Living Freely

I recently just moved from LA back to San Francisco in February. I decided to move back to San Francisco after being gone for five years. In those five years I have lived in NYC for two years exactly and then LA a little over two years. I’ve lived in 3 different cities since 2009. 2009 was the year I began my journey.

I was feeling stuck in LA and the driving an hour a day in the morning and at night really didn’t alleviate any stresses I had.

I’m addicted to change.

If you subscribe to numerology and spiritual meanings in life – I’m a 5. Movement, change and travel has been the only thing that’s constant in my life.

I really thought I would be working full time in SF with a start up company that scouted me out on Linkedin and but it turned out to be even better when it didn’t happen. Instead I started to focus on working on my own art and creating products. I’ve been able to create artwork that I could probably not have explored if I had gotten a full time job. I have now been able to direct all my focus on creating work and also starting to see money flow through these online shops. It’s been such a life changer.

Getting older means also re-evaluating what you want in life, and what I want most in life is to have a better quality of living where I work only on passion projects and people I like to work with and spending more time with my loved ones. At the core of my being I just want to be and spend time doing things I enjoy.

The most important thing I’ve learned if I’ve learned anything is to trust your gut intuition and to let go of where you think you should be. Releasing judgement on myself and accepting who I am now instead of who I thought I should be is the biggest lesson I’ve ever had to learn.

When I fight the flow and try to plan and overthink things in my life is when everything gets screwed up. Control is something I had to learn to stop doing. Just letting go and moving towards my intentions & focusing daily on what I wanted to create has helped me to move things in my life along.

Inner strength builds inside when we have gone through the worst of things. In the last couple of months I wondered where my journey was going to take me. But in my quest for living freely did I really start to learn to live in the present moment and not to think too far ahead into the future. Because being present means you are co-creating your reality and shaping it into the future you want to have.

As an artist and creator, creating art is a spontaneous process and a very in the moment act. Of course there are things you want to plan to work on, but in the moment is where the magic happens– embracing that inherent act of creating work is a sacred space within ourselves. Patience and lots of inner reflection within ourselves is necessary to grow as an artist or a creator. Rome wasn’t built in a day, therefore we must have patience with ourselves. Our journey to self discovery takes time in order to live a free and artistic life.

To be happy means being true to yourself.

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Gypsy Soul

As a writer and illustrator I’ve been very retrospective of the life I’ve led and the life that I am continually living. Before I studied art and animation I had always been a writer. I had always kept a journal of my day to day living for as long as I can remember. Writing was my solace and a time to gather my thoughts and to make sense of the world around me. Mainly I was interested in people, relationships, observing the details that made people who they were. My love of reading books also allowed me to escape and to get lost in these stories, my imagination would then fill in the blanks.

I was thinking about where I was a year ago today, still struggling to finish my thesis project for grad school and doing freelance jobs that I wasn’t too fond of. I worked different odd jobs here and there in LA like sales jobs, small design jobs, one children’s book project gig, some press junkets BS gig and I tutored one student part time at Otis College. I HUSTLED to get my bills paid.

Last July and August of 2014 through the first week of September that I dedicated finishing my thesis project for grad school and dedicated those two and a half months working on it day in and out on a small 10.5 screen tablet fujitsu that I found on craigslist that I drew on and I went and worked at a different cafe everyday. I was up early everyday, I was restless, I couldn’t sleep. I had an internal clock that wouldn’t leave me alone. I HAD to finish… there was no other way. Diligence paid off. And soon I was done and as soon as I declared being done… many companies I had applied to started calling me back. I started getting a ton of interviews with different companies.

By October I started freelancing again. Then I had a medical condition I had to take care of through surgery and I spent the next 9 weeks recuperating on my grandparents couch in San Diego through November. I was lucky enough that I found a start up gig in November that allowed me to work from home on my laptop while I got better. It was no cake walk, I had never felt so crappy with my health as I did then – during the 3rd week I had low blood pressure and almost passed out. I hid my crappy health from everyone except my family. I had never spent so much sleeping in those 2.5 months as I did. And I’m not the kind of person who sleeps early and neither sleeps in too late, I’m comfortable with 5 or 6 hours a night. But by November I had gotten a gig at WME in Beverly Hills for a few days to do some in house character illustration work that I completely enjoyed and it helped bring my spirits up when I needed it. It reminded me of what I love doing the most. Looking back at this last year, I’m thankful for what I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had, and the people I met colored this landscape.

