Stinking Thinking

Some of you may remember from my book, “Turning Blue to Blue: How God Used Art to Lift My Depression”, that I have watched and learned from some of the saddest reality shows. Well, I came upon another lesson recently.
The show follows morbidly obese people for a year after their weight loss surgery. In the season finale, a woman believed to be 800 pounds was featured. They were not able to weight her initially due to timing and health concerns.

Her background story was that she had been kidnapped and held at gunpoint by her boyfriend after trying to end their relationship. He managed to escape after killing 2 police officers who had come to rescue her. She continued to fear for her life and hid in her home for years. Food became her comfort. Now she is in her early 40s and wants to change her life.

Due to the severity of her situation, surgery is immediately performed on her. Usually the doctor asks patients to lose 50 or so pounds first to see how serious they are and what kind of family support they have. After surgery it is usually advised to get up and walk as soon as possible. But this patient refused to even try. She would tell the physical therapists at the hospital to come back later. She was busy on her laptop. That went on for several months. Eventually, the doctor sent her home. Despite family that seemed supportive, she continued to refuse to try to walk for 10 months. Finally, at a family member’s request, the doctor came to her home and coaxed her into allowing the paramedics to help her stand. They showed her standing twice in a row for about 5 seconds each. Afterwards she smiled and seemed so relieved. She said she hadn’t believed her legs could hold her. That’s why she wouldn’t try.

Now I realize this is “reality” TV. It was edited in such a way to make it a compelling story. It ended on a hopeful note that now she would continue the hard work to regain her mobility. However, the lesson for me was powerful.

I’ve been watching that show for years and have seen the miraculous physical and emotional breakthroughs patients have had in their first 12 months. But because this woman didn’t believe she could stand, she shut herself down from trying or even getting more help. Many of the patients see a therapist and I certainly think that would have been beneficial for her. So in effect, 11 months were wasted. At 600 – 800 lbs, every day is precious and proven professionals offering help is a godsend.

I thought about myself and some other people close to me. How long have we been refusing to “stand”, because we don’t believe we can, when all the while we have access to everything we need to not just walk but run? What we believe about ourselves and our situations is so powerful. We just can’t allow stinking thinking to hold us back any longer.

Everyday I’m working on freeing my mind. At some points in the day I may need to recite a scripture or sing myself a song. My meds continue to help and so does my art. Through inspirational words on my Facebook page, my writing workshop, my art workshops or talking with me one on one, I hope to encourage those I can touch to free themselves from self-doubt, self-hate, perfectionism, anger and fear.

The Makeover

I was selected for a business women’s makeover by internationally acclaimed transformational makeover expert Eve Michaels on Thursday. The makeover included hair, make-up and an outfit. I had the opportunity to model my “after” look in front of a business crowd. I also got information on how to style myself as an artist. I was super excited for this opportunity. “What NOT to Wear” has been one of my favorite shows. I’ve learned some good general points from Stacy and Clinton. The opportunity, however, for personalized instruction from Ms. Michaels was so precious and inspiring.

Points Ms. Michael reinforced for me included:

  • jewel tones ( sapphire, jade, amethyst) look best on me
  • a supportive bra is an everyday essential
  • expensive clothes don’t have to be if you know where to shop
  • thrift store finds can be figure-flattering if you compare your measurements to those of the garment and have a neighborhood tailor

New things I learned:

  • my eye glasses are too rectangular for my face, and too narrow so that they cut my eye space (eyebrow to bottom of eye socket) in half
  • wider and rounder frames would be more attractive
  • “droopy” hair elongates my face and makes me look sad
  • more height to my hair will be more complimentary
  • a more flattering, attractive, artistic look may actually help me sell more art at better pricesIMG_2065

Perhaps the bottom line for me is, I could be doing better with my daily presentation of Kartika: the wife, mom, artist and author. Too often I rush and throw something together and skip the make-up. Years ago I had gotten my make-up application down to 7 minutes. But recently the thought came to me, why should I rush? Why shouldn’t I take 30 minutes to create the day’s look? For me the “whys” speak to some underlying issues. Had I believed I wasn’t worth the time? Had I believed it was vain to make the effort. Was I uncomfortable with “looking great” or “looking sexy”?

I’ll continue to dig into those issues. In the meantime, I’m reading Ms. Michael’s new book, Dress Code: Ending Fashion Anarchy. She has a 3 day makeover boot-camp coming up in September which I’d love to attend!

Please learn more about Eve Michaels and her life-work at her website.

www.http://evemichaels.com/

Ladies, wanna weigh in on these issues? I’d love to hear from you!

Let’s talk about it : graffiti

I’m just wondering what you think.

(Remember, I’m from the Bronx.)

Guest Post from Dr. Eric Maisel

The Mind Key

 

An Excerpt from Making Your Creative Mark by Eric Maisel 

 

 

Your first task as a creative person is to “mind your mind” and think thoughts that serve you. Doesn’t it make sense to speak to yourself in ways that help you create more deeply and more regularly, that allow you to detach more effectively from the everyday chaos of ordinary life, that decrease your anxiety and negativity, and that remind you that you are in charge of showing up and making an effort?

 

English: Human figure with thought bubbles

English: Human figure with thought bubbles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Many of us do a poor job of minding our minds, of choosing to think in ways that serve us. We present ourselves with self-sabotaging thoughts and refuse to dispute those thoughts once they arise. If we all did a better job of noticing what we are thinking and making an effort to replace defensive and unproductive thoughts with more optimistic and more productive ones, we would live in less pain and give ourselves a much better chance of our dream life.

