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inspiration

the only things getting in your way are fear and laziness. nothing else, nothing else. so when you wake up in the morning, get up. get to work. seek movement. be the movement. live your life the way you want it to be told.

Someone once told you that you must sit up straight. Do not bite your nails. Look at people in the eye. Always greet people properly. Always proceed a ‘hello’ with ‘how are you’, but never cross any sensitive boundaries. Someone once told you that chaos is insanity, that spontaneity is dangerous. Well I’m going to tell you something a little different. You go ahead and be chaotic. You go ahead and do what your heart desires. You need a little spunk, a little sass, and a lot of heart to get through all this hell. Dance, my love, dance. It’s the only way you’ll understand that you can transform this hell into your own heaven. Dance, throw those arms up. Close your eyes. Sway your head to the rhythm in your head. Music is how we rediscover ourselves, after all. Dream. Release every demon. Do it. And when you do, scream at the top of your lungs until every inch of your body screams with joy with you. Find that wild spirit within you. You will need it.

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I can’t not write. I can’t even begin to fathom a life without writing. It’s obnoxious how much I enjoy the act of writing. What I love about writing is that I can both, at once, be enveloped and detached from my self.

Sometimes I have trouble keeping focus. It’s not because nothing sustains my interest, paradoxically, my attention jumps from one idea to the next out of excitement. Everything is interesting. I’ll be reading something and a burst of thoughts will begin to crystallize, and I’ll form my train of thought from there. When I started to write this, I was actually in the middle of reading a book that I had to put down in order to scribble down these thoughts. One thought provokes another and I become lost in the realm of verbal expression. Does it ever happen to you where writing feels like a drug? It becomes a vast ocean of free writing. Your rational intelligence dissipates and the intuitive mind takes over. It’s almost as if both my hands are moving and my mind is spinning, but it’s going at such a rate that I am not consciously aware of what I’m thinking until I see it on paper.

People often note that I must read a lot because of my abundant writing. I don’t. It’s so hard for me to focus on one book at a time because I become so antsy about my own ideas that I become absorbed by them. It’s a transcendental feeling when I write, it makes the emotions much more real, it makes reality that much more real.

I can’t even finish this interior design book that I started (2 weeks ago) because:

1) I decided to search up Russian design when it mentioned the word “Russian”

2) because it mentioned Renoir speaking about the “white on white” technique and I had to search up who this artist is

and

3) because I have other books laying around and I thought, well why not read those too! i can read them all at once!

Sometimes my mind is empty. Sometimes I repetitively refresh my Facebook page thinking that a late night status will suddenly and somehow spur some inspiration in me, as if I don’t already know that the news feed naturally refreshes itself.

Do any of you do this? Sometimes it’s pathetic how much time I spend lurking on the internet but really it’s just that i’m waiting for inspiration to bloom. I stare at the same internet page waiting for some god to bestow me with a good thought that I want to take shape. Sometimes I hop off from this couch, pace around my studio, grab another cup of tea, maybe put away a few clothes, and plop back down, hoping that this inspiration will just manifest itself within me. I can’t stand writer’s block.

Other times, when I have writer’s block and I so happen to be optimistic about my next entry, I am enthralled by the idea of the first sentence I will type, because that ultimately will lead the rest of the piece. Sometimes I think I’ll run out of things to write about because there are only so many thoughts I can have before they start to become redundantly boring. And they don’t! That’s the best part – that the mind is a pool of creativity. Sometimes I think I should just take a break from writing. Do you know how many more hobbies I could put into a day?! I could actually sit down and finish these damn books which are all bookmarked around page 100. I could actually play this piano piece that I’ve been meaning to perfect. I could try and develop these painting skills (or so that’s what I tell myself – that they’re just dormant and in a rather long, long state of hibernation).

This, is what I tell myself.

And look what I’m doing: hurriedly writing down all these thoughts on a post-it note at work while the toddlers are napping even though I’m supposed to be folding the laundry and washing the dishes.

It’s rare that I look at my writing and I think, “shit, that’s pretty good!” but does that stop me from writing? Clearly that is not the case because these ramblings persist! Like the painter or photographer, many pieces are recycled (if that, generally discarded and never looked at again) before a piece strikes a chord, hits a nerve. Artists are just obsessively trying to find a way to express themselves. The paradox about art is that it both clears traffic in the mind as well as clutter it, but it’s the good kind of clutter, the kind of clutter that rids of the weeds in the backyard so that the garden may flourish.

“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” -Albert Einstein

Some thoughts have even been lost on the way as I write this, and I think, “fuck!” and mentally pinch myself. Writing with a pen and paper is nice, but it’s not as nearly efficient. The best place for me to write is at my laptop because I type pretty fast, at a good pace of 110 WPM, and I can nearly type at the speed which I think.

