17/365 End of the Road

The original intention behind starting another 365 project was to produce content regularly. There were no rules for the project. The idea was to have a new piece of work displayed daily. Sometimes that meant posting a picture, other days it was a few paragraphs of writing.

This kind of project was not a new feat. In 2011, and again in 2014, I completed separate 365 projects. The first focused on photography while the second was purely writing. The purpose of each was to learn a new skill. I wanted to effectively communicate myself through images and text.

The “Page” project (this 365) was dedicate toward producing new content without boundaries. If I felt like writing 5,000 words, great. Some days only 10 words came out. I wanted the creativity to be realistic because it ebbs and flows at different rates.

What I’ve realized is that I continuous produce art. I fill notebooks and take personal pictures regularly. My communication style ranges from painting to videography. Art isn’t something I create occasionally, it’s constant. I don’t need a 365 project to produce work regularly.

What’s left is how willing I am to share unprocessed work. It takes months to digest certain emotions. Everyday I may create something new but that doesn’t mean it’s worth displaying. Not that it’s worthless but rather it’s meaningless if it doesn’t effectively communicate the emotion.

I’m going through a lot currently. Plans about moving are starting to be made, friends I’ve had are leaving, and I’m left to digest it all. Yes I produce art but I don’t want to share it all. It’s jumbled and jagged. You don’t play with broken glass and the work I’ve created lately isn’t pretty.

This is, I guess, an official end to this 365 project. I will continue to produce work and release it on this site as well as Everyone Wanders and The Anatomy of a Dreamer – but it will not be regular. Eventually this may change but now I need a break. I need to dig deep and work on the difficult art. The kind that takes more than one day or a few hours to create.

Have a wonderful night/day/morning wherever you are! I’ll see you when I see you.

We’re too Quixotic

If nothing stays the same in life, why do we believe or hope that things will remain the same? We know that we will grow older and that one day our parents will pass. Friends we had in high school will grow up and move away. Still we expect that our friends will always be there and we’ll be young forever.

Why not abandon the idea that we know what’s going to happen next? Treat every moment like it’s your last. When you walk into a room, know that it may be the last time you step foot through those doors. Appreciate the experiences you have. Inevitably there will be a time when you will never return. There will be a last time. Take a moment to really experience what you have now.

Sometimes our expectations ruin what could be great experiences. When you hug your friend, you expect that it will happen again in the future. When you kiss your lover at the end of the day, you believe that it will happen again and again. But one day it won’t. You’ll hug your friend goodbye and that will be it. You’ll have a last kiss with your lover, but we don’t know when it will be. It’s impossible to know.

Appreciate what you have while you have it. That means really let that hug sink in. Kiss deeply and passionately. Listen to your coworkers even if it’s been a long day, you don’t know if you’ll have the chance again. You don’t know if you’ll walk into this room again. Everything ends. Love while you can.


Carrying the Past

In the digital age, do we really let go of the past? We can look back at text messages from old relationships and read statuses on how we were doing at any given time. We can keep in contact with people from our high school years and retain contacts indefinitely. People who we would have forgotten still stay on our NewFeed and ‘like’ our posts.

Is this for the best? By retaining contacts, are we carrying too much of the past? Generations before us were forced to move on. If your best friend moved away, you’d lose contact. Then you’d have to meet new people and make more friends. I wonder if social media makes us more social or less social.

When I have kids, will they be able to look back at my entire lifetime through the internet? Could they see what music I listen to on last.fm or see this blog? Would they see the posts I made at 4am and the useless debates I’ve had on YouTube?

My parents had to keep physical photographs if they wanted to look back. How about now when we can take thousands of pictures and share them online, what will happen to the memory when we can see images from every event?

We carry the past with us. Our interactions are changing and we’re not letting go. People, memories, our history, is all being kept alive. It’s a book that you can open and read. It’s a place that you can go. You’ve checked into this bar on Google+ before, how many times will you come here in your lifetime? What are we becoming because of social media?


Almost Done

It’s hard for me to believe that in exactly one month, I’ll have finished the last post for this 365 project. While I am excited to complete it, I’m saddened that this year is already drawing to a close. One year ago I was living in Texas and going to school. Now I’m working a full time job and living on the other side of the country.

