My daughter was only two years old when I discovered her love of dance. We were walking by a dance studio and she stopped in her tracks. She pulled me by my hand and made me stand there and watch these graceful dancers. She then started to dance along with them. I realized then that my daughter found her passion.
A few years went by and I finally found a dance class for her. I first took her to see if it would suit her and if she would like it. I saw this panic and fear go over her face but at the same time there was this excitement. We left class and she told me she wanted to join. I asked her again the next day and she said “no! I change my mind”. I knew then that fear had taken over that little body of hers. I refused to let that happen to her. I went through it myself so many times that I did not want her to go through that. I went out and bought her a tutu, ballet slippers and tap dance shoes. I surprised her with it. Her eyes widened in excitement.
The next day I took her to class, she felt the same fear, trepidation, and excitement. This time she went in the class and danced like I have never seen her dance before She looked like a bird flying free in the clear blue sky. Her soul found it’s purpose. I felt this sense of freedom as well. The freedom of knowing my daughter conquered her fear without even knowing it. She pushed through it and was rewarded with this amazing experience. Paulo Coehlo says “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasures.” My little one found her treasure. Where is your heart?
I am reading a book by Cheryl Strayed called Tiny Beautiful Things. I highly recommend it. In it she asks her friend who is an artist how she is able to function in life after being sexually assaulted on 3 separate occasions. She said, “I could allow myself to be influenced by three men we screwed me against my will or I could allow myself to be influenced by Van Gogh. I choose Van Gogh.”
I was really moved by that quote. For those of you who say “well I don’t want to be anything like Van Gogh, he was a tortured soul who cut off his ear and had a very difficult life”. Well hear me out. Van Gogh had all those difficulties he faced yet he choose to paint. Every day he picked up that brush and created and has inspired so many even after his death. Cheryl Strayed’s friend’s message taught me that I could either lose myself in all the things that haven’t gone my way and have broken me into so many tiny little pieces or I can get up and pick up that paint brush and turn that pain into inspiration. Ugly and unpleasant things happen to the best of us. It’s life! But how you choose to deal with that ugly is what really matters.
My ugly was everything I went through with my father and then losing him. But everyday I choose Van Gogh. I choose to keep painting and keep inspiring no matter what problems get thrown my way. I choose to create with all my heart and soul. I choose happiness over sorrow. I choose light over darkness. I choose to think of all the beautiful and precious moments that I shared with my father. I choose to see how fortunate I was to have had a father in my life for so many years.
The most valuable thing I have learned in the grieving process is that you must move. Have motion, momentum. Get that stuck energy out. Even if it means hitting a ball against a wall, running until you can’t breathe or even have a good scream. Whatever you are going through, momentum is the key. Write, sing, paint, exercise, take photos, swim, walk your dog….you get the picture. Just move that beautiful, majestic body of yours. That is what it is meant for.
I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. I AM NOT A VICTIM. I am a WARRIOR, I am STRENGTH, I am COURAGE, I am that I AM. I will not feel sorry for you either. Only because you are a WARRIOR, you are STRENGTH, you are COURAGE. So go on and conquer the world my courageous creative spirit. Namaste.
“Every prayer is not answered the way you may want it, but they are all heard. I believe that. How could the one who created us ignore us? Some people will say, “Well, He hasn’t answered my prayer.” People miss that all prayers are heard. But sometimes the answer is no.” -John Gray
As I held the snow white dove in my hands I felt him struggle waiting to be released. How could such a gentle animal have so much strength? That bird reminded me of my dad. I myself struggled to keep the dove within my grip but I couldn’t let go until the Rabbi finished the last of the prayers. My father was gone and it was time to say good bye. The prayers finished and the melodic music was our cue to release them into the picturesque sunset. The doves symbolized his soul’s freedom. They all flew in unison circling around us high above where my father’s soul was watching.
