Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Following the Heart

What is the hardest thing you have ever had to do? 

I have watched my loved ones die. I have had my heart broken a dozen times. And I took a Bikram Yoga class for eight consecutive days in a row. Yet nothing has been as hard as trying to follow my own heart. In my last post I said I would try as hard as I could to allow my head to rest and to listen to my heart just a little more for the sake of finding more time to do the things I really want to do. Well, trying to tell my head to chill-out has been as hard as telling a cranky three year old its nap time.

In the process of letting the head go and following my heart I have learned these three things so far:
 1. The Heart doesn't lie. And the Head can be a back stabbing son of a bitch! 
 How often do we allow ourselves to let our minds wonder and create stories about false realities. I do this all the time. We all do. We are human and we are supposed to. But there comes a time when you really need to put the mind in its place. Everyday, I tell myself I should loose weight, I should get botox, I should have a cleaner house. Man, I really let my head have a way with me that brings nothing but disappointment, hurt and heartache. Several years ago I had an amazing experience and awakening. I met a wonderful person named Byron Katie. She teaches what she calls, "the Work". The Work is a is a way of identifying and questioning the thoughts that cause all the fear and suffering in the world. Experience the happiness of undoing those thoughts through The Work, and allow your mind to return to its true, awakened, peaceful, creative nature.

 2. The Head will tell you what you should DO. And the Heart tries to tell you what you should BE!
   Basically, I feel myself really wanting to get out of my head and into the world. There is progress. Be it ever so slight. However, this is extremely hard for me not to try to plan every second of the day. I'm a planner! Literally, this is what I do for work. And I am damn good at it too.

 3. The Head loves to repeat the same things. And the Heart lives for adventure and excitement. 

This last weekend, Jason and I went out with the friends to a bar after a dinner party. I had to give my head two hours notice that we were going to the bar and that we should let go and have fun. It is a total process for me to do this. Even at the bar, I allowed myself a half hour to get into the groove before I started to feel myself relaxing and enjoying the moment. It was only a matter of time before my head started telling me that we should be prepared to leave in 20 minutes so that we could get good rest before having to wake up at 8:00 am to meet Jason's family for breakfast. I know there is a difference between being responsible and being to uptight. I think I am still learning the difference.

The following are a few ideas I've come up with that will hopefully close the door to my mind and let my heart come out and play:
  1. I will allow my friends to make more plans for hanging out with little or no input from me. I will try to go with the flow a bit more.
  2. Jason and I just booked our summer vacation to Kauai. Now that the airfare, hotel and transportation have been taken care of, I will not plan anything else. No itineraries. No agendas. No to-do lists.
  3. Adventure Bowl! There is another great Blog out there called, "100 Days in Bed". Basically after a horrible year of death's, break ups and loosing a job, "Adventure Girl", decided it's time to live life to the fullest. One of Adventure Girl's best practices is her Adventure Bowl, 100 Days In Bed
. I will start my own Adventure Bowl...today! And I will share my ideas in the next post. I would love if anyone wanted to share any ideas for the adventure bowl in the comments below.
The quest continues to follow my heart... 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In the beginning... again...

I have been writing "Salt in the City" for over a year now. Sometimes frequently, sometimes sporadically. But always from the heart! I began my blog on April 9th 2010 by saying, "In the beginning, there was light"... and it seemed as though the entire last year has been about freeing myself from my own darkness and reveling in the light of others. A pretty good year! Today, I'd like to begin the next year of blogging with a new theme...

In the beginning... there was an idea! 

Much like these five blank canvases, I feel as if I have great potential for being creative and expressive. To be something greater than I am. And that's why this year has got to be about my time, my thoughts, my inspirations, and my passions. Compared to last years total of three paintings completed. This year is looking hopeful with two paintings finished and five more in the works.

What this all boils down to is this.....personal time management. And how I must completely suck at it! One the other hand, maybe its something that I excel at. I mean, I literally have every precious second of everyday planned. From the second I open my eyes in the morning I can calculate the time to get up, shower, iron and be to work. Where I can then gauge my work and determine how much time I will need to complete all tasks. After the work day, I most frequently block my time for Jason, the friends, or the occasional family get together. What I fail to consider within my own daily agenda is the time for me to relax, unwind, release, create and simply just be.

I have fallen into a ritual of tasks and activities that I continue to accomplish on a daily basis. Everyday the same. And while there is always a high level of achievement. There is seldom a sense of satisfaction of doing what I really want to do.

I have also caught myself starting huge tasks that don't allow me the "Me-Time". Taking an extended time to complete them. And thinking about the next big thing that "has to be done" before I complete the task I have already begun. Again, still not doing the things I want and feel like I need to do. I distract myself. For the last 7-8 weekends I have spent a majority of my time painting walls and floors, fixing closets, ripping up carpet, arranging and re-arranging furniture, blah blah blah! And I always tell myself,  "there is a light at the end of the tunnel. After we complete this task THEN we can relax and create". But I always stop myself from the things I want with additional ideas of "what has to be done next". I also think that if I complain about all the things I have to do to everyone, then I will get more help and sympathy. Sometimes it works. But mostly, I find that other people are doing what THEY think and want to do. My problems really shouldn't be theirs too.However, if you'd like to help, call me direct to schedule a time!

