Activities · Business

What I learned about start up gigs is plain short and simple:

Ignoring red flags and pushing forward in the same direction don’t make you faithful and brave. It only shows that you choose to listen to your ego more than your intuition, your wiser self.

It’s imperative that when you decide to start something, you must also bring with you the wisdom and capability of knowing when and how to stop. Otherwise you’re heading for a trainwreck and you’re bringing everyone along with you.

 

Activities · Business · Self

5 Practical Things I’ve Learned from Launching my Dream Business

1. Sometimes you really have to get cut so bad to learn.

I had quite a few mistakes while starting my business. Each step I take is equally important because it means either profit gain or profit loss for me. If I don’t make actual mistakes, I will never learn the value of each part of the process involved in establishing and developing a successful business.

2. Do not get carried away with what people say.

You will get A LOT of not so good comments and inquiries from people around you. Don’t let their doubts about themselves affect you. Don’t let a particular ugly remark offend you. Choose to behave nicely and professionally.

3. Learn how to use your resources wisely.

Resources include your energy, skills, ideas, money, time and emotions, among others. As an artist and entrepreneur, you must learn how to evaluate the opportunity in every situation. You must identify when it’s okay to invest more in something and when it’s not. This can be tricky because results won’t always materialize immediately. You will have to bank on your experiences and intuition on this one. It’s another way of saying, “Choose your battles, wisely.”

4. Never sell for money’s sake. 

You will not convince others to join you in and believe in what you do if it’s so obvious that all you care about is the success of your personal goals. You gotta have something to offer other people.

5. Have respect and dignity for your work.

If you believe in your work, eventually others will, too. Do not beg for other people’s approval. You don’t have to crawl to adjust to their demands. You don’t have to change who you are to please those who are meant to see and love your true colors. No matter what happens, take the commitment to uphold the value of what you do.

People can and will criticize you, don’t mind them. Can they do what you do? Probably not. Brush the negative remarks off.

Activities · Art · Business · Self

Love is a Collaboration

So I have finally launched my dream business. I just created a temporary website today and my FB page has been up for officially TEN DAYS now. The most important part of the dream has been done and I am continuously correcting my course each and everyday.

This entire experience has been very amazing. From the time I quit my job to pursue this dream, to the time I bought materials, started to paint every single day for three weeks, dealt with my doubts and fears, staged a guerilla photo shoot for my teasers, photographed my products one by one, created teasers (I am no digital ninja, by the way, I am so old school), launched the FB page, learned how to use Instagram and created an account, answered inquiries, accepted and shipped orders, lost some money due to my ignorance of the processes I should set in place…

I loved and savored every moment of it.

This work is mine. It is finally mine. I am not enslaved by anyone. I suffer the consequences of my own mistakes and reap the sweetest benefits of my own labor and success.

I have learned to let go of my attachment to what I think “should be” and instead be grateful for all that is. I am very grateful for each and every one who appreciates what I do, who gets inspired by my passion to pursue my dream, who shares my work with others, and of course, most especially those who are willing to shell out their hard-earned money to have my bags.

I learned that I don’t have to ask for favors because those who really believe in my work and can’t wait to share them with others will do it on their own and those who don’t really want to cannot be “convinced”, anyway. Focusing on those who do not believe in what you do is just a waste of time. We cannot please everyone…that’s why it’s important to know who our target market is 😀

A balance must always be identified between pleasing your clients and standing up for your standards and principles. If the  requests and suggestions are reasonable, or better, brilliant, then take them and be thankful. Otherwise, just be firm enough to say no.

Furthermore, a balance must also be set between working hard and letting go.

We must always provide enough space for Divine Intervention, be it in the form of accidents, mistakes or opportunities. All of these are miracles.

We are never alone. We should ask for Divine help and let ourselves receive the help that we need. This is how we create harmony with All That Is.

Now I understand why the universe told me to dream bigger and set long-term goals instead of just focusing on immediate results. Initially, I only dreamed of earning enough money to support myself by doing what I love. But this amazing journey has given me many, bigger and more meaningful gifts along the way, so much more than what I hoped for. I have learned to keep my hopes high and my dreams really big. 🙂

Activities · Art · Business · People · Self

Answering the Soul’s longing

Way back in college, I remember I had come to a crossroads; I thought about pursuing art seriously and eventually make a career out of it. But the other part of me prevailed, the part of me that didn’t want to pursue the very thing I loved for fear of failure. I was afraid that it might not love me back. So I didn’t take a chance. I didn’t pursue it.

