Its three days past the elections. I started 11/9/2016 with a post on my Facebook page about how my heart sank as I heard the news of who was supposed to be my president and how I was going to break the news to my soon to be 9 years old son; specially since I have always tried to teach him not to be a bully, to respect women, to respect others, not to lie or cheat, etc. etc. But now he gets to see a person that is a bully, racist, disrespects everyone, lies and cheats become the president of one of the largest nations on earth! I decided to sit with my feelings and my girls (I think this is a good time to mention that inside my head its much like the cartoon Inside Out). I had a chance to see why people may have voted for Trump and also wonder about the big picture. And a big thank you to a 16 years old young man, Amir Kalantary, for putting it all into perspective more clearly with his Facebook Post to show how much we (the non-republican camp) have been sore losers, to consider the reasoning of the people that voted for soon to be president Trump and the mistakes of the Democratic party overlooking the voice of the larger population asking for change. I looked back at my own life and how that there was also so much good that came out of each horrible time/tragedy in my life and that those bad times is what was needed for me to get closer to and receive my wishes.
So let us be real, open and honest with ourselves and with each other. At some point in our lifetime each and every one of us (yes including me) has been a bully, a victim, liar, cheat, racist, and made fun of some other culture/community/nationality. Just think back how many times you may have told even a white lie; or said a joke that was making fun of a group; or the times you influenced someone by playing to their weaknesses in order to get what you wanted (definition of bully). I know you are all reading this and thinking there is no way that you have ever been a bully or racist. But when you consider that a bully is by definition someone that knows another persons hot buttons (what makes them tick, scared, angry, sad) and uses them to manipulate the person. Every time you have used guilt or fear to manipulate a situation or someone you have been a bully, so this alone covers Catholics, Muslims, Jewish communities (even if you are not religious but grew up in those communities), parents and most kids. Every time you have made a joke making fun of a certain group of people you have been a racist; my Iranian brothers and sisters hands up on this one. Every time you were behind a car that is going slow and getting close to the lanes and you made a comment that it must be a female or Asian or both, yes you are being a racist. So now you are all saying, come on that is taking things a bit too far and yes you are probably right. But the point is that society is OK and good with a certain level of bullying, racism, and lying as long is a white lie, the joke is funny and its a White Color bullying. Or better yet as long as its not in your face lie, racism or bullying.
peace and healing to our world. And the way to unite, love, heal, and peace starts with each and every single one of us to first recognize, accept, and to love without judgment but with compassion our own different personas; because its then and only then that we can truly see the others with loving, accepting, compassionate eyes and step into their shoes and realities. One side does not have to be wrong for the other one to be right and vice versa. We are all different sides of the same coin; we all share common fears, worries, sadness, concerns and judgments; and we all want better lives for ourselves and our families. It is not about right or wrong, good or bad; by accepting and showing compassion you are not saying it is OK to bully, be racist, lie and cheat. By accepting and showing compassion and love you are shining your light bright and becoming a full size mirror for the other to see themselves so that they can see, accept their parts and so that they no longer react from a place of fear, anger, judgment and guilt.
We have let the media and our pasts run our lives and the present moment. We have allowed the media to bully us using our fears and judgments. So lets get started with cooling our hot buttons so that they can no longer be used against us and we can stand naked, fully showing all parts of ourselves even the parts we wish no one would see, look in the mirror and love what we see. And use that same loving compassionate eye when you are looking at others specially the opposition and those whom we feel have wronged us.
I see this time as a time of hope, clarity, love, compassion, standing up fully present, stepping away from negativity and drama, away from those that want to use our fears and judgments against us. Let us be the light and mirrors for each other so that we can brighten the path to peace and unity. It is only with light that darkness can vanish. But even darkness serves a purpose; it is so that we can find the light inside and light the way for ourselves and others.
