To Be or not to Be…art is the answer.

 

Being an artist has nothing to do with your level of education or your ability to be paid for your work. Being an artist is about how you think, how you feel, how you express. It has to do with the way you see the world, the way a sunset or the glimmer in a child’s eye, or disaster or the tragic death of a young person can make you feel the infinite extremes of opposing emotions. It has to do with your willingness to create, to discover, to mold, learn, grow and change. It has to do with a survival need to create.

For me–art is about a constant need to find the good in the world, to find beauty where there is pain and to see possibility where there is no hope. I seek these things through my vision and expression because half of my mind wants to die and the other half desperately wants to show it there’s a reason to live. For me–art is literally my life. It is how I think and feel and exist. It has never not been present. It has always been around me in the form of my interpretation of the world in which I live. It’s hard to recognize it sometimes but it is always there. Art is something I need for ME. Any sharing of that expression with others may be beneficial for them, but even that is for me. I need art. I need it in my life and I need it in my mind. I can’t breathe when I deny myself the opportunity to see the entire world as an active work of artistic creation and expression which is constantly being molded and changed by everything in existence.

We are all artists and creators–making an impact and an expressive change to everything we come in contact with. I think it’s just that many people are afraid to recognize themselves as an artist or a creator. But art is not about any one medium–painting, singing, Crochet–making you money. It is about your willingness to see that you, too, are a creator of worlds simply because you exist in this one.

Choosing to recognize this in myself has been very difficult–and continues to be. But with it comes direction and purpose. It’s not an easy path for sure–but I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)

To be an artist in practice is to be a constant student of the universe. Always seeking a deeper understanding of your medium or purpose or expression. Always becoming a little better, and never putting your discovery on a timeline. I do not wish to master anything, per se, but to continue the spiral of learning, finding more and deeper ways to express the miracles of existence within certain mediums. There’s no hurry. The discoveries are infinite. Being an artist isn’t a mountain you suddenly reach the top of and know you’re there and never leaving. Being an artist is 100% about the process of creation. The process is more important than the end–for us. And by focusing on the process and creating for the sake of creation, you assure there is no end to what you can learn to express.

Being an artist has nothing to do with your level of education or your ability to be paid for your work. Being an artist is about how you think, how you feel, how you express. It has to do with the way you see the world, the way a sunset or the glimmer in a child’s eye, or disaster or the tragic death of a young person can make you feel the infinite extremes of opposing emotions. It has to do with your willingness to create, to discover, to mold, learn, grow and change. It has to do with a survival need to create.

For me–art is about a constant need to find the good in the world, to find beauty where there is pain and to see possibility where there is no hope. I seek these things through my vision and expression because half of my mind wants to die and the other half desperately wants to show it there’s a reason to live. For me–art is literally my life. It is how I think and feel and exist. It has never not been present. It has always been around me in the form of my interpretation of the world in which I live. It’s hard to recognize it sometimes but it is always there. Art is something I need for ME. Any sharing of that expression with others may be beneficial for them, but even that is for me. I need art. I need it in my life and I need it in my mind. I can’t breathe when I deny myself the opportunity to see the entire world as an active work of artistic creation and expression which is constantly being molded and changed by everything in existence.

We are all artists and creators–making an impact and an expressive change to everything we come in contact with. I think it’s just that many people are afraid to recognize themselves as an artist or a creator. But art is not about any one medium–painting, singing, Crochet–making you money. It is about your willingness to see that you, too, are a creator of worlds simply because you exist in this one.

Choosing to recognize this in myself has been very difficult–and continues to be. But with it comes direction and purpose. It’s not an easy path for sure–but I couldn’t deny it if I wanted to. Trust me, I’ve tried. I don’t have a choice. The severity of my need for creation combined with my great aversion to people, drama, and responsibility over other human lives makes it so my only coping means of creation is self expression onto inanimate mediums. There is no question for me of whether or not I can live this life without art. I live this life as an artist or not at all. To be or not to be may be the question, but for me the answer is art and creation.

To be an artist, in practice, is to be a constant student of the universe. Always seeking a deeper understanding of your medium or purpose or expression. Always becoming a little better, and never putting your discovery on a timeline. I do not wish to master anything, per se, but to continue the spiral of learning, finding more and deeper ways to express the miracles of existence within certain mediums. The mediums are a projection of my inner experience. Truly–I am art and through my expression I am creating myself.

There’s no hurry. The discoveries are infinite. The more I discover about myself and the universe, the more I have to discover. Being an artist isn’t a mountain you suddenly reach the top of and know you’re there and never leaving. Being an artist is 100% about the process of creation. The process is more important than the end–for us. And by focusing on the process and creating for the sake of creation, you assure there is no end to what you can learn to express.