Fast forward to a decade later, I am here embracing the very thing I loved and evaded from most of my adult life. I have finally launched my dream project: a combination of visual art, entrepreneurship and spirituality.

I MADE IT. I JUST FULFILLED A DREAM.

I have battled many of my doubts, fears and insecurities along the way. They’re not entirely resolved but I have learned to live with them.

I have learned that what makes any person successful in what they chose to do is PERSEVERANCE.

Most of the time, the reasons not to pursue something will outweigh the reasons to pursue it. But fulfilling dreams, like any heart’s desire, is not a rational process. It always requires a certain level of craziness and leaps of faith.

Nothing is certain in life and that includes achieving goals. What makes anything possible is our desire, belief and perseverance.

There are many times when I get preoccupied with short-sighted matters like financial needs and immediate recognition. But again and again, the universe reminds me that I should look longer than that, that I should dream bigger than my present dreams. She reminds me that I must focus on my enjoying, developing and putting my work out there instead of obsessing on my success or if I am getting “there”.

Financial returns may be slow in the beginning because the immediate fruits come in other ways. I may not be selling my work hot like pancakes as of the moment but I am grateful for the positive feedback from the people I have inspired. I am connecting with people who have similar deep soul longings to fulfill their life’s work. That can’t be measured by any amount of money.

The Universe tells me I should let go of my burdens and focus on developing my craft and celebrating my accomplishments. She is so right. Instead of brooding over what I am not yet fulfilling, my focus should be on what I have done, who I have become in the process and how my work has affected the world around me.

I could die anytime and have totally no regrets!

I keep on praying that I may have the wisdom, the courage and the strength to sustain and improve what I have started. Honestly, I don’t have any “grand” reasons for doing this. I just like it so much and I want to turn all my ideas into reality.

I don’t intend to help other people in any way, I don’t intend to leave any kind of legacy (though, I am not saying that there’s anything wrong with that), but I believe that in many ways we can uplift other people and make the world a better place (no matter how cliche it sounds) by following what sets our hearts on fire.

To those interested, please feel free to visit my page:

www.facebook.com/superdaenamite

If you’re happy with  my work, please like it and share it with your family and friends!

Thank you so much!

Activities · Art · Business · Self

Why Painting?

I’ve read quite a lot of advice from different kinds of artists when it comes to pursuing your craft. Most of them would say do it because you ache for it, you want to do it so bad that you will suffer if you don’t do it. Being a passionate person myself, I believe in the importance of having passion in whatever we choose to do if we want to make a difference and create something worthwhile. But when it comes to pursuing what I feel is my soul’s purpose in this lifetime, I feel a different vibe with mine.

I didn’t dream of becoming a painter because I’ve always had been. When I was a kid, my greatest dreams were just these three: 1.) To not work a day of my life, 2) To paint and write and 3) To travel. Freedom has always been at the top of my values. It’s the most important thing for me in this lifetime.

I quit my job a few days ago and in a heartbeat decided I would paint again. I decided to spend the last penny I had saved to buy all the materials I needed to produce enough number of hand painted bags that I could sell in a month’s time. I am just a day away to finishing 20 bags. I have the other batch of 20 bags to finish but I don’t feel I have done anything at all or that I would still be doing that much.

That’s what painting does to me. It’s what painting is for me. Painting is not working. Painting is so easy and natural for me that I don’t have to worry about anything at all…and it’s never an exaggeration when I say that. You see when I paint, I get liberated from my mind. I don’t have to think when I paint. Everything flows naturally. I formulate designs spontaneously. I am not afraid to make mistakes and every time I do, I am always able to find ways on how to go about it.

I welcome all kinds of accidents when I paint because I know that it’s part of the process of creating really amazing works.

I don’t have to impress anyone, even myself, when I paint. I know my techniques and technical skills are not brilliant enough compared to so many artists out there.

But I always take pride in the originality of my images. They’re authentic. They come from the The Source through me.

I am enough when I paint. I am part of the vastness of everything when I paint. There is no “I” when I paint.

It’s not passion that drives me to paint. It’s freedom.

I am a soul, and I choose painting because I choose to be free.

Activities · Art · Business · People · Relationships · Self

A whisper told me

If it’s still in your mind, it is worth taking the risk. – Paulo Coelho

1. That bag business which I have experimented with a couple of years ago

2. That postgraduate degree on women and development

3. DELIBERATELY meeting that guy for the second time (the first one was by chance)

(I have had other goals which I’ve let go of – lost the passion for – eventually and yet these three just got stuck there somewhere in the corners of my mind.)

