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Unravel Joy: Introduction

Unravel Joy: Introduction

Why do you want the things you want? For many, the obvious answer is because they want to BE HAPPY. This leads to another question, how do you think you can achieve happiness? This is where things get tricky, but for many people, the answer […]

Discover Your Life Purpose: Childhood Influences

Discover Your Life Purpose: Childhood Influences

You may think that the people around you, and society at large, have little to no influence on who you are… but that’s just not true. If you take the time to reflect on your beliefs and where they come from, you’ll soon realize how […]

What Have I Done With My Life?

What Have I Done With My Life?

You wake up and head to the bathroom like you always do. You start to brush your teeth, but as you stroke your toothbrush up and down, you notice something different this morning. Your eyes… they no longer twinkle like they used to.

What happened to the fire that once blazed in your gaze? What happened to the smile that would overwhelm your face when you thought about the future? What happened to the energy boost your heart felt when you talked about your goals?

You stare at yourself in the mirror for a few more seconds, and ask in a defeated voice,

What have I done with my life?

With no answer in sight, you take a deep breath and carry on with the day.

This is the story of millions of men and women across the world. People who once joyfully pursued their dreams. Humans who fought day and night for a better life, but that at some point, gave up.

Here’s the good news though, as long as there is air in your lungs and blood in your veins, you can make a change.

Are you a mother who has dedicated her life to her children, and now that they are grown up you wonder, what now?
Are you a man who has spent years working and working and now look back and question if it was worth it?
Are you dissatisfied with your current life situation?
Are you someone uncertain of what the next step should be?

If so, let’s talk.

Are you ready to discover your life purpose? Learn how to take advantage of your natural talents, embrace your passions, understand your personality and create beliefs that will empower you to live a fulfilling life. I want you to find meaning and joy in this life. I want you to pursue your dreams and to believe that they are possible. And I want to help you do it! So, let’s begin this journey of exploration together.

Contact me through e-mail: alexanderrobleto@outlook.com
Facebook: @jorgerobleto

Note: featured image by Katy Mendez

Discover Your Life Purpose: Introduction

Discover Your Life Purpose: Introduction

I recently started to help some friends develop goals for their lives, and begin the process of making them a reality. What I discovered though is that goals only make sense when you know what your purpose is. If you don’t know WHAT you want […]

Wild And Free: A Conversation with a Conservationist

Wild And Free: A Conversation with a Conservationist

Geraldine Morelli started her own charity in support of wild animals in 2014, and after connecting with her through Instagram, I asked her if she would do an interview with me. Art intersects with so many aspects of life, and finding ways to not only […]

Croissant + Muffin = Cruffin: The Interview

Croissant + Muffin = Cruffin: The Interview

My wife and I had the chance to travel to the island of Mallorca in February and spent some really enjoyable days in the Spanish sun. On our last day there we decided to do a city tour of Palma. Whether by luck or providence, we stumbled upon an establishment called “Bits of Glory.” What caught our attention was something that looked liked a croissant but was shaped liked a muffin. We were so fascinated by it that we just had to try it. The taste and flavours in my mouth cannot be explained in words. This encounter lead me to get in touch with the owners and as result, a friendship has developed.

How and when was the idea born of opening a bakery or “bakehouse” as you call it?

Bits of Glory was founded last January by Daniel (the baker) and I, Silvana (the designer). We are partners and also a couple. A convincing proof that work and love can go hand in hand to form a great tandem.

We met in Madrid almost seven years ago. There, we had a homemade & ecofriendly restaurant for two years: Motha Madrid. The restaurant was a hit, but life in the big capital did not fill us at a personal level. We are lovers of nature, the sea and for us it is super important to enjoy moments of disconnection, nourish body and mind, and be able to develop our work with the quality standards in product and service that we want. That is why we left our comfort zone and decided to launch ourselves towards the adventure of starting over from scratch on this wonderful island: Mallorca.

We are declared foodlovers and wanted to innovate in a sector like the bakery. Create a new concept around it and offer a new, differentiating experience where people and the quality of the product are the fundamental values and authentic protagonists.

Daniel, since you originally come from Argentina, I would like to know what lead you to move to Spain and how has your experience been in Europe as a chef?

