Tag Archives: Brain Pickings

Art as Therapy: Rebalancing

So…part four already in my little series reflecting on Maria Popova’s Art as Therapy.

For me both the process of making art and the final product, is re-centring for me.  Picking up a lumpThree breaths of polymer, rolling it, twisting it, allowing something to emerge stills my monkey mind.  Going down the stairs to my making room truly is my oasis. Here I wrote about making a necklace that reminds me to choose; here I write about an amulet that reminds me to be grateful and playful.

De Boton and Armstrong believe that we want to be good, but sometimes lose the plot (my translation!) At these points, they say, we can derive enormous benefit from works of art that encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves.

DSCN2121What a wonderful thought! I could make something that encourages someone to be the best version of themselves! (I have to confess that part of me recoils at the vaguely new-agey ring to this overworked phrase but I choose to ignore that to hear deeper truths!)

In my art I do try to express or consolidate what I am learning about how to live.  I make altars, amulets, talismans (talismen?) and jewellery to encourage, remind, comfort or nudge.  I wrote here about creating a piece with my mother based on a book by Jan Chozen Bays to help me cultivate mindfulness in my everyday life.

De Boton and Armstrong say that: Art can save us time — and save our lives — through opportune and visceral reminders of balance and goodness that we should never presume we know enough about already.

Not sure that my art is life saving, but some of my art reminds me, at least, of a goodness and balance that I can attain to.

Brain Pickings

pbifxlx94sbrainThe magnificent Maria Popova describes herself as an interestingness hunter-gatherer and, in words that I relate to oh so well to, a Sherpa of curiosities. Her website Brainpickings is one of the highlights of my reading week! It is one of the few I actually subscribe to and the newsletter that comes each Sunday provides a week worth of interesting reading and links.  She says,

The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to culture, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will be.

I loved reading about the seven lessons Maria has learnt in the seven years of reading, writing and living Brain Pickings.

She constantly turns up interesting writings, thoughts and observations on living the creative life and an absolute cracker is here.

She didn’t get me onto Brene but loves her too and that’s a good endorsement in my eyes. Read here where she introduces one of the books that has had a truly profound effect on every single day of my life and how I live it.

She finds fabulous writing about living a meaningful life, the kind of stuff that makes you want to stop reading and go out and live it. So…stop reading, go!