Advertisements

Ending the Debate on Abortion Rights

Pro choice vs. Pro life is not a political debate, and we need to stop allowing it to be. It’s an ethical debate, which does not have a place in politics–at least not with situations as specific as abortion.

Let’s go through the reasoning, because as much as we think of this as a complex debate topic, it isn’t in the context of our laws. It may be a complex ethical debate, but in regards to legal right, there is no debate here.

Allow me to elaborate…

If you’re “pro-life” because of religion, that’s cool. But also, your religion is yours and not mine or anyone else’s, so my choice is still mine and your religion does not get to make laws that take that choice away from me. Separation of church and state. That’s it. That’s where your God arguments end. You do not get to put through legislation based on individual beliefs that counter our collective laws and shared reality. We can talk ethics and morals all day, but as far as law goes—you’re done when you bring up god and religion. It has zero place in politics. Done.

Take God out of it and its still super easy. You say its a life and to abort is to take a life? It’s killing someone. Let’s completely skip the debate on when life begins for s fetus. Whether it is at the time of conception, the moment of birth, or anywhere in between is completely irrelevant to the logistics of legality. Again, this is a debate of ethics, which could go on forever. However, one thing makes it irrelevant–body autonomy.

Body autonomy laws protect us and are already in place in the medical field. I can refuse a dying person my organs because of body autonomy. It may not be easy to watch them die, but I have a choice to say, “No, you cannot use my body or my body parts to sustain your own life.” If my own mother needed a piece of my liver, I have a the choice to say no and live with the consequences of that choice–even if the consequence is the death of my own mother. It is legal for me to refuse. The ethical and moral dilemma of whether or not I could sacrifice a piece of my liver to help my mother live is entirely my own, but legally I am in no way obligated to give her a piece of my liver.

Same principal applies to the medical procedure and choice of abortion. If a fetus cannot survive outside of my uterus and I decide not to allow it to live there– it doesn’t matter whether or not it is a life. It’s still my body and I get to decide who uses parts of it for their own survival. Just like the person who will die without my liver, I have the right to refuse another being the use of my body for their own sustenance and survival if I so choose. Think me a horrid person if you will–I still have the legal right to my own body. A fetus will not live outside of a uterus. It will die. A person needing an organ transplant cannot live without a new organ. They will die. I am not required to give them my organ, even if it is my fault they need an organ. I am not required to give an undeveloped baby my womb for the same reason. Body autonomy.

The reason for becoming pregnant is irrelevant. My body, my choice. It doesn’t matter whether I was raped or just have a really promiscuous sex life and am irresponsibly about protection. Your personal opinions of the reason behind someone getting an abortion, those reasons are not relevant to the debate of legality. Not relevant at all.

Body autonomy is not a privilege of the sexually responsible. It is a natural right of all body owners. I get to decide who touches me, and who uses my body for their own survival.

It’s not a hard debate. Its just difficult ethics and morals–which you don’t get to decide for any other human on the planet but yourself–not even your own children. So you cannot, should not, and will not take away someone’s legal right to their own body because you disagree with their lifestyle, morals, or ethics. That’s manipulative. That’s narcissistic. That’s abusive. When it’s being done on as large a scale as an entire society, it is oppressive.

Also, everyone needs to stop assuming people who get abortions don’t understand the gravity of their decision. Estrogen, a side effect of owning a uterus and ovaries, makes us uterus owners very deep feeling, very self aware, and very empathetic. We understand the gravity of choice. Stop shaming people who already understand the gravity of their life decisions. The only different between the hurt they cause and the hurt you cause is that they have to acknowledge it and you write yours off with your ignorance and privilege. You’re not pro life. You’re not fooling anyone. Get off your fucking high horse and come back down to earth. Your morals don’t make you any better than anyone else. Not even a little bit.

Nobody ever said getting an abortion was an easy choice, but it is now and should forever remain a choice for the uterus owner which takes away the biological inequality of responsibility for the consequences of sex.

This is not a debate of legality. It is a debate of morals and ethics that has been mixed and confused into our laws and politics. When you take the emotions of individual perspective out of it, pro-choice is the only legal reality.

Denying Science in Politics=Abuse of Power

I heard a politician say something that was very important. When approached by a reporter about the science of climate change, this politician said, “I believe that coal is a necessary power source and does not hurt or pollute the earth.”

He started the sentence with “I believe”. Generally when people do this it is because they know what they are saying is not a shared belief with the person they are speaking to, or the general populace they are speaking within. They say “I believe” so as to not push their beliefs on others, so as not to start a fight but simply to express their beliefs. Its a polite thing, really.

I hung out with a lot of LDS believers when I was in high school. One family in particular always said, “We believe” which was a super nice way to hear about their beliefs. It didn’t feel like they were saying their beliefs were unavoidable fact for everyone, it was like they were just offering their beliefs to the conversation as fact for themselves, and giving the listener a choice to believe or not.