I’ve always been a restless, self-taught person. When I finished studying gastronomy and culinary arts in Argentina, my mind could not stop thinking about living new experiences, trying new things and continuing to learn from other cultures. I have had the opportunity to travel a lot and that has made me a better professional and I think (hopefully), a better person.

My experience as a chef in Europe has allowed me to develop my entrepreneurial side: to listen to what people want or need, to detect market trends, to learn to develop new creative concepts around gastronomy, to be able to innovate and offer a more global experience, not just in a culinary sense. I believe in an honest kitchen, where the raw materials are respected and where the experience becomes memorable.

And Silvana, I know you previously worked in “advertising,” so can you tell me what the transition was like going from a corporate career to having your own business? Was the process difficult?

After working many years for advertising agencies in Madrid, the idea of developing my creativity and turning my experience into a single brand seemed to me the most natural way to continue professionally. In addition, another important change in my mind occurred with the entry of social networks. When the world was only offline, I often had the moral dilemma of developing campaigns for brands that promised or said things that were not true.

But social networks made the world of marketing and advertising more honest. At last, the message was not unidirectional, now there is a dialogue and this makes the companies/brands have to be more conscious, more real, more human, closer. Everything I did not like about my profession took an unexpected turn. Now, doing things right in this field does not depend on the money or level of investment you have or may have. It depends on how true you are and the passion you are able to convey. And what better way to do it than to develop your own project! There can be nothing more authentic, no more personal or more from the inside. It is something magical and highly recommended.

As our site is dedicated to art, I would like to know where the inspiration for your new culinary creations comes from? 

We find inspiration in our trips, nature, talks with friends or unknown people in markets, books, suggestions from our clients, photographs, moments in our memory with relatives or friends…

What is the process for deciding what to prepare for the next day?

We like to listen to our clients, their suggestions or opinions are the soul of our project. We have even made flavor updates with ideas suggested by them (like including cinnamon in the dough of some of our cruffins).

Each evening, after finishing the work day, the two of us meet and discuss everything that happened throughout the day. We analyze it, try to improve processes or incorporate new ideas… The bakehouse is a living organism, constantly evolving like life itself, people, society.

What is the purpose of this project that you have started? What do you intend to achieve and how do you intend to achieve those goals?

The beginning of all change is to begin to think about it (a lot of people do not even get to do this kind of transcendental question). That means that there is something inside us that wants to flourish, that we feel like communicating things, expressing ourselves, to feel useful and to continue learning and improving day by day. That feeling is the soul of feeling alive.

Bits of Glory is a bidirectional project: both at the public/customer level (with product quality and a global differentiating experience) and at the company level. We would love to see this venture grow, to have the opportunity to transmit our values as a company to our workers, train them, take care of them, give them new opportunities and show them that with passion and effort they can achieve all of their goals. And to be able to transmit all this in other cities, other countries… Create a great community! You should never stop dreaming, you know?

One of the things I learned from our previous project is that we always have to think big. It’s the only way to be prepared to grow. Thinking small only puts limits. So never stop thinking big.

Maybe this is also linked to the other thing I learned from our first venture. You have to have resources to deal with failure but you have to be even more prepared to face success. Plan growth, try to be as exponential as possible, evaluate the operations both in terms of production and the attention to the public. Know how to diversify the business, be open to collaborative ideas, coworking, innovation. Only fate knows how far we will reach, but our eyes are always on the horizon.

Do you have any ideas on how to create collaboration or coworking with other people? What are some collaborations you have already made with other entrepreneurs or artists?

We have many collaborations in mind but not all have come to fruition. It is necessary that both parties have the same disposition and share the same spirit of collaboration and unfortunately, many times this does not happen. But we have other ideas that hopefully we can put into action soon: such as home deliveries in a limited area by bicycle, in collaboration with some bicycles in the neighborhood.  Even a small foodtruck that in the summer season approaches the beaches of the city.  We would also like to fill the walls of the bakehouse with works by emerging artists and illustrators, and so on.

In Madrid, we made collaborations that were very satisfactory, both at the business and personal level: We made a breakfast kit for a course given by the photographer Álvaro Sanz; we started bread workshops, participated in the Celebración of DecorAcción and other events.

We are always open to new ideas and to support and help projects with soul.

What are some of the difficulties (challenges) you faced when starting this business?

