Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Hedgehog's Dilemma

This isn't a concept of my own, but it's one I think about often.

The hedgehog's dilemma, or sometimes the porcupine dilemma, is an analogy about the challenges of human intimacy. It describes a situation in which a group of hedgehogs all seek to become close to one another in order to share heat during cold weather. They must remain apart, however, as they cannot avoid hurting one another with their sharp quills. Though they all share the intention of a close reciprocal relationship, this may not occur for reasons they cannot avoid. The hedgehog's dilemma suggests that despite goodwill, human intimacy cannot occur without substantial mutual harm, and what results is cautious behavior and weak relationships.'s_dilemma

Gotta Have Rings - via Chris Gerringer's series titled I Know That Feel, Bro.
I've had relationships with people who were very guarded. It was hard to draw things out from them, sometimes they worried too much about what others thought of them, or sometimes they had seen so many disappointments in life that they just were waiting for the next one. And whenever they would share something with me, I felt so elated. There was something really special about even a small glimpse of something that always seems just beyond your reach. I, too, at times have been that guarded person. It seems to make sense that we should protect ourselves. But... it's a really difficult way to live (for me at least). I felt afraid to ask for or share certain things, and really, if it's someone you really care about, you shouldn't have to be afraid.

I don't want to be afraid.

I think about it sometimes, that really, it's not possible for one human being to truly achieve perfect understanding of another. Sure, we can invest lots of time and energy in serious efforts to know someone, and we may convince ourselves that we know the other person well, but just think -- the inner workings of our minds... our hearts... turning points we reach -- it's hard at times to get a grip on our own self sometimes, much less another person. But that's also a really beautiful thing -- we can constantly grow, learn, and discover. Everyone really has an endless supply of potential at any given time.

There was a great quote by one of my favorite authors -- "I sometimes think that people's hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what's at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while."
― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

It's a big step to realize that the coping mechanisms we've made for ourselves become outdated. These kinds of things take years in the making, so it's hard to have to "unlearn" them. It's definitely doable though.

What I've come to walk away from this with is that even if someone doesn't want to let me past their walls, it doesn't mean I have to react and feel like I need to put up my own. I found that there will be people in life who, regardless of what you say or what you do, won't accept you for whatever reason. And that's ok. We can't please everyone, and we shouldn't want to please everyone.

Rather than expending so much energy on other people who don't want to be part of my life, I'm more interested in focusing on myself and spending my time with people who genuinely care for me. Any person that wants to be a part of your life will make an obvious effort to do so.

Yes, we may very well hurt each other along in the process (intentionally or unintentionally), but that in itself isn't the worst thing in the world. I think that everyone makes mistakes; it's how we handle those mistakes that is just as important. Trust yourself to be the kind of person whose words match their actions and you'll find it becomes easier to trust that there are other people out there like that, too.

I'm lucky to be surrounded by a lot of really awesome people. No joke -- I have a lot of very smart, funny, talented, passionate, sincere, kind-hearted, courageous and loving people in my life and every day I'm thankful for them. :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Windshield Moments

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned what my former professor dubbed a "Windshield Moment." I recently had another moment like that regarding my crane project. I've been trying to go out and do more things -- actively looking for events that seem fun and are a little bit different than the things I typically do on a day to day basis. Anyhoo, I went with some friends to the Art City Austin festival. Basically it's a celebration of art and culture, block party style. It was a ton o' fun. And one really fun thing I got to do was the 20ft WIDE Project -- I got to create origami peace cranes with Creative Action. The cranes will then be installed as part of the alleyway activation called 20ft WIDE. The work will begin installation during Art City Austin and be on view through May 5. Pretty neat.

Me with my crane. Also... I need a haircut :/
I'm glad I got to be a part of it. It actually just debuted a couple of days ago, although I haven't had a chance to see it in person yet. (It was rainy yesterday) But here's some pictures via the Art Alliance website.

