5x shadow play

These are a few of the things I have been considering. The list is heavy as is my mind. October has been a difficult mental health month for many of us struggling to exist online, heal, and move forward. The days are getting shorter and the veil is getting thinner. A good time to turn inwards and take stock of the inner ghouls lurking in the shadows of my mind.

  1. Take a trip through sonic landscapes with Shirley & The Pyramids via Raz Mataz
  2. Alan Watts on shadow work
  3. Love After Life via Brain Pickings
  4. How to Reach Out to Someone Who is Struggling via On Being
  5. Wading Through Water: A Guide for Emotional Healing via Hoodwitch
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5x nurture inner nature

Turns out I am thinking about lots of things with lots of links to share. 

Enjoy

  1. The Beginners Guide to Unschooling via Zen Habits – this is the best online description of unschooling I have been able to find it also has a great further reading list at the end for those looking to learn more.
  2. Mood Disorders & Creativity – Johns Hopkins Lecture Series with Dr. Jamieson
  3. How Nature Can Make You Kinder, Happier, More Creative 
  4. The Art of Observation and Why Genius Lies in the Selection of What is Worth Observing via Brain Pickings
  5. I’m a huge fan of the album Flash & Yearn by tooth ache. You can learn more about her on She Does here
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Anxiety & creation

I’ve begun to own more & more that I have an anxiety problem. I have not been diagnosed so I won’t say disorder, but occasionally I am over run by a crippling fear, adrenaline, cold sweat, heart and thought racing kind of feeling. Sometimes it’s accute and begins and ends rapidly, sometimes it’s a prolonged uneasiness that sits with me for days and disturbs my focus and robs my sleep. After either is usually followed by a blue period of listless apathy and regret. It can be triggered by many things and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. 

So how do I create work in spite of this feeling of impending doom?

A big one is give the brain a problem to solve. Often the characteristic of anxiety is ungrounded fear that is incurred from events or experiences out of my control. If there is a tangible task set before the anxious mind all that nervous energy can be channeled into solving it as quickly as possible to relieve the symptoms of stress.

The other one is to disassociate my creative self from my anxious self. I have to be careful with disassociation as it has been tied into my major depressive spells where I can feel lost inside myself for days or months at a time. However, in this case by being able to see my anxious thoughts as not part of myself, as something that is happening inside of me like indigestion that isn’t truly who I am, I can set those thoughts aside more easily. Sometimes I do that by writing every anxious thought down, or scheduling a specific time slot when I’m allowed to think about it, or through visualization exercises. 

Being able to accept that these thoughts are happening to me, but do not define me has been a huge step forward. I think there is a lot of fear of mental health stigma still, or now the double edged sword of fear of misusing mental health language in an ableist fashion. I’ve not been diagnosed mostly because I can’t afford to go see someone who would be qualified to diagnose me, but being able to name these emotional upheavals has helped me be able to work on soothing them. Same as naming them has allowed me to talk about them and ask for help.

Creatively, if I am feeling anxious about a project it is usually the easiest anxiety to quell because I can lay out clear steps to get me where I’m going that my anxious brain can latch on to. Each step might fail, but it provides a way to tangibly measure the outcomes of my anxiety to disprove it again and again. Social anxiety lacks these clear markers of success. Anxiety about the future is too large to productively map. Anxiety triggered by feelings of unsafety is not so easily quelled as the stakes are much higher. Creative anxiety can actually be quite motivating as those bursts of nervous energy can help me achieve super human feats in relatively short periods of time.

Because of the positive correlation between my anxiety & creativity I often wish to get through particularly anxious times with more creativity. The problem is my energy & resources are limited. It can set me up for unrealistic expectations which lead to a bigger drop when anxiety subsides and I have not channeled it through this creative lens. Intensified anxiety does not always mean intensified creativity, and at a point is just disruptive. I’ve had anxiety attacks so intense I thought I was physically ill. At those times there is no amount of creative out put that will help me cope.

Usually though my anxiety needs the same things my creativity needs: 

  • A space where I feel safe to fail and be vulnerable. 
  • People who love & support me. 
  • Time to work itself through to completion. 
  • Mindfulness to experience this moment fully before jumping on to the next. 
  • Compassionate truth seeking to cut through illusions without degrading the spirit entwined in them.
  • And radical vulnerability to be present and generous in this state of flux.
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5x tea party of one

As Alice waddles home on her new found seeing legs, I too have landed securely back in the familiar belly of daily life. Still reverberating with thoughts, questions, ideas, and love stirred at the lab, I am holding space for the silence to echo back the most powerful chords touched. In anticipation for holding space, and some oblique strategizing¬† in the boreal forest, I’ve gathered some things that have come to my attention in the last week to be added to the simmering aesthetic melding pot.

Enjoy

  1. Tinder via Shane Koyczan
  2. Life Hacks of the Poor and Aimless via Laurie Penny
  3. Viper’s Nest via Kaia Kater
  4. Empathy is Actually a Choice via The New York Times
  5. Leisure as the Basis for Culture: An Obscure German Phillosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto on Reclaiming our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism via Brain Pickings, compliment with a brief word from Alan Watts on Work as Play
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5x emotional weather

I’m not ready to write a heart felt post about the weekend, or the last few weeks, or about the hearts I miss, or about what’s next. I’m not ready to process everything that happened in the last three weeks. All the punctums, all the generosity, all the bravery, all the inspiration, all of the lingering questions. I’m not ready to admit it’s over and transition back into the daily grind. Today is caught between two worlds, and I am balanced precariously between as are my pots & pans catching stray rain water seeping through the roof of my cozy attic. It is already starting to feel like something happened not something that is happening. As Harold & I hunker in for the storm I collect my thoughts like rain drops carelessly trespassing on my little corner of the world.

Enjoy

  1. iamiamwhoami via fellow labbit Andrew Barrett
  2. How to Hone Your Creative Routine and Master the Pace of Productivity via Brain Pickings
  3. Love is Traumatic via Chai Chats Podcast
  4. Cie Mossoux Bonté via fellow labbit Neil Cadger
  5. Water, Consciousness, and Intent inspired by fellow labbit Laurel Green
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