Are you the Coyote or the Forest?

The coyote is always hungry.  When he isn’t hungry, chasing prey or feasting on a fresh kill he fights for his place in the pack or a mate. Most of us live our lives just like the coyote. The coyote in us is our ego. Our ego only cares about us, about how we feel about ourselves or perceive others to feel about us. It’s number one job is to make sure our most basic needs are met but when that job is done it’s still working just as hard. If we don’t learn how to tell the ego to stop we are always tired, always hungry.

This is the root cause of almost all our problems as humans, it’s why we cheat, why we overeat, why we murder, why we spend money we don’t have, why we gossip about others at the same time feeling jealous of them. It’s why we always feel we have to increase our wealth, gain popularity or status, acquire new things. It’s why we are always chasing after excitement just to feel a very short lived moment of bliss after attaining what we so desperately wanted.  In those rare times that we find ourselves with the bliss having faded and no new desire to take it’s place that’s when we truly feel despair. Without thought we frantically look for a new desire to replace the last.

But you can break the pattern and transcend it all by stepping out of the coyote and instead becoming the forest.

The forest just is. It is timeless. It is now. The forest nurtures. The forest does not judge the coyote for preying on the rabbit but it nurtures both. It has no knowledge of past or future or memory of what it was or ambition for what it could be. It is perfect as it is. It doesn’t question this, there is no question.  

Our ego is the coyote in the forest and the forest is our soul. The problem with this analogy is that no animal no matter how predatory or vicious could ever rival the human ego and no animal possesses an ego. This is what separates us from animals. This is why animals are so beautiful both in form and in spirit.  

“He didn’t acknowledge me, she doesn’t respect me.”  “I’m not attractive enough.” “One more scoop of ice cream and I’ll be satisfied.” “I’ll feel better after I buy this.” “I’m unhappy because I haven’t met the right person yet.”

The ego puts our thoughts into words. The ego is the voice in our head. The voice that won’t ever, ever shut up.

The soul doesn’t use words. The words that describe the thoughts of the soul are hard to define, hard to describe. The forest is love, compassion, creativity, wisdom.

If you are starving or in terrible danger you will almost always be all ego. Most of us have to be the coyote to navigate through life and work. Some people are the exception to this, and exceptional they truly are.

The problem is that most of us are no where near being in danger of starvation or homelessness, yet the ego is the ever reigning king and dictator of our lives and not only does he make decrees but he also filibusters constantly. 
Happiness is a step away. Just step into the forest.
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Buy Art Not Brands

Do you ever think about what your dream home would look like if money
were no object? Would it look like luxury home photos in magazines?
Would you be surrounded by expensive furniture and whatever art and
decor that was trendy and expensive at the time? Would you want things
like a pool and a tennis court even if you don’t really like to swim or
play tennis? Or would it be a completely unique place all of your own?

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about what makes us want something,
and why sometimes we find ourselves wanting things that don’t really fit
us as individuals. Sometimes we want things because its more about them
helping us fit in rather than those things fitting who we are.

Lately I’ve seen multiple articles like this about Etsy’s most successful seller. http://www.inquisitr.com/1863026/thr…libaba-claims/ I’ve started to completely rethink my approach to selling art.

Common advice to artists is to become a brand. Basically this means to
somehow magically make distinctive art and become famous at the same
time. This is great advice because our society is brand obsessed. Even
as artists, we are brand obsessed. Etsy’s most successful seller created
a brand that is so big that now she must have her designs mass
produced. She’s definitely a brand but is she an artist?

Is it really Etsy’s problem that they have to find a way to survive and
thrive as a huge popular website that serves a culture that is brand
obsessed? Just like food brands would have never taken corn syrup out of
their products before documentaries like Food, Inc, got so popular,
Etsy won’t change before the culture does.