One of the main difficulties that we have found in developing this business, perhaps no one is expecting this answer, was to find a house in Mallorca. When we arrived last June we had to stay at a campsite in Esporles (Sierra Tramuntana) because there were no places in hotels or hostels. But since we are nature lovers and into camping, we did not care. We thought that in a couple of weeks we would find something, but that was not the case. Not even through real estate agencies was it possible. The real estate market on the island is very complicated for social housing (non-tourist) and after spending two and a half months in the campsite, we finally found a home, but only thanks to an English teacher we met at the campsite. He is from Barcelona and comes to Palma in the summer to teach. One of his students told him that her father had just bought a flat and offered to rent it out. Were it not for this friendship, I do not know if we would have succeeded in finding a suitable place to live.

Another challenge has been the marked seasonality of tourism on the island. Here, the season is very long: it starts in April and ends in early October. But even with that we had enough courage to open in January, because the local public is also very important to us and it seemed to us that it was essential that we began to know and pamper them as well.

At the administrative level, it has been infinitely simpler to realize the undertaking here than in Madrid (much faster and cheaper).

How are you doing with the business in the first few months of getting started?

Opening in a low season month has allowed us to finish designing our products and preparing the production mechanics for the most intense months. In addition, in order to find an outlet for the daily production that is not sold, we have put into action our social-civil responsibility. We donate what is not sold each day to the Church Of the Capuchinos who are responsible for delivering it to people who do not have resources or are going through difficult times. It is our particular granito de arena to create a better world!

Our balance of these first few months could not be better. The vast majority of customers who try us repeat! And many have become regulars, so we even know their names and are now friends. We still can not say that our business is profitable but we know that by giving people time to know us, become familiar with the novelty of the products and the business model, try us and enjoy the Bits Of Glory experience in full… Everything will come! We continue to work day by day to improve, overcome and offer the best of ourselves. We believe in the project and we will give it our all!

You two are an inspiration and a positive force in this world. The Heart and Mind community wishes you much success and prosperity in all of your endeavours. 

You can find out more about this delightful establishment here. You can also follow their culinary adventures on Instagram and Facebook.
The Man Who Talks to Lions: Benny Rebel

The Man Who Talks to Lions: Benny Rebel

Benny stands at the entrance of his home and warmly welcomes me in. His demeanor is calming and gracious. I automatically feel transported to another part of the world as everything in the apartment is Africa-themed. We sit down and after he offers me something […]

On The Orlando Shooting

On The Orlando Shooting

  By Lady Vanessa Cardona & Sara Al Souqi It was an hour when I was alone. I pumped up la musica en mi casa and allowed Colombia to rise from the floors of my home. It was an hour where the call to prayer […]

Sade Andria “Phoenix” Zabala: The Interview

Sade Andria “Phoenix” Zabala: The Interview

Who is Sade Andria Zabala? There is no simple answer and that is what fascinated me about this poet and writer. She writes with a ferocity that cuts at times but always impacts meaningfully. She imaginatively places words next to each other and somehow digs up feelings from deep within. Sometimes those feelings are delight; sometimes those feelings are despair.

Why? What? How? When? Where?

Why poetry?

“A lot of people in my life say I can be a contradiction. There is both a self-loving, no-apologies woman and an insecure, depressed, anxiety-ridden girl inside me and when they mesh, I write. I could just simply say ‘I write to quiet the disquiet in my head’ or some expected response like that, but lately I’ve realized it’s not just tragedy that makes me write, but narcissism as well. The need to have a semblance of me live on after I die as some sort of evidence I existed.”

Kill the part of you that believes it can’t survive without someone else.

Start with the hands.
The feeble way they shake
holding your morning coffee,
the way they did his dishes, his laundry, so willingly.
How they itch from the want of undressing his memory.
All lonely. All empty —
you.

Cut them off.

What sparked you to take this path in life?

“I’m not sure. A competitive drive? I remember being a freshman in high school and receiving our first copy of the campus paper (which was a new thing at the time). There was this poetry section and I thought to myself ‘I relate to this… This is pretty cool. Hey, maybe I can do this!’ I was a bit frustrated because our catholic school only paid attention to the same 30+ smart kids. I was convinced I was one of the best writers (yes, I was immature and smug, I know), but never had the privilege to be in writing seminars or writing for the school paper because students involved were mostly handpicked by teachers from the honor roll. Back then I would think ‘Why can’t I do that? Why not me? I can do that, too, maybe even better’ when it came to aspects I thought I had skill in.

