A while ago I tweeted (no pun intended) that when I’d go stand by a certain area near my pool, birds would congregate and swoop down in an effort to either attack me or scare me. I got some @ replies back exclaiming along the lines of: “Video! or it didn’t happen!” So, I decided to get some video footage of these crazy birds. It’s all interesting how it happens. If you’re nowhere near the pool, there’s almost no birds in sight. As you make your way to the pool you hear some chirping and the closer you get, the louder the chirps get. Then they start flying in, from all around you, chirping and confusing you. I thought they were going to pull a “clever girl” velociraptor from Jurassic Park move on me and pluck out my eyeballs through my ears, but alas, they were only trying to scare me. I only found out later as to why.
Here’s the video:
So, last week I went ziplining in St.John’s New Brunswick. It was a very interesting experience and, really, what else is there to do in St.John’s? Oh, I saw a SEAL also. This ziplining excursion was my first real brush with my greatest fear: HEIGHTS. Seriously, that motherfucker was HIGH. We even crossed over the river with the zipline at one point. Here I was having to put all my trust in my harness and buckles that were strapped to me and quite possibly smothering any ability I’d have to procreate. In the end, it was all worth it to look down below me as I zipped across and realize that fears can be conquered… however, having to hold your pee and being stuck high up in the air, well, that, that needs improvement (for the sake of saving me from embarrassment, no, I didn’t piss myself).
I think I’m done trying.
Really, I am.
What has started as a journey through the world of self-discovery has lead me here, to this moment, where as I type this I can accept that I am indeed an anxious person. If these were the stages of being wrought with the news of a terminal illness, I think I’m getting over the brink of rejection and falling into the peace of acceptance. The truth is, I really want my dreams to come true and in wanting this you struggle with the notion of value and the value that you believe you’re worth. I want to be a filmmaker. I want to be the next Steven Spieldberg, James Cameron, or even Quentin Tarantino. I know saying something like can bring about lots of flack from others and there’ll always be those who are ready to bring down your dreams, there’ll always be those who tell you to “be realistic.” And, you know what? Be grateful for these people because they test your resolve. They test you in how strong and committed you are to being that person you want to be. The more time you spend BEING who you want to be, the more you become who you want to be. Lady Gaga walked around telling people she was a “superstar” before she was anything but. PROCLAIM who you are and EMBODY it.
[audio:http://thezimp.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Portal2-10-There_She_Is.mp3|titles=There She Is - Portal 2]
I became a self-help junkie a while back. Reading books upon books on just about everything, from spiritual to scientific, books about sex, body language, meditation, neuro linguistic programming. I’ve listened to hundreds of audio books, watched documentaries, movies, videos, posted on forums, subscribed to news letters, and so much more. Finally, I ran into one video where the speaker was talking about self-help as an industry and mentioned that, “if self-help REALLY worked, then you’d probably only own one self-help book.” That’s when it hit me: what am I looking for? Why am I scouring book upon book. What’s the answer? Where’s my goal? What’s the ONE THING that’ll change me, that’ll make me be me, with no worries? That’s when I had ANOTHER epiphany. I had turned my search and journey of self-discovery into an excuse to keep me away from myself. I made feeling good a destination rather than something I needed to tune into. I made it a goal, a point in time. In truth, there is no time or point in space, there’s no goal, there’s nothing to attain, there’s just simply being. When I had this thought, I looked out my window and saw a blade of grass swaying back and forth in the window. There was no one else there, no one else to watch this blade of grass flowing back and forth. It existed just for me, it exists only because I am there to experience it, in it’s majesty, being driven by the wind. Now, I might go into new-agey sounding stuff here but I understood it all. I understood what it meant to be alive. WHY we had to be alive. In truth, we’re all truly alone. There’s no one there to share OUR experience, to feel our feelings, our anxieties, worries, and fears. That everything is just meaningless. However, it’s meaningless that it’s meaningless. WE are the ones who give life meaning. Watching that simple blade of glass, I realized how everything just existed for me. A conversation I would have with my girlfriend, parents, or friends would be only for my ears. Their voice an orchestra, a song, for I am lucky enough to be the only one to experience it the way I do. This