Thursday, November 30, 2017

#171 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Compassion and the Happy Artist

"Abide" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
While working on the above collage, I was listening to a talk by Paul Gilbert on compassion focused therapy. He spoke of originally using cognitive behavioral therapy in his psychotherapy practice, but noticed that some of his patients were having difficulties in their attempts to change their unhelpful patterns in thinking, belief, and attitude. The common element in this group was a certain amount of sternness and self-criticism. They seemed to be unable to show kindness or warmth towards themselves.

He talked about the evolutionary and developmental reasons for this harsh inner voice and then explained how Buddhist psychology and neuroscience helped him think about creating more compassionate inner voices, more warmth and kindness. As he put his ideas into practice it seemed that his psychotherapy practice was becoming more effective. His experience is that using compassionate mind training helps people develop an inner warmth, safeness and self-soothing so that they have the tools to successfully work with their depression, insecurities, and stresses.

 At about the 32 minute mark in this talk, he guides his audience in some breathing exercises to access the parasympathetic nervous system, and some neutral vs. friendly exercises to help the audience experience the difference between the two.  Then he started focusing on compassion, helping his audience find their inner wisdom and compassionate selves.  

It was a lovely experience to listen to the talk while working with art materials, highly recommended. I may need to do this some more, practicing a little more self-compassion and art.

Monday, November 27, 2017

#170 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Using Art and Imagination Turn Anxiety Into Calm.

"Calm Heart" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.
While working on my morning pages, I was listening to a talk on YouTube by Marty Rossman.  It's a very encouraging talk, if you are ever disturbed by anxiety (and is there anyone who isn't disturbed these days?)  He explained how often times anxiety is caused by runaway imagination and obsessive thinking about worse case scenarios and how this helped us in our evolution. But today it is often used against us, keeping us glued to our media and devices. So he uses the imagination to relieve stress, and literally change our lives. He takes the audience through an evocative guided imagery experience. As he talked, a part of my mind was occupied with his evocative imagery, while another part work on this art piece. Actually there was a blending of his evocative imagery with the choices I made for this piece. Now when I look at it, I can see aspects of his talk and guided imagery and I can feel a sense of calmness.

I may need to print is out and have it where it can be easily seen when the the media and my devices begin to feel like they are too much with me.

Friday, November 24, 2017

#169 out of a thousand ways to have a happy artist's life; Play with questions.

"We Can" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.

This one is a little experimental. I created the morning pages above and somehow I didn't feel completely satisfied. I ended up turning the statement into a question which oddly somehow felt very free, full of possibility. Could it be that questions create more creative space in our minds and that the use of creative space has a very positive neurological effect on us? Feeling the need for research.
"Can We" collage by Lani, textures by FlyPaper.