And I think about this year… I’m sort of in a similar but different boat. I’m still freelancing – but getting better gigs. I’ve learned that summer is the slowest time in LA to freelance – companies are on hiatus or out having some kind of summer vacation. I’m in a similar boat this year like last because I am working on what was once my thesis project and now an Animation project that I’m trying to pitch to different studios. I’m so glad I stuck with finishing it last year–that no matter what I persevered and I finished it. And I know I will somehow see this project through, I’ve already committed to seeing this through no matter what the outcome– at least I can say I tried. I’m not the type of person to ever give up especially when i am completely passionate about a project.

I am a gypsy– because I have no permanent home and I am constantly on the move, I’ve moved out of the house that I used to rent a room in since last year in West LA. And quite recently, I packed up all my stuff into storage– To once again be a gypsy. To save money I am living with my family in SD and traveling up to LA once a week to freelance with a company that I have freelanced with since December of 2014. Half the week I am working on my animation project “Northstar Warrior” in San Diego.

Excited because the project is moving… I  have a few friends and people I know that I went to school with at the Academy of Art University helping out for free and wanting to be a part of something. The collaboration has been the key thing to push this project further along. Any smart person knows that one person can’t do it alone– not without a team of amazing artists and creatives who are willing and able to provide support and encouragement. Having my core group of friends and colleagues to provide this support has been so beneficial and I am so grateful– and its a testament that this project has the potential to be something. Could be something amazing.

I think about all the things I’ve sacrificed the last two years working on this project. One: sacrificing raising my kid and allowing my ex-husband to take on the responsibility. Two: My time, energy, effort… spending lots of time alone to work on this… was never the life I wanted to have. Three: Not having much of a social and dating life, I haven’t kept in touch with a lot of friends through this process. Its been hard. But sacrificing myself for the love and passion for a  project is the most beautiful thing in the world.

At the end of the day you have to do what you’re passionate about even if it means sacrificing a piece of yourself for the bigger picture. Otherwise you can live a very unhappy life.

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An Ending to a New Beginning.

As 2013 comes to an end, I find myself recently reflecting on the last year and the last four years in particular all the while being grateful for how much I’ve grown as an artist. So… I finally graduated from graduate school last week! Yippeee! It was a long four years. The first two of which I was a full time student and the last two I lived and worked a full time job in NYC and did online studies every semester. Not to mention I was a full time single mom the whole while through it. This marks an important milestone in my life, in which I actually feel like I can start to take my place in life and start doing what I love.

I learned so much through my schooling, four years ago I didn’t even know how to draw for Animation, nor did I even really know what I was in for until I got there! Didn’t even know that my drawing style would change so much or could change. I had been drawing before I started my MFA program, but I had no focus or concentration on anything. It takes a lot to just give up what you have or the life that you used to think that you had.

When I moved to San Francisco from San Diego back in 2009, I gave up everything. I gave up my life in San Diego to experience something new and to live differently. I left so many things behind, including family and friends. My heart was so broken, I had lost my job earlier in 2009 and lost someone in my family that I was very close to in a car accident. My grandparents sold the house I grew up in and decided to retire and live simpler. And on top of that my ex-husband was trying to fight me through court with child custody for our son. My foundations crumbled. But when I moved to San Francisco, I felt a sense of renewal. My spirit and spark that I thought was lost started to come back. Change can be very good for the soul.

Here I am now in Los Angeles, dreamy-eyed, full of inspiration and ready to live the best life that I am working towards! Moving back to the west coast was the best decision I ever made. Granted I had to resign from my secure job in NYC, sell everything, and re-start my whole life again in Los Angeles but it was worth it. I’m now able to see my family more often than I was in the last four years. Yet I can keep my life separate enough to pursue my own dreams and visions for the future.

Looking back now, I’m so glad I trusted my intuition above everything else– above family and friends who didn’t fully support my decision to go back to school. What may seem right to you may not be so obvious to others. And people can say what they want, they are entitled to their opinion. But at the end of the day, your opinion and your great vision for your life is the only thing that really truly matters. Trust me, I had a ton of haters from people who should have been supportive. It takes a strong person to really stand up for what they believe in.

Here’s to the ending of what I thought would have been a long four years of studying, yet it passed by in a blink of an eye. A new beginning awaits me, full of magic and mystery. An exciting, new journey to really discovering and exploring the possibilities of where life may bring me. We have to be open to new opportunities, that’s the only way we can ever expand to our fullest potential and uncover our deeper selves.

We are the sum of what we’ve experienced, where we’ve been, all the lessons we’ve learned, and all of the knowledge that we have accumulated in our own lives. Finding each of our true passions is never an easy journey, but staying true to our selves will give us the happiness that we are truly searching for.

