Monthly Archives: October 2013

Keeping my glass always half full!

Laying in the quietness of the night as I get ready to fall asleep, I quickly run though my day, analyzing good things I’ve done and all the things I want to do for myself and include them in my everyday life.

 In the morning I try to remember that and focus on all the little things I can do to improve myself that make a big picture.

 At times, I feel bad that I haven’t done something, or wish I would have done it differently.  I’ll remember while lying in bed that I forgot to stretch after my workout, that I need to bring my lunches with me and eat out less, that I need to drink more water and little things like that. I try not to be too hard on myself and promise myself I’ll do better tomorrow.

 But there are some things we can all do to simplify our life and to take steps to ensure we’re doing the right things.

 One of those things for me is drinking water.

Not just when you’re thirsty, (actually by that point your body is already dehydrated) or when I work out, but drinking clean, pure water throughout the day and plenty of it. 

We all kind of know that we’re mostly consisting of water, that it purifies our bodies and that we need to drink plenty to be healthy.  But how many people actually drink 8 glasses a day? Some…

 For me, it has become my daily ritual. At first it was hard, I felt like I was forcing myself and 2.2 liters seemed like a lot (that’s 8 glasses).

What helped me the most is a simple bottle. It’s a plastic bottle that is 2.2 liters (8 glasses) and is a daily recommended dose.

 In the morning, when I get to work, I fill up the bottle with filtered water and keep it under my desk. I pour it into a nice glass and keep it on my desk, making sure there is always some water in it.

It really did the trick!

 Every time I look at the glass I automatically reach for a sip. It became like a little game, and I always feel so good when I finish it, because I know what good it’s doing for my body. It also becomes a habit. You start wanting it. Some habits are good to develop, I like the fact that when I drive to work, I don’t have to think about where to turn, I am kind of on auto pilot.

So many things throughout the day require our concentration and undivided attention, but if you can simplify a few things, why wouldn’t you?

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Creating Opportunity

Creating Opportunity

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 This is something that’s been on my mind lately and I wanted to write about it, even if it’s only for myself, to go back and read when I need a little inspiration.

 You hear a lot of expressions about opportunity as if it’s something out there that you have to find or wait until it knocks on your door.

 But what if it doesn’t?

 I used to suffer a lot from feeling like I have been presented with more hardships than opportunities in my life. Everything I have ever gotten was with my own hard work and efforts. Or as I like to refer to it with sweat, blood and tears.

I’ve started working and supporting myself from a young age and I never really had a chance to go to college or to just take a time out, to reflect, discover myself and what I really wanted to do with my life.

  In 2008 I went through a lot of soul searching and growth, it was not an easy process, one filled with many complicated feelings and emotions. But with that, I also felt that there was something new about me, something new I have discovered about myself. I started dreaming. Dreaming about what I want, not settling for what was dealt to me…

I think that might have been the 1st time in my life when I allowed myself to dream, to think about what I want, not what I have to do.

 I began painting. I didn’t know how, I just started. I felt an immense desire to make beautiful things and images. I started with oils, also taking photos, sometimes they served as an inspiration for my paintings. I also felt very drawn to metal, like metal wires, I started making wire wrapped jewelry. I would spend hours sitting at home, twisting wires.

I learned so much without spending a dime. I took out books from the library and searching tutorials online.

 I’ve always felt that somehow I wanted to do something that utilized my creativity and artistic abilities. I just didn’t know where or how to start.

 A huge breakthrough happened when I finally was able to buy a digital SLR camera. I wanted it for so long! At last, I felt that I have the tools that I need in order to move further and continue developing my skills and knowledge.

 I am still on this journey of becoming a working artist and photographer and developing my identity as Alina Skye.  I still have days when I am filled with doubts and frustrations about things moving so slowly, of not being able to quit my job or go to art school and pour my heart and soul into that, which makes me feel most alive.

 But the most important thing I’ve realized is that I cannot feel bad about things that I don’t have or can’t do right now or that are beyond my control…But instead, my new motto is “Do what you can with what you have NOW!”.

 You don’t have to wait for an opportunity or feel bad that it hasn’t come – make your own opportunity! What I mean by that is, do what you can and do it consistently.

 I made a decision for myself to do something every single day which will move me closer to my dreams. We’re all busy and tired and never have enough time….that’s life! Especially when you have to pay bills, work 40 hours a week, maintain a home, relationships, etc.

But if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen. I think the tough part is sometimes maintaining the momentum.

Sometimes you have to be your own motivator and your own cheerleader. Ask yourself, what are you willing to do to make your dream a reality? What are you willing to give up/sacrifice? If the answer is nothing, you don’t really want it.

 You can sit in the break room and eat lunch for an hour every day making small talk, or you could use an hour to walk around downtown taking photos.

You can come home from work and spend a few hours watching TV, playing on the computer, or you can take your camera, get outside, maybe go to the park and capture some sunset shots, paint, write a blog, watch tutorials. The point is, to make something you have put your energy into it. And not just on the weekends, but every single day, or as much and as often as you can.

 When you hear the words obsession, you probably immediate perceive it as something negative, but often time to get really good at something, that’s exactly what it takes.

I’ve given up trying to have a social life or spending my time frivolously, right now, I feel like I am on this journey to become who I really see myself. And I will not stop until I get there, no matter what it takes.  The only way I’ll fail is if I quit.

 Dream, believe in yourself, love yourself in every stage of your life, young, old, skinny, chubby, beginner, expert, who you are now, not only who you dream to become and create opportunities for yourself with hard work and determination.

 Quotes

 “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~Milton Berle

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds”. ~Francis Bacon

“Don’t wait for extraordinary opportunities. Seize common occasions and make them great. Weak men wait for opportunities, strong men make them.”

