Memo: Invest Yourself Where It Matters

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

Lilibeth Andre, Garden Iris, photograph

Are you at peace with life? Are all your ducks in a row? Have you got your bucket list checked off, and planted the trees, written the book, and had the kid?

Nothing shakes you down more than finding you left something undone. Here’s a memo so take note.

We hear about last minute regrets so we prepare and make sure we are ready to find peace, hopefully, in our lifetime and not just at checkout time. We prepare ourselves but wait. What if it is someone else who gets the ticket to ride before you thought they would, and all that prepping you did for yourself, is now tested when you realize you did not prepare to say an early goodbye to someone else. Someone you expected to be here long after you were gone.

Don’t get stuck lining up your ducks, working on your peace, building your accomplishments and collecting your laurel wreaths because stuff is not something we take with us. It is the time we said, “no, can’t do that because I’m busy. It doesn’t fit my schedule or calculated and carefully weighted plan.”

Find who really matters to you and invest yourself in a way that will leave your hands full of memories you can take with you too.

 

Compassion in Houston

What does compassion look like? In Houston, it will look like many things.

Houston kicks off Compassion Week today. Activities will take place to give you an opportunity to join a group and give of your time, to learn or to help.

Art by Lilibeth Andre, Meyerland Sunset, oil, 18x24

Art by Lilibeth Andre, Meyerland Sunset, oil, 18×24

But what does compassion look like? In a nut shell? It looks like we are able to wear the other person’s shoes, that we are able to empathize and understand them and their condition. It looks like accceptance. If we can act on this loving kindness we materialize compassion.

Why compassion? Compassion brings out the human side of ourselves. It promotes true community and family. It removes us from separatism and arrogance. By reconnecting with people we bring a whole new perspective to everything that we do. It helps us understand the concept of interconnectedness. When we understand the interrelatedness of life we can better see how lending a hand to someone in need can create the “pay-it-forward” mindset that will be there to support us when we turn around and find that a hand is reaching out to us when we need it too.

Lilibeth Andre, Denzel, 10x8, watercolor

Lilibeth Andre, Denzel, 10×8, watercolor

On the spiritual level, compassion brings us closer to oneness. It opens the door to mindfulness and when we are present in love for our fellow man we are growing in self-love. When we raise our level of compassion, we raise everyone along with us. It is truly a chain reaction effect.

If we can sustain our level of understanding for compassion, if we can sustain our ability to act compassionately, if we can remain in compassion for a day or for a week, then we will be capable of reaching for more.

What does compassion look like on the individual level?

You tell me. What does it mean for you? How will you try on compassion this week?

 

Lessons From Ephemeral Art

Being a professional artist is an exercise in letting go. Letting go of your imagination, letting go of your creativity, and letting go of your creation.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Street Art, Mexican Girl (detail), Lilibeth Andre

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, Mexican Girl (detail), Lilibeth Andre with Feather Radha and Skye Valenzuela.

These are fundamental learnings for life itself. Why is that? As we enter the toddler years we learn possession and possessiveness. In some cases we fail to acquire the confidence to grow beyond that, for various reasons.

Being a professional artist includes the art of letting go. How does letting go apply to life? We live opportunities for letting go everyday, they may come early in the form of sharing, letting go of relationships or issues that are not beneficial to us and our well-being, letting go of our children as they grow and require their own space to make their own decisions and learn from them. But why let go?

2014 Alpine Artwalk Street Art, SPR Engine, Lilibeth Andre, with Alexander Costea.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, SPR Engine, Lilibeth Andre, with Alexander Costea, and Mariah Rose.

Possession and control are ways we use to give us the security we haven’t yet developed. We use these attitudes to fill the emptiness of our insecurity. Struggling with possession and control is an unfulfilling prophecy through which we can never have enough to give us the security we lack.

Generosity, trust, giving and sharing are the antidotes to this emptiness. When we make these attitudes our own we can expand our contribution, our self unto the external world that surrounds us. We can share our knowledge and experience, we can give others and ourselves the freedom to go our own way, and we can trust that what we teach our children will give them the tools to make their best decisions and find their own life path.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, Prickly Pear (detail), Lilibeth Andre with Feather Radha and Sky Valenzuela.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, Prickly Pear (detail), Lilibeth Andre with Feather Radha and Sky Valenzuela.

It is not easy. It takes much practice. Nothing could be a greater exercise of this life lesson as the creation of ephemeral art. What is ephemeral art?

The creation of art itself includes an act of letting go. Transferring that idea through our creative language into a materialized expression is the first step. Then there is the act of sharing the materialized expression. This creation is like a child and there can be difficulty in letting it go. Ephemeral art is not only an exercise in producing a materialized expression but it is created with the intentionality that it will not be permanent, it’s existence will be short lived.