We are all creation in progress, life in progress. Light the candle inside; make it stronger; make it shine brighter and brighter; be a compass for others to find their way out of the darkness. Love, Light and Peace. Atousa :)
For quite some time I have been wanting to do short videos to share my experiences and thoughts in hopes of providing guidance. Through out my life I have studied the work of many gurus and spiritual masters as well as receiving my own guidance from the universe. So hopefully by guiding you through some things that were challenges for me you will have an easier ride. My first of many video blogs to come :) to is to get you started on self awareness and me to be able to get over the hump of recording myself :)
Yesterday was my one year anniversary as an Artist :)
I have been absent from my blogging for a while due to holidays and life ... well let's just say that I think I can get my law degree in Family Law right now ;-)
I wanted to give my appreciation and thanks to everyone that has and/or continues to support me and my work by liking, commenting, sharing my posts on social media sites, visiting my website, purchasing my artwork, sending me comments, recommending my work, coming to my exhibitions, promoting/featuring my work on your websites and/or blogs but most of all for your love and support :)
One year ago I pursued a dream of a career that in most people's mind was "crazy and unrealistic"
Well in the past year here is what I have accomplished as an artist/photographer:
Dont take life so seriously, enjoy, love and everyday be thank-full for even the little things that are happening around you from a beautiful sunrise, a smile or kind word from a stranger or a friend, your favorite song playing on the radio (or pandora in my case :) ) , hugs, kisses ... and so much more :)
I'll be starting my blogs again soon. This was just a quick one to say a big THANK YOU and a BIG BIG SQUEEZEE HUG to each and everyone of you.
Stay tuned .... THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING :) :) :)
Keep on Watching, Living, Loving and most important of all enjoying the journey. I will leave you with one of my recent favorite songs <3 xoxo :)
So its been a while since my last blog and I have missed you :)
The reason that it has been a while is that lots has been going on in my life, which really translates to the universe giving me exactly what I needed or asked for; since my mind likes to play tricks on me, my ego likes to say she is in charge, and of course the trouble starts leading me to some house cleaning to let go of old unwanted beliefs and thoughts.
This all started after my Riding The Cosmic Wave artwork and blog. At that point I had so many past beliefs and thought processes that came up, which helped me learn how to ride the cosmic waves in order not to drown. I was enjoying riding the waves, and during the process of riding the waves I was able to let go of the old thoughts and beliefs that no longer served me. I was able to see that I was using the beliefs and thoughts as a protection mechanism which was no longer needed, and that I was safe to let them go.
Once again I was back in my good place filled with love and joy; which is the time I created Some Kiss We Want. The inspiration came to me before bedtime as I was meditating and suddenly I started reciting the Rumi Poem, Some kiss we want, in my head. As I was reciting it I had the image of the lovers kissing and the feeling of that kiss and the words in that poem is what inspired my digital artwork "Some Kiss We Want." If you sit back, listen to this music while watching the artwork, I believe you can see exactly how this artwork came together. Lovers in a magical forest, moonlight and the colors are representations of the different chakras.
However, my worrying/doubtful thoughts wanted to be in charge. This time being used to their games I did not follow. And my mind came back at me with full force trying to see what it could find in the deep corners that I had not cleaned up. At this time I created my next artwork Whirling Out of Nothingness. The feeling I had during this time was that of a whirling dervish. I felt that in the spinning you are letting go, you are surrendering, and all that it remains is love and purity. And as I started the artwork I came across the Rumi Poem which you can read in the description of the artwork. Read the poem as you are looking at the painting and it will come together for you. My colors are usually chosen as chakra colors.
Then again all the whirling did not manage to clean the dark cracks in the corners. And I got my biggest challenge so far spiritually which brought interesting challenges in my life. I felt as if I was standing at the gates of heaven. And here I dont mean "Heaven" in terms of "Heaven and Hell"; but rather the feeling that you are standing at a place that all that you want, all the goodness, all the peace, it is all there behind the gate. You are seeing the light shining through the cracks in the gate, and feel that you are so close to getting what you want, if only you could be empty of worry, empty of thought, and have faith to open the gate and walk through. The artwork Open the Gate was started with these feelings and the quotes that matched it showed up in the process of creation. As you understand where I was emotionally/mentally/spiritually when I was creating this artwork and read the inspirational quotes (in the artwork description), you too will be standing at the gate.
I stood at the gate for a long time and I still have not fully opened the gate. And standing at the gate I reconnected with a belief that there is not one way to travel this life; there are many paths and they are all interconnected. Along each path you make decisions, and realize that there is no right or wrong decision; because the paths are connected and you are eventually going to get to where the bigger you is intending to go. Specially if you believe that you are a soul/spirit that is eternal, then you have eternity to go through the paths, and they all come from the root of the root of your soul which is pure, which is love. So this process started Eternity - Infinite Ways to Return To Your Soul. And it was toward the end of it when I went to read my Rumi Poems and the first one that I opened was Return to the root of the root of your own soul, you can read in the artwork description. In this artwork you see many infinity symbols, representing eternity, infinite paths, and infinite ways to reconnect with your soul. I have a little surprise in the middle of the artwork, harder to see on purpose, representing root of the root of the soul.