As 2013 ends and winds down, I ask you to re-imagine your life or the life you want for the new year. It sounds cliche, but “any thing is possible if you believe.” Its never too late to re-start projects, or get back on the wagon again to pursue the things we are passionate about. The only thing getting in the way is our self-doubt.

I wish you a great Year for 2014 and a thousand new great things to come into your life!

“Destiny’s true path is rarely ever straight.”

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My friend Mahsa (left) and I at the Masonic Concert Hall in San Francisco. December 13, 2013.

I am a Story Artist.

This is a video of a presentation that I recently made at the Beekman 33 Salon in New York City this last March. It was sort of a Salon to give individuals a chance to showcase themselves, their creativity, or their business. I’ve been meaning to post this but life got so busy! I wanted to post this to give people an idea of who I am and what I do, I now realize that this video really does give others an insight as to who I am. As a story artist as you’ll soon come to find out in the video, I create concept art for the purpose of telling a story. I am grateful that I have found this career path and lucky enough to realize it while I’m still young. The business of telling stories that evoke the imagination and touch the hearts of others is what I enjoy doing the most. I hope you enjoy this video and that it inspires you in your own life. Comments, questions, please tell me what you think!

Salute!

Traveling through.

Its been a week now since I’ve been back to reality in New York City from Italy. No matter how long you travel and where you go is always going to be a life changing experience. An experience that shapes your perspective and view about life and the world around you. Before I left for Italy, I was living a life that was set in routine. Not that anything was wrong with that but I really was busy during the past year, with working full time and going home to study for my two online classes every semester… and not to mention my ten year old son lived with me full time. I had so many responsibilities and juggling so many things at once, its a miracle I didn’t die from exhaustion! You live, you learn, you do what you need to– to survive.

Coming home was a bit stressful to say the least. I had an open ticket, a standby ticket through a companion pass that I purchased from a buddy of mine who works at an airlines. But it was still 70% cheaper than a normal ticket purchased from New York to Florence and so I was willing to gamble! I ended up visiting two other countries in Europe. First I flew from New York City to Dublin, Ireland– I had a very good friend of mine who now lives there and so I was offered a place to stay and was able to reconnect with my friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time. From there I flew from Dublin to Rome, then took a two hour train from Rome to Florence. So upon flying back home on my trip I ended up buying a train ticket from Florence to Frankfurt, Germany. My buddy had suggested this because I would have gotten stuck in Rome if I had tried to fly on Standby on one of the full flights. So on my last day in Florence I took a train at 10:00 am in the morning and switched through 3 different trains to Bologna to Munich and arriving at Frankfurt at 11:00 pm. Luckily I met a girl on the train who spoke English and German, who I sat next to and had the same exact tickets and destination as me! She was a real life angel that helped me navigate through the different trains, and I had made a good friend.

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This guy had the same idea as me sleeping at the airport.

You’re probably wondering, you could have saved yourself the trouble by making sure you had plans set. But I realized something, I just had to let go of control. Most of the time we all have a tendency to control the situation or the outcome that when things don’t go our way, we end up getting upset. Sometimes there is beauty in letting go. I have been planning everything the last few years of my life, planning six months before that to go on this trip of a lifetime and what was a little adventure anyway? Sometimes you have to gamble and take risks in life, and when I do– I open myself up to great and amazing things. I actually ended up making more friends at the airport than I realized, and there were two Starbucks employees that kept me company and talked my ear off the whole night! It impresses me how many languages they spoke, Dutch, English, French, and German. For a European, that is absolutely the norm to know at least 4 languages. Its pretty amazing. I also met and conversed with a Filipino lady that spoke German, Filipino, and English, she kept me up all night with her amazing stories of living in Germany. By the time we finished, it was 5am and I still had another hour to check into my flight at 8 am. I had stayed up all night at the airport and it was eye opening, an experience I always wanted to have. You can’t be afraid to do something you’ve never done before. You’d be surprised at how amazing the experience can be.

Being able to live in Florence, Italy for two months has been an unforgettable experience– I have changed mentally and emotionally from my busy go go go life in New York City to really enjoying each day living. I really started to appreciate the moment more and really having the time of my life! I’m not going to go into details– but I really enjoyed myself out there. The Italians especially have a much different outlook in lifestyle, they open and work their businesses in the morning and then advocate a siesta during the afternoons, then only to return in the evening when it cools down for dinner. Life in Italy is much more pleasurable as people really do bond over food and wine, they genuinely make an effort to connect with others in a more human way. It was also sort of a blessing that my internet connection both on my international mobile data plan and my wireless at my apartment didn’t work– because it forced me to really set plans with friends after class during the evenings and really call them on the phone instead of texting or emailing them online. I really bonded with my classmates in and out of class time. I think I was missing the connections I’ve had and made growing up and living in California. I hate to say it but New York doesn’t do this for me, as many friends as I have here and the great connections I’ve made– people are way too busy to meet up and hang out at times. I wish for a much more simpler lifestyle at times.

