Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Moment of Reflection & A Clearing of Thought

        Friday was a day of reflection and a clearing of thought.  I really didn't know what was going to happen but I took a spontaneous trip to Grand Rapids for Art Downtown and the Disart event. The past two weeks have been rather rough and I needed a day to myself. I got myself ready and made my way towards Grand Rapids. As I was driving, I decided to listen to the Have-Company Podcasts since I haven't had time to listen to them lately. I plugged my headphones into my phone and let the podcasts play. I started with the recent episode and I went into this eternal calm. The exercise that Sam Albert had introduced to Marlee from the book The Signs of Life: the five universal shapes and how to use them by Angeles Arrien really brought this calm ephemeral feeling that made me drift. Almost making my mind let go of the past two weeks and it let myself open to the night that was to come. Sam also talked about her book Takk.  Takk is about her and Corey Kingston's travels to the Nordic countries and to experience the Nordic coffee culture . As you all know me and my obsession with coffee, it caught my attention in an instant.  The way Sam explained how the Nordic cultures drank their coffee  made me think how we take coffee shops for granted. People usually go to their local cafe just to work on their work and or to fly in and out on their ways to work. In Nordic cultures they go to coffee shops to talk to their friends. No work, no flighty in and outs, just gathering together. Which really hit me hard. I wanted my trips to coffee shops to be like this ; a simple yet homey experience. So as I arrived to Grand Rapids, I called my friend Hannah and said "lets go for coffee". She was all for it so we headed towards the Lyon Street Cafe.  We ordered our drinks and we sat in our usual booth. I turned my phone off and we talked like old times. Which is what I aspire to do when I'm back in Grand Rapids. We finished our cups of java and we went back to her apartment. We grabbed our bags and headed towards downtown on foot. As we walked to all of the venues I continued to see all of my old friends. Which brought me instant joy. Bringing  back the nostalgic days of my first year of college in Grand Rapids.  It was almost like I was having an out of body experience so to speak. Reconnecting with my old friends and seeing how they were and what was happening in their lives.
            Hannah and I made our way through all of the venues and we ended back at Kendall College of Art and Design. The "Big Block Party" was happening in the basement along with my friend Josh's group "Pulp Fiction" was putting on a paper making demo. I haven't seen my printmaking family in months. Watching my Kendall family work with their media almost brought tears to my eyes. Seeing everyone so happy... it's truly all I could ask for. When Josh was finished with his demo he tagged along with Hannah and I.  We helped him clean up and we were ready to take on the night. We then headed to the Lantern for another cup of coffee. We ordered and sat down in the basement.  As we took our seats, a poetry slam / live art performance  was erupting. We listened to the slam and it blew us away. The performer was so powerful and it gave us chills. As it ended, it left my breathless. His poetry about prejudice, labels, and gay rights really put many things in perspective for me. What are labels?  Why do they exist? Are they a way for people to degrade someone? A way for someone to conform to society? Why not be someone of your own being? It made the labels that I oh so hated disperse from my mind. The titles that people gave me, and the ones that I have given myself had "up-and- left" my mind for once and for all. The performance ended and we left to walk the city. Before we left, I grabbed a bottle of Bloom Ferment's Kombucha to quench my thirst while we walked the city.
           One of my favorite memories of Grand Rapids is walking the city. I was with my best friends, and I felt infinite. I felt like I was free from pain and sadness. From the blue bridge to the end of division, I was literally on cloud nine.  From taking pictures in the fountain,  talking with Marlee about the shop,  talking with the artists at the venues, to climbing and dancing up the Lyon Street hill...I was truly home again.
I truly needed this day. I need to reconnect with myself and what I was fighting for. With moving back home for all of these years had really "destroyed" the true Tyler and now that I'm working towards going back to my lovely home, I'm starting to see the real me again.

A piece of advice everyone: Reflect on yourselves and never let go of the things that you hold dear. I let go and I lost everything. Please do yourselves a favor and go out and treat yourselves to that trip that you deserve, or that shirt from Urban Outfitters that you've been eyeing. Love yourselves.

I hope everyone has a wonderful week. I'll be back tomorrow with that big blog post that I promised
Much love and always find the light and every situation!

Also thank you to Craft and Folk for sending me my Loyal Stricklin Mug. I've been drinking out of it ever since. 

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