Category Archives: Art

Reprogramming For Creative Freedom (In Style) 😎


Almost always I am my own worst creative block and hindrance…

[Dragon boots – aka shoes👞, – by Android Homme — check them out if you want some fire🔥  on your feet 👣  to blaze your own trail in style.]


I made this video about reprogramming oneself for creative freedom and as another ode to my #LearnByDoing process of creation & self-evolution.

It has taken me over a month to finally put it up…  I am quite the oxymoron at times… LOL at myself!

Once again my own self-judgement and fear of showing and sharing my work in its unperfected form held me back from just releasing it and then moving onto the next project.  I still have plenty of work to do as a “recovering perfectionist.”

Oh well, better late than never right?!  And I am getting faster.  It took me over six months to post my shoddy “Starting Before You’re Ready” video.

So what have I learned from making this video (LearningRake)?

  1. ALWAYS PRACTICE LIKE IT IS THE REAL THING. When I was filming this I was originally intending it to just be practice. So, the backdrop of the video is a bit of a mess. Yet, when all is said and done I believe I achieved a new level of personal authenticity on camera. The more I film the more I am able to really just be me, the person you would interact with in life. However, after filming 6 different takes I didn’t have any more creative energy to film it again with the backdrop cleaned up.
    • 🗝  KEY TAKE AWAY (aka ” The Rake“): Always play and practice like it’s the real thing! That way if you get the perfect take where your voice, ideas, and personality are flowing you don’t feel like your lack of a preparation is holding you back (my setting/backdrop in this case). This same idea applies to life. It’s like going to an event where you know you might meet the most pivotal person for your business and not having something to exchange information with (pen, phone, business card) or not dressing the part to the point where you aren’t taken seriously.  The world is your catwalk.  Even when playing, play like you are going to ROCK the show.
  2.  KNOW YOUR FACTS! AND FACT-CHECK/DOUBLE-CHECK BEFORE SHOWTIME. I made some assumptions about the product I was representing without doing my homework and making sure I had the details right. In the case of this video I said the shoes were python when they were really bison. It may not be a big deal to most, but I was telling an intimate story about a dear friend and his company. My lack of attention to detail demonstrates my amateur point in my evolution as I look to become an online voice of human potential, fashion, & fitness. I am okay with this, but as part of my commitment to being a professional it is good for me acknowledge the mistakes, learn from them, and grow!
    • 🗝 The Rake: Fact-check before showtime/go-time. Know what you are talking about when presenting publicly (especially online).
  3. PUT IT INTO ACTION. People love to see things in action. The entire time I am talking about these amazing shoes that were gifted to me and how stylish they were and how they were my dragon boots that would allow me to fly even higher and I didn’t even put them on… Another mistake I am committed to learning from.
    • 💫  The Rake: Talk the talk AND walk the talk. Literally & figuratively. Next time I’ll put the product/idea/business into ACTION.  Always have a bias towards action.
  4. Most of my creative work (writing & videos) is way too long and I cover way too much. If I want to be of SERVICE in the current world we live in I have to learn to put my creative work into a form that is appetizing for people to consume online. Both my creative coaches have told me this. Many of my friends at Facebook, YouTube, & Instagram have told me this. And still I am making videos over 7 minutes long… I have been hearing this from my creative clan for over a year now… Sometimes I am a very slow learner.
    • ♻️  The Rake: Make more hard & fast hitting videos and written posts that cover a very narrow subject (maybe even only one tiny concept). The bigger picture here is to always make & deliver things in a form in which they can easily be consumed in the most appetizing way possible (product/market-fit so to speak).

In closing, here is your (yes, you the reader) learning/growth opportunity, aka Alchemical Opportunity

☯ ALCHEMICAL OPPORTUNITY: What is one thing you could do today or this week that would lead you to a greater sense of creative freedom & authentic personal expression?

It could be tiny or big.  Doesn’t matter.  What matters is CHOOSING one thing and taking ACTION. Good luck! 🙏🏼 😄 💓

And now it’s time to soar like a DRAGON! 🐉

In Alchemy & Service,

Justin David Carl | LifesRake 🌒

P.S. I am finally on SNAPCHAT 👻 … Only took me a few years… LOL!  Add me here @lifesrake


A huge part of SUSTAINABLE & ongoing TRANSFORMATION is CONSISTENCY. Here is an easy way to stay consistent… Get a partner! 👥  Join me & we will transform together! Sign up for my newsletter & I will keep bringing you fun & fascinating ways to keep the fire of transformation burning hot! 🔥 🌒 🔥

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Join the alchemical ADVENTURE aka ALCHEMIZED:

Chaos Contained Within

As part of my “public commitment” to living my vision of being a writer/blogger (for more info see here 👉🏼  http://bit.ly/VisionLiving)… Here is a creative piece of writing from one of my morning sessions…

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Working Title: Chaos Contained Within 🌗  🌊  🌓

Let writing fill up my life. Not sequester me to isolation & silo-living. Instead have it fill all the crooks & crannies. Breathe lasting life into moments and memories. Let it be a balm to my emotions and mental agitation as it comes up. Let it be the freedom flag that whips around in jubilance during the storms of life. Beckoning to be reckoned. At play in the torrents of ever-changing weather.

Yes, writing is my salvation. It is my boon. My secret to really truly EXPERIENCING life at a profound level. Allowing the past, present, and future to coincide in one place. Free of time because it can just as easily speak the past as it can to the future all while being done in the present. This is one of the many magics of writing. It is timeless. Even if I were to come back and read this at the end of my life it would be like breathing life back into this moment, reliving it, re-loving it. Being reborn once again.

