Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Sponge People (or Lots of Art and Self Love.)

I usually do not like going places alone. When I want to go out to eat, go shopping, or even get books at the library, I always invite someone so I don't have to go alone.

But today, I had a "Me Morning". I meditated, created an art journal page, took the bus to the library, walked from there to get lunch at this amazing deli cafe called The Earth. I kept my phone in my purse and didn't check it or use it to pass the time waiting for food or the bus. I read and I wrote and I listened to music. I just let myself hang out with myself. I let myself simply be with myself.

Lunch with myself. Me on the bus. 

I have what I like to call "The Sponge Syndrome". It's where I absorb everything around me, and thus, that is all that comes out of me. Actually, I have a feeling the majority of our society has just this same problem, perhaps without even realizing it.

I have fallen in love with Twitter. I follow the most inspirational people. They are constantly providing articles and blog posts about creativity, living your own voice, and just living a loud life full of hope and healing and art. And I eat it up! I savor it, revel in it! Because they really are great words of inspiration. But I can get to a point where I fill myself so full of everyone else's voices that when I open up my mouth to say something, nothing of my own self comes out. I have filled myself so full of everyone else that there is no room left for me!

So what do we do when we realize we are a sponge full of other peoples spring water?

I think who we are when no one is around is very important. I don't just mean around us physically, I mean around us on the internet too. Who are we when we aren't arguing about politics on Facebook, or retweeting art blog posts on Twitter, or singing in the car with our friends, or working hard on a passion project with others that share our vision? Because whether we mean to our not, in real life and especially on social media, we create a facade, a persona, the best version of our self that we don't mind everyone else seeing. 

But what voice speaks to us when we are alone, unplugged, and we empty out all the outside voices rattling around inside us? We have to strain our ears to hear our voice, search through the din to settle on the voice that we know deeply as our own. Each person's voice sounds different to them.

I equate my inner voice to wind-chimes, flowing water, and the occasional rainfall; sounds that bring me peace, clarity, and calm.

It is important to set time aside, to empty ourselves of the outside, to ring ourselves out, letting every drop of outside voices fall out of us. It is important to recognize the voice that is left; to befriend it, listen to it, get to know it; it's tone, it's resonance, it's crackle, it's vibrations.

Hear yourself, it brings healing and growth. Your voice matters.

These two art pieces were both done at times when I was letting my voice rise, when I was vulnerable, when I was truthful. To me, the voice radiates through the art, singing out a song of myself, a symphony wrought in paint strokes, scribbles, and my inner landscape.

A little process view of an art journal page. I call it "Moon Owl". It was during a meditation that an owl came to me, as if guiding me, and I felt strong and brave and safe. This is a simple page with no paper layers. It's just paint. I didn't really plan the layout or the final look, I just let things out and sculpted them on the page. Way more intuitive than usual.  

This one is called "Overflowed". 

The blue and gray background was done in a wave of music and tears and emotion. It was a very cathartic experience.

The lady is a sort of self portrait. At first, it was just her head, and I was a bit unhappy with the final product. I then got the inspiration to use fabric to give her a body and shape. And that made it feel complete and extremely satisfying.  

Whew. I apologize that this post is quite lengthy. And I apologize that my art is so big in this post. It just felt right. (And also, blogger was being weird and not sizing things to my liking, but we will go with it feeling right.) 

I hope that you are all finding your voices and speaking with them in a way that allows truth, healing, and growth within you. Please comment and tell me, what does your inner voice sound like to you?!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Recipe for a Robyn (or How You Too Can Be A F*%^ing Anarchist Monk!)

So, this is just something that has been on my mind lately. I am a true Gemini, with two distinct sides to me, both equally powerful, useful, and each one inherently me. So, what makes up a Robyn?
Here's the recipe.

  • Take 1/2 Dainty Anarchist
  • 1/2 Bad-ass Monk
  • Mix together with messy collage art, writing, and six tons of gratefulness
  • Bake for 24 years
And you have a me!  Well, that is the simple version. But really, I do bounce back and forth between two distinct personalities. There is the anarchist, the revolutionary, the hardcore feminist, the balls to the wall bad ass chick that will fight the fires of Hell for freedom, for peace, and for truth. I love feeling like a bad ass. It's a good feeling! I like wearing ripped jeans and leather jackets and cussing like a sailor. I like sticking it to the man and breaking rules and giving the middle finger to social expectations put on class, gender roles, race, women's bodies, sexuality, and just about everything else they can get their fingers on. I'm a radical. I am here to shake up the established order. That is so engrained within me, I'm sure I do it in my sleep. Example:

 Just spreading some anarchy about town. 
(No, Mom and Dad, I don't make a habit out of graffiti-ing public trashcans.)

