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We devalue negative energy when we place a positive spin on it. When we build up a wall of authentic self by producing moral fibers of strength, we become untouchable. The purpose of the following words from my heart is to apply my learning lessons in self growth, positive perception and authentic integrity.

Be the leader you always knew you were capable of becoming:

Society molded you, but does not determine your actions. You can see yourself as a product of determinism or of free will, either way; the world is a reflection of how you see it. Personally, I must choose to see it as good and nurture all that it is. I feel strongly that when we do an act of kindness or stand up for another soul, we do so from dedication to our authentic inner strength. Heroism is less an intended action, but a reflex; a reflex like that of a muscle twitch from strength training your heart. Your actions come from the moral fiber of your mindset. Your perception shapes your worldview. You bubble in your brain scantron with what you wish to feed your soul with. A positive mind creates a positive life, right? Stay positive in the face of adversity. Reach for your cornerstone of inner strength when you feel yourself getting off balance.

Being Human:

Suffering is our path to compassion and thus the identity source of being human. A philosophical question that comes alive here is that of whether art shapes life, or life shapes art. I believe the ladder, experience drives us to create, and thus art is produced from our living experiences. Most recently, I finished watching West World, a true art in the cinema of our culture, in which the collective philosophy in the fibers of the story are that suffering does indeed make for the consciousness of feeling human. You awake to the feeling of being alive. I know what it is to feel dormant and I know what it is to feel active. It is all in my perception at any given moment. The moral of any story of what it is to be human will remain that being human is an inert intuition and a feeling of enlightenment through experiencing the world around you. Learning to stay present with that emotion of feeling alive is the lesson. You learn to maintain joy in the face of suffering because out of it something beautiful is to come. The question then is what is worth suffering for? The common answer is love. The greatest trigger for enlightenment and emotion of all, love. The greatest deliverance of pain/suffering and joy/liberation, is love. You alone have the choice on what is worth suffering for, or if you dare to be brave enough to embrace that pain and joy at all. Make your choices authentically so that there is no question that you followed your heart’s desire. Each person is born into the world with a gift and a treasure map of finding that gift to make us authentic. Being human is a learning process towards authenticity and resilience.

Gratitude is Power:

Again I reiterate, you eliminate the power source of negativity. The power hungry source could be any range of things: a shallow person with purpose to play you like a puppet, a narcissist looking to feed from manipulation and belittlement of others, oppression from an individual or a group, negative shackles wishing to weigh you down in a world that you were meant to fly. You gain strength by viewing every arduous moment you have lived as an opportunity to personal growth. That mindset changes everything and opens doors to let light flood in. You alone hold the flame; no one can blow it out if you exercise its power, gratitude. I speak from experience, I know these flame blowers personally. I thank those people, right here, right now- thank you. From a sincere place in my heart I thank you for I am able to channel your weakness into my strength of empowerment. The collective you that I express my gratitude towards: I understand you have your reasons, your validations, and your truth to follow too. The purpose of peace is to never demoralize our differences. There is an ocean of differences that join us to experience the vibrant experience of swimming free. Our differences are defined in the grains of sand that make the whole beach beautiful. Those grains of sand have held our written words of love and day after day the water cycles in, routinely shaping change. Yet, despite the constant change, the struggle the riptides carry, and amongst the noise the crash of the waves creates, that sand remains solid. We can walk on solid ground despite the changing tides that recede in and out and the waves that rise and fall. Those that think different from me create a wave of thought within me. I compelled to say that when I repel from your worldview, I am pushed to the ground only temporarily, only to feel every cell in my body come alive in order to stand up stronger and rise up taller. To my friends, do not let the ugliness of the world drop you to levels that are not you, for when you fall the ground to is leveled with optimism in that you will rise up again. Rising has more strength than falling and ultimately it is your choice to rise again.

