Getting Creative - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-03-2007, 02:10 AM Thread Starter
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Getting Creative


I've been getting much more creative lately.
I've been working on a self-portrait -taking my time with it, however, I AM doing it. And what's more, there is a naturalness to it.
I am able to get into 'the zone', whereas for a few years now I have found drawing and painting to be very labored. I neither enjoyed it, nor did it look good.

And I've also been cooking a lot. Making great Asian stir fries, sushi and lots of sea food dishes!

...yesterday was particularly good. All this creative activity does something to my state of mind -and I had forgotten how liberating it can be.

There is some quality that I would describe as 'digesting emotions' about being creative. Like my mind still thinks -the guniea pigs are still runnning round and round and round in their little wheels- but something about sketching and cooking just enables a sense of calm and acceptance.

IT is interesting also that art has been compared to meditation. That a person tends to use the right side of the brain and perception rather than thinking so much. Or perhaps it is that the right side of the brain is included (more) ...I am not exactly sure.
( I do remember reading that when both sides of the brain are working in a sychronised fashion, a person is operating at the highest level of brain function; and that this greater degree of inter-hemispheric connection is what was revealed by EEG scans of practised meditators, who also demonstrated greater mental skills and overall emotional intelligence.)


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 09:02 AM
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Re: Getting Creative


Wow, this sounds really interesting! Art and cooking! Sounds great. I think virtually any activity can be meditative so long as we are in the present moment. Art, IMO, makes this very easy. I don't paint/draw, but I do take pictures. It's very enjoyable to just go somewhere with an eye for the present. Having my camera with me makes this so easy since it's like my eyes are really "awake," observing everything carefully.

Last week I cooked a pasta dish with several vegetables from my dad's garden (he gave them to me after I visited them a couple weeks ago). One of the vegetables was this hot pepper, and I felt like I was pepper-sprayed when it started to cook in the skillet!! I was sneezing over and over, and my eyes and nose were running profusely. I was also laughing between every sneeze (which came about every 5 seconds) due to the silliness of the situation. I could probably learn to cook a lot more dishes, and my cooking skills definitely have room for improvement.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 12:45 PM
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Re: Getting Creative


RT Wrote:

Quote:
All this creative activity does something to my state of mind -and I had forgotten how liberating it can be.
YES!

Anxiety-free since a quarter a' three...
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-04-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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Re: Getting Creative


Being creative is the only thing that makes me happy now. Anything else makes me feel like I am wasting time.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 04:14 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Creative


It's weired, because I've read not only of how similar art is to meditating; but I've also read that whilst artists are more inclined to have common traits with mental patients (!!! no surprise there for me!!) but they also, along with practised meditators, are more inclined to have 'peak experiences' (or moments of enlightenment) both in terms of stronger ones and ones that are more frequent.

So, definetly something about how the brain is working during art is similar to how it works during meditation.

My guess is that a person still thinks but the Mindfulness part of their brain is also working; and this is maybe why I liken being creative to 'emotional digestion'. It allows processing of feelings and thoughts.

Ardrum: what nationality are your parents? Mine are Italian. And my mum keeps asking me: "Why don't you cook Italian food?" being that I like to make mostly Asian food.


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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-05-2007, 07:50 PM
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Re: Getting Creative


My parents come from a primarily German and Irish background. One of my grandmothers is 100% Irish, so that's where my red hair comes from.

I really like Indian and Thai food. Mmm!

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He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media hype, trivial cares, political meddling...It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2007, 04:51 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Creative


German and Irish, hey...!

My background is Italian pretty much. But I have an ancestor who was supposedly one of Napolean's generals and French; as well as Spanish blood on both sides. I'm supposed to take after a side originating from a great great grandfather who was a Spanish pirate, a drunk, a polygamist and a gambler.

...I take great pride in such a thing. Especially given that I supposedly take after his side of the family ...all slightly crazy!!

Anyhow, I've been thinking ...and right now, to tell you the truth, I am a little drunk. ...but I reckon that half of my problems are all about "artistic constipation". ...like I just am too uptight to really follow my 'soul' or how I feel about things.

And instead, for quite sometime, I've been hypervigilant and worried about 'getting it right'.

I look back on how I was when I was younger ...and sure I had problems. I still had social anxiety even then. But in some very substantial ways: I handled it all better. And my life was better.

Then I somehow got too serious and started trying too hard. ...and this really ****ed things up for me.

I figure that now that I've found Mindfulness, I can rely on it and it alone to get me through. And remember back to that natural wisdom that I had, where I just let my self be who I was more.

Even my art has sufferred over the last 5 years: it has become so constrained and so labored. All the joy has been lost from it.

Kind of like: I've lost my mojo.

I figure that it is about time that I claimed it back and 'followed my soul'.