The tides of my emotions have been crashing with a sense of anger and violence the last couple of days. It is coming out in my interactions with my colleagues at work and the way I speak and think to myself. I’ve somewhat fallen back into old abusive ways. Time to nip that in the butt. A return to the growth mindset. The seeker’s way of being. What is the TRUTH in this experience? What is the Universe and my Soul attempting to bring my attention to?

Is it another opportunity to let go of more anger that was once buried but now uncovered? A time for further integration? Probably both and more.

So let the anger come. Let it fill me up. Let it roar inside me. And grant me the power and equanimity to shape and mold this wrath into creative outlets. So much energy in anger. So much opportunity in anger.

I have the wisdom now to craft this ANGER into abundance and positive creation if I choose to. This time I choose to. Plain and simple. For no other reason than I choose to use my anger for great things and positive transformation because that is what I CHOOSE.

So here we are. At another crossroads in life. Another opportunity to choose a new path. A path that will bring me further along in my own alchemization. And as the ALCHEMIST of my very own life I can be excited and happy. I can be grateful for all the dark experiences that have led me to this point.

For the adventure of it all… I can rejoice!

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I walk as the Priestess in my own life. Feminine. Dark. Mysterious. Powerful beyond understanding. Moving from intuition. From subconscious FORCE.

I do not roar out loud. I roar from within so that all may hear. So that they may hear in the calm but powerful ways that we hear big waves crash against the shore and are gifted with peace & soothing through nature’s powerful & divine rhythm. 🌊  

Chaos dancing in its own natural way. Beautiful. Bold. Unapologetic for its own majestic nature…

I am CHAOS CONTAINED WITHIN.

In Alchemy & Service,

Justin David Carl | LifesRake 🌒


A huge part of SUSTAINABLE & ongoing TRANSFORMATION is CONSISTENCY. Here is an easy way to stay consistent… Get a partner! 👥  Join me & we will transform together! Sign up for my newsletter & I will keep bringing you fun & fascinating ways to keep the fire of transformation burning hot! 🔥 🌒 🔥

Sign up right here! 👇🏼

Join the alchemical ADVENTURE aka ALCHEMIZED:

Dynamic Dominion: Awakening, Anxiety, Excitement, & Energetic Ethics

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 Fear. Apotheosis. Dominion.

Building a body of work. That is what I have been dying to do.

Or perhaps, I have felt like I am dying a slow death for the last two decades as I kept my artistic self locked away. All wrapped up in my  fear, anxiety, & self-limitations.

[This is me refusing to face my FEAR, ANXIETY, & AUTHENTIC SELF — all bound up by my very own doing as a result… |Photo by Noelle | Undergarments by RLTD]

But I’ve finally tapped back in.  Found new life.  Answered a calling. To be of service. To take the experience & wisdom that resides in this human vessel and offer it up. To harness it and share it. Actually doing that. Putting it all down into writing, videos, audio recordings, and various other art forms and storing it on the interweb for anyone to access. This is what has been missing from my life for so long.

And now.  Finally.  I have found renewal & true life sustenance through creating & sharing.

Something I did so effortlessly as a child.  But then I forgot…

I went on to live over 20 years of my life with his nagging feeling that I am not building and creating something of value during my time in the world.  It created such a massive void in me.  I’ve tried filling it with material success (money, status, etc.), drugs, sex, food, exercise-addiction & pretty much anything else that I can greedily over-consume & over-focus upon to drown out and hide from the inescapable emptiness.

I’ve recently overcome a lot of my past addictions.  And by the grace of the Gods I’ve found a new way to fill myself up.

Since I have started writing, blogging, vlogging and sharing my creative work here and on other social media platforms I am beginning to feel as though I am filling that void that has left me feeling so empty & desperate for so long.

Do I understand or know where I am going? No, I don’t.

But I can sense the right direction pulling me the right way. And I am becoming ever more comfortable with the fear of the unknown. Learning to embrace and cherish the mystery of my unique journey.

Through this artist reawakening process I am coming to learn that the uncertainty of it all is what excitement is made of.  At least a large portion of it is.

The sense of adventure comes from the unknown — the anticipation of discovery & learning during the unpredictable endeavors.  I regularly experience the joy of this uncertainty now in my startup adventures here in Silicon Valley and am finding the same joy in my artistic creations now.

At times I am in rapture from the excitement of it all.  At other times I am wracked by ANXIETY and lose myself to FEAR.  Often, completely shutting down when the anxiety hits. Again, this happens with both my professional work & my personal artistic work.

I have been fighting my anxiety for most my life.  Pretty much ever since I forgot my artist-self. The one I locked away when a teenager decided that being an artist wasn’t going to cut it in this life.

As I locked the artist part of myself away, I also cut off my access to the ever-evolving intuitive learner that loved the unknown, the mysterious, the puzzles, the trials, and the tribulations. The one who loved the uncertainty of it all.  Because within that uncertainty lived infinite POSSIBILITY.

For the last two decades I’ve been shackled.  Self-oppressed.  Anxiety literally killing my life-force.

But now I am being reborn.  An artist rebirth is underway.  And the insight & self-knowledge that is being cultivated during this process is truly LIBERATING.

Finding my art, making my art, and sharing my art is making me a better entrepreneur, partner, family-man, and more!  And of course the shear joy of living as an artist in all areas of life is something I can barely understand & appreciate yet, but it feels AWESOME! And I know it’s only going to get better the more I embrace it. It is like…

TRUE AFFLUENCE: abundance & flow working together in synergy & synchronicity.