But that's not all there is to me. There is another very different side. The healer, the spiritual being, the "hippie", the meditater, the peace activist, the steady voice calling for calm, the advocate for nonviolence. I take barefoot meditation walks. I always try to be connected to nature, all other beings, and the Universe. I try to see suffering in the Universe and I work very hard to heal it. I like wearing flowers and feathers in my hair and trying to give positive energy to others through massage therapy. I believe in silence, in being here, in gratefulness and mindfulness. I believe in engaging others with compassion and peace. I believe nonviolence is the only way to truly win any war, whether a personal war or global war. And just like my other side, this part of me is so engrained within me, it comes as natural as breathing. Example:

Spreading peace and communing with nature.

And reconciling these two aspects can be confusing and hard at times. When most people hear the word "Anarchy", they think of punk music, molotov cocktails, and riots. It paints a picture of violence and hatred. But that is not the voice of anarchy that beats inside of me. I hear a voice of freedom, of compassion, of all beings living in peace. To me, being a monk and being an anarchist are the same thing.  I could not fight for anarchy if I was not a spiritual being, if I did not believe all beings to be connected. And I could not claim to be a spiritual being if I did not want freedom for all, I could not chant prayers in one breath and confess alliance to powers that oppress in the next breath.

And so, I have this dual nature. I am a cussing monk, causing trouble to society. I am the peaceful radical, bringing compassion to a system run on hate and greed and fear.

Humans are complicated creatures. No person can fit one role. We must find those voices within us. The ones that flow in our blood. We must claim allegiance to them and fight for them. And that is who we are, that is our meaning. And it may have two very different names, it may even have twenty different names. And that is okay, because within us, they all become one; one purpose, one heart beating, one being breathing.

What voices are calling out to you and how do you plan to align them with your life's journey?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What I Learned: My Week Offline

Let me tell you about my week offline! I learned a few things, some that surprised me. The first thing is that my body needs exercise! I didn't exercise for about four days and I felt terrible. My body got so sluggish. I need to treat my body like the temple that it is! 

The second thing I learned is that the internet and my artistic creativity do not seem to be directly in correlation to one another. I thought that giving up all that internet time would lend more time to create. But I have not done any art in the past week. Surprisingly, I have written more. An unexpected result to this experiment. 

 I also found that I did not miss Tumblr or Facebook as much as I thought I would. People would often say things like "Did you see this on facebook?" and I did not feel at all worried about missing out on something. I felt free from it actually. Free from all the keeping up that one does online, keeping up with friends' (often trivial) updates on Facebook, keeping up with Blogger, and every single picture posted on Tumblr. Not having to spend hours a day scrolling through things was definitely freeing. 

I did miss all the inspirational blogs from Twitter though. And I missed having Youtube videos to watch while I eat. 

It has also made me realize that I have so many memberships on so many blogs! I don't want or need such a large internet presence!  With my blog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Tumblr, and countless others all over the web, I can feel stretched too thin at times!

So, I suppose the greatest thing I learned from my stint offline, is the freedom of letting go. Of letting go of these false obligations to be in the know, to follow everyone's minor whim and thought and action on Facebook, of being as cute and funny as my favorite Youtubers, of reblogging the right balance of nerd humor and artsy pictures, of reading all the blogs that pop up on twitter, of seeing every artwork posted on Deviantart. 

Because really, following people and subscribing, adds this sense of obligation. And if someone inspires you and you enjoy their work, then following can be a great way to stay in touch with what they are doing, but it can go over board when you are following many people across many social websites. It weighs down your internet browsing experience and time. To get through all the updates from those I am following all over the web, it usually takes about two hours. Usually more. 

But really, if I really am a fan of one's work and want to keep up with them, I would be able to do it without following their every move constantly. Because let's face it, if you are a true fan of someone, you will think of them outside of the internet, outside of your feed of them. And if they or their work is an out of sight/out of mind scenario, then you probably are not passionate enough about them to keep up the obligation of following them. If you are a true fan of a band, artist, life coach, any kind of person in general, you won't have to have a daily feed to keep your attention on them, you will seek out news about them, and that is how you will keep the gems and really focus on them. It's about quality over quantity. 

Anywhom those are just my thoughts and such on my week offline. It was bittersweet. I will probably be doing them again when I am feeling overwhelmed by the internets! I hope you are all doing well and swell and merry! Also, here is some art that I made before going offline! 

 This one is probably my favorite artwork of mine to date!