Living abroad really opened my mind up to so many new things. For one, not taking living in NYC for granted. Although I miss California dearly, there are also many great things that this city has to offer. So much history, culture, and the food is just amazing! One thing that I learned from living in NYC and will always take with me forever is the ambition and commitment to keeping a schedule! And learning to stay focused on goals and seeing projects through.

Life is full of self discovery, just when you think that you are done with learning all you can– it takes another turn and the universe shows you something brand new. There are so many different realities, so many ways of being and living life. We just have to see things outside of our own perspective– and when we do this we are offered a major opportunity for growth. We can live and experience many different places, in hopes of showing us that life is not about having a physical place to call home but learning that home is where your heart is. As cheesy as that sounds, it is a truth. No matter where we travel through in life, its never about the destination but the journey of discovering who we are on the inside.

Out of Body

So I’ve set out on this 8 week adventure in Europe last Friday and have been visiting my good friend Kristy who  lives in Dublin. Then I head off to Rome tomorrow morning. This is the first time I’ve ever traveled in Europe. So far so good, everything has been amazing these last two days. I’m having the time of my life! I woke up early this morning from my night out of fun and drinking in Dublin. The first time I really let myself go in a long time, I have been super busy in the last few months with school and work. When I woke up, I was severely dehydrated and had one too many glasses of Guinness last night! It really does taste different from the Guinness in the U.S. I then saw my aunt text me so I called my aunt and then spoke to my grandmother on the phone back in California trying to fix my phone for international travel.

Anyway, I then tried falling back to sleep. Tossing and turning in bed every which way. I thought I was still awake but I was not. My spirit self came out of my body. I was in the astral plane again and I think this happens mostly when I’m tired and feeling really off balance. I’ve had many experiences like this since I was small and many of them when I was in high school coming home from dance practice exhausted. But in this case and all the other times that this has happened in the past was when my body has physically reached its limits and also physically traveling– is quite exhausting especially when there is a lot of time difference involved. Your body is out of wack. I also have been traveling from New York to San Diego to see my family just in the last two weeks and this past week I was so busy packing and getting things ready for my trip that I wasn’t really able to get much sleep.

I read somewhere that Native American Indians in the past would do the spirit dance rituals for days and this helped them to force their spirit out of their bodies to prepare for astral travel. Its a really confusing and interesting phenomenon. Science says its some kind of body paralysis but it really felt like my consciousness was outside of me.

I don’t think I was dreaming. 

I was seeing the room where I am staying as is but I couldn’t move my body. I thought my friend Kristy was awake and coming into the room to talk to me. But she wasn’t! She was sound asleep in the other room. All of a sudden these four people appeared, they looked Asian and they were all wearing white. I didn’t get the vibe that they were going to harm me but more of An energy of protection. Then one of the ladies came up to my bed where I am sleeping and touched my back and said, “Diane, wake up.” And then I was screaming for my friend Kristy. Only nothing came out.

And then there was this moment I think when the room felt like it was spinning and energy buzzing or this weird sensation like electricity around me. And then I slowly started opening my eyes. My real eyes. And then everything was in focus and I was awake. The first thing I thought was again? But wait there was something new this time. There were people there protecting me and I thought this is the first that I’ve seen anybody else there while I’m in the astral plane. Its usually a very lonely and confusing experience. They felt like they were protecting me, there were three women all with black hair and white blouses and skirts and the fourth one was a man wearing a suit, he was the farthest from me. And then I thought they must be my spirit guides looking out for me. I know that in the last day I’ve been hearing or thinking that I should call my guides more often and ask them for help.

Humans have free will, our guides can only merely suggest and communicate to us telepathically and in our dreams. We do have to ask for help, when we think we are alone– we are never alone. There are spirit guides protecting us always to help us carry out our life mission/purpose on earth. Except we forget that they continually give us guidance and reminders– and this is true for me when I feel as though I should do something or even holding back from doing something. Something inside tells me, my intuition takes over. And I feel whether things are right or wrong.