Perhaps I was somewhat self-entitled? There were these other talented kids who were trained to write for years and there I was with zero actual work experience thinking ‘I can do better than you.’ I guess you can say my thirsty ambitious teenaged ass wanted the recognition and opportunity. I wanted my words to be the one that made people feel, relate, nostalgic, hurt, glad, empowered. I wanted to be heard. I wanted to be read. Some part of me still aches for that. But over the years I think (or would like to think) I’ve began to write more for myself, rather than for others’ eyes alone.”

What do you write?

“I began writing about romantic love or heartbreak because that’s all I ever knew and what I thought the audience wanted. After finding my own style, so to speak, I think themes present in my poems are often intimacy, sexuality, petty vengeance, retribution, self-empowerment and healing.

Lately I’m trying to write other stuff. Exploring my religion, politics, and societal issues. At the core, though, I think my poems sound angry, aggressive – a woman becoming.”

Undo the trembling in your knees
when you licked the blood from his lips;
Undo the weakness in your feet
when he stole the breath in your lungs.

Stand the fuck up.

How do you write?

“It’s erratic. Often with music, but not totally intentionally. Sometimes I’ll hear a real good song that feels like a soft nudge in the gut, like a reawakening (you know what I mean when you discover a real good song?) and then I’ll put that on loop while looking at art – whether be it reading poetry online, art blogs, or in a museum. It’s usually in the middle of this that I feel comfortable/in the zone to write. Sometimes (okay often lol) I accompany the experience with a glass of wine, a cigarette (though I quit recently), or a roll. One solid thing is I have to be alone or at least have my focus entirely on my writing or the art/music I’m immersing in.”

When do you write?

“Afternoon, like mid-late afternoon to early evening. Maybe it’s the transition of dusk that brings a touch of ease to breaking oneself open. It was easier to write when I was going through depression or letting go of people or sexually awakening. It seems as though since being married / content / safe, I don’t have much to say. I’d rather physically live in that happiness and it’s kind of difficult to translate into poetry without sounding inauthentic. I am in my element when I am miserable.”

Go for the stomach.
Destroy the butterflies giving you
sleepless nights and make a painting
out of their corpses’ wings.

Spit him out.

Where do you write?

“My bed. It’s safest and private. A coffee shop with good wifi and a view of the sunset is a cliché that is welcome.”

Beyond your writing, what do you want to accomplish as a human on this small blue dot?

“To just be a better, healthier, nicer, freer person, really. To travel the world, conquer/understand my inner fears and mental illness, learn more about the dynamics of sexism and feminism, and share that with others, especially young women from my country.

If I can brazenly love life again and get through another year without self-harming or succumbing to self-induced misery or being malicious towards others, I’m good.”

You can eat fire if you want.
Do no let his absence take away your magic.

You are not hard to love if you can love yourself
and no one has the authority to break you
except you.

You are a calamity, you are a force of nature,
and there is thunder crackling in your veins.
Can you hear it? This is your funeral song.

Now, burn —

Explode.

There is an inner struggle that we all face between who we are and who we want others to believe that we are. Oftentimes we filter what others see, in hopes that we can ignore the ugly and messy parts of us. I want to thank Sade with all of the gratefulness that I can muster, for being honest and raw. May this journey called life take you to beautiful and inspiring places. May it teach you to love in the purest form of the term. May it lead you towards tranquility and peace. And above all, may your words continue to cut into the deepest corners of our souls.

You can find more of Sade’s poetry and writings on her Facebook page or on Instagram. The poem in block quotes comes from her book War Songs which can be purchased here.
Can Anything be Done about the Inequality in the World?

Can Anything be Done about the Inequality in the World?

