I am a People too.

I am a People too.

It’s been awhile since I did a business-y type of post. But the following subject is something that I’ve been struggling with for awhile and I know I’m not alone. Throughout the last 3 years of my professional life, I have felt like giving up. Some days are hell; when I loose a client, or progress has plateaued or family conflicts, or what have you. But the one thing that may ultimately push me over the edge one day is the way I get treated in this industry.

I was a part of a group once on facebook who attracted photographers but aimed at creative entrepreneurs and wanted to focus on the community aspect of entrepreneurship versus the competition aspect and a photographer posted a hard experience she had with the client. The client said in an email regarding her dissatisfaction with the results that she [client] was buying a service, and the photographer had written a blog post about wanting to establish a friendly-based relationship with clients before entering a project. While I understand both sides, the client’s and the photographer’s, I can’t help but feel sorry for the photographer. I’m sorry, photographers are people too. Graphic designers, are people too. Artists, are people too… web designers are people too. You get my drift.

In my search for the ‘perfect job’ (if there ever is one out there for me). My ideal position would be to be treated more than just a skill. More than just a service that is hired and then laid off. I am a people too. Treat me well, and I’ll do my job well. Treat me like crap and quite frankly, I’ll leave or find better clients. I’m tired of being seen as a skill or service that is hired to just be checked off a ‘to-do’ list. Yes, I produce, yes I make, I design, but at the same time I am a people too.

I have bills and materials to pay for. Being treated just as a service or skill, something tangible and that can be thrown away is one of the most degrading feeling ever. And unfortunately is too often the case in the creative industry. I GET IT. You want to hire us to make you something but at the same time I’m not a machine. There’s a person behind those skills who deserves to be treated fairly as you would treat a friend, or an acquaintance.

Many successful pop stars and musicians often feel this way too. Lady Gaga once said she almost quit the music industry because she didn’t want to be ‘a money-making machine’. While obviously I don’t make nearly as much as her, I get it. To be treated as a production machine , to keep producing, making, outputting without being treated like a human is degrading. I get that for some people work is work, and that friendly acquaintances should be kept out of it. But on the other hand, they are people too. If someone held the door for you, would you treat them like shit, or thank them?

The Simple Truth

The Simple Truth
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Depending on your perception, life can be indefinitely complicated. What really matters is the truth. Truth creates understanding, equality, peace, love, freedom and is what ultimately unites all of humanity. The real truth merely asks that it is checked against your own reality. Only then can it become real and truthful.

The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it simply — Khalil Gibran

There is nothing easier to know than the truth because it is life itself. The hindrance is desire. When understood, problems shift perceptions to stem from that of not knowing the truth of life. You cannot control life, but you can control the way you see it. The way to do this is by adhering to the truth.

A man should look for what is and not for what he thinks should be — Albert Einstein

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. Consciousness is an energy, and thoughts are levels of energy. You can subscribe to good levels of conscious energy by focusing not on what you see, but how you see it. The universe as it relates to energy, life and consciousness can be understood. This is the ultimate truth that has the power to transform mankind.

What confuses me the most is why people spend their whole lives acquiring money, only to spend all of their money trying to get their life back— Dalai Lama

The sight of a marvel landscape or astonishing phenomenon becomes a peak moment for most people. Why is this? Your mind opens up to the present moment when something is special. The truth is, every moment in life is special and you can be open to life most of the time, you just have to see the truth to see life. Nothing will ever make any real difference in your life unless it affects your relationship with the balanced physical world, thereby, only changing your mind. Changing the world does not change us. The change in frame of mind institutes the end of unnecessary suffering, conflict and confusion.

Truth is found in the content feeling that resides on a moment to moment basis. The truth demonstrates that you do not need to experience negativity to enjoy positivity. The bad will still happen, you will just perceive it differently.

Mental health is no less important than physical health. Meditation is a workout toward the truth.

Imagine the nature of a monkey; crazy and sporadic. Now imagine that monkey is drunk out of his mind, and was just stung by a wasp. This personification begins to characterize the nature of a free human mind on a day to day basis. The fact that the mind constantly fishes and strives for content aligned with logical explanations is hardly apparent until you challenge yourself to suppress your mind of any reasoning for a period of time. The practice of meditation is essentially the practice of calming the drunk stung monkey within. With this daily practice the beautiful talent of mindfulness begins to develop and strengthen. Like a muscle, your mind becomes stronger and is better able to control your thoughts according to your happiness, efficiency and desires. Mindfulness is a generally underrated skill that when mastered has the ability to conquer fears, doubts, undesired emotions and is only limited to the imagination. The connection between the truth of life and meditation is strong. Perception becomes clear, and doubts dissolve into irrelevance. Most importantly, the practice reveals the gift that lies within everyone and defines truth itself; the present moment.