is what life is about. Life isn’t about trying to experience it the way you think someone else would, it’s about enjoying how you experience it. Loving every moment of it despite what that moment might be. Being calm, peaceful, and present in all moments of your journey. Feeling anxious is part of that, feeling fear is part of that, just as much as happiness is all a part of that. Remember, dear reader, these words you’re reading (if you made it this far) exist only for you because you are there to read them. They’ll travel through the optical nerves in your eyes, through all your childhood memories, through all the decisions you’ve made, through all the people you’ve met and how they’ve affected your life, through all the music you’ve heard, movies you’ve watched, books you’ve read, through that moment where someone forgot your birthday, and through that moment where you went out of your way to help someone. They’ll be filtered by these and then what’s left may be that little inkling of something. That little piece that puts you in touch with who you really are. That piece that sends shivers up your spine and connects you with the infinite. It may not even be in anything I’ve written, it may arise because you’ve looked off somewhere and noticed something you hadn’t before and that brought you to that moment, that place, of a deep-inner peace. In the end, this is worth all the anxieties and the fears, to find this place where you can just be. Find this place and cultivate it, it’s the way to true presence, peace, and acceptance that we’re human and being human is beautiful.
Yesterday, I took out a notepad, I wrote down what I wanted out of life and I put it in a pill bottle. I walked out into my yard and buried it by a young tree. I’m done. I’m done chasing the books for answers, I’m done believing that I’m not worth my dreams, I’m done trying to pretend to be who I really am, this time, I’ll just be it. And when I’m not, that’s okay too. And, it’s okay for you too.b
My plan on becoming the next Spieldberg: I want to make a short film every month. In doing so, I want to refine my skill. Sometimes, as young artists, we set out to do something and it doesn’t turn out like we had in mind and we give up. We NEED to give ourselves the chance to let our skills catch up with our tastes. Don’t give up, to ANY of you out there who might be working in the arts or toward something they’ve wanted. Don’t give up. YOUR gift to the world is to stay on your path.
I started a new job about a month ago. It’s really not much, just something I needed to get me out and into a routine. A lot of people ask me, “but, Ant, WHAT DO YOU DO?” Contrary to popular opinion, the success of Nonna Maria doesn’t have me basking in the sun on my 80 foot yacht while eating truffle bruschetta or drinking coffee that’s been pre-digested by a ferret like animal. Instead, I’ve probably plunged myself deeper in the maniacal workings of my brain… or so I thought. In fact, in doing the things I loved, I’ve actually been brought face to face with my fears, fears that have sometimes gotten the best of me. Lately, they might have but the thing is, I always bounce back. I’m always ready to attack in some form or another and every time I do, I make it further. Why? Cause I don’t give up. But that’s not the point of this blog post, the point is: I started a new job.
It’s a pretty mindless piece of work that has me away from a computer at least 9 hours a day and for more than 40 hours a week (you probably could’ve noticed from my absence from the internets). While it’s mindless, it’s allowed me to reassess the things that matter and, most importantly, it’s allowed me to reiterate my own true value. A value that I had set too low for myself. I think some of us are guilty of that one too, thinking we’re not worth much when really, everything conspires on our behalf. Have a sense I’m delaying telling you what my job is? Well, yeah, cause it’s not really important. If you need to know, I work at a Prop House right now that rents out props for films, photo shoots, events, etc. I’m lugging around furniture, delivering packages, counting countless plastic flamingos, and once I also built an over sized pearl necklace. Again, mindless, but it keeps me busy and I’m gaining some hands-on experience and become a lot more handy. What gets me through the day, mostly, is my iPhone (or my iPhone’s iPod (INCOMING APPLE JOKE: How do you know when someone uses Apple products? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.)). I put on my earphones and listen, not to music, but rather to informative videos mostly consisting of TEDtalks and School of Life. Through videos such as these, I’ve gained a lot of insight and have began to see how I function. See, I was (and still am) quite an anxious person. However, lately, I’ve begun to see the very things that lead me to be anxious in situations that don’t require anxiety. I’ve begun to see how my brain works, to see what triggers what, what anchors what feeling and where, and when, and why. What does this insight do? Well, at first it fucking sucks. You become a walking self-analytical zombie. Every action became a conscious effort which caused a lot of hardship. I felt unable to perform because every thought, word, action, routine, had to be thought out beforehand. Everyone knows that performance is born from no-thought. A great hockey player doesn’t have time to think of who to pass to, he goes with his instinct, his gut, his sense of the ice and where his teammates might be. That’s where I realized: holy fuck, I think too much! That was a major epiphany for me. The fact that my cure didn’t come from sitting down and thinking out ALL my problems, but rather NOT thinking, just, well, DOING. I’ve been on this journey for a few years now and just the fact I’m even mentioning on my blog that I’m an anxious person is leaps and bounds from the person I used to be. The truth is, I guess we’re all trying to look like the thing we really want to be but in order to get there you really got to get to the core of what’s stopping you. What do you find when you get there? Well, you find that it’s not education or lack-thereof that stops you, it’s not your parents who stop you, it’s not your friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or co-workers who stop you, it’s not your job, your government, or even that douchebag that might’ve cut you off this morning. It’s YOU. You are stopping yourself. You’ve made up some story for yourself that you’ve grasped and hold on to for dear life, why? cause you think it gives you meaning. It doesn’t. It gives you the opposite. It always makes you a victim of the circumstance. And one thing I know for sure is that if you play the victim, you’ll always BE the victim.
But first, back to the DOING part. While listening to my educational videos at work I came upon this notion of Obliquity which sounded very interesting. Obliquity is defined as “deviation from moral rectitude or sound thinking.” Basically, it means when you do stuff differently, stuff happens differently. I heard this and thought back to recent events such as Nonna Maria and thought of how Obliquity played a big part in Nonna Maria’s success. Obliquity states that “the success of complex goals will usually come from an indirect source.” Which means that even though you might have the most thought out plan in the world, achieving your goal will most likely happen in a way you wouldn’t have imagined. Before Nonna Maria, I had simply just wanted to start making videos constantly and at the same time explore the possibilities of YouTube. My plan was simple, just make videos. Basically, I had decided what my goal was and I acted immediately. I made video after video until I made the first Nonna Maria video with my friends and, well, it clicked. It became viral and the rest was history. Later, the notion of having things properly planned creeped up on me and I felt like I needed a process when, in fact, not having one was what made my success a reality in the first place. I just needed to know what I wanted and go for it, act on the tasks, and get stuff done. Reflecting on this, I see that in the process of doing what I wanted to do (make videos) I became and was a lot less anxious. In fact, doing anything productive lead to an ease in my anxiety. Even writing this blog post makes me feel at ease cause god knows I could be playing Portal 2 right now. I’ve also learned how to enjoy my leisure time, like video games, which I first saw as an escape from the mounds and mounds of overwhelming work I had to get done and now see as my release, relaxation, and reward when I’ve done something productive (there’s a masturbation joke in there somewhere).
I think it’s important that I record the course of my thinking, actions, and discoveries about myself. In my journey of self-analysis and self-discovery, I’ve learned that a lot of people hold the same anxiety, fears, and weaknesses as other people and it’s by other people SHARING their experiences that I’ve been able to improve mine. That’s why I offer my own findings so as to reach out to those in my circle and community that might think they’re not worth as much as they’re really worth. In the end, I’m comforted by the fact that this motivates me to write and take charge of my online presence over solving puzzles in a video game (even if that game is as awesome as Portal 2). So, let’s get shit done together! Well, that’s the end of this blog post, time to play some Portal 2.
TL;DR: Cure for anxiety = Getting shit done!
I know, it’s been a while. I hate HATE posts apologizing about not being able to update, then promising I will update the site, and then I falter off again into some unknown piece of the universe. The reality is I needed to step back from it all, the internets, the blogs, the videos, the Nonna Maria so I can refocus my vision. It’s a tough thing to do but it must be done and with that new-found reflection I’ve come back to my work, slowly, and with more honesty. For those wondering about Nonna Maria, she will be back and bigger and better than ever. In fact, you can meet her tomorrow if you want.
