Twisted Between The Lines

     Little known fact…or perhaps a well known one. I have no TV. When I wake up in the mornings and I’m not heading off to school to enlighten some young mind, I sit at my table and I drink copious amounts of coffee.

      Now, you may be thinking, “Jesse, everyone does that. It’s part of 99.769% of the common population’s daily routine. Why is it even a point to make?”

But friend, you misunderstand. I do not simply consume coffee. I inject it directly into my veins. Cup after cup until I have such a ridiculous buzz going on that I cannot help but think grandiose thoughts. I will be the first to admit that many of my ideas are caffeine induced pipe dreams. Today, my brilliant revelation was grabbing my torch, a pair of pliers and twisting copper while it glowed with the heat of a thousand sugar crazed toddlers. The following is a visual documentation of what surmounted from my studio table.

Like always, if you use the following coupon code on my Etsy shop you’ll get it a discount of 30%!

Dirty Hippie Arts

Coupon Code:

TWISTED2015

 

Much love!!

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The Proof Is In the Pudding

New Years Resolutions….I can’t decide if I’m really good at these or simply pretend that I make them and just do what I want. It’s a good self-confidence builder! Make a really vague resolution, apply it to every aspect of your life and be happy. Problem solved!

This year, I resolved to do a lot more art and to truly explore my skills in what I went to school for. As a few of you know, lately I’ve been into making jewelry. Working with fire, glass and lots of different metals. Enough to open up an Etsy store. But even more recently I’ve moved into the realm of working with semi-precious stones and more expensive materials..because why not? So I’m going to offer a few of these stones only through this blog and only for a week! Ultimately, they are destined for local stores here in Boise…but I’m experimenting…so bear with me!

These three wrapped stones are being offered for seven days only! Like I mentioned, they are being sent to local stores in Boise to be sold there, but I would like to see how much attention writing through a blog can actually get! So as a further experiment, I’ve made a coupon! Using this coupon will give you 30% off whatever items strike your fancy at my store!

 

Use the coupon code:

COFFEEBAREFOOT2015

So, the proof is in the pudding. More art, more responsibilities and (hopefully) more organization. I also updated all the photos on the store and added measurement indications too. Thanks to Dave for that amazing suggestion 🙂

As always, I’d love critiques or suggestions for new pieces or how to better do this thing called production art!

Check out my other stuff at Dirty Hippie Arts on Etsy 

 

Selflessly Plugging Myself

The only way I could figure out how to selflessly plug my Etsy shop is to do a post on my blog! But now that I have your attention…why don’t you check out the pieces that I have available at my shop?

Dirty Hippie Arts 

See what I did there? No? Hmmm…maybe if I bombard you with pretty pictures that will work!

There’s descriptions of each on my store!

Hmmm…who knew that trying to slip into consumerism makes you feel like you’re taking advantage of everyone you know? Ah..opinions on my pieces are greatly appreciated. Not to mention custom-orders!

The List: Explorations of Attraction pt. I

A few nights ago, I had a pretty amazing conversion with a few wonderful people. We covered almost every topic that we could think of, but the one that rang out loudest was, “What’s your list?” Without any clarification, the three of us knew exactly what was being spoken of.

We all have a list. The traits and qualities that we look for in a person before we consider dating them, or even decide that we like them. This session of our conversation was a good hour long because we started shallow like ,”Oh, I like thinner, athletic people.”

     Understandable and everyone has those kinds of preferences, but there is deeper meanings behind them and deeper checks on our lists. Those checks become more and more profound as we age. Our relationships and whom we are attracted too also change over time and that’s entirely okay. It’s not a static thing. To become stagnant in relationships is to lose the very essence of what makes them a beautiful thing indeed.

I want to take a few posts and build up to my own list. But I’m going to front load all kinds of information about my perspectives and beliefs. I also have a relationship with life that has vastly impacted my relationships with others…so without further ado:


Go the direction that life pulls you…

      What an intriguing thing to occur and it happens almost every day. Most days, I don’t listen. Some days I do. Lately, I have had a pleasant contentment in my mind about where I am in life. It’s not about where I am though, it’s about where I am going.