The present is the ultimate gift and truth of life.

Everyone is given the present in every moment and will continue to receive it forever. The concept of the future and the past are distortions of the present that keep people chasing what isn’t, thereby missing the present in the process. All of what people want lies in the present. Most people just don’t know how to unlock their mindfulness of its existence. The present has to be our goal, because it is the only thing that exists.

Full acknowledgment of the truth will not happen over night. It begins with acceptance of the phenomenon that is the natural world. Mentality is powerful. When aligned with recognition of the balance of life, it persuades true life to shine through. All the best things will happen to you, and so will all of the worst, if you don’t know the truth.

The more present you live, the more fulfilling life gets.

Fulfilled: Is the way we feel when we are completely open to all of life. Becoming fulfilled allows you to feel the way you want to feel all the time. Fulfillment is true happiness. Any doctor will tell you that good feelings in life come from a release of chemicals such as dopamine, endorphins, adrenaline and serotonin in your brain. They do it by allowing you to experience true life. Like a drug, its effect is temporary and must be up kept with the knowledge of life’s truth which is eternal. If you disassociate your fulfillment from the happenings in the environment around you, you are allowed to become fulfilled 100% of the time. True freedom comes when you are able to stay fulfilled independent of what happens in the environment.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world — Mahatma Gandhi

If everyone looked at the big picture in life, we would see the same thing. The underlying enemy of mankind narrows down to cognitive dissonance. Overcoming this frequency and learning the simple truth would unite human beings, and we would all live in paradise.


Virtuosity

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A rare but brilliant walk of life is to allow specialty to become not specializing.

Coach Glassman, otherwise known as the founding father of Crossfit, defines fitness as work capacity across broad time and modal domains. This concept applied throughout the years of life, results in the definition of overall health. I have found value in increasing the scope of this definition to include adventure skill sets and applied understanding. This value holds its worth in an achievable mentality that builds a genuinely fulfilling lifestyle that prioritizes health and understanding to foster longevity and compassion.

What benefit belies the pursuit and application of human movement, health, fitness and psychologies across all domains of life? Health is a challenge, and so is life. Aligning both battles on the same plane extracts positive energy from within and unleashes excitement to explore the potentials of the human capacity to move and understand. The challenge constructs a sport, and goals come in the form of achieving an improved balance. Naturally, the result of greatness conjures a beautiful compromise, as is optimized health, fitness and movement.

Improvision is the human condition. You’re born. You die. And in-between you improvise.— Ido Portal

The result from expression of this type of exploratory and healthy mentality is virtuosity; to do the common uncommonly well. Within the acquisition of virtuosity comes a profound energy that gifts curiosity, fulfillment and happiness. To exercise this daily lends inspiration to explore all perceived potential over many domains of life, and to perpetually develop weaknesses to increase overall capacities. This genre of exercised understanding brings on an increased margin of experience that expands the readiness for change, which is really just another word for life.


Conceptual Success

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The concept of a goal is an interesting one. While it’s necessary to create a goal to achieve results, the processes involves a shift of focus away from the present moment of time. The essence of any spiritual practice is to allow yourself to resonate as close as possible to the present moment. What is the answer to this discrepancy? It is the culturally based definition of success.

In the context of a western society, the elusive goal called success looks like wealth and fame. As a portrait photographer, I have been exposed to a large collection of collegiate and high school graduations within the north east region of the United States. I see this to be a perfect representation of the region’s societal prescription. In this part of the world, class officials and leaders preach to their students messages that ultimately vocalize the wealth and fame version of success. They say that acquisition of upper echelon employment will provide a sufficient amount of wealth required to be happy. This is the goal they set out for the millennial generation to follow.

I don’t believe this can this fulfill the spirits of every human being that is born into this society, and is the reason for a good chunk of the hardships that this genre of life brings. Anyone who has been exposed to a drastically different way of life in other global communities will see the same vision. Each context of society seems to know they should be chasing happiness, however the concept of profit has driven more developed parts of the world such as the United States to devote their souls to acquiring materialistic wealth while namelessly robbing their happiness in the process.

Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value. — Arthur Miller

If people are able to raise their appreciation for the present moment, this concept may also become clear. Setting a goal must lay forth a fulfilling path that is centered to the individuals passions and desires, not to the tune of a corporate profit. Success will come when passion, the art of creation, and happiness find their place to guide the path set by an ultimate goal. This way, the process of shifting focus away from the here and now can be enlightening, and success can come from within.

