As part of progressing into the spiritual side of things such as learning about meditation and yoga, I have been experimenting with using essential oils for aromatherapy purposes. It happens that my household already has so many old books about all kinds of things before the internet. One day I stumbled into the basement and a few books immediately caught my eye. They were about yoga, meditation, aromatherapy, how to take better care of your face and skin, and etc. I read through the aromatherapy book first and basically it contains a lot of information that is spreading all over the internet. Basically the book already had good info which was just re-confirmed these days by more people as we become more aware of natural remedies. I have been using lavender essential oil mostly to help with sleep, with the epsom salt baths to help relax the muscles and recover, simply sniffing the dropper, and now I have tried adding a few drops to a little kettle thing where I filled it with about 50 mL of purified water. This kettle thing is another miscellaneous item I found within some shelves of the house that is supported by a wooden stick that goes through the top of it, which allows it to sit on a little furnace area where you are supposed to insert a small short candle. While lit, the candle will then heat up the kettle containing your water and essential oil mix, producing vapour that you can breathe. Since I could not find the best candle which would allow the flame to make close enough contact with the kettle, I found another way where I lit a bigger candle which came with a glass and metallic vase, and let the wooden stick support of it sit over the top edges of the vase. This allowed the kettle to rest at a level just in contact with the flame of the larger candle, which let it get hot enough to produce steam or vapour. I am fortunate for being resourceful enough to find such a cheap and effective way to vaporize the essential oils for inhalation. I must say that it seems to be working already. I can still feel or smell the lavender even when I am sitting at my computer right now. In addition to the candles and essential oils, I also experimented with burning incense (another convenient thing we already had at home). It has been a very long time since I immersed myself in this kind of meditative atmosphere and it is much needed. Scents are one of those things that we remember quite distinctly and can come up with a quick preference for. Essential oils are great and just another tool in our natural arsenal to promote wellness and a healthy state of mind. I recommend giving it a try if you haven't already and see if you can visit your local health food store where they may feature samples for you to sniff. Go with your intuition and you should be able to tell right away based on which scents you like. For me, I like peppermint, orange, lemon, tangerine, eucalyptus, cedar, rosemary, and lavender. Basically each kind of essential oil has a different effect, like uplifting, calming, and clearing your nose and allow you to breathe easier. I used to think that these things were only for certain types of people, but apparently anyone and everyone can only benefit from the holistic and natural remedies. It doesn't matter what career you have and what background you are from. We all live on the same planet earth which already has an abundance of everything we really need.
There can be no doubt anymore these days that yoga helps save many people from all kinds of ailments. It really is a practice that unites the mind, body and spirit. I heard about yoga way back in my childhood but at the time I overlooked it and did not think it was relevant for me to actually go out and try it. But the funny thing is that I remember having the sort of intuition in my childhood where I actually performed some of my own yoga moves by instinct. I simply felt like doing upward-facing dog, prayer pose, plow pose, etc. before I even knew about yoga. It's almost as if people were meant to practice it to help live healthier and more rewarding lives.
Recently I have been visiting a local yoga studio and practicing some moksha yoga where it is done in the heat. The first time I walked in to the room I already felt like sweating. Now I am used to the heat but I still sweat a lot in my practice. As someone who used to practice Chinese martial arts I thought I could surely handle something as simple as yoga. Turns out I was incorrect in my assumption and it was very challenging at the beginning. I am slowly getting better at holding the poses but it is definitely not a walk in the park. I also tried yin yoga which is basically all relaxation but I felt like falling asleep through that one (which is the point but I prefer the more active moksha yoga instead). After doing moksha yoga I can breathe a lot easier, feel lighter and more relaxed in mind, body and soul.
My long-term goal is to incorporate yoga on a regular basis into my lifestyle, while balancing gym workouts (for hypertrophy and cardio) and my usual freelance work (or full-time if I am fortunate). Yoga is just one of those things like hitting the gym (actually a good compliment, like yin and yang) that should be in every person's lifestyle if they wish to live longer and healthier. For 3 years I hit the gym consistently, focusing on bulking, lifting weights, building muscle, gaining size and strength, etc. without realizing how important it was to do the relaxing and maintenance stuff like yoga, epsom salt baths, contrast showers, massage therapy and physio therapy. Now I know from experience what my body is like especially with age and I am a lot more mindful about the kinds of physical activities I put myself through. I am setting up a schedule where I will balance swimming, yoga, cardio, core and weights for the workouts I do each day of the week. I have sacrificed some my the size and strength I gained from the gym in order to focus on recovery and loosening the muscles. There is no point in building all of that muscle if you cannot move in a full range of motion or get good blood circulation. I would prefer having a leaner but more agile, light and quick body than a bulkier one that gets fatigued, stiff and not actually feeling as strong because of those.
