Friday, March 28, 2014

Double Edged--Life Lessons from Brain Research

Sketch and parts for my most recent sculpture

Learning to manage myself, again and again, I am attracted by every shiny experience, material, idea. I know I don’t have the energy, time, or money to explore them all. Now I’m without the obligation to make enough money to support myself--money making being the force that seems to drive most activity in this country. When I was previously self-employed as an artist, I tried to balance what I wanted to make with what I thought the Public would want to buy, having to return to health care four times to insure that I could reliably pay my mortgage.

Muslin body--experiment for another piece

The OT jobs were never about the joy, ONLY about the money, although some were less onerous than others, and I met wonderful people. Being in charge gave me some satisfaction, until again and again I was driven away by higher management that stifled me. I have Always Been an ARTIST, and my years doing craft shows to make a living gave me the best work satisfaction. Thankfully, I have been able to continue some art work in the background all through the 50 years of jobs and saving, making me a world-famous doll maker/writer and a locally-known painter and sculptor rather than simply retired or unemployed. I do continue to present my own internal challenges regarding where to spend my time and energy--so many possibilities!

Apoxie Sculpt held with T pins to hold the chopper upright

I’ve just read MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, by Jill Bolte Taylor…who describes the exceptional serenity she experienced when her left-brain hemorrhage quieted her constant self-talk…Monkey Mind, in her case Mean Monkey Mind. Both sides of the brain are required for creativity--the constant flowing stream of ideas and possibilities (right brain) tempered and forged into fruition by the linear left brain.

There are two seasons here in the Northwest, the light and the dark. Later this year I must make specific plans for surviving the darkest months, December and January, with some carry over on each end. I remember from past instances of being self-employed realizing that I am photo sensitive, and need to plan around that challenge. 

Painting the stripes, dilute acrylic paint

As during my previous incarnations of being self-employed, I like to get up early (as long as there’s some light) and take care of business. I’m learning to mother my own self and also cut myself slack for lying in the warm cocoon of bed and listening to the news or reading. Dark, windy, rainy mornings continue…it would be easy to fall into the black pit of depression. I remind myself to stop trying to “fix” anyone but myself. The Romantic Ideal of one person who will love us totally and be everything to us, and us to them, has not worked for me. I combine a group of friends and family, as well as my own self-love to put together my perfect life.

I painted the handle of the chopper to match the red stripe

The book my friend, David, gave me, DAILY RITUALS: How Artists Work, demonstrates a wide variety of approaches to life and creativity/productivity. I am still honing my approach. The principle of discipline and regular work habits plus walking, dreaming, driving, and showers for composing and solving problems. Routines to prepare one’s body for productivity. The luxury I’ve gained with “retirement” is time to research people/paintings/ideas of interest that cross my path…along with sitting outside to eat lunch or read…learning how the left brain gives us the chatter and negative self-talk, but Dr. Taylor says that the negative message can be diffused after 90 seconds. We have to stop the negative message going round and round and wearing a groove in our circuitry.

Double Edged, for right and left hemispheres 

Build the rituals and habits that work for you. “Art is Work” Milton Glaser, but So Rewarding!

Crocus and a yellow fire hydrant on one of my inspirational walks


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