I believe that big brands are as to artists as huge farms are to small
local farms. The reason that so many people desperately want to sell
their art and work for themselves is to avoid having to work a soulless
unfulfilling career, but ironically many of those soulless careers are
working for a big brand. I think marketing is often approached by other
artists as a way to get their art seen by more people and bought by more
customers over other artists. I can give you advice on how you
personally can get an edge over other artists by finding the right
keywords and optimizing your listings for search engines, etc, but that
can only help one person be able to quit their regular 9-5 to sell their
art.

Other artists aren’t your competition, brands are. If we can work to
sell art itself to people instead of just marketing our own art and
trying to find a way to tell everyone how great your work is without
sounding egocentric or stepping on others toes or spamming all your fans
you’ll create real change in the world. The hands that make products
for a brand don’t belong to the minds that dreamed them up and in that
disconnect the “soul” is lost. Art has soul. Art that is created in the
mind and made by the hands of the artists that belong to that mind, that
are ONE with that mind, that art has soul.

The problem is that as a culture we don’t put a monetary value on that.
We dismiss that “soul” as oh you made something cute, oh she is crafty.
Oh he does art for a hobby. Then we turn around and put a huge monetary
value on something mass produced or even made in a sweatshop because it
has a brand name. Someone put a lot of money into advertising and
product research to make you aware of that thing. They spent a lot of
money to make you believe that if you own and display that thing that it
will enhance your ego or impress people you don’t really care about.

A masterfully crafted craft or piece of original art is not something
that you throw away when the trend has passed. Rather there is no trend
to come or go but the thing has true value that is more likely to
increase then quickly diminished with time. The less well known the
artist and the more original the art, the less brand like it is.

Trends in fashion are the most ridiculous waste of resources because
essentially a trend is started by a few brave people who discover they
want to be different from everyone else and everyone else wants to be
different too so they all end up looking the same. Then it’s on to the
new trends. Trends are destroying the earth. Instead buy an original
piece of art that speaks to you, that you love and be original.

Before you purchase something ask yourself? Why do I like this? Do I
like it just because I like the brand name? Do I like it because it’s
popular? Do I value it because I think it has value or because my friend
thinks it has value? How much is this actually worth considering the
materials and time spent on workmanship? Whose hands made this and who
designed it? Are they the same person? If not how greatly removed are
they?

  

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Etsy Shop

I’ve recently begun regularly stocking my etsy shop. I’m adding a few charm beads here and there but mostly you’ll still find my beads that fit Pandora and trollbeads over at ebay. I have a new line of jewelry over on Etsy featuring my TINIEST lampwork beads on a fine sterling silver chain. I’m adding new designs at all times but currently have listed owls, hedgehogs, foxes, orchids, ladyslippers, ladybugs, paw prints, footprints and more.

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New Murrini, Angler Fish

New murrini, an angler fish. As freaky and
awesome as these fish are why don’t they have a cooler name? Murrini is
made by making a large design and pulling it out into cane that when
cooled is then sliced into chips that you set and encase in
the glass beads. Making this reminded me of 4th grade when we had to do
reports on various creatures that live in the “midnight zone” of the
ocean. Some other lucky kid got to do a report on an angle fish and I
got assigned this… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bathypterois_grallator I’m still pretty annoyed about that.

Beads to come soon!

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Halloween Already?

August is my favorite month. Here in Maine most of the evil biting insects are gone by August but it’s still fully summer. There are wild blueberries and gorgeous sunsets and fresh food aplenty in the garden. There are chanterelles (a wild mushroom that tastes better than lobster or bacon) to be found in the woods and wildflowers abound.  It’s also the month that I first start to make Halloween beads. I’ve just started feeling confident making my own murrini, so the possibilities of new designs are better than ever. To find these beads or some like them, here’s the link to my store.  http://stores.ebay.com/European-Charm-Beads-by-Mandy?_rdc=1

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Seascape Beads

http://www.ebay.com/itm/310817046378?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

Haven’t made many of these in a while.  Here are a couple that came out of the kiln today. http://www.ebay.com/itm/310817046378?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649
 http://www.ebay.com/itm/310817044362?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649

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