Tomorrow I get to celebrate a cause that’s very dear to my heart (no pun intended). My nephew, Justin, was born with a heart condition that almost took his life and because of complicated heart surgeries done even before he was 6 months old he got to celebrate his 2nd birthday last Wednesday. Sometimes, however, there’s always the other side of the coin, as is the case with little Alesia. Alesia was a 2 year old girl, full of life, light, and beautiful energy who passed away on May 1st, 2010 from a very rare heart condition. Her parents (Sheyda Senoglu and Vasilios Karidogiannis), who are warm, kind, loving, and personal friends of mine have decided to honor Alesia’s memory with an annual event designed to raise money for the Montreal Children’s Hospital via Alesia’s tribute fund. Sheyda and Vasilios have turned a parent’s unspeakable horror into an act of selfless gratitude and celebration and I am honored to have been invited as a guest (with Nonna Maria, of course ) to perform. I personally invite you to attend, bring friends, family, children. Let’s honor the memory of little Alesia as best we can so that the little Justins of this world can have a better chance. The event happens all day with plenty of guests and activities for children and adults alike! From the bottom of my heart, I’d love to see you all there.
Information on event -> https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=151782014858666&ref=ts
Hey. What’s up? Oh not much, just self-examining, changing my world one bit at a time, controlling the universe, whatevs. Well, that sounded a little pompus and high-minded but in all seriousness I find more and more evidence in my everyday waking life that proves that we can do, be, want, and get whatever we imagine. Good or bad, our thoughts are ALWAYS working to manifest themselves into our living material reality.
The more I solidify this fact of the universe in my own mind the more I find myself looking within, looking for something to change or do that’ll reflect in a positive way in my material universe. One of those things was to practice non-violence towards living things. That also includes insects and animals. My girlfriend is not much of a fan of my newfound rule.
I believe in interconnectivity, in the global consciousness, that we, as beings, are all connected on a deep level with all the things in our universe. I believe that the most real things about us all is really the things we can’t explain, the soul, the spiritual essence within us all. In science it’s called Quantum theory in Religion it’s called heaven. Now, I’m not going into a long winded blog post about my beliefs as I’ll save that for another blog post. The point of this blog post is: DON’T SAY OR DO STUPID SHIT THAT COULD LEAD TO DEATH OR VIOLENCE AGAINST OTHER HUMAN BEINGS.
Okay, where am I coming from with this? Well, the recent shootings in Arizona where a gunman shot and killed six people (one of them a 9 year old girl) and injured 14 others, one of them being a congress member named Gabrielle Giffords. Gabrielle Giffords was also one of the congress members to appear on a map that Sarah Palin had on her website which marked, with crosshairs, all the congress members that supported health care. The map was also taken down immediately after news of the shooting. Now, here’s a lesson on ideas. Ideas will become things. When you think of something, it enters consciousness and it’s out in the open, ready to be perceived by others. Whether you make your idea happen or not, the longer you spend dwelling on it, the longer you WANT it to happen, then it will happen somewhere, sometime, somehow.
It enters the universal consciousness and it manifests itself in some form or another. Ever have an idea for an invention and then see, a few days, months, or years down the line that it’s been invented? Well, the same holds true for negative ideas, thoughts, and emotions. When you convey images such as crosshairs etched over names or people, you’re also suggesting an idea. When you tell your supports not to retract but to RELOAD, well, you’re suggesting an idea. If you’re someone like Sarah Palin, who has millions of (delusional) followers, it’s easy to incite things. Ideas can spread quickly and suddenly and depending on the idea it can be a cancer for us all or it can help us. Spreading ideas of VIOLENCE will spread VIOLENCE. Sarah may not of pulled the trigger that day but she incited an idea into the consciousness of her followers. This isn’t about gaining any political ground here (I’m Canadian for hell’s sake) but about not inciting the very things that do us harm. When people like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, and Bill O’Reilly, who have thousands and thousands of people who watch them daily make a mention of violence, although they’re only words, they’re as dangerous as loading a gun, cocking it, and pulling the trigger. Why? because the more minds they infiltrate, the more their “idea” gains legs. Do you think they same thing would have happened if instead of spreading messages of hatred towards other party members as their main tactic, they’d spend more time in intelligent discussions and reasonings? The answer is certainly no.
