Picture and Words Project: Limbo

This post should have two photos, a drawing I’m working on, and what I wrote on the back of the paper.

I started this particular drawing at the beginning of August. One of the key ideas about drawing that I wrote about and is important to me is the not knowing how the drawing will end up or look, and trusting the process and the mystery and enjoying it. That is one thing that connects this drawing process to the Altered Books I’ve been writing a lot about. You don’t know what will happen next, or if you will cover what you’re doing now or how things will end up. The book just unfolds as you make it, like with drawing…

Here’s what I wrote while continuing the drawing two months later:

” I started this drawing in August. Sometimes it’s hard to pick up a drawing from a while ago. I can’t get back in it, or I don’t know if it’s perhaps finsihed. This drawing is very unfinished and I felt like going back into it. Sometimes when I use a lot of colors and all different pens, I get frustrated with there being too much color. Then I cover it with a dark color to get it to feel less chaotic. For some reason, this drawing didn’t give me the urge to cover it. I got the urge to fill it up and started on the left side but jumped to the far right side. I haven’t used this paper in a while. It’s think. Also it’s not smooth so you sometimes have to press into it. This drawing still feels like it’s about freedom. Anything can happen next time I work on it. Do I fill up all the white space of leave some of it alone? Is it another cityscape? Maybe it’s something else. I don’t know. It’s a weird limbo. Maybe the title is Limbo. Then I look at it again and feel impatient. I want to finish it quickly. Then when I pick up a pen, I just draw and don’t care about it taking hours more. Would it look different if I spent 3 full hours on it instead of 15-20 minutes at a time? Not knowing is a big part of drawing for me. It’s none of my business how this will look. All I know is the now of drawing it.”

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How I arrived at the idea for a “One sentence/Image or 3 images/sentences”!

This post will be long and seem disorganized and many sentences and will be followed by my short posts, my newly invented Blog Prompt (one of the assignments of the blogging class), which is to make posts that are One Sentence Long!

First of all, the great benefits of taking a Blogging Class in the WordPress Community:

  1. You can trust it’s pretty safe, as the majority of other bloggers are super accepting of all kinds of people, blogs and posting styles.
  2. You can trust you will learn Assignment 1 no matter what you do! It involves the identity of your blog, why you’re blogging, how etc.
  3.  My creative process has to be edited and organized and suppressed in all sorts of everyday settings. Here, as in art work, I can “let it all hang out” with only great consequence, unique to the internet, WordPress, and this class/community!
  4. The class accepts and embraces these aspects of my creative process/blogging: not doing homework or doing it in any order, not participating for a week or 2 and then participating a LOT, going in and out of attention to blogging class, getting easily distracted by a million blogs, starting blogging tasks and not finishing because already distracted by a million cool things on the internet, getting confused by anything with too many details, and being able to ignore complex stuff in the class and jump around in a fast seeming “disorganized” creative brain way. I’m even allowed to appreciate and absorb other bloggers blogs any way I want. I can read a little and comment on one thing. I can read it then not read it again for a long time. That means there aren’t the usual restrictions on Reading (from elementary school Reading and Reading Comprehension Class): read the first time for the main idea ,then reread to absorb something they want you to get, prioritize what the writer wrote and be able to spit it back in a way that shows someone very organized how well you read it. Ask the questions we say you should ask.

That is a big one, as my natural reading style is probably called ” Inattentive” I am irrelevantly attentive to some things and not attentive to so-called important things in a Seemingly Chaotic way, reading very fast and not wanting to reread most things. Jumping around with my mind and having my own weird reactions and importances…

The rules of the Blogging Class Commons are all useful and helpful and help you contain your Creative Blogging Mojo safely: make comments on the Commons (WordPress’ cool classroom, which of course is in the form of a blog where all participants can share their ideas: Make them brief. Post link to your blog. Don’t put your blog post on the Commons blogging site. Be considerate and kind of all other bloggers. Post only in English language. Then from there, the other rules of Acceptance of All Bloggers Involved in the Class!

  1. You don’t have to remember other classmate’s names or be distracted by what they are wearing, how they are sitting, and all the other stuff in a regular non-virtual class. AND, you are allowed to remember the way your remembering process is, not the way you are told to remember something! That is HUGE. I wish Blogging had been there for my years in high school…
  2. Basically, the virtual atmosphere of WordPress promotes and attracts people who naturally have the following: Total Tolerance and Acceptance of Other Bloggers’ unique process and blogging style and personhood/identity; the appearance and content of your blog MATTER. What you look like physically or how you stand, walk, sit or talk doesn’t matter at all! Yay.
  3. Big one, post as long as you want and have very longs meandering sentences which get you in big trouble in outer reality conversation but are ok in the blogosphere! Or do short posts or post whatever you feel like in whatever way and order or disorder that you want! As opposed to college essays etc.
  4. This means having a messy sloppy overfill, disorderly distracted, irrelevant, non linear, non-anything, non logical imaginative mind works fine.