I am awake. I am unafraid. I know who I am. That is my personal liberation that will guide me through the roller coaster of life.  I seek my tribe of community that also utilizes empathy to connect to the greater sum of humanity. You may reach enlightenment alone, but “like a flower, you open & blossom because of other people” (Desmond Tutu, The Book of Joy). That positive tribe will quote Anais Nin, “the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Blossom yourself into being. Bloom into being authentic. Grow for yourself, then reap the benefit of living in the sun.

My loved ones, our world is very intense with messages of hate right now- those messages are intended to harm, but hold your power over it and know that what is to come is the resolution of connection. Human connection is the most powerful reality of all. Our inner selves are seeking unity from each other in this time of intense challenge. We will rise Stronger. We are bonding to unify what we believe is the reason for life entirely, love. Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your family members, love your friends and foes. The message above all is that you can make a difference. You can push your own limits of love, empathy, harmony, and gratitude for the greater good of the whole universe.

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Mucho Gusto…otra vez… How does one re-introduce oneself after several years? To get to present day feelings, I will fill you in with the challenge I accepted 2 years ago. I put the me t…

Source: We can choose courage or choose comfort …

Mucho Gusto…otra vez…

How does one re-introduce oneself after several years? To get to present day feelings, I will fill you in with the challenge I accepted 2 years ago. I put the me that is vocalized here on hold, I stopped talking, writing, dreaming, I put myself on hold essentially because I was uncomfortable with the choice I made, then I continued to plunge ahead into more choices that did not reflect me authentically. I attempted “the settle”, the pilgrimage of spirit was over, I was a princess after all living in a castle in the burbs, swimming nude in my private pool, shopping at places called At Home for the perfect artistic decor. I gained weight, got comfortable, became a homebody, failed to reach out to my friendship tribe that I left behind for all this. At first I was rationalizing “the all this” a.k.a material goods, structure, and comfort as a justification to leaving myself behind. In the last several months I have asked myself a long, serious list of questions that in the present moment will not have answers, but something I clung to in particular upon this quizzical time is a brief conversation with my dearest, mate-iest of souls, in which I proclaimed “if this isn’t me than how do I become me without risk?” to which the philosophically friendly reply was, “If that’s not me, then how do I become me, regardless of the risk? is how I would put it.”

Life isn’t Comfortable, it is not about staying in comfort zones, because this will not aid to resilience later on when the shit really hits the fan. Shit has hit the fan. Questions are being tossed at me while I juggle absolutely every angle of my life.

“We can choose courage or choose comfort but we cannot have both not at the same time” -Brene Brown, Rising Strong

In my current transition  I feel scared, vulnerable, excited, validated, doubt, and joy. I look around & know I am leaving so much behind, but the thing is that nothing is permanent. Since everything is temporary, I try to keep shuffling the deck that I was dealt as to avoid comfort in the tangible. It is time to shift the tide again & see if I can balance better this time while surfing the waves of my emotions. I stopped listening to my inner voice somewhere along the way, damaged by fear and loneliness I suppressed my bold impulses. For a short time, I was liberated & people were drawn to that freedom. Now, I find myself in the struggle of the current again. Find myself asking a long list of hard questions and one of which pointing back at me asking “Who are you?” like a dream stated catepillar blowing smoke rings at me.

Today, I remember my horse…  my red roan 17 hands tall solitary horse was afraid of everyone, or rather, since horses mirror that of your present emotions, everyone was afraid of him. That first day of greeting, I walked up to him, looking him directly in the eye with an open channel of communication on understanding. I knew what was inside. I knew his story. My spirit animal was quick on his feet as he was always ready to take flight. He trusted no one and with his expected flighty demeanor, hastily stepped aside from all those wishing to mount him. It was me and him, our story, our ride only. We were the most aware, we together were most scared. I tell this story to reflect that I have always been a cautious scared, ready to run away kind of horse. He was me, I was him. Together we road, but now feeling timid in the world I must rise up all on my own. I cannot move away from what scares me. I need to instead move towards it, join forces with it, and most likely be able to ride out into adventure with it.