A goal is an amazing entity. Looked at with full appreciation and dominant compassion, manipulation of elements within the universe converge to display a desired outcome. What could be more beautiful than that?

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Boston, MA – Americans for the Arts Convention

As I lay here trying to sleep, I figured I’d do my write up for the Americans for the Arts Convention that I attended this past weekend. I came back to Wellesley on Thursday to attend a convention that the Mass Cultural Council invited me to. I had been looking for events and networking opportunities over the winter to attend to this year. 13450098_3131250960504_2202132617928704052_n

While the theme of the convention this year was Public Art and I originally felt that it wasn’t really up my alley being a photographer, I still learned a lot from it and gained some inspiration. There are new trends and innovations within the arts community that are crossing over to the corporate world which I find interesting. It was also a unique convention in the sense that since it was public art so you were mingling with city officials from all over. Unfortunately a lot of it I felt was related to policy, which to me is totally unrelatable. Not to mention I felt like it was hard to network with some of these people since they were 10, 20, 30, 40 years older than me. Though it did give me some insight and direction as to where I should aim in my career.

In terms of learning, I felt that the skills, management and processes to produce these monumental projects were of like-mind in the sense that project management is project management no matter what the outcome was, which was very relatable for me. Coming to this event from a marketing/journalism background I thought was interesting. As many of these people were administrative/policy/advocacy members and then wearing the artist hat, it was interesting to see the other sides of the judging panel.

Although the best parts were seeing a colleague of mine and a community that I have been in contact with out here in Western MA there. It was nice to see the staff at the Arts Extension Services there. As if it wasn’t for the class that I took with them, I would not have met my current landlord! I also met and introduced myself to Jane Echelman whom I have admired since college. I told her that I had seen her at her Wellfleet talk last summer and that I wrote a paper about her work in college comparing it to 1960s sculpture; she seemed flattered! Then properly handed her my biz card with a copy of my photographs on it. :)

All in all, I’m glad I went, though I’m glad I was invited by Mass Cultural Council. Unless the theme was really up my alley, I don’t think it was worth $500 to attend, though I did get a lot of inspiration from it.

A Centered Take on Society

A Centered Take on Society

To my objective vision, today’s society is a living and growing entity made rational and tangible through the five human senses, while attenuating the unknown.

Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable -Simone de Beauvoir

Having been raised in western cultural norms, and recently exposed to the radical dichotomy that exists between global cultures, it has become clear to me that accepting yourself while staying true to your passions holds the key to a positive frequency of life. This way, everything can be perfect.

Accept yourself as you are. And that is the most difficult thing in the world, because it goes against your training, education, your culture. From the very beginning you have been told how you should be. Nobody has ever told you that you are good as you are → Osho

This concept has awakened my beliefs to a direction that is not bound by convention. My thoughts have gravitated towards making sense of the world we call home. Essentially, I see truths that point toward many different avenues to achieve the same desired outcome. I believe everyone has a unique and essential perspective of the world. I personally find a great sense of curiosity in exploring these avenues, and appreciating our dimensional gift that is the present moment. Through the experience of natural forms of stimulation such as exercise or practiced gratitude for our existence, we are able to give our body the exact programming and rewards that it is primitively set up to receive in order to subscribe to a positive frequency of life.

We are in a transitional period with our bodies, in that many demands of modern western culture see no need to fulfill these natural reward systems. Instead, they are replaced with stresses on the acquisition of money and material worth. Unless you are actively pursuing something that you absolutely love and are passionate about, the relatively new prescribed path of life called your job becomes ultimately empty and completely unnatural to the human body and its coordinated psyche.

It is almost as if society has engineered itself so that we can consistently innovate and create new things more quickly and more easily. From an evolutionary perspective, it is almost as if this machine wants to be born, so it has reprogrammed society to live for the machine, rather than to live for the natural human needs system.

We are all on this incomprehensibly large sphere hurling its self through infinite space and time. How come nobody seems to talk about it?

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Frustrations of a Psychic

I am frustrated. These past two weeks I have been crippled with anxiety. I kept thinking over and over as to why. NOTHING in my life could be the cause of this. Yes, there’s a lot on my plate, but in theory I don’t have to do much of any of it.

So why have I been crippled with so much anxiety? Even after being laid off unexpectedly, I was relatively calm, and all through May I had been calm.

I found myself recalling what this anxiety was usually associated with. Something I like to call psychic fever… when I start to get physically ill due to something bad coming to my life.

I got it when I was fired unexpectedly. I got it when the Paris terrorist attacks occurred, the Boston Marathon bombing, and now I am realizing the massacre in Orlando.