In addition: the class also is great because:

  1. there is a great balance between working on your own blog and also looking at other people’s blog, blog style and content, and their blogging process unique to them. You learn from blogging and sharing and equally from looking at/checking out other people’s blogs!

(Just want to say Blogging is probably one of the few types of writing I have ever done where my crazy writing/creative process is pretty much unobstructed by being required to write for certain audiences because the internet audience who look at my blog are basically all a “curious and neutral and validating” audience. I have found this nowhere else! It explains why I get super excited whenever anyone in non-virtual reality mentions that they have a blog and have to suppress all the questions and just observe while being excited, limit questions and be brief in mentioning my own blog or notice I should NOT mention my own blog. On the internet you can show off your blog everywhere and get  whatever amount and intensity excited about any Blog and Blogger with only mostly wonderful consequences!!!)

Other great things about the class for me personally specific to my style of blogging AND learning especially learning: I figured out the why of the how of my process of Learning Anything from another language to how to take a train somewhere:

The class accepts and embraces all styles of Learning Stuff: for me, going in and out of attention to blogging class, getting easily distracted by a million blogs and blog topics I like, not doing homework in sequential order, starting blogging tasks and not finishing because already distracted by a million cool things on the internet, getting confused by anything with too many details, and being able to ignore complex stuff in the class and jump around in a fast seeming “disorganized” creative brain way. Also being allowed to not take in information if it feels like something to put off till later. AND you can ask for advice, go back to your blog and do what you think is right, then go back and read the advice without being judged for not Waiting and going about decision process in a backward way!!!
2. Being allowed to post this too long post with no bad consequences! As opposed to talking too much in a non-internet classroom where it’s seen as “hogging”. There’s room for everyone here!

3. you can think out loud to learn stuff and not be told anything or have your long crazy thought/ideas interrupted because it’s making no sense and too long and not staying on topic, like this post

SO this post is a great example:

I’m excited about discovering how my weird brain can be used for blogging and the class without having to change or control my brain process. I then decide to share this excited idea with the class. I start posting in the Commons, and very new for me, I don’t post my thoughts quickly on the commons, I realize it’s too long and can be a blog post I can share as a link with the others. So I decide to do one of my long thinking on the page posts and can illustrate all this by numbering things and not caring if they belong with the other things, AND, I am allowed to repeat myself with no consequences. In non-virtual life, I found out I say the same thing too much.
And noticing a thing that is irrelevant to the current focus of class!

Given my presentation of all the above,  and probably in answer to a few of the assignments in the class that I don’t remember in front of my brain:here is one Dilemma I have had since I started blogging:
Subjects for Bloggging: In one day I post a thousand blog posts in my head. As soon as one topic’s novelty wears off I want to move to something else irrelevant, AND I can’t figure out what to pick to post versus keep on the shelf for later…COnfusing.

My particular Blog TOPIC Choice Dilemma seems to involve very impulsive reactive type of excitement, limited attention to one thing at a time, and lots of attention to all kinds of things all over, and a very ingrained brain thing of not wanting to stay with something for what seems like a long time and is not to others because there is other cool stuff. Having impulsive attention style. Works for art to be into anything from a certain kind of glue to a scribble on a page, to change focus whenever however much!

The reason I don’t follow up when I introduce a sequence of posts if I plan to discuss it later on whenever: It is NOT that I have some problem with follow through or organizing or what you should do when you say you will follow with more of the same:

I thought it was laziness, that I had this great idea for Nutrition and Psychotherapy involving many blog posts was that I got excited about it, wrote the post, then didn’t feel like writing any more about it, thought I could “Catch up” later. It wasn’t laziness, it was the BLOG TOPIC dilemma. When you’re interested in lots of things as a “creative artist”, you want to put something on the paper, then get into some other cool thing or material, and so on. It works for my visual art, and now it works for my blogging style…

My current solution that of course seems totally original but is not is: Post a sentence whenever you want to post with no schedule of frequency or need to conform to anything except that it be one sentence or a sentence and an image… Sort of a more free kind of Twitter type of communication that I wish was Twitter Rules: only one sentence but it can be as long as you want! and have an Image too (which is part of Twitter)
I have impetus to write more on here and it’s too long already, another ADHD thing.