How do we fix this? Well, it’s not by pointing fingers and blaming others. It’s by giving less power to the things that make us delusional. Turn off your news, stop talking about Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Bill O’Reilly. They’re smarter than we think and their sensationalist views on the world is what keeps them in the headlines. When Sarah Palin says something dumb (which is pretty much every time she opens her mouth) the internet erupts with people on either side saying “how dumb she is” and those who are supporters solidify their stance with supporting her. The best way to get rid of Sarah Palin is to choke out the media attention she gets from any source. If we do our best not to react with her, she’ll fade away. Sarah FEEDS on both the good and bad press about her because it keeps her in the press. The best way to cure ourselves of the Sarah Palins is to stop putting their every action, good or bad, in the news. Doesn’t matter if they’re republican, democrat, vulcan, or elf, if they’re rhetoric is cancerous, if they spread hatred, if they incite violence, they should not be anywhere in the media where their message can be delivered to someone ready to put these words into action.
It’s 2011, it’s a new year, make the resolution to turn off the things that poison us. Turn off the news, stop reading the paper, float towards the things that add value to your life and the life of others. We can make the world a better place not by being on the winning team but by understanding we’re all on different teams, we all have our own intentions and beliefs, but at the base of these all we’re altruistic, loving, and compassionate for each other.
Finally, I’ll end by asking you to check out what Jon Stewart has to say on this whole Arizona tragedy here (Canadian Link).
Fall after all. Stumble after stumble. Eventually, you get there. Eventually, you find that moment of peace where you’re lying there in the snow, staring at the sky, snow flakes gently landing on your reddish cheeks. That moment lasts but a brief instance. It’s gone just as you think, “Who the fuck thought it would be a good idea to strap both feet to a metal plank and decide to go down a steep snowy mountain in an attempt to reach the highest speeds possible?”
If you haven’t guessed it, I tried snowboard for the 1st time in my life. Well, in reality, it was my 2nd time snowboarding but the 1st time was about 7 – 8 years ago so I don’t know if that counts. From what I remembered during my first time snowboarding it took me 2 hours to complete one run and by the end of it I looked like Brendan Fraser’s character in Encino Man when they first discover him. Needless to say, it didn’t go very well… or maybe it did?
Snowboarding, you see, is a small and concise metaphor for life. I know I suck at snowboarding but sucking at something is part of learning something, right? Here’s some lessons I took out from my 1st (or 2nd) time snowboarding:
1. You’ll suck. And guess what? That’s okay! I mean, everyone else sucked at one point. The most challenging part about snowboarding is getting past the “suck” stage and getting into the “hey, I’m doing pretty good” stage. When I first snapped the snowboard to my feet, I was pretty fucking scared. Immediately I was paranoid that every tree on that mountain would be out to block my path downwards. I swear, my mind went to the worst of places. Luckily, I had a friend who was also a beginner so I had someone to suck with. We were off to a great start as we both failed at getting off the chair lifts and ended up in a jumbled mess at the bottom of the tiny slope where the chairlift drops you off. We then proceeded to take 45 minutes, yes 45 MINUTES, to get from the chairlift to to top of the beginner’s run. Well, what about the run itself? It consisted mostly of falling and then getting up, only to fall again. It was interspersed with moments where I found myself getting the hang of it only to think, “hey, I’m doing a little TOO good here and I’m gaining a little bit of speed. Best to throw myself on the floor to avoid injury or something.” Yes, I was self-sabotaging my most successful attempts at snowboarding. Which was okay, because the more I got up, the more I pushed myself passed that moment of self-sabotage, the more confident I became in standing up while on a snowboard.