Side thought: Do you think one day they will be able to invent a machine that can record your thoughts? Like a heart monitor but for the mind! Oh goodness that would be wonderful.

On the other hand, I don’t like to write when I’m…anywhere where I’m not alone and it’s not easily accessible for me to write. I always take notes in my phone of what I consider to be “important” thoughts that I’d like to elaborate further. But once i’m in a quiet environment hours later, such as my home, I can’t even go back to the thoughts because I’ve already moved on and can’t write about what I’m not genuinely feeling in that moment. if I were to write about it, it would be forced, and I can’t handle that (that’s probably why I don’t like academic writing).

I think the best thing about not only writing, but any type of art, is that it’s enrapturing. Creating art is beautiful. That’s what everyone should do, embrace the little artistic child that is within them and channel all that energy towards that one idea, or seven (or thirty-three). Knowing what we stand for, whether it be dancing, painting, helping others have a good time, is one of the best things we can do, not only for ourselves, but for the world. I believe one who is artistic and aware of this very aspect is both fascinated with the world and brings out the fascination in others. Artists carry inspiration in their essence. It’s how they breathe, for it as vital as eating and sleeping. Ideas trickle other ideas. It’s the domino effect, the butterfly effect, the ripple effect, whatever you want to call it. It’s momentous.

“All the effort in the world won’t matter if you’re not inspired.” -Chuck Palahniuk

Creating art is a love affair with the mind. To be scared of your mind is to be scared of everything. Trust where your mind wanders. It’s the most powerful, transforming, and magical tool. Metacognition – it’s what differentiates us from other species. Those who become trapped in their minds will never understand the freedom that comes with it. Has anyone ever benefited from overthinking? I don’t think so. I think people who overthink just haven’t found an outlet that facilitates a sort of mental release. Your mind is the palette that determines your masterpiece. Use your five senses to translate what swims in the mind. You are the paintbrush of your mind.

I’ve often questioned whether the people I encounter are survivalists or catalysts, and the truth of the matter is that we are all catalysts. It’s in our blood to create.

Go create art. Find your niche. Move in the direction that which nourishes your soul. Don’t fight against what the heart wants. Discover your passion. And be it. Become your own inspiration.

I took my senior seminar during a summer session in 5 weeks. My class was Peace Psychology and I had to propose a topic a week before class started. Topics included genocide, conflict resolution, the events that have recently unfolded in Rwanda, human rights, terrorism, children and war, reconciliation, etc. I decided I wanted to construct my paper on spirituality – finding peace in the individual. He laughed at me. He did. He asked me where I’m going to find this research because I need objective data. Duh, professor, I’ve only been here for three years, I wouldn’t construct a project based on subjective experiences. He told me I’d be better off with a more concrete idea, given that I won’t have the time to dive into such in-depth research because I was working 20-30 hours a week (he also asked me how much I was working). And I told him I was going to do it. And so that’s what I fucking did. I remember he had a look at my rough draft and he said I had a lot to work on with a few days to spare before the end of the quarter. Forming a well-rounded senior paper in 5 weeks is difficult I tell you, I wrote that damn thing in maybe 2.5 weeks whereas the first half of the session was solely research-based. He was worried for me, he said that this could be a potentially outstanding paper and he was wiling to give me an extension. I said no, and he told me that I wouldn’t get that A I was aiming for. I could tell he was testing me. He asked me why I wouldn’t take up his offer on the extension. I said because I’m turning 21 next week and I don’t want to have to worry about this over the weekend. He stared at me. I don’t care. I have nothing to lie about.

I busted my ass, completed my essay at 4am the morning of the due date, started creating a Powerpoint presentation at 4am, and finished it at 7am, and presented it at 10am. I aced the class.

The quarter afterward, I told him that I found a job in Palo Alto (one of the cities here in the Bay Area) for a clinical research assistant position. He told me that my chances of being hired are low, that they just place this ad on their website for future job replacements, that they may not even be hiring right now so that I shouldn’t get my hopes up. However, I didn’t go to his office hours to get a dose of reality, I wanted to know if he would offer a hand as a reference because their facilitation targets PTSD soldiers and my senior paper had centered around PTSD soldiers. He said yes. I never ended up applying because, well, to be honest, I was lazy. I still ever so often looked at that website, especially in December, and found that the ad had disappeared.

I just checked it now and low and behold, the ad has reappeared, looking for a second research assistant.

This post is to tell you that opportunities always present themselves, over and over again. Nothing is ever truly lost. Things come back. Things expand. It’s all about trusting the future. I will now be applying to two research positions. I could be working with the clinical research assistant that found that ad back in the fall.

