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I am Soultable

22 Jul

“ The artwork and artist, work and person, in every field of activity, are in a mutually creative relation to each other.

Each requires the other to give to and to communicate. The relation between a person and her

work is thus a living expression of dialogue.”

-Zinker

Every third Thursday, I pack an overnight bag and prepare for my monthly get away. I know, it is not fair. You must be thinking to yourself, “Why does Loralei get to go on vacay once a month?” Although you may not have thought those words precisely, you may at least have been asking yourself where I take these little vacations of mine.

Truth is, where I go technically isn’t a lavish R & R spot. Friday after work, I jump in my purple Scion and head out to a small office in Manhattan Beach for a weekend packed with activities regarding Expressive Arts Training techniques. I consider this time more like vacay or even something close to a retreat rather than school because the experience has a consciousness raising and even somewhat spiritual effect on me.

School, at least the type of school we have here in the US, which is based on power struggles, rewards and punishments, etc. is nothing like what I experience in these classes. Here, I get to learn about myself through various creative activities and really take time out for me. I can’t explain the high I feel when I am there and even after I leave. But all I can say is that in a society where we have to be on the grind 24-7 just to pay the bills, it feels good to be able to give back to myself every now and then.

STRING ART

In my last class, we focused on the VISUAL ARTS. I want to share a few of my creations as well as my experience with you all.

The piece below was created by dipping a piece of string into black india ink, painting with it, and then going back in and coloring it in with watercolor. Usually, artists are concerned with aesthetics balance, etc. However, here, I just let my mind go blank and let my feelings and intuition guide my process. The key to this technique was to NOT HAVE A PLAN and simply LET GO.

“Soultable”

When I first stepped back and looked at my piece, I was in awe. To me, it looked as though I had created a spinning heart-shaped turntable. This was meaningful to me because I viewed it as a gift from my subconscious. [ As I said, I had no plan when I began this piece. I was painting it purely for engaging in the act of creation.]

Music is mos def my supreme muse. When my piece revealed itself to me, it was as if the universe was confirming this deep and meaningful relationship.


If you turn the painting upside down, the heart now resembles the “BA” symbol in baybayin, the Filipino indigenous writing system. It is believed that shape within an ancient fertility symbol called the lingling-o, evolved to become the symbol of BA. The baybayin BA symbol represents the sound for “ba” the syllable found in girl or female in several Filipino dialects, for example Babae (tagalog) and Ba-i or Bai (Visayan).

Looking at it from this perspective also touches me deeply. A few months ago I attended the Babaylan Conference in Sonoma. That weekend was synchronistic and unbelievably magical. I was able to meet fabulous women who inspired me to continue along my journey towards wholeness. I learned so much about the relationship between Filipino psychology, spirituality, healing arts, and expressive arts. It was only fitting that this subconscious painting lead me towards those memories and confirm to me that I am along the right path.

I am so thankful to have art in my life. Without it, I don’t think I would be who I am today. Art is so integral to my being. In the process of creativity, I get lost and I find myself.

Transcending Time/ Space

15 Jul

I remember gazing into the mountains of Honolulu. I could sit for hours, alone, just me, my journal and the mountains. Staring off into the green that would often be covered by a faint fog, I would get lost in the moment. It was as if the mountains’ existence had the power to transcend space and time. When I sat with her I felt whole. I felt alive in my body. I felt at one with nature, my spirit, and the divine source….This was in 2003, when I studied at UH for the summer, a summer  wrapped in transcendent love.

Lately, I have been longing to feel this deep spiritual connection once again. I receive it in other ways, but it’s just not the same. I miss being able to commune with nature as easily as it was in Hawaii. There, everything around me was lush and green. Here, I see stark buildings and telephone polls. But despite this, I do my best to connect to my surroundings and allow the intense yet calming energy of the universe to enter my body. When it does, I sense the presence of the ancestors and how we are all ONE. It is a feeling of pure joy and bliss.

