Oprah is awesome!!! Yes, still!!

MY wonderful childhood friend shared this interview with me after seeing my blog activities, and boy did it come at a right time. Oprah says everything I want to say in this interview, and thanks to her fame, she reaches more people, and leaves a bigger impact. YAY! Go Oprah!! Anyway.. if you don’t believe me.. watch her.. and trust Oprah, she has lead a truly wonderful life. She is successful financially and spiritually! What else could a person want from life? hehe..

So here it is, if you haven’t seen it!

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Writing is fun too!! :D

Haven’t had a chance to make videos for the past two days, mainly because I haven’t been able to write my magic pages (aka morning pages from The Artist’s Way), but I was reading my entries from 3 years ago, and was filled with pride for having had the idea to create this blog!! hehe.. props to me..

No, but really, I am happy to have this record of what it takes to start a jewelry studio, and the journey I took, and being able to compare my state from a year ago to how I feel now. I highly recommend keeping a journal, or a blog.

I think many times when we are going through challenges in life and we are struggling, it feels like we are the only one. Everyone around seems to be just fine, and, well, the thoughts that come to mind are “what’s wrong with me?” and “why am I the only person that is struggling with this thing?”, but the fact is that others are struggling, you are just not in their heads to know what they are struggling with, so it looks like they are fine with everything.

I made this blog to let anyone who might be going through similar struggles as me to know that s/he is not alone!! I hope it helps to know that.

If you go through life’s motions, without giving it a thought, you might feel that everything is OK, and maybe it is, but if you ever happen to accidentally step back from the constant “doing” and examine it for a second, then you’ll notice that it becomes very hard to be satisfied with “OK”.

Which, maybe randomly, brings me to these questions: What is happiness? What constitutes a happy life?

I know they are cheesy questions that you have probably heard a million times, but have you really thought about them? Have you wondered if you are happy? (You may want to look and see if you have any destructive habits, or external escape routs, like pills, alcohol, over eating, etc., before answering this question!)

If you feel annoyed, uncomfortable, and uneasy by the questions, you are having normal reactions, because the thought of having to change in anyway is scary and uncomfortable. We rather swim in a sewage that we know well, than to step into a clear turquoise blue ocean that we are not familiar with.

If you are ready for clear waters, watch the videos, subscribe, and read on, you might find a way there from here. 🙂

Whitehaven-Beach

Perfectionism!

Just breath…

I really do need to just breath right now, because I just wrote more than half of my blog post and it all disappeared as I tried to publish it!! lol.. don’t you just hate when that happens? Well, I am slowly learning to let things go and trust that what happened is what had to happen!

So here it goes.. round 2..:)

I’d like to start this post with the video clip that will give you a glimpse of what I spent most of my week doing..

Umm… not singing (although that was definitely a big part of it), I mean watching this show, Googoosh Music Academy, which is the Persian version of American Idol, except that it is far from its Hollywood-saturated inspiration. It is genuine and full of love and passion (well at least the first season, since that is the only one I have watched!).

Although I truly enjoyed watching every minute of the show, afterwards I was left feeling upset, not because my favorite singer didn’t win, but because I felt that I wasted my precious time. I am sure we have all felt this way before: feeling guilty for vegging out! However, I soon realized the guilt only makes me want to veg out more, so I just took a deep breath and let the guilt go..

ok…it did definitely take more than a few deep breaths to let it go, but I finally did.

I realized what I loved about the show was that these people were following their dreams and weren’t letting their fears stop them from doing what they sincerely believed they were born to do. I find this extremely inspiring. Really, this is why I also love Chopped (on Food Network)

The thing is that (along with personally experiencing this) I am reading about self imposed creativity blocks, and TV and Internet are definitely high up on the list, so, as inspired as I am by seeing others follow their dreams, I have decided to not watch anything on TV or YouTube for a week.

By now you can probably guess that this was another week that no jewelry was produced at my beautiful studio, but I’d like to think that I have made a little bit of progress towards the right direction.

