Question 9: List 5 Pieces of Art that Stimulate Your Brain Stem

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Below is my list of 5 art pieces; but I encourage you to make your own list. Just remember that art does not mean just visual art; feel free to use any form of art.

1) Jonathan Larson’s Rent 

- This Broadway musical tells the story of one year in the life of a group of friends living with little to no money in New York City. The musical addresses drugs, AIDS, homosexuality, transgenders, loss, and most importantly love. Almost everyone has heard the song, Seasons of Love; but not many know about the musical. Not only is Rent my favorite musical, it is my number one piece of art that stimulates my brain to think about what life really entails.

2) The 1967 Photograph of the Peace Marcher

- This photography was first shown to me in US History and instantly it ignited something in brain. Perhaps it is the contrast between violence and nature; or simply the fact that the picture can solely speak for itself. Simply put, this picture really makes me think about the world and the history of mankind.

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3) Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights 

- Anyone who knows me understands that musicals are perhaps my favorite form of art; and this musical is one I talk about nonstop. In the Heights tells the story of a small neighborhood in Washington Heights, as they rediscover their passions and begin to learn what it means to grow up and follow their dreams. The musical itself is full of intricate dance numbers and amazing songs; but it is the story line that ignites my brain and makes me think about what will be important to me in my future. This is a must see musical for anyone who loves Broadway.

4) Banksy’s Protest Graffiti 

- Any form of protest art ignites my brain and makes me think about what I could do to change the world;but Banksy’s always seems to do it the fastest. His art is impeccable and the message behind it is great. There isn’t much else to say but if you enjoy protest art I do recommenced looking up his work.

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5) Disney’s The Newsies 

- Unlike the previous art pieces, this musical does not contain a necessarily deep message ( though it does teach you to seize the day and make change). The music and choreography from this musical ignites my brain to create something. Its the type of music that makes me hyped up to do something about the things I see in the world. It tells the story of the newsboys strike in 1899. Sound boring? The strike was organized by the kids themselves and the musical adds art, romance, and comedy to this historical event. Sometimes it just takes catchy songs and a lot of energy to ignite a brain.

What are your favorite pieces of art? What did you think of mine? Post it as a comment! Share it on Facebook! Tell the world what pieces of art ignite your brain!

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Question 8: What is the Purpose of Art?

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Art. What a broad term. For many, the term art refers to mostly to paintings, sculptures, and sometimes collages. But for me personally, art can refer to both visual and performance arts. What do I mean? Visual arts are what people typically describe as art; that is anything that you make with your hands. Some commonly overlooked visual arts include printmaking, sewing, and photography. On the other end you have performance art; that could be theater, spoken word, singing, or dancing. Why am I describing this? Well for one, I am a performer; so in order to talk about art I like to make sure it includes performing. But I also feel that in order to describe the purpose of art, you need to make sure that you are aware of what art is. 

To me art has many purposes; one of the most prominent is to express. All art is an expression of either an emotion, a time period, or a person. Van Gough’s Starry Night is his expression of the night. While Jonathan Lawson wrote Rent,to express not only the time period but the emotion of love. It is through the fact that they express such a strong idea that they are widely appreciated as great works of art. 

But in order for art to truly be great, it has to evoke an emotion. So perhaps a purpose of art to create emotion. For example, the covers of Time Magazine are a form of art, and they typically produce an emotion. Not only does this sell the magazine, but it makes you appreciate the picture or design on the cover. As for a performance art example; think of your favorite band. Do their songs evoke emotion in you? Most people would say yes. Art is meant to make you feel something; though it may not always be a positive feeling, it will be something. 

Part of the greatness of art is that it can encompass both of these purposes. By the artist expressing something, the viewer is able to have an emotion towards it. Next time you see a piece of art ( it could be at a museum or it could just be the next movie you watch) I challenge you to first look for what the artist could be expressing, and then ask yourself what emotion you are feeling because of it. 

Now of course these are just my thoughts on the purpose of art. What are yours? What do you think the purpose of art is? Post it as a comment! Share it on Facebook! Tell the world what you think the purpose of art is! 

