This week, I could feel wild tickles through my soul, ruminating on thoughts of abundance, visioning your dream life and positive priorities….this is something I have been considering for the last 9 years of my life. In fact, in 2003, I had to finally stand up for these priorities in a very self-affirming way – against my dad. We all have our “nay-sayers”, and the mainstream people around us who live according to the North American consumerist culture, who worry about security, change, and instability. My dad has always supported my artistic pursuits, but as a dad, he has always worried about my financial independence. For myself, I never perceived having a ‘money problem.’ I was always able to pay my bills doing work that I loved, I paid back my school loans in 2 years after graduation, I paid my rent every month, and never once had to borrow money from anyone. So I finally got fed up. At 27 years of age, I wrote him my response to his worries…and without realizing it, ended up creating my own personal manifesto: “I AM AN ARTIST.” Of course, in 6 years, some things have changed, but I think this is a really good time to re-visit this poetic commitment to my SELF…I think I have more to say in another blog….but for now, I hope this brings others a little spark of light. Enjoy!
I AM AN ARTIST.
I ride my bike to work.
After FULLY experiencing, but then later ‘opting out’ of the hectic “Queen Street” lifestyle, I’ve since lived in 2 cute, cozy apartments, on quiet side streets, in the Portuguese neighbourhood of Toronto.
I’m not afraid of silence. In fact, I cultivate ‘good’ silence almost as much as I seek out laughter. And I reap the beauty of a good, hard cry.
A bright yellow bedroom with a bay window that looks out onto a strong, abundant, flowering tree, and a chubby, talkative, black & white cat to fill the windowsill represents HEAVEN to me.
I buy soy milk, free-run eggs, President’s Choice (hey, they make great cookies!), and my produce is chosen with care from Kensington Market. I use cruelty-free hygiene products and biodegradable, toxic-free dish soap that “moonlights” as a laundry detergent, glass & window cleaner, fruit & veggie cleanser, and shampoo!!
I prefer making gifts over buying, personalized cards to presents, reducing my own consumption, and helping those in need.
I avoid Nike like the Plague.
I have 2 TV channels – on a beat-up, second-hand, 1980’s TV – which are usually draped in grey fuzz, unless I stand directly in front of the ‘sucker!’
I frequent the local alternative cinema and I rent my movies at Queen Video. I prefer foreign films to blockbusters and subtitles over dubbing.
I also prefer long, candlelit dinners with my friends—complete with funky music, dessert wines, ridiculous conversations and spontaneous disco dancing—over deciphering the “who’s who” at the hottest new club!
I patronize independently-owned Thai, Indian, Vietnamese, veggie Chinese, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Greek, West Indian, and deluxe pizza places over any fast food or “family-style” restaurants. I relish in the ones with ornamental artwork, cultural music, burning incense and decent prices.
On my weekends (which aren’t always the same as everyone else’s) I like to sleep in and go on mini-adventures: ride my bike to the beach and watch the sunset, play on the swings, stumble across little art festivals, book fairs, poetry readings or theatre in the park. I like to watch squirrels in High Park – especially the ones who like to ‘sunbathe’ all sprawled out on their backs! A trip to the art supply shop is like a trip to the candy store – full of colour, taste, imagination, and unexpected surprises!
I like people who sing on the bus and I think “Poetry by the Way” was a genius invention!
One of my favourite pastimes is to hang out for hours on end at bookstores, and though I’m mildly claustrophobic, I delight in the mad claustrophobia of used bookshops. I feel as though I’m back in the womb! Then, when fate chooses to take hold of me – and a certain book just can’t leave my grip – as a fierce defender of the underdog, the independent booksellers are always my first purchase.
My weekend just doesn’t feel complete without a Flow yoga class with Anastasia, at least one freshly prepared meal, and some quality time napping on my cat’s belly. (The laundry and housecleaning can always wait til tomorrow!)
I prefer in-person dialogue to talking on the phone and e-mail over phone chat. The look in someone’s eyes is more telling than an autobiography and I think better when I write.
I believe in feeling others’ ‘energy’. I believe we are all deeply affected by the people we choose to surround ourselves with. I choose my friends wisely.
I also believe in miracles, ‘connections’ with people beyond this lifetime, fairies, angels, the power of animals’ souls, world peace and equality and opportunity for all.
I believe that we all have the power to heal the world, if we can just be brave enough to look within and be AWARE of what we discover there first.
I believe that actions speak louder than words.
I believe in myself.
And just in case I haven’t fully explained my reality, not only am I an artist, but I’m a TEACHER and I’m really good at what I do – and beyond being really good at what I do, I strongly believe in what I do and how I contribute to inspiring and uplifting those around me. People who interview me realize this within the first hour of meeting me – they crave people with my kind of enthusiasm – and I almost always get hired right on the spot.
I think it all goes back to that “energy” thing.
And finally, there’s one last thing about me that I want you to realize, Dad-ee-oh, and that’s the assertion that I TRUST THE UNIVERSE. Everything that happens in life leads us to where we need to go next, in order to complete our growth. We have a great deal of CHOICE and with choice comes power.
Like attracts like energy.
I know I sound very confident in what I’m saying and you might credit it with “the idealism of youth.” But let me ask you, no matter what age we are—if we don’t stand fast to our ideals, where does that leave us?
I have been blessed with the freedom to live this life, and I have chosen this life.
I like my energy.
And I think that makes others like it too.