One of the biggest lessons that has come from this reawakening process is my understanding and beliefs around the infamous state of ANXIETY.  This dark thing that seems to rob the joy of life from many of us. 🌑

See this post on Sunday/Monday ANXIETY when I was fully engulfed in it — after posting this several people suggested I seek out medical attention & prescription drug intervention…LOL!

Here is what I’ve learned about this dark state we call ANXIETY:

 ** Anxiety is just another facet of the same diamond that “excitement” also lives within. **

I am just an excited Spirit. A Spirit and Soul that is so electrified to be here on earth that if I am not directing my abundant energy into noble endeavors I am wracked with anxiety letting me know that my energy is not focused and directed in the right spectrum.

No wonder that after spending two decades suppressing my artist-self my anxiety had built to a point where I was left feeling so anxious that death seemed like a far better option.  It was literally boiling up inside of me.  Trying to show & tell me something.  And it was either going to get me to listen or kill me trying.

And this leads me to the next powerful paradigm shift I’ve recently come to understand & embrace:

** Anxiety is a guidance system of “right action” and “right intent”. It is also a barometer for one’s current level of self-acceptance, self-worth, and ultimately… the state of one’s SELF-LOVE**

The more “in tune” I am with myself and acting in accordance with Divine Will the less anxiety I have. The more I unconditionally love myself despite the ever-changing weather of life the more anxiety fades and something new & empowering comes in.

When I am fully inline with Divine Will I have no anxiety. Only pure joyful excitement. Anxiety is literally transmuted into usable positive energy to thrive in the adventure of life.  I go from being completely shut down, being killed by my own life to…

Energy bursting forth like a waterfall that cannot be contained. Mesmerizing. Majestic. Powerful.

That is me when I am in alignment with my higher calling. When I am taking the “right” intuitive steps towards my own apotheosis.  Even when it doesn’t make rational sense.  When I can flow with my higher self who doesn’t operate from the limitations of rational-thinking then I “know” and “feel” the right steps unfolding before without having to even see them.

Scary I know.  But so damn exciting too! 😁

This is the gift of anxiety & fear.  If we can face & embrace them they will allow us to heal, to grow, and to TRANSFORM into a higher state of JOYFUL LIVING.


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As I begin to embrace my fears and follow them with trust I literally feel the anxiety transform into excitement.

It is so subtle though. If I am not paying attention, if I am not in awareness, I miss the switch. The line between the two is so delicate. So fine. Like balancing on the edge of a sharpened sword.

Yet, when I pass into the excitement as I surrender to the calling of my fear-sirens that same sword cuts the oppressive bonds of my anxiety and I fly free. I soar. I grow. I transform. And I electrify everything and everyone around me.

Like the master pendulum in a room. So strong is my underlying force that I pull everyone in my field of energy into accordance. An array of pendulums that were all swinging in discord are now swinging together in grace.

I have seen this so many times when I am in my power. Bringing forth magic and laughter to a group of people. Amplifying their joy to a level where we can all feel it. And it is wondrous! ☄

When you can feel the energy of a group of people singing in harmony. This vibration. This movement of unison is something to behold! Rocking back & forth in synchronicity. An ocean of energy ebbing and flowing in unity.

It is dynamic co-creative fire setting us all ablaze! 🔥🔥🔥


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What is awesome is that we can all do this. All of us have this power of being the master pendulum that pulls everyone around them into a higher state of being. And we have all done this many times in our lives. Even if it just with a few other people, or even one other person. We have witnessed consciously or subconsciously how our energy has pulled another’s into accordance.

The scary part is that this works both ways. Those with incredibly strong energy dark or light can pull a group in either direction. This is why each of us must maintain dominion over ourselves.

Ever interacted with a parent, partner, boss or great friend who is in a terrible mood or energetic space and then shortly thereafter find yourself in the same state?  How do you think that feels for all the people you come into contact with after you have moved into that darker state of being?

How is that felt by your loved ones?  Anger, anxiety, depression, and the like… those are palpable energies that can easily be felt by those we are closest to.

And because of this we must maintain dominion over our own energetic emotional state.  This does not mean suppressing or denying your feelings or states of energy.  I am a firm believer that we must emote to release and be cleansed by our own emotions. No matter the emotion, they always happen for a positive reason if we can recognize, acknowledge, & surrender to their healing powers. [more on embracing darker emotions and allowing them to free us here.]

When we sense our energy is dark we must be careful in how we are transmitting to others.

Out of love and respect for others we must open ourselves to receiving their lighter energy and surrender our own darker energy and flow with them. Thus we transform ourself by surrendering to another.

Paradoxical in a sense. But this is the power of communion. We are all here together to be of service to one another.

We must constantly work on our own self-derived energetic ethics.  So as a world-community we are empowering one another through an infinite interplaying of leading & surrendering.  Healing & harmonizing through one another.  

We must hold ourselves in DYNAMIC DOMINION: allowing ourselves to be served by others when in need and serving others when they are in need.

In this way we all dance together into greater living divinity.

And in this way we can hold ourself in personal integrity, dynamic dominion, & have fun in life even when it gets turned upside down.🙃

In alchemy & service,

Justin David Carl 🌒  LifesRake


Looking for some more resources on ANXIETY, FEAR, DOUBT, & UNCERTAINTY?  Read two of my favorite books: 📚

  1. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck
  2. Uncertainty: Turning Fear & Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance ” by Jonathan Fields

If you enjoyed this creative piece of work you will probably also like “Harnessing The Sun” & “Breakthrough To Bewilderment” — two more alchemizing articles centering around self-dominion.


