Life is Good

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We tend to think that the world is out to get us. Things go wrong and we blame the universe. We tend to think, it’s not our fault.. That we put as much effort into it as possible and that “they just didn’t get us.”

But what, if for once, we realized that life is in our hands and is our responsibility….

We didn’t blame others for our faults. We didn’t accuse anyone for holding us back. We just lived. And then when things go wrong, we recognized that yes, it would’ve been nice…. But also asked ourselves: Did I work as hard as I possibly could in the circumstances? Was it a realistic expectation? Are my skills what they’re looking for?

If the answer is no to any of those questions, don’t blame the world. Look in the mirror instead. I hate being around people who seem to think they are entitled and tend to think that hard work isn’t behind our successes. Take a look around people….. Everything is in your hands.

If the answer was yes to all those questions, don’t blame the world. Look in the mirror and tell yourself life is good. It didn’t work out this time, but something will come. Something you weren’t expecting, and it will be better then what you were doing before. Even in our low times… Life is good.

Sit and Wait

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How many times in the run of a day, do you rush around with a million things to do and on your mind?

Tonight on the way home I realized how much my day included; a flag day ceremony organized by yours truly, two meetings, submitting final paperwork for upcoming events, running to campus to find my voice teacher (yes you read right, voice teacher) to get music, dealing with 20 children, rushing to find food, getting to a blood donor clinic, and finding a bus home.

That’s a full day.

And only one.

Tomorrow it will begin all over again with new challenges and obstacles. That’s the hardest part. Knowing it will happen all over again tomorrow. Knowing that no matter how much I plan or troubleshoot, things will go wrong and there’s nothing I can do to change it. So why do we sweat the little things? Why are they at that time, so important? I have discovered over the last 6 months after relying on public transit, how much I love the bus. How relaxing it is, to sit and wait, to not have to be thinking about anything. This is my time. To read my Bible, to draw something or someone, or like most days, to sit. What’s your time?

Sketchbook Project 2012

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The Sketchbook Project. Three little words that consumed my life for the past 4 months. It was an idea that was developed by the Brooklyn Art Library This project became my life for so long… that now that it’s not there… it’s like there’s something missing. It’s hard to put a finger on it, but it’s almost the pressure to become creative drove me to produce something that I am actually proud of. A lot of the times, when you rush and have the pressure to create, it never ends up being what you want it to be. But instead with the Sketchbook Project, it transformed. So while the finished product was not what I was expecting, it developed to be more than I had hoped for. So now, in April, I will register myself again for the Sketchbook Project 2013.

My theme for it was “Encyclopedia of…” At first I had the idea of using algorithms, ones that are used every day and can be artistically shown and described; like red and black trees, the knapsack algorithm or the traveling salesman. But as time went on, I knew there was something missing. While at T.A.N. for a coffee house, I started drawing. My mood was less then wonderful so my sketches became chaotic and messy. I knew then that my sketchbook’s theme had to let me include this way of drawing. So it officially became Chaotic Scribbles and Fine Lines. The results speak for itself. Soon, I’m hoping I’ll be able to go online and see my sketchbook digitalized. I have the call number. 141.7-3

This success, has helped me see that I would love to be creative artistically for a long time. To become better at it. It’s the part of me that keeps me sane. That keeps the crazy at arms length and let’s me continue on my day. Because at the end of the day, if I’m not happy or I’m not proud of the work I do… then why do it?

What did you do today?

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It’s been six months since my whirl-wind trip across Europe. I sit here in my living room, in rural Nova Scotia and think back about all the things that I experienced. Everyone asked when I got back about the highlights of the trip. There were many. And to be fair… it’s Europe. Everywhere you go is new and different. If you have an outgoing personality and trust that not everyone in the world is a horrible person, you will meet people anywhere.

So while events stick out in my mind like wandering the galleries of the Louvre, trying gelato in every town or city I visited, playing with the Senior Orchestra of Strasbourg… it is these experiences as a whole, that made the trip worth the expense. However, it is not always the ‘big thing’ that you do or see or experience. It is the little things that make life so much brighter.

Being the first one on the monument at Vimy Ridge was unforgettable. But it was the whole trip and the whole day, that made me appreciate it the more. Navigating my way to the inner zones of Paris, finding a ticket, finding the train, arriving in Arras, enjoying coffee and the sun in the early morning, being quiet and content, finding a cab to Vimy, visiting the monument, meeting other Canadians, finding a bit of home away from home, learning our history, meeting other Nova Scotians, discovering a magnificent cathedral, waiting for the train back, taking the train back, finding the hotel again.

…. it is all the parts.

So I ask, what did you do today? What made your day? It doesn’t have to be travelling the world. But, have you taken the time for you? Did you take and make a moment?

When life gives you lemons…

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The saying goes, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. But what happens when you want a grasshopper or tequila sunrise instead? What happens when the thing that you have is not the thing that you really want? How do you convince yourself that lemonade is really a great drink, and why would you want anything else?

When you find yourself in a situation that you no longer want to be in we change it. We pick a new direction, develop a strategy, pray, seek answers, question everything, not say no, not say yes. And finally, we decide that lemonade was yesterday’s desire… today’s is fruit punch.

So then what, I ask, do you do, with all of your lemons?

In a world of hate… there’s still Facebook

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Having been disconnected to the internet now for quite a while, it makes me ponder how the internet has changed our personal connection to other human beings. Being “plugged in” makes one rely on digital media to create and build relationships for us. We no longer personally interact with people on a regular basis; or rather… we do, but distance and busy schedules, tend to delay or (in some instances), prevent us from ever physically meeting the people on the other side of the screen.

But being human, we crave and need some sort of physical contact. Where does this come from then if we consistently make electronic versions of ourselves? This virtual self is what we display on the Internet through Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and personal blogs like this one. But how much of what we show is a facade and how much is a real version? An interesting connection came to me one day while sitting in a cafe pondering this thought.

I took a seminar during my third year at university called “The Imaginary Museum.” It was the first time I had taken a fine art history seminar and the professor pushed every idea of what I had considered to be a museum to the extreme. While most dictionary definitions consider a museum to be a building which preserves, exhibits and studies artistic, historical, or scientific artifacts; she opened my eyes to see that museums, could be more than the ordinary. The classical idea yes, but as well, traveling and virtual museums and museums without walls.

These are all around us. One only has to open the mind to the idea. And once we had done this, it was amazing to see in our every day lives, how many imaginary museums surrounded us. One of my favourite articles and museums that she had us look at was a book by Julian Montague called, The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America, A Guide to Field Identification. The topic, though seemingly ridiculous, provides expansive concepts and terminology which makes it plausible to connect this area of urban life to the concept of imaginary museum.

Now, some may not see the connection that I’m proposing. It’s not that we are all some kind of stray shopping cart, but perhaps that our virtual selves are more an imaginary museum that we think the world should pay attention to. These connections electronically have become a way of life. While it seems convenient, what is it doing to our connections we hold with the real people. The animalistic characteristic that makes us social creatures is being dismissed. But, it’s not just Facebook; it is every single social networking site that we create a profile on. So while we are more than happy to show the virtual self, do we ever present our real selves?