I am a freelance author, writer, critic, artist, and entrepreneur living in the Heart of the Texas Hill Country.
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There is such an incredible tool out there for all of us to utilize that allows us to live the most fulfilling lives as possible, and the vast majority of us are not utilizing it. I've read a number of proposals scattered about Facebook and other social media sites that promise to improve your life whether socially or financially or spiritually, they all claim that it's spectacularly easy and that they've discovered some secret that we are all capable of finding or that we already have and are unaware of that would allow us to finally reach the maximum potential, to be the best possible versions of ourselves, and then, of course, they hit you with the sudden realization that it's only going to cost you 12 easy payments of $129.99.
But, here's the thing: there is an incredible tool out there for all of us to utilize that will allow us to live the most fulfilling lives possible, and it's true that the vast majority of us are not utilizing it. But I'm not going to charge you for this secret. I'm just going to tell you, and then I'm going to write about it, or continue writing about it.
The secret is to...
Maybe it sounds ridiculous to you, however, it is true. I cannot imagine what could be more satisfying than discovering what it is that you enjoy doing whether it be a hobby or a career or anything.
What do you enjoy doing?
And once you do finally figure it out everything tends to become more clear, and easier, and paths open up to you that you may not previously have noticed.
Yvon Chouinard founded Patagonia, Inc. in 1973. He and some friends took a trip down the California coast line and continued through Mexico and South America to what is known as Patagonia, a region at the south most of South America. Chouinard is an outdoors-man: a surfer, a climber, and environmentalist who decided he wanted clothing and equipment that suited his lifestyle, so he made it.
Yvon Chouinard an example of someone who realized his passion and turned it into a career. Although discovering what it is that you enjoy, that your passionate about does not have to reap financial gain, sometimes it's just a bonus.
Jim Morrison and Kurt Cobain were musicians, and they were incapable of being anything but, however they were both famous for actively criticizing the industry. Yes, they made a career of it, and yet, for them, it was like breathing. They discovered what they loved and they pursued it.
This is the secret that so many people cannot see, when you’re feeling stuck or trapped in a sort of purgatory it’s solely because you’re not actively participating in whatever it is that would otherwise drive you. We have all struggled with this at some point in our lives, and it presents itself in a myriad of ways.
Whatever it is that you enjoy, or the list of things that you enjoy figure it [them] out.
Discover what your passionate about and do it. And if you cannot figure out how to monetize it, yet, don’t worry about it, find a way to supplement your life that allows the means to pursue your passion until you can. Actively do what you love, and don’t let anything...anything or anyone interrupt you from doing it. Again, call it a hobby if you have to, if that’s what it takes for your parents or spouse or friends to offer your their encouragement; as long as you’re doing it.
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is an amazing source to find a starting point and, in some ways, to help you realize your passion, but it’s not the only source, and it’s not the only way.
Getting to know yourself opens up avenues beyond interests, even. It's utility can improve your physical, emotional, and mental health, it can help you to develop your social skills, and it can expand the way that your perceive the world. Paying attention to how you feel, physically, and what foods (or ideas) improve your health and which decrease it.
I enjoy writing, bouldering, learning, teaching, books, music; I enjoy telling stories using traditional as well as atypical ways and the act of creation, and ideas.
What do you enjoy?
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Canyon Road, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is essentially a mile long strip of nothing but art galleries, with a few restaurants scattered about. From the bottom of the hill at Paseo De Peralta, on either side of the street, you are surrounded by galleries. We are talking art from every walk of life: every age, every style, every medium, anything you can imagine in the realm of art can be found on Canyon Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
I worked, for just under a year, at Adobe Gallery. The fourth gallery, on the right, at the bottom of the hill, near Paseo. Adobe Gallery focuses on Native American art, and more specifically Native American historic pottery, while I was there I saw some of the most amazing pieces of historic pots that I could have imagined. And I learned a great deal about the artists and the pueblos in the area that were producing them. It’s amazing to me because until Maria Martinez in the 1920’s the pottery: the hours spent gathering clay, water, forming the pot, and painting the pot, the artistic aspect were for the sake, only, of doing it. These pots were never intended to be sold, or appreciated, only used, by the families that made them. Maria Martinez changed all that when she discovered that there was a market for the design and the art outside of the pueblos.
