Foreign Emotions like Foreign Languages

You know how they say that blind people dream don’t dream in images, they dream through their other senses? If a blind person dreamed of an image, would they know how to interpret it?  When you hear a foreign language, you can’t understand it because you haven’t learned how to interpret it. When a painter walks up to the canvas, they are translating from a blind man’s dream. The feeling they possess is intangible and they bring it from gibberish to something that is hopefully comprehensible. An artist simply wants to evoke or express that unintelligible thought.

The difficulty is that many artists don’t understand that they are trying to translate something that doesn’t have a set way of being expressed. There isn’t a correct way to express happiness or love or confusion. Essentially an artist tries to replicate a feeling but cannot perfectly match it. They leave their personality and interpretation instead. It’s like a child trying to forge their parent’s signature, perhaps it looks generally the same but it’s noticeably imperfect.

However, if you learn many languages, you can understand a new language faster and more efficiently. If a painter learns how to draw, play guitar, sculpt, and dance, he will be better able to translate his emotions. Sometimes a feeling can be best expressed with a certain type of art. If I know how to write, maybe my emotion would be best expressed through words. Only knowing how to write would severely limit my expression.

On the other side, inspiration comes in a myriad of ways. As I’ve branched away from photography I’ve realized that art is very fluid. Paintings express memories in a different way than a photograph does. A song from a particular time in my life can hold more emotion than a photograph.

Why is it that we, as artists, always crave inspiration? Is it because we aren’t able to express things we don’t understand? We have these emotions but we don’t know how to show them to other people. It’s as though someone is yelling at us in a foreign language and we’re desperately trying to understand what they’re saying. We want to reply or do what they’re asking but we simply don’t understand.

Lately I feel like I’ve started learning new languages. The emotions I go through can be understood better even if I don’t know that language. I can somewhat make out what I’m feeling inside and how to transcribe it into something to share with others.

The point of this post is to say that don’t try to force inspiration. It will come and go through your life and in different ways. I don’t paint or draw but I feel emotions that could only be felt through painting. There are days when words feel like the best way to express myself. Just learn to be receptive to the world and you’ll see the elephant in the middle of the room: everything in life is inspiration and everything is an emotion. You just have to be receptive enough to take that feeling in.


P.S. The layout is changing again, so please be patient with me as everything settles down!



What do we want?

Sommersault” by Zero 7

Sometimes in life we run across things which bring great meaning into our life. We meet people who make us more more and want to be more. Maslow would write that they help a person actualize, or become the best possible version of who they could be.

This song, which I ran across last week, brings that idea to mind and reminds me of what I’m looking for. I want drive, I want passion, I want enthusiasm. I want someone who makes me desire to be more than I am.

Then again, what we seek most outside of ourselves is usually what we should be seeking most internally. If I want that drive, maybe I have to find it within myself – not depend on another person to supply it.

But what is the value of another person other than to supply these traits? Why do we go into relationships? What do we seek out of people other than physical intimacy?


Let go of the outcomes

Perhaps the most important lessons in life are to be in the present moment and to detach from the outcomes of your life. We spend so much time struggling with the flow of life that we don’t realize that usually what we struggle against is just ourselves.

We spend so much time dissolved in thought that we distract ourselves from living our lives. Without paying attention to our lives, we get swept away and lost in possibilities. We could have had that happen if we had done this, or we could become that if we did this. The truth of the matter is, usually the outcome doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter if we get the white picket fence, what matters is the journey to the picket fence. The family we build and our relationships with them. If we have a dysfunctional house, does it matter if we have a nice appearance to everyone else?

If our dream is to become rich, we may become so preoccupied with the outcome of being rich that we miss the things we want to be rich for. We may want money to go out and have fun with friends but, in the effort of getting money, we lose all of our time. We trade one thing for another.

That’s why we need to detach from the outcomes and let go of them. We can want the white picket fence without needing to have the white picket fence. We can want to be rich and find a balance between working and having free time.

Being present is just as important. What good is an adventurous life if you’re always dreaming up your next exploration? Position your sails to go in the direction you want but don’t spend all day staring out at sea to see if you’re going in the right direction. Be here and now and experience life.


Everyone Wanders

We wander back to the source, we drift away.
We follow our instincts and run away.
It seems that everyone wanders
through night and day.
Looking for something
that might set keep their spirit at bay.

I believe that everyone drifts through their life with some destination in mind but not how to get there. They see themselves as a millionaire by the age of 30 or full of travel experience. Mine is the latter of the two. I think it’s like a fundamental rule of existence; everyone must wander.

Part of that wandering for me has been the unfulfilled desire to travel the world. It’s like a thirst that I cannot quench and I’m constantly thirsty! Coming home has reminded me of how much I want t travel and why I left. It’s not negative at all, but it reminds me that there are places I want to go and things I want to do. The notes and personal items I left here all explain this perfectly.

My desire is to travel and explore. I’m not sure how to get there or why I want to travel so much but right now I’m working on quenching it. I want to explore as much as I can around here and Charleston when I get there. Today I went to the Home & Garden Expo in Minneapolis with my Dad and Sister. It was a great start but I hope to get out more! I’ll keep everyone up to date with what’s going on while I’m on vacation! Write soon!