Disguised Blessings – #Blesstival 2016

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By Jef Poskanzer – originally posted to Flickr as Glass Beach / wave, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3773754

Blessings come in many ways in our lives and sometimes those blessing are in disguise.

It is easy to look back on our experience and see where something or someone was a blessing, but it is very difficult to see those blessing that are currently unfolding in the present, especially if they come with difficult change.

This of course does not mean that we are not blessed in the current moment; we just need to understand that blessings can come as hardships. We have all heard before when a tragedy strikes that maybe positive change will come of it.

I am reminded of the phrase “diamond in the rough.” If it were not for the hardships that cause one to get thrown about in the waves of experience, then one may never reach that level of refined beauty that so many seek.

I was asked recently by a friend, “How did you end up with a good man after being with an abusive one?” This was asked honestly with the underlying notion that those who get involved in abusive relationships tend to repeat those relationship choices.

I had never thought about my current relationship from this perspective….

How did I end up making a positive change in my life?

I am glad my friend had the courage to speak up and ask me. This was a blessing in its own right. The subject came up because of a blog post that I reluctantly made about my past abuse. I did not know at the time just how much healing that one blog post could bring me and again I was blessed.

My current relationship is thankfully not an abusive one. There are hard times and there are really tough decisions that need to be made, but I am now in a secure place in my experience that allows for greater spiritual growth. I am changing and growing and I am blessed to be in such a responsive relationship. I have been contemplating for weeks about my current relationship and questioning its blessings in preparation for this post. I only now see this relationship as such a blessing in progress because of this post.

When we honestly question our current experience for deeper meaning we are allowing the All That Is to move about freely in our lives to help us do some polishing up. This is also when synchronicity becomes visible. This has definitely been happening in my life, and I am happy to invite the change in perspective.

My previous post was about past blessings and where they have brought me. Those blessing in my life were much easier to view in hindsight. I could see the good that came about from those situations and I could say with confidence that I was blessed.

This current post is not as definitive as my last. I am being blessed yet I am among the chaos that comes with the shedding of old ways. Many of these current blessings are still being expressed and brought forth. They are not finished with me and I have not felt their true worth.

One of those blessings is my husband. It is his birthday today and I want to honor his presence in my life by expressing the blessings I have received from our relationship.

It has been difficult to truly see my blessings. I know that I have benefited greatly from our relationship and I know that I am happy with where our decisions have brought us thus far, but after 10 years we are still a work in progress.

If there is one great lesson that I have learned from this man, it is to seek greatness in all that I do and the blessings will abound.

I am still at a loss for words to describe the blessings in our relationship, but I do know that love is the best sandpaper there is when is comes to smoothing out our spiritual selves. My husband and I can only truly know our worth to one another and others can only know the reflections that our relationship makes upon this world.

My hope is that we help create positive change to those around us.

Change is always happening and we get to chose how we perceive it, just as you get to perceive my intentions for this post.

I want others to seek to see the beginnings of blessings in their current situations and remember that blessings come in many unsuspecting ways.

This post was created as part of a Blog Blesstival created by Sophia’s Children.  I would like to thank Jamie for opening up the windows for these blessings to be brought forth.

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Are We As Consumers Doing All The Work?

Sometimes I think the machine just messes with you. #technologyfail #shutupandringmygroceries

A post shared by Tina Miller (@encompassingchaos) on

We all know what production is, and we know what consumption is. You can refer to this older post about that here. There are those who are producers and those who are consumers, but have you ever heard of prosumption?

Many, many years ago (like the 1970’s) the word prosumption was coined to describe a change in the way that production of goods would be produced. It was reasoned that the economic landscape would grow to benefit consumers to such a degree that they would have much say in how and what was being produced. This is for the most part how some things turned out. One can have a specific saying or image produced onto t-shirts, mugs, and clocks with the click of a button. More and more consumers are producing their own media and customizing businesses across the internet to meet their own needs. Blogs being one of the biggest arenas for prosumption. We are the creators and consumers of the products or media being produced. YouTube is another great example of prosumption.
Actual prosumption, though, through mass customization of mega business for the consumer has not been met with their initial assumptions.

I would like to address some disconcerting fads that large corporations have begun to incorporate into their profit systems.