In debates where people are simply speaking on morals, ethics, and personal values, this is a fine strategy that allows for the ego of the listener not to feel defensive or attacked or trapped and so it allows the debate to continue in a less confrontational way–which is always more productive to understanding and allowing diversity between friends.

However, when the person saying “I believe” has power over the lives of the people/person he says it to–that’s not ok. That is a severe abuse of power. That person is saying, “I believe this, and even though I don’t want to hear what you have to say or get you angry or make an argument out of it, I’m going to impose those beliefs on you and make it seem like you have a choice, but you don’t.”

So in the case of this politician, he is using his personal beliefs about coal and pollution, which contradict science, to make decisions that affect our entire planet.

The importance of separation of church and state, in our modern world, is not necessarily the separation of organized religion and organized politics. It is a separation between the beliefs we hold as individuals (church) and the beliefs we know as a collective species (state). I like to refer to these things as Individual reality and Shared reality. The truth is that we all hold individual opinions and opinions that can be held to the collective, and we need to stop thinking those individual opinions are only held by organized religions and those collective opinions are rightly reflected in our government. That is not the case.

Our individual reality is the reality we exist within as individuals living our own lives. This reality is lived, hopefully, from your singular perspective, understanding, and belief. It is dogmatic in nature, even if you have cleansed yourself of societal dogma, because it is a construct in your own mind. It is the routine of your thoughts, the motivator behind your life decisions, the roots of your expression of Self. It is based in a series of personal, subconscious beliefs held by the individual which affect the way that person experiences the collective or shared reality. Individual reality is your spirituality, your morals, your values, your beliefs about yourself in the world, other people and the way the nature of the world functions. These beliefs can come from anywhere. They can come from fear, experiences, upbringing, nature, manipulation, society, personal exploration, etc. But they are not always shared or acknowledged by the whole of existence. Individual reality is abstract. It can be understood from the outside, it can be empathized with, but it cannot be experienced by anyone except the individual to which that reality belongs.

Shared reality is the reality we all collectively experience. It is our physical world, the laws of that physical world. Science is the study of our shared reality. Science is an undeniable fact for us all. We cannot deny that the sun rises, that things fall when you drop them, that people’s physical bodies die, etc. Some individuals may deny pieces of it, but the evidence is tangible. You can see it, measure it, and know it to be true. We all can, and not based just on a feeling.

While Individual and Shared reality affect each other, and are certainly interconnected, they are separate entities, separate ideas and should be seen and acknowledged as such.

Moving on, anyone using their personal beliefs to limit the freedoms of our shared reality is abusing their power. My father did it to me growing up. Many parents do it to their children in our society, because our society does it to us and people gain the habits and beliefs of the society in which they exist implicitly if they aren’t careful. My father would impose his personal beliefs on me. His beliefs were based in his own experiences, which were scary but not mine. I did not have the choice or option to disagree and so his individual reality became mine, except while he was very comfortable in that reality, I hate myself and everything I am in his reality because of how he believes. This is called narcissist abuse–and our politicians have been doing it to us for thousands of years.

This politician, who used his personal beliefs on coal to override the collective reality of science and fact, he is abusing his power. He is bringing his personal beliefs, his personal dogma, his personal reality into consideration when making laws that affect the whole, collective reality. He is doing this, not based on facts or things he even dares to say out loud, but based on his personal dogmatic views which are clearly influenced by his own agenda. This happens all the time, actually. It’s manipulation. It’s abuse of power. It’s narcissist abuse, actually. It’s costing people their well-being and lives. It will eventually cost us all our lives and the planet we live on.

Your personal reality is valid. But you do not get to use it to deny the shared reality and impose your personal beliefs on others.

Americans–we are stronger United.

My Fellow Americans,

We’ve been dividing. It has been unsettling to say the least. Families have been torn apart. It seems one side is at odds with the other. There is a bi-partisan loyalty that has been taking priority in many of our hearts and minds.

I’ve had a recent shift in loyalties. After this weekend, and Trump’s first week in office, I have seen and read and participated in so much. I’ve been overwhelmed–so over involved in my personal political beliefs that I missed the big picture.

I’m an advocate of admitting when you’ve made a mistake or made assumptions in ignorance. I’ll live by my own words now–I did not see this coming. I underestimated the Trump administration in a very dangerous way.

 

There are some things we may never agree on. I don’t think we’re going to agree on God/Goddess/Universe/Spirit/Allah/Jehovah/Nothing/other. I don’t think we’re going to agree on immigration, refugees, or national security. I don’t think we are going to agree on reproductive rights or marriage rights. I don’t think we’re ever going to agree on which News sources are fake, which are real, which are biased or unbiased. However, I’d hope that one thing we can all agree on is that we are Americans.

