Genius Is Common

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In late 2015 I received a message on Linked In from a gentleman by the name of Bruce George (Read more about him here). He had come across my Linked In profile and felt that I was a great fit for a movement that he started called "Genius is Common". I 'll be honest, when we spoke and he asked me what the words "genius is common" meant to me and I was a little offended at first. The phrase was thought provoking and really made me check myself. I thought that the title of "genius" was one that had to be earned. You had to be beyond smart and talented with supernatural abilities that most other people don't have. It turns out that Bruce George thinks I'm a genius, he thinks that everyone else is a genius too.

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I, like everyone else have been brain washed to believe that genius is some exclusive category. The truth is, it's an elitist word with a false definition. My genius happens to be art and inspiration, I've learned that in the last few years.What gifts have you been blessed with? What are you really great at? You usually know early on in life but not always. My passion has always been in art, teaching and helping others; I happen to be really good at all three. In 2015 I was given multiple opportunities to teach after school enrichment in three completely different programs. All of the kids have different backgrounds and experiences. Some are right brainers and some are left, all are very different. Teaching is a very difficult job because not only do you have to always consider safety first, you also have to get familiar with each personality and find what works best with each. I watch them create and am continuously amazed at how gifted they are without even knowing.

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I have a friend named Joy who is so creative that she can build something out of nothing; she actually recently won first prize for turning trash into fashion for a traveling fashion show. Another very close friend, Shanna is a phenomenal poet and writer, so phenomenal that she leads a writers group, runs a local poetry venue which is going 11 years strong, travels all over to perform and was named the Ambassador of Poetry at a local college. My friend and studio partner Janelle paints, makes jewelry, designs logos and web sites,makes clothing...I can keep going but you get the idea.

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My brother Brian builds web sites from scratch manages some of my social networking, edits my blog and he's an amazing body paint model. My daughter, Teyana creates beautiful sketches of the human body out of her head. My sun (son) builds really cool things from scratch that make me scratch my head sometimes but he builds them nonetheless. The point is, you are a genius and so is everyone you know. We need to encourage each other to really tap into the things that we are best at and bring them into the world. Imagine the deprivation we would go through as a people if some of the following geniuses listened to their doubts:

Albert Einstein

Leonardi DiVinci

Abraham L,incoln

Michael Jackson

Amelia Earhardt

Oprah Winfrey

Isaac Newton

Michael Jordan

Martin Luther King Jr.

Bruce George

Your Mother

Your father

The teacher who never gave up on you

The friend who pushed you beyond your limits...The list goes on but you get the point.

Learn more about the Genius is common movement here! It's a movement that is growing daily and having a tremendous impact on many communities. Become a part of the movement.

Visit the Genius is Common web site to learn more about the movement and what you can do to join. There is also apparel avalable there and lots of videos with people around the globe sharing their genius.

I Love Rainbows...

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Rainbows have always fascinated me. As a child they showed up in nearly every drawing I created. When I shop I immediately gravitate to the most bright and vivid colors. Whether it represents God's covenant with mankind or the Irish tale of the pot of gold at the end, rainbows are truly inspiring. The color rainbows hold are like a palette for life. As an artist these colors are essential for re-creating vivid memories of scattered dreams and visions. I cannot imagine a colorless world. It would still be beautiful, but without diversity and contrast.I remember the first rainbow I ever saw, I was about four years young. I found it so amazing that something so beautiful could find it's way into a muddy puddle in the black top pavement of my parking lot. I was so excited that I showed my dad, he giggled and said it was just some oil from a car that mixed with the rain. I still thought it was beautiful. I remembered the tale of how you can find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and wondered if this was one of those. From that day on I would stare outside as it rained. When the rain calmed down, I would run outside to the parking lot and look for rainbows in the pavement.

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The first real rainbow I ever saw just mysteriously appeared after a rainstorm as the clouds were parting and the sun was peeking through. It was breathtaking and for a moment I thought I was dreaming and didn't know what to do with myself. Needless to say I never got a pot of gold because I couldn't even really tell where the end of the rainbow was. It remained suspended in the sky for just a little while and disappeared almost as mysteriously as it appeared. Rainbows represent many things in today’s society. They've appeared millions of times in our skies.