Light Behind The Lens

This is a creative exercise in writing about another person’s story from darkness to light and how it interacts with my own journey in discovering my light in the world. Isaac put this short video together (below — turn on HD & SOUND) from video he shot for some creative projects we worked on together. He is an incredibly talented photographer, videographer, & all around artist of life.  Yet, just a few years ago he thought pictures were stupid, was stuck in a job he hated, and was living a life only half-alive.  This creative piece tells our shared journey to a life worth living.  See more on Isaac Gautschi here.

 


Success can be cultivated through a view of longevity. As we look at the big picture we are better able to see the little movements that draw us forth into greater integrity & authenticity and ultimately consolidate our true power — self-mastery. When we are expressing and acting in alignment with what has heart & meaning to us we are powerful beyond measure. When we are in this state everything seems to flow. Life seems magical. Coincidences and chance interactions all work together in harmony to draw us forth into greater expression of what really brings us joy.

Sometimes we must go through some chaos and turbulence to find what has heart & meaning. Isaac’s story of his motorcycle accident and how that led him to his photography and filming is an awesome example of this. Sometimes the most horrendous things wake us up to our heart & meaning. This is why darkness is so beautiful.

It is usually in the darkest times that we discover our light. The stuff that not only lights our spirit on fire but enacts the same energy onto others as they share in our gift. As we share our gifts our dreams are made manifest and we provide avenues for others to experience their own heart & meaning in their own ways.

Go slowly. Isaac’s discovery of his passion for film didn’t happen over night. Though the story was told to me in minutes. His actual experience and transformation happened over a period of time.  Years in fact.  Yet, we often see or hear of someone’s transformation and resulting success and lose touch with the time, energy, and growing-pains it took for it all to coalesce into its present state.

In the beginning Isaac resisted photography. He even thought pictures were stupid when he was younger. But through a motorcycle accident that left both hands in casts with one working finger his calling came gently knocking. He lost his job and opportunity to go to school because of the accident. His parents literally had to hand-feed him like a child as he was unable to do it himself. His great joy of playing guitar had been lost in the same accident. Making music was infinitely more important than a job he hated and school he was unsure of. Things got dark. He was miserable. Depression hit. He had no idea where he was going. Plunged into the depths of despair he sat creatively chained in his hand casts.

Then one day his Mom brought him an old camera and suggested he try taking pictures. Wallowing in his misery he resisted. Still stuck with the idea that he thought photography was a waste of hard drive space and time. And then… Destiny!

One special day he picked up the camera, balancing it upon the cast of one hand and using the one working finger of the other hand he began snapping photos. Something stirred inside of him. An awakening maybe. It wasn’t fast at first, but it did grow. And as it grew it began to grow faster. Like a spark that slowly catches something aflame. At first the fire creeps along slowly growing in size. Then it hits its tipping point and the whole thing bursts into flame.

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(Isaac on his road to recovery. This self-captured was taken one full year after the initial accident that occurred on April 18th, 2013.  His current success was still years away, but the creative-fire is catching flame here in this photo.)

With Isaac it began with people randomly asking how much he charged for his photography. He thought to himself, “Wait, what? People want to pay me for this?” The flame grew. Then Ashton Kutcher shared his photo and people began to take notice. Isaac is still in disbelief at all of the synchronicity. The flame had burst into glory. Goodyear Tire licensed a few of his photos. He had to quit his day job and become a full-time photographer. His light that he found within his darkness would allow for nothing but a full commitment. That is how powerful his creative calling became.

Man ablaze. Fueled by passion and paid for his creative spirit. Now Isaac shares his glory with abandon. He shared it with me. Bringing his passion-fire to light my own creative vision. He is the light shining through my dark film casting a vision upon the wall of the world for all to see. His gift is unlocking my gifts. Giving form & worthy expression to what I see in my heart & spirit. Truly crafting & unleashing my vision of myself as transformation artist & leader.

Together we co-create and co-live what has heart & meaning to us. Forever alchemized by one another through shared experience, passion, & vision.

I hold this all in reverence.

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Connect with Isaac on Instagram & Facebook.

Stay in connection with me here on my blog, Instagram, & Facebook.


Harnessing The Sun: A Pathway To Creative Integrity

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What we need is the intention to allow creativity to create through us. A surrender to the creative force that lies within us all. The eternal ever-burning Sun. Do we hide it away in some dark deep closet? Hidden from all, including ourselves. Or do we open the door and let whatever reflections of brilliance are there shine outward into the world? What mystery and revelation will come bounding out of this inner door of light? It is so exciting it can be scary. I am scared. But once again I embrace the darkness with love. Transmuting it into light consciousness to cast forth into the world with valor. God grant me valiance.

 

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I do not know what will come forth, but I trust the Universal design. I trust that as I tap into my diamond consciousness and the Universal Mind whatever is meant to come will come and it will be right.

 

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I have been wrestling with my old self. My old self who says that I cannot live my artistic creative dream and have the rest of my life (and family) be okay. Or more succinctly, I cannot live my artistic creative dream with integrity and commitment if anything else in my life is out of order. This is the old commandment I have been living all my life. The wounded warrior character that never gets to do what his inner child artist wants to do. But it is time. Time to change my story and change my life. To recognize that my compassionate heart is strong. I can hold everyone in my life in compassion and live my artistic vision with truth at the same time. I have the power of the Sun ever-burning within. There is more than enough energy to create and hold all of my life and those within it in compassion. It is time to let go of this self-defeating illusion. There is nothing wrong with creating my bliss and sharing it with others while other aspects of my life are under the fire of healing, growth, and transformation. This is the infinitely dynamic way of life. An infinity of moving parts. I can trust they are all working together in a divine dance for divine evolution. I reach in and grab my trust and I wield it with a furious heart. Sun-fueled. Let me burn away this ice that freezes me in stagnation. Spring is here. Let me call forth new growth in all its green glory. As I shine this diamond brilliance on these frozen memories I compassionately watch as they melt away. Freeing myself from their frosty grip. A goodbye to winter. Spring-time veneration.