I have come to the conclusion that I get physically ill whenever a major and devastating event is about to happen. Usually the day after I am relieved, or feel better as messed up as that sounds. And not for evil purposes either, ‘oh that I’m glad that dozens of people were hurt or injured’. The anxiety should be worse after, to think all those loving people being injured by a senseless act of violence.

But the anxiety comes from not being able to control it. No one will believe me when something bad is going to happen with symptoms of a common cold. No one will believe it.

But this physical reaction was different this time with Orlando. Last night I had a dream where I was running away from a gunman and bolted out of an emergency exit. Somehow I thought staying to bolt the door was safer than using the time to flea. The gunman knocked down the door which threw me to the ground and shot me in the neck. I felt my warm blood gushing out of my neck, down my torso and felt myself dying which is when I woke up.

I don’t remember my dreams. My last dream was also a death dream which happened the night before I was laid off unexpectedly.

This gunman dream was so much more real. I even FELT the warm blood.

It makes me so frustrated sometimes to have this heightened ability and not be able to do anything real with it because no one will believe me.

Maybe I’m meant to change that.

Man, wouldn’t it be cool if I could fight terrorism with my ability be able to tell the CIA when the next attack would be… yeah.

The Bicycle

niles2Out of the numerous mechanical inventions that human-kind has come up with, perhaps one that has the greatest potential to enhance an exploratory and spiritual mindset is the bicycle. Not only does it serve as an active form of transportation, it provides a platform for adventure.

In its integrity, the bicycle can be seen to metaphorically demonstrate the acquisition of a joyful and simplistic lifestyle. By adhering to a notion that does not continuously strive for never ending amelioration to all of life’s nuances, but rather content and simple gratitude, the beauty of existence glows more intensely than that of a life experienced by chasing expectations or problems.

I want to wake up and put my best face forward to the day. If I take care of myself the day is going to take care of me. | Ultra Romance

As a sport to many and a hobby to others, bikes create experiences. People first started riding bikes at the turn of the century. It was about getting out to the country side and being independent. People still exist today that are spearheading this movement. As compared to a person who has become integrated into certain modern societal cultures, these people subscribe to a frequency that is more heavily in tune with the relationship between them selves and the appreciation for the present moment. In this sense, the reward of existence that matches the aesthetic of discovery carries an identical reward to that of a bottomless bank account. With recognition that everyone is given the present moment and will continue to receive it forever, the greatest gift that promises to keep on giving, may in fact be the bicycle.

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I’m Niles

LIFE IS WILD. ENJOY THE RIDE. 13043577_10205931100545589_1830278714234636204_n-300x300

I enjoy looking at life through the lens of the bigger picture. To me, this reveals that our most powerful tool is our free will. It provides freedom of choice that ultimately affects our well-being and happiness. Perspective lends inspiration to exercise my free will, and new experiences build my appreciation for the art that is my ambiance.

Myself, along with everyone in this world is unique and has something compelling to offer. I believe answering the simple question of why I get out of bed in the morning holds the key to becoming fully authentic and fulfilled throughout my life. To express my true self I am actively pursuing everything that inspires me to be a better version of myself day in and day out. If I can align my battles with passion and joy, in my mind I’ve won the game of life.

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The Ideal is Linked to the Ego

This recent job at Yankee Candle not only provided material growth for me but also spiritual growth. I had come out of a very dark period in my life that was riddled with anxiety, depression and other struggles due to my situation at the time. Working at Yankee Candle helped relieve a lot of those issues.. but also allowed me to crack an issue that I had been having with relationships.

That dark period in my life was caused by the sudden loss of a beloved job that I had at the time and where I had found myself being emotionally involved with my boss. While working, I ignored my feelings because he was after all my boss and I couldn’t in no way shape or form express them to him. But I began to notice emotional undertones from him as well towards me. The relationship we had became very toxic and it wasn’t good for either of us. When he let me go, I had a heck of a time letting go, because I still felt so strongly for him. To this day, I do still feel strongly for him but I have, for the most part, moved on.

For him though, he couldn’t see past me as his employee and cared too much about his image to build a lasting, fulfilling friendship with me. No matter what angle I tried, he rejected me and my heart, leaving me devastated each time.

The last 10 years of my life, my relationships have been one heartbreak after another. I kept ‘falling’ for the same type of person over and over. This last one made me realize that this type was my ideal type of person for me, at least that’s what I thought. But I realized over time, while hard to come to terms with, these people that were MY ideal, I wasn’t THEIR ideal.