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They are a beautiful reminder of the glorious colors we are created from. Life itself contains so many different colors and hues, different blends and strokes, like a painting. When I see the bright vivid colors of the rainbow, I feel them as well. In life we all experience storms; some storms are bigger than others, but when you see the rainbow at the end you find hope to keep pushing toward your goal. I try to live my life in contrast because it allows me to pull positive energy out of negativity. It is said that we have to experience rain to see the rainbow, and for the most part it is true. It is when the storm doesn't let up and the sky remains dark that we see no end. It's easy to lose hope that the sun will shine but once you see those colors, you know that better times are ahead. It may not be a literal pot of gold, but it's a pot of hope that contains the colors needed to bring your gloomy spirit back to life. We often get frustrated when it rains but nothing will grow without it. Rainbows represent hope after a storm.I feel privileged to have witness the magic of rainbows whether they are in the sky on the ground or on a canvas. If you happen to see me sporting the colors of the rainbow at any point in time please know that it is a symbol of self expression, life, love, hope and prosperity no matter what you are going through there is always a rainbow at the end..

Mariposa

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Mariposa means butterfly in spanish. I'm not Spanish but I happen to love butterflies. From thier beautiful wings to the naturally inspiring life cycle they share so publically, I am obsessed! The obsession began in December of 1997 when my daughter was born and Mariah Carey's song "Butterfly" was released. The song was about a tranformational love that forever changed the life of the singer which was exactly how I felt about the love I felt for my child.During my pregnancy I realized that I was part of a miracle. The gift of carrying life is not something that everyone gets to experience. Even as a young mom to be I knew that I was officially responsible for the growth of another human being. It was scary and exciting all at once. I was her cocoon and she was literally transforming inside of me. When she was born I cried because I knew that someday she would grow wings and fly away.

Artists are constantly seeking inspiration in the world, nature happens to be one of my biggest inspirations. No one can paint and blend colors the way that nature does. A butterfly's wings are meticulous by design. Wings that are strong enough to carry them wherever they need to go but fragile enough to be broken at any given moment; as is life.

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A few months ago a good friend shared a Vlog by Taren Guy who explains the life cycle in comparison to the butterfly. I was literally in tears by the end of this video because it is so accurate.

The catepillar crawls around inching its body to an anticipated destination. As it crawls it has no idea that there will likely be distractions surrounding it. Human life is a lot like this as well; we go on our daily journeys trying to reach a destination which we might call goals and dreams but we are easily distracted by our surroundings. The butterfly by nature posesses the goal to fly instead of crawl; with that in mind it never doubts that it will one day fly, it just knows. As the caterpillar finds a place of rest before it transitions, it wraps itself in a coccoon to avoid any outside interference and begins it's transformation. What exactly is going on inside of that coccoon is somewhat of a mystery, but it is clear that stage is done when the butterfly emerges with bright and beautiful wings. During my creative process I can't explain exactly what is going on in my mind but the final result always emerges in ways that I can't explain or comprehend.

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Watching my children from womb (coccoon) to now young adults has been a mariposa experience. They are growing their own meticulously colored wings showing me how fragile life can really be while still having enough strength for survival. While the butterfly is still a caterpillar, it doesn't really see the entire world around it because of a limited view. When they begin to fly the world is shed in a whole new light and they can see and experience a lot more. This can come with many trials and errors, but the butterfly endures. I think as human beings we go in and out of stages from each chapter in our lives. We have the ability and advantage to go through the process again and again, each time emerging differently.I treat my art with the dignity of knowing that if I do not create from the right place (spiritually), it will not have the necessary impact.  I must be vulnerable enough to listen yet strong enough to comply with the direction of creativity. I cannot lock myself in a coccoon forever because I would not be able to succeed as an artist or a human being for that matter. It takes time and diligence to create whether on a living or gesso covered canvas. I must listen and learn from nature, it is by far the best teacher and example. The wonderous and mysterious life of a Mariposa is something to marvel and admire.