Can anything be done about the inequality in the world or are we doomed as a species to continue to oppress the weak, the poor, the less fortunate? If you look at the general development of the last couple centuries, you might become really frightened. […]

Rock Throwing by Sara AlSouqi

Rock Throwing by Sara AlSouqi

We were taught that there are three types of rocks. The first, is an aftermath of volcanic eruptions hardened like new born anger, raw and invincible The second, is layers of time pressurized into staying where the softness of sand lives no more The third, […]

Immortality: An Interview with David Tollmann

Immortality: An Interview with David Tollmann

Walking into the Tollmann studio you feel like you are walking into the laboratory of a mad scientist. Paintings cover every wall. Sculptures and eccentric looking lights are scattered around the room. David stands in a corner talking with one of his collaborators. We are introduced and from that moment on, his presence lightens the mood.

How to describe David Tollmann? In any other setting, he would be described as extroverted, restless, and all over the place. But in this setting, he is simply an artist. You can see from what he says and how he acts that art is more than his way to make money. He breathes and lives art. “I’m seeking to create a painting that makes people react in amazement. I’m trying to improve my skills so I can transport what I have in my head unto the canvas. I want to create goosebumps in people,” he says to me as I admire one of his latest creations.

You soon come to notice the tension he lives in. “I’m searching for a bigger meaning. When I was young, painting was like being a child on Christmas morning. I have a raw wooden plate here. To turn that piece of wood with nothing on it into something with meaning, with your hands, that’s amazing!” He is in search of that feeling; that excitement he had as a child. With the politics of the art industry, you can see that at times he is not completely at ease with his work. “I called a big gallery for the opportunity to have an exhibition. They thought my work was good and showed eagerness to work with me. Then they asked about my educational background. I told them I’m self-taught. They said they could not work with me because I don’t have a piece of paper. When you have no master degree or education, then you have no value.” In spite of those criticisms, there is still a bit of that child-like innocence in his aspirations within the art world. “I want to be immortal. I want what I do and what I’ve done to last longer than I do. I want to be immortal with my art.”

I want to understand why Tollmann chose art as his life purpose, so I ask him about his beginnings. “I was born into a dynasty of artists. My father is an internationally recognized artist and my grandfather even worked alongside Pablo Picasso. In my youth, I pursued other passions, though. I worked in gastronomy. Did an apprenticeship as a cook. I had a start-up as an event organizer. I organized parties. I did so many things. Then I moved to Hannover. I had time to think about what I wanted to do. It was during this time that I started painting in my apartment. Over time I created my own workspace. After my first exhibition, I quit my job and started painting full-time.”

His latest obsession is with faces. “I like painting faces. The most convincing way to transport expressions is through faces. When you watch someone’s face you can read so much information. I acquired the ability to paint clearer, fine and intricate eyes, face lines and emotions. The expression is deeper.” Particularly in the eyes, you notice the detail and effort he makes to transmit his vision into these paintings. It is as though the paintings have a life of their own. You almost feel like you could ask it a question, and it would respond.

Who are you inspired by is my next question. “I’m inspired by Picasso. I have him on my leg. Picasso said, ‘if I knew what art is, I would keep it to myself.’ Art doesn’t need to make sense in a realistic way. Eyebrows can be placed wherever you want. I love children’s paintings because for a child an apple doesn’t have to be round. It can be square or triangular, and that’s perfectly fine.” It is this type of thinking that distinguishes him from others, but it is also why he is often misunderstood. “People think I’m crazy. Non-creative people don’t understand my life. They want me to adapt to their way of thinking and living.”

That discussion leads us to the topic of money and its role in his life. “Just having money doesn’t make us happy. Don’t take it so seriously. I don’t want to look at my life and say ‘I’m old and I have money but I have no health.’ For the moment I just want to enjoy. If you have security then you lose your passion. You don’t know why you do what you do. When I have money I spend it. It’s arrogant to say, but I don’t need money. I don’t care about money.” Some people may take exception to that statement, but he clearly lives it out. His attire is comprised of a black sweater, black pants, and no name black shoes. At one point he mentions that his cell phone contract is about to be canceled because he hasn’t paid his bill, and he hardly shows any care. “If I could,” he says, “I would live in this studio and sleep on the couch.”

As we prepare to say our goodbyes he mentions, “I won’t sell one of my paintings to someone who doesn’t love what I do. I’m not interested in the money. The money is a bonus. I just want them to love the painting. Art needs to have a value but it’s not why I paint. The money I make I reinvest in my painting materials. To be an artist is lonely and expensive.” With this in mind, we say goodbye and bis bald.

David Tollmann
http://davidtollmann.de/
Hannover, GERMANY


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