Okay, and this post is also to show all these realists who like to laugh at me for having dreams. You can shut the fuck up now. If you don’t want to, that’s fine too. I’ll throw your joke back in your face. Your realism fuels me. You’re just out here to go by the rules. I’m here to do something with the world. I’m here to chase something more. I am not meant to live here and take the easy route. Don’t give me safety. I am here to express, to be true.

Never do what you need to do to get by, that’s not what you were put on this planet for. You are put on this planet to be the greatest you can be, and to spread that message. Put your body, your mind, your heart to work. Strive to be the best. What will you do that will test yourself to your limits? Do you have personal challenges? What will you do to change this world?

Age is a number. That’s what they all say yet they all follow the rules.

Age isn’t just a number. Age is just…age. Why are we controlled by this concept? It places us relative to others around us instead of what we want. People say age matters because they see life through a lens of how others view us. That’s the whole metaphor, after all.

I used to look at other people’s fashion blog and grouch at the fact that their taste in fashion was so extravagant at age 16, and there I was, wearing oddly bright and mismatched colors with Payless flats at age 16. I thought I was literate until I met someone who was, arguably in my perspective at the time, “more literate.” I began to tease apart all the book recommendations I’ve given. Geez, am I really just a poser of a well-read human? At age of 19, I began to question the validity of my taste. I used to think I loved my poetry and writing until I started reading other people’s writings on the Internet, whether they were 17 or 40. I was intimidated by the fact that my writing was subpar compared to either age. Can you even believe that? I was so taser-ed by a year’s difference. These are such minor details that should not ever, ever cross my mind. How can I ever grow if I constantly fall back to negativity? It stunts my growth!

I thought to myself, Newton discovered the laws of gravity at age 23, what am I doing with my life? When I started cooking, I thought I became the newest master chef. Then I observed that everybody else around me knew how to cook their style of food, whether it be Mexican or French, and I thought that my Chinese food looked and tasted atrocious. Okay, this is silly, but like you, these are perpetual thoughts that command our next step, which is usually, retreat.

I remember talking to one of my friends who is an aspiring writer and I told him that I can’t write stories because I write like a 3rd grader when I try. And you know what he told me? He told me that I’m undermining my story-writing, and that even if I did write like a third grader, there would be a third grade audience to appreciate it. Bam. And that’s how inspiration is done :)

Why do we judge people’s intellect and knowledge of the world based on how old they are? I hate when older people tell me I’ll understand when I’m older. Fuck you. It frustrates me when people in their mid-20’s tell me I don’t know what real life is. Shut the fuck up already, you look idiotic. Why do we judge people who have dreams at such a young age? They tell me that within a decade’s time, you’ll see why they were called dreams. Shut up, Jesus mother-fucking Christ. While I was in Rhode Island, I saw an older man, probably in his 30’s, enter the ice-rink and he immediately fell. He immediately startled me because he was right behind me and I was holding onto the railing and I thought he was going to run into me next! He laughed and stood back up. Throughout my time at the ice rink, I observed that he kept falling, but he just kept going. I could tell it was more of the adventure of ice skating than the actual idea of mastering it that mattered. He had so much spirit.

Let’s face it, most of you would not have the backbone he did in those moments. And it’s okay! It happens to the best of us. We care about how we are perceived. However, if you always care what other people think of you, they will always have the upper hand. Like anger, it only fuels you, not the other. The same applies to these poisoning thoughts.

If you’re not willing to struggle, to shed off those layers of perfection, to let yourself feel embarrassed, then you’re probably too bland anyway. Your mind is generally blank besides this and just this compare-and-contrast business. You probably don’t understand happiness, just unhappiness, which you generally believe is caused by others and not something deeper within. You probably don’t even have dreams, you probably don’t even care about being inspired, you just want to get through the day. If you are one of those people, this piece of writing is irrelevant for you, as is most of my other writings. Your deepest obsession is probably the last time you had sex and when this agonizing pain will be relieved again. You care about the longevity of your eyeliner and finding the man of your dreams. You’re probably uncomfortable with change and don’t even know that it exists. Your idea of change dwells in changing makeup brands. You only go to the stores you go to for the strict reason of its prestige, but you convince yourself it’s out of quality. You wouldn’t dare step into Wal-Mart, and you wouldn’t ever be caught found at a trashy dive bar because it’s damaging to your image. What worries you the most is if anybody will get too drunk and ruin your night. Late night thoughts consist of when you will get married and have the platonic family you’ve always dreamed of. You’re materialistic and status-conscious. However, despite what I’ve said, it’s all been a lie. Because you do have dreams. Everybody has dreams, you simply have to recognize them.  It’s not about creating a dream that matters, it’s about uncovering the dream within you. This writing is for you.