Idealism is linked to the ego. When we find a mate that fits our ideal, our ego is stroked and inflated to the point we are walking through life with rose colored glasses. Sometimes its’ hard to see us being with anyone else that is different from this ideal. Recently, I was faced with several options I met through work and one of them was an ideal, one that would’ve stroked my ego, and then another which completely surprised me as he wasn’t usually my type at all. But overtime, the strength of our connection and the way he treated me, I realized that while sometimes we may not end up with the ideal in regards to relationships, what matters is the way they treat you. The way your heart feels and how they act around you.

Thoughts on Reconciliation

Thoughts on Reconciliation

I was in love with him. So very much in love, and now that we haven’t spoken since last July, the time apart has been painful, yet healing. It gave me time to think about the what ifs, gave me time to think about if we were to ever reconcile, what might happen, what might I say.

I never, ever, felt this way towards anyone else in my life. Our connection was so strong, deep and powerful.

Yet, for various reasons I suppose, I couldn’t have him. And I’ve felt this before with someone else previously, to be in love with someone whom you cannot have is a great pain that no one should have to experience.

Yet, I did and said all that I could say to him, about our connection, and so it is time I feel that I should just move on. Loosing someone whom I had thought was a friend to me, and then felt that I was just used and walked all over for is incredibly breaking.

Most days I feel broken and depleted, like the life and energy has been sucked out of me. I tried so hard to show him how much I cared, despite our circumstances. Yet, I felt he took it all from me and gave nothing in return.

When I do go into a deep introspection, and think about my true feelings for him, despite how he’s treated me in the last year, the feeling of love is still there.

If this some sort of test, the universe is putting me through, then my god, I hope that I overcome it.

Just several weeks after he cut contact with me, I had a dream that I somehow found out about a party he was having at his house on social media and decided to crash it. In the dream, I was able to stay clear of his vision, enjoying the food that was there, talking amongst the guests. As the guests started to clear out, he found me and embarrassed I started to turn around to leave. But instead of yelling at me for crashing his party, or calling me out, he looked at me and said “Stay”. That was when I woke up.

If that wasn’t a sign of what to do, I don’t know what is. That was last Summer though and it’s been months since then. When I was verbally harassed by a girl whom I thought was a friend, I reached out to him, and he didn’t even respond.

Yet, every single psychic I’ve met told me that we’re supposed to reconcile and build something after that. And having a psychic consensus that strong is kinda rare. One told me that he’d come back when I was in the ‘light’ again, but no way in hell would I let him get away with what he did to me. You cannot abandon those who you supposedly love. The fact that he wasn’t there for me, when I wanted him to, I feel speaks volumes. But then I go back on what I do feel for him, despite what he’s done and I still do love him.

So, if a reconciliation is for me with him and I in the future, I suppose I just have to move on, until then. I mean, that’s the whole point in a reconciliation though isn’t? That it’s supposed to happen when both of us have mostly moved on…

#prayforparis

#prayforparis

My heart goes out to the city of Paris and country of France today. France is very close to our hearts here at home and in the USA. Especially during this time with the GAIA exhibition – the curator is safe and is contacting the other artists. I had the word Paris in my third-eye all morning/afternoon on Friday, and couldn’t figure out why… and now I know.

I am very thankful that no one in my immediate circle was hurt or located in France at the time.

Take care of yourselves now.

Inconsistencies

Inconsistencies

There’s something I’ve been wanting to write about for awhile to get off my chest.
My former harp teacher recently unfriended me on Facebook because she thought I was being ridiculous in that I wasn’t following my boss’s instructions that went against my education and previous experience in the field. She believed that since my boss wrote the check that I should follow their instructions to the T. In theory this is right. But only in theory – especially since that particular job wasn’t the only one and I didn’t really need it. I told her she had no right to reprimand me in front of my friends for being caught up in something that I was asking for clarification in. Someone I know who worked in scheduling agreed with me… and other things… I was just dumbstruck that she would call me out as such. She also thought she knew my field because her daughter worked in for over 10 years… I’m sorry, but you have no respect for what I do if you think you know what it takes to make a decent design and I’m sorry, but I wouldn’t call your daughter’s work to be anything spectacular either… she’s great at art and illustration and has a clever way to incorporate it into an image, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it great design… seen better.

As a design and marketing specialist, I am typically hired for my knowledge and skills in the field. It’s how my career took off – at Minuteman it was how I was hired… and I continue to stand out in my field with my creativity and design skill – I get jobs and gigs for it and that’s the way it should be. I’ve been freelancing since 2010 and have a very good understanding of the field. I may be young, but I am not inexperienced in my field. I have been hired for my proficiency, etc. so do not try to tear me down or disagree with something I feel strongly with. My ideals and morals have gotten me this far in the field and I will not step down to someone who doesn’t know. Honestly, it’s like me saying that I know all about mechanical engineering because my Dad’s been working in the field for over 30 years… that’s ridiculous! I know the basics of electronics, but other than that, not much…!

