What Do I Want

Recently, I watched the movie The Women with Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, and a great cast ensemble. A question that Meg Ryan’s character faces when her marriage falls apart is… What Do I Want?

She then starts a vision board of the interests she had but never pursued, words of inspirations, and photos of the things most important to her, like a picture with her daughter and with her friends.

The Women - Vision Board - Movie Still
Mary’s (Meg Ryan) Vision Board from The Women (2008)
My Vision

This in turn got me to thinking about the vision I created for my life during a class I took months ago. We were not to consider reality, but just picture our lives the way we wanted them to be five years from now. If we could do anything, what would we do? If we could be anywhere, where would we be? Then, with a set vision, those things should be attainable.

Foundation

The most important parts of my vision are things I consider the foundation – family and health. Without family and love, I would not have the support and inspiration to follow my dreams, and without good health, I would not have the strength. These two parts are definitely heading in the right direction, especially in terms of family & love since I will be marrying my soulmate in just 95 days.

The following are the personal interests that I had written about, and how they are progressing.

Photography

I picture myself with a camera in hand everywhere I go, taking photos of things at random. I have been taking hoards of pictures, true to form, but I still find myself in situations where I want to photography something so much, but have no equipment on me. That is something easily fixed with a bigger purse.

Scrapbooking

I have a tremendous amount of ideas, and even plenty of supplies, for scrapbooks galore. I haven’t made one since making the ones for my grandmother, which weren’t anything fancy as she couldn’t hold the large sized or heavy books. Since making those, I have jotted down ideas for many more, including the most recent for my engagement photos, puppy photos, and more. All I need to do to get started is to get the office organized and in shape, and make the time.

Painting

My sketching skills are iffy, at best, except when it comes to cartoon characters. To solve that issue, I envisioned a ceiling mounted projector that I could project my photographs onto a canvas, and paint on top of the projected images. Now all I need is the projector.

Poetry

I have a collection of writing from the last decade. Ultimately, I want to compile it all and start entering select poems or collections to various contests for publication. I have purchased the Poet’s Market for several years, and still have yet to enter anything. Also, as of late, I have had a creative writing block the size of the Hoover Dam.

Blogging

This is probably one of the things I have made the most progress on, as I have started and maintained this blog since the end of May. I have come to realize that writing comes to a halt when other things are troubling me that I cannot write about, and that I am much happier when I devote time to things other than just sitting on the computer all day. But I still enjoy writing, and sharing my photography, which I will continue to do in this blog. I also have ideas for another more artistic/creative blog, and a blog on blogging tips, but those are on hold until more time is available.

Tennis

Tennis was only mentioned once in my vision, in a list of things I would do to stay physically fit. I am much more involved in it now than, as I am a part of my first tennis league (NTRP 2.5), and I play probably 3 – 4 times a week. This is really the only sport I have ever played seriously in my life, and it is coming along quite well, considering I have only two lessons under my belt.

Dancing

Ever since watching Dancing with the Stars, I had this fantasy of doing ballroom dancing, which seemed so athletic, coordinated, graceful, and other things that did not seem within my range of abilities. Then I met the love of my life, who also happens to be a ballroom dance teacher. It seemed like a sign that maybe I could do this after all.

Dancing With the Stars Tour 2008 - Alec Mazo Edyta Sliwinska
Photo by Arrye, Ethan & John

Initially when I started lessons, I pictured us doing the competitions, having these wonderful photos and videos of us gliding across a dance floor. After four months of lessons, and then a month long hiatus, this part of my vision proved to be the most difficult, but also the one most desired. Most of the things I have learned in life I have been able to learn on my own, in my own way, and those things have been purely mental exercise, not physical. Dance incorporates both in ways that my brain and body have never had to connect before. Plus I have never been much for fine tuning and technique, both of which are essential.

We are currently focusing on our wedding dance which will be absolutely amazing. Watching him choreograph movements to the song we chose was one of the most wonderful things I have seen, and it reminded me why I enjoyed watching dance in the first place. More than the physical technicalities, I see dance as something beautiful, artistic, and with him, an expression of romance.

Reality

But what happens when reality does come into play? When there are obstacles that seem impossible to overcome, no matter how much we dream or persevere? When adversaries that are not in our power to control, like a crumbling economy, step in the way? When parts of our vision involve those whose vision has changed? When the work needed for one aspect takes so much time that there is little left for the rest? These are some questions that have developed in the months since creating my vision. One of my resolutions for the year is to work on the solutions.

Beyond Sight – Appreciating Beauty

When most of us think of something beautiful, we think of using our sense of sight. But what are the other ways we can appreciate a thing of beauty?

Beyond Sight – Use of the Other Senses

Of course, we can appreciate beautiful things with our eyes, whether we are looking at people, nature, etc. But what can we do beyond that?

Let’s start with the sense of smell. Think about looking at a flower. Instead of just seeing the depth of the red rose, get closer and breathe in its fragrance. If you are standing near the top of a mountain, take in the view while absorbing the fresh air. When you are close to someone, pay attention to their scent, that particular fragrance or cologne, or just that aroma that is unique to them.

Then there is the sense of hearing. In the outdoors, you can hear wind rustling the leaves, water trickling down a stream, birds singing, and many other sounds of nature. Relax by listening to gentle music, or the beautiful voice of a great singer. Go beyond the looks of a person, and listen to what they say about their beliefs, and their dreams.

With the sense of touch, you can feel a rose’s delicate petals, the softness of a dandelion’s seed head, and the warmth of a loved one’s embrace.

With the last sense, the sense of taste, you can taste the kiss of true love, probably one of the most beautiful use of the that sense. You can create a visually appealing meal and slowly savor every bite. You can appreciate the work that went into a honeycomb, and taste the honey from it.

