Hamster Wheels and Pseudo Thread…among other things

So…I read another great post from one of my favorite email subscriptions yesterday – Liz Goodchild’s, “Life Coaching for People Who Give a Shit”.
I read her advice Every. Single. Time. she posts – it’s that good – guess that makes me one of those people… 
But I already knew that. 
I’m an INFJ. That’s not code for anything – it’s a personality type.  
I’ve posted about that before (how learning your personality type is like finding your very own personal owner’s manual…the lost edition) – it’s all very fascinating and entertaining and simple to do too, if you are so inclined. And to keep you from having to go back and dig through old posts in case I’ve now piqued your interest …go to: http://www.16personalities.com to get the scoop. But I digress…
THIS post isn’t about that – not directly anyway.
THIS post is about the ‘Aha!’ moment that sometimes (if we’re lucky) occurs when we read something that tells us to pay attention. Really pay attention. The light bulb moment…The nudge.  
I get this nudge often. I’m tuned in. So, believe me – I know a nudge when I see/feel one.
Yet…I DON’T EVER SEEM TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.
Crazy, right? Especially for someone as ‘tuned in’ as I claim to be. 
It’s the bane of my existence. Well, it’s a major bane, the one topping the list at the moment. Some of the others are: people who litter, tags in shirts that use horribly stiff pseudo thread, and flimsy drinking straws and stir-sticks – but I’ll save those for another time.
This post is about that feeling I get often: ‘the thing I’m supposed to be doing with my life’. You know the thing – it’s just over there – somewhere else – just out of reach and always a bit fuzzy. 
And so I read posts and articles and books about it. I acknowledge the Aha! Moment whenever I encounter one and enthusiastically embrace it, “Yes, that is SO true! Yes, I must DO that!”
I understand and agree with everything about the Aha! Moment completely. It resonates with me like meeting a kindred spirit for the first time. I know it. I understand it. It makes complete sense to me. And I have absolutely no concerns about the validity of any of it.
Yet….crickets.
It’s like that old saying of waiting for your ship to come in. You see the ship. It’s loaded with passengers who’ve already gotten the nudge and are happily on board waving and blowing kisses at you, telling you to come aboard too. But for some reason you just can’t step off the dock. 
It’s all very frustrating.
I tell myself that ‘if it were the right time it would happen – whatever it happens to be’. And that ‘things happen when they are supposed to happen’. Blah, blah, blah, blaaaaahhhh.  
But…doesn’t it also take doing something to make something happen?
If I want the TV remote and it’s across the room, is fate telling me I’m not supposed to watch TV because the remote isn’t already in my hand? Maybe I’ll learn something from the television show I’m about to watch or maybe, if I choose not to watch, I’ll read something interesting instead. No big deal.
We’re given opportunities and choices for everything. Everything. Not just the little things but the big things as well. Why do we get so tripped up in one instance but not in another?
Because the stakes seem higher when it comes to life choices and because we’re so afraid of making a wrong choice or a mistake. We’re so afraid of doing it wrong – even when we have no idea what ‘wrong’ is. We may not even know what ‘right’ is.
And this is the truth – –
We’d rather continue to do the same thing over and over (and over) like a hamster in a wheel – than risk doing something new and different – even if new and different has the potential to be better!
That’s insane.
So….here is something to really think about:

Where is the line drawn in the sand and, more importantly, who’s in charge of the drawing?

And if you’d like to be inspired – read Liz’s blog…www.lizgoodchild.co.uk

 

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Self-ish

  
Have you experienced Adobe’s Slate app? It’s free and simple to use. I created a ‘story’ called ‘Self-ish: A Journey of Self Portraiture’ with it. Lots of possibilities for creating illustrative stories effortlessly! 

Give it a try!

https://slate.adobe.com/a/G8y5k

What’s Your Story?

  

The other day I received what I consider to be my first ‘negative’ comment on my Instagram feed. It wasn’t necessarily a bad comment but one I felt definitely had negative intentions.  

I can honestly say, though, the comment was eye opening – in more ways than one.  

The comment came after I’d received several complimentary comments about a particular (abstract) image I had posted.  

This commenter wanted to know: ‘What is abstract art?’, ‘Where is the talent??’ and ‘Would someone please explain this to me!!’

For some reason I felt compelled to give an explanation even though I had doubts as to the sincerity of the question. Wouldn’t an ‘artist’ know what ‘abstract art’ was? Especially an artist with such ‘confidence’?

And when I said the comment was eye-opening I did mean it in a good way!

First of all it caused me to stop and think what ‘having talent’ actually means.

How is talent defined? Who gets to decide who is talented and who is not? And, more importantly, why did this person even care? Did my ‘lack of talent’ offend him? Did it take away from his ability to make art? It may sound as if his comment really bothered me but I assure you it did not.

It made me think

Why do I create the art I create? 

Why in this style, in this way? With these subjects and these colors?

Why?

I realized his comments made me want to defend my art but not in a defensive way at all. (And no one could have been any more surprised by this fact than me!)

‘Abstract art’, I informed him, ‘is a visual language that does not attempt to represent an accurate reality but instead uses shapes, colors, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. If it engages the viewer it is considered successful. All art is ultimately valuable for its effect on the viewer and (in most cases involving true artists) for the effect is has on the artist who creates it. Whether or not the artist is viewed as ‘having talent’ is a non-issue for it is far more important for the artist to be able to tell their story through their art. Thanks for asking!”

