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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

So I’m participating in The Sketchbook Project, which means that I will complete an art journal that will be a part of a traveling exhibit before moving to a permanent collection next year.  It’s very exciting, but also a little bit daunting.  I’ve been assigned the theme:  “How to Save the World".”  So I am going to be posting to this blog and updating it with thoughts about my pages, and looking for ideas/inspiration on the theme.  I have thought of a few topic ideas for my pages already, and would do pages around any of these ideas from the list below, that reflect my vision of what we all could do, to save the world:

  • Organize a WORLD COLOR DAY: set up network & internet coverage that can be captured and sent by anyone via camera phones, email, live webcam feeds, and global news organizations.   Anyone in the world who is willing and able should color pages, and people in leadership positions should be obligated to participate, especially political/government leaders:  everyone can choose from a collection of various coloring pages (can be shapes/designs like patterned mandalas or still life pictures, or line art illustrations). Embellishment of the pages is entirely at the user’s discretion.  This enables us to “see” one another through use of color, rather than the color of our skin, hair,etc. It is a common language, regardless of the language that we speak, and does not require special skill or elaborate materials.  Color may be applied with anything from crayons, paint, pencils, to grass, food, soil, makeup.  Anything goes, as long as the paper can hold it.  Coloring is very calming, enhances health, and problem-solving abilities.  It would help the human race, to build bridges through individual expression–without judgment or criticism–and enable people to not be burdened and divided by cultural differences.  
  • Raise children to see differences among people as “interesting,” not bad.  Role models: “walk the walk” 
  • Be mindful that every choice that you make has consequences somewhere, somehow, and/or to someone or something.  Doing nothing is a choice, too.
  • Stand for something that demonstrates the best aspects of your character.  The way you live reveals what it is that you stand for.
  • Forgiving others relieves YOU of the burden of YOUR anger.  Save yourself and the world at the same time.
  • Treat all humans with dignity, respect, and compassion.
  • Practice mindfulness.
  • Permit the innocent to speak of harm done to them by others without inflicting a sense of personal shame on them.  However unpleasant it may be to hear about their abuse and pain, they were victims, and the first-hand experience was undoubtedly at least as unpleasant for them.
  • With power comes responsibility—do your very best to take responsibility
  • Challenge negative assumptions about others and ourselves; acting on negative assumptions generally yields negative results
  • Hope is not a strategy—start from where you are, and act according to your ability.
  • Don’t waste or destroy, just because you can.
  • Always question the source and validity of strong feelings of judgment, anger, sweeping generalizations and prejudice.
  • The value of a gift is not measured in quantity or money or scope, but in the true generosity of spirit, purity of intention, and ability to give of oneself
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what not to do in pain management"Doctor, it hurts when I do this." "Well," the doctor says, "stop doing that."

 

Yesterday afternoon, I formed an intention to do a drawing as part of an art challenge in a terrific online community of women artists called Milliande Art Community around the theme of “holes”.  My intention was to do a drawing incorporating the holes as a concept and I had a few options for compositions that I thought would be fun and aesthetically pleasing, and intended to share the finished piece with the group. At the time I was feeling pretty good, low pain, plenty of energy, and excited about doing some art just for the joy of creating.  My mind was already in a creative flow around it, and I looked forward to drawing it up.  Well, here’s the drawing.  One can debate about whether it is finished or not, and reasonable minds may disagree about just how aesthetically pleasing this drawing is at this point either.  Assuming that throwing my sketchbook across the room in frustration and hoping to never look at it again constitutes “finished,” when I “finished” last night, nothing about it felt good for me.  In fact, I was completely frustrated and stressed throughout the entire effort, from the moment I began to look at the  sketchbook page and trying to imagine the composition on the page, to drawing, to the moment that I threw it aside in frustration.  The whole effort felt like failure to me, and I hated feeling that way.  Before I went to sleep, I remember thinking that I should just get up in the morning, and rip the page out, throw it away, and completely start over.

But after a fitful night of sleep and a little distance from last night’s frustration, sitting quietly in the gentle light of dawn this morning I was better able to reflect on what had transpired, and this yielded some clarity for me.  I am constantly reminded that we only actually fail if we have learned nothing from our “perceived” failures, and I was reminded of this again today!  I think I understand now why it is that this didn’t work for me, and what might have worked better, whether it be art or other tools that I am trying to use to enrich my life.  The key for me is recognizing that there are distinctly different processes that are appropriate to working with where/how I am at any given time, and the key is recognizing what condition I am in, starting from there, and using what works.  Instead, last night I tried to force reality to fit a specified process, rather than the other way around.  The resulting product was a bunch of media forced destructively onto paper, that in no way reflected the way an image had been in my mind earlier in the day, and the more I tried to “fix” it, the farther away from that image it became, and the more upset I became.  Instead, the image that evolved on the paper was me holding up a mirror to myself, and I was stubbornly refusing to see it until this morning.  There was no flow of inspiration; there was only fight, because at the time I did not recognize a very important fundamental truth:  My journey can only begin where I am, and it can only go where I take it.  Force of will of my “thinking” brain cannot alter this fact; resistance is futile! 

So what went so awry?  In contrast to earlier that day, by the time that I began working on this, I was in a high state of pain and serious distress, almost completely horizontal, with physical discomfort that prevented me from even carrying on a conversation.  But rather than start from how I was at the time and modify my process accordingly, I kept trying to forge ahead as if my mind were already relaxed and comfortable, already shifted into creative flow, rather than allowing myself to become calm, quiet my mind and gently allow things to open up and flow naturally.  Instead, I added stress and discomfort through critical thinking, controlling behavior, and placing unrealistic demands on my mind and body.  The result:  the demands of my “thinking” brain did influence the product, but not as intended.  But the journey went exactly where I took it, and where I took it was where I was capable of taking it, given my stubborn insistence on trying to adhere to a process that was entirely unrealistic.  My husband often says, “You just can’t go any faster than the car in front of you,” and he’s quite right.  It just took a while for my brain to realize that it was acting like a road-raging tailgater on a one-lane road behind the rest of me—not exactly a great strategy!

Having said that, I did actually succeed in incorporating holes into this image—in more ways than one.  I managed to dig very deep scratches into the thin paper, especially throughout the hole at the base of the tree that is also the pupil of the eye.  You see, as my “road rage” escalated,  I dug deeper into the paper with the pencils.  And this little drama that played itself out last night reveals the theme of holes, as well.  It showed me “holes” in my own thought processes, and in fact is a real metaphor for experiences that I’ve had in my larger life, as I have fallen into similar holes in other ways, using a similar strategy.  Food for thought! 

And as I look at the picture today, with a clearer head, it’s not as “bad” as it seemed to me last night, shredded paper and all.  In fact, it does show the beginnings of what I envisioned, and if I wanted to, I could probably transfer the existing image to some fresh paper and work from there.  If I want to.  We’ll see.  But no matter how a “new and improved” image might turn out, I think that this one is a keeper after all, because I believe that it has real value just the way it is.  When I think about it, notwithstanding the unrealistic demands of my “thinking” brain, it is clear that I began where I was at the time, that the journey went exactly where I took it based on constraints that I chose, and I learned something valuable from the experience.  For me, no matter how aesthetically pleasing or displeasing the image may seem to me or anyone else, this means to me that the journey was a successful one!

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