I hadn’t heard of prosumption until the other day. I came across this scientific article because of a fellow blogger. I am now more aware and would like others to be a bit more aware as well. We can not make fully informed decisions in our society if we are not fully aware of the mechanisms at work.

Most likely you have prosumed and you didn’t even know it. You know those oh so convenient check out lines where you get to ring up and bag your own groceries? Yep, you were not only consuming the goods from the store, you were part of the production process when you did the work of a cashier and bagger. Prosumerism is also present when you use your internet connection and your computer to shop around on the internet. You check yourself out and your goods arrive at your doorstep.

These things seem like great innovations. They are convenient and help you get through your day with less hassle, but in the long run are they really helping out our society as a whole?

When you choose to use the self checkout, are you getting a discount for doing the extra work? Not likely, you are paying the same prices as those using the cashier’s line. You can argue that is was quicker, but did the store under staff their cashiers on purpose? Did they artificially create longer lines? Were you essentially forced to use the self check-out? These are the things that we need to be aware of in our technologically advanced capitalistic society.

When we are not aware of what is going on, that is when we are open for exploitation.

All of big business is set up to make a profit. They are going to use everything they can to make more profit. If this means using less cashiers and more self-checkouts then that is what they are going to do. At first it seems great. We are moving forward as a society with the use of these machines, but what happens to that cashier who can’t make her house payment because her hours have been cut?

Think about all of the bookstores that went out of business since the advent of Amazon?

It seems our technology in the wrong hands (or wrong economic model) is a double edged sword.

I like innovation. I like the new things that we have created as a society, but I do not like the golem corporations that keep sucking up all the money and funneling it to the top. It definitely is a vortex.

I do not mind sometimes ringing up my own groceries and bagging them. I do however mind having my labor exploited for the bottom line.

Be ever vigilant my friends and we as the prosumer can begin to turn the tables.

Awe Inspiring Artwork is What I Do…

20150504_155926-1-1-1[1]The above is a painting I finally finished. (After showing up for myself) I have been working on it for about 2 years now. This particular piece was my exploration on compromise in relationships.

The idea behind it began with a video I watched of Jennifer Aniston interviewing Portia and Ellen on the Ellen Show.


You will have to watch the clip to get a greater understanding. I love for my outside world to help me question my inner world, and this is one reason I create. I create to explore myself and I have been having an existential crisis in my life for at least the last four years. It has definitely been my dark night of the soul, my journey into the valley of the shadow of death, and my all out saving grace wrapped into one. I am forever grateful for this journey within.
After watching this snippet of the show on the YouTube, I quickly jotted down the premise for the piece of work. I was fascinated by the relationship of these to women and their journey together. I wanted to show how this journey could be used to reflect how we as humans compromise in our lives to bring about acceptance and happiness in our lives.

In the painting I depicted a dilapidated house in the background that is ready to be transmuted into something greater.

House

                                                                            House

hous3

                                                                 House Again

According to the video this is what Ellen likes to do. She likes to explore the beauty of a home and create something greater in the process. Many of us do this in our everyday lives be it working for a corporation or a small mom and pop business. We want to create something greater in our world.

I then placed Ellen and Portia on a path in the woods.

Ellen and Porta path

                                                           Ellen and Portia on the Path

6 Ellen and Portia Path

                                           Ellen and Portia in Shadow on the Path

Path and Ellen2 This represents their journey together and the journey of all humans in existence. One can see within the painting that the light from outside of the woods has lighted the path and helps to define the features within the darkness of the woods. We cannot see this inner world unless we shine some sort of light on it. These two women are experiencing their journeys, albeit differently, together. Ellen is pulling Portia in a wagon. Ellen may be moving from one creative project to another creative project, but she is compromising with Portia by pulling her weight along instead of making her walk beside her. This is a compromise being made to have the fulfillment of a relationship. As long as the weight is not a negative aspect of the relationship, then there should be no reason why this particular choice of compromise should be detrimental to the lives of those involved. I see this as a greater truth that can be seen and accepted by others as well with these two woman as a great example.

Within my exploration of this concept I have added to this picture. When I add things I do so because I feel they are needed. It is not until afterward that I begin to explore their meaning. For instance. I added a small herd of deer. 4 to be exact and all does. I then find our that deer can represent grace, love, generosity, and abundance. I also found that deer symbolizes an inner journey, specifically female deer.