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Ghost Town Trail, Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania

It’s a well known fact that I have wanderlust. Those of you who know me on a more personal basis are extremely aware of the fact. The most common question I get is ‘Jesse..where are you now?’ immediately following, ‘Jesse! Get down!!’. The answer is always different and that will never change. I will never stop traveling and I will continue to see the world. Countries will not go anywhere, but unfortunately people, relationships and careers do.

What is more important in life; sprinting towards something that will always be on the next horizon or walking more slowly with friends and family in hand to that same horizon?

True, the first option will allow me to see more, do more and experience the world quicker and faster. But is that truly experiencing? Yes, it creates memories that I can cherish and hold true, but those memories are even stronger if shared with someone. If I take the second choice, I may see less, experience less and go at a slower pace…but life is meant to be taken slowly. Enjoy your moments, let that last taste of coffee linger on your lips, and keep talking to that old friend sitting beside you.


With solitude comes hollowness

Man is not an island onto himself.

     Honestly, I hate this quote. We indeed are islands onto ourselves. There are as many minute differences that shape our lives and who we are as the mountains and stones that form the shores I’ve walked. But, if we are islands, we are the dock keepers too.

Koh Mook, Thailand

 

How many boats have weighed anchor in your harbor? Are you surrounded by the levies and breaks that are family and friends or is your island truly secluded and remote? Will anyone know when it is washed away? I have 1000 and more stories to tell, but will never be able to fully express the moment. I want to be able to walk up to a friend/lover and say, “Remember that time….?” and watch their eyes light up with memories.


Money is circular

The biggest problem with our lives is the reliance on money. It’s an unavoidable fact that it’s something necessary to our lives. But how much money do we really need? I’ve been far below the poverty line for 8 years. I’ve never made more then $9000 dollars in a single year.

Colorful isn’t it?

To the mainstream of society, by all rights and expectations, looking at my paychecks you would expect me to be a high school drop out flipping burgers at a fast food joint. The harsh truth is that they actually make more then I do…which stings just a little, but at the same time, I’ve seen almost all of America and large sections of Asia. Do I worry about money? Yes. Of course I do. But I don’t allow it to control me. Money will always come and go, opportunities will arise that give you more then you need and events happen that take more then you have. It’s life. But our emphasis on it is misplaced.

     My mommy (yep, I’m 28 and I still call my mommy by ‘Mommy”), once said that she is never happier then when she spends money on other people. And it’s true. She’s a pretty awesome person and I’ve seen her put massive amounts cash into people who don’t appreciate it and don’t care. But she still does it.

I inherited that trait too. if you visit me, I’ll pay for half your plane ticket (if you allow me). If you have no food, I’ll feed you. I’ll carry your 40 lb. backpacking along with my own. You’re tired, exhausted and I have extra energy? Why wouldn’t I help you out, even if it knocks me down a few pegs? Hate begets hate..but isn’t the opposite true as well?


Don’t wait to appreciate and encourage others

 

Sooo many strangers, so much love

 

The best way to be happy is to help others become happy. If you’ve been a teacher, a therapist, waiter, barista…really anyone that interacts with humans…nothing feels better then being told you’re appreciated. When’s the last time you stopped and pointedly told a friend why you are so thankful for them? There are people in my life who are little more then acquaintances, but there’s still a reason to be thankful for them. Part of life is about maintaining connections and rekindling past friendships. The exact same is true for building those flames higher or even igniting them in the first place. I recently cheered on and tried to encourage a total stranger from 7000 miles away. That stranger not only thanked me, but allowed me into their life and we’ve now become close friends and talk on a daily basis. She’s helped me through one of the crushing defeats of my life and gave me a hand back up.

It’s intimidating opening up to a stranger and simply talking, sharing and trusting. Not knowing each other, we never met in person and there’s was an ocean and continent between us, yet something so simple as saying, “I appreciate you. Here’s why…” will create lasting bonds regardless of distance.


Embrace and realize your own feelings

Ever get the feeling that something just needs to happen? That crushing impatience where all your thoughts are directed toward one objective, no matter how hard you try otherwise? What about the need for change, despite being happy in your current situation?

That last one may be unique to people who have wandering souls. Its a very interesting sensation. Many times, I’ve thrown caution to the wind and jumped into a new experience, not really knowing how it’s going to end up. Some may say that this is…not intelligent and very reckless. However, I feel differently. Life pulls me in the directions and places that I go and I listen to it. The times that I have not listened are the moments of my life where I have regrets. The moments that I’ve tilted a curious ear have whisked me to new lessons and astounding people.


