Kevin Hallquist

Born and raised in south central Wyoming, I was blessed by the beauty of this wonderful state's relatively untouched landscape. As a result, I developed a love for the outdoors and a deep appreciation for the beauty found in nature. As a child, I always loved to draw. As I moved into my teens I worked in watercolor, oil, charcoal and India ink. At the same time I became proficient in mechanical drafting and ultimately decided to pursue drafting - believing it to be a more viable career path. Hence, I sought further training in drafting and spent a few years working in land surveying and cadastral drafting. Eventually, I decided to change careers. In this pursuit, I attended the University of Wyoming where I earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science and a minor in Philosophy. After graduating from college, I spent three years in Italy working at a solar observatory. It was at this time that I developed a profound appreciation for the Sun as the primary source of energy that makes life, in all its diversity, possible on Earth. No wonder our ancestors gave so much significance to it in their cultures.

Living in Italy was a real adventure for me. I was truly blessed through my exposure to the great art and cultural heritage of this land. Since returning to the United States my professional life has been spent in software engineering and project management. Currently I live in Boulder, Colorado and work as a Software Design Engineer for Vaisala Inc., a Finnish environmental and industrial measurement company. Even though I chose to follow a technical path in my professional career, I have always remained an artist at heart.

In 2001 I was introduced to the video series, "The Power of Myth", during a PBS weekend fund raiser. The 6 hour series was broadcast over the course of a day and I watched the entire program with great intent. For me it was one of those life changing moments - Joseph Campbell's insights spoke to my inner most self. This material launched me back into my interest in philosophy. Since then I have devoted a significant amount of time studying cultures, myths, belief systems, the nature of thoughts and feelings, communications, spirituality, social and natural science and much more. It has been an exciting journey that has opened up my awareness to the wonder of life. Through all of my study I have concluded that the faculty of conscious awareness is the most fundamental aspect of being human. Nevertheless awareness is something we almost never think about. Personally I am intrigued by the inner subjective side of human awareness. In particular, the way we humans interpret and react to art. Hence the name of my web site - The Art of Awareness.

In 2005 my passion for the visual arts reawakened when I envisioned a mandala that for me contained significant personal meaning. The impulse to create this image in physical form was powerful. Of course, as a software engineer, I was naturally drawn towards the idea of using a visual digital medium. In my search for a software drawing application I found Xara Xtreme - now called Xara Designer. I was immediately drawn to this tool as it gave me the ability to translate my vision into a reality. The result was an image I originally named the Parallactic Mandala. I later renamed it The Fire Within based on a statement Stephen R. Covey made about it, when I presented him with a print of it while attending one of his lectures. As a natural progression of my interest in art, I have become intrigued with digital photography. I find the process of capturing the essence of a moment in time to be both fascinating and challenging.

In closing, I encourage you to enjoy the fruits of my creative passion. Joseph Campbell is famous for the statement "follow your bliss" and creating The Art of Awareness has been my way of doing that.

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The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell
with Bill Moyers

~ Follow your Bliss ~

MOYERS:
Do you ever know the truth? Do we ever find it?

CAMPBELL:
Each person can have his own depth, experience, and some conviction of being in touch with his own sat-chit-ananda, his own being through consciousness and bliss. The religious people tell us we really won't experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive.

MOYERS:
Bliss is now.

CAMPBELL:
In heaven you will be having such a marvelous time looking at God that you won't get your own experience at all. That is not the place to have the experience - here is the place to have it.

MOYERS:
Do you ever have this sense when you are following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?

CAMPBELL:
All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

MOYERS:
Have you ever had sympathy for the man who has no invisible means of support?

CAMPBELL:
Who has no invisible means? Yes, he is the one that evokes compassion, the poor chap. To see him stumbling around when all the waters of life are right there really evokes one's pity.

MOYERS:
The waters of eternal life are right there? Where?

CAMPBELL:
Wherever you are - if you follow your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Stephen R. Covey

~ Inside-Out Again ~

...one day as I was wander between stacks of books in the back of the college library, I came across a book that drew my interest. As I opened it, my eyes fell upon a single paragraph that powerfully influenced the rest of my life.

I read the paragraph over and over again. It basically contained the simple idea that there is gap or a space between stimulus and response, and that the key to both our growth and happiness is how we use that space.

I can hardly describe the effect that idea had on my mind. Though I had been nurtured in the philosophy of self-determinism, the way the idea was phrased - "a gap between stimulus and response" - hit me with fresh, almost unbelievable force. It was almost like "knowing it for the first time," like an inward revolution, "an idea whose time had come."

I reflected on it again and again, and it began to have a powerful effect on my paradigm of life. It was as if I had become an observer of my own participation. I began to stand in the gap and to look outside at the stimuli. I reveled in the inward sense of freedom to choose my response - even to become the stimulus, or at least to influence it - even to reverse it.

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A New Earth
Eckhart Tolle

~ Awakening ~

Awareness is the space in which thoughts exist when that space has become conscious of itself.

With the grace of awakening comes responsibility. You can either try to go on as if nothing happened, or you can see its significance and recognize the arising of awareness as the most important thing that can happen to you.