Color to my Life

Back in August, I volunteered to drive some friends downtown while they were out drinking. As the night progressed they became incredibly drunk and things took a turn for the worst. There was a quarrel and a whole mess of people involved. At the end of night, one of them apologized to me saying that they were sorry about how everything happened. I replied to them with, “don’t worry, tonight added color to my life”.

What I meant is that no matter what happens, experience adds to your life. Whether good or bad, exciting or boring, you’re always growing. Sometimes it’s important to remember that even if a situation doesn’t feel good, you will learn from it and move on. That night was crazy but it added dimension to my life. I feel more vibrant having lived a wide range of experiences. Try to experience life in all ways, and, no matter what happens, grow from it.

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Part of a Painting

Osho once said:

“Don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask, don’t knock, don’t demand – relax. If you relax, it comes. If you relax, it is there. If you relax, you start vibrating with it.”

When I first read these words, I rejected them. Our American culture tells us that the world is a tree ripe for picking. Those who are motivated will succeed simply because they will work for it. “If you put in enough effort, you can achieve anything” could be our slogan.

Osho’s work is beautiful and often mysterious. His words are used with great consideration, so I couldn’t throw away this quote. Instead I decided to throw it into the dryer that is my mind and let it roll around for a few months.

Tonight I pulled it back out again. This is the easiest way I can describe how I understand it:

Imagine that you are part of a painting, like a single color or stroke of the brush. You can look at artwork in its entirety and you are a piece of it. Without you, there would be a hole that would distract the viewer. While you are not the entire painting, you are important to it. Your movement adds flavor and emotion to something much greater than you.

Returning to Osho, he says “don’t seek, don’t search, don’t ask…“. Often times we want to be the most vibrant color in the painting. We want people to look at the entire masterpiece and then notice how much we contributed to it. When Osho says to stop seeking, searching, etc, he’s telling us to stop desiring. He says, relax, what you desire is already there.

When you stop desiring a more beautiful painting, you can take a step back and appreciate what’s already around you. Sometimes art is ugly. You will find yourself living in horrible circumstances, maybe friendless, lonely, or a combination of darker colors. Each gives the painting more depth and meaning. But there is inevitably more color because of it.

When you ask, knock, or demand, you are seeking. What you are searching for is something outside of yourself. You are looking for another person’s answers. “Why do I feel like this?” or “What should I do?“. In both questions, there are no answers. In the painting there is only color – no individual interpretation. To look at one stroke of the brush, you can’t decipher its full meaning or purpose.

This isn’t an allusion to God or to say that you are a part in some grand scheme. Rather it is to say that you are part of a whole. Osho said that if you relax, you will be with the painting. When you seek to be vibrant, attract attention, or create new meaning, you distract from the overall painting. If you resonate with it, you will find peace. When you start vibrating with it, you are complete.

Well guys, today was day one of Blogtober! I hope that you choose to join in, it’s a lot of fun and a great experience!

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1/31 Blogtober

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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Concepts of Love

After reading some of Osho’s work I feel like I’ve become more comfortable with being single and alone. Osho writes about how our relationships with other people teach us that all relationships are flawed. When we come to this realization we reach a critical point where we learn independence and love. We realize the facade that we put onto love and break free from it. We think that love is so much different than it actually is.

In truth, love is an expression of happiness and joy. We wrap our ideas around love and think that it’s something to be contained or controlled. Love cannot be put into only one place. That is a form of an ego because we want something in return. We want to love a person and get their feelings back. Real love is a joy of life and fills all areas of one’s existence. When we’re in love, we spread it into everything. We can’t give it to only one person, we show it to everyone – it’s too much for a person to contain.

People confuse the concepts of love and intimacy. Love is a passion for life and a joy that one gives to the world. Intimacy is the physical closeness between two people. When we are in love, we can share our love in intimacy but it doesn’t require it. Our love is already there and bubbling over. You can love without being intimate. Love is a joy and passion for life, not something that can be directed at only one thing.

I’ve come to grips with being single because I’ve realized that the things that I want from somebody else aren’t things that they can give. I don’t want somebody to be close to, I just want that joy and love of life. When I’m passionate and living life fully, that hole in me disappears. I’ve realized that what I’m looking for is something that I have to find myself.