Now more than ever, I feel a loyalty to my country. I remember visiting Washington DC in High School and laying eyes on the nation’s most fundamental documents. I didn’t comprehend what they meant then–not like I do now.

Democracy is a beautiful vision, and our founding fathers were truly enlightened men–even if they were also men of their time. They won a revolution that should have been impossible. They thought things through, and planned for the checks and balances that keep our system democratic. The amendments put in place by our founding fathers were brilliantly constructed to keep the government in balance with itself, and to empower the people if the government fell out of balance.

I will admit to you, Obama was not perfect. He had things going on I don’t agree with. He’s as corrupt as any of them behind the curtains–I’m sure. He’s a wonderful man, but he’s a politician. His administration did some wonderful things for civil liberties, but they were still financially sketchy and not always transparent. He’s a man, flawed as any. That’s what the 3 branches of government are for. They kept things in check. They kept him from gaining too much personal power.

We need to stop debating who is the better president. We have to stop comparing Obama to Trump or justifying Trump with Obama’s mistakes (or even his triumphs).

Can we please admit, openly and on friendly terms, that there might be some things wrong with our government right now?

The gag ordered silence, the executive orders, firing the AG, sudden travel ban–its only been a bit over 1 week. ONE WEEK! The change that has occurred in one week is so dramatic, I’d compare it to an entire 4 years of another administration. Some might say this is good–successful. However, I encourage you to think about why this is happening. There’s a reason for this, and it’s not good.

The democratic process is being abused.

The reason it takes other administrations so long to get things done is because our system depends on a very organized process of checks and balances. Those checks and balances are fundamental to maintaining American Democracy, as it was put forth by our nation’s founders. If those checks and balances are being overlooked or completely ignored so that ANY party can get this much done this quickly, Democracy itself is being threatened.

Trump is a business man who is not used to politics. He is used to making decisions for a bureaucracy, not a democracy. He’s not waiting for permission from the branches, he’s just taking action. In business, this is successful! I’d commend him! I can actually see this being a very aggressive business tactic, and I’m not surprised he has been so successful.

But in politics, this can be fatal for millions of people–and in the US, it violates our constitution. It’s illegal. It’s unconstitutional. It’s very dangerous.

I think one thing we can unite on as a people is our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence–the genius, enlightened documents on which our country was built. I am loyal to these documents. I have studied them, and I will continue to study them for further understanding. I will defend them because I understand them and I agree with the vision they put forth. The general outline of American democracy is brilliant–but its being abused more than it has been for decades.

The checks and balances that are necessary to our system are currently being tested, and it is vitally important that people from all over the political spectrum stand up–not on behalf of a President but on behalf of American Democracy. We need to hold the government to the utmost standard of balance with respect and responsibility to the democratic process as it was put forth by our founding fathers’ pens.

We are the final balance put in place by our founding fathers in their construction of this political system. WE are THE PEOPLE and we are here for the United States of America–life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness! Democracy!

Going forward, I’m sure the protests will continue. Regardless of where you stand or what you stand for, we must keep the government in place, in line, and in balance. Democracy is at stake. The most important thing right now is not whether or not you agree with your government, its whether your government is operating legally and constitutionally. If you support the president, but he breaks the law or does something unconstitutional, you should be concerned. We have to stop comparing to the past. We have to acknowledge that, right now, something is very wrong and we have to stop blaming each other.

The future of this country depends on people from all sides coming together and keeping our government in check.

An out of balance system is not a win for any of us. It leaves us vulnerable to more than just terrorism. It leaves us vulnerable to political takeover, trade excommunication from other countries, war on our own soil, nuclear war even. The most valuable defense we have against foreign enemies is a united community of Americans and a polished and balanced democratic system. We have to be infallible politically. We have to be practicing genuine American Democracy to keep up the strength we wish to maintain. That is more powerful than any size military.

I’d love to debate liberal and conservative politics with you, but first we need to make sure that we all maintain the right to do so.

The People are the heroes now.

We, the People are the final check when the 3 branches fall out of balance. Things are very unstable right now. If they continue to fall out of balance, we will have to stand up together to fix it. We have to find a way to unify. We have to find a way to stand up as a people. Left and right wings are attached to the same bird. It takes both wings to fly.

We are most powerful as a country when we are united as a People.

I don’t know how to unite us. We’re so torn by hard moral topics. It is so difficult to have conversations nowadays. I will say, make your voice heard and listen other’s voices. Try to reach out, try to build bridges. Be willing to build bridges. Be willing to stand up against your president if he crosses the boundaries of democracy, even if it benefits your beliefs. We must maintain the checks and balances of the American democratic system. Our Nation depends on it.

It will take all of us.

Every single American.