Being an Explorer in this modern age

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I am, and I’ve been, very attracted to the idea of being an explorer for a long time. Since I read about all the adventures of heroes in foreign lands when I was little, I’ve been picturing myself as one of them. But don’t get me wrong. I know I won’t become a real explorer. Though, if you want to know about a real one, you could start with this article.

Finding new places and cultures is not a goal of mine, but meeting new places and people it is. Yet, what I really want is to be an explorer of life. I crave experiences. But even then, I am picky. I’m not willing to try unhealthy or life threatening experiences. I just want to do new things, learn more, read more, see new places, discover different ways of doing things…

One can be an explorer of the outer world, of the under sea world, of the outer space and also an explorer of the inner world. My perspective of being an explorer may be closer to of that of being the first penguin. However, I would still try something if it’s done before, if just I haven’t done it myself. ‘Cause, we all know most things are already invented. That doesn’t mean we cannot do it, try it, experiment with it…

I’m also a big fun of miniadventures. You don’t need to go to the other side of the world to live an adventure. Stepping out of your usual routine, your known streets and out of your comfort zone can be quite exciting and memorable too. It’s just trying something new. Looking at the smallest details of the plants in your garden. Taking your dog to a different park. There are gazillions of opportunities and chances and possibilities.

And the best way to start exploring?

With no expectations.

Not hoping to discover the new biggest hit.

Not longing for a shiny picture to show to the world.

Just wanting to be there, live it, feel it, experience it. And learn something.

That is my reason. That’s why I’ll never have enough of life. There’s no way I can stop wanting to learn, to discover, to see things under a different light.

I could stare at the world for thousands of billion of years… and that would not be enough to be aware of every detail of every little piece of it. Not enough to understand all that goes on inside me, on my mind or how I feel. Not enough to see every creature, to read every book or paint all the paintings I imagine. Time is the only concern, but it’s also the compass that will guide me in order to choose what I want most and what’s important to me.

The greatest beauty I find on all of that?

That we can create more of it. More beauty. More incredible objects, machines, architecture… It’s an endless universe of wonder that we are missing most of the time.

And so my craving for painting remains. Because I want to be able to enjoy and observe the flow of water and colours, depicting what I see, discovering forms and textures. It’s an endless pleasure and an endless challenge.

But, why should you be an explorer today?

Because no matter who you are or what you do. You can do something new, something unconventional, something that is a lot you. To be authentic. Not plain weird or different, but true to how you are, who you are. You have the chance to put a grain of you in what you do. And that’s a kind of magic. Which usually pays back. Following all the rules and trends had been proved it’s not a guarantee of anything. Breaking all of them is neither. Choosing the ones that better align with you… well, at least they’d be easier to follow and more appealing.

Knowing yourself is far more important than other rules. There is no knowledge out there able to tell what is best for you but yourself. Though that’s hard. Means listening to yourself more than the outside. It means trying to understand yourself instead of taking others statements as true. Means experimenting. Doing and undoing. It’s a lot of work, the right work. The inner world is not your enemy and the outside is neither. Listen both, follow your heart, discover what is true to yourself, align both worlds. When I feel true peace, I know I’m on the right path.

Finally, there’s no highest step in an explorer’s journey than to be thankful. At the end, we are talking about appreciation. The bigger it is, the better life becomes.


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Get some inspiration for the New Year: MiniAdventures

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The Holiday mood is already everywhere. This week we decorated for Christmas. We have half of the presents bought. I’ve heard carols in the radio and the streets are decorated with its coloured lights. We are ready for this season!
I like this time of the year. Specially when we are still getting some days that aren’t that cold. Even then, that’s the prefect excuse to warm up with a cosy blanket on the sofa, something to drink, a panettone to eat and a movie or book to entertain ourselves.
I also find it’s a very good moment for creativity and imagination. You know, it’s the magic time of the year. But it’s also near the end of it and the start of the new. How will it be? How was this year?
Imagining the future feels good. We can start planning next year adventures, travels and activities.What can be more fun than that?
Make a couple of new boards on Pinterest and start planning the year! I’ll be doing it!