What happens to us is that we naturally steer towards the negative side of thinking because it is much each easier than trusting the world around us. We look at other people’s works and we personalize it. We begin to think our work, that we loved so fondly just a second ago, is now trash. Start to recognize that you are your own unique style. You are not the compilation of what is deemed acceptable. This does not only apply to the work you create but also you as a human being. Start to recognize that you are special in people’s lives, that the world would not have the same hum if you did not exist. Stop comparing your friendship to the friendship of others. Quit questioning. You are already important.

The purpose of life isn’t to compare it to who you should’ve been or who people already are. The purpose of life is to see who you are, today, yesterday, tomorrow, and love all of it. Let your identity be integral to who you are, not these little bits and pieces cut into failures and successes. You won’t be able to fully flourish if you are tied to the idea of compare and contrast. That’s the whole fallacy, that idea. When you compare, you place yourself next to what already exists. We live in a society where we only know of the past patterns, we can reflect but we can’t grow. Our thinking patterns are representational of how we lead our life. Be bold enough to innovate. Quit looking for validation from society that whatever you do is good. We become stuck in being “good” enough, but as I’ve said time and time again, there isn’t such thing. What is good may have captured Steve Job’s interest but not Deepak Chopra’s interest. We live in a world where we are struck by this idea of perfection, but we only want to be perfect to others. We don’t already see that we are already perfect within. We struggle to seek this acceptance from society so that we never have to accept ourselves.

Stop letting these labels take over you. Stop containing yourself in these walls that prevent you from being the very being you are. Start being yourself. There is nobody else in this world that fits that label more than you do.

Okay, this topic got off track. What I’m saying is that age is just a number because it’s never too early or too late to learn absolutely anything (this is what sparked my interest). My friend who is a dancer is hopefully going to teach me how to dance, because I find choreography to be thrilling. You can learn, and as a matter of fact, relearn an old hobby. Just because you didn’t learn how to paint when you were 8 does not mean you cannot paint. Did you know during Van Gogh’s time, he only sold one painting? His paintings spread across the world long after his death. You can still try that sport you’ve been wanting to play as a child instead of watching from the sidelines. You can still climb trees, you can still play hopscotch, and boy, you can still play hide and seek and pick dandelions and make wishes.

You are not meant to only have playtime when you are 6. You are always meant to play. You can always have fun. Life is so much more than just learning to play the violin in 3rd grade and paying bills as an adult. Life is a blend of all things, all beauties, all interests. It is never too late. Nothing is ever too late.

Break the cycle. Do not participate in this culture of misguided people. This does not mean life is one big ball of chaos, because I already know, yes, your first thought is that there will be disorder. There is disorder within order just as much as there is order within disorder. Stop falling for definitions. Life is too vast and too beautiful to fit into any definitions.

Stop sitting in front the TV. Get up and do something. Take the time and patience to achieve on your own schedule, not what society considers permitted.

Do not let your life be one masterpiece of discouragement. Even worse is to live in ignorance of this exact aspect. Become aware. Become your own inspiration. Become very much of who you are.

– – –

(guys, i was so determined to write this out before all the passion and thoughts escaped me that i forgot about what i was cooking, and these boiling tomatoes are now mushy, pout face)

– fall in love.
– meet the most amazing people ever.
– go to africa to help with global organizations.
– be an inspiration.
– have a wonderful job that i LOVE.
– keep in touch with shepleigh for the rest of my life.
– and meet up with her 10 years later and laugh like 12 year olds.
– go to a concert!
– go to china with my mom when she’s old
– live in europe.
– pet a panda.
– go on the superman ride at six flags
– live in a huge house.
– live in a wittle house.
– grow a garden.
– have a bunch of furry pets. :)
– read all the books by jodi picoult.
– retire in china.
– make music.
– swim with a dolphin.
– meet tom welling.
– meet the rest of the smallville cast.
– learn how to ballroom dance, again.
– see a shooting star with someone i love.
– sleep under the stars.
– sing a song in front of everybody.
– go fishing.
– sit by the lake and watch the clouds.
– have a picnic.
– give a speech in public.
– go in a hot air balloon (i know, don’t make fun, i haven’t. how many years have i lived in new mexico again?)
– go to the top of the eiffel tower.
– go to australia.
– go sledding in alaska.
– go to galapagos island.

– help an autism organization
– be a hero.
– give my dinner meal to someone poor every month.
– help a blind man.
– buy a random kid a toy.
– visit the foster home.
– commit a crime, and get away with it.
– go around the world.
– meet people with different cultures and different personalities
– help a complete stranger.
– call somebody i thought i’d never talk to again.
– get drunk in a foreign country.
– write my own life story when i’m 60.
– go on a vacation without a camera.
– send postcards.
– treat people with complete respect.
– cheat death.

(2007)