My photo
Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Change your ideas or The irony of belief

I used to think 'Give me a man with 1,000 ideas and no beliefs and I'll show you a genius.'
The reason I thought that was the line of thought that you can change an idea but a belief is something that you carry with you forever. You learn your beliefs at a young age and for the most part they stick with you.
Belief: Something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.
Idea: A concept or mental impression.

The first is "firmly held" meaning we're not likely to want to or have the motivation to change them. The second is "a concept" and seems to me at least a lot more fluid and able to change. Ideas are easy to change. I've got an idea how this post is going to go, but if I find that I want to change it and go in a different direction then that's pretty easy to do.

One of the things I've come up against in the past few weeks and months is, how many of these beliefs do I really have? What do I really believe about myself and how much of that is so far from the truth about who I really am? How much of what I see in the world around me do I really believe is real? Me and my beliefs are like a lady walking through a market with half a ton of bananas on her head and asking where she can find bananas and wondering why shes so tired.

Can I change a belief? Sure. Beliefs can change. You just have to take their power away from them and shift them to ideas first. An idea, to me, presumes that you don't know the whole story and are willing to accept other pieces of the puzzle before calling the picture what it is.
What I'm coming to is: Fuck your beliefs! I've gone so long in life with so many negative beliefs that I'm ready to vomit (almost literally) them all over the floor. I'm fucking done with it. Fuck passiveness, fuck ideas of failure, fuck defensiveness, double fuck some dishonesty, and to hell with AstroTurf as a legitimate surface to play sports on! Okay, I never held the belief that AstroTurf was a good idea... just wanted to get that out just in case.

If you've been on here lately you've seen some of my paintings. I've been painting over old ideas with new pictures. They weren't bad ideas, they weren't (that) poorly executed either. Those ideas just didn't serve my purpose anymore. So, I changed them. My external is reflecting what's going on inside and that's not a bad thing right now. With that in mind, here's one more for you with some explanation as well:

So this was a painting that I did because it was all symbolic and shit of my struggle from the dark to the light and reaching up for help. Meh. It was okay. But at the time it was how I was feeling. Grasping for answers and a way out of a funk that I was in. At no time did I picture myself as the golden hand from the top reaching down to help. I was always the hand reaching from the darkness.
Now, overall I didn't like the execution of this and the hands looked a bit funny to me. It was also outside of my kitchen so I passed it about 100 times a day and it was a subtle little reminder that I'm constantly reaching for help and it's always just out of reach. Time to change my mind...
 I like that fire to sky look. And I wanted something that when I passed it would remind me to question me. Who am I and what am I doing today?
Well... I'm a fucking Aries! That's what I am! Raaaaaaar! Even my name means: Strong; Manly, and Virile!
"Andrew originates in Greek language and means "virile, manly". In the New Testament, Andrew was an apostle and the first disciple of Jesus."
Ok, so this is what it came out like. Ta-Da!
Sorry for the glare... no wait. Fuck your problem with the glare! Aries coming through assholes! Hahaha. Just kidding.
I added the Ram's head from a stencil I made (red of course) and some stars at the top. I did all the stars in white except the Aries constellation which is in gold. (Top right if you're looking for it).

So this is just some of me changing some ideas and I have no problem with that. What I do still have issues with is finding more of these beliefs and getting them the hell out of the way and changed over as well. It's okay to have beliefs. Truly believe in yourself dear reader. Believe in Love, Forgiveness, Your fellow man as your brother, God... Believe away! Just make sure your beliefs are serving you as much as you may be serving them.
"Question but keep Faith"... I should put that on a bumper sticker.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Another paint over

So this was Cookie Monster. He was in my bathroom for the past year and always made me smile. However, he just wasn't colorful enough for me anymore, so I decided to get some paints out and give him a total makeover...

With the blending techniques that I learned from the last one, I just covered him up (you can still see a bit of his outline at the bottom here) and started with my sky and horizon.

Then, I added some stacked rocks, some shading on them, and some "shadows" down in the water. 

Made some more water and then added the outline of my vines. 

I didn't like some of the rock's shading, so I cleaned them up and tried adding a "fallen vine" on one of the rocks. Here you can see the start of the thousands of dots I needed to do for the flowers on the vines too. 

Final product after adding more yellow, pink, and white dots. And painting over the vine on the rocks because I just didn't like the way it was going. 
And... I'm done. Hope y'all like it and I'll be back in a few days to post an update on me I'm sure.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stop that!

