While getting ready for work this morning, I was thinking about the benefits of engaging in activities like coloring books, knit/crochet, doodling (or zantangling if you're fancy), woodworking, cooking/baking, sculpting, etc. Being creative is very cerebral. It has been proven that creativity strengthens problem solving, it enhances complex thinking skills. Many art projects are also used to maintain or rehab fine motor skills in adults. While this is all AMAZING and more than enough reason to get to work on something creative, one of the coolest things about creativity (in my opinion) is that it's therapeutic.
I was a kid who had a pretty traumatic childhood. It wasn't the worst childhood in the world, but it was pretty lame (with an abusive father and a little sister who died of cancer). Creativity was my sanctuary, my savior, my friend. No matter how shitty life was, I could turn to my pencil and paper and do some deeply therapeutic work. I could write and draw out my pain. I could release my darkness onto my canvas and be free of it. Likewise, I could fill pages with beautiful colors. I could create something 'nice.' That was power. Being able to rid myself of pain, AND to create something out of nothing, that was power. And it still is.
Being creative is also very meditative. And if you know anything about meditation, you know it relieves stress, increases attention span, increases immunity, helps you feel more connected, improves sleep, etc. And that's why I think coloring is so rad. There are many who have this notion that "they're not good at being creative." But there are books out there for you! Coloring books take the "work" out of being creative, so you're left with the power to color however you'd like. And if coloring isn't your jam, maybe try baking, or knitting, or woodworking, or anything! There are endless books, and internet tutorials on all things creative. The learning process alone will be beneficial to your health, even if you end up not loving your new craft.
So, I urge you, in these VERY stressful times, save yourself and carve some time for being creative.
No, really. What's going on right now, folks?
I hope you're making good decisions.
I hope you're feircely loving your family and friends.
I hope you're taking advantage of your freedoms.
I hope you're taking good care of yourself.
I hope you're loved.
I hope you're safe.
I hope you're healthy.
And I certainly hope that you're not shaming anyone.
And I hope that you're not making decisions based on fear.
And I hope that you're not hurting anyone.
And I hope that you're not pushing people away.
And I hope that you're not driven by hate, intolerance, greed, or ego.
I hope that you're using your powers and talents and heart for good things.
I hope you're using your time wisely.
I've had to redesign my life a little. I had to reorganize and redistribute my energy. I feel I have a lot of work to do in these psychotic times we're living in. I live a privileged life, and for that I'm beyond grateful. I truly have a deep sense of my good fortune. I don't want that to go unnoticed. But day to day, I read the news. Day to day I watch social media create bigger gaps between us. Day to day I have to provide a safe place, and assist people in their physical and mental wellness as a massage therapist. Day to day I'm feeling more and more compelled to create art which supports the vision of the world in which I want to live. Day to day I fear more for our people and our planet. And, day to day I feel I'm spending more energy.
What am I doing about that?
I take care of myself. I'm making good food choices. I'm prioritizing excersice and rest. I'm surrounding myself with positive, progressive thinking friends. I take time to turn off the news. I play with my dog. I'm trying to get plenty of sleep. I'm keeping my home tidy. I'm being smarter with my money. I'm seeking humor. And I'm carving out the toxic shit.
What am I doing to feel proactive in my world?
I was one of the hundreds of thousands of people who marched on January 21st. There was no singular reason why I went. There are so many things I'm willing to stand in solidarity for. I'm glad I went. It was a powerful time. I felt less alone, and helped many to feel the same way.
I'm making calls to my state representatives.
I'm having conversations with friends and neighbors who have different beliefs than mine.
I'm being extra kind and curteous to strangers.
And I'm making art.
I'm currently waiting for tests copies for an 8x10 poster I created. I should know by next week if the colors are right. When they are, they'll be for sale. They will be sold for $20, and will be a continuous Pay It Forward Art piece ($6 for printing, $6 for shipping, $5 to the ACLU, $3 to support the artist).
There's a faint watermark over this image for copyright purposes ...
The colors speak for themselves. "In My House" means your personal house, as well as your nation's house, the White House. The images are transparent. Transparent is what I believe we, and our leaders should be. The fist is a symbol of solidarity, unity, strength and support. It is also a symbol of resistance in the face of violence. The peace sign is solid, and in the background because peace should be the force which drives us. The other symbols are for the things we're in solidarity for. At the top, we support science. We support ALL people: we stand for gender equality, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Atheists. There's a safety pin. The Native American hope symbol is rising behind the fist. And a dove flying "right" for peace. I feel a rebellious "punk" style was fitting because we need to step out of our comfort zones right now. And punk just does that for me!
As always, I'm exceedingly grateful for your support and look forward to reporting back with more news from the art world!
Big love, all.