I was responsible for staging, photographing, writing, and marketing. I was the Marketing Manager. I was there to learn as much as I could about the marketing aspect of sales. I learned a great deal about photography for sales, writing press releases, using Photoshop, and working with advertisers and publishers, from that perspective. I love the job, actually. The only thing I didn’t like about it was Todd. The “Advertising Manager,” he called himself, I’m not going to get too involved talking about him, but he was the sole reason that I left that position when I did—even though I took it merely to learn about that side of business. And, thanks to Al, the gallery owner, I did learn a great deal.
At the top of the hill, after you pass the last gallery, tucked away on the right hand side of the road, there is a restaurant, El Farol. It was one of my favorite restaurant/bars in Santa Fe, and not because of the food, though the food was pretty fantastic. I was more partial to the building itself, the design, and the bar, and trivia night, and Flamenco night…El Farol has been in Santa Fe since 1835—that’s not a typo, I didn’t mean 1935, and with a slip of the finger, and some degree of neglect, which does occur from time-to-time, I typed an “8.” A large group of us would sit at El Farol once a week and try our hand at some prize winning trivia. Incidentally, every Wednesday night, here in Boerne, some of ‘us,’ meet at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and play the same nationally recognized trivia game.
Directly across the street from El Farol is The Teahouse. I spent a lot of time here, at The Teahouse. And one of my best friends, Justine, and I would meet there more often than anywhere in Santa Fe. It’s at The Teahouse that I have the fondest memory of Samayya, an ex of mine, and a situation that did not produce a lot of fond memories. The Teahouse had a nice patio though it wasn’t particular comfortable—intentional, maybe, to keep people from staying too long?—and several nooks inside, though it wasn’t particularly comfortable either. The best thing, in my opinion, about The Teahouse, was that they had around 80 different types of teas!
They had various Black teas, Green teas, Flower teas, Infused teas, Matcha’s, Mate’s, Herbal, and more, and every time I went I ordered a different tea. My favorites were the Pu Erh’s, and, more specifically, the Aged Pu Erh’s!
Depending on the location, the demographics, the population, the income, etc., etc., etc., a used bookstore may or may not, support itself, as a bookstore only. As the demand for print, and books continues to rise in the United States, and as we see more and more used bookstores opening their doors all over the country, many of us might recognize, too, that with each bookstore the owner might put a little bit of her, or himself in the strategy as well. We begin to see bookstores coupled with Bike Shops, Vinyl, or even various, random nostalgia; the most common pairing is, of course, coffee. A bookstore/coffeehouse is a fairly common site when visiting new stores opening up.
CommuniTea Books, however, is, as the name might imply, an idea that came to me while sitting one afternoon at The Teahouse in Santa Fe.
Everything I that don’t like about The Teahouse, or other coffeehouses that I’ve been to in Boerne, or throughout the country has allowed me to develop something altogether unique. Why is it that the best and most unique things about coffeehouse is what singles out our favorites, while most coffeehouses still manage to maintain the same unpleasant, strange, stupid, or annoying systems as well? That has never made sense to me. Some might say that it’s those systems that allow a coffeehouse, or a business, in general, to function, but it’s not. It’s not. Those system are merely another system that business owners choose to adopt. Being creative, and even innovative when exploring, and developing an idea is what allows those business to stand out.
CommuniTea Books has more than 80 different types of teas from four different distributors around the world. There are teas that The Teahouse offers that I have intentional, and personally sought out in order to sell at CommuniTea Books, but the majority of my tea menu is different, as far as the specific teas. But, teas! Teas are as unique and individualistic, and interesting as independently owned bookstores, as the eccentricities of a person. Everybody, of course, is familiar with tea: you might enjoy a cup of English Breakfast or Earl Grey in the morning, or Chamomile at night, or Peppermint or some infusion, when you’re feeling sick, but the exclusivity of a teahouse, and one that offers so many different types of teas, is incredible exceptional.