I have been thinking about how expressive arts and music has the same effect on me. When I create through the power of dance, song, writing, or visual art I feel the time/space transcendence. I get lost in the moment and know of nothing else besides the deep connection between by creation and the divine. To me, it is important to spend both time outdoors with nature and indoors engaging in the creative process. In these elements, I find myself. I understand my connection to the universe and to community. I engage with love at it’s purest form and know from within my core that we and the universe are ONE.

Sacred Life

17 May

This past Saturday I was informed of the passing of inspirational woman, Tam Tran, who I was fortunate to get to know while working together in Americorps through the Public Allies, Los Angeles program. Tam was truly a strong and fierce spirit, dedicating her time advocating for social justice, particularly immigrant rights.

I recall her telling the story of how her and her family’s immigrant experience moved her to become an advocate for others. Here is a video of Tam speaking on immigrant rights.

However, not only did I see Tam as dedicated activist, I have to say, she had a quirky personality to her. I also noticed her urbanista fashion sense. I would often wonder how she found such cool boots and oxfords in the thrift stores. 🙂

Now, what I failed to mention earlier was that I found out about her death when I was at a wedding with a few of our former co-workers. Sitting in a trench of emotional juxtaposition, I was reminded again of how SACRED life is. The message that life must be lived to the fullest in every moment rang loud. We can’t control when the universe calls us back into our spirit forms. But, we can control how we live our daily lives and make sure the breaths we take in our human form are not wasted.

Tam you will be missed. When I think of you, I think of a womyn who lived indefinitely in the moment and didn’t waste a breath on the trivial.
Thank you for all you have taught me and the community through your life.

LINK to Article on Tam

05.18.10 Tuesday Night Cafe will be dedicated to Tam

[Tam, I heart this pix of u!]

Can I get a window seat?

14 May

All I gotta say is PREACH it girl! I am thinking I need a window seat right about now, too. There is something about getting out of town and escaping that every day hustle and bustle that is just so dang refreshing. This song reminds me that I just need to BREATHE sometimes. If I can’t literally get that window seat (cuz those seats ain’t cheap!) then hopefully I come back to myself and find that inner peace which a “window seat” can potentially provide.xoxo

Vodpod videos no longer available.

rainbows of transformation

2 Sep

over the past few days i have been contemplating the events going on around me. with the fires buring, the deaths happening in the families of close friends, the illnesses that have come into my life via family members, and all the changes within the social structures i once knew i can’t help but feel exhausted, uneasy, and in a questioning mood. what does this all mean?

essentially, all these occurences could be seen as stimuli for being depressed. but, i don’t neccessarily feel completely melancholy. i just feel like i am waiting for the moment when i can understand what all this means in the context of the universe and where life is taking me, where time is taking us as a people.

as for now, all i can really read into the accumulation of these situations is that CHANGE is inevitable & CHANGE is happening right now even if i don’t want to acknowledge or accept it. What kind of changes will the wind bring for me, my fam, my friends? All i can really do is ask is for PATIENCE to be my companion right now and TRUST that life will continue to unfold beautifully.

and so, i think of rainbows….

IMG_7686

rainbows have always been a reminder of inner transformation and the influence of a greater spiritual influence in my life.  whenever i see one, much like when i see pink roses, i feel that i am being taken care of and guided.

the picture above was taken in oakland, ca in feb 2009. my bff jason perez, his partner carmela, and my good friend genesis and i had just arrived and needed to refill our gas tank. although sleepy, i looked up and to my joy i saw this ranbow arching over lake merrit (my favorite spot in the bay area).

to me, i was being told that life is beautiful, that life is where it is suppose to be at for me at that moment. i felt blessed and in love with a world that was able to communicate with me through the miracles of nature. to this day, rainbows mean so much to me. they remind me that life is meant to live in a way in which we illuminate our light to others. we need to give beauty back to the world just as we recieve it in our lives.

today, the image of the rainbow kept popping up in my head despite the ugliness outside and the uneasiness inside me.

may rainbows always fill out lives and flood our eyes and hearts with love, light, and beauty. may they be a symbol that we are always able to transcend.