I would like to end this blog with a quote from Mooji and a song by Avicii "Wake Me Up". As always remember to keep on Watching, Living, Loving and most important of all Enjoying the journey.
"The beautiful thing that you are discovering now is that you are ALREADY here, but you have been imagining that you are a journeyer on his way to here." Mooji
So I have been trying to write this blog for some time, but every time I thought I got the hang of riding the wave a nice wave would come and try to knock me down, and to be honest the crashes were not so fun.
So the idea for this blog started when I finished my painting "Riding the Cosmic Wave." When I started this painting I was in a pretty peaceful place and I had the image of what I wanted to paint in my mind. I started the painting, and the next night I came to add to it, but I was in, lets just say a different place. The next morning when I looked at the changes I had made the night before I was not happy at all with the result. Of course I did what anyone else would do and said to myself "I am going to FIX it" ... so funny that little word FIX gets us in trouble more often than we like to think :) :) :) And yes you guessed it; it got me into trouble. Because when I was done with my changes to the painting my thought was "What the **** was I thinking" "This is not even nearly close to what I had in mind." At this point I had to just walk away. When I came back to it the next day, I said to myself "just consider this painting as experiment." And that is exactly what I did.
The next move on this painting was about mixing blue and green layers of different types of acrylic paint. Still no luck; had to step away again. Next time I returned, I tried a technique that I wanted to try for some time but because of fear of ruining the painting I never tired it. However this time since I already considered the painting ruined and as experimental, I had no fear. And as I started lifting layers of paint to reveal other colors , the painting and I clicked. I can not even begin to describe the fun and excitement as I was lifting the layers ... It was as if I was being freed. This painting was meant to come this route and bring me with it so I could remember to let go of my fears, trust, and just ride the cosmic waves.
When I was finished with this painting it reminded me of the process a surfer goes through. A surfer does not fear the waves nor does he/she fear crashing in the wave. The surfer's purpose is to ride the wave no matter how big or small and to enjoy the process. The surfer does not question the destination, he/she simply enjoys riding the waves.
And as I learn to ride the waves and enjoy the waves no matter how big or small, crash or stay on top, what shape or form ... I simply trust and joyfully ride the waves :)
During the process I came across the quote from Deepak Chopra (below) which was a perfect match to what my painting and I were going through. As always remember to keep on Watching, Living, Loving, and most important of all Enjoying.
"Situations seem to happen to people, but in reality, they unfold from deeper karmic causes. The universe unfolds to itself, bringing to bear any cause that needs to be included. Don’t take this process personally. The working out of cause and effect is eternal. You are part of this rising and falling that never ends, and only by riding the wave can you ensure that the waves don’t drown you. The ego takes everything personally, leaving no room for higher guidance or purpose. If you can, realize that a cosmic plan is unfolding and appreciate the incredibly woven tapestry for what it is, a design of unparalleled marvel.” Deepak Chopra
Here is the blog I promised on my Facebook page about my second half marathon experience.
Just to give you a little background I did a half marathon October of 2012 which I trained for and I did finish at a pretty descent time 1:51:56. Well this year I started training late and during my training I was having issues mentally prepare for it. I knew physically I was ready but my latest journey of awareness had brought up some things that kept me occupied. So that was the first thing that I had to adjust to in order to get ready for the run this AM. And I think I managed to get in a pretty good shape mentally and physically (not as good as last year but pretty close).
Now, those of you that know me, also know that I ONLY run with my music and my Nike + app. I can do without the Nike + app but I MUST have my music. I have special playlists, I have songs for when I need an extra pick me up. As a matter of fact the day before the race I was talking to my friends about the fact that the race organizers try to discourage headphones and music but there is no way that I would be able to run without my music. I didn't even think of it as a "Habit" but if someone would talk about alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes like this you would say they definitely have a Habit.
So what do you know, the universe decided to break me out of my habit the hard way :) :) From start of the race until a little past mile 4 I was having a great race. I was feeling great mentally and physically. I was enjoying the race, and actually I was at a 8:27 mile/min speed. I specially loved that my friends were sending me cheers on my Nike + app; which I have to tell you did give me more energy; the cheers were so much fun :) :) So a little after mile 4 my app started pausing and restarting by itself, and since I was in the middle of the race I couldn't really stop and figure things out. After fidgeting with it for a little, while running, I decided I was going to close the app and just listen to my playlist. It took some time to do that, but still even the music was not playing; it was pausing and restarting and skipping. Panic set in ... OMG I am only on mile 4 and I have another 10 miles to go ... what am I going to do without my music!!!!!! so this went on for a good mile. Then I said to myself OK this is crazy you still have a long race ahead of you and you want to finish it and you have to find a way. And then for another mile I was trying to get myself to find a way of how I was going to make it.