Symbolism

                                                                    Symbolism

Then the number four has very specific meaning.

I have also added
ivy, bluebells, red japanese maple tree, white blooming cherry tree, bridge, stream.

There is probably many more symbols, but you can see how they begin to paint their very own picture within the artwork.

The symbolism seems to just grow from the creative process. These things are never consciously chosen because of what they represent. It is as if the symbols manifest themselves to help me to understand what I am working through as an artist and human. To me is is a connection to the spiritual aspects of my journey, and I love exploring this part after the completion of a piece of work.

The best and worst thing about symbolism is that it can be interpreted however one would like.

I for so long have had an inner world of chaotic stories filled with negative reactions and intense emotions. I have told myself these stories with a chaotic dialogue. Talking about what I felt was going on in just about every situation I had been in. When I entered into a place, I immediately took the seat of inner reflection. Constantly judging my every action, every thought, every emotion, every word spoken aloud. I judged it against my background of perspective that I had of the world around me. I chose how I would interpret my world.

I am coming to the conclusion of my delusion.

I synchronistically was given clarity this morning from this piece of Sufi Rumi wisdom:

Although an imaginary image in this reality does not exist,
see how the world turns by a fantasy that still does persist.
Mankind’s peace and war because of a fantasy are turning…
Mankind’s pride and shame from a fantasy are springing…(Original Link)

I have been battling my internal dilemma, my imaginary image of the world around me. Why do I create something to battle? Why do I create turmoil? I know I create the perspective that I choose to see in the world around me. So why am I creating such a daunting reality?

Why, because I have lived the story that I was told. I have lived with a reality inside my mind that is a reflection of someone’s mind or image of the world.

I recently watched two similar documentaries that were completely different, and it really helped me to perceive this little bit of truth. These were not intentionally watched to seek very different perspectives, we just watched them very close together because the environment and innovation have been on our minds. I was given a good dichotomy that was going to ring true just a few days later, and this is why I was led by the universe to watch them.

For this little piece of Rumi wisdom to be understood the full content of the documentaries does not need to be known.

The first documentary was the Atomic States of America.

The primary objective of the movie was against nuclear power. I can tell you that the story plot heightened and culminated in me feeling horrible about human innovation and that society should be wiped off of the precious mother earth so that she can heal. Of course this is the primary purpose of the movie. It is meant to show the bad, dark, negative side of the atomic age and nuclear power as a whole. I would not be surprised if it was created with funding from the coal industry.
The second documentary Pandora’s Promise.
was also about nuclear power completely but from the opposite viewpoint. It was pro-nuclear power. This documentary heightened and culminated in me feeling overjoyed and excited about human innovation and advancement as a society. I was filled with musings and creativity after watching this movie. I felt positive and wanted to get to work on creating something great!

I definitely wanted to explore more after the second documentary. I do not want to debate morals and who is on the right side of the fence. I do not want to figure out which way is the right way. I only want to think about and explore the side the makes me as a human feel fulfilled and alive.

After watching Atomic States of America my husband and I were brought into for two days an existential crisis. We were ruminating about the tragedy of our lives and the lives of all of mankind. We were trying to figure out what we could do to help reverse the horrible bad things that we as humans have wrought on this earth. This is not a very happy place to be. We want to exist and be happy. We want to love our fellow man and celebrate in his victories. We do not want to exist to tear down and destroy society. Yet we allowed negative thoughts into our inner realities. These thoughts brought about more negative thoughts and more ruminating about sadness and wrong.

I do not want to live like this and neither does my husband. I definitely do not want to raise a family in this hole of a reality. Like we have dug ourselves down into the pits of hell and now we must exist amongst the monsters and death that we have uncovered.

Certainly I get to choose which reality that I want to exist in. I get to pick the side that I want to be on. I see this now. It has been here all along and I just choose not to see it. I get to live in my chosen reality. This is the only reality that I get to experience. Why would I not choose to experience the good positive feelings instead of the negative.

I am reminded of a saying, and I am not sure who said this, but it sits well with this lesson of mine.

“It doesn’t really matter what path one follows. What matters is the way that they follow the path.”

Are you allowing negative thoughts to cloud and darken your reality?