Next post may be a continuation of this one, not one sentence, about my use of mindfulness in blogging to help with my blogging “issues”… So I am going to cut out the next big paragraph and save it for that…

End of Year Reflections on Life, Brushing Your Teeth and Sisyphus

When I was a child, I was very messy, and it seemed like I was not related to the rest of my family. I remember thinking, Why do the adults tell me to clean up my room? I will just mess it up again. And why do people make their beds every day? they just mess them up at night and have to make them up all over again. At least there is a reason to brush your teeth at regular intervals.

At that time I did not know the myth of Sisyphus, the poor man who is in hell pushing a large boulder up a mountain, only to reach the top and see it go fast down the mountain to the bottom, then to have to go back down and push it back up again, knowing it will just fall down the mountain.

I’ve remembered this myth a lot, especially as a therapist dealing with people suffering from all kinds of things from depression to eating disorders to addiction. This metaphor is so apt for such suffering; the sufferer has the knowledge that life does not seem like that, it actually is exactly like that.

Read the full story: http://www.mythweb.com/encyc/entries/sisyphus.html
we, I included, only seem to remember him as that sufferer doomed to this repetitive task in Hades, however, in life, he wielded the ultimate power of stopping people from dying for a time.

Anyway, for better or worse, most of us just remember this man, seemingly helpless and powerless over his fate, doomed to this repetitive, exhausting task. I’m not sure what changes in knowing the whole story, but still, life seems to be the same as this image. We labor and sweat over pushing a huge boulder up a mountain, only to see it speedily fall to the bottom, and then, without question, we hurry down the mountain, and push it up again. And not just once, but over and over, much like we make our bed over and over, eat and digest our food and get rid of it and then eat again. Most of daily tasks of living involve repeating such things, with full knowledge that we will be doing it again. Same with even things that give people a “high”, like yoga or exercise. You leave the gym, feeling good, but knowing you will have to go back on the treadmill again soon, or back to the yoga class to repeat it all over again. Basically any activity will involve this, some that are pleasant, and some not.

This image is the image of the human suffering, or doomed to repeat over and over. However, there is something to be said for looking at this story from a very different point of view, and reframing it completely, mainly with the basic tenets of mindfulness.

What if you are doing that, but you are supremely focused on what it feels like in the moment to touch this boulder, to push it and see it get larger and heavier as you push it? What if you are looking at the mountain and the ground and observing the weather, the feel of the boulder on your hands, how your hands look as you push the boulder. and what if you are indeed, pushing it up the mountain with the knowledge that it will fall back down and you will start it over again, but it does not seem fruitless and you do not feel you are in a prison of your own making, but actually liberated in the doing of it, because you have realized that you do not care what happens to the boulder, you do not care how heavy or light it is, and you do not notice that it is a repetition, or you do not care, as you are excited to see it fall down the mountain, like a snowball you built up that has melted, but does not prevent you from anticipating the next snow fall with the excitement of a little child?

Do we imprison ourselves in our own suffering? Is the key to liberation simply our own mind setting us free?

I see this with dishes. If you simply notice the feel of the water on your hands, the sight of the leftover food sliding off the dish and watching the drain, feeling the air on your skin, does it matter if you will do the dishes again tomorrow and forever? If we live for the moment with full belief in the moment, and do not look back to the past, thinking of what could have been or what we could have done, and do not project into the future what we must be or need to be or have to be happy, have we not freed ourselves of the worst kind of suffering and pain, the emotional kind?

This is what the artist does. I take a piece of paper and rip it up and glue it on another piece of paper, or take paint on a brush and stroke it over the paper, and then repeat the motion endlessly. There is no final painting or work, there is no complete boulder. I start again every day, if I am open to the process I do not really care what the “product” looks like. In fact, it is indeed ephemeral, even if I see it in my studio the next day. I am on to the next piece of paper, doomed to repeat myself in some new way. Why are the most repetitive things in life, both considered like torture or to be soothing ways to heal from trauma? Emotional pain and suffering and relief from suffering are both in this image of pushing the boulder up the hill. How you feel about yourself, the boulder, the mountain and the environment inside and outside yourself is what makes the difference between doom and complete freedom. Yes, we either live and keep being disappointed, or we can die, or choose to be dead while living, or we can laugh in the face of life and death. There is a choice, the choice itself may be the only thing we have that will not disappear or disappoint. In the moment of the here and now, we have that small choice, and that may be all. Even if it is meaningless, the matter of choosing is of extreme and absurd importance…