Circle of Three Stars

Circle of Three Stars

Lunches are for running away to the park!

Water Meditation

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Water is the central source of our beings. It is part of every cell and fiber in us; it is our very essence.

 Water symbolizes purity, clarity and calmness, and reminds us to cleanse our minds and attain the state of purity.

 

Water is my favorite element. I actually crave a large body of water from time to time, like a lake or a river. There is not an ocean near TN, one of the things I miss the most about living in FL.

So, I usually walk to the river in downtown and sit there nearby or I also love to sit by the fountains. I invented my own childhood story in my mind, there I lay often in the hammock under a tree listening to the sounds of a large fountain that sits in front of our house.

There is something so incredible about water, the sounds of water rushing down, waterfalls or even a still placid lake.

I guess my love for the water started from my early childhood memories. My grandmother lived in South of Russia, by the black sea, I spend some time there when I was little and then we vacationed there with my mom every summer. We didn’t have much, but somehow we were able to go on vacations and enjoy ourselves while we were there. Those are some of my happiest recollections from my childhood.

I love swimming, it’s one of my favorite summer time activities. I especially liked coming to the pool either early in the morning before anyone else came or later at night when everyone was already gone. I just really enjoyed the quiet felt most comfortable in my solitude.

 One of the things that I enjoyed so much was my water meditations.

I would completely relax my body as I float on the surface of the water. The whole world goes quiet when you submerge your ears under water and I always welcomed that silence.  It was so needed, as living in downtown is very noisy, you’re constantly bombarded with the sounds of cars, trains and sirens.

I cherish that perfect moment, as I remember exactly how I felt, floating in the gentle water looking up at the sky. I felt completely perfect, peaceful and content. 

Dualities

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Original Oil Painting “One”

What it represents to me.

What it means to me is acceptance, of the world, of the way things are, in all its complexity. Even if I don’t understand a lot of things.

It’s about learning that in life things of opposite nature live close side by side and without one you cannot have the other: Ying and Yang, female and male, negative and positive, dark and light, opulence and poverty, life and death.

I was thinking a lot about dualities and my attitude towards it.

A few years ago, I was invited to a party, in someone’s home or what seemed more like a museum/castle. This person seemed to have the whole world and all that is available in it – the best! Family, money that will never run out, social standing, good health, looks…

I was happy and grateful to be invited of course…but afterwards for several days  it had an interesting effect on me…something I did not expect…not at all positive.

I found myself incredibly depressed and crying a lot, things weren’t making sense and I just couldn’t understand how there could be such extremes in the world.

It’s one thing to kind of know about it and a completely different thing when it’s staring you right in the face.

Just days before going to this party I accidentally came across something on the internet; it was a statistic about homeless children in Russia. I am Russian by the way, I was born in Estonia and came to US when I was 15.

It said that it was estimated that there are between million and five million homeless children living in Russia. One of the stories was about a 6 year old homeless boy, who was buying glue in the store, (a lot of homeless children there sniff glue…beyond heart wrenching…) a cop saw him, took away his glue and squeezed out the entire bottle on top of his head. Yes, a 6 year old child! I felt that my insides turned, I wanted to lay down on the floor in fetal position and cry my eyes out from the intensity, cruelty and injustices of the world.

Every emotion came rushing in, engulfing me in a tidal wave of confusion. My own life experiences came to mind…my childhood, where I grew up…

I grew up in Estonia, which used to be part of Russia. Mom worked 2, 3 jobs, going to university and raising me as a single mom without any support, except my grandmother, who was living on the opposite side of the country.

We had to live in this old communal house, government controlled the living situation…what is communal house? It’s basically a tiny room…you walk in the wing where we lived, there is a long hallway, along the sides were doors to the rooms where each family lived. There was a communal kitchen, with 2 stoves, 1 sink, no hot water, no bathtub or any kind of bathing facility, just a toilet that basically was a hole in the ground.

I remember the tiny window in the bathroom, it felt so creepy there…I had nightmares for so many years about living there, in my dreams I was always trapped in that house, trying to escape as it’s collapsing or being submerged under water.

It was a house of horrors, the walls had such large cracks you could put your entire fist in there…there were some epic spider webs, the whole house was infested with bugs and rodents. One night the rat crawled inside our radio (this radio was very old school and big), it was squeaking all night and my mother couldn’t do anything about it.

The neighbors weren’t kind, they would get enraged when my mom played classical music and treat us with a lot of hate. It’s like they thought that my mom thought she was better than them because she had an education and class.

We lived there for 12 years. At one point it was my mom, my stepfather, my newborn sister and me in one tiny room.

When my sister was close to year, the three of us went to the mayor’s office to declare hunger strike, that’s the only option we had to get out of there, to finally demand healthy living conditions. My mom is my hero on so many levels.

So yeah, that’s a super short story of my background. It’s hard to take that much of opposites, it’s hard to process it in my mind. If someone told me when I was little that I would be living the way I do now and in US I would have probably died from happiness.

It isn’t that I wanted to live in that big mausoleum of a house or have the social standing, I never cared much about that, it was just that it was really hard for me to accept things that were on such opposite sides of the spectrum.

But it definitely took a lot of soul searching to make amends with my past and to accept life with all its variety of dualities and experiences.  I count my blessings every day for having come such a long way from where we started and for so many good things in my life.

I am also grateful for so many hardships along the way, they shaped who I am today, helped me to have courage and ignited the passion within me for life.

I also strongly believe that all those experiences have led me to discover myself as an artist.  It’s like a whole mix of good and bad that made way for something higher and beautiful.  That’s probably why I feel so strongly about seeking out beauty in life, wherever I may find it.

“One can have n…

“One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”
~Leonardo da Vinci