I am brought to the visualization of how the darkness and shadow help to define the light. We cannot have positive with the negative, but we definitely do not have to only live out the negative aspects.

I am reminded of another Rumi insight:

“Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows.”

I am beginning a new series of portraits today. This series I believe has been implanted into me as a tiny little seed that is going to grow into something that will help others to perceive this wisdom. I will be exploring the ideas of shadow and light and how they interact with one another to help us perceive our reality.

In the mean time, what did you get out of this?

I will be exploring this subject a bit more as I work on this project and hopefully you can help me to explore more deeply.

Wallowing Will Get You Nowhere

A little nugget of wisdom I found in one of my notebooks.  The painting is one of mine as well titled "As Above So Below.

A little nugget of wisdom I found in one of my notebooks.                                                                     The painting is one of mine as well titled “As Above So Below.

This morning I found the following written in one of my many notebooks. I wrote it a few years ago around the time I launched my first website. I had sort of forgotten about it.

I want a jolt to spring forth through my art and strike people. Strike them with logical thought and reason. Something to bring them up out of the wallowing in sorrow for themselves and mankind.
I don’t want fame and fortune. I want a society with creative fortitude and passion for life.
A spring of new life will come forth.

I want change.

Real change, not some cheap knock-off pretending to hold some altruistic motive, but a change that is of goals. What we need is a change that can only happen when one reaches down within the deepest and darkest chasms within their being and fight their demons head on and truly extinguish those undulating negative thoughts.

I have definitely wallowed in those pits of sorrow and despair for myself and many other people around me, as well as those I didn’t even know.  So much so that I have been hospitalized more than once for suicidal ideation and its failed attempts.

I have been one to compare myself with so many others.

I have looked down my morals nose at others.

I have seen so much negative in the others and the world around me.

Why was everything around me so terrible and negative? My despair grew as did my wallowing. I thought that I had so much pity for everyone else. I felt as though I could be a moral beacon and bring those I pitied into knowing truth.  What I had was not empathy, but pity.

The very act of me feeling sorry for anyone else automatically brought them down to a level beneath me. As if I was some sort of saving grace for them. You may see some of this mindset in my past posts, which I am not going to remove because I have a changed perspective. I want this blog to be an ever changing being just as I am. It reflects my growth as an individual and it gives me something to look back on and question. I will not hide who I am, have been, or will become.

Recently, what I have begun to understand is that all the negative in the world that I was seeing has been my mirror of the perspective that I hold. (My negative is my negative. You may be harboring your own in a completely opposite truth of mine, but the mechanism is just the same.)

I have known of the saying that “Life is your mirror.” I have repeated it to others. I definitely have told my teenage daughter numerous times, but it never really sunk in fully until this last week. If you are not familiar with the life mirroring you concept, I found the following story today while putting this post together that helps illustrate the point. I would also suggest reading the original article source.

“There was a puppy in the woods, he was feeling sad and depressed with his life. He entered a house of mirrors (all the walls lined up with several hundreds of small mirrors). When he entered the house, he saw hundreds of sad puppies around him. Where-ever he looked he saw sad puppies. He became sure now that the world was full of sadness, because there were so many sad puppies. This confirmed the belief in his mind that sadness is all there is to life, and he became more sad and depressed as he left the house of mirrors.
There was a second puppy in the woods, he was feeling very angry within and was frustrated with his life. He had a scorn on his face and his eyes were narrow with anger. He entered the house of mirrors and saw himself surrounded by hundreds of angry puppies. He was only seeing his reflection on the mirrors, but he did not realize that. He snarled at the reflections and the reflections snarled back at him. In his mind he became convinced that this world is full of anger, and that he needed to defend himself against these angry puppies all the time. He came out of the house angrier and more frustrated with the world.

There was a third puppy in the woods, he was feeling full of joy and he was romping around with his tail wagging. He entered the house of mirrors and was extremely thrilled to see hundreds of happy puppies wagging their tails, smiling at him with glee in their eyes. He felt blessed to know that this world was full of happiness and that he had nothing to worry about, because there were so many happy puppies out there for company. He came out of the house feeling even more joyful, with a deep conviction in the goodness of life.”

If you replace the puppy with yourself, and you replace the house of mirrors with the external reality of your life, you can make a direct co-relation and realize the truth hidden in this story.