————

more info on rainbows….

below is an exceprt from http://www.spiritualwisdom.org.uk/colours-of-the-rainbow2.htm 

check it out for various meanings of rainbows and the colors of the rainbow….

according to the story of noah’s arc:

“The rainbow is called, in this transformational story, a divine covenant sign – in our terms a life and death promise … a divine pledge of:

a) a new beginning when the old is swept away

b) unbroken divine love and care

c) the cyclical evolving of a new world”

 

 

life. make it count

21 Aug

“make it count.” this saying first came into existence in november 2008 when my girlfriends and i had a getaway/ reunion in vegas. my homegirl, kat and i came through to the event with less than 24 hours to spare so we knew we had to make the most of it. hence, the catchy phrase “make it count!” was born and has been flying off the tip of my tongue ever since.

the other day i showed up at my former work place, the public allies office in los angeles. when i got there, my x-co-worker carlos said to me, ” you look happy.” now, normally i would expect someone to  simply say, “thank you!” in response to a statement like this. but, because i am me, i said thank you, yet at the same time my internal monologue sounded something like, ” really? daymn, did i use to look sad when i worked here?”….

when carlos told me that i looked happy, i began to reflect on all the experiences and decisions i have made since i left public allies one year ago that have lead me to my current state. it wasn’t that i was not happy before. it is just that now i am doing all the things i want to do and i have come to the realization that I AM IN CONTROL OF MY LIFE AND MY HAPPINESS. in order to be happy in this present moment, i had to examine what it is i truly want in this life.  my conclusion was that I want my life to be filled with love and joy.

 in order to achieve the states of love and joy that i longed for, i knew i had to reprioritize my life. i decided to get out and be with people more often. i allowed myself the freedom to say that it is ok for me to not settle in to a 9-5, but to go after my dream of building a life out of spreading art into the community and finding alternative ways of getting the means ($$) to support myself. i had to let go of the idea that by the age of 26 i was suppose to be living on my own with a stable job…all this wasn’t easy. but it’s been the best decision i have made.

although i feel the road ahead is not so clear for me, i feel i am actually living life, not just letting life pass me by.

everyday i wake up and tell myself to MAKE TODAY COUNT.

whatever “make it count” means to you, just do it.

live life with no regrets.

 seize the moment.

be-at the beat.

let me leave you with a few songs to take you through the day and inspire you…

“we can be new” by amel larrieux

“live your life” by rihanna & TI

we fight, we love

12 Aug
because we just do...
because we just do…
above is my entry in the NAPAWF (National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum) t-shirt contest. Hopefully I submitted on time, seriously! 😉

 

below is my partial muse for the design…

qtip

we fight/ we love by q-tip featuring raphael saadiq (listen here)

”  we fight and love so much

 sometimes  i get confused of who we are 

maybe if we just stop and chat

 we’ll find out who we are “

i don’t think that I could have said it any better than q-tip. sometimes we just talk to much. we get caught up in this and that. too much noise can cloud our true understanding of who we really are. sometimes  we let ourselves become reactionary (although it cannot be helped sometimes and may even be neccessary in certain moments).

i say, listen to this song and take a piece of advice from q-tip. whether it’s our reactionary response in relation to another person, an institution, or even ourselves i advise we step back, take a breath, and evaluate each situation from a holistic perspective…maybe it is in these moments of thought and reflection we will find more of who we really are and understand how to share that wonderful person with the world.

hope & happenstance

3 Aug

hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in ones life. hope is the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. [1] hopefulness is somewhat different from optimism in that hope is an emotional state, whereas optimism is a conclusion reached through a deliberate thought pattern that leads to a positive attitude.