In the meanwhile, I want to share with you some pictures of my little adventures of the last months. A good way to remember the best and get some inspiration for the next MiniAdventures.
Have you heard about this term? Checking it I see they are called MicroAdventures instead. I like mini though. It’s basically about getting outside, do something different without having to travel far away or for a long time. You can find more about it here and here. It’s something I really like, because MiniAdventures are short but good, in new places but not at days of travel, challenging but affordable. Any trip, every cycling day or hike could be one. I like to see any activity as an adventure. Life is an adventure. Every day can be an adventure.

For today’s, I want to show you about my last surf trip to the north, in France. One week of chances, challenges, nice weather and some calm.

Are you coming?

Pack your board and bikini, some clothes and get in the car. We are going! Road trip mode on

on the road

Be there, do that. Ready for da surf? Let’s go!

Look for that beach with perfect waves, park the car in the woods, surrounded by magical forms and get ready. Walk over the dunes of sand and paddle hard for the waves of fun.

beautiful trees

Feel the salt in the skin, the sun in the eyes, the freedom of the sport.

I don’t usually take a camera into the water… so let’s pretend the picture below belongs to the same trip… 😉

lena singla surfing

Surfing base camp – Boards, wet wetsuits and shiny noons.

wetsuits drying

surfboards

Transport yourself into a week of nice sunsets with bright colours and beautiful skylines.

hossegor river side

sunset in the camping

sunset in hossegor

When the summer is gone, it feels even better : Beach on the morning, beach on the afternoon.

golden sunset wave

gold beach

Have a laugh; this is my stylish way to the top of the bunker.

bunker

views over the bunkers

Go cruising!

lena singla skateboarding

lena singla cruising

One day the adventure is over and we have to come back. But there’s still a promise of more.

on the way back home

What MiniAdventures did you do recently? Something snowy planned for this Christmas? Let me know in the comments.


Be ready for Christmas and the New Year. Celebrate with us :

 

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The dreamy artsy lifestyle

Create, Explore

artsy lifestyle

“ I wake up full of energy and motivation.

Long days pass on through my studio’s windows, while my hands move quickly over paper and keyboards.
I wander on paths of woods in the warm afternoons and the streets of imaginary cities on my mind indistinctly.
I am a free soul.
My fingers dance over four strings while I relax at the sound of my ukulele, inspiring dreams of a surf trip to Hawaii.
Time is nothing but a shadow in the wall. The air is filled with the fragrance of a thousand flowers.
Sunsets spill waves of gold over the mountains and the sea is transformed into countless pieces of mirrors that show us another sky.
Drops of paint run quickly over the canvas, water deforming the shapes, the brush redrawing them and the voice of Lana del Rey bringing melodies of old dreams.

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I am a free soul.
The only rules I know are those I build, the only schedule the routines I create.
All I know is the world I live in, the fresh air from up north, the breaking waves of my surfing spot, the chirping of birds when I wake up and the silence of the night.
Plenty of people populate my world; more than I’ll ever meet, some more than those who know my name, strangers who one day may become friends.
The smell of old books fill cosy afternoons by the fire while others are spent on unknown places that resemble galleries and airports.
Routine is always broken by adventures: long walks and climbs, surf trips to catch the next best wave, road trips that take us to beautiful landscapes and open our minds to new realities… nights under the stars and travels over the waters.

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My work is all I’ve been doing naturally since I started doing things for myself. It brings pleasure to me while giving pleasure to others.
It was hard to realise that life would be whatever I decided to do with it. But then everything started falling into place.
There’s never perfection but fate comes always with perfect moments. Patience has always been my worst enemy thought in the end always becomes the best friend of the artist.
A creative soul lies within. Glimpses of it can be seen through gentle eyes. Everyone has a piece of it, all of us can watch our magic.
But no magic is greater than life has in itself. And to experience it may be our only mission.”

lena singla lifestyle

How should an artist’s lifestyle look like to you?