So there it is….a little front loading on how my brain works in preparation for ‘The List’.

Transitions and Tribulation

Life’s an interesting creature to attempt to capture. At one moment, you think you have it all figured out. Then, the very next moment, you’ve found that the cage wasn’t locked and life has once again slipped away. This isn’t my usual rant about life…this is an update on where it’s run too.

So many times in my travels I’ve pictured myself going in a certain direction and, like a leaf in a whirlwind, have seen myself hurled into new territory I never expected. Such was the case with where I am now. A little under 3 months ago, I was living overseas and expected to be there for quite some time. Circumstances brought me back to America and I saw my path laid out before me. Friends, family and acquaintances all eager to hear my stories, but it’s not something that is easily shared and much less explained.

How do words fit where only experience can be spoken of? Is there truly a vocabulary in any language that can describe the changing of a life? Despite my best efforts, I can’t fully help others live vicariously though my words because those can’t be voiced.

Even where I am now, despite my best efforts to describe the peace of mind that I feel, is something that needs to shared and not spoken. I saw a life in Pittsburgh, formed relationships that supported it and gave me community, applied for jobs and was ready to make that transition. Surprisingly right on the cusp of change, like that leaf that get ripped from the tree it grew on, I was tossed across the states and landed in Idaho.

Yeah, I know. Idaho? Nothing here but potatoes. At least that’s what I thought, but upon arriving I was not only greeted with shocking topography that I haven’t seen anywhere else, but also a community of friends that immediately embraced who and I and celebrated me for it. From spiritual to outdoor pursuits I’ve found companions and adventures that quickly have become mirrors in which to gaze back at my travels.

 

Don’t forget your support system.

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Carbody (5.10c). Black Cliffs, Idaho,

Even though the journeys that we undertake in life are incredibly difficult at times, and often seems like a slip will result in dire consequences, do not forget that there’s people there to keep you afloat. It’s far too easy to charge though with only the end point in mind. I’ve pretty rapidly learned to check ego at the door and take a rest. It’s not a race nor is it a competition to see who succeeds the fastest. Remember whose around you and what it’s keeping you up when you do fall. Celebrate the triumph together.

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Council Mountain (8126 ft), Payette National Forest, Idaho

Following the well worn path is, while safe and predictable, not how growth and new experience occurs. I’ve been knocked off the path so many times that I almost feel uncomfortable being in a line.

 

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Twopan West Fork Trail, Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon

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Bogus Basin Foothills, Idaho

At first, I would get terrified. When you look out into an abyss of nothing and see nothing staring back, it’s daunting to take that first step. But once I did, I found that having the freedom to go, do and be as I am is the most powerful emotion available to humans. Freedom of life is not to be underestimated.

Am I occasionally knocked down by want of stability and security? Of course. Do I occasionally get utterly lost and pretty cold once I’ve lost the paths that I do walk? Yep. But, damn, I get to see things that don’t exist on well-worn roads and that makes it’s all worth it. There’s no manual and maps haven’t been penned down. The only thing to do is pick a point, and walk steadily towards it.

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Eagle Cap Peak (9572 ft), Eagle Cap Wilderness, Oregon

 

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Life.

Reach out to others when you falter, celebrate together and, when you finally succeed in your goal, look to the horizon and start the first step again.

 

Uprooting Yourself To Grow Roots

On Living with Intention and The Sense of Place

 

       It’s no secret that the amount of inspirational posts on the internet reach a staggering number. I suppose, of late, my musings fall somewhere in the spectrum of a inspiration blog and a half-hashed attempt at a buzzfeed-like list. I have not forgotten that I promised to write out recipes, but my photo capabilities are currently shelved. But there is something that I am currently experiencing that is an intriguing little tidbit of life that I don’t think is often approached, or rather, the combination of two different ideas. Living with intention and creating a sense of place.

 

Okay, you might be thinking that I just spouted out some random new-age sounding phrases and I’m going to don some beads and crystals to tell you how it is. But really…think about it for a moment. Are you living with intention? When you wake up in the morning, do you have a clear purpose as to why you are where you are? Or even just where you are? Some hard hitting truths have made me ask myself these questions lately and, like always, I want to share my thoughts.