I have also considered my diet and have been cutting out most of the typical meats like chicken, beef and pork (I allow myself seafood, eggs, whey protein, and recently lamb). I did an experiment last month where I challenged myself to go vegetarian for 1 week and it turned out I felt much clearer in the mind and had more energy. I was lighter and leaning out due to the drop in protein intake, but I was no weaker while performing my exercises (such as pull-ups, dips, tricep pulldowns). I noticed I was able to add 20 lbs to my usual tricep pulldown exercise (for 100 lbs) and still crank out at least 10 reps on those. That was about a month ago but I will resume my gym workouts again soon and get back into the muscle-building mindset. Only this time I will know to use yoga and work within my limits as far as protein is concerned so that I find a good balance that is sustainable.
I have fallen under the spell of the Matrix for far too long. It is ironic since The Matrix was one of my favourite films of all time. Each time I revisit the movie I see it from a new perspective. When I first saw the film as teenager, I appreciated the special effects, action and science-fiction parallel to our own world. When I saw it again some years later, I was able to notice a lot more significance in each scene, the messages and emotions behind them. But it didn't occur to me until now that I was living my life inside a Matrix prison, from a mental point-of-view. I allowed myself to hold a set of belief systems that did not help me. I let fear get the better of me at many different moments of my life which made me fail certain opportunities which were presented to me. I now understand that in reality there is simply nothing to be afraid of. We are all here to fulfill some life purpose and we have to live our lives regardless of anything. We might as well be happy, positive and make the best of our situation in order to really start improving it. I have been reading all kinds of interesting information online and am beginning to try some of these new things myself and seeing if they will help me from a spiritual point-of-view. We cannot underestimate our spirituality and it is at least as essential as the mental and physical part of being human. There is a lot of potential in this frame of mind and believe that so much more can be accomplished for good if we are able to share and tap into our unique individual powers.
I have been planning on making some videos and sharing them online showing my process of how I create hand-painted textures without using a tablet. Normally, many digital artists will use a tablet and stylus as the electronic version of the traditional pen and paper to draw their artwork. As for me however, I tried to get into using a tablet many years ago but have always felt that it irritated my wrist each time. I could not picture putting myself in that sort of ongoing stress and it helped motivate me to pursue creating any kind of art that did not require using a tablet. The tablet also took up precious space on my desk and it was a hassle to switch between tablet and stylus to keyboard and mouse whenever I needed to perform certain functions in Photoshop or navigate my operating system. Instead, I would find myself simply painting brush strokes using the mouse and looking for other ways to create my textures such as layer styles, gradients, patterns, and by modifying photographic references and free texture assets. You know what they say about spending over 10,000 hours practicing something, you become an expert, and I've spent way more time using the computer than drawing with pen on paper.
After many years of trials and tribulations, I have decided to pursue the low-poly 3D models and hand-painted textures path because this line of work minimizes the use of a tablet. I enjoy creating this type of art and would like to see how much further I can push my skills without relying on one. I never have to whip out my old Intuos for any of my recent projects, however I would be open to using it once again for some final detailing if I really need those precise brush strokes. 3D-Coat is also super useful with my workflow and helps make texturing without a tablet even easier. With familiarity with specific hotkeys in both Photoshop and 3D-Coat, painting with no tablet is a breeze. Hotkeys that control the incremental sizes of the brush, colour picking, swapping between foreground and background colours, as well as adjusting opacity and flow, making selections and masks, adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation and hues, and moving layers into groups are some of the most important functions that I use for my work style. I want to show that it is not just possible but viable to create hand-painted textures without using a tablet, with a combination of the right formula, knowledge and skills. This method is good for those who are too cheap to get a tablet or think that getting a good one is out of your budget, too lazy to set it up every time you make art, have spent more time using the mouse and keyboard combination like me than drawing art the old school way, or simply want to have some fun and experiment with what they can create using unconventional ways. I will be setting up a YouTube channel soon specifically for my no-tablet hand-painting style where I will share tutorials, processes, tips and eagerly await the mixed feedback and criticisms associated with my method or my artwork. I can even share my workstation and hardware so people know I'm not joking (By the way it's this: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/b/DnVYcf). I will use the channel to help motivate me to improve both my modeling and texturing skills and to hopefully inspire others who happen to be interested in the hand-painted, low-poly 3D style. I should just call it "HPLP3D", "HPLP" or "LPHP" for short.
Freelance 2D/3D Game Artist, Internet Marketing Entrepreneur, PC Gaming and Fitness Enthusiast and Spiritual Seeker with a passion for innovation and art forms.