If I had read this information before and repeated it, why did it not click with me? Why did I not see it for what it was? It is because I have been lying to myself for so long that it had become an unconscious action. I was not aware of it, even though I touted its benefits to others.

I was living a lie. I didn’t believe in my worth. I told myself the worst case scenario about myself for so long that I believe it to my core and built up my belief system on its foundation. Not ever realizing that the foundation core of my beliefs was a complete cauldron of shit.

The worst is that I wanted to bring everyone else down to my trodden level. I saw it as some sort of haven. I was so blindsided as if I had Stockholm syndrome with my false belief system.

I wanted to tear down all of the work of our forefathers. To tear down the belief that humans are miraculous problems solvers, creators, innovators, creators, and all around good people.

I was calling for apocalypse.

I basically wanted mankind to be dumb-ed down and kept at a preindustrial level of just existing.

I wanted these things because I hated myself, so I reflected that into the world around me.

I certainly didn’t want just existing to be my lot in life, yet I was okay with wanting to throw all of mankind’s advancements and technology out with the proverbial bathwater.

Yes, we as a species have done some horrible things and are still carrying on some not so pleasantries, but we all make mistakes. We can either admit those mistakes and move on toward change in our world, or we can continue to bicker amongst ourselves about who knows the right way.

If we see negativity in our world, we need to ask ourselves from what perspective are we viewing that negativity.

We can continue to see great change in this world.

How Are You Affecting Your Reality?

Exchanging energy is second nature with humans.

                                      Exchanging energy is second nature with humans.

I had a clarity of mind in an energy exchange with another person this morning. This exchange of energy was through the form of thoughts that were created by our brains’ reactions to each others brain’s outward expression of thoughts. Each one of us has the ability to create and express thoughts which are created by our brains through an energy exchange system.

I feel like this initial paragraph is rather confusing. So I created a cartoon to make sure you understand what I mean by energy exchange.

How we create our stories

                                                            How we create our stories

Energy ExchangeI want to show you the perspective of how you are physically being affected as well as your immediate world around you is physically being affected by not only yours, but everyone’s thoughts through this energy exchange system.

Before I explain to you this truth that I have come to realize, I need to make sure you completely understand how my mind has come to this conclusion. I do not want my saying “You are affected physically by your thoughts’” to seem as some metaphysical or esoteric froofroo grasp of our reality, so I am going to add a ton of links, but not an exhaustive list.

(Do yourself justice and read.  A lot.)

Your thoughts are energy.
Atoms and the smaller and smaller particles that make up atoms are a form of energy.  Your body is a cohesive lump of energy formed for the creation of something.

If you have a reaction to a situation (be it angry, nervous, upset, emotionally touched, happy, excited, sad) then you are being affected energetically which translate to physically affected by that reaction.

In using the phrase “a reaction” I am using the definition “a response to a stimulus.”

The energy is chemical and swirls around in your brain which in turn creates thoughts, hence thoughts are energy in the form of bio-magnetic energy.

Is that energy for good or bad? Are your thoughts positive or negative?

In these questions I am under the assumption that consuming energy and never creating something with the energy consumed one effectively creates inward flow of negative energy. This to me would be a void constantly consuming energy.

On the other hand consuming energy and then creating something for others to consume would effectively create a positive outward flow of energy.

Does one get a return on their energy consumption or do they just keep consuming?

An example of a positive outward flow would be working and creating value with their body and mind.

An example of a negative inward flow would be continually pulling in the energy of others to consume without giving anything back. Anyone know of a chatty Betty in the office that brings about the worst in people?

Humans are energy exchangers of sorts. Our bodies are an energy exchange system as well as other beings in the world, like animals and plants.

We consume energy in the form of food by breaking it down into its smallest components to be reassembled into whatever we need it for.

I may have drawn this one backward, but you get the idea hopefully.

                    I may have drawn this one backward, but you get the idea hopefully.

The brain and its functions consume the majority of our energy.

And we project this energy out toward those around us as well.

The energy of our brains has an effect on the energy of our hearts and vice versa. This energy also effects the hearts and minds of those closest to us. The more energy that we give into our thoughts and emotions the stronger our circle of effect we create.

Are we creating a whirlwind of negative aspects in our life?