You ever picture someone punching you in the face? Mentally picture it. What did you get? Fear? Anticipation of pain? Anger? Punishment? Really, what would come to your mind if you knew you were about to get punched in the face?

Ya know what's come to my mind this week dear reader? Shit just like that. Except... and this is completely honest... I would welcome it this week. Oh please just punch me in the face so I can have something to point to and say, 'That's whats wrong! I've been punched in the face!' At times this week I've even wanted it so that I could then lash out at something. 'You there! Face puncher! Prepare to die!'

But no... none of that is happening. In fact dear reader I for once come to this blog with no idea what the conclusion will be. Right now I'm standing on the edge of a downward spiral looking over the edge and yelling 'Fuck you! I'm not going down there!'

Hold on! Hold on! None of this is making any sense... okay, let me try and explain. This past week I've just been angry. I've been busy minded, angry, and negative! And I just keep catching myself and saying, 'No! Stop that! Ask for help and ask to see this differently. This is not who I am and these are not the mindsets that I want.'

Whew! Right?

Wrong! They just keep coming back! I can feel great for a few post forgiveness moments, a few seconds of relief and then... boom! Back they come. Just an angry little (ego) dwarf living in there this week. He's running around smashing into everything and calling it everyone else's fault. Screw those people or damn that guy... blah blah blah. Just an angry little negative ball of shit this week.

So why? No seriously, that's my question! Last week was great, positive, up beat, loving the sunshine and birds singing... Nothing set me off, no incident of disaster, no major changes to my external world... nothing. Just woke up one morning and decided fuck this place, I want to be angry.

Well let me tell you it suuuuuucks! I've been over it for days now, but for some reason can't seem to shake it. Just keeps coming back.

It comes down to: is this a question of 'Be where you are' or 'Change your mind, change your life'?

I've tried changing my mind and the little fucker keeps changing right back. I've tried chasing it down the hall way to see where it goes and it never goes anywhere except made up narratives about the world punching me in the face. (Thank goodness I was able to bookend that otherwise this post would have made no sense whatsoever.)

Fuck it! The point here is I've got no point. I'm just at a shitty little place in my life and today I felt like sharing that. I'll get over it. I'll take it to God and he'll help me because I've asked for it. I'll give over the burdens and I'll get back to working on the larger questions of life. Maybe in my quest to 'Get back to the basics' I've gone back to a base emotion. Maybe that's it and this is where I get to decide I don't like this and don't want to come back. Maybe...
Either way, this is a tough one for me and I just wanted to share it with anyone who would listen, and today dear reader... that's you.

Edit: Some two hours later I read this:
"The unhealthiest thing you can do with anger is to deny you have it. The miraculous perspective is not to pretend you're not angry, but rather to say, 'I'm angry but I'm willing not to be. Dear God, please show me what it is I'm not seeing." Marianne Williamson.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bob Ross-n' like a champ

Ok, so some of you may know, some of you may have even seen... I got into painting this last year part out of necessity and part out of the fun of creating shit. So this weekend I decided to do another one and thought I'd share my "process" with you.
Hope you enjoy it!

So last year I tried to get messy and just paint something random. I kind of fail at that and the result was...
Hated it!

So this weekend, I painted over the whole thing in black to mask all that color and then started a new painting over the old. With some help from YouTube and some layering tutorials I did this:

So I wanted some background color, hence this base of some red and purple/blue.

However, I'm doing a night scene for my bedroom, so I want that cloudy nighttime look

Here I added some landscaped hills at the bottom and the start of a moon.

Added the details of the moon...

Then added a tree and a bit more detail on the landscape.

Now in the actual finished product the colors show through a bit more than they do here, and the whole thing is a bit brighter; but... you get the point. 
Hope you enjoyed painting with me!!! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Have a little faith in time?

Time isn't real, let's get that out of the way first...

Okay. Now that we've accepted that premise, we can move on. Anyway, one year ago today my world got flipped over and all the nasty little bits that were hiding under the stoic rock that was me were exposed to the light and had to start scrambling for safety. Unfortunately for them, there was nowhere to go and some real cleaning out had to be done.

I'd love to sit here and tell you that I'm enlightened and all has become clear after a year of work, but that's obviously not the case since I'm sitting here typing a blog. What is real is this:
- It was a tough year.
- I did a ton of self examination.
- I did too much self examination and not enough self-shifting change.
- I did a lot of forgiveness on myself, others, and the world around me.
- I still have so much forgiveness to do.
- It was a good year.
- Looking back on it like a "spiritual and growth stock ticker"; my stock has risen a ton!
- I feel great about my life right now.
- I feel like there is a lot of work to do in my life right now.

