Get to Work

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I've been experiencing a lot of writer's block lately, as exemplified by my long period of inactivity.
Inspiration is a funny thing; 
It is an essential fiber of life and human existence, 
yet it is fleeting; aloof; A sort of fabled fairy creature.
Now and then we feel her all around us, buzzing in our ears with an energy that charges our very souls, sending us off into a seemingly endless sea of creation...
And then, just as quickly she arrived, she is gone; leaving us on the open ocean in a rickety boat with no life vest. 
During these latter times, it is easy to want to quit-- 
to call in the air rescue team to come pull us off of that damned boat and get us home and into some warm clothes. 
Because being outwardly abandoned in unfamiliar territory is not comfortable for anyone. 
It can feel risky, lonely, bleak. 
But, as humans who wish to live creative lives (in whatever field or magnitude that may be), we must keep rowing that boat into the great abyss; 
Keep working, keep creating, even without that fairy of inspiration on our shoulder.
Because one day, when we are least expecting it,
she will show up again, and light up the dark sea-sky with her vivacity. 
And we must be there to catch her and use her; in fact it is our job to be there.
I loved this passage from a book I recently finished called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert:

"I have a friend in Italy who's an independent filmmaker. Many years ago, back when he was an angry young man, he wrote a letter to his hero, the great German director Werner Herzog. My friend poured out his heart in this letter, complaining to Herzog about how badly his career was going, how nobody liked his movies, how difficult it had become to make films in a world where nobody cares, where everything is so expensive, where there is no funding for the arts, where public tastes have run to the vulgar and the commercial.....
"Herzog wrote my friend a long reply of ferocious challenge, in which he said, more or less, this:
"'Quit your complaining. It's not the world's fault that you wanted to be an artist. It's not the world's job to enjoy the films you make, and it's certainly not the world's obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you must, but stop whining and get back to work.'"

As a person who has felt much the same way as the author's friend at times, I could appreciate this. 
If you think that Herzog's response was harsh, you aren't wrong... But it was undoubtedly true
If we have chosen to pursue paths of creativity, we must then be creative about how we will continue to grow, thrive, and remain confident in an environment where there is no certainty regarding where our next subject matter or bit of inspiration might come from. 
This creativity is not limited to "the arts," mind you. On the contrary, creative living can encompass anything which makes a person feel passionate and alive, or transcends one beyond the plane of basic human survival. 
Whether that's architecture, fashion, marine biology, painting, sport, collecting novelty Pez dispensers-- doesn't matter. Whatever makes you feel passionate and inspired, that is your art.
The world is not to blame for lulls in your inspiration, however-- 
because if you have chosen to do what you love, then it is your job to get to work with a fervency that makes the world want to love it too. 
Thus, we often find ourselves at a juncture where we must decide whether to trudge along in the absence of our fickle friend Inspiration and risk creating shit work, or take a "break" and move onto something else for an unspecified period of time until she returns for us.
While I tend to take the latter route, the correct answer is the former (if you ever hope to get anywhere in your endeavors, that is).
If we sit around waiting for Inspiration to knock down our door, we may wind up sitting for a very, very long time.
Inspiration needs fuel, a host with enough momentum to carry her, even when she becomes heavy with languor. 
The best way to call Inspiration back to us, then, is to get to work. 
Even if our work is feeling uninspired and tedious, we must do it, and do it earnestly. 
Because we never know, as we are working we may stumble across some idea or creative tangent which ignites Inspiration to return to us, that we wouldn't have discovered if we were being stagnant.
So do what you love.
Get in bed with your passions; marry them.
Stick by them for all that they're worth: 
The highs and the lows, 
the profound and the uninspired. 
Then watch, as your efforts sail you around the world.

xx, Bailey

Success, and the Delusion of Inadequacy

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Let's journey back
To a time long ago, when the aim of the human race was survival.
An idea comprised of obtaining food, water, and shelter.
During this time, achieving said goal of mere continuance made a species or a member therein "successful."
Now enter 2016;
Some people in the world still live this way.
However today, we tend to consider those aiming only to survive as "less fortunate."
With most of us living comfortably and finding our next meal or source of shelter not difficult to come by in our technologically advanced society, we have free time.
Too much free time; wherein we have created illusionary needs and goals and definitions of achievement, which we have in turn applied to our species as a whole.
If you aren't making x dollars annually, you fail occupationally.
If you aren't thriving on this social platform, you are not well-liked; you fail socially.
If your looks do not meet these standards of excellence, you fail physically. And so on.
Historically and scientifically speaking, this is the opposite of true.
Before we had this abundance of spare time to create problems for ourselves, the laws of nature would have said that if you were surviving, you were succeeding.
Because what is success? There is no concrete definition.
Webster says that it is "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose." Therefore, success is subjective. 
What is your aim? What is your purpose? What do you dream of? What makes you feel alive?
That is your success.
We have become wrapped up in this culture in which we measure ourselves against everyone else.
We compete with their dreams and their goals, and often times those dreams and goals don't even belong to them to begin with; they too are competing with another's.
We spend so much time competing that we forget to live, and ergo by the very basic scientific definition of success, we have all failed.
Gauge your success against yourself. Where you've come from; where you want to go.
The lie of society has triumphed in making its elemental members feel inadequate and insane for far too long.
Nobody except you has the right to determine whether or not you are flourishing.
And if ever you feel like a failure, remember that you are alive. That fact in itself is the greatest and most absolute measure of success that can be quantified or agreed upon by humankind.
You are successful.
Now work on being unique. Work on being decent.
Use your innate human achievement to reveal to others how successful and beautiful they are, too. 
What is to come of this Earth if we spend all of our time with our heads down, dabbling in trivial matters to reap meaningless rewards?
True honor lies in exposing beauty;
Lending inspiration;
Sharing in substantial relationships;
Protecting and appreciating the cycle of life, and the abundance of our gracious planet which is ever-dwindling;
Leaving this place better off than we found it.