Examples can be an ice sculpture, in my case, a pastel mural on pavement, or even a beautiful serving of a tasty dish.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, Mural view, Lilibeth Andre with Alexander Costea, Rachel Maxwell, Skye Valenzuela and Feather Radha.

2014 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, Collaborative mural view, Lilibeth Andre with Alexander Costea, Rachel Maxwell, Skye Valenzuela and Feather Radha. (Not shown are Mariah Rose, and Juliana Johnson)

While creating my last street painting in Alpine, Texas with the aid of local artists that included Alexander Costea, Mariah Rose*, Juliana Johnson, Rachel Maxwell, and the very talented and professional Feather Radha, we were also joined by Skye Valenzuela, Brandt Mannchen and three creative youngsters who experienced pastel color on pavement. We were at the 2015 Artwalk.

The question almost everyone had who came to Brown Dog Gardens to see our work was, in brief, How will you make it permanent?

The mural was a 10 foot by 20 foot area depicting a romantic vision of Alpine with its beautiful Twin Sisters peaks, an 1888 Southern Pacific Railroad engine and a beautiful Mexican Calendar girl to incorporate the strong cultural presence in its history, all in the beautiful pre-sunset colors of the West Texas landscape.

Hearing the concept of ephemeral art, people’s next question was, How long will the painting last? The answer was that it was dependent on the elements like the wind and the next rain.

And lo and behold, even the artists were tested when reaching the final strokes of the mural clouds began to form in the dry desert. All artists converged on the remaining unfilled area to complete the mural and beat the rain.

As drops began to fall strokes became more rapid, beautiful people scurried to get a tarp and tents, and I had to tear everyone away when the sky opened up into a generous and needed rain in a still drought-stricken area.

“We can’t salvage it now,” I told them. It belonged to the rain.

2015 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, As the rain came down, Lilibeth Andre,

2015 Alpine Artwalk Chalk Art, As the rain came down, Lilibeth Andre,

Everyone stood undercover and watched as the pastel work turned into a watercolor stream that puddled in various directions swirling color beyond our taped boundary.

I have to admit, this is not my first ephemeral piece so I had an emotional advantage on everyone. I can tell  you that it was not easy to grasp the concept that all that hard work on hands and knees in the cool air and hot sun to pour artistic talent into chalk on pavement that would not be there to testify to the effort of two and a half days work was not hard to grasp but to see it diluted in a quick and unexpected downpour before our eyes was tough.

So I smiled and relished on the pleasure of creating this art piece in the company of beautiful artist, surround by beautiful people in a beautiful environment. That I keep with me always.

 

* We heard Mariah had a fender bender on her bike the night before we finished and was unable to join us due to a broken nose. We wish her a painless and swift recovery.

 

Have You Checked Your Flight Plan?

As I travel further on my untraveled road, I have given myself the luxury of looking back. Sometimes with a laugh, sometimes longingly but mostly thankful for the experiences and the gifts that have brought me to where I am today, rich in experience that, as I was taught during difficult times, I will always take with me in my heart. And now I realize that what is in my heart I will take with me beyond this lifetime, nothing more.

There are many things that we encounter in our life, places and people as well. Some of these things we relish, some we use, and some we want to attach ourselves to for the various purposes we give them. More importantly, in the big picture scheme, I begin to question purpose.

Purpose is what gives meaning to all questions and although some answers are revealed, some remain a mystery. In boiling down those that have been revealed I can only try to comprehend their meaning and find reason to my own existence. What is my purpose? Why am I here? and, How will I get there?

It would all be very clear if the flight plan would be revealed but the next best thing is what I believe to be a very basic part of it and to me basic allows for simplicity, and simplicity is something I can understand.

This is how I see this simple flight plan:

I believe we come to forgive and be forgiven, to love and be loved, and to appreciate what is and what isn’t. Forgiveness absolves all debt. Love accepts all beings, and appreciation allows us the freedom to find joy and learning in all things that are revealed along our path. These are the accomplishments we are able to take with us. Everything else is icing on the cake of life.

 

A Poem – Love and Peace

Earlier last year I was fortunate to have one of my poems broadcast. It was for Valentines Day actually. I wrote it in Spanish. I want to share with you the translation I recently completed.

Translating my own work allows me to focus beyond the literal translation. Being bilingual, I can bring the emotional meaning into the language although I usually prefer the poem in it’s original form.

I liked the broadcast recording of the poem because I believe it reflects the bubbly excitement the poem brings to me. I hope you enjoy the poem.