What's Now? Now my life is like watching a coin flip though the air. I can see heads, tails, heads, tails, good, bad, good, bad, change, stagnation, change, stagnation, openness and defensiveness. As I watch my life sail through the air, I'm trying to focus on the heads (good) things that are happening and calling a heads into my life all the time. However, when a tails (bad) aspect comes up, I try not to judge it as "bad" but forgive and move on. What I've come to realize is that every shift is just another flip of the coin. Ever choice is a coin flip and I have to have faith that God will let me land on heads if I just let Him, and that when a tails comes up, it's just another lesson to learn from and move on.

"Work the lessons. Not just those in the ACIM Workbook, but all the lessons that come to you. The people, events, and experiences that show up in your world are not random. They are orchestrated by a Higher Power that loves you in ways you do not understand. At every moment God is extending a hand to you to lift you out of quicksand and onto higher ground. Stop fighting life and let it love you. Miracles are seeking you. Now you must let them find you." -Alan Cohen

Yep. That. Thank you Mr. Cohen.
I've given up so much control over what happens in my life these days that it really just seems like the day does what it wants and I'm just here to move along in it. I still keep a schedule and show up to my job on time, but as far as how that goes... hell I have no idea. Like I've said in previous posts, I'm done playing by the rules of what "should/can" or "should/can not" happen and just starting being. I'm just now starting to figure the difference between what I want and what God wants. I'm just now starting to figure out how close those things are to one another and what is required of me to let go of my ego's desires. I'm just now figuring out how great things are going for me once I get the hell out of my own way. It may have taken all the "bad" things that happened to get to this point. I even had to repeat last year's lesson again, but... I believe in me. God believes in me. My teacher and my friends believe in me. And I believe that one year from now, that stock ticker is going to be so so much higher.

I believe that everything is going to be just fine and just the way it should be.
That's a sentence that I could not have written one year ago today.

Progress, if you want to call it that, comes slow, fast, or all at once. But as long as you're progressing dear reader; celebrate it!

"Faith is the bird
that feels the light
and sings when the dawn is still dark."

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Don't Grieve Your Grievances -and- Life Comes Easy

What? Hang on... I'll explain that.

Welcome to 'What's Now' where once again I come to you as a student finding shit out about myself, trying to learn from it, and then somewhat reporting that here to you dear reader.

This week my theme has been grievances. Holding grudges, holding on to past insults, past slights, past "mistakes", and past pains. It's amazing how when you sit around looking at the past how much you have to forgive.
- Oh man, that one night when so and so said _____ and then I did ____.
- I used to get into so many confrontations with _____ over ______.
- I thought ______ about _____ the whole time and never realized it.
- _______ always brought up _____ in me and I resented it.
- I'm constantly thinking about _____ and it occupies so much of my mind space.

The above is not some spiritual Mad Lib but rather thought process that are home to my grievances. It's literally insane! This week I've opened up to not just letting these thought come in and pass through my mind but rather holding onto them for just long enough to say, 'No. I don't want this. I want to forgive this thought or this mindset and then truly and permanently let it go.' I don't want to find myself still being upset over past thoughts ten years, weeks, days or even minutes from now. I want now! I want to take things as they are now. Myself included. So much of the forgiveness process is self-forgiveness since it is only I that am upset here. I can release grievances and forgive others, but I also have to forgive myself for how I feel about any given situation or grievance as well.

"When you accept 100% of the responsibility for the choices you have made, you gain 100% of the power to make new and better choices." -Alan Cohen.

Sometimes poking around in your mind for how you really feel about something can be a bit scary. Sometimes I find myself going, 'Jeez man. That's dark... or that's kind of messed up.' But, that's how my ego is playing the game. 'Look. Look. This is you! You're really a bad person and you should feel guilty about this! Look how you've treated others and yourself. Look at how you keep making these same mistakes. This is who you are. You're not ever going to be able to shake this! You're 35 years old and this is where you are...again.'

Not so fast! There is a way out of this: Forgiveness.
"Forgive and Forget" maybe the phrase, but I prefer to look at it as "Forgive and Move on." Move. Move forward and move on to the next thing that you need to forgive. I have the power to make different choices. I can do that. So... what's the hold up?

Life Comes Easy.