Find peace in the fact that life is a continuous gift-- one that would be a shame to waste on anyone else's idea of what matters-
And so long as you are breathing, you have won. 

xx, Bailey 

create your sanctuary

Friday, February 19, 2016

Everybody needs one:
A place to where they can retreat... 
Feel creative; peaceful; still, in a world that is anything but.
The goal is to develop one's own mind to become this sort of sanctuary.
But nevertheless, its does not hurt to have a physical place that can act as a catalyst for creative cognition and ideation-- or, even, for the most epic nap of all time.
If you are so fortunate to have a place to call home (100 million people in the world do not) it is nice/crucial to have an area that is all your own where you can go to find peace... Your fortress of solitude, so to speak.
Mine is my bedroom, though one day I hope to have a separate room to dedicate to my practices of art, meditation, reading, being, etc.
Wherever you designate your space to be, it is important to keep it 
comfortableclean and full of inspirational energy.
Every person's sanctuary will inevitably be different, but if you try and craft yours with those three characteristics in mind, you will wind up with a place that you find peaceful, creative, and unique.

My personal style is earthy and minimalistic.
I like light neutral colors, desert tones, and rustic-looking handmade or secondhand knick knacks.
I also have a million candles which I keep lit almost constantly... Candles are essential to my sanctuary's positive energy flow.
All of my candles are, for the most part, either made by me (I will post a how-to on that later), or purchased from Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters.
Favorites include Volcano by Capri Blue and Tobacco & Patchouli by Paddywax Apothecary. 
In addition to my candles, trinkets, and neutrally hued space, I also love keeping fresh flowers on my surfaces, bright string lights around my windows, and books-- everywhere. 
The fusion of all of these elements gives my room a magical feeling which inspires me to relax, learn and create.

Below, I've pictured and explained the details of my decor to hopefully provide you with some inspo / a jumping-off point when you go to build or update your own sanctuary. 
Remember, your space should be a unique reflection of who you are.
What inspires you? What makes you feel safe, peaceful, and expressive? What reminds you of your hometown, family or childhood?
These are the kinds of questions you should ask yourself as you create your sanctuary.

My dresser, covered in candles and vintage gems.

A handmade ceramic leaf tray gifted to me by my Aunt. I use it as a surface for my healing crystals, clary sage, and various scents I find soothing. To the right, my favorite Paddywax candle, flowers in a beer bottle, and a lantern.

My geometric terrarium, Mother's gold candle holder, and some various vessels for candle votives. s/o to alliteration. The one in the middle is a Himalayan salt rock, which purifies the surrounding air and charges your space with ions for a calming effect. I got the little bronze one at an Indian supermarket; it was designed to heat incense for offerings. The mirrored pyramid was a snag from the greatest store ever-- Urban Outfitters. 

My windows, surrounded by bright string lights. Between them, the skull of some poor desert animal. Kidding-- it's fake. I also like to adorn my walls with homemade dreamcatchers, so I always sleep like a bebe.

The little bookcases that frame my bed on each side. In them I have countless genres of literature-- old and new-- as well as journals, sketchbooks, and my boyfriend's Gameboy Light which I've been using to play Pokemon, since I'm an adult. 

My sheared Alpaca teddy bear from Peru, pictured with some of my favorite reads right now. The Wes Anderson Collection features a timeline of the filmography of my personal favorite director ever, as well as interviews with the man himself. In the middle is a magazine I recently acquired called Brownbook: An Urban Guide to the Middle East. This is Issue 54 entitled "Plants," as well as an insert from the Cairo Observer that came with it. To the right, The Alchemist and Five Acres and Independence: A Practical Guide to the Selection and Management of the Small Farm (I found it at a thrift store and was intrigued).

A parchment poster that I got from a random vintage store in Wyoming and absolutely adore. Below it sits my record player, currently featuring Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper.

My desk, topped with some various art supplies and, of course, more flowers and candles. Above my desk hangs a scratch off map of the World (gifted to me by a dear friend) that I haven't scratched anything off of yet because I think it looks too cool in gold and black. 

I would love to hear what types of things you would choose for your own sanctuary, as well as any inquiries or suggestions in the comments below!
Happy weekend :)

xx, Bailey