Sometimes there are no words to describe these experiences that I have and the feelings that accompany them. I find myself searching for words that can make some kind of sense but it’s still very hard to communicate exactly what it is. I don’t understand these experiences most of the time and I wish there were some kind of manual or someone like an angel to explain these things to me!

While we live in such a physical world and the constant emphasis on day to day living– we don’t realize that there may be some other places that exist only we can’t see, touch, taste, or smell them. I have come to terms with the part of me that has this very psychic and intuitive nature and made peace with the fact that I am merely just a channel for information and creativity to pass through. My life is my life but what I create comes from outside of me somewhere in this great big universe I am just a piece of a puzzle. Our world still needs constant evidence of these other planes of existence, I know I still do– there is no way to just remember these experiences all the time because as we go on, our recollection of these dreams and outer worldly experiences decreases and all is lost. I always make it a point to try and record them as soon as I wake up.

But I also think and always ask, we dream every night and when we go to bed we are also astral traveling– what makes this out of body experience different from these dreams? Why then does my consciousness come outside of myself? What is the purpose of this in our lives? I think there is a great big secret, a part of our human memory and history that has gotten lost and forgotten. Something we’ve done before many times– only maybe now we are re-discovering these abilities that we’ve always possessed within us.

What do you think of out of body experiences? Have you ever had similar experiences, and how did you feel upon first waking?

 

Love and Light

Diane

Mind Over Matter

I was reminded of something very important the other night while having some friends over for dinner. I had the pleasure of meeting a friend of a friend, he had so much knowledge to share and I am truly grateful for the experience.

We often forget that life is something to always appreciate, the most fundamental and simplest principle that is universal. Each moment is unique and rare and that we may never get these moments again, you never know what will happen to you tomorrow, next week, next year or the next five years.  Life is to be cherished. There is life flowing through us, through the people we know, the environment, nature, and animals all have this energy that flows through us.

I know that in my day to day living I’m focused on the daily grind, living in this fast paced city I rarely ever get to reflect and slow down. Give thanks always. No matter what religion or spiritual practice you have, its a fundamental concept that there is a Creator somewhere.

In this moment, in this time, in this space, we are here. Stay in the present moment and live.

I was truly humbled by his presence, wisdom and his overall attitude with gratitude, this new friend had brought me back to the spiritual principles that I used to practice. Living in New York City for two years now has taught me so many lessons internally and also has shaped my perspective about life. I have also met some amazingly talented people of all cultures and races, and New York City provides this for me even though at times I may miss California. I am grateful for all the blessings I received living here– Spiritually, Physically, and Mentally.

When I first moved to the east coast, people used to ask me why I decided to move all the way across country with no job lined up and not more than a few hundred dollars to my name. Simple Answer: Optimism. I wanted a change in my life and I was afraid if I never experience this I would never have this opportunity to really find out where I wanted to live and what I wanted to do for a living. I wanted to see if I could make it out on my own and if I didn’t try– I would regret not following my dreams. And a what if would always hang in the back of my mind.

The first three months spent upon moving to New York City was the loneliest of all time. I was away from family and close friends on the west coast and I was continually discouraged by the interviews I went to that didn’t end up going anywhere. I almost gave up, in fact it was a rough and emotional time for me– but still I kept on and stayed optimistic about my situation. By the third month I received a call from another company that I applied to, went to an interview and got offered a job as a Graphic Designer after two days! I had waited for the best opportunity, and here I am still, going on two years.

I always get surprised when my friends comment on how brave I was to be able to do a cross country move on my own, with no plan.  But I had a vision of what i wanted to create for my life.

My point is: We have to stay focused on the goal we want to achieve. Whether that’s getting a new job, finishing a project, etc. We have to hold the vision of us succeeding no matter how unhappy we are or how low we feel about our present circumstances. Having the understanding that the situation you’re in is temporary and things will eventually change. Persistence and determination is key– I know that I was insistent on getting a job and that even though I continually got rejected from the positions I applied for, I kept applying to a bunch of other jobs and eventually I landed one.

The reason we feel confused during a situation is because we are out of balance. The mental, spiritual, and the physical must be in balance if we are to get where we want to be. The mind is a powerful thing, it can lead us into places where we would have not thought possible. But it can also lead us into dark places that we don’t want to be if we are not careful about being conscious. Use the power of the mind to move you by being focused or you can be distracted and misled towards other things. We have no one else to blame for our misfortunes and failures. It is up to us to succeed, it is our responsibility to maintain our own happiness. Stay in that positive mindset and I promise you that it will lead you to places that will bring you blessings.

Love and Light,

DP