How do you imagine the perfect lifestyle of a creative life? What is your ideal routine? What is the life you dream of?

Need more? Let me send you a recap of all links at the end of every month:

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Creative books for the artist in you (2)

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great creative books

Even if your art is your passion, it doesn’t come easy to devote yourself to it. There are those endless projects, too many ideas or the lack of them. Sometimes, working in our art feels like a battle, like a war.

We started the topic with these books over here. This is the follow-up post, with a few more recommendations.

 

3- The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

That’s what the book by Steven Pressfield, The War of Art it is about. It is a guide that tries to explain, rationalise and inspire creatives to express themselves, overcoming what he calls “resistance”. Resistance is all thhose things that stop a creative from completing her work of art. Call it procrastination, lack of inspiration, etc. Read his work and let it help you, I’m sure you’ll find the support you need to go on with your creative projects.
Some of my favourite quotes:

– “Here’s another test. Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?”

– “Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”

– Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.”

– “The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. Not the way I see it. In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it. He commits full-time.”

 

4- The Art of Asking; or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

The next book I want to recommend you is The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. She is a singer and part of the Dresden Dolls, but I didn’t know anything about her until I read her book. As you can guess, this book is a lot about “asking” but it is a lot about her biography too. But that is not a problem. I loved the way the book is written and how everything relates and connects, the stories and the main message of the book. It is a new perspective on how to approach the act of creating and sharing your creations that won’t leave you indifferent.

– “Have you ever noticed that this looks like this?”

– “There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”

– “Given the opportunity, some small consistent portion of the population will happily pay for art ”

– “The spirit of an artist’s gifts can wake our own.”

 

5 – The Art Spirit

My final recommendation of creative books is The Art Spirit. I’ve just been reading this book and I can say it is great and have surprised me immensely. This is not such a book as the others, it’s been written from letters and articles too from the author and it is closely tied to the process of painting with oils. The writer, Robert Henri, was a painter and a teacher, and the book is full of advice for art students and painters – or creatives. Because you’ll find out about technique and composition but also a lot of his philosophy of life and the artist profession.

And following, my highlights:

ON HAPPINESS AND LIFESTYLE

– “Every movement in nature is orderly, one thing the outcome of an-other, a matter of constructive, growing force. We live our lives in tune with nature when we are happy, and all our misery is the result of our effort to dictate against nature. In moments of great happiness we seem to be with the uni- verse; when all is wrong we seem to be alone, disjointed.”

– “No thing is beautiful. But all things await the sensitive and imaginative mind that may be aroused to pleasurable emotion at sight of them. This is beauty.”

– “Find out what you really like if you can. Find out what is really important to you. Then sing your song. You will have something to sing about and your whole heart will be in the singing”

– “A good picture is a fruit of all your great living.”

– “The thing to do is for each individual to wake up, to discover himself as a human being, with needs of his own. To look about, learn from all sources, look within, and find if he can invent for himself a vehicle for his self-expression.”

–“To have ideas one must have imagination. To express ideas one must have science.”

– “Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway.”

– “To be an artist is to construct, and to whatever degree one shows the genius for construction in work of any sort, he is that much an artist. The artist life is therefore the desirable life, and it is possible to all.”

– “There is a joy in the pursuit of anything.”
– “Life is finding yourself. It is a spirit development.”

ON ART

– “Try to paint canvases that will show how interesting landscape looks to you—your pleasure in the thing”

– “We must paint only what is important to us, must not respond to outside demands. They do not know what they want, or what we have to give.”

– “One of the great difficulties of an art student is to decide between his own natural impressions and what he thinks should be his impressions.”

– “Don’t stop to paint the material, but push on to give the spirit.”

– “To paint is to know how to put nothing on a canvas, and have it look like something when you stand back.”