 

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Follow Up Activity

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As I was looking through Soul Pancake I realized that the next page didn’t include a question, but a follow up activity to what drains and recharges your soul. So here is a brief post to help lead you in discovering what your soul is. 

In order to truly see your soul it takes art. But not just any art, I believe (as does Soul Pancake) that it takes a picture collage. Lucky for you, making picture collages is one of my many hobbies. 

The first step in making a collage is locating magazines,books, newspapers, and/or actually photographs. Make a big pile of all of these resources before even beginning to look through room. I personally think that collages turn out better when you create them in natural light; so I recommend finding a nice spot near a window. After finding your resources grab some scissors and dig in. Start flipping through the magazines and cut out any and all pictures that provoke an emotion in you. Remember that words are not out of the question; have fun playing on words, or even creating your own. Most importantly remember that nothing has to be perfect; it just has to be you. After cutting out all of your ideas and pictures; find a large piece of paper to paste them on to. It can be a color or it can be white. It can be whatever size best suits you. The background is just as important as the pictures. After finding your background it is time to paste your pictures down. Now there are two different ways to go about this. You can use Mod Podge (found at Michaels) or you can use glue. Mod Podge goes on to hold the pictures to the background, and over the pictures to hold them in place. It produces a more professional looking collage. Though I do like how that looks, I have found that Elmer’s Glue Sticks work just as well. The final step in your collage is to hang it somewhere so that you see it every day! It is important to be reminded of what your soul is! Below are several pictures of some of my favorite collages; both in progress and finished! Feel free to use them as inspiration; but in the end yours should be uniquely your own.Image

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Make a visual of your soul! Hang it in your house! Post it as a comment! Share it on Facebook! Show your friends and family! Show the world your soul! 

 

 

Question 7: What drains your soul? What recharges it?

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What a great question! Before even beginning to delve into what drains and recharges your soul; you first have to identify what a soul is. Now a soul is a lot like religion; there are many different viewpoints of it. Please keep in mind that this post is about how I personally define a soul; your idea of soul might be completely share it. Please share your thoughts on the matter! 

For me, a soul is your inner self. Its the part of you that goes beyond your appearance and hobbies; its the part of you that you leave behind after death. Your soul is something that even you can’t escape. Simply put, it is your true self.

So now; what drains a soul? Well I am sure for many it might be work, school, extended family, etc. But I challenge you, and myself to dig deeper. I know that for me personally sitting at a computer all day drains my soul. It leaves me feeling empty and tired. People with high energy (or who are refereed to as hyper) drain my soul. Draining your soul could be any task that you complete that makes you feel sad, tired, even hopeless. Though I know that you can’t always get out of soul draining activities, you can fight them. Try doing an activity that recharges your soul after spending a long time draining it. Also, while doing the draining task, make sure you tell yourself that its not that you are hopeless or tired its just that the task you are doing is soul draining. Just by acknowledging that simple fact, you can start to see things differently. 

Now before you can start combating draining by recharging; you have to figure out what recharges your soul. Again a lot of people might say being outside, yoga, exercising; and yes those are all positive ways to recharge; I challenge you to go beyond that mindset. Think about the activities that really make you feel alive. What makes you jump for joy, feel motivated, be alive? For me personally, listening to music, performing on stage, and being around younger kids really makes me happy and alive. Those are the moments in my life where I feel like I could change the world. An important part of being happy and loving life is making sure you recharge. We all take time out of our days to make sure we charge our cell phones; yet very few people take the time to recharge themselves. 

What drains your soul? What recharges it? What even is a soul? Post it as a comment! Share it on Facebook! Talk about it! Think about it! Tell the world about your soul! 

 

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Question 6: People Watching

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For the sixth question in Soul Pancake it talks about another activity. Luckily for me, this is an activity I take part in almost daily; People Watching.

