Monday, August 25, 2014

Ninety-nine through one hundred and one (out of thousand) ways to have a happy artist's life

"Be treasured" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
These three ways to have a happy life are borrowed from a Brain Pickings post which turned up on my FaceBook feed.  I'm pretty sure it was Gretchen Miller's instigation, lol.

So here we go, #99. This one is huge and it's from Dan Dennet (in discussing the secret of happiness).  It should really be #1.  “Find something more important than you... and dedicate your life to it.”  This will make you happy, for sure.  You will end up being more in the world and not stuck in your own head. 

#100 is "Do what you love" from Paul Graham’s 2006 article, How to Do What You LoveHe talks about getting stuck doing things you don't really love for the sake of “prestige”.  He says don’t worry about prestige, it's like a nasty magnet that keeps you attracted to it, and distracted from working on what brings you joy, on things you actually love.  Prestige is especially dangerous for ambitious people. He says if you want to make ambitious people waste their time, the way to do it is to bait the hook with prestige. A hook baited with prestige is the recipe for getting people to give talks, write forewords, serve on committees, be department heads, and so on. If you want time to do what you really love and to be happy, it might be a good rule to avoid any prestigious task. 

And #101, "Find out what you really want" is from philosopher Alain de Botton.  It's related to #100.  We need to know what success really means to us.  Often our ideas about what it would mean to live a successful life are not our own ideas at all. We get these ideas from our peers, and of course from television, advertising, and marketing (which is probably where our peers get their ideas about living a successful life). These ideas of success define what we want and how we view ourselves. Alain argues that we should make sure that our ideas are our own.  Make sure we are the authors of our own ambitions. He says that it’s bad enough at the end of our journeys to realize we didn't get what we wanted, but it’s much worse to find out after spending our whole life on something we thought we wanted, that it isn’t, in fact, even remotely close to what we really wanted at all.

Do find out what you really want in life, what you love, and then do a lot of it!  At the end of the journey you will be satisfied, and pretty much all along the way as well!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Morning Pages eCourse alert!

"Animate our dreams" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

The doors for the Morning Pages Daily Art Practice eCourse with an attached FaceBook Group classroom are almost ready for members.  (The FaceBook Group would be a place for community; for sharing images, ideas and questions but is totally optional.)

Over the past couple of years, I've been creating and posting morning pages every day on FaceBook.  Here's what I have learned so far.  If you practice something every day, you get better at it.   If you practice something which encourages thought and reflection every day, you become more thoughtful.  If you practice something which makes you happy every day, you get happier every day.

As a student, I used to wonder about why Edith Kramer, art therapy pioneer, told us to create art every day.  She also encouraged us to keep a journal for things we were learning, for the ideas and questions that come to us.  She suggested that these activities, if engaged in fully, would help us grow into our best selves, that we would be able to see our strengths and resilience unfold.  There are a lot of intrinsic rewards built into utilizing our inner strengths and nothing that promotes freedom, independence,  and a sense of self worth better than the realization that we have the power to create our own inner satisfaction and intrinsic rewards. Over this past two year Morning Pages exploration, I have to admit Edith Kramer had a point about all of this.

This eCourse will be about growing into our best selves, engaging in a daily art practice, the benefits and joys of such a practice, the challenges and even the specifics of collage work and some photoshop tutorials and guidance (because you have asked my how I do what I do, so why not share it).  In the past I have created eCourses with blogs, posting bi-weekly (sometimes more) and that the blog would remain up for a few months after I stop posting.  That makes it self paced and with a FaceBook group we can continue to play.  Hope that sounds of interest!

If so, just $15 will get you the course, the group, and a bonus eZine "Art Dreams (Lani's Morning Pages).
 If you just want the zine without the course, it's yours for $10. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The #98th way (out of thousand) to have a happy life; Listen to a mindfulness talk while making art! Yes indeed!

"Hear Love, Speak Love, See Inside Our Hearts" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
While working on my morning pages this morning, I was listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn in a discussion about happiness.  I learned (or re-learned) the following:
Jon Kabot Zinn - “Happiness is a skill.  …Happiness is not a single state… Your happiness may already be here, inside yourself…  those aspects that supply meaning, supply deep connections, supply just that sense of interconnectedness that truly lies at the bottom of well being and happiness.”

Doesn't that seem about right?  That the things that make us truly happy in a deep, contended way are the things that help us live a meaningful life, the things that help us create connections in our lives, and of course things in us that are touched when we sense the interconnectedness of all life?  And all of those mysterious things are within us, right?  Happiness is a skill and it is inside us.