The hold up is fear. The hold up is living by a set of laws and rules that I've created and don't even realize half the time that I'm adhering to. Forgiveness is great. It's chipping away at the past and guiding me into the present. The future is not mine to be concerned with. Now. Now is my concern. However, in order for me to shake the laws of the past, I must make different choices now in order to carry those over to the future.

Ever hear someone tell you that life is a struggle? Of course you have. We all have. You have to go to work, pay your bills... death and taxes... grind it out... blah blah blah. Where the fuck did those rules come from? Did I sign up for this? When was the contract written that says I have to struggle to get what I want? I know I've clearly been living by those rules. I've been playing my role and my parts in whatever situations I've found myself in order to play by these perceived rules. Oh hell, I've run all over the world playing by these rules! I'm a rule follower and a good student, and a good citizen, a good man, a hard worker, I'm all these things that I'm 'supposed' to be.

So quick question... am I happy?

(Let that hang a bit... really ask the question....)

Hmmmm.... Nope!

Okay then! So, fuck your rules and let's make some different choices in life. How about instead of acting a certain way in a certain situation, you just act the way you always do all the time? How about instead of looking outside yourself for happiness, you look inside? How about letting other people know what you're really thinking and feeling instead of constantly fearing judgment and rejection? How about just opening up and letting abundance come to you rather than trying to grind it out of life? How about you just be happy, be balanced, be at peace, be you as God intended?

Well well... we're on the path to tearing up some of life's "rules" and on to a much more natural state.
- I am happy.
- I am loved.
- I am at peace.
- I am open.
- I am honest.
- I am forgiving.
- I am connected to my source and my creator at all times.

We're starting here. Right here. Really simple, back to the basics. I'm tearing up old contracts that I never signed up for. I'm not re-writing rules because there are no rules. I'm erasing past grievances and past roles. Now is all that matters. Who I was, who they were, what I said or thought, what they said or thought... all the way back as far as I can remember... forgiven, moved on from. That's the goal here!

I do right here at the end have to share a bit of a story with you dear reader. A lot of this came when I was squatting on the floor in my apartment. Yeah you read that right, squatting. Sitting in a chair is not a natural human resting position. Squatting with both feet flat on the floor is. It may "look funny" to you because we've been trained our whole lives that sitting in a chair is proper and "natural." It is not. I was thinking about that when it just carried over to everything else. Squatting there on the floor, thinking about life I thought, 'How much other shit in my life do I believe is the right thing to do when in fact it's complete bullshit? How many other things have I been trained to believe that are utter nonsense? What else do I think is the right and 'natural' thing to do when in fact it is not?"

Life is hard? Fuck that. Life comes easy.
Other people do things to me and hold me back? Hell no. I do all that to myself.
Your mistakes are unforgivable? Nope. Everything is forgivable.
You have to play by the rules? Fuck your rules.
You've created your world and your role in it. You have to stick to that! Hell no I don't! I can choose something else.
Other people are going to judge you for this. Well, okay. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Either way... at least this is what I really want.

Happy, open, honest, forgiving, loved, connected, and full of abundance. I'll start there and let the rest take care of itself.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Don't be a kill joy!

As many of you know here at 'What's Now' I like to take quotes sometimes and disagree with them. This one however popped up twice for me this week "randomly" and both times I was reassured by it that I'm moving in the right direction.

This week my theme seemed to be: Get back to the basics and I'm the only person that I need to or want to impress. Start small and move forward... celebrate your success... don't worry about what anyone else thinks.

I was triggered several times this week by small 'insignificant' things that brought up a lot of anger in me. Each time I lived in those moments was hell. Each time I was not in a present state of mind and each time I either did or said something that was not loving. However, each time those situations got shorter and shorter because I kept catching myself and asking, "Is this who you want to be?" Am I upset because that person said something about me or did something to me? Or am I upset for another reason? 100% of the time the answer was because I was putting something into the situation that caused me to be upset. I was the one choosing to get angry or "offended." I was the one who was comparing how I thought I was to how I thought I should be. How I thought the other person was treating me versus looking at the situation as it really was. I wasn't taking responsibility for my own emotions and reactions.

Where does that leave me then? Well it leaves me nowhere, because I'm here. However it does lead me to forgiveness. Self-forgiveness. Real forgiveness. I got so forgiving the other night that I damn near cried. "It's okay man. That's not who you are now. I forgive you. Yes, that happened, yes you did that or said that. So what? Is that who you are? Is that who you want to be? Guess what? You don't have to do it anymore. You aren't that. That doesn't have to be that way."
Now schizophrenic duel voice aside, some real shit got shifted for me in that. It felt like I was just talking to my past self and telling him that I was okay and he didn't need to feel guilt about it anymore. Past me is forgiven because what he did or didn't do doesn't affect me anymore. "I release you!"