We confuse all of this in our heads and think that the only way to love is through another person. That’s silly. Love is so much more than being passionate about another person. It’s so much more than physical or emotional closeness. When I’m feeling alone and wanting to be in a relationship, I’m seeking fulfillment. I want somebody to myself and to be exclusively with them. I want to contain that joy and put it all in one place but it’s not a place that I can put joy into. Joy and love aren’t something to be controlled.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for the first time in a long time, I’m fine being single. I don’t want or not want a relationship. I’m finding joy in my own life and pursuing the things that I’m passionate about. I no longer need to find that through someone else. It’s kind of weird and liberating at the same time.

Also, not all of this is Osho’s concept but I wanted to bring up that I was reading through some of his books. I’m amazed at his work and the more that I read, the more I feel connected with people. I find a different kind of joy reading through his works. Many of his books are free online at OshoWorld.com . Check them out!

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Artist’s Block

Live is always around us. Behind every monstrous artist’s block there is a human being living their life. As an artist it’s so easy to think that when we aren’t creating we aren’t alive. Realize that art may be your livelihood but it isn’t your life. You’re so much more than what you create. You’re the cumulative experience of that creation – you are its inception, its imperfect resolution, and the emotions it took to create. While it’s true that there’s exhilaration in expressing yourself, sometimes we forget what art truly is.

Art is an experience. It is an intangible piece within yourself. Something you feel compelled to express. You may not create for others but art is an expression. It is the replication of something intangible. When you can’t create, it’s because you’ve missed the point of it all. Art isn’t something you can force out of yourself – there has to be something within you first.

Sometimes we can’t express because we need to absorb. We have to stop talking so we can listen. If art is an experience, we need to feel it. That isn’t always easy.

Lately I’ve found myself filled with words and feelings. Blogging has made it easier to express myself but it’s difficult to write about something you aren’t feeling. When I write about subjects, I’m not always passionate about them. I don’t have a lot of feeling about them and so the words move like molasses out of me.

That’s what a 365 teaches you. Expression isn’t always about the product – it’s about being compelled to bring something into existence. It’s the feeling underlying whatever you’re creating. Writing daily and completing a photography 365 in 2011 has shown me that while I idolize endless creation, I often forget to feel. I want to create that product so much that I neglect to live my life.

If you’re suffering from some sort of artist’s block, give it time. Find what you are passionate about in life and breathe it all in. Sit down and watch some TV, watch your favorite YouTuber, and crank up the volume on your favorite music. Inspiration will be found when you’re absorbed completely in what you’re doing. When you’re overflowing with life it will pour itself back out of you. Creation is breathing in everything you are passionate about and inevitably exhaling something beautiful back out.

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Flow between Happiness and Sadness

For the last week I’ve been unable to contain my happiness. I feel like a glass just bubbling over with the stuff. The funny thing is that there isn’t one particular thing in my life that’s making me happy. I just feel content with everything and the happiness has followed. The best thing about this feeling is that when I encounter adversity or something that usually would make me sad, I feel like I overcome it easily.

Take this weekend for example: I’m going to be working two 12-hour shifts that eat up my weekend. Two weeks ago I was dreading this weekend but as I’ve become more content it’s worn away. Usually when you dread an event you ruminate in it and it gets progressively worse until you get passed it. The opposite seems to be happening right now: the closer I get to it, the less I worry about it.

It’s been written about before on this blog but I wanted to write about it again. I used to think  unhappiness was the degree to which we were aware of a lack of happiness. I thought it was when a person questioned their own happiness and realized that they weren’t as happy as they could be. I no longer believe this.

I think happiness is the degree to which we are living our lives. When we feel alive we also tend to feel happy. When I notice what it’s like to feel my feet press against the ground, I feel alive. When I’m walking and I can feel the sun or the cold, I feel alive. These moments themselves don’t bring me happiness but the accumulation of them brings contentment. Feeling at peace with everything creates a sort of calm undertone in my life which is a root for my happiness.

This root grows into a tree when I start sharing it with other people. I start smiling and my smiling makes other people smile which makes me smile even more.

