It’s become quite evident that art is quite conducive to the mental health of others. Whether you’re creating art or witnessing it. The overall benefits are overwhelmingly positive. After stopping and taking in the creativity of Baltimore’a Graffiti Alley. I thanked my wife for always nourishing my soul by supporting and fueling my love of creativity.
Looking back, it all started as a young child and my Mom. She was a secretary at a rather large advertising company. Though she never made much money. She was always bringing home art and movie posters. Some of which I still have today. On the days I visited her at work. I’d find myself in the art room watching illustrators bring new characters and ideas to life.
I often look back at those times and my Mother’s influence as the gateway drug that inspired my long love affair with art, photography and the people who create it. Over the years, it’s help me process, heal and strive to create. Let art be your muse, the shoulder to lean on and that big blue pill that cures all.
After a short stay at Gasworks Park, we began to head home with the mindset of picking up a late lunch or early dinner. In a very short span of time, we must have come up with a half dozen different ideas without one really standing out from the other. Upon passing Ivar’s we finally made a concrete decision and made a U-turn.
The warmth of the setting sun and the sudden sense of relaxation brought on by the lake and passing kayakers was just what the doctor ordered. Though a city boy through and through. One who spent many years living within earshot of Times Square and the once feared forty deuce. I have become more appreciative of a laid back and less congested lifestyle. As I grow older, I often find myself craving solitude and escaping to less traveled places. Below is a slide show featuring some of the images I captured while enjoy fish & chips and clam chowder with my wife.
With a move just a day away and an exhausting week of packing almost done, I hope to move forward with my energy and purpose. Our new home offers many windows of opportunity to put forth. Or, at the very least, supplement the ideas and plans I’ve been looking to add, subtract, or continue as we’ve made it a habit to visit the condo since our closing day regularly, sometimes to bring essentials, others to measure or plan. It never goes without notice how an empty room allows for boundless thoughts, ideas, and creativity. Below is a shortlist of actions and undertakings I plan on implementing or continuing.
Tai-chi – What a great way to start the day? In with the good and our with the bad.
Minimalism – This has been an obsession of mine for some time. Packing for the move has been a revelation—a back-breaking reminder of everything I had to have.
Meditation – Since I was in grammar school, I’ve relied on meditation for long periods, often interrupted by being too busy with complete nonsense. Considering how beneficial the results have always been, I often find myself scratching my head as to why I ever stop. Whether it be stress, anxiety, overthinking, breathing, or just clearing the mind, five minutes to a half-hour of meditation does more than any pill or time with a therapist has ever done for me.
Shortly after arriving home yesterday, I received an email notifying me that there was a package waiting for me in the buildings office. Knowing that in was probably the latest batch of records I ordered from my favorite music distributor, I raced downstairs before even bothering to put my shoes back on. Upon breaking the seal of a vinyl reissue of a cherished demo from the late 80’s. I was somewhat shocked and dismayed to see one of my photos within a collage of others from the time. Shocked, considering I didn’t know how the record label acquired it. Dismayed considering I was never approached, notified, credited or compensated for its use. Feeling angry and somewhat betrayed, I knew I needed to get some fresh air. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about myself and managing I’ve often found that physically removing myself from a situations can go a far way towards easing any stress, tension or anger I might find myself being overwhelmed by. Luckily, with a park, lake and bay just minutes away, I’m able to do so. The chance to practice my tai chi, breathing techniques and take a few pictures can often change a mindset. In being able to combine all three, the thought of someone using a picture I took about thirty years ago seems pretty insignificant in the overall scale of things.
For years now, I’ve tried to make meditation a part of my every day life. Quickly, I moved from one of those people who thought “How can I possibly find the time in my busy schedule?” to “How can I not?” Since my early attempts, I’ve used basic breathing techniques to conquer panic attacks, anxiety and overthinking while cultivating a sense of peace and mindfulness I never imagined possible.
Earlier today, as we boarded the Ferry from Bainbridge Island to downtown Seattle. I found the perfect opportunity to meditate. With nothing but the sound of waves crashing alongside the boat, the subtle breeze wafting through the car window and the gentle rocking of the car due to the ferry’s pushing it’s way across Elliot Bay. I found myself removed from the thoughts of the days, weeks and months that have crowded my head and battled for space and permanence in mind. The feeling was of warmth and peace. I became so completely calm and at ease. That I hardly noticed the ferry attaching itself to the dock. As I heard the announcement of our arrival over the loudspeaker. I nodded over to my wife to notice that she too had fallen into the spell. She sleepily asked, “When we could do it again?” I was quick to reply, “As soon as we can.” as we headed home from our day’s trip.
The more I learn about and inevitably embrace meditation. The more I want my friends and loved ones to join me. The most important thing I’ve learned in all this is that you really don’t need a special room, place, pillow or chant to enjoy it’s many benefits. All you need is a few minutes to allow yourself to check out and unplug. I highly recommend it.
There are times when I can write, write, write all day. The hours just melting away as I continue to pen the next Great American Novel or put the final touches on that record or book review I’ve been working on for over a week. Then there are days like this past Monday where I’m able to get out early and often. Yesterday’s sudden burst of energy and inspiration allowed me to explore yet to be traveled, yet eerily close destinations within ten minutes of my Columbia City apartment. The first photo was taken just before noon at a little spot I found on the way home for lunch. During my short time there. I couldn’t help but notice how calming the fresh, cool air and the water felt. I’d imagine a lot of folks going there to clear their mind while enjoying the peace and quiet. It was during my time there when I met a sweet pit bull named “Woof”.
The second picture was taken at Sunset just a few blocks west of 15th Ave. S. Due to the cold and the fact that I had pretty much attained what I wanted. I began tthe walk back to my car. It was then when I noticed this van with the sunset perfectly reflected in it’d side window. Having watched several documentaries featuring people traveling the country in vans just like this one. I was ready for someone to emerge just as I focused my lens. That, or a full on zombie apocalypse. Luckily, neither occurred as I was able to get in my car, head home and warm myself with a hot cup of coffee. At the end of the day, I’m glad I decided to try something different by taking a few side roads and allowing myself to get a little lost.