Photo Credit Michael Knox
Photo Credit Dan Cheetham
Photo Credit Dan Cheetham

Isn't it lovely? I hope that it's still up and the rain didn't completely demolish it. At least they took these pictures. Speaking of pictures... here's my latest update:

Moving from reds to pinks on the spectrum
With my project coming together, I've been asked frequently what I'll do next. The truth of the matter is... I don't know. I've thought about how much I've enjoyed the quiet focus when working on the cranes, and how I'd like to make sure that I still have an outlet to be able to reflect. Already though, I can tell this project has changed me. I'm more patient and don't get as easily discouraged by the tasks at hand. I'm very deliberate in making time for myself to get things done that I want. I'm more encouraging when people say they want to do something -- I think I've always been encouraging, but now I am proactive about backing it up with actionable items. Got a goal? Well, you've got to set some mini-goals to get to the big goal. One of my high school teachers said something that has always stuck with me: "Everyone wants to be successful, but no one wants to prepare in order to be successful." Success takes work. It won't fall into your lap. So don't get discouraged if things don't go right the first time -- keep going! Learn from your mistakes, re-calibrate and go get 'em. You can do it!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Journey of 1,000 Cranes (part three)

Things are still moving with the project. In my previous crane post, I had mentioned that I was 9 away. I am still 9 away, because I wanted to start stringing it up. Then once it's almost ready, I will celebrate the last one with my friends and family. :)

It's been interesting deciding how I wanted to string things up. I went to Home Depot because at first I thought I wanted tubing to shape and suspend wherever. I thought it'd be fun to string glow bracelets or lights through it, but I reconsidered as it really wasn't quite as aesthetically pleasing as I would like. I opted instead for wires and hooks.

I bought glow in the dark string and some amethyst beads to weigh it down at the bottom. Purple is my absolute favorite color! In the ancient world, purple has been commonly associated with royalty and piety. Also, amethyst has always been linked to the thinking process, ensuring clarity of vision -- inspiring creativity, courage and valor. And in other folklore, it was typically worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable. Amethyst powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual upliftment, courage,  psychism, protection against thieves, and happiness.

My big adventure though was trying to buy clear plastic straws. I could not find any to buy easily. I went to HEB, Randalls, Party Pig, Walmart, Target and Garden Ridge. So at that point I considered going to a restaurant supply store, but then I got to thinking... well let's see if someone would be willing to just give me some. So I called Amy's Ice Cream near my house, and the girl was very willing to help when I told her of my dilemma. Unfortunately they weren't the right kind of straws, but I was still very appreciative. Then I tried Chipotle near my house, and I was very happy they could help me. The person on the phone was so helpful, even asking if I would mind being put on hold so he could open the straw wrapper and make sure it was right and that he had enough. Now I have straws for spacers. 

I strung up my first strand, and here it is: 

First strand (25 cranes) -- there will be 40 strands total.
I am SO looking forward to seeing all of them together!

Here's 100 (4 strands of 25)
I find it really interesting how sometimes when you're doing something you're passionate about, suddenly lots of things show up in your life with much greater relevancy. I remember when I first started my crane project more than a year and a half ago, I went to a Renegade Craft Fair, just to kind of be inspired and see all what was there. I came across a vendor who made origami crane jewelry, which I adored. I bought a really beautiful pair of earrings in an electric blue color. Then there was a booth from the Houston Contemporary Art Museum that was drumming up interest for their latest exhibition, works from an origami artist. The table was covered with all sorts of origami paper and I made a crane right then and there. I thought it was really special that I found these things at the time I did. It definitely gave me a feeling of connectivity.

I ended up going to that exhibit and just felt very inspired. The artist had so many neat ideas. Maybe for my next project I might make some origami butterflies. We'll see, one thing at a time, I suppose.

I had a professor in college who explained this phenomenon, which she called a "Windshield Moment"... basically she had gotten a new car and was cruising down the highway when some truck was changing lanes and sent a rock from the road flying into her windshield. A brand spanking new car that now had an obnoxious chip in it. She was so disappointed and just was left with a "Now what?" feeling. Well, as she sat in traffic, she looked out the window at a billboard that was for windshield repairs. How many times had she passed by that billboard not knowing what it even said? What else is right under our very noses that we miss constantly? Relevancy sure is something.

It also reminds me of this fantastic article I found on MSN about making your own luck.