Then it came to me to just "be" (well I should give the credit to my partner in crime since we had a conversation the night before on the subject). I decided to accept the fact that I have a habit of using my music ("music junkie") as a way to block out my thoughts and all the other noise, plus I do use it as a performance enhancer, and I use music in order to relax, feel good and get happy. Next I accepted my mental and physical condition. Then I said OK lets just make the best of it and finish the race. Well I finished the race at 2 hours (don't know my official time since I did not check the papers)
Last year when I finished the race I felt I could have still ran for another 3 or 4 miles, I did not hurt anywhere and I had so much energy that I had a party at my house for my son with 10 of his screaming little friends and their moms and dads :) :) This year I was in pain and I could not wait to get home and lets just say I was pretty pooped for the rest of the day.
Am I ready to break this "Habit" of being "music addict", well I do want to be able to run and quiet my mind and other noises without having the music. Will I still have music while I run, etc. You Bet :) :)
This time I will end with one of my favorite music which is in many of my playlists :) As always remember to keep on Watching, Living, Loving, and most important of all Enjoying. LOVE xoxo
While I was painting last night I misplaced the cap of one of my paint bottles. I knew I left it right next to me but for whatever reason I could not find it; I turned on all the lights, turned on the flash light ... it was as if the cap had vanished. Then I decided to stop, since it seemed that the cap did not want to be found at this time :) I stepped away started doing something totally different and what do you know as soon as I got back the cap was right there :) And I am sure this has happened to many of you many times.
So this little exercise made me think about bigger picture and how this little lesson could be used in everyday life. It just seems that we are always forcing things to happen rather than just taking the time to step away and let things happen. We feel if we dont play a major role and "force" things into happening at the rate we want, at the time we want, and the exact way we want, then things will never go our away. But what if instead of "forcing" things we "allow" things happen ... example:
So when you are getting stressed about things not going your way stop, take a deep breath, and say to yourself there is a reason for what is happening, and there are bigger things at play that I am not seeing right now so I am just going to relax and go with the flow and I am positive everything will work out the best way as they should. Plus this is much easier than getting stressed and angry trying to "force" things your way and at your time and at your pace. The easier path is by just letting go and allowing it to happen. Remember the Law of Force is that when you push against something there is going to be a force pushing back.
I would like to end with a quote from Osho, and remember to keep on Watching, Living, Loving, and most important of all Enjoying.
“Meditation is a surrender, it is not a demand. It is not forcing existence your way, it is relaxing into the way existence wants you to be. It is a let-go.” Osho
I recently realized that when my wonderful friend wanted to share with me what they were going through, which concerned what I was doing as well; my ears got what they wanted to listen to based on what I was feeling at the moment and my own predispositions about the situation. So I thought I was "hearing" but in fact I was only "listening." To this friend, when I realized the error of my way I did apologize for not hearing them and not being a good friend when I really wanted to be. So this is the reason for this blog. If we want to hear our friend, or anyone for that matter, instead of just listening, we should really clear ourselves first. Clear ourselves, of how we are being impacted, feelings about ourselves, our prejudices, our predispositions, our beliefs, our intentions, and hear from a place of pure love. If we want to hear we should be as an observer/witness with unconditional love to what our friend is saying; in the same manner that we would observe/witness our minds and ourselves ... a loving neutral third party observer. Is it easy? Probably not, since at the time that your friend starts talking, "first step," and a very important one, is to realize where you are at before your friend starts talking to you, and then you would need to take a little minute to adjust your tuning so that you can "hear" rather than just "listen." You might have to either stop them take a minute or two so that you can readjust, and if that is not possible then tell your friend that you want to be a good friend and you like to hear them rather than just listen so it might be better for them to give you a little time so that you can clear your head and feelings before they talk to you. However, if you miss the first step, well then it is downhill from there since you will not even get to the next step. The first step is always very important; to realize what you are doing and where you are at. For this particular friend I missed the first step and did not realize things until the next morning.
I do hope what I have stated here helps you become a better friend. And I hope that all my friends (specially this great friend) knows that I am sorry if I was "listening" when I should have been "hearing," which is what you would expect from your friend. I want to be a better friend and I will be following my own advice.
I would like to close with three of my favorite quotes about friendship from Kahlil Gibran. In the meantime Keep on Watching, Living, Loving, and most important of all Enjoying.