How do our thoughts effect those around us?

Do we have a negative return on our energy consumption, or do we have a positive return from our energy system?

Do we just consume or do we put thought and function back into our environment for this exchange. For energy is not destroyed or created. Energy gets moved around. How are we moving that energy around?

Do we just consume? Are we consuming more than what we can effectively return back into the world in exchange?

*Note the use of affect vs effect is a bit confusing for me, so I may have gotten some of them wrong.  Otherwise I tried. Also, I am not a scientist and only theorize my truth explained.  I do invite debate, though.

Deep Thoughts Are Always Coming…What Do I Do With Them

image

I grabbed one of my many notebooks the other day as I prepared to go to a meeting about a mural project.  I recently pulled many of my art boxes out in preparation of an upcoming festival (my art business is currently composed of large plastic tubs while we try to convince someone they want to buy our home). So, the notebook I grabbed was one I haven’t looked through in awhile. I enjoy going back and reading my thoughts. There is an enumerable amount of notebooks filled with many musings.  I have told my husband that if I die before him, he must try to put my thoughts together somehow, but after my findings the other day, I may just begin sharing all that I find. Here is my little gem from the other day. You are going to have to let go Be yourself Open up Grab your muse Let it light your path And bring you into its grasp Get on a wild tangent Get past the smoke and mirrors Let the lies drop by your side Get off and leave the train There is no reason to hide Traces left behind…blown away Halt the sway Lifting, I think about the things you’ve said I think about the things you did You did help to bring about a greatness I can’t live without You are a living sentiment You brought from me my commitment I hated to say goodbye, but it was time to move in another direction A greatness with one day surface from a seed that was placed You will one day appreciate love of life and experience My greatness one should not underestimate I miss your face and sometimes Contemplate…

A vaccine against magic

Just as a cautious businessman avoids tying up all his capital in one concern, so, perhaps, worldly wisdom will advise us not to look for the whole of our satisfaction from a single aspiration. -Sigmund Freud

We are the thing that creates change.

A vaccine against magic.

Will Our Own Creations Take Over One Day?

Nothing Skews Nature Quite Like Monsters and Zombies.

It seems there are others out there feeling the same way I do about some of the systems that we have created.  Have you heard of the hive mind they have created for robots?  I have quite a few thoughts in my head where this can lead, and hopefully the one where the psychopathic corporate heads are taken down for not making any logical sense.

Here are a few more links of interesting articles that correlate with my previous post.

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Human ingenuity has created a world that the mind cannot master. Have we finally reached our limits?

The New Totalitarianism: How American Corporations Have Made America Like the Soviet Union

The Ever Winding and Tightening Gyre of Disappearing Whiffenpoofs

So It Begins: Darpa Sets Out to Make Computers That Can Teach Themselves

Enjoy!

 

 

Looks like the struggle never ends…

Artists John Pitre's depiction of man's struggle here on earth with his self imposed restrictions.

Artists John Pitre’s depiction of man’s struggle here on earth with his self imposed restrictions.

Twelve Art World Habits to Ditch in 2012

The above article reminded me of when I learned about the history on Monet and the French Impressionistic movement which happened over 100 years ago.  It is also reminiscent of the movements in the art world in the 1960’s.

I wondered: Do they teach about the movements against the mainstream art world in academia?

I never attended an art class so I haven’t a clue.  I do know that I have come across many with art degrees and some with Masters who have never sold a thing and are very unsure of what exactly to do when it comes to selling or marketing their art.

I now wondered:  What do they teach in art school?

I have only always had a longing to put down on paper what I saw all around me and that is where my talent blossomed.  I am rarely without pencil and paper and I want to learn all that I can about materializing my thoughts and dreams.  I gleaned what I could as a child from the encyclopedia, drawing everything that I could find, and spending hours concentrated on nothing other than my drawings.

Still, I never believed myself an artist and I spend much of what I make a month paying off student loans for a Science degree that has yet to land me a job.

I think we may be due for another revolution in many aspects of our lives here on earth as a species.  Much of what we do in everyday life doesn’t make much sense for our well being and is getting pretty absurd.

I now will end in wonder…Do we really need more than one pair of shoes, or hand held electronic devices that occupy our every waking moment, or over processed food that is killing us and making us miserable…