The Lesson: When you start doing something you WANT to do, chances are you won’t be that great at it. But, who cares about that anyway? I mean, you’re actually DOING something you want to do! With every fall and failure you learn to better yourself. Failure is not only a part of learning, it IS learning. Mandatory Confucius say: Confucius say: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
2. Always remember the results you want. As I already said, one thing that’s certain when you try snowboarding for the first time: you’ll fall. Many many times. I was on the floor so much that I could probably count the times I was actually standing. The best part this is that you have no choice but to get up. Seriously. You’re stuck somewhere on a mountain with nothing around you but snow and forest. Yes, you CAN take off your snowboard and walk down the mountain but where’s the fun in that? When I was sitting on my ass after having stumbled, I’d wait for the waves of people to clear up so I could go again ( I didn’t want to smash into anyone). I kept watching the other snowboarders and seeing how they were able to just glide so effortlessly down the mountain. My friend Mike, who was a HUGE help in the betterment of my snowboarding ability, was able to go down the hill so easily. I ALSO wanted my effort in trying to snowboard to result in being able to scale the mountain in what looked like an effortless fashion. These were the results I wanted and it’s in wanting THESE results that got me to get off my ass each time.
The Lesson: Know what you want and GO FOR IT! That’s the key to success. Don’t worry about the “how” just yet. Work on focusing on the results you want to obtain and the rest will figure itself out. Seriously, the universe is that awesome.
3. Learn about the experience of others. On my last run, I proudly spent more time standing up on my board than being stuck somewhere in a snowy ditch hoping a wolf won’t eat me. At the final stretch at the bottom of the run I started picking up quite a bit of speed, in fact; I was going faster than I had gone all day. That’s when my brain kicked in,
“Yo, dude, you’re going a little fast.”
“Shut up brain. I can’t THINK now! Thinking’s going to screw all this up,” I replied.
“No, seriously, you’re going fast dude. You’re going to fall and hurt yourself,” replied my brain.
“This is SERIOUSLY not a time for negative thinking,” I told my brain.
Suddenly I felt a jolt in my legs, I tried to steady it which sent me quickly in the opposite direction, and in reaction to THAT move my board spun and clipped the edge of the hill. My whole body whipped to the ground in one smooth motion with my head being last in tow. The back of my head contacted with the ground at such a high speed that I saw stars for a moment. My life flashed back to 3 hours earlier when I was renting my snowboard equipment and my friend Eric asked the cashier, “It’s my first time snowboarding, should I get a helmet?” To which she replied, “Nah, it’s not necessary.”
I stared at the sky, I had lost my hat somewhere in my stumble so my bare head lay on the icy ground. A headache pulsed through my entire head.
“Who the fuck thought it would be a good idea to strap both feet to a metal plank and decide to go down a steep snowy mountain in an attempt to reach the highest speed capable?” I thought.
The Lesson: Always get a helmet! Seriously! But more metaphorically: learn from others who have tried. There’s a reason helmets exist just like there’s a reason weird warning labels exist. Chances are there’s someone who’s probably already done some aspect of something you want to try doing and these people are amazing assets and a wealth of knowledge and experience to your learning. Learn about these people and what they faced. It can be anybody from your grandmother to Albert Einstein.
Well, here’s my first post of 2011 and what better way to introduce 2011 than with a video montage of the best fails of 2010. 2010 was an interesting year that felt like it had good intentions but would in the end be misunderstood. Well, I’d say the best way to say goodbye to something is really to learn to laugh about it (or at least cringe in terror at how painful some of these clips are).
Here’s another video for the SFX nerds like me out there. I caught Boardwalk Empire for the first time just yesterday and I, while I thought the show was a little slow, I found the shots of the city and boardwalk to be beautiful. Lo and behold I caught this video by accident detailing how they make the Boardwalk Empire come to life.
You know, I never really minded living in Quebec…. I mean, sure there’s outlandish language laws that make no sense and, in fact, are more a detriment to the French language. Also, the gas taxes are higher here and as a result of that, our gas prices are higher than any other province. Then there’s the constant road construction in summer AND in winter (construction + snow = Merry Christmas). Also, the QST or GST or some eSTi is rising to 8.5% or something in January. Whatever, I’m okay with all that…. but now I find out that WIPEOUT CANADA is not available to Quebec residents…. that.is.it QUEBEC!!!… you’ve gone TOO FAR!!!