The first step in People Watching is to learn what exactly it is. I am not telling you to go follow someone, in fact I am simply telling you to go found a spot that you can sit in for a long period of time.  So Step 1; think of a place you could go. It should be somewhere that experiences pedestrian traffic, but that would not be weird for you to be standing there for a long period of time. For example; a mall or a grocery store would work; but standing in a neighborhood might not be your best option. Now that you have chosen a location for your people watching; it is time to make a music playlist. Why music? Listening to music is not only good for the soul; it also helps you get rid of the excess noise around you. People watching is not a time for you “listen in” on conversations; you are simply watching their actions. So make a music playlist of songs that bring your energy up; your theme songs. It doesn’t matter how cheesy the songs are or how cliche they might be; no one will hear them but you. The final step in people watching is to go to your location, turn on your music, and observe the world around you. Look out for how families are different than couples; how women and different from men. Notice what times of the day people seem happier; wonder why that is. Ask yourself questions about what you see. Take away positive actions you see, and take note of the negative ones. People watching is not only a fun activity, it is one that can help you grow.

Now I challenge you to go out and watch people! I would love to hear about your experience. Post it as a comment, share it on Facebook, tell the world what you saw!

 

 

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Question 5: How do thoughts affect reality?

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What an open ended question! I mean everyone has very different thoughts, but we all live in the same reality. Some people are constantly thinking, while others “live in the moment”. That is another factor that makes this question difficult. I think it will be best if everyone answers this question using their own life as the example. Here goes my answer…

 

I am a thinker. I always have been the type of person who is constantly in thought. Over the years I have tried to be more in the moment, but a part of my brain is always in thought. Whether it be what I am going to do over the weekend, or me replaying a conversation; thoughts are always present. Now my reality is early college. I just started back at school last week and it is already intense. The teachers move quickly over topics and most things are only said once. My reality is fast paced and full of noise and distractions. Yet there I sit, quietly in my own world, thinking about my friends, lunch, my outfit, pretty much anything but school. I have noticed before that if I am thinking about happier thoughts then my attitude towards those in my reality will be better then if I am thinking about negative things. Sometimes my thoughts lead me to miss important information in my reality; and often times I stare blankly into space. My thoughts have a rather large affect on my reality now that I think about it. I have noticed that over 5 times during writing this blog post my mind has been many other places. I found myself thinking about what I could send as a text to my friend, when my parents were going to get home, how school would go tomorrow, and even about my outfit for school… on Tuesday. Therefore this blog post took longer to write and I made more typos then usual. Obviously my thoughts have a major affect on my reality.

 

How do you think thoughts affect reality? Post it as a comment! Share it on Facebook! Tell the world how you think thoughts affect reality.

Question 4: What is the interplay between fate and freewill?

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I am now back to doing my Soul Pancake posts; and this question is definitely a great one to get me (and you) back onto the Soul Pancake Journey. As usual I think to answer this question fully you will need to do it in steps. The first step is determining, What is fate? Dictionary.com says that fate is that which is inevitably predetermined; destiny. Honestly, that definition doesn’t help very much; in simpler terms fate is something that most certainly will happen to you, it’s something that you can’t escape. On the other hand free will is the ability to make up on your mind, and act on it. Now back to the initial question, how are these two things intertwined? For some people the answer may be simple; perhaps you don’t believe in fate, therefore they aren’t intertwined. But, since I do believe in fate it’s a little more complicated. To me the word fate reminds me of Mulan (if you read the post entitled Disney Culture you will understand where this is coming from). It was Mulan’s fate to save China, yet how she did that was her free will. No matter what happened in her life she was going to save China but how she did it was determined by her own free will. I know that using a Disney movie as an example makes the concept seem very farfetched, but it works in an average life as well. For example, I believe that when we are born our fate is determined; whether it be to cure cancer or be a world famous celebrity; the Universe (or God or Allah or Yahweh or whomever you believe in) already has that planned for you. But once you are born you are on your own. You have free will in your life; you make your own choices and mistakes. Some people might find their fate sooner than others; but in the end everyone finds their fate.

 

In short I think that the interplay between fate and free will is that your free will eventually will lead to your fate. So maybe it wasn’t your fate to work for minimum wage at the mall, but that was brought upon by your free will and the choices you have/had made, and you just have to know that it is only temporary; that your fate has yet to be shown to you.

 

What do you think the interplay is between fate and free will? Post it as a comment. Share it on Facebook. Tell the world what you think the interplay is!

 

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