Filled with Feelings

Back on day 36 (January 6th, 2014) , I wrote a draft. I never published what I wrote because I didn’t think it would contribute to my blog.

“I feel lied to, charred, cheated, lost, broken, cowardly, burnt, angry, incomplete, injured, isolated, lonely, invisible, nervous, addicted, poisoned, oblivious, regretful, sore, confused, blind, black, gone, frozen, halted, tricked, unloved, cold, darkened, alone, defunct, useless, unintelligent, “fine”, helpless, dead, unhappy, wilted, drown, choked, drunk, depressed.

Right now I don’t want to talk to anyone. There’s a tornado inside myself and I’ve been avoiding it for the last two months. A conflict that I’ve ignored but it needs addressed. It’s two clashing opposites that are damn near evenly matched. I want this to be resolved and I keep looking for other people to solve it. To give me answers that they can’t answer for someone else. I have to make decisions right now and I can’t ask anyone for assistance from anyone. I have to sit with myself and ask the questions to myself

After 254 days I feel like I can look back and add on to what I was saying. Perhaps in response to how I was feeling back then. To gives some context, I moved from Minnesota to Texas (May-July), then Texas to Mississippi (August-October), then Texas to South Carolina (October-March), and now I’ve settled down in South Carolina. In January, when I wrote this, I had just moved between three states.

I left my family in May and saw them twice (end of July, mother in December). Leaving the people that I know and love was extremely difficult. Well, leaving wasn’t but living without them was. In January, I felt hopeless. As evident by the first paragraph, I felt many emotions and none of them were positive.

Looking back, I understand that confusion. There was a lot of chaos in my mind. Life can be difficult. However, I see that I contained all emotions. At any given moment, we can feel anything. It’s like we have a color wheel inside and we can show any shade of any color. If we are surprised, we can show excitement. If we are shocked, we can show fear. Those emotions are already inside of us.

The trouble was that I believed all those colors were mixed. That they were out of my control (a tornado is out of control), and that others couldn’t help. I thought that I only contained sadness and I feared that I wasn’t capable of feeling anything else. Even more, I thought that these emotions came from my life conditions. If only _______ happened, I would be happy or feel better. And so I became tangled in my mind.

Nine months later I see that I contain all of these emotions and circumstance doesn’t make me feel a certain way. Internally I feel the way I do because of me. Not the circumstance. There’s an old Buddhist idea that “nothing is worth becoming upset over”. Ultimately the phrase points to our response to events. We do not have to become upset over anything. It’s our own choice.

While it often doesn’t feel like this, we can learn to understand our responses and alter them. When something happens, you control your response to it. You do not have to become angry, nor sad, nor frightened, nor excited. You can be however you want to be.

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Take Charge of Your Emotions

Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that everyone acts what they feel inside. A person who is at peace internally, will act peaceful to others. If a man is angry with himself, he will act angrily at the people around him. Happy people are internally happy and extend it outside of themselves.

We reflect our internal world and attempt to actualize it. However, we have control over ourselves (and our own mental world) but not the physical world. We can choose to be happy or sad but we cannot make another person happy. Only they can make themselves happy.

It’s difficult to believe this because we think “she made me angry”, “he wanted me to feel sad”, and we think others can control emotions. This is not so. No one can make you angry, only you can make yourself angry. You can beat me up, hurt my family, take away my things, but you cannot make me angry. That is inside of me, it’s my own choice.

The same is true for you. Take notice of your emotions and responsibility for them. When you feel happy, it’s not because of anyone else, it’s inside of you. Someone can buy you roses, but it’s not the person or the roses that make you happy – you make yourself happy.

When you take responsibility for your emotions, you realize this. You cannot blame anyone else for how you feel. Nor can you justify acting out of an emotions because of another person. You feel, that is you. Take everything in, feel your emotions. Take notice of them and realize what you feel.

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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.

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

 

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I wish I could put into words what the last six months have been. I wish I could explain the feelings I’ve felt and the friends I’ve loved. The exhaustion of getting up before dawn. I wish I could transcribe the feelings out side of my reach and the mental chaos I was. What it means to stop functions and to break down. I wish I could put into words how lost I’ve felt and how I’ve made it through these times. I wish I could sit in bed with you and talk for hours about how you get this light in your eyes that I will never tire of. I wish more than anything to make my mind tangible. To lay it out in front of me and show the world what I am.