Love and Peace
by Lilibeth Andre (translation of the original Amor y Paz)

This year I have known love.

I felt how the heat tingled in my body,

Entering through my hands,

Growing in my belly.

This year I have known love.

It filled my body with heart, beating in acceleration,

Pumping power,

Beating rhythm.

This year I have known love.

It’s heat ignited me from the depth of my center,

It’s fire spreading through my veins.

I felt it skin deep,

Running from my breast,

Flowing from my face.

Filling my soul with hope once again.

This year I have known peace.

I felt how calm began to invade my body,

Covering me like a blanket,

Opening my eyes,

From the soul.

This year I have known peace.

It enveloped me in divine love filling me with calm.

Blooming of fragrances,

Sprouting beautiful colors.

This year I have known peace.

It’s unconditional love filled me completely.

Total acceptance flowed within me.

Happines emerged.

Laughter flowed.

It gave me back the confidence of knowing me master and possessed.

—— THE END ——-

And The Pursuit of Happiness…Are We There Yet?

We declare our independence to be free to pursue happiness and we ask ourselves, are we there yet? Can you respond to this question instantly? Do you ponder and assess? Would you know what it looks like?

In asking myself those very questions I realized that I did not know the answer and I began an unacknowledged journey in the pursuit of happiness.

I certainly wanted to be there but I wasn’t quite sure of the extent of it or what it would be like.

I thought that if I had certain things which I didn’t have, that would make me happy but those things were not always there for me to have. This caused tremendous turmoil, rebelliousness, and unhappiness. There were two options, I could force them or I could not.

Not being one to give up I became so focuses on chasing those things that I forgot to paint, sing, and dance.

A dear friend lent me his hand and said, “Look at all the things you have.” He pointed to the sun, the breeze, the leaves and the loving people at my side but I was not quite ready to be satisfied.

Right around the moment of the most extreme angst I finally listened to a colleague and joined a breathe-focused meditation workshop. Through this experience I was able to see what really mattered to me. I didn’t stop wanting but I could see what mattered most to me.

The first thing was to know there was total love and acceptance where it mattered, at the beginning, at the top! This gave me the freedom to give that to everyone else.

The journey began to matter more. I was less distracted. I could begin to see that certain things called to me. I was unadulteratedly free to explore them. They had significance and I felt the freedom to relish the learning without judgement. In doing so, I was learning to know myself more than before.

As I continue to enjoy my personal journey through life and realize that each one of us chooses our own response and disposition to the path before us, I can be free to be myself and allow others to make their own choices. Have I reached the level of perfection? Far from it but at least now I know where I need to focus: I am the work in progress.

What have I gained? This process has taught me that the destination is myself. Knowing who I am. The result is what I give back in the form of what I receive and the light I choose to shine is that of peace and love, not only as words but as a true understanding, as an authentic experience.

So today, I believe I am truly on the right path. I have been on it all along but today I am more ready to enjoy it as myself.

An Intelligent Approach

So here we are, most of us boomers in the 21st Century, though luckily not all. We are world-wide connected and looking at things through different perspectives and this lens changes our view. A flood of information is constantly coming our way. Calls to action snag our attention in areas we may not have considered before. Although we recognize that many of these subjects are important we acknowledge that our life plan, intricately designed, is the track we’re on. But the issues are compelling. We may even begin to wonder if our life plan needs to be adjusted. We question where we would want to steer our own life and how.

In your personal discussion, an approach to weigh in on these issues could be to consider things from three different perspectives:

First, consider ownership. Ownership from the point of view of commitment and care, of being one with the issue and realizing that the decision to become a part of it, it’s failure or success, is ultimately yours to make and learn from. No one else can make that choice or take responsibility for you.

Then, consider detachment. Detachment to acknowledge that you do not own anything or anyone, that you recognize free will and accept circumstances as they come and the choices people make, including your own. You accept that these circumstances and choices will lead to actions and outcomes and you welcome them and let them go.

And then, consider completeness. Completeness as in being whole, bringing your mind, body and heart together to create a combined and balanced you. Your mind that allows you to make logical self-guided decisions, your body that has the force to support you and carry them out, and your heart to lead where your spirit takes you beyond what is seen and measured, they all need to work in synchronicity to do what is right.

With this approach you will have the tools to filter your perspective and make decisions that bring you to a better place as a human being.

Peace and love.

 

 

 

 

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    © Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André, 2009-2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this text, images or content without express and written permission Lilibeth André is strictly prohibited. For permission to license, exhibit or purchase any of the artwork, email info@lilibethandre.com. Links to this site may be made with full and clear accreditation to Lilibeth André and Art by Lilibeth André.