Ok, so it’s not Brooklyn. But it’s symbolic. Thriving, in the midst of hardship, there it is.
I wanted to do something to express my feelings tonight, and I do believe I’ve captured it. At the risk of sounding repetitive, my posts lately are echoes of what goes on in my mind, and I’ve been learning lately that sometimes “my mind” is not a good place to dwell. I’ve always loved my inner life, but it’s been chaotic and depressing in there, so I decided it was time to get out. For now.
I had to remind myself that my story is about recovery and growth. Yes, lately the world is on edge, and some crazy and often scary things are going on, but, as Gloria Gaynor so eloquently sang… “I will survive.” We will survive.
So, tonight I put on my happy music and thought about what this new chapter in my life was going to be about, and I decided it was “new life.” A time to recover from the darker (and sometimes boring) times, a time to grow some new wings and reach out into new territory… and a time to dance and celebrate.
Life is precious. Each morning a bright new day arrives, and – if you pay attention – you see life sprouting up in the most unusual places… like a tree in Brooklyn.
That’s about all for tonight. Thank you for reading… and I hope you enjoyed my art!
Until next time, Peace & Love-
“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.”
The road to success [or a better life] is always under construction.
Lily Tomlin [and me]
As you probably know, I never tire of learning about the power of our minds. Sometimes I’ll read or hear something and it sends chills down my spine. Good chills. It’s like a feeling of excitement that what you just learned has helped you tap into something better, something life-changing, something miraculous.
So… this is going to be my first post for a year long series:
Miracles Every Day
I don’t know if I’ve ever shared this, but I read a book a while back called Switch on Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health, by Dr. Caroline Leaf. She has interesting thoughts not only on how our brains work, but on how bits of biblical text actually correlate with the way that they work.
It is truly fascinating, but I have to confess that I never did the worksheets. I always do that. I’ll read a great self-help book where the back half of the book has all of the questions, planners, guides, exercises, etc., and I’ll stop right there. I just wanted to hear how the damn thing works, not actually DO the work. Ha!
The bottom line: It’s about how repeating positive thoughts can build new pathways in our brains, and how cutting out negative thoughts will begin to shut down the old pathways we’ve constructed over our lifetime—with negative or unhealthy thinking, false beliefs, etc.
Talk on how repetitive thoughts (or even activities) create pathways in our brain is not new, I just had a harder time grasping it—scientifically—until I read her book.
Here’s the deal though. As passionate as I am about “the mind,” I am a terrible student when it comes to physiology. Don’t ask me why, but I can’t seem to memorize the names of human body parts and their functions!
When I read things relating to neuroscience—about specific regions of the brain, for example, or neurons, neurotransmitters, receptors, and so on—my mind begins to fog up and I begin to look like a deer in the headlights. That being said, when I try to imagine how it all works I see something like this…
But… recently, I found the best analogy ever:
*Imagine you have crash landed in the jungle. There are thick branches and vines everywhere, as far as you can see. You are thirsty, and you hear running water in the distance, to the right of your mangled plane. You search for the easiest way to get there, but all you can see is this thick vegetation and it’s the same in every direction. You stay where you are because you are afraid. But your thirst finally overcomes your fear, and you strike out for the creek.
When you do this, you make a pathway. It is not much and it will not last, but it is there. By passing through the jungle once, you have made a pathway of least resistance. As you head back, you take that pathway again because it’s now the easiest way. As you go through this repeatedly, you make more of a pathway until in time you have a nice smooth trail. Now, every time you go to the creek you take the easiest way. That is how the brain works and that is how learning takes place.*
Now, this may not explain what is inside the brain, but as far as how repetitive thoughts, habits, and pathways work… I think it’s absolutely perfect. I love the visual!
I guess the point here is that human beings are amazing and complex beings, with minds that are capable of doing things that we haven’t even dreamed of yet.
That being said, the power of the human mind is a miracle. No doubt about it.
The featured image is a fun composite piece that I made for the post. The road to happiness, for sure. After a conversation I had earlier, I’m going to “try” to work on some tips for Photoshop, so my goal is to come back another day and use this piece to show how to make a simple composite piece. I’m no expert, but I think I have some tricks up my sleeve.
That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading!
Many complain of their looks, but none of their brains.
*Source: Robert R. Perkinson, Chemical Dependency Counseling
For the last four and one-half months, I can literally use my fingers to count the number of times I’ve left the house to do something fun, interesting, or worthwhile.
It wasn’t until the past month or so that the situation started to affect my mental state. I realize that this story is redundant to everyone, because it’s not just my story—it’s almost everyone’s story!
For those of us who are in recovery, this type of solitude, or isolation, is a slippery slope. A downward slide that can send us sailing down into the pit if we fail to remain diligent.
I feel fortunate, however, because I’m a die hard optimist and I’m not one who is prone to depression. Or giving up. On the other hand, I have caught myself thinking–lately—that NOTHING is exciting anymore. It’s hard to “feel.”
I’m like the girl in my coloring project, looking out at the world through a crack and everything that is beautiful and wonderful is OUT THERE. And I don’t know if I’ll ever get OUT THERE again.
With that negative mindset, the world looks black & white—it is colorless! But… (hopefully the image comparison works in the reader) if I change my mindset, and decide to use this time to evolve, the colors start to appear…
Things begin to excite me again! I realized that not only are these unusual and difficult circumstances an opportunity for growth, they are “the perfect” opportunity for growth.
Because… if it’s easy, it probably isn’t growth.
I learned to always take on things I’d never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.
Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President & CEO of IBM
What an awesome quote! I know that making my way through COVID quarantine hardly compares to becoming the first woman to head IBM, but what the heck. Maybe it does!
I can consider myself a victim, the underdog, a casualty of my circumstances—living in a world that is black and white—devoid of any color and excitement. OR I can consider myself a conqueror, the victor, a survivor of the fittest—and I can color my world… any damn way that I choose!
Thank you for reading… I hope you found something enjoyable or inspiring here!
The featured image is my third “coloring project” done in Adobe Illustrator (with effects added in Smart Photo Editor). The project took several days, maybe even a week, and the relaxation that I experienced while working on it was worth every second.