The Sun is here and it’s shining bright. No longer enveloped in the bond of my frozen emotions, memories, patterns, and DNA — I evolve. No longer frozen, I grow forth and go forth into the world and share my brilliance. Light-bringer awakening. Old commandment broken. Self-imposed chains dissolved. Darkness alchemized. Self-integration realized. Time to dance with freedom of Spirit.

 

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Breakthrough to Bewilderment

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.” —Rumi

Create for the perfect receiver. The one who will get everything that you are trying to convey with no explanation. Dig deep. Grab the stuff of truth. Your truth. And bring it forth to bear without shame or alteration.

So often I find myself judging my creative work as it is coming out. “Will others understand and like it?” I ask before I even put it into form. When I am in that space of creativity I’ve already lost. Lost myself. Lost my art. Lost my unique flame of creation.

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So I dive back down into the depth. The unknown. The unseen. And I float. I lose myself in my abyss so as to loosen myself from the constraints the external cares place upon me. I hang myself upside down. Let the all the stuff I am carrying fall out of my pockets. Upend my thoughts and feelings. I release the disappointments of the past, present, and future. Renewal. Self-renewal. Return to my vision. The one I was born with. The one that has always been there. The one I have spent so much time running from. The one I am beginning to embrace with ever-increasing conviction. And I stand in it. Upside down. I let the vision consume me. I let it break me. Break me through all the self-imposed barriers I’ve accumulated. Through self-crucification I find renewal. As I sacrifice my ego I return. I return to personal power. I return to self-integrity. The inner citadel that is always there — the inner home.

As I hang out, arms dangling, thoughts un-jangling. Release. Surrender. The tide washes the grime away. The equinox of darkness passes. The light begins to return. Emotional purification. Intellectual clarity. True-flame Spirit. The golden path to creative integrity in the world shows itself once again. I walk my path. A unique legacy. I know my past. I’ve seen. I shed the unwanted weight. Lineage-breaker. I can see. Free to blaze a new trail. Free to share from that innocence and excitement of pure bewilderment. Goodbye cleverness. Hello awe.

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I think I am finally understanding that quote by Rumi that I’ve ruminated over since stumbling upon it. I always prided myself on my “cleverness.” I was ego-attached to it. How could I sell something I was so beholden to? Something I considered a part of my identity. Now I see that it was a suit of armor I dressed my true self in so that I would be safe from the the outer world. But in my self-protection I hid my true self away. From others. From myself. Ego-driven, I become lost to myself in my clever-suit. I unknowingly hurt others as I bumbled about ironclad. And I dumbly wondered why others were offended. But my vision and understanding were so limited. I could hardly see out of the protective visor. My range of sight hindered. So of course I crashed into others. Causing unnecessary and underserved pain. Forgive me. For I could not see.

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I take off my helmet. Free my consciousness. I shed my suit of cleverness. Liberated. Unconditional love & compassion for myself and others begins to blossom. Wow! I am so light now! Floating in bewilderment…


 

Alchemized: Inception


Starting before you’re ready… and the beauty of being unfinished… THE ART OF THE START

 

(This video is far from perfect or even excellent. It is not a finished product. It’s messy, I make mistakes, you can hear the nervousness in my voice,  But… I started.  And I’m sharing my messy unfinished artistic process in service to others finding their own courage to start something that both calls to them and scares the hell out of them.)

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.” –Hugh Laurie

The old version of myself took forever to start anything that I deeply dreamed about or deeply desired to do. The more intense the dream or desire the longer it took. A prime example of that is starting a blog. I thought about it for almost a decade. I finally started it sometime in 2014 and even then it was a painful and slow birth. I don’t think I even managed to get a piece of writing up until 2015. Really it wasn’t until I committed to posting one piece of creative work every week that it finally began to gain momentum [more on that commitment here].

Another thing I have deeply desired to do was start a newsletter. I thought about this for several months.  I’ve made a commitment to myself to just jump in and start on the things I dream of. Instead of waiting another decade I am starting now.  To free myself from my own self-oppression. To embrace the fear of the things that call to me. To make mistakes, look like a fool, and not know what I am doing. To hold ever so tightly to the wisdom that it is by doing and taking action that we learn, grow, and transform. I am still pretty slow to start on these deep callings, but I am getting faster. So, in the spirit of just jumping into the fire of life…

Welcome to my newsletter–> ALCHEMIZED

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This is my commitment to discovering, making, and sharing ART & TRANSFORMATION in SERVICE to others.

I have discovered that one of the best ways to illuminate oneself and others is to SHARE. It is through people and shared experience that we find inspiration, consolation, healing, growth and transformation.

When we share something that has authentically touched, moved, or inspired us something magical happens. It not only transforms those we are sharing with, it transforms us.

The full disclosure is that I don’t really know what the iterations of Alchemized will be. This here is the first one.  And I’ve already revised it over 50 times… No joke!  Learn by doing & incremental improvement are KEY.

The whole point of this is to start something while allowing myself to sit in AMBIGUITY.  And then to let the whole thing evolve into whatever it decides to be.