When this project comes to a close, I look forward to writing more in-depth posts and boosting the quality of my writing. There are so many limitations with only having 24 hours to write a post. You can’t contemplate what you’ve written or edit it over a few days. It’s constantly creating a product, whether bad or good. I’m just excited to spend more time creating.

A few of the posts that I’ve started, that will be published mid-December, are about trips I’ve gone on over the years. I want to write more about this year in retrospect and set new goals for myself. I completed my NOCNOM/Fitness Challenge, I’ve checked a few other things off my list. Now I can move on to bigger posts.

All I can say is stay tuned. There’s only 27 days left until this challenge is over and I’m excited for what lies ahead.


Oct. 19/ Forgive Me

Nights like tonight I can’t sleep. I’m haunted at the last year and I can’t get it out of my head. I’m forced to relive moment by moment what happened. It starts with an younger version of me swimming in a pool everyday. I feel all of the last year in the pinhead of a needle. There isn’t room to breathe it all in because there’s so much that’s happened. I can’t refine it into single pieces. It’s all of it – at once. This insanity ensues and I find myself holding my knees in my bed and gasping for breath often. I can’t contain it, it’s too much.

One day it starts, and I’m living some part of the year. I can’t start there, it’s not the beginning, so it rewinds even further… back to the pool. The nausea of driving to the recruiter in the mall. Failing Broadcast journalism. Driving to Milwaukee and meeting with Greg for the first time in years. Walking around the mall with him. There isn’t a way to filter the details from the overall message. I feel the details and I can’t hold them all. There’s only so much mental room. It’s like I don’t have enough RAM and the memories lags.

Meeting Blake, relaxing with Caleb at Basic, Keesler, and Sheppard. The feeling of the October wind in Texas. It’s too much, god it’s too much. Sobbing at the pet fair in Biloxi. Walking at the ocean. Meeting others. Moving. I’m holding all the details and at a loss. I’m trying to contemplate the entire ocean, every crest and wave break. Each drop and the darkest depths. I feel its motion inside me and I’m entranced. There is too much to hold onto and not enough to let go of.

Let go

One of the things I struggle with, and I think many of us struggle with this, is trying to find ground. When we have situations that discomfort us, we resort to certain things. Stereotypically, women love chocolate after break-ups. That’s a ground. When someone dies, a ground may be looking at photographs of them.

As I’ve been reading further into Buddhism, I’m finding that a huge part of our suffering as humans comes from this grip towards a ground. We try to find solace in materials things or memories in our heads. The truth is, there is no ground. There’s no point of absolute stability that you can stand on.

By accepting that there is no ground, or replacement for what we’ve lost, we can move on to to the next stage of our being. We can accept what is.

This is my struggle right now – I search for a ground and I’m tired of trying to find peace. I’m tired of trying to find solace. I place my ground as producing art, driving my car pointless around, and, mostly, by giving time. I think that if I reach for time and think everything will be better in a few years, I don’t have to deal with what is happening now. I find comfort knowing parts of my life will end. That’s a ground that I struggle with.

Realize that there are no true grounds in life. A ground is a replacement for what truly is in front of you. It’s the excuse to not accept what is in your life. Things are hard, trust me I know, but things are much easier once you accept them. Stop trying to hold onto everything.


The End of Vlog Daily

Lately in my life I’ve chosen to have many aspirations and projects that bring me great satisfaction. Creating is a huge part of my life and expression will always be at the forefront of it. However, I’ve stretched myself too thin and the work versus satisfaction scale is unevenly spread.

For the last 122 days, I’ve sat down on my computer every night and wrote at least 100 words for this blog. Today is the 1/3 mark of the 365 day project. It’s immensely satisfying but it also takes up a lot of my time and thought. Adding in vlogging daily has been stressful because it requires more time to edit and upload. Officially I’m only 7/14 days into the vlog project but I’m choosing to dismiss the project. I don’t have the time or energy in the day to be vlogging every single night right now. In the future, maybe it will be possible, but not right now.