But, I’m sorry. If I have been trained and taught to do a certain way and I am hired for it, I will not let anyone else tell me otherwise – why hire me if you can’t allow me to do my job?? And otherwise, the job is probably not a good fit – if you can’t handle this from me, we can’t work together.

I’ve been studying, practicing, educated, experienced in graphic design for over 10 years. My first commission was done late middle school. I am not going to ‘dumb down’ my skills just because an ill-informed boss wouldn’t agree with me on something that I have been taught and trained and do very well in.

I may not be working in a print shop, but my work goes directly to the printer via my boss. It is part of my job as a graphic design specialist to make the document as impeccable and perfect as possible so that the final product is something the boss or customer can be proud of. I’m not going to let grammar technicality inconsistencies and typos ruin a design I spent hours creating – it’s a reflection of the designer and reflected as an inexperienced one – which I am not. I had a potential client call the other graphic designers he’s worked with assholes because they left typos and grammar technicality inconsistencies in their designs and didn’t have attention to detail. Excuse me, I don’t want to be seen as an asshole in my field, in front of my peers because of a lack of attention to detail.   If I am taught and trained to put extensions in numbers, I will fucking do that, if you disagree with me, why hire me?

So to my harp teacher – sorry, but you’re wrong on this one, even though you so wanted to be right. Telling me to not do my job as a specialist in my field is ridiculous. You also can’t assume you know everything without having worked a day in the field… so good on you for unfriending me.

Goodbye…

Goodbye…

It’s time to say goodbye.

I’ve done my attempts at trying to fix things between you and I but it’s clear that you could careless.
We’d make great friends… and wonderful lovers even more…
But you won’t allow yourself to get closer to me.

I am hurt. Devastated, crushed, destroyed…
I know what I felt and I know you felt it too.

Why can’t we be?

Of Loss…

Of Loss…

I went on a walk today. Not too far away, just in the general area. One of the other artists here told me about an abandoned church that was not too far down the road. Having a vague interest in abandoned buildings I was intrigued. Since I didn’t have anything planned today, today was a good day to do some walking.

I ended up almost missing the church because the original path was overgrown with grass and pine needles and dirt. I started my way back up the road until I spotted a overgrown stone stair case and thought that was peculiar, but also thought it was kind of religious looking. I walked up the stairs and down a path that had grapes growing on either side of the pathway. I followed the pathway all the way up into a wooded area and a small towering church came into view. I had found it!

There was two stone benches attached to the church outside and I decided to take a break and cool off a bit. It was very peaceful as it sat back from the road a bit and you could barely hear the traffic that drove by. I got up and walked over to the front of the church. Unfortunately the doors were bolted shut so I couldn’t go in but I noticed some roses growing out of the masonry work of the church and snapped a few photos.

While I was sitting down, I thought about recently how people were leaving the Catholic faith in droves and here is an abandoned church. I thought about my own spirituality and concluded that they weren’t necessarily leaving religion altogether, but perhaps leaving organized religion and focusing on a more personal journey.

The above image was taken just before I walked down the pathway. My artwork is hugely centered around place/the environment as well as loss. At the beginning of this residency, I ran across an article from Orion Magazine by British author Robert MacFarlane and fell in love with the way he spoke about landscape. How his interest in landscape came from something called “landspeak”… describing one’s surroundings using singular words and sometimes phrases. He also mentioned the botanist, Oliver Rackham and wrote this passage about Rackham’s book, In the History of the Countryside.

“[…], the great botanist Oliver Rackham describes four ways in which “landscape is lost”: through the loss of beauty, the loss of freedom, the loss of wildlife and vegetation, and the loss of meaning. I admire the way that aesthetics, human experience, ecology, and semantics are given parity in his list. Of these losses the last is hardest to measure.”

It was interesting to me that this botanist saw that landscape is lost and he describes this loss through beauty, freedom, wildlife and vegetation and meaning. It made me think of my own healing journey from the loss of my job, a close friendship and relationship and more all in the span of two years. It was as if I was loosing myself and regenerating a new self from going through this pain and healing. I am certainly a different person than I was two years ago. I love the above image as it captures the sense of loss I think that MacFarlane was speaking about. Things change and move around and things get lost in the process. I have felt that this residency was the pinnacle of a turning point in my life. I had nothing but work and sleep for 6-9 months and I made enough money to take a month off and live in Italy to work on my artwork. I definitely sense change is coming and something new will come out of this loss. I had been thinking a lot about this close friendship whom I lost this past year and I definitely caught myself missing him.