“When your friend speaks his mind you fear not the “nay” in your own mind, nor do you with hold the “aye""
“My friend, I am not what I seem. Seeming is but a garment I wear — a care-woven garment that protects me from thy questionings and thee from my negligence. The "I" in me, my friend, dwells in the house of silence, and therein it shall remain for ever more, unperceived, unapproachable.”
"And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed."
Today like most days that I don't have my son I got up and after getting ready I head downstairs to my office. And from the time I woke up to about noon I had not stepped outside and just by looking from the windows it seemed to me that it was a hot and humid day. At noon I decided to go out and as soon as I drove the car out of the garage with the windows down, I was pleasantly surprised how wonderful the air felt and how much cooler and pleasant the weather was from what I had perceived.
The moral to this story is that our perceptions and beliefs trick us, make things very rigid, and don't leave much room for expansion. Perceptions and beliefs could be about something small and non-trivial to bigger more trivial aspects of life. It could be as small as I believe that I have to have my coffee every morning otherwise I will be a zombie, to I must behave and do certain things in order to be accepted by the masses and that they don't judge me. But no matter how small or big, if you like to expand your life, then the first step is to become aware of these beliefs and perceptions. And being aware means not judging yourself or why you have a certain belief but be more of a neutral observer and allow those beliefs come to surface. The next step is to go to the root of them without judging yourself or putting blame on yourself or others, just see where they are coming from ... as if you are on a lovely path and does not matter what direction you go it will be pretty nice. The more you practice this awareness, the more these beliefs loose their power and grip over you, and you find yourself pleasantly surprised, just as I was by today's gorgeous weather. All it takes is awareness and a non-judgmental loving attitude toward yourself and even your beliefs.
I would like to end with some of my favorite quotes from Osho on this topic, and remember to keep on Watching, Living, Loving, and most important of all Enjoying.
“There is great difference between trust and belief. Trust is personal, Belief is social.” - Osho
“If you have a belief and you come against an experience which the belief says is not possible, or, the experience is such that you have to drop the belief, what are you going to choose — the belief or the experience? The tendency of the mind is to choose the belief, to forget about the experience. That’s how you have been missing many opportunities" Osho
"Do you understand the difference between invention and discovery? A discovery is about truth, an invention is manufactured by you. It is man-manufactured fiction. Certainly it has given consolation, but consolation is not the right thing! Consolation is opium. It keeps you unaware of the reality, and life is flowing past you so quickly – seventy years will be gone soon. Anybody who gives you a belief system is your enemy, because the belief system becomes the barrier for your eyes, you cannot see the truth. The very desire to find the truth disappears. But in the beginning it is bitter if all your belief systems are taken away from you. The fear and anxiety which you have been suppressing for millennia, which is there, very alive, will surface immediately. No God can destroy it, only the search for truth and the experience of truth – not a belief – is capable of healing all your wounds, of making you a whole being." Osho
There are two types of artist:
What this second group has forgotten is the fact that Art is everywhere, Art is in the eye of the beholder, anyone can create and be creative without a formal education, and that the artist first and foremost creates for him or herself. In college I took an Art Appreciation class; I loved this class not only because I got to see some beautiful artwork, but mostly because the class focused on "What is Art?". It was because of this class and my professor that I got to appreciate art in every form and that anything can be art as long as the person creating the artwork is communicating with his/her audience through the artwork.
So to all the people that would love to get back to creating or are creating in secret out of fear of others opinions; come out and create. Let your feelings shine in your artwork. And know that there are many artists out there eager to help, teach and promote your work. This is the group that has professionals and non professional, beginners and experts. The kind of artist that don't care where they show their work or who is buying their work; as long as they are creating and reaching their audiences' hearts and minds. And Yes we do have our own ship everyone is welcome.
I would like to leave you with some great inspiring quotes to get you started on your creative journey and leave your fears behind:
"The artist cannot look to others to validate his efforts or his calling. If you don't believe me, ask Van Gogh, who produced masterpiece after masterpiece and never found a buyer in his whole life - Steven Pressfield"
"If you hear a voice within you say „you cannot paint“, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced - Van Gogh"
"Art may be bad, good or indifferent, but, whatever adjective is used, we must call it art, and bad art is still art in the same way as a bad emotion is still an emotion - Marcel Duchamp"
"A great work of art is an expression of personal creativity. The source of creativity is what makes the quality of a work of art miraculous - Dürer"
And from one of my favorite art magazines Catapult Art ... "Let Us Shine Together:"
Artist thoughts on life, love, happiness and spirituality.