles and the Tortoise & Forward Retreat

Tansey  tansey_forward_lg

Achilles and the Tortoise (1986) and Forward Retreat (1949)

A monochromatic blue, gargantuan canvas immediately captures my eye. In it, a rocket juxtaposed, yet racing ahead of a stoic pine tree, piques my interest as I assign meaning to it based on current events and personal feelings. At the Broad Museum, Mark Tansey’s Achilles and the Tortoise is a fascinating painting that sits adjacent to his Forward Retreat- both of which are simple, yet complex in their design.

The first includes portraits of famous people, including Princess Diana and Albert Einstein. While the foreground depicts Diana helping plant a tree with onlooking spectators, the background has a crowd of people with binoculars, watching a rocket blast into the sky. A man with a binocular stealthily watches the tree-planting ceremony, while another looks into the background at the rocket, shooting rapidly and growing taller. Directly parallel to the rocket stands a thin and long tree. Although the rocket is obviously static on the canvas, it still gives off a feeling of intense and rapid movement, clouded in white smoke that pops out against the beautiful blue backdrop. In juxtaposition to the darker tree, the smoke’s path resembles the tree to its right in its similar shape.

My interpretation is that while human development and technology race into the future, reaching figurative and literal heights that are unprecedented, nature has already been where people cannot go. The tree, as a representation of nature, stands tall, and without much attention, does the same thing that the rocket is doing (growing into the sky) with less effort and little attention. People are planting a new tree in the front of the painting with celebratory champagne, representing the human desire to create and our own celebration of our accomplishments.

However, while we can put time and effort into growing anything, from ideas to trees, we have certain limitations beyond our control. On the other hand, nature is free and will continue to exist even after we, as humans, die. Its relative immortality gives it power and beauty, and while the tree is simple compared to the other objects in the painting, it still garners so much of the viewer’s attention, much like nature does in the “real” world.

Although people stand in intense interest, staring with binoculars at the rocket blasting into space, there is one man who is facing the viewer of the painting, looking at the tree being planted instead. Perhaps, this shows that nature is more outstanding than anything humans can make on their own.

Additionally, the rocket can symbolize a tool of modern warfare and human application of the laws of space, time, and motion for their own greed and desires. Both the rocket and tree are powerful and although narrow, take up the most space on the canvas, showcasing that war and nature are potent forces to be reckoned with.

On the wall adjacent to this painting hangs a monochromatic red canvas by Tansey entitled Forward Retreat. In it, there is a pond with broken artifacts of art floating in the water and on the shore. Below it, men in military garb sit, riding backwards on horses, all of which are painted upside down. As they look off into the future, they are actually moving backwards. I think that the broken vases and pieces of history on the shore represent culture and the arts.

Although humankind believes warfare and military action can propel them into the future as they gain more “power”, the truth is that the destruction of war truly decelerates progression as it destroys the things that really move humans, namely art and culture. The title in itself is paradoxical, but it adequately describes the history of war. While we think we are moving forward, we are actually retreating and losing a sense of human nature in the process. While we aim to create and grow, we use violence and military action to quell any group of people or ideas that seemingly threaten the standing power, even when they have the potential to improve the status quo.

While both paintings are strikingly different in color and content, they both represent an overarching theme of art, culture, technology, human progress and war, even if only to my mind’s eye.

For Tupac

Its thorns got heavy

pushing through the cracks

it thought it so much easier

to die or turn back

squeezing through this concrete

in order to grow

when no one waters me

I’ve got no home

but maybe through the darkness

there will shine a brighter day

I will be the rose that grew

from

concrete

I will emerge with

real eyes on me

as I realize my dream

Post EuroTrip Reflections

10477384_10154465607760523_8990817218130159840_n

After traveling around Italy, France, and Spain for the past month, I have truly grown as a person. There’s a quote that says, “Travel is the only thing you buy, that makes you richer.” I whole heartedly believe in that statement. I’ve always been firm on believing that money does not make you happy. Granted, it’s needed to live and survive/do what you’d like to do, but it’s definitely not the end all be all in life. America has this way about it that’s based on this fictitious “American dream.” Over the years, this so-called “dream” has just become a euphemism to say, “get rich or die trying.” Ironically, I’m not BUYING it. Since America was born without a real cultural identity, it grew out of a staggering amount of tragedy and a false sense of superiority. So, we have created a society that values cars, clothes, and status symbols over a life filled with community, love, care, and kindness. Of course, these same pervasive values are seen in European culture to an extent, but as I was walking around the beautiful cobblestone streets, I felt a sense of history, culture, art, and community. People sit at cafes for hours conversing with one another, eating slowly, and enjoying their conversations. I am really not trying to romanticize this reality, but rather make it clear that there is a stark difference when crossing the ocean. Cell phones and tablets have become appendages, text messaging has replaced verbal communication, and eye contact is something that children almost seem to fear nowadays in California. I say California because I haven’t been to all the states, but of all the states that I have been to in America, this epidemic is real and exponentially growing.

Nonetheless, my month abroad has taught me many valuable lessons. I truly do believe that there’s no better way to learn about life, history,culture, art, and people than to venture outside of your borders, both literally and figuratively. Putting down my phone for longer than I have for a while and being away from a computer allows for the time to experience moments and emotions in a different way. There are certain very important things in life, many of which are realized by seeing different parts of the world and being entirely present. The journey has contributed to the immense gratitude I feel to have what I have. I am not talking about the tangible objects in my possession, but rather, I am just thankful to be able to see, touch, taste, feel, hear. The opportunities I’ve worked for, including: getting an education, traveling outside of America, and meeting people along my path have been imperative in shaping the person I am today and the person I am becoming. I know that I have a purpose, and there’s something out there waiting for me to be able to give back and make a difference. Everyone that crosses our path gives meaning to our life and teaches us a lesson. This past month has probably been the best and most liberating month of my life. There’s an art in being able to decide what to take seriously and what to forget about. There’s beauty in understanding that you are a very small piece of a large, moving puzzle. And, there’s peace in realizing that sometimes the best way to grow is to let go of wanting to be in control, and instead following what feels right at the time, in the present moment without any worry about the future.