 

It is this simple: Notice what you are thinking, dispute those thoughts that bad-mouth you or that send you careening in the wrong direction, and replace them with thoughts that better serve you. This is tremendously important!

 

You can use many useful strategies, available from the cognitive-behavioral school of therapy, to get a better grip on your mind and help yourself think more productively and positively. Here’s one I’ve created.

 

Often you have a productive thought, but then you immediately follow it with an unproductive one that stops you in your tracks. This sounds like “I’d love to practice the piano” followed by “but I’m much too old to learn complicated piano music.” Or “I want to get my novel written” followed by “but I don’t really know what my novel is about.” Or “I love my photographic collages” followed by “but lots of people are doing them.”

 

People engage in this self-sabotage all the time, deciding that something matters to them and then talking themselves out of taking action. It is almost what we do best as a species. I would like you to notice how this dynamic works in your life. Look at your own defensiveness, self-unfriendliness, and self-sabotage when it comes to those things that matter most to you. Look at this pattern, and then change it.

 

Complete the following, filling in the x and y with your own responses: “I say that x matters to me. But I often follow that thought up with y thought, a thought that does not serve me. I no longer want to countenance that thought.” You may have more than one self-unfriendly y thought — you may have lots of them! By all means include as many y thoughts as you like in your response. The clearer you are on the things you say to yourself that don’t serve you, the better will be your chances of extinguishing them.

 

Here is how some of my creativity coaching clients completed this exercise:

 

“I say that making art and selling my artwork matter to me. But I often follow that thought up with the thought that my artwork is not good enough to be considered attractive to buyers, a thought that does not serve me. I no longer want to entertain that thought. I will be open to opportunities to create and market my art, and I will make an effort to gain the support of art patrons.”

 

“I say that being organized matters to me. But I often follow that thought up with the thought that I will take time to organize my work space some time in the future, a thought that does not serve me. I no longer want to entertain that thought. I am taking the time to organize every day so that my studio feels peaceful and spacious, with a good energy flow.”

 

“I say that writing my screenplay and revising my novel and sending out articles are important to me. But I often follow up that thought with ‘What does any of it really matter?’ In the past few years, I’ve come up against so many roadblocks. It doesn’t feel like I matter to anyone. My husband is sick and needs my attention. Maybe concentrating on more basic needs is the most important thing to do — cleaning, gardening, exercising. But I realize that the only sure way I can fail at my writing is if I stop. The thought of quitting doesn’t serve me because it prevents any success from ever happening. I no longer want to entertain the thought of stopping.”

 

“I say that music matters to me. But I often follow that up with the thought that I can’t afford to dedicate myself to it, that there are more important things in life, that I’m not good enough anyway, and that there are a lot of other things I’m interested in and almost anything pays better than music, which generally pays close to nothing. I no longer want to countenance those thoughts.”

 

I’m sure you can see how this process of telling off the thoughts that do not serve you will help you to create more often and more deeply and will improve your relationship to the art marketplace. Complete this x-y exercise, and then put the results into practice.

 

Creating depends on having a mind quiet enough to allow ideas to bubble up. Living a successful, healthy life as an artist requires that your self-talk align with your goals and your aspirations. Your job is to quiet your mind and extinguish negative self-talk. These are your two most important tasks if you want a shot at your best life in the arts.

 

**

 

Eric Maisel is the author of Making Your Creative Mark and twenty other creativity titles including Mastering Creative Anxiety, Brainstorm, Creativity for Life, and Coaching the Artist Within. America’s foremost creativity coach, he is widely known as a creativity expert who coaches individuals and trains creativity coaches through workshops and keynotes nationally and internationally. He has blogs on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today and writes a column for Professional Artist Magazine. Visit him online at http://www.ericmaisel.com.

 

 

 

Excerpted from the new book Making Your Creative Mark ©2013 by Eric Maisel.  Published with permission of New World Library http://www.newworldlibrary.com

 

 

 

From One Heart to Another

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png

Vector version of Image:Color icon purple.png (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know a delightful man, loquacious and sensitive. When you come into his shop be prepared to stay longer than you should, enjoying his honest and humorous pondering on life.

In a conversation about a year ago, he was telling me how much he loved purple. His business pens are purple and if he could find more supplies in his color, he would. I was just starting on my art adventure back then and I had already been visiting him for four years.

I was inspired to create something for him.  I thought about it for over 6 months. And then the vision came to me. He and his wife had just had their first child. She is an absolutely adorable angel. My vision combined the purple with being new parents. It is called New Family.

New FamilyI had enlarged it and put it in a simple, durable, black frame with a white mat for the library display. After the display, it was sitting in my living room,  just sitting. Finally I said, “I’m going to take it to him!”

When he saw it he was dumbfounded for a few seconds. Then he said it was beautiful and expressed how much he loved it and how touched he was. I asked him what he saw in it. He saw the family, exactly as I had intended! That shocked me because no one else had. Even when I  would explain it to others, the response was, “Ohhh.”

He shared with me some of the pains and joys of his life, unashamed to let tears well up in his eyes, and how at those times, creativity flows from him like a powerful salve.

Once again I was richer for having been in his presence, sharing heart to heart.