My Book Went Live

 

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My book, Zen and the Art of the Sunrise, went live last night and this morning... and I am super excited. More than anything, I made this thing happen and it came from wanting to share the issues that I faced when I decided I wanted to leave my job so that I could do freelance to give myself more flexibility of time to create my art.

I started taking sunrise pictures almost 3 years ago and it was not until May that I had the idea of turning it into a book. Two things made this happen: 1 - I was able to use my iPhone photographs and 2 - more importantly, I thought about what got me through a pretty dark time when making my decision to leave my job. It was this notion of noticing what was happening in the moment. That my past was in the past and my future was a place that did not exist. For a place that did not exist, I was giving it a lot of attention and anxiety. The sunrises were a visual representation that I had another day in front of me and to enjoy that moment when the sun is rising. Those thoughts made me slowly build up the courage to go out on my own and even more interestingly, made me locate faith in myself.

The thing that gets lost in these types of messages is what if you can’t leave your job? I work in the internet/online industry and it is pretty progressive in its thinking about working from home. It is a strong consultant model. I create good user experiences for websites. That gave me the flexibility and access to clients that allowed me to jump from the 9-5 lifestyle. Art has always been a priority and the jump gave me a sense that my days could be structured the way I wanted them to be. So my quotes from the book, the sunrises and the feedback from social media came into alignment in terms of pulling this together to share with others.

Each day we get 24 hours. We are here to serve and we come with a unique vision. This book is a culmination of these concepts and represent where I am right here, right now. I want someone to be inspired by the images and the words and find a little peace in what they need to do that day. We can’t all quit our jobs but that is fine. Those moments of peace where the past and the future are not in our heads will make things okay and help diminish the anxiety we may feel wondering what out there is better than what is right in front of us. I truly hope this book allows a little bit of peace for someone.

~b

Zen and the Art of the Sunrise

Amazon Kindle Version --> 

Amazon Print Version -->

There is a Certain Calmness with Doing the Work

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I find it interesting that my job title is User Experience Strategist. At least that is what I do to earn a living. I consider my "career", or life's work, to be an Artist. In my “day job” I make websites more useful. I help clients complete their visions and goals and help their customers have an easier time navigating the websites. I find the title User Experience Strategist can also help in my desire to be a full time artist - my desire to live from my creative space. After all, we all want to be a participant in a web of our own User Experience.

Recently, I was inspired by a talk with Jared Leto at the New York Times as he spoke of his multi-faceted career (link below). He spoke of all of the different things he had his hands in, from running media companies, to creating, directing and producing videos/films, making art, acting, making music, and finally, touring with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars. The list seems to go on. He is a true renaissance man for sure. But more than that, and the most inspiring piece of the interview for me was his openness about his doubts. When he questioned himself – where he thought he was and where he wanted to be, if his audience would get his direction, his creations, etc., he said (paraphrasing here), that in his times of doubt he did what he knew he could do. He sat back down, amongst the crazy thinking, and created.

There is power in going back to your golden thread of what you are here to do.

For Leto, it is making music or art. It is the core of what brings his other enterprises to the surface. For me it is making art and all of the process, seeking and discovery that goes into it. It is just a part of who I am. I recently returned from a month long trip to California and I have a deep desire to return. I fell in love with Malibu. I live on the beach here in south Florida and it has been my teacher so it is no surprise that I was pulled into the ferocious beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Since I left my job almost two years ago to do my own thing and consult, I have reconnected with a personal freedom that has been a huge source of energy. That energy comes in waves of good and overwhelming doubt. So I sit and do the work. Sometimes it is this blog, sometimes it is fixing my website, but mostly it is my art. It centers me. Makes me find my still point. And it gives me a sense of forward momentum. When I think I don’t deserve Malibu, or success in my art or the other myriad thoughts of doubt and incompleteness, I sit and do the work. And sometimes that is enough.

I wanted to share these thoughts and his video as I am battling my desire to head to Malibu (living in the future) and learn what s/he has to teach me there and my need to be fully present. Each day brings a new layer of finding the dynamic between wanting to claw your way to “success” and living fully present in the now and being open to what is next – actively surrendering. Somewhere in between there is the calmness in doing the work.

One more thing to note about learning who I am. My friend says I should be more Sasha Fierce and I think I am more Lou Reed with a sprinkling of Ziggy Stardust. So maybe Sasha will show her way but I like the edge lyrics of Reed and the ironic flash of Ziggy. I am a Jersey girl, after all.

~b

Video of Jared Leto and Times Talk --> Click Here