 

Leaning on your own shoulder

Find yourself by being yourself

Find yourself by being yoursel

 

Let’s start off with a double-edged sword. Family and friends are vitally important to our lives. It goes without saying that these very people can give us a reason to live in someplace. But there is a limit to the influence that they have. I love my family and I cherish my friends yet at the end of the day, they can really only give so much support. It’s up to me to provide the rest and there have been many moments that I’ve been horridly unhappy with a situation, but too afraid to enact the change that I need.

Nowadays, I will drop unhappiness on a dime and start walking towards where I want to go. It’s not always easy and I’ve struggled, stumbled and had the hard lessons of leaning on my own strength to get me through. In fact, I still fall flat on my face. However, I’ve discovered that the uprooting of life is necessary to find a bigger place in which to grow, even when that means leaving a comfortable nest behind. Which leads me to my next point…

 

 

 

Leave home to appreciate home 

Like golden fingers beckoning

 

We all have homes. Places where we grew up, we explored and intimately know. For many of us, after 20 odd years we’re itching for change. Yet, like I mentioned above, it takes courage to make that happen. Even moving away for a university can be a terrifying concept for some people. But it is that very act that will cause us to appreciate the people and places that we left behind. You need to see new places and meet new people to truly remember what came before.

In my case, when I think of home I think of friends, family, autumn covered mountains, hot apple cider, campfires and coursing rivers surrounded by forests.Yet when I lived there, in the heart of it, I tended to take all of that for granted and never really saw what I had. Sure, I visited all those places and deeply enjoyed time spent with friends, but I didn’t appreciate the area it’s uniqueness. It took leaving the nest to remember how wonderful it was.

 

 

Stick your head in a bush, change your perspective 

Lying in the grass works quite well too

Lying in the grass works quite well too

When I lived in the redwoods of California, I had a lot of arguments/discussions with my beloved friends about how California doesn’t really have seasons. Obviously that’s not a true fact, there are indeed seasons but they are very subtle and hard to notice unless you open your eyes and see them. I often complained that autumn just didn’t exist. But my perspective of autumn was a massive explosion of crimson, gold and brilliant oranges, it’s hard not to take notice of that in the Laurel Highlands. I refused to notice the smells, sights and sounds all around me of the changing season and in retrospect, it highly took away from my experience. I needed to stick my head in a bush and see the branches for the tree.

     Just because it is not thrust at your eyes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. This can be expressed in love, nature, food and an onslaught of other things. The point of the matter is that it’s very easy to close our eyes to the world and people around us and envelope ourselves what we know. It’s comfortable, safe and quite easy. You’re probably doing it without even realizing it. Stop, open your eyes and see what is happening all around you. You won’t see things the same way again.

 

 

 

Have a cup of coffee and talk 

Fixes Everything

Fixes Everything

        Just like you can refuse to acknowledge and change your own perspective, it’s pretty easy to refuse to acknowledge the perspective of someone else. Let’s take my example above in California. I made it no hidden fact about how I felt at that time and almost a daily basis my friends pointed to changing trees and said, “Look Zephyr, Autumn!”. Nope. I was just not having it. I steadfastly did not want to see things through their perspective. It was not that I shut off to my surrounds, but rather that I had an image in my head that I didn’t want to let go.

    We all have different points of view. Sometimes they match, sometimes they don’t. But you’ll never understand what a person’s perspective is unless you actually ask them..or they simply tell you. Putting out your thoughts to the world is an intimidating thing and leaves you pretty vulnerable to get burned. But so too does prejudice and stubbornness make you look the fool later. Have intent to realize your differences and work towards understanding. Whether is about the changing of autumn leaves or something more meaningful like relationships or walks of life.

 

Better yet, stick your head in a bush at a place you’ve never been. Hold a cup of coffee in your hands while you contemplate viewpoints. Then stand back up on your own two feet and go appreciate where you are.

The spin cycle of life.

 

 

Life often spins us around. Yet like any good dancer, it will signal you before the turn. Stay on your toes and keep up the beat, if you don’t it’s very easy to fall out of step and ruin the song. Lately, I’ve been swept into a waltz that has me crossing the dance floor multiple times. Those of you who follow my blog or talk to me regularly, know that I have had something of whirlwind in the past few months.