———-

for the past month or so, i have been taking time out to examine my thoughts and feelings on life & living in order to better understand who i am and who i want to become. for those of you who know me, i have always been into contemplating the deeper meaning of life and happenstance. at times, i have been critiqued for thinking too much. sometimes, i frustrate myself because i do. but i would never change this about myself, because it is in thinking deeply and reflecting upon how the pieces of life’s puzzle fit together that i find the greater meaning in my life.

one thing i have learned in this past month is that hope is crucial to getting where u want to be. without hope how can one move forward in life? we all hope for certain things, but how can we understand hope in a more intimate way? how can we connect with hope at the center of our being? i don’t have the answers. i am still searching. but as i search, i try to practice engaging with what i think hope feels like emotionally and then i attempt to hold that feeling in the core of my being while focusing on whom or what i am hopeful for. it may sound crazy, but i guess u gotta try it to understand.

back in 2003, when i lived in mira mesa/ san diego area, at a time in my life when i was again searching deeply, i would notice that pink flowers were blooming in my front yard. i took these pink flowers as a sign/ symbol from the universe that i should continue to think positively and trust that everything would be taken care of. given that pink roses represent joy, happiness and love, when i started noticing all the pink roses and flowers in my neighborhood and everywhere that went, i felt that it was a sign i was being taken care of and that i should just remain hopeful for my future. everytime i would see a pink flower, especially a rose, it was as though i was being told to TRUST in life’s process.

in these days where i have chosen to pursue a path that has no guarantees (if you’re wondering, i have decided not to go to school to get my MSW, but to pursue my passion for art), i have noticed the resurgence of these pink flowers all around me and i am reminded that i am not alone. i feel the universe guiding me and directing my heart to its truth.

some people stay focused on reality and consistently point out “what-is”. although i see the point of this, we cannot stay fixed upon what-is. we must look beyond and have a vision of something different and something more in order to create a change in our lives. to stay focused upon what-is does not leave room for what-can-be.  let us move towards a time where we have an emotional vision of what we want our lives to be so that we can attract it and achieve it.

free falling joy

18 Jul

* a kinda new piece by me (tried something different with the visual subject than with my other pieces…see my heARTwork gallery & you’ll understand. but, overall, to me, it works for what i am attempting to convey [see poem below])

** because every experience should be lived in the moment…because we deserve to live life FREE in SPIRIT

free falling joy

 Free Falling Joy

I am the one who floats and flies freely in the sky

The white snow below reflects the dazzling sunlight

And I remember the freedom of my spirit

 

 As it always was

As it always is

As it always is

 

 I am the one whose energy circles the earth

Swirling and capturing moments

The essence of life in my palm

 

Pathways paved purple are never direct

Looping back and forth

Yet perfect, somehow perfect in its own time

 

I am the one who floats and flies freely in the sky

Like little fish dancing in the clouds

I make a new home wherever I go

 

Life’s music beats and rocks my soul

In every break I breathe in life

Living each moment in sound joy

-LRB

making moves

13 Jul

so, i just wanted to let u all know that i am in the process of fine tuning my blog. there are some minor changes, but for the most part everythng is still the same. i am just making it prettier and more functional.

thank you all for your continued support. i am in the process of putting together more community workshops and engaging in new artistic endeavors which i am sure you will see blogs about in the future.

it’s been awhile since i have shared my thoughts or any work with you. summertime brings about so many changes and new life. i have just been experiencing and going though so much emotionally, spiritually, even physically.

in the past few months i have learned that if you really want something you need to get out there and make it happen. nothing gets done for those who just sit there and wait for their lives to change and become what they want it to be. we have to make moves and be an active participant in our own lives…in our own happiness…to create and experience joy.

in these summer moments i am deciding whether or not going to get my master’s in social work is the right move right now. i think about all the community work i do with gabnet, with my art and i wonder how to mesh it all together. i think about love, loved ones, loving my community and i ponder how to do it all better.

thanks to everyone for being a part of my journey as an artist and as myself.

in the presence of community i find myself.

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