My initial guess is that it will be some sort of email of several things that I have recently found particularly transformative in some aspect. They will likely be things I have created, discovered, learned, found fun, fascinating, growth-inducing, transformational, soul-soothing, and maybe even lit my spirit on fire. All of this in the SPIRIT of SERVICE, ILLUMINATION, and TRANSFORMATION.  My own and others…

And who knows what this will become. I am definitely the one most anticipating the unfolding of this. Nonetheless, I am deeply appreciative for all who join me in this journey! 😀

This whole project and concept both scares the hell out of me and is at the same time incredibly exciting. The line between excitement and fear is often almost impossible to find.

Regardless of what Alchemized becomes my commitment is that it will be in service to alchemical transformation.

The goal of the Alchemized is to be a renewable resource of potential catalysts. I firmly believe that we should interact with catalysts of awe, wonder, fascination, magic, growth, healing, and transformation each day.

LifesRake and the Alchemized are all about ALCHEMY — the seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, and combination.  

Sometimes we discover one small catalyst and a whole aspect of our life literally transforms… I aim to be a lantern-bearer & a bridge for others in discovering those catalysts.

The main vision of this inaugural Alchemized is to to share the scariness, vulnerability, and transformational power of creating and starting something that calls to you. And sharing it even if it isn’t finished. By no means is this easy. And we often have to forgive ourselves for holding ourselves back before we even begin. Or begin again… I am constantly forgiving myself for holding myself back…

…And then we have to have the courage to let go of “what we think other people will think.” [this article  explores this concept]

In this newsletter are three videos I created in July of 2015 all about starting before you are ready [see version 1 at the top and version 2 & 3 at the bottom – FYI: these are far from the first few versions – I filmed this a TON of times (30+)…]. These are three versions of the same filming. I filmed this concept over and over. And still I lamented over the belief that none of them were good enough to share. It has taken me 6 months to gather the courage to post these. Half a year to embrace the unnerving fear of judgement, both from within and without. Over 180 days of being too scared to share my art and connect.

La Sagrada Familia-carru2

(Work on La Sagrada Familia, one of Spain’s most famous and epic pieces of art, began in 1882. Over 130 years later and it is still not completed. They are still working on it. I used to live right next to this mesmerizing piece of growing artistic magic. Every day I even glimpsed this living piece of art I was blessed with creative sustenance. I cannot even quantify the loss of life experience for myself or others if Antoni Gaudí, the architect behind this, had chosen to wait until it was finished to share it with the world. Imagine how much less grand and less awe-inspiring this world would be if we were only allowed to view completed creative works of art? I am not laying claim to this level of art, but how much more compassionate, inspiring, and inspired would this world be if none of us were afraid to show our creative work in progress?)

To be crystal clear — at the time I compiled this post I had little-to-no experience writing, blogging, filming, recording audio, and have just barely started to learn how to edit any of these. I am sharing all of this because I am tired of hiding my creative process. Tired of trying to be perfect.  And I am tired of treating imperfection and vulnerability as an excuse not to create art and share it. I now harness my imperfections and vulnerability and show it to the world and connect. I now use my authenticity and vulnerability as a source of empowerment for myself and others by sharing it.

I also want to highlight and remember that we all start with little-to-no knowledge, experience, or expertise. We are always in a state of becoming. Let us always remember this. So the next time we feel the call of something and the fear of starting rises to challenge us… we embrace the fear. Deeply knowing & understanding that FEAR is often our best guide for UNLEASHING our most AUTHENTIC, POWERFUL, & HIGHEST-SELF. It is also often our WAY-FINDER to living a life of PASSION & PURPOSE.

Or in other words, a life worth living…


My inspiration & alchemical discovery that lead to this idea (Alchemized) being actualized:

THIS BOOK–>The Icarus Deception

It goes perfectly along with the vision of the Alchemized. It’s a book all about embracing your fear and creating art. It will awaken your inner artist. And if you don’t think you are an artist this book will change your mind about that too.  It is the book that was the final catalyst I needed to birth Alchemized.  Even if you would never consider yourself an artist this book will catalyze some area of your life — career, relationships, life, etc.  If you are an ENTREPRENEUR in any way this is a MUST READ.


IN CLOSING…

Please join me in this mission to let people see and understand that IT IS OKAY TO FEEL LIKE YOU ARE NOT READY. It is okay to SUCK. It is okay to be SCARED. It is okay to have no clue what you are doing

But we must do it anyway… Because the fear shows us our higher callings…

So far in my life it seems like fear and feeling like you’re not ready are always front & center anytime you are doing anything that you are really deeply desire and/or are destined to do…

The paradox of surrendering to fear is rarely easy in practice (at least for me so far).  But…

Maybe even try what I am doing & just jump in and learn and grow along the way. That is exactly what I am doing with this newsletter, my blog, my writing, my filming and all of my creative work.

I am starting with the faith that I will become something by doing. I will discover, learn, and maybe even that something will be great. But really, who knows and who cares…

Let us live for the journey!  The magic always & forever lives in the adventure (not in some final destination).

And before I end, some suggestions for getting the most out of the Alchemized:

  • Try what grabs your attention.
  • Keep what works for you.
  • Share what you personally like.
  • And leave the rest.  

THANK YOU for being a part of the birth of the Alchemized! It is always through others that we manifest, realize, actualize, and LIVE our VISION & DREAMS.  Because YOU have taken the time and energy to view this (and maybe even share itI am living my vision & dream of being a transformation artist & leader.  And for this I will always & forever be grateful to you.  Even if we never meet.  You are still a part of my journey because we shared this creative work together.

