The (Un) Caged Bird

"Let the beauty we love be what we do." – Rumi

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TRAVEL DIARY: Amsterdam Street Art

I am fascinated by street art.  Every city I go to I feel moved to record the transitory art that is painted on buildings, bridges, or drawn onto stickers stuck on mailboxes and newspaper dispensers.   I refer to this art as street art versus graffiti because I believe it adds value and beauty to whatever object it appears on.  Graffiti to me is something that is ugly and destructive and I feel it harms its canvas rather than benefiting it. I’m not a fan of people tagging their names and leaving their mark in an ugly un-creative way.  Here in Indianapolis there is one such tagger that does this all over town.  He simply spray paints his tag name in a very boring way which cheapens and destroys anything  he touches.  I won’t mention his name, but if I ever meet him I’m totally giving him a piece of my mind.  I adore murals as well, but those have been approved and commissioned and they don’t have quite the same charm.  However, I did include a lovely one of flowers painted on a house.

I love Amsterdam for many, many reasons.   One in particular is the beautiful art that has been painted onto old buildings and is under most bridges.  I love rounding a corner only to be accosted with a breathtaking image that makes me stop dead in my tracks.  I can stand and look at these images for many minutes.  I always wonder who did them, and when they created it.   There’s such a beautiful co-mingling of old and new in Amsterdam.  The charm of the old canals and cheeky crooked old buildings is only enhanced in my opinion by the counter culture that has made Amsterdam it’s home.  There’s something comforting in knowing that the people are still in charge and make the city their own.

I don’t know who any of the artists are of the paintings below.  A large portion of the photos were taken on Spuistraat.  Others, I couldn’t even tell you the street names of where I took them.  I tend to not pay attention to these things.   Feast your eyes upon these beautiful images and enjoy. I took all of these images when I was in Holland in September.

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LIFE: Love thyself

I have wanted to write about being yourself and the importance of doing so, but the words just wouldn’t come out.  Then I realized that I had already written about this topic in November of 2009, not that it is not important enough to repeat again, but not now.  If you would like to read that post and more on this topic go to Fly Your Own Course: Having the courage to be yourself.

While my thoughts were musing and circling around about being myself I realized that there is one important element that it would be near impossible to truly be yourself without.  That’s loving yourself.  I’m not talking about arrogance or being cocky or even egotistical.  Think more along the lines of believing in yourself, having self-confidence, and enjoying your own company.  Often we look outside of ourselves for things that we should be looking inside of ourselves for.  We tend to be mirrors for each other reflecting to one another what we project or projecting our own problems onto other people.  Therefore we seek out people, or people come our way to teach us more about who we are and how we are behaving.    Instead of looking for someone else to complete us we need to focus on completing ourselves.   Life really isn’t a fairy tale where Prince Charming will come and rescue us and sweep us out of indentured servitude or awaken us from a deep slumber.  We must do these things for ourselves and be our own best partner.

Give yourself the unconditional and perfect love you seek.  If you can’t accept yourself with all your past mistakes, perceived flaws and imperfections then you’re probably going to look for someone else to validate you.  Recently life has brought a few situations my way to help me heal some of my past scars even though at the time it felt as they were being ripped open and I was being torn to shreds.  Out of necessity I try to look on the bright side of life because I’d be endlessly depressed and quite fatalistic if I didn’t.

“I am a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” -Antonio Gramsci

I started looking into the situations that I was encountering with people and seeing how my behavior contributed to the end result and what I needed to learn from the experience.  I try to live authentically and be the genuine me, but I realized that without loving and accepting yourself as you are there isn’t any room for the self to explore, try new things, learn, succeed or fail.   I had forgotten to love and nurture myself and was resenting the people that I was giving my time to because they weren’t doing anything to help me nourish and replenish myself.   I was mad at them because I felt like I was the only one doing all the effort and they were getting my time and energy in return.   While this may seem completely obvious, I assure you that even though it seems like common sense I don’t believe it’s that common anymore.

Lesson 1 – You must take care of yourself and give your body, mind, and soul the nourishment and sustenance that it needs to thrive or at minimum survive.

“If you aren’t good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you’ll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren’t even giving to yourself.”
~ Barbara DeAngelis

So, loves, let us all remember to be our own best lovers and remind each other of the beauty that lies within each other and within ourselves.


FASHION : Why do I love fashion?

I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years.   I haven’t always loved fashion, but I have always loved clothes.  Honestly, I didn’t even know what the fashion industry was all about until I got to college.  Up until then I had never subscribed to or read fashion magazines and my style choices were solely prompted by the whims of my personality, my environment, and my life circumstances.  Up until college clothes were something I wore to make me happy, express a mood,  or to perform a specific function.  I simply dressed to have fun.  Not much has changed since that time except for the fact that I have grown to love and appreciate what goes on behind the scenes in the fashion industry and now I subscribe and read all the fashion magazines to see the latest creations.

So, what is it that I love so much about fashion?  I love its utility and ability to transform.  Fashion is art that we wear every day and live our lives in.  Unless you live in a nudist colony, clothes are something that we must wear every day.  The beauty of that is that through clothing we have the opportunity to express a part of ourselves and our personalities.    I love beautiful and functional design of all types whether it be fashion, architecture, household appliances,  or furniture.  Everything that we wear or use generally has a function and I love beautiful things that are useful.  I’m inspired by beauty.  I see it everywhere around me.  Raised by an interior designer mother I was taught from an early age about good design and living in every day beauty by creating a beautiful environment.    I’m not trendy and don’t feel the need to have the hottest item every season.  I buy only what I fall in love with and try to keep my wardrobe simple and pared down to only the garments that I absolutely couldn’t live without.  I believe in simple, clean, classic, elegant and timeless fashion.  I like to have fun with how I dress but keep it classy.  Clothing should be comfortable, wash and wear well, and be made of quality fabrics that last.  Personally, I prefer to wear clothing that is made of mostly natural fabrics.  I love wool, cotton, linen, and silk.    Being stylish and looking good does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money on clothing.  While I do occasionally splurge and buy a designer item for the most part I have to be more thrifty in dressing myself.  My budget doesn’t allow much room for expensive purchases.  Instead I love to shop at thrift stores and find nice second hand designer or vintage garments.   A large portion of my wardrobe has been purchased at Goodwill.   The style and grace of Audrey Hepburn has been one of my major influences in how I dress.  Her simple and elegant style have always made a lasting impression with me.

Wear what you love and dress to suit who you are.   Fashion is a chance to share the beauty you love with the world just by wearing it in your every day life.

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.  There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.” – Rumi

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Feeling kind of blah?  Does the winter weather have you feeling a little down and out.  Not so confident; with storm clouds running through your head?  Have a listen.  Relax.  Jump around your living room and twirl like a banshee.  Sit on your computer and do a little chair dance a la spiritedwildfire.   I promise you’ll feel better. 🙂  Download this track and put it on your mp3 player.  Put on some stilettos, and hit the sidewalks. 😉  My friend Raghkstar has sent me just the thing to kick the hump day blues to the curb, and he’s allowing you lovely readers to download it here free.   Just spread the love and word, and lets get the world smiling and strutting to the beat.

DOWNLOAD RADIOACTIVE MIX FOR FREE – Courtesy of the one and only DJ Raghkstar. 


listen online here: LISTEN


peace, love, and beauty