Monday, July 30, 2012

Olympic Smile

Good Morning World. I’ve spent the last couple of days watching Olympic coverage. I plan to do the same today with maybe a little painting. 

Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “The source of a true smile is an awakened mind. Over the weekend I shared this quote with a great love in my life, Vero. In telling her this, I realized the answer to my ‘life’s’ slump is in these words. If you sit and think about them, there’s more to them than meets the eye. There’s more to them than meets a smile. The message behind his words is beautiful, insightful and powerful. When we share a smile with another, for a moment in life, our spirits connect in present time. It's magical. 

Many years ago while in a school cafeteria, a woman told me, “Smile kid it’s not that bad.” She smiled as she said this to me; I smiled back. I’ve never forgotten this moment. It’s reminded me about how important a smile can be. Back in college, I used to imagine my smile traveling across the world. A sort of ‘pay it forward’ idea before I even knew of this concept. I often wondered where a smile ended or if it even did. Every time I smile this woman’s spirit is in my smile. It’s a beautiful thing; it’s like her spirit will never die. I’d like to think that my own spirit would also be in another’s smile for years or centuries to come. Even in writing this, I wonder who’s spirits' past are part of my life today. Could it be everyone!? 

And since I’m thinking about how far my ‘self’ will travel, the piece here is a self-portrait. For now, it’s untitled. As I watch the Olympics today, I will work on a couple of these self-portraits. 

If the Olypmic Games can bring unity amongst nations, can a simple smile do just as much? I think it can.

Smile, Cheese, Queso! 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Let The Games Begin

Good morning world. I’m super excited about the start of the Olympics. It was 4 years ago that I got cable for the first time in my life; I wanted to watch the Olympics in Beijing. At the time I wondered about how having more channels would affect my life. I’d have to say that I’ve watched more TV than before, but in the last couple of months, I’ve made it a priority to be conscious about what sort of TV programming I’m consuming. 

It boggles me that so much of our entertainment is focused on reality TV crap. Crap is defined as ‘Something that is of extremely poor quality.’ I don’t get it? I often wonder how these shows are leaving our world a better place. Recently, out of curiosity and research, I watched an episode of the Kardashians for the first time. I found their behavior sad and quite honestly, disgusting. 

It was a perfect example of how I DON’T want to live my life. So in some way one can say that it actually made a difference. But I will definitely not tune in again. 

As for the Olympics, I’ll be watching as much as possible. Knowing the amount of effort, dedication, and sacrifice these athletes make is inspiring. Over the years, I've shed tears watching these Games. As a little boy it was my dream to have been an Olympic runner. Because of unforeseen circumstances, my dream was never realized. Yet for 20 years of my life I ran as much as I could. Crossing the finish line at the 1997 LA Marathon was a high point and one of the greatest moments in my life. 

In honor of the Olympic Games being hosted in London, the piece here is titled, “God Shave The Queen.” It remains to be one of my favorite pieces from my LITTLE People series. I found this quote by James Dean to be appropriate, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.” What do you dream of? What will you do today knowing that it oculd be you last. I'll keep these words close to me for as long as possible. Because if its possible; it's worth doing. 

Have a beautiful weekend and enjoy the Games.

Monday, July 16, 2012

By The Grace

Hello World. It’s Monday and in a few minutes I’m off on my morning walk. 

Last night while watching “Oprah Builds a Network” (a behind the scenes of her as CEO of OWN) she said something that struck a nerve. In struggling with the network, she said something to the effect “that at some point everyone is taken down from the mountaintop.” She was referring to not being on top of the game, yet being able to see the beauty of another mountaintop. I immediately saw how this applied to my own journey in life. Life for the past couple of months has not been easy; emotionally/ spiritually it’s been the hardest I’ve had to live with. 

Now, I can see that I’ve needed to come down from my own mountaintop. And though the valley has been quite low, I can now climb another mountain, with a different view, a different journey. I see how hearing these words will help in the transition. By the grace of God, we are given everything we can handle. By the grace of God, we are given an opportunity to live life. I’m breathing today and that is enough. I can start climbing again. 

The piece here is titled, “ By The Grace of God.” Grace Jones and a crucifix inspire it. The old proverb goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I like to say, “There for the grace of God go I.” In simply removing the ‘but’ from the sentence, the entire meaning is changed. It’s a reminder to see myself in everyone and everything. It doesn’t always happen so easily, but if definitely makes life easier when I do. 

Have a beautiful week ahead.