Want to improve your luck? It could be as easy as adjusting your attitude. Studies show that people who consider themselves lucky actually tend to be -- it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. That's because positive thinkers are always keeping their eyes peeled for fortuitous situations, and they're more likely to pounce on them when they arise.

In a study conducted by [Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., a psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire and author of The Luck Factor, who has done a decade of research on the topic], researchers placed some money on the sidewalk in the paths of different people -- some who claimed to be lucky, and others who considered themselves unlucky. The "lucky" people noticed the money and picked it up; the "unlucky" people walked past the cash.

I thought that was a really neat story. I have always felt like I've had lots of luck, so it was fun to hear that sometimes we make our own  luck by having our eyes and minds open. And to geek out for a little bit, I always make sure in RPGs to add to the luck attribute. You're more likely to land critical hits, dodge attacks and sometimes find special items. Ok, nerd mode over.

I would never just rely solely on luck getting you places. Being at the right place at the right time or who you know may get you somewhere, but what you know will keep you there. Good luck out there everyone!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Journey of 1,000 Cranes (part two)

This is what 991 cranes looks like :)
If you aren't sure about what all this is about, you can read the first part here.

That's right, I'm 9 away from reaching my goal of 1,000!


I'm not gonna finish it yet! What I'd like to do is assemble my art piece with what I've got so far and then throw a big party with my family and friends so I can fold the last one with them there and attach it. It'll mean so much having the people I care about, and that care about me, there with me.

This project has been wonderful. It's been met with lots of encouragement and positivity, and I'm so happy.

It's funny, though, because I find myself noticing more the little things people say to sabotage themselves. The biggest thing I've heard this project is "I don't think I'd have the patience." You'd be surprised what you're capable of. And really the whole point of patience in this matter is that you keep working towards it, and don't get hung up with the fact that you're not done yet. I've worked on this for more than a year and a half. And now here I am sharing my progress.

I think patience also requires a great deal of faith. And I don't mean that strictly in a religious sense, but an all around collective sense of faith -- it could be faith in God that He has a plan for you, or even just faith in yourself that you can do it, or faith in the universe that things will be alright. This project has grown with me and evolved into something much more than it started out.

Hope is wishing for an outcome.
Faith is believing in an outcome.

Things are doable. You are capable of so much.

So that's the message people, don't sabotage yourselves. Don't victimize yourself. Don't let yourself be a product of your environment, especially if you have a really shitty environment. Don't be a trash receptacle for someone else's baggage and insecurities -- in all areas of life from your friends, family members, lovers, classmates, co-workers... Yes we're humans and we're gonna have bad days sometimes, but don't let it escalate to a bad life. We have the power to make decisions in our lives, so let's make them good ones.

Alright alright, I'll get off my soap box now.

At any rate, I'll keep updating with the project and the eventual party! :)

So, in the legend says my wish will be granted when I fold the last crane. I have an idea of what I want to wish for, but it has been fun hearing other people's suggestions, anything from riches, to Kim Jong Un not bombing Austin, a Nintendo 3DS (it's on my list of things to get, though I won't waste my wish on it). I wonder if this is like Genie rules where you can't wish for more wishes. Or if it's like in Bedazzled where the things you wish for will be granted but in the worst way possible. Whether it would really happen or not, who knows, but it's fun to think about. All I know is, that in the rule of wishes, you're not supposed to tell what you wished for. So if you see me with male harem consisting of Ewan McGregor, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Jim Sturgess and Ryan Gosling flying all over the world to eat sushi, steaks, candy and ice cream all the time, well... you know.

Friday, April 5, 2013

StampingChallenges -- SC14

Here is my latest sketch challenge for Stamping Challenges  (SC14 -- April 5, 2013).  

Each week create a sketch for you to try, and the challenge is for you to interpret it the way you see those elements used -- make substitutions with your creativity!

It's open to everyone, so start stamping with us today.

Here was the sketch to work from:

Here's what I did:

Want to get the materials to make a card like this? Visit my store:

For this card I used

Crumb Cake (base)
Whisper White

Real Red
Chocolate Chip
Ginger Blossoms (DSP; Retired)


Wonderful Mother
Fast and Fabulous (Retired)