Camera Oscura

I open the double glass doors to a building that was built in the 900s AD that now housed an artist studio. The interior was decorated with low oblong brick arches and cobble stone floors. The camera oscura was situated just across the double glass doors and darkened with two very thick red velvet curtains. The feeling you got in this space was as if you were a 15th century alchemist studying notes from their book in the dim light. The camera oscura was lined with shelving to the ceiling full of esoteric and miscellaneous photographic equipment left by it’s previous users. To my left a shelf was stocked with brown chemical bottles and miscellaneous equipment to mix photographic chemicals. To my right was a wood board that was created as a makeshift table to do your developing in. To the far right of that was an enlarger for photographic prints. The table space was just enough for my device as well as the photo chemicals trays. I almost felt like a time traveler –  bringing a device and a photographic process that was relatively futuristic into a space that was there since the 900s AD.

Liberation – Kali

Liberation – Kali

The Hindu Goddess Kali – the goddess of time and change, death and rebirth, visited me through you. While at the time I didn’t know who she was, or what was happening and I felt hurt, lost and confused. At first I was really hurt, and the confusion was grand. Even a year after what happened between us, I still feel close to you, felt love and companionship – something I’ve been desperately seeking for awhile. I admired you; adored you… Everything you’ve taught me through working with you made me become where I am today in my own business practices. I valued you, saw you as an inspiration…. of whom I aspire to become someday (more or less).

But like with all Goddesses, the goddess energy is the female energy of the manifest world – no matter the culture. It resides in medicine plants and many other earthly forms. As I was discussing with my spiritual mentoree about a recent article posted by The Sacred Science website that the medicine plants hold the sacred energy of each goddess archetype – in the case of the article; Kali is the goddess form of the hibiscus plant. This goes back to the spiritual practice of correspondences – in mystery schools they teach that each plant or mineral has correspondences to amplify that specific energy. She [the Goddess Kali] offers liberation through time and change – death and rebirth and that’s why she came to visit me through you.

Rethinking what happened between you and me a few weeks ago, I have realized how much of a significant impact it has made on me. My spiritual mentoree even mentioned that my energy was lighter after the fact. Like I was broken free from the straps of the depths of my emotions and the darkness from loosing you as well as my ex in a span of two years. By providing liberation to me, I was broken free from these straps from my ex and the straps from you. It was like light had filled my life again. I had awoken from a deep sleep. I have been reborn.

photo-2Last September I went to Canada on a Biology research trip and spent time wondering the forests and practiced some Forest Bathing or what the Japanese refer to as “shinrin-yoku”. I ran across an art journal prompt board from pinterest with a pin of a picture of someones notes regarding different elements and how they are healing. They mention that forests protect our spirits with their canopies as well as energy. Before my trip, I prepared an artist journal and did a ‘pre visualization’ page. Normally, I don’t share what I’ve done in these journals as its for spiritual/artistic growth, unless it seems relevant.

The page to the right is my ‘pre visualization’ page from that residency and I was illustrating how I felt, and how I foresee what the experience may bring me. I was hoping to have this experience relieve me from recent events in my life and allow me to move me forward. At the time I was visualizing a turning a corner in my life – not necessarily liberation – but a new era, a new life cycle. It was just around the corner, but I wasn’t seeing it because I was so despondent. I had lost the light of my life, my inspiration, and a companion. 7 months later, that liberation came to me – (through you being mean to me!) – just in time for the spring equinox. I have never felt better and I cannot wait to see what comes to me for my ‘pre visualization’ page for Italy!

Pray for Strength

Pray for Strength

Lately things a been a bit rough.

Last month I had surgery in my left ear to remove a cyst that blocked my hearing and caused significant hearing loss. After working in a cubical at Minuteman and not being able to hear my co-workers through the glass pushed me over the edge to get it looked at. The best news about this was that the original surgery I had in the ear wasn’t affected and that this could be removed and my left ear would mirror my right ear. Well, I went in for surgery, came out fine and healed properly and everything seemed a success. A week and a half before my last post-op appointment I noticed something funny about the hearing of the left ear and just chopped it up to wax building up since I stopped using the medical drops that allowed it to heal as instructed. But during my post-op appointment, the Dr. checked it out and found out that due to aggressive healing a new membrane continued to grow and caused the same hearing loss problem. After this news I felt really defeated. I then had to have emergency surgery in the left ear because the membrane would just continue to grow and I’ll continue to loose my hearing. In between all this… I had a really bad viral infection the week of my residency which happened after the first surgery, and then five days before my second surgery I started to get high fevers. Between two surgeries in two months and feeling ill a couple of times in between, I’ve been feeling a bit down and defeated.

