Frequency Illusions

Have you ever heard of frequency illusion? It’s the term for that phenomenon where, as an example, you buy a new car and suddenly see the same kind of car everywhere or read about something new and then hear someone mention that same subject soon afterwards? It’s also known as the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon (but frequency illusion might be a bit easier to remember!). Regardless of what it’s called it all has to do with selective memory and our brain’s affinity for pattern recognition. If you get a chance, do a Google search – it’s pretty interesting stuff.
But it got me to thinking…

Maybe this is why all the bad news we see/hear/read starts to feel so overwhelming.  

Maybe we’re using selective memory with all the negative information the same way we use it with the interesting stuff we actually seek out.  

I quit reading the news a long time ago for this very reason but occasionally something will slip through the cracks. And just a crack’s-worth of information is all it takes to settle me into a funk for quite a long time.

And unfortunately, a little bit of funk can soon become the foundation for a lot more funk to build on.

Allowing negativity to settle in isn’t difficult at all; it requires almost no effort whatsoever to view our world and see all that is bad. One story will build on another story and soon it seems that ALL stories are the same – the cast of characters may be different but the storyline is identical; it becomes ‘fill in the blank – insert bad news here’ story after miserable story. And with anything that gets repeated and repeated and repeated…its gets old and tiring and HEAVY – sometimes too heavy to bear.  

But we tend to think that when we ‘worry about something’ we’re somehow actively doing something beneficial to the cause. We actually think that our ‘worry’ serves some sort of purpose; that it somehow helps the situation.  

If I ‘worry’ about your problem – can you ‘feel’ me worrying? Can you feel me being concerned about you? Does it help you?

No. You can’t. And it doesn’t.

The only person who can feel the heaviness of worry and concern is the person doing it.  

It serves absolutely no beneficial purpose whatsoever. It is not beneficial or helpful in any way – to any one! Worry and concern are weight-bearing emotions that break us down by adding stress to our lives. Do you need more stress? Don’t we have enough to manage without adding the extra weight of the world to the load?

So how can we avoid this sort of thing? How do we not allow worry and stress to consume our lives?  What can we do to keep from feeling as though we are being inundated with negativity all the time?  

Besides turning off the constant stream of negativity from all outside sources (or, at the very least, limiting those feeds considerably) the key is to become keenly observant to what is good.  When we see or hear something positive we want more of the same. 

We should train ourselves to seek out the positive and allow it to become the foundation for more of the same to build on. And not just in a new-agey-feel-good kind of way either – but in a more habit-building, Pavlovian-conditioning kind of way. We need to actively seek it out; go out of our way to find it and make it a consistent part of our day to day life.    

Some might say this is a ‘head-in-the-sand’ way to live. But I say it’s the only way to live.

Try actively searching for and noticing all (or only) that which is good about your day even if that means having to give the benefit of the doubt when you may ‘know better’. There is a popular saying now to ‘fake it til you make it’ and there may be no better time in our history than now to put it to use!

Prime example…The above image was taken at our local garbage dump (stinky smell and flies included) or was it??   It’s all in your perspective!

😊 

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

Productive Procrastination

  
Do you follow Austin Kleon?

He’s a writer and artist who’s work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal and the art website 20×200.com.

He’s also published a couple of books and I want to share something from his (New York Times Bestseller) ‘Steal Like an Artist’. He talks about the importance of artist’s ‘side projects’; the stuff that we do for fun. He says that these side projects are actually “the good stuff” – and that this is when the magic happens. 

That’s pretty interesting information and something to think about. 

It reminds me of the quote (which he also includes in the chapter):  “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” – Jessica Hische.

Now that really is something to think about!

If you’d like to see what procrastination looks like…check out my Instagram feed at: http://www.instagram.com/akalightblue

You can sign up for a weekly newsletter with lots of great information from Austin Kleon at: http://www.austinkleon.com

And you can see what Jessica Hische is up to at: http://www.jessicahische.is

Food for Thought

 

 A few months ago I made the decision to get a personal trainer to help with my healthy lifestyle goals.  As is typical, we had a discussion about nutrition and exercise at our first meeting.  One thing we discussed that I wasn’t familiar with was learning my ‘Calorie Maintenance Level’.


It didn’t sound that important at first (just more diet and nutrition stuff) but for some reason I was paying attention, made note and decided to investigate further when I got home.   Thanks, Google!  You can read more about it at:  www.acaloriecounter.com.  


But if you’re not into the research thing like I am – here is a (very) brief summary:

In order to reach your goal; whether the goal is weight loss, fat loss or muscle building it’s important to know where you are starting from.   Your calorie maintenance level will tell you that.  Once you know this number it will be much easier to calculate and successfully reach your goal –and in the most efficient manner possible.


Think about it this way.  If you were about to embark on a road trip, you wouldn’t just jump in the car, start driving and hope to get there.  Yes, you might end up at your destination but it might also take you a really long time to get there.  Enough said!    


The key take-away point to all of this is: whenever we’re trying to eat healthy, or get into better shape there is a tendency to WAY over estimate the value of our efforts assuming that EVERY effort is a MAJOR one on our part; when in fact, this is (usually) never the case.   And, as expected, this will only lead to disappointment and disillusionment when our goals are not immediately met.   


So, if you’re really serious about achieving a new healthy lifestyle goal – do yourself a favor and find out what your ‘calorie maintenance level’ is – trust me, it will be an eye-opener  – and will save you a lot of angst in the long run!

Now, believe it or not this blog post really isn’t about how to lose weight or gain muscle…it’s really about how this information can be applied elsewhere – with any goal.


It’s really easy to set goals.  We get a great idea in our head about how wonderful it would be to accomplish A, B or C. We get excited and we plan.  We’re confident we can achieve anything at this point. 


And then reality hits.  


But I don’t think it’s so much a problem of not following through as it is improper planning.  


I think we set ourselves up for defeat from the beginning because we’re not honest about our starting point. 


We tend to do the opposite of sandbagging – we exaggerate our credentials.  Just like when we’re ‘calculating’ how many calories that Turkey-Melt sandwich has.


I think being honest with who we are and what we want to achieve in a reasonable time frame would help us more in the long run.  No matter what the goal is. 


Just something to think about.

 

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.