Osho’s dynamic meditation is definitely weird – singing, jumping, and all sorts of other crazy things. However, I’ve learned something from it. The second part of the meditation is where you let your body express itself freely. For ten minutes if you need to kick, scream, flail, or anything, you do it. When I do this part of the meditation my body goes back and forth between laughing and crying. I feel compelled to laugh and smile like life is flowering through me. Then I’ll feel the need to shrink down and sob.

It sounds a little crazy at first but I don’t see happiness and sadness as far away from each other anymore. Maybe my happiness stems from an appreciation of what I have – whether that be good or bad. I undoubtedly will feel depressed again and this feeling will fade but I wanted to write about the importance of awareness. Having that base of contentment builds the foundation for happiness in myself.

It doesn’t matter what I’m doing as long as I feel alive. When I feel alive I can’t help but feel happy. Life is something worth experiencing and I hope that you find happiness as well! Nameste!

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Are you polishing your creativity?

Creating can be a difficult process and finding the right words or the right way to express yourself isn’t easy. It seems like the creative juices only seem to flow when we aren’t in an artistic mood or when we lack the resources to birth our ideas. The hardest part of writing for me is the beginning. Right when my mind feels like it has something to say it’s as though the words drain out of my feet.

The creative process is different for each person but for me it’s like brushing my teeth. Sometimes the tube only puts a little toothpaste out while other times it seems to want to overload it. If I get too much I’ll try to shove some of it back into the container but I won’t use it all. If I tried to brush with too much toothpaste it would be a waste. My teeth wouldn’t be any cleaner using 2x the amount of paste.

That being said I always brush my teeth. It doesn’t matter if I’m running low on toothpaste or not, I will just use less and go through the process anyways. Even if I’m running low on time I will go brush my teeth. It may be sloppy but it gets the job done. I brush my teeth because it’s important to my health. The same holds true for the creative process.

Some days it’s like my mind continually throws out ideas. I’m flooded with images that I want to paint or topics I want to write about. There are sometimes full weeks where I can’t write all of my ideas down. Other times I’m completely dry. I pull open the “new post” tab and watch the line blink on my screen until I can write.

I write daily because it’s important for my health. There are days that I really do not feel like writing anything but I have an obligation, like brushing my teeth, to creating something new every day. I do it sometimes not because I want to but because I need it in the long run.

When I have those moments where I’m incredibly inspired I fill up whiteboards on my walls. Brooke Shaden uses notebooks. It’s all the same. When ideas fill your mind, make a point to write them down. Some people think that if an idea is big enough, it will come back – but I guarantee you won’t remember them all. Just like dreams they will fade and lose their details.

When we run low on toothpaste, we can always ask others to help. The Lion’s Life has some great articles on creativity and motivation (like “How a New Environment Can Stimulate Creativity and Trigger Motivation“. So if you’re running low, there are many resources to help. Just remember that sometimes the toothpaste flows quickly and sometimes it’s as thick as molasses.

If there’s anything this 365 project has taught me, it is that the creative process has a mind of its own. There are days where I feel like I could write for hours. Or times when I have enough paintings in my mind to fill a gallery. Some days the words aren’t clear and my mind is scattered. That’s how life is. I keep creating anyways. I’m not the best writer but I keep writing anyways.

Osho wrote in his book “The Madman’s Guide to Enlightenment”: “They move on their own… Out of one hundred times, ninety-nine times you will be saved writing. And that one time you will be really writing something valuable. Otherwise in the rubbish even the diamonds are lost.”

Find those diamonds in your life, you may have to fill your pockets with dirt first but the diamonds will come. I apologize for my lame analogies but this is just how my mind thinks. We all brush our teeth, I brush my daily. Some people brush them more and others really should buy a toothbrush. Where ever you stand on this I want you to exercise your creative muscles. When you have an idea, don’t let it get away from you. Write it down and birth it into existence. We want to see your pearly whites! The satisfaction you will feel from following your creative urges will reward you and you’ll keep your teeth for a long time!

I swear I’m done with that analogy now. Hope you are all making today a great day!

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P.S. Right now I’m looking for new blogs to follow! Spam me with a link to your latest article in the comments below!