 

 

Ouch, that was a long break! Apparently I write most & create more avidly upon transition & change. The Opportunist was previously dedicated to coming out of my shell for a spell to redefine independence and I suppose here I am feeling that same way 3 years or so later. It is both empowering and vulnerable to feel this way- in between. I often tell myself the whole in between is victim to my personality being an indecisive character that I am. As I age, perspective however continues to change. My desire to express remains the same. So, here we go, thing is on. Let’s reveal what is behind Audrey’s door….

That is so beautifully put

Captured With My Phone

Pipes and cables in NYC subway.
Shot and processed using my iPhone.

IMG_9756.JPG

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Being deeply lo…

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage – Laozi

Heartbreaker Banquet

Heartbreaker Banquet

Heartbreak is certainly a challenge to overcome. I suppose overcoming it in general is questionable. The Heartbreaker Banquet is an appropriate title for a music fest in the legendary Texan songwriter, Willie Nelson’s hill country setting because heartbreak is the song so easily sung using the power chords of our heart strings. I have heard that soul mates yearn for each other if not together. That yearning or longing is finely tuned & relayed through the melodies and lyrics of the talented musicians shining in the golden sun out at Luck, TX. Shakey Graves growls this aspiring sense of longing in his Unlucky Skin singing, “won’t be long til I belong”. Oh, Shakey, that Texan Gentleman that gives so much of his honorable & sensible self to his audience that he alone creates a whole ‘nother atmosphere for perhaps a future blogging adventure. At this moment, I share my lens from Heartbreaker Banquet. For more from this album, check out https://www.facebook.com/finn.focus

SXSW Experiences

SXSW is a beast of beauty, soul tuning, inspiration, and of course PARTIES & booze & loud music & soft music &&&&&…. well what does South By SouthWest NOT have? I am not a writer. I am the silent type that lets my photographs speak my paragraphs so listen to ME. I speak softly & subtly, SEE me.

Home Sweet ATX

While in Chicago, the skyscrapers and the haste of the streets allowed me to feel the importance of ambition. I told myself I wanted more! More money! More experiences! Whatever, just more, more, more!  Essentially this ambitious greed created a desire to google “how to become a different person” (I did not actually google this, of course). Sometimes, it feels I could benefit more from being a focused and driven person rather than this leafy, distracted “creative” type that I was born into. Although, I have always been happy to be me.  As a child, I remember my best friend during 3rd grade giving herself a fake play name. She asked what I would call myself & I answered, “Audrey” stating at such a young age that I liked who I was just fine. I pondered what it would be like to take on a different life. Is such an urban setting as this a place for me to thrive? I questioned these types of things, as I always do. I try to enter the mind of the local, calculating a life style that Chicago would bring me.  After all, “The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Perhaps my recent realization of the disadvantages of a drifter city like Austin caused my mind to wander outside my city limits. I love that my city cradles unique persons from all over the globe. This city collects people, thus it seems rare to find someone actually from Austin. I continue to meet amazing people, only to hear of their moving plans shortly after. 😦 Before leaving for Chicago I was a little down on that notion of drifters that keep passing through me.  Then, I returned home. Home sweet, dripping sweat, salsa tasting, music at every corner, festival addicted, lone star brewing, cowboy boot wearing, where people don’t have cars they ride horses TEXAS.