In the following newsletters I will continuously optimize for form, function, and resources that you can harness for all aspects of the alchemical journey of life.

In gratitude & service,

Justin David Carl

P.S. Please forward this to anyone who may find it useful. That would mean the world to me!

“The moment that you feel, just possibly, you are walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind, and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself…That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right.” –Neil Gaiman

If any of this any of this moved, touched, or inspired you please join my newsletter here:

*I will never send spam or share your email.  Only awesome alchemical things I want to share sent directly from me to you.


(Another take of “Starting Before You’re Ready” — still a mess.  But finding incremental improvement by DOING.  And I am learning to embrace my own fear by sharing my unfinished creative mess.)


(And a third version… confidence & flow on film is improving, filming angle & setup improving, and then the camera overheats and shuts down before I finish…FML… Oh, the irony of learning by doing and incremental improvement…)


unfinishedpriestess

Messy beautiful art…

Perfect…?

Complete…?

Finished…?

It doesn’t matter…

It still touches something inside of me…

It still lights my creative spirit on FIRE.


 

Lionhearted

This is for all the Lionhearted…

 (My Lion sketch. Finally drawing again after 20+ years. Man-child reborn!)

“Did you think the lion was sleeping because he didn’t roar?” -Friedrich Schiller

With the ongoing nurturing of my goal of posting one new piece of creative work each week, living my vision as a transformation artist & leader, and in honor of the courageous Lion that lives within all of us I am going to continue to push my creative boundaries and continue embracing my fear of publicly, sharing my artistic endeavors, intimate interests/passions, and creative expression in this week’s post.

From within the deepest part of myself I have always been drawn to the mystic.  I call myself a spiritual hipster.  This post is about unleashing the uninhibited Lionheart and sharing some of my creative fire in service to others.

The last week or two I have felt ablaze with creative fire.  I kept seeing Lions everywhere.  I literally felt like a Lion.  At the gym I heard myself roar inside my head with regularity as I crushed my workouts.  I even wrote about myself as a Lion in one of my morning writing sessions.  In my work and career I have been living the Lion as well — winning new partnerships and courageously stepping into a fuller expression of myself creatively and professionally.  I finally put it all together when I realized that not only was it a full moon at the time, it was a full moon in Leo [more on that here – if you are not into astrology, numerology & magic skip this link as it is definitely what many call “Woo” – as I said, I am spiritual hipster and I love this stuff!]

I have always felt incredibly strong emotional and energetic influences during full moons.  In the past I regularly observed this effect in others and in the masses during my time working in Hollywood nightlife.  People as a a group were always extra crazy on those nights.  Much more so than usual. Wild shit always went down in the club during full moons.

In my own personal life, I see this emotional and energetic influence manifest in both positive and negative ways depending upon the type of full moon and how aware I am during any given month.  Fortunately, for the last week or so it has mostly been highly positive and growth-inducing.

This evening (1/23/2016) marks a full moon in Leo . This is personally very powerful for me as my moon sign is in Leo.  Your moon sign is different from your main astrological sign (your sun sign).  Although depending on your exact birth date and time they can share the same zodiac sign.  The way I always explain one’s moon sign to myself and others is that it is how others see you.  I am a Taurus (my sun sign), but people often mistake me for or see me as a Leo.  It is often how you behave when you are feeling uninhibited.  In the past when I drank alcohol I quickly became the ego version of the Lion – highly animated, loud, boisterous, king of the court, etc.  I still regularly become the mostly positive side of the Lion in group settings without any external influence, it just depends on how uninhibited and fiery I am feeling.  I am equally happy being the quietly powerful bull who is content to stand alone in the field.  However, for this time period it is all about living in the heat of the court with the heart of the Lion.  Passion and courage are in vogue!

In honor of the kingly Lion here are a few things I would like to share (in addition to the links above):

An excerpt from my Lion writing session:

As I stride through the grasslands of my world as King of the plains I hold all in compassion. Myself included. For it is through compassion for others and oneself that we maintain equilibrium. Providing for others as we provide for ourself. Through this balance we generate great strength.  And in this way we can live life with grace and greatness.

I see myself as a the Lion of my family. The one who went on a quest to find his own strength and to rediscover his own heart. For the heart is the well of true strength. It is the source of courage and compassion.

I had to take a long dark journey away from my heart and my family to rediscover this. I had to let my ego consume me. The dark Lion king. Greed and selfishness. I danced with Dionysus. It was a long dance. Well over 5 years long.  I danced until I could dance no longer. Then I fell from the grips of the devil in exhaustion. I could no longer sustain the toll upon my spirit.

My soul called me back into equilibrium. It took time to rebalance and find equilibrium. I am still re-grounding myself within my inner citadel. Sobriety, meditation and brahmacharya cleanse my mind, emotions, body, and spirit. The dance in the dark night of my soul was necessary. For how could I know light if I never experienced the depths of my own darkness? Like the eternal symbol of the circular yin & yang, each piece holding a piece of the other in reverent embrace. I too had to learn that symbolic lesson. Now I draw deeply upon my own dark experiences to be a light in the world. To shine and illuminate others with the beauty of my own darkness.

Now I walk the peaceful grasslands of life again as I integrate my journey through darkness. I stride through the tall grass letting each strand brush my new mane into glory while purifying my own sorrow. Undergoing a gentle alchemy of experience into wisdom. Wisdom with which I can use in my life and provide in service to others.