Activities · Art · Business · People · Self · Travel · Women

To KatKat, my seven year old self

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Remember when you were small? All you’ve ever dreamed of was to travel and read (you thought it was that humble and simple). Once you said you wanted to be a doctor because that’s a noble thing to do, but then you realized it was your mother’s dream, not yours. Then you said you wanted to be a painter, but later on decided that you won’t want to take your first love seriously because you’re afraid it might not love you back. Then you said you wanted to become a nun, not because you’re religious, but only because nuns didn’t get married. Then you decided to be an entrepreneur. You’d run your own empire in your own stylish way. You could even visualize how you would look like as a successful, single, sophisticated and confident entrepreneur.

Two decades after, here I am. I haven’t become a doctor but I’ve been serving the people for quite some time now. I’ve learned how to do it first when I was in college, when I became an activist. Being with the urban poor masses taught me what it means to really “Serve. The. People.”. I’ve learned who these “People” are, I’ve learned how they live and struggle and what they need. There are many ways to serve the people, and it’s not just by becoming a doctor. This time, too, I didn’t do it because my mother wanted to (in fact, she hated every single moment of it) but because I did. I chose that definite path of service.

Aha and I became a painter, too, just like what you wanted! It didn’t happen the way you imagined it would; going to art school and eventually holding solo exhibits in air-conditioned galleries. I was at the one of the lowest moments of my life. I was alone and healing from depression. That’s when I started to paint.

I started free painting in Microsoft Paint. Then when I’ve realized I’ve already collected a lot of works, I decided to paint on canvas cloth using the usual bookstore fabric paint. But instead of having my works framed and displayed, I turned them into bags (since I loved bags and I wanted to create things that would not just be displayed but would be useful to people). I made hand-painted canvas bags!

And yes, I was able to sell these hand-painted bags. There were people who were actually willing to pay for them. So the entrepreneur dream was born! The business was put in the back of my mind for a while. But now I’m planning to launch it again soon. This time with more ideas and better sense of organization.

Aside from that I also became a production manager, researcher, stylist, fashion and travel photographer, now I’m in a non-profit organization pushing for drug policy change as a marketing officer. I’ve written poems that were published online and that were transformed into parts of a stage play by a very talented theater group.

KatKat, I’ve met amazing people! I’ve been to amazing places! I’ve fallen in love, gut stuck in the mud (yes, the two were related), fucked up so many times, learned and transformed myself so many times as well, got hurt, have hurt others, have forgiven others and myself, learned how life worked over and over and over again.

I still don’t want to get married and I don’t want to have my own kids. But I don’t need to be a nun now for me to able to do that. I just need to decide and follow that path even if that path might also lead me to where I didn’t expect I would be (like what I always say, I could get married at age 50 with a free-spirited man like me, or I could be in a relationship with a woman, that’s also possible).

I’ve finally learned how to take care of myself now, how to make myself feel good and look good. I’m comfortable now in my own skin and this includes being comfortable to all the changes that is taking place and that will soon take place. I’ve learned who to love and how to love. It took a lot of heartaches and tons of strength to be humble before I reached this part. I’m still learning.

I was not able to fulfill your dreams in ways you would’ve wanted, only because God knows how we could best learn our lessons. I’ve also learned how to stop comparing myself to others. Each of us has her/his own path. It took me years of insecurity and struggle but it’s worth it. I am relishing every minute of it now.

I still haven’t achieved your dream of a life of travel (and reading and not working for money’s sake) but I constantly travel for more or less three years now. I save up to travel. I look forward to my travels. I learn from my travels. The best thing is, I travel to places that assist me in my personal and spiritual growth and development and not just to places that are famous to tourists. And I read, too! Reading and traveling have both been part of my growth.
I’ve healed some really old and deep wounds as well. I’ve won over many of my most stubborn weaknesses and fears.
More than all the things I’ve accomplished, what I am most proud of are my battle scars. I’ve fought for who I was and who I’ve become.
I’m confident that I would be able to fight for who I want to become eventually (we are always in the process of becoming, after all). I may have disappointed you and the people who care about me in many ways, but here I am, I believe I’ve become who God thought I was supposed to be.
Ssshhhh, don’t say it. You don’t have to say anything. I’m fully grateful and empowered being in the present (I know you can see how satisfied I am).
I am a fighter and I am able to keep on fighting for a life of authenticity. I know you’re proud of me.