As an artist I love symbolism. The doves represented the peace my father had in his every being and when I held that dove I felt my father’s life struggle and angst. I also felt his strength. He endured so much in his lifetime and still had the strength to go on. Releasing that bird made me feel my father’s freedom from his body. He was a prisoner to it and a prisoner to his mind. In the end, his body destroyed the one part him that ailed him for so many years. The greatest men who were geniuses struggled with this as well. Van Gogh was an artist who went through a lot of mental anguish. Jackson Pollock did as well. They created masterpieces despite their suffering. Maybe they were supposed to go through such hardship in order to create what they did. It may also have had a healing property to the act of painting that their spirits so badly needed.
I know that when I dig deep inside and start to paint, I create the unexpected. I have the power to move people with my work as most artist are also capable of doing. We all have to power to inspire and move another person. It just depends on if we want to do it and how we want to. It could be through a painting, a dance, a song, a speech or acting. My father wrote poems and my mom shared one he wrote for me. It moved me to tears.
The darkness within his soul tried to find light through written words. He found solace in this one act. He didn’t have many possessions when he left this world but he did leave us with a tremendous amount of love. He left the gift of a poem for me that I will cherish forever. What are the gifts that you leave stagnant inside of your soul? Whose life can you touch with your gifts? Who can you move to tears with your special creation? You will never know until you put it out there. Namaste my creative spirits, keep on creating.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
I was walking out of the ICU with my mom after visiting my father who suffered a massive stroke and who is in a coma right now. I look up to see a very angelic looking woman. She has these crystal blue eyes and a comforting presence to her. My mom said hi to her and introduced me to her. I will call her Linda. Her son (let’s call him Matthew) is a few doors down from my dad. Matthew has autisim and has suffered many seizures. He had been in a coma for almost 3 months. He opened his eyes a few days prior. I asked if I could give her a hug, a warm hug from one mother to another. Linda proceeded to hug me and my mom. I saw this strength in her and a peaceful spirit. She comforted both me and my mom. We did our part in comforting her as well. We prayed for one another. It was this beautiful exchange of spirit, a soul to soul connection that we all need, especially in times like these. After leaving her presence I felt that everything would be ok.
I don’t quite understand why things happen the way they do. Some people say why and how cruel and unfair that these things should happen. I try my best not to go into that space, although it’s very challenging at times. I do my best to be grateful for all the time that I did have with my father. Every morning he would call me and say “I love you, I love you, I love you”. I can still hear his voice inside my head.
I try to remember the memories we shared. A few days ago, I held his hand and I talked to him about my childhood and the days he took me to the park to feed the ducks. He would buy me vanilla ice cream and we would watch all the birds fly by. He would even catch a pigeon with his bare hands and I would laugh in delight. I think that is where my love for animals grew, especially for birds.
I will eventually paint a portrait of my dad when I am ready. For now I will envision him surrounded by light and angels. I will pray that he is in a peaceful place and no matter what happens he will forever be in my heart. We cannot hold on to anyone or anything forever. We are just passengers on this ride called life. Enjoy every moment you have with your loved ones. Don’t take them for granted. I gave my mom a big hug today and told her I admired her strength and resilience and I told her that I loved her. And in my heart I imagined hugging my dad again and telling him “I love you, I love you, I love you”.
“On one hand, we know that everything happens for a reason, and there are no mistakes or coincidences. On the other hand, we learn that we can never give up, knowing that with the right tools and energy, we can reverse any decree or karma. So, which is it? Let the Light decide, or never give up? The answer is: both.” -Yehuda Berg
I want to take you through a fantasy and just make your mind escape for a moment through this surreal world I experienced. Imagine writing your intentions, your hopes and dreams, on a lantern, and letting them go. Then seeing thousands of burning balls of intentions being let go into the dark and starry sky. Freedom for your spirit. Angelic music playing in the background. A feeling of warmth and love envelopes your soul. You hear a whisper that says “everything is going to be alright, you are loved and the universe is behind you”. That is how I felt when I was at the Rise festival in the Mojave Desert.
The week before that, my father came back home from a country that mistreated him and kept him prisoner. I had not seen him for 13 years. I learned the power of prayer, of positive thinking, and most important….never ever ever giving up on your dreams. I dreamt of the day I would hold him and hug him again and I got that. It felt like I had another chance with him. So needless to say, it has been an emotional roller coaster for me.