The very night I returned I got an invite to a local band’s secret show stating in the invite to bring flashlights. Intrigued? I certainly was! A wooded landscape lay as the backdrop  with lit candles illuminating on the natural stage. People crowded round for a show set to feature three local bands. I raced my friends to hurry so we wouldn’t miss a strum, a line, or a chorus!  Funny that I am late for absolutely everything in life, but when it comes to concerts, gigs, or shows I am actually early. We can see where my priorities lie, huh? As always, Lord Buffalo is a soul releasing experience with their engaging stomps that force your head to sway to the beat. The violin places you in a trance and the thudding beat keeps you there. The pound of the drum raises your heart nearly out of your chest. On their last song, flashlights shined on the crowd and two cops approached saying, “shut it down guys” but Lord Buffalo increased their volume, projecting loudly ” go baby, go, go, go”. The cop said we all have 10 minutes to vacate this private property & those remaining will be arrested. The guy sitting in front of us turned around abruptly giving out the address of the new secret show location, Danny Malone’s house.  The crowd dispersed and only a handful showed up, making for an even more intimate gig. Danny Malone is a quirky, humorous & talented local artist that just returned from recording in a Denmark castle. “Balloons was recorded in Denmark, in a 15th Century castle called Engelsholm. The castle is widely believed to be haunted by the souls of tortured slaves housed there many hundreds of years ago, as well as those of the philosophers and Alchemists who freed the castle of slavery after buying it from the Danish King. Danny and co-producer Mattie Smith spent 10 days recording 10 songs in this castle.” – http://dannymalone.com. Another singer/songwriter there that night was Christopher Denny which up to this point is the most peculiar man I have ever met. His talent is enormous, thus comparing him to Sean Hayes or Johnny Cash is easy. Somewhere in the wee hours of the morning, each singer songwriter took their turn showcasing their work right there in the circle. I was in heaven! No, I was home. Home of the Live Music Capitol title, where I belong.

As always, I am off to listen. I listen with my ears, my heart and my soul in finding more music to love. Tomorrow night I will stand before Hanni El Khatib, and the following day I will be over the moon to see three of my favorites: Sarah Jaffe, Warpaint, and yet again Lord Buffalo!

LORD BUFFALO:

SARAH JAFFE:

WARPAINT:

 

Ukrainian sounds & Kayaking

After the game, we ended Sunday with finally making it out to the World Music Fest at the Cultural Arts Center. From the time the plane landed all I wanted was to hit up this event! I had read about it through do312.com and was happy to hear it would still be going on during my stay. Timing plays a crucial role in our lives so I made it when I was supposed to. I saw only one band, DakhaBrakha, and that is all I needed. I sat completely still, emotion coursing through my veins drawing out an articulating transient tone, the music climaxes to full range of vocals & instruments, then, just then, a whisper, “mom I’m bored.” Dylan was not on the same train, haha. 🙂 He did not dig the Ukrainians, but he has a mind all his own and he preferred the french speaking band that played next. DakhaBrakha has amazing talent! Check them out. I loved them so much that I bought two cds and shared them with friends immediately upon returning home.

contrasted bridge over chicago riverwalk_2

I have not gone kayaking before, so I was equally excited and nervous. I did not want to risk the potential regret of damaging my electronics, thus I have no kayak photos 😦 Dylan and I shared a kayak with him in the front. Chicago’s Urban Kayaks (http://urbankayaks.com/)  is the name & I would recommend this tour to anyone. The tour guide, an aspiring actor with that one day recognizable face gave fabulous illustrations of information along the way, giving insight to the local architecture and some of Chicago’s ghost stories.

One of my first thoughts walking across the bridge that first night was how grand it would be to transport back in time to see this very spot of this grand city in the late 20’s. Like most, I am fascinated with the roaring 20’s decade, thus am even dedicating a whole party on it by hosting a flapper themed holiday party near the end of this lovely year. For this intrigue into America’s past, I have spent leisure time on “Boardwalk Empire” lately. My goodness, I am addicted!  If you also have an obsession over Prohibition like me check out the film, “Lawless”(http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1212450/), just a side note since I got started on bootleggers depicted in film.

Chicago skyline in the 20’s chicago skyline in the 20s

Modernized Jazz Age music of the 20’s : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqjeNSNuNPM

I cannot wait to hit up ATX kayaks & do it again and AGAIN and again!!! Right now there is a super cool art piece hovering Town Lake. Here is a brief article as to why there is a giant white tree dangled upside down over the water. http://republicofaustin.com/2013/09/26/what-are-the-white-tree-prayer-flags-on-town-lake-photos/

Remaining photos from the last day and maybe some lingering ones that belong from one of the five days:

light with buildings IMG_2207_editedIMG_1986_edited IMG_1983_editedautumn sun PicsArt_1379981622322 PicsArt_1379982317196 PicsArt_1379982647540 PicsArt_1380316444892 PicsArt_1381042061825