 

Around this time last year, I was preparing to go to Thailand and being interviewed for schools. I did not expect that almost a year later I would ever end up in Japan, nor that a relationship would crumble into open animosity and even less expecting is the fact that I am returning to America. A lot of things were out of my control and I just had to go with the flow. Obviously, there was some stressing out involved in between my transitions, but after six years of living the life of nomad, in one form or another, I’ve learned a few lessons.

 

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Kinda like that

Wanderlust is not always wonderful 

I’ve seen the world, learned languages, experienced cultures and ways of living that are  dusk and dawn to America; it has been beautiful and wonderful. I wouldn’t trade my life for any other. Yet, there are huge swathes of time in which I have been fully alone unable to relate to the lives of others around me. As much as we travel towards a new horizon, we walk away from someone else’s.

No description is needed

No description is needed

There is fine line between being and living 

I’ve had many conversations about how important it is to live life, not be a life. To live is to make mistakes and learn. To climb to the highest mountain knowing your next step might send you tumbling down. It is to take a risk solely for the rewards, and then take another risk because you don’t care about the rewards anymore. Living is walking between stability and spontaneity. Those who have lived a life know when it’s time to move on, they do not hold onto bad relationships, will quit unsatisfied jobs and will embrace change like an old friend. Living is like being conscious of breathing. Without thinking about it, we sustain breath and stay alive. Yet, if you are aware of the breath, a calm focus occurs and we can not only direct how we breath, but also where and when we breath.

Giant field of mustard greens? Good place.

Giant field of mustard greens? Good place.

Smile. 

It’s a pretty simple thing. Smiling. The greatest teachers in life have laugh lines and I challenge you to think of someone that hasn’t inspired you that doesn’t. Let yourself be drawn to people that are quick to smile and even quicker with laughter. These people will laugh on a moments notice, find the humor in all things and support you throughout your journeys. They are not always happy because they have never had horrible things happen to them. They are always happy because the worse has happened to them and they’ve survived. It’s strange to say, but the people that smile the most tend to also have the most scars. They are the ones who are on the frontlines of life and it’s hard to dodge every bullet coming your way. If you find one of these people, pull them into your life. Make them a friend, a lover, a companion and a support. Give them all that they give you and you’ll quickly find that more loyal individuals cannot be found.

It's harder to start walking, then it is to walk.

It’s harder to start walking, then it is to walk.

Remember lessons in love..then forget them. 

Our greatest lessons come from the greatest pain. We gain the most when we feel as if we’ve lost it all. This is nowhere more true then in love. Friends of mine will tell you that I love easily. It’s true. I do. But, there is a reason. I’ve been crushed and disappointed, lied to, manipulated and taken advantage of quite a few times. It’s through these lessons that I know exactly what I want because I know what I don’t want. Take down those walls, give up the key and let someone clean the dust out of your heart. Worse case scenario is things don’t go as planned but the cobwebs are finally out of the corner. Best case scenario? Well…that’s all in what you’re looking for isn’t it?

I can’t pronounce it right, but I can cook it!

Learn how to cook.

Put down that pack of ramen and don’t you dare go get fast food instead. Despite our refusal to admit this, cooking really should be the most basic of skills and still is in almost every other country except for first world. I am not saying you need to be a chef, but you should at least be able to go to the grocery store and make a variety of dishes from the local produce or whatever is in season. I’ve always loved cooking, so I admit to being biased, but if you burn everything you touch that is still not an excuse. If you insist on using that for your reason to go to taco bell then start with things that don’t require heat. Plus, cooking is a great stress relief and an even better moment for reflections.

 

I often have discussions with friends about what i’ve learned in my travels and how I think they apply to my life. I’m never quite sure how to answer them because almost everyday I learn something new. Something that builds upon what was already created. It’s a continually deluge of experiences that, hopefully, I will be able to pass on. Perhaps by better words or a clearer mind…but for now…Wander the world and live your life. Time doesn’t hold meaning and neither does age or circumstance. Despite all the woes and sorrows in the woe, the turmoil that rocks the foundations of our beliefs..smile, love, and when all else fails? Cook something to make it all better.