I’m also still trying to force myself to move on from Minuteman… coming to terms with the experience, and my feelings and realizing that my attempts to establish a professional relationship with them have been thwarted is making it really difficult for me to let go. Also leaving someone who I cared a lot about and held close to my heart there, is not helping this healing process. This experience also had me change the way I view negative experiences. I am teaching myself to learn to accept negative experiences, but don’t let negative experiences control me. Shit will continue to happen to me, but how I react to it will change how it molds into my life and affects me.

I’m just worried about how this experience at Minuteman will affect my career. Right now, I have no desire to go off job hunting again – after three years of sitting through resume calls and sitting and waiting and never hearing back to finally being hired in my desired position only to be fired six months later…; to sit through dozens of interviews only to never get a call back… to be ‘won over’ by someone else because of something that I don’t have… to be told that I don’t have the experience, skills or some other goddamn thing. I am worried my design career is coming to a heed. As a graduating senior, this isn’t how I envisioned my design career to be, no not at all! After my heartbreak, things just seemed to crumble and fall apart for me. I have thought of a temporary solution that will help me get through until my next design gig. I’m hoping that after my internship at JetSetterGypsy that I’ll be able to apply for Social Media marketing positions and just work with social media until another contract position comes through or something better. There just isn’t a job for me…

Leaving the Past Behind

Leaving the Past Behind

I recently had closure on something that has allowed me to finally leave a situation in the past. It is bittersweet and while I thoroughly appreciated the closure, it’s left me with an empty heart. I had looked up to this person and admired them for what they have accomplished. As I feel like I could be in their shoes one day, and felt that if things went well I could learn a lot from them. But things didn’t go well, and I was forced to leave. My heart stings with the absence of their warmth. What’s frustrating me about this particular situation is my intuition. It’s telling me, that things are DEFINITELY not over, and it’s making moving on even more difficult. But what I find interesting about a similar situation that I was going through about a year ago, was my intuition telling me then that it was DEFINITELY OVER. This is different. I don’t feel the sinking feeling of disappointment creeping up on me, it’s quite different. It’s like the fact that I know things aren’t over are making it easier to move on. I guess I am just impatient and I want the new start to happen.

I also feel like a huge cycle just ended and this closure has allowed and opened some new things coming to me. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with exhibitions lately, and I’m kinda wondering if its because the negative energy of that situation was still lingering. But now that it is closed, I should have better luck… it was like a block.

#3 The two moments I’ll never forget in my life are…

#3  The two moments I’ll never forget in my life are…

The third journaling prompt that Spirituality and Health mag suggests to write about are the two moments in your life that you’ll never forget, write them down so they are memorable.

I decided to do these prompts in relation to my career thus far.

1st Memory – In/Finite Earth

The first memory of my career thus far is obviously winning the In/Finite Earth competition. I never win at anything at all, and didn’t think that my photograms was considered as fine art. I guess before this competition I really didn’t know the value that my artwork had. This competition was a serious turning point in my career as I began to realize the significance of my work and the importance it has in the artwork. My professor that I created this work with in college told me that it had the huge possibility of becoming a legacy. This guy was the kind of professor who saw everything, so when I showed him my process and the work I was creating, it really changed his world I think as well.

2nd Memory – Being Hired (and then fired) at Minuteman Press New England

This is something I’ll never forget. I had been searching for a job for three years previously before being hired at Minuteman Press. I had studied graphic design for almost 8 years at the time I was hired. When I was finally hired, my co-workers then (before Minuteman) said I was glowing. I had just gone through a really rough time and it made me question my life as a whole – so entering this new job made me leave the things I was dealing with behind and to move onto a better phase in my life. I felt like I was prepared, but what I wasn’t prepared for was being denied – almost – accommodations for my mental disability. My boss didn’t care that I had such a thing and wasn’t willing to work with me. He also didn’t really understand that the mistakes/errors I was making was due to my mental disability and having my mind actually not being able to see those errors before production. I am now not really in the best place in my life because of that and I don’t really see graphic design as a career path right now. Which I am having a hard time coming to terms with because I had been on this path for almost 10 years now. To leave that dream behind makes me feel like a failure.

– See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/30-journaling-prompts-self-discovery#sthash.y6quQYHI.OO0C3ofT.dpuf

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