I think the secret is this... really listening to your heart. I know it is telling me what it wants. The head and thoughts are the hearts interrupter. I am challenging myself to listen a little harder to the heart. Thus, allowing my head to rest. Geez, it all sounds so nice saying it aloud. "Listen to my heart and allow my head to rest!" It's almost like a mini vacation. For the next week I will make every effort to relax the mind and allow my heart to lead... I invite anyone to post a comment about following their heart and how they find the time to do what they really want. The more insight the better.

Next blog, Heart: "Free at last, free at last, thank god I'm free at last". Head: "Zzzzz!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Painting, Wine, and Shoes

It finally happened. After 9 months I finally picked up a paintbrush! The result? Two paintings in two days. I've had a lot of inspiration lately... The first painting was inspired by my dear new friend Kristen in Australia. The gurl is a shoe-hoard! She recently cleaned out her car and found 8 pairs of shoes that she had completely forgotten about.

So a painting for a fabulous pair of shoes seemed appropriate for her. I called the painting, "A Pair Never to Wear". The painting has now made its way across the world to Melbourne, Australia. It is the furthest Andrew original to date. I'M INTERNATIONAL!!!!!

The second painting was inspired by my Boss Don. Don celebrated his birthday last week. I knew the painting would need to be truly original, elegant and fun. I was somewhat nervous about attempting to paint something for him and his house. His house is like a gallery already. Creating something to compete for wall space in his house was a challenge. Again, the result was picture perfect. Not only did Don love the painting, but he had it framed and hung within a day or two of receiving it. I was very flattered that he was so quick to find a home for the painting!

Next on the painting agenda... I have 6 paintings to crank out. Five of which I offered to the first five people that responded to a facebook post. And the paintings couldn't go to 5 more deserving and random friends. Melanie Hardman, a neighbor from the first house I lived in, someone I have know my entire life. Stefanie Peacock, my boy friend Jason's cousin. Rachel Sharwell, a friend I have worked with, several years ago and again currently. Kristen Johnson, a friend of a friend who has become a dear friend. And my brother, Larry, whom I haven't painted for since I was in High School. The 6th painting has been a long time coming. a life long friend has yet to receive an Andrew Benson original. I'm not sure why it has taken so long. Not the right time? Not the right ideas? Who knows. So... I am opening my mind to the universe for divine inspiration to create a work of art that will be both beautiful and also show the sincere love, devotion and appreciation I have for this friend...

Six paintings by the end of the month? possible? Here's hoping!

Monday, January 31, 2011

How Big is Your World?

There are over 7,081,572,900 people in this world. And every single individual on this planet shares at least one thing in common. It's an ability we all have. The ability to change or affect another person's destiny. At any random moment you could cross paths with someone that will forever change your life or theirs. Whether by chance or by fate, you are bound to have your life transformed because of the actions of another.

I am also a total believer in Synchronicity. Synchronicity is an occurrence of multiple events, not determined or planned before hand, and end up having a meaningful impact. For example, my bff Tiffany used to bug me to download a Game-app on my iphone. Took me awhile, but I finally downloaded Words with friends. Basically, Words with Friends is a scrabble game that can be played from a phone with anyone with the same application. The game also allows you to play randomly against an anonymous player. I guessed that the random person would be somewhat local, or at least within a 3,000 mile radius. Really I had no idea how far a player could be selected. A few months ago I started playing against, "Kit-B". I assumed "Kit-B" to be female and to live within the States. After a few games "Kit-B" started sending a few messages through our game.

Mostly, messages like, "Hey nice game!" or, "Hope you have a nice day!" Extremely polite gaming-conversation considering most of the messages sent from other players consisted of death threats or catchy phrases like, "Yo mama's so fat she's on both sides of the family!" or my favorite from "Juke1919", "eat dirt, turd bag!" Anyhow, "Kit-B" was a breath of fresh air and I could tell that she would probably be interested in furthering our "Words" relationship. I took it to the next level and asked where she was from. I was utterly shocked when I saw her reply.... AUSTRALIA! Forget about a 600,000lb. 747 gliding through the air. Or taking an organ and transplanting it into another person. How the hell is it possible for me to instantly play scrabble with someone on the other side of the planet? My world got a little smaller. On a daily basis I look forward to the next update from "Kit-B" a.k.a. Kristen B.. Seriously, the girl has me in stitches on a daily basis. Lately, our conversations have been about flying midgets, ex-boyfriends, and the dramas of eating and drinking less. There is also talk of meeting up in Vegas in June! My new "Words"-friend has become a permanent fixture in my life. Not only do I call my own mother everyday, but I now have to check in with my favorite Aussie. A day is not complete without a few messages exchanged.

So, how big is your world? Just how open and receptive are you to new friends?

My "Word" friend has reminded me how small the world can be. And how connected we really are. I think what the world needs now is a little, "Words with Friends".