– “Hold to this principle that the greatest drawing, the greatest expression, the greatest completion, the sense of all contained, lies in what can be done through the larger masses and the larger gestures”

– “The development of the power of seeing and the power to retain in the memory that which is essential and to make record and thus test out how true the seeing and the memory have been is the way to happiness.”

– “If we knew what we saw, we could paint it.”

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Be yourself, Do your own and Let it be

Create, Explore, Lifestyle

be yourself, do your own and let it be

I’ve always felt a bit of curiosity about the Three Wise Monkeys. 🐵 They are the representation of “Don’t listen to evil 🙉, Don’t speak evil 🙊, Don’t look at evil 🙈”. They are even on emojis (how cool is that?)

Well, the thing is, they inspired me to create a story of my own. A story I would tell in the context of mass media and social media. I would change the saying for “Don’t listen to the mainstream, don’t follow the masses and don’t speak evil about them.”

I know, I don’t always follow my own advice, I do speak evil about social media from time to time and I even follow some trends and the mainstream. But that’s why I’ve written this mantra. To be conscious about it. To be able to reflect, to notice the pattern, to choose freely my actions. And that only comes with knowledge.

What it means to me (and to you, I hope)

These statements can relate quite well to being unique and finding your own voice. Specially the “Don’t follow the masses”. Have you ever heard about that saying, I think it was specially fashion-focused, but it went like “If you are following the trend, you are already late”. Being a good leader means going on the forefront, doing the strange thing that becomes the new best thing. And that cannot be faked. Nor copied. Most leaders have felt misunderstood at the beginning. But they kept on and finally were recognised. Good, hard work, always ends standing out (persistence is important!). Anyway, if they would have followed their dream and lived as they had chosen, even without finding a wide recognition, I find it would have been a successful life anyway.

Does the rest of the world care specifically for your happiness? Then, show the world that you do.

The other one: “Don’t listen to the mainstream”. Heard it but don’t listen to it. I find it useful to learn what you can about it, though, after that, move on. Focusing on what’s being said and the general opinion may hurt you and the things you do. Be self-assured. Don’t look for approval of the mainstream. You never know who is behind those ideas. It may not be as real as it seems, nor realistic. Follow your heart and listen to those you really care about or those who care about you. And be always open to improvement and change if you feel like this. Most of the time, there’s no one and only perfect solution.

However, that version doesn’t feel motivating. I don’t like negation. Maybe we could change the message in a more positive way.

What about Be yourself, Do your own and Let it be?

Delicious Idleness or Dolce far Niente

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delicious idleness

At the beginning of last week I went to a too-fast business travel to Italy. And even I had almost no time to think or see anything I remembered that italian saying that goes “Dolce far niente”, translated as the pleasure of doing nothing, but better expressed as “delicious idleness”. It hit me because a few weeks ago, (or maybe just two ) I watched the movie “Eat, Pray , Love” starring Julia Roberts. In that movie they talked about it when in Italy.

That made me think about it and I realised it is an idea I could embrace easily. Why? Well, it seems that nowadays, in order to live, you must be doing something all the time. And if we have nothing to do right now, we check our phone.

I don’t believe in that lifestyle. Why bother trying to get distracted all the time? I believe that when you are busy all the time it’s because you’re trying to avoid doing something else.

How can Delicious Idleness improve our life?

Mindfulness has being gaining popularity. The practice of being present. For me, it’s Delicious Idleness. I’d just love having some time for resting my mind and body while being somewhere I like. Time of my own. It’s not wasted time, in fact is a precious time gained, because it helps me choose what direction to take in life. Usually, I’d be laying under the sun in the garden, hearing the birds, sheep, breeze and random sounds. Or, while surfing, I’d be waiting for the next set of waves, feeling that peaceful state of relax and awareness. That’s even better, because there are those moments when I have to stop thinking, empty my mind and concentrate to catch a wave. 

To somebody else it could be anything else, like driving or cooking or colouring a page or writing about your day…

What brings you a kind of inner peace?