Experiencing Beauty Through Emotions

Whenever you apply any of your senses to appreciate something beautiful, you also have the opportunity to let the beauty affect you deeply. Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon, you can not only marvel it’s greatness in size, feel the winds on your skin, breathe in the fresh air, and hear the sounds of people voicing their awe. You can let one of nature’s greatest wonders take your breath away.

When you look at a stunning piece of art, you can go beyond visual appreciation by contemplating what the artist may have been inspired by, and what feelings the work evokes within you.

Sharing Beauty with Others

One of the most common ways beauty is shared with others, especially in the internet world, is through photographs. How can you help others truly appreciate a photo more than aesthetically? Use of present tense details, such as the weather conditions, the sounds around you, the way you felt when taking the photo, what inspired you to taking it, and how it made you feel when looking at it later would help those looking at it go into the moment with you, the photographer.

Finding Beauty Within Yourself

Finally, it is always important to remember that there is a beauty that lies with all of us. We do not have to always be looking towards others, or traveling to far away places to find something beautiful. There is something that makes each of us unique, and that is beautiful in itself. Find that beauty, and share it with the world. Encourage others to find what is beautiful in themselves.

How Do You Do It?

And now I ask you… how do you appreciate beauty?

A special thanks to one of my readers, PeaceLoveJoyBliss, for the intriguing question that inspired this post.

How Artistic Types Express Themselves

I believe that artistic types of people show their true selves, deepest thoughts, strongest emotions and even pieces of their subconscious through their form of art. Writers share imaginative and wonderful stories, or release demons that torment them by putting words to a page. Painters project the beautiful scenes in their mind or around them, or the dark images that disturb them in their dreams, onto canvas using brushes covered in oils, pastels or watercolors.

As much as I hate to admit it, this realization came to me one evening this past April while watching an episode of the Bachelor. In that episode, there was this girl, a songwriter, fighting for the affections of this guy while competing with several other girls. When the bachelor asked her directly about her feelings for him, she came off almost kind of ditzy while trying to explain, which ultimately led her to not receiving a rose. What she was able to do, prior to leaving the show, was write a song that was much more expressive of how she felt.

I could relate to her in the sense that I have found myself in many situations where I just cannot get the right words out to explain how I feel. Especially if the feeling is extremely strong. But what I can do is express myself in my writing, particularly through my poetry. I have notebooks and scraps of paper galore with examples of these kind of emotional poetic expressions covering a range of subjects. For this post, I will go back to poems I have shared previously.

The happiest one was written shortly before my fiancé told me he loved me. My first reaction when he did was to giggle. Of course, I said I love you too once the initial jubilation had calmed down. But I could not directly say how much I had wanted to hear those words from him. Instead, I shared with him a poem I had written about how I felt, Candlelight. That, along with a song that was perfect for the situation, expressed everything I could not find the words to say.

The second example was a piece I wrote about my grandmother. She is currently residing in a nursing home. When people ask me how she is, or how I feel in regards to her condition, I usually cannot express the depth of it. The sorrow of watching someone you love suffer, and know there is nothing you can do to help. Finally, I was able to write this, Slow Mourning. It helped unburden the sadness that had been building up inside me over the past year while watching her health slowly and painfully decline.

So here are my suggestions to you. If you know someone who writes songs or poetry, or paints, take the time to let them share their art with you. Chances are, you will learn so much more about them than they will every be able to say. If you are the artist, it does not matter how perfect your artwork is. When you find yourself in a place that you cannot say what you feel, try expressing it artistically, and then share it with the person you want to tell. This may open the door to much deeper, understanding relationships.

The Life of an Emotional Sponge

Empathy is a beautiful thing. I have always embraced the fact that I am able somewhat understand another person must be feeling in situations that I may not have experience with myself. And even if I do have experience with something similar, I am able to realize that I cannot fully understand what they are going through, as everyone’s emotions and reactions to situations are unique. But with empathy, I am able to at least be able to put myself in their place enough to help them get to the root of the thing troubling them.

The downside to this quality, for me, is that I have also become an emotional sponge. What others feel, I begin to feel as well. I absorb emotional energy of all types. Whenever the person I am with is openly feeling blue, I become blue myself, but at least in that circumstance, I know that the source is external instead of internal.

Some people, however, have the ability to mask their feelings on the surface and portray themselves as being stronger, happier, braver, etc. than they really are. I am, of course, one of those people who will hold something in until it bursts. It is not intentional, but just a natural reaction within some people. Especially with an empathetic person who feels their problems will be a burden on others. But other people conceal their feelings, it somewhat jams my radar. Instead of absorbing their emotion and knowing its source, I feel it and take it on as my own.

It takes a bit of time, but eventually I am able to identify it as not coming from within myself, and then am able to hone on the source. Ultimately, my empathetic side is not satisfied until some form of good takes place, in the form of helping identify a problem and find ways towards a solution. It is this drive that makes me so sensitive to others’ feelings.

Coincidences: Do You Notice?

Do you notice little coincidences? Perhaps think they are a sign?

Last night, my fiancé told me about making a wish when the time is 11:11. I had never heard of this before. Then this morning, while surfing the Postsecret blog, I saw this:

Postsecret 11:11 Make a Wish

It reminded me of how the universe gives us little hints or nudges in the right direction if we are aware of the little things in life. Two examples of how this worked in my life include:

  • Driving the same style vehicle, liking water at room temperature, and several other similar details led to knowing I found my soulmate.
  • Seeing a pharmacy worker with the same name of an old friend from many, many years ago led me to looking her up online. Sure enough, I found her, and now we talk often.

So my challenge to you: when you stumble upon a coincidence, give it a little thought. You never know what it could lead to!