Hey! I came here to read about comparison... you say.
Well I'm getting there... Comparison is the thief of joy because comparing myself to how I am and how I think I ought to be just sucks. I'm not there yet. I am right here. Today I take a step, tomorrow maybe I'll take another or who knows, maybe two. We'll get there when we get there. Comparing myself to my past self sucks too. I may feel better, I may like now more than then, but I can't compare because I can't crawl back into that mindset and I can't judge my past self when I'm too busy forgiving and letting all that judgment go.  Wait? What do you mean you can't compare to your past self? Well... okay, there will be times when I go, oh wow... I used to ______ and then think: 'Man I'm glad that's not part of my life anymore. I'm so much better off.' However, I'm not looking at past me and saying what a shitty place that was because I'm not going to project backwards any judgment or pull into the present any guilt over any of that. Sounds kind of douchey, but really it's not since forgiveness is weaved throughout it all.

Insert segue here

Ever had a happy day? Just clipping along and loving life, not sweating the small stuff like your bank account balance, the laundry that needs doing, or the week of work ahead. Just floating and enjoying it. I love those days. But in those days are where comparison kills joy most of all. You then see a post somewhere about Bill Gates and his billions being used to help
people while he's chilling by a pool somewhere and you think... damn, I may be well but I'm not Bill Gates well. Aaaaaand, there goes the good day. Now you're comparing. Now you're seeing yourself as less than because you've started putting things on ol' Bill and his billions. You think about your wish for billions or heck just $20 more to get a good lunch. You feel less somehow and you've just comparison killed your good day.

Flip that comparison around and in the same happy day you see a homeless many who is dirty and weak looking sitting under a bridge while it rains. Now you say to yourself, 'Well at least I'm not wet under a bridge depressed.' Um... who said that guy was depressed? Did you go talk to him and ask? Or did you just project that onto him? You're day just slid into comparison and then guilt over your "higher position" on the happiness ladder. See? Thieving joy all over the place.

Where this plays into my life right now is that I'm trying to compare myself to not only others but to my own expectations. I was getting down on myself for "not getting it" or "not being able to shift" or "not understanding how to change" or "not knowing what I want." I was thieving myself of the joy of my days. I was stealing my own happiness by not just forgiving and letting it go. I was not concentrating on myself and doing what I want to do and being what I want to be... right now! Not then, not next week, right now. Right now I want to type a blog. Wha-la! A blog is being typed. Randomly and all over the place I'm sure, but we're getting there.

My teacher has a cool analogy that he uses a lot that has been super helpful to me this week as well. If you're a second grader and you're talking to a senior in High School, then you're not going to understand what they're talking about when they discuss their calculus homework. (Side note: I never took calculus and didn't even know how to spell it just now). Anyway, the second grader can't get frustrated about it because that's not where they are! It's going to take a lot of time and a lot of lessons in life (school of life) to get to c-a-l-c-u-l-u-s. Okay, got it.
The point is if I'm siting here in second grade, then that's where I am. Let's enjoy it and move on to recess and art class. I'll get it and take in a few more ABCs and then move on to third grade. If I learn them well enough then who knows, I may be able to skip a grade, or two, or seven! If not, then hey, back to math class and move on. The point is, I can't compare myself to others who have been at this longer or who are opening up faster, forgiving more, forgiving less... because, that'll take all the fun and importance out of MY lessons. I've got to be the best second grader I can be. (sips juice box) I can't compare, one because I don't know enough about who or what I'm comparing myself to and two, it will take all the joy out of my lessons and my journey.

Bottom this line of thought out and you get to this: If you're busy comparing yourself to others, you're not spending that time looking at yourself; you're looking at others and practicing projection. Focus on yourself. You have only you to impress.

Back to the basics. Sitting here in whatever grade I'm in and learning the lessons as they come. I'm not trying to go after it all at once anymore. I'm just taking it as it comes and taking the pressure off. That whole "get it right or else you'll be punished" mindset is fading away. I'm saying, "Nah. I'm good. I am happy, and I'd like to stay that way."

Thanks for hanging with me this week dear reader. I know this wasn't the most eloquent of posts, but I did refrain from saying fuck this week, so... ooops. There was one. Ha! You're welcome!