Through it all I have realized that all the things that has brought me pain has also brought me immense growth. I pour all of my emotions into my paintings, it’s my form of releasing all that resides inside my soul. What do you do to release whatever it is you are feeling? Do you write? Play a sport? Sky dive? Scream into a pillow? I’m not kidding, I have done that one before after a long day with my kids! The festival I went to was another form of release and it felt soooooo good. Life is not easy for anyone, I don’t think it was meant to be. We all have our challenges we face on a daily basis. If it was always smooth sailing then growth would not occur. We are here to evolve and grow. How will you evolve? Who are you meant to be? Leave your comments below, would love to hear from you! Namaste my creative spirits!
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”- Calvin Coolidge
“You are going to fail!” That was what my 5th grade teacher said to me when she caught me looking at my neighbor’s paper. This teacher was the one I prayed not to get and I did anyway. She had the cackle of a witch and reminded me of an evil dictator. I vowed never to be like one of those teachers. When she caught me and announced that to the class my face turned beet red and I just wanted to hide in a corner and disappear. Yes, I was cheating and he was the smartest kid in class who was sitting right next to me, so why not? At least I would never cheat again! I did feel like a failure that day and I carried that with me for many years. I would start something and never finish it. I would get discouraged and then quit. I thought I wasn’t smart enough or good enough. What I didn’t realize then was that persistence and belief in yourself is the key to success. Here a a few very successful people who failed and didn’t give up: Steven Spielberg who was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Lady Gaga got dropped by her record label, Island Def Jam, after 3 months. Upon receiving the news, she “cried so hard she couldn’t talk.” You get the picture.
After reading countless books and taking many courses I have learned three keys to success in anything.
- Be persistent. If you fall on your face, just dust yourself off and get right back up. Course correct so you don’t make the same mistake . If you fail again, get right back up. You keep going until you get it right.
- Consistency brings results. There are certain things I do everyday to get me closer to my goals. Like painting, posting at least three times a day on Instagram, posting two YouTube videos a week. Blogging once a month (maybe I need to do more). As a result my Instagram following has grown, I have been selling more paintings, and I have more confidence.
- Have faith. Trust that after you put in the work and take action things will eventually fall into place. I went to a gallery that wasn’t really interested in my work. A month later I got an email from my artist friend Eduardo. He told me I inspired him to open his own gallery from reading my blogs. I was floored. Just shows that inspiration is contagious and people do notice your work when you put it out there.
Here I am at Eduardo’s art gallery, Art Landing. Below is a certificate of recognition he received from a member of congress, Maxine Waters. I am so proud of him!
So keep going my creative spirits! Don’t ever ever give up! Namaste.
Body Art and Taking Risks
“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” -Maya Angelou
I want to tell you a little story of a timid girl. She was like a wallflower growing up. She didn’t want to be noticed. Raising her hand in class was something that would make her heart pound as if her chest were about to explode. At the age of eight, she realized that she loved art. It was the place where she could express herself and be free. The teachers had a story for her and they gave her thoughts and beliefs about herself that were very untrue. It took this girl 28 years to realize that she had this hidden potential to be something more than what those teachers planned for her. If you haven’t guessed already, that timid girl was me.
This just shows the importance of planting the right seed in those little minds. I am constantly telling me children that they are capable and can do whatever they put their minds to. My nine year-old is writing his first book on You Tubing. Why not? My 5 year old made $50 this summer selling lemonade. Why the hell not? If someone asks me if they should do something, I always answer back with, why not? Just go try and do it!
When I saw another artist do these inspiring body painting shoots I was hooked. I wanted to try it myself. I didn’t know how, when or where? I just asked that the universe guide me. I asked my closest friends if they would be my models and they were more than happy to help out. It turned out better than any of us expected. It ignited this fire in me that I had not experienced in a long time. I was flying high (naturally).
My photos got some attention on social media and people started asking me to do the same thing for them. This time I got paid! So I am asking you to do the same. GO out there and experience life without fear, without limits. See where it takes you. It doesn’t matter how. Just take those baby steps. Everything will fall into place because the universe is watching and it really wants you to succeed. It truly is a vehicle that is guiding us, we just have to let go of the wheel eventually and just trust. Now go out there and show the world what you are made of! Namaste my beautiful creative souls.