This Lion no longer needs to roar for attention and power. Instead I provide with compassion and I am bestowed with power through those I serve. It is through serving that we are able to stand in the presence of our deepest strength.

I believe I had to go through my own deep suffering to develop compassion. First, I had to learn to be compassionate towards myself. To accept and embrace my own suffering. To learn to forgive myself for all the dark things I did. I had to lay myself over my own crucible before I could truly understand compassion. How can one truly be compassionate towards others if they haven’t opened to their own self-compassion?

I think this is where the idea of “the ego wants to help, but the soul wants to serve” comes into play. Those who haven’t learned their own self-forgiveness, self-compassion, and self-love try to fill their own void with ego by helping (“fixing”) others. That temporarily fills their emptiness with false spirit-food. It’s like empty calories for the spirit and the soul will not count it. This can become a vicious cycle. Because the void isn’t actually being filled with anything of sustenance. It’s just temporary filling that quickly fades. This is the bottomless pit of the ego trying to fill something it can’t satisfy. It isn’t until we truly learn to help ourselves that we can be of service to others in powerful ways.


Aslan-Narnia

The meaning & significance of the Lion; plus how to connect with your inner Lion:

(excerpted from Animal Spirit Guides & Power Animals, two awesome books by Steven D. Farmer)

Quality: Nobility

Lion’s message for you:

“MY BEING EXUDES DIGNITY, divinity, and nobility.  It’s not so much my roar that everybody fears–my mere presence demands respect and deference.  I don’t qualify this with false humility, self-degradation, or apology; nor, in spite of what you’ve heard, do I feel any sense of pride whatsoever in who I am.  I don’t need to.  I’m just very clear.  If you need to roar to clear the way for your own self-acceptance, then please do so.  Once you’ve done this, listen closely to your heart.  It sings of your purpose, even though your purpose may change and shift with time and age.  That’s where you’ll find the courage to be who you are.  Not in your mind, not in the world around you, but in the center of your body and being.  Life will enfold and support you, as long as you honor and follow your heart.  There truly is no other way.

“Although you may be tempted and sway by externals, especially others’ opinions and judgements about you, sit quietly in the savannah of your personal sanctuary and simply listen.  Listen with all of you.  Tune in to the knowingness that resides in your bones and in your soul to help you go forward in life.  Once you hear the call, move ahead without second thoughts or doubts of any kind.

“Know that you’re protected, that absolutely nothing can harm you as long as you’re listening and operating from that most precious of founts, your heart of hearts.”

If Lion show up, it means:

-Hold your head up high and keep your dignity, no matter what you’re faced with.

-You’re much stronger than you think you are and need to use your emotional strength in this situation.

-Call upon the well of courage available to you to confront this uncomfortable situation.

-Listen closely and discern carefully before acting, rather than moving ahead impulsively and recklessly

-When faced with a tough decision, follow your heart rather than what you think you should do.

Call on Lion when:

-You feel particularly stressed or beaten down by any situation and want to boost your sense of power and self-confidence to deal with these circumstances.

-Your dignity and integrity have been called into question and you want to recapture your self-respect.

-You’ve been called upon to assume a position of authority and leadership.

-You’ve taken on a task or project that seems beyond your talents and capabilities, yet something inside you knows that you can do it, even though it requires you to stretch yourself.

If Lion is your Power Animal . . .

-You carry yourself in a stately manner, with a strong presence and air of nobility that makes people notice you whenever you walk into a room.

-You’re capable of a great deal of compassion, yet when your anger is triggered–which isn’t easily done–everyone else backs off in the face of your roar.

-You’re quite courageous, possess a great deal of physical and emotional strength, and are a natural leader and organizer.  You’re often called to take on tasks that require the application of these gifts.

-You function best as part of a group or community rather than alone, and are frequently asked to take an active role in the group.

-You enjoy taking risks by going into situations that will stretch your capabilities and expand your knowledge.

How to access Lion’s power . . .

-When you’re walking about, lift your chin and head up, straightening and stretching your spine so that the effect is one of feeling taller and more dignified.

-Roar!  Yes, go ahead and find out what it feels like to do so, whether quietly or with full force, noticing as you do how it feels in your gut and your heart.

-Close your eyes and pretend that you’re a king or queen.  Breathe slowly and deeply, and see if you can feel that sense of nobility, dignity, and connection to the divine in your body.

-If there’s someone close to you from whom you’re withholding some feelings, speak your truth lovingly and assertively, without apprehension about his or her response.


The Lioness of My Heart [Blog & Instagram]

This is the Lioness who brought me out of my creative cave.  Stride-for-stride, she is right there with me.  And truth be told, most of the time she is a few years ahead of me, compassionately encouraging me to catch up.  I highly encourage you to check her out for your own inspiration & magic.  She is a master-painter, gallery director of one the most prestigious venues in the nation, a professional hair & make-up artist, and all-around divine being of light & creative fire [among too many other things to list here].

Little Lion Man by Mumford & Sons

I was blessed with the opportunity to experience Mumford & Sons perform this live at the Hollywood Bowl and was forever moved by it.  So incredibly emotionally powerful!  I still cry pretty much every time I hear this song or watch the music video [tears of power & grace of course!].

Living as the Lion Emperor In Your Realm [click here to read]

An article I put together about how to maintain dominion over your kingdom.


lionspaceroar

 

I believe we all have a Lion living within.  Come join me and let your Lion out.  Let’s roar together.  Not in defiance, but rather in asserting our rightful place upon the throne of our very own lives.

Let us live & act with passion, compassion, and courage fueled by noble hearts. #Lionhearted