There’s a huge debate on quantity versus quality. Should you produce more content or better content? When I start a project like the 365 project, I’m almost always sided on quantity. Producing work is very important for learning skills. By completing a huge project like this, you also have a huge body to work from in the future.

On the other side, blogging daily has significantly reduced the quality of my thoughts in each posting. Some of the best things I’ve written have been thought out over at least 5 hours. I can barely put 20 minutes in if I’m writing daily and I feel like this brings my work down.

It’s a difficult debate because I love seeing huge portfolios or YouTube channels and being able to go through them endlessly. But I also have a great appreciation for the artist who creates a few good paintings.

For now I’m going to reduce the workload of vlogging and start producing a video weekly. This will give me time to think through my ideas. Which, in turn, will increase the quality of each video. Maybe I’ll shift it to biweekly later.

Right now though – I have a bookshelf full of books that are collecting dust. I need to tear into them and ingest some media.

Before you go, which do you think is better; quantity or quality?


Become Intimate with Your Fears

Lately I’ve been reading a lot from “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chodron. It’s a rather small book that seems almost too small to be significant. The book almost feels like it’s an older novel in size. This contrasts with how big the ideas are inside.

Pema came to my life when I needed her the most; amid the mental crisis of moving to a new place and hitting the restart button on most of my routines. There is excitement in going to a new place, but, for me, there is also the fear that I may not like what I’m stuck with.

When I was flying from Minneapolis to Charleston, I began reading. The way that everything is explained goes much more than typical Eastern philosophy. Sometimes you get those books where you have to interpret what the author is try to say because they don’t have English grammar down. Pema doesn’t have that problem at all! All of her examples are totally applicable too!

Basically “When Things Fall Apart” is a self-explaining name. The book is about crisis and when we react to those crisis rather than respond. Inside, Pema explains how fear is something that shows you that you’re alive and progressing. It’s something to become intimate with and understand.

Part of my struggle, and what I believe a lot of other people face, is that when we face the unknown, many of us become subdued. We climb into our shells and retract from the world. Pema explains that through fear, we can realize a lot about ourselves. We can look and see what we are attached to. We can see that we are attached to much more than we think.

Over time, we can release this fear of losing what we think we have, and we can accept fear as an emotion. So much of what we fear is illogical or creates unnecessary suffering for us. By paying attention to our fears and our worries, we can move past them.

Each time I’ve gone somewhere new in the last year (I’ve moved 4 times around the country), I’ve been afraid of the unknown. When I’m about to move, I become gloomy and act as if everything around me is coming to an end. Especially when I moved to north Texas. This fear destroyed the pleasure of getting to know a new place, and enjoying my last days in Mississippi with my friends.

By realizing this is cyclical, I can become intimate with that fear. Realizing that growth doesn’t happen without change. Fear and worrying go hand in hand; by worrying about moving and leaving things behind, I fear what I will experience in the new place. By fearing what I will experience, I worry about things that may never happen.

The silly thing is that fear is of itself. Let me explain. Fearing fear is another great fear. We realize that we are afraid and it amplifies itself. That fear compounds and becomes much more simply because we have a bad relationship with fear. We are afraid of being afraid.

That is exactly what “When Things Fall Apart” is about. Changing that, and realizing that fear is nothing to be afraid of. The cycle of fear is becoming afraid of something, then becoming more afraid because you are afraid.

Become intimate with your fear and when you are afraid, acknowledge it. Realize that you fear something and accept it. Don’t try and fight it or reject it. Simply think about the feeling of being afraid and why you are afraid. Your fear may not dissolve but you will stop being afraid of being afraid. Learn to be intimate with your fears!


Striking Balance

And in the end, all the suffering we inflict will be equivalent to the suffering we incur.

With running the risk of sounding like a preacher, I think that everything evens out in the end. All the pain and discomfort we strike on one another, shall be the same amount as the suffering we experience. It is as if you are striking yourself when you strike another.

On the other side, all the good you bring into this world shall also be returned. Every kindness you bring about for a stranger, shall be brought onto you.

So then I pose this question; are you birthing kindness to all those around you or are you bringing suffering into this world?