And here it was.

The answer to the question I did not know I needed an answer to.  

I do what I do because this is my story to tell. And this is how I choose to tell it. I hope you enjoy it but its ok if you don’t. I share it because I can only hope you might benefit from it in some small way (or even in a large way) that it might change your day for the better or simply serve as inspiration. I create this art because I can’t NOT create it. If it helps you too then it’s a good day – whether talent is involved or not!
You can see my stories unfold at: http://www.instagram.com/AKALIGHTBLUE

Make More Art

  

Make More Art: The Health Benefits of Creativity

By James Clear

In 2010, the American Journal of Public Health published a review titled, The Connection Between Art, Healing, and Public Health. 

In that article, researchers analyzed more than 100 studies about the impact of art on your health and your ability to heal yourself. The studies included everything from music and writing to dance and the visual arts.

As an example, here are the findings from five visual arts studies mentioned in that review (visual arts includes things like painting, drawing, photography, pottery, and textiles). Each study examined more than 30 patients who were battling chronic illness and cancer.

Here’s how the researchers described the impact that visual art activities had on the patients…

· “Art filled occupational voids, distracted thoughts of illness”

· “Improved well–being by decreasing negative emotions and increasing positive ones”

· “Improved medical outcomes, trends toward reduced depression”

· “Reductions in stress and anxiety; increases in positive emotions”

· “Reductions in distress and negative emotions”

· “Improvements in flow and spontaneity, expression of grief, positive identity, and social networks”

I don’t know about you, but I think the benefits listed above sound like they would be great not just for patients in hospitals, but for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to reduce stress and anxiety, increase positive emotions, and reduce the likelihood of depression?

Furthermore, the benefits of art aren’t merely “in your head.”

The impact of art, music, and writing can be seen in your physical body as well. In fact, this study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Medicine used writing as a treatment for HIV patients found that writing resulted in “improvements of CD4+ lymphocyte counts.”

That’s the fancy way of saying: the act of writing actually impacted the cells inside the patient’s body and improved their immune system.

In other words, the process of creating art doesn’t just make you feel better; it also creates real, physical changes inside your body.

Create More Than You Consume

The moral of this story is that the process of making art — whether that be writing, painting, singing, dancing, or anything in between — is good for you.

There are both physical and mental benefits from creating art, expressing yourself in a tangible way, and sharing something with the world. I’m trying to do more of it each week, and I’d encourage you to do the same.

In our always–on, always–connected world of television, social media, and on–demand everything, it can be stupidly easy to spend your entire day consuming information and simply responding to all of the inputs that bombard your life.

Art offers an outlet and a release from all of that. Take a minute to ignore all of the incoming signals and create an outgoing one instead. Produce something. Express yourself in some way. As long as you contribute rather than consume, anything you do can be a work of art.

Open a blank document and start typing. Put pen to paper and sketch a drawing. Grab your camera and take a picture. Turn up the music and dance. Start a conversation and make it a good one.

Build something. Share something. Craft something. Make more art. Your health and happiness will improve and we’ll all be better off for it.

—-

I found this article online and copied it with the links but can’t seem to figure out how to show them now. I used to be able to create posts fairly easily but now that the process has been ‘simplified’ – well…not so much. 

I’ll just include it here – unfortunately you may have to type it in the old fashioned way – sorry about that!

http://www.jamesclear.com

Twilight Twinkle

  Did you know…

That in only two places in the entire world there is a phenomenon called ‘simultaneous bioluminescence’ where fireflies in the area sync up their flashes so they all light up at the same time repeatedly all night long. This happens (apparently) in Southeast Asia and Smoky Mountain National Park.

I had no idea!

Found on ‘The Magic & Folklore of Fireflies’

This image is another one of my iPad creations.

Really?! It’s been three months???

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I can’t believe three months have gone by since my last post – I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!
With the holidays approaching and other end-of-the-year activities going on I found the need to switch gears a bit with my art-making. I started posting images to Instagram. I wanted to become more familiar with the social platform (and also find more ways to stay creative each day without having to dedicate large portions of time to do so). I soon discovered these short bursts of creativity worked very well with my current schedule.
Not only that – I’ve been experimenting (and now focusing on) altering my photography with apps – a new direction. The best part is: I carry my studio with me. No more excuses for not having time to make art.
I try and limit my art supply ‘stash’ to images currently in my camera roll – I alter and layer and alter some more to create imaginary worlds and other abstract style images.
I’d love it if you stopped by sometime!
http://www.instagram.com/AKALIGHTBLUE

Now Appearing in East Texas

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I’ve been REmaking images lately.

It’s my new favorite thing. I’m kind of obsessed actually.

What I like to do is search thru images in my camera roll – particularly images that seem very ‘lacking’ – photographically. You know, those images you take because you see something unusual or something you feel you just need to record – but not something necessarily frame-worthy.

I have a LOT of those images. It’s impossible NOT to have a lot especially when you’re a photographer and you have a camera in your hands almost every minute of the day!

I like to take THOSE images and see if I can turn them into something completely different as simply and as quickly as possible.

It’s a challenge. And it’s really satisfying when every now and then you strike gold.

Here’s the before image.

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A left-handed-rest-against-the-window-use-the-volume-controls-as-a-shutter-button-and-hope-you-get-the-image image…into a Rocky-Mountain-National-Park-now-appearing-on I-20-somewhere-in-EastTexas-abstract image.

My kind of fun.