Before I tell you more, here are a few pictures of my studio from when I first moved there..

here is a shot from outside the double doors. I love all the natural light that comes in!

here is a shot from outside the double doors. I love all the natural light that comes in!

A bad shot of my kiln and my jeweler's bench behind it!

A bad shot of my kiln and my jeweler’s bench behind it!

I bought this workbench from craigs list for $60, I think it's an amazing deal!

I bought this workbench from Craig list for $60, I think it’s an amazing deal!

So, as I was saying progress has been made.

Since my kiln was taking 2 hours to reach 1000 degrees, I called AMACO which is the maker of the kiln, and left a message, thinking that I would probably have to call them back since most companies never return calls. To my surprise, they did call me the next day and informed me that the problem is burnt-out elements. I asked if I could order it on their website and they confirmed, but I soon realized that elements are no where to be found on their site, so I am hoping I can order it over the phone. Now I just need to figure out how to match my time with their Eastern Standard business hours!

More on the kiln later!!!

I want to share briefly about my amazing mentor, teacher and friend April. She was my Metalsmithing teacher at Cal Sate Long Beach. She is one of the toughest teachers to please and win over, but my great admiration for her work, sense of style and attention to details made me want to try the hardest in her class, and, well, you would have to ask her, but I think I was successful to some extend.

I have been keeping in touch with April and told her about the dilemma I’ve been having as an artist, having this huge block and not being able to use my studio space as I had hoped to, and she said something to me that I found to be very helpful. She reminded me that when I was in school my priority in life was to make art and develop my skills as an artist, all other responsibilities were secondary. However, since I have graduated my focus has naturally shifted and my priorities have inevitability changed. Keeping up with the expenses of life and supporting myself without any financial aid or loans as backing has been challenging and scary, and has fully sucked all my attention and energy, leaving no room for creativity.

Although all of this may sound like an excuse, it actually makes me feel better. Hearing April’s reminder made me feel like there is nothing wrong with me and that I am just human, going through a normal stage of life. (Thank you April!!)

You see, what really blocks me is this huge wall made up of fear and guilt that feels dark and solid.  Nothing can penetrate through this wall, specially not the light of creativity. The worst I feel about not making art and failing as an artist, the thicker the dark wall becomes. April’s words created a small little pinhole in this dense wall, and I latch on to every word I hear and read, and every little inspiration that can in any way puncture this wall, until I can finally pull myself out of the darkness.

I know that a lot of people will experience a block in some aspect of their lives. Maybe not in art, but it maybe in their love life, family life or their professions as teachers, doctors, lawyers, or engineer.

If this happens to you, what is important is to just pull yourself out, look for inspirations, ask for help, let yourself be vulnerable (you will be surprised at the level of compassion), and, finally, just breath.

I know “just breathing” sounds corny, but really just sit and focus your attention on your heart. Visualize your breath entering your heart and exiting it, and if you catch yourself drifting into your thoughts, refocus your attention on your breath again and try to let go of control or “getting it right”. Attention to breathing also works if you are in a discomforting situation, practice catching yourself as often as you can in those moments, then breath and let go of control and the desire to “be right”. (They mentions this in Yoga a lot, and although I haven’t gone to a yoga class in a long time, my beautiful sister has been reminding me of it!)

I am by no means an expert in this, but I am striving to find my true inspired self again, and hope sharing my journey will inspire you to do the same if you aren’t already!

Anway.. I strayed a little from another thing I wanted to get to..

I saw April and her work at a group exhibition at Huntington Beach Art Center called “Geometry and Friends”, along with some of my old classmates and friends, about 2 weeks ago, and I want to share a couple of pictures from the exhibition with you. I hope you enjoy. I will leave you with these pictures and the link to April’s website. (By the way, I let myself be vulnerable with my friends at the show and they were all extremely supportive and could relate to my struggle. It was heart-warming.)

a piece by Chrstine Nguyen in the background

a piece by Chrstine Nguyen in the background

photo 30

a piece by James Melinat

a piece by James Melinat

One of Apri's pieces at the show.

One of Apri’s pieces at the show.

photo 2