That's perhaps the thing that I love most about art. Back when I was hanging around with my arty friends -all of whom had emotional 'issues' and the like- I was really living. Living without fear about what I was or concern about 'getting it right' etc.

And that's the thing with art: you pretty much have a license to be weired and far from being questioned, it's more of a confirmation of your talent and worth as a human being!!

It almost is an unfair advantage to be artistic. Because it is something of a free pardon from being flawed. Craziness is a sign of brilliance or at the very least is tolerated and accepted.

And there is just something about the free expression of emotions that goes with being creative that is so much more direct and straight to the point.

Almost like it braves all the 'rules' and restrictions and takes you straight to the reality at the heart of everything.

...anyhow, I'm a bit tipsy right now. But I really want to get back into this frame of mind and way of being. There was a natural intelligence to it ...that I have forgotten and mistakenly learnt to mistrust.
...I used to be able to sketch freely and 'get into the zone' but for a while now, all my pictures have a forced and labored quality. -I neither enjoy producing them nor do they even end up looking good anyway. ...so what is the point in worrying about 'getting it right' when this just screws everything up anyhow so that you don't 'get it right' and you don't enjoy yourself in the meantime.

I'm going to let go more and stop trying so bloody hard. ...I tried really really hard not to long ago: and I lost two jobs within two years. I saw others with issues and problems (some bigger than my own) who didn't try as much as me to change themselves and they kept their jobs whilst I got fired.


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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2007, 05:16 AM
 
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Re: Getting Creative


RubyTuesday, I find when I get stuck and my art starts to get laboured I need to do a few things that don't matter one bit. Constantly working towards a final finsihed piece is tiring and the fun quickly goes out of it. I try to losen myself by taking a pen and some paper and just drawing anything in any style I can think of, not worrying at all how it turns out. I feels good to fill up pages with rubbish. For me ideas can spring from it and the need to start doing more serious stuff slowly creeps back on me once I get tired of not taking it seriously.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2007, 08:29 AM
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Re: Getting Creative


Hey, RubyTuesday. It sounds like you've got a pretty exciting family history! As far as I know, I don't have any polygamist pirates in my recent family history. The best I've got is... well... no, I can't even think of one thing. It's all drab and boring.

I think you've made some excellent points. Straining and striving for something can lead to some pretty miserable states of being, and I'd agree that it wouldn't make art enjoyable. Perfectionism plays right into this as well. Art isn't about perfection; it's about expression.

I think I can relate to some of your life history in that I was a very free-spirited kid who didn't give a hoot for perfection until I was maybe 12. I became a perfectionist for some reason, accepting nothing but perfect grades in school. I graduated valedictorian from my high school with a perfect grade point average, and I was in the top 1% of my university's graduating class of over 4000 people. All of this perfectionism has its price though. I can't say that I "enjoyed" the process of getting those top grades (excessive worry/studying), but it was something I strove for to compensate for the misery/loneliness I felt in other areas of life. I also had the naive belief that if I just succeeded in school, everything else in life would fall into place.

I've always found artsy people to be very appealing/attractive, since they are more likely to express that care-free, free-spirited nature that I nostalgically remember as a child.

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He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media hype, trivial cares, political meddling...It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2007, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Creative


Thanks for the good advice, Andrew. If I'm wise, I'll put it to use as I desparately need to get my mojo back. ...I must be inhibited otherwise I would let loose and go with the flow more...

Ardrum: I've read also that good art is all about the process (the moment) and not in the least about the outcome. That this is what 'getting into the zone' or being at peak performance entails.

I was also obsessed with grades in highschool. My final year saw me have a kind of semi-nervous breakdown: for real, I had nightmares about ending-up a check-out chick!

You seem like you would be highly intelligent. Unfortunately, I can't make this claim: always been a perfectionist but never been highly intelligent. Although I am good at writing and have talent with art ...that could be a kind of intelligence...? Although it is sort of not the usual Western idea of intelligence, that is more about cool logic and the like.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-07-2007, 06:58 PM
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Re: Getting Creative


Yeah, I'm not sure how one determines "intelligence" since it's just a broad word. I'd agree that most Western cultures seem to usually direct it toward the logic/math angle, but I don't think that this is a rather limited view.

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He ran because it grounded him in basics. There was both life and death in it; it was unadulterated by media hype, trivial cares, political meddling...It was all joy and woe, hard as a diamond; it made him weary beyond comprehension. But it also made him free.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 03:41 PM
 
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Re: Getting Creative


This entire thread reminds me of what I sometimes think when feeling so bad... that I've had a "failure of expression". That I'm not paying attention to how I feel and processing it through telling a story - to someone on the phone, with a picture, with a comic strip. So it's like I *need* these things, viscerally, to just feel normal. I don't consider myself an artist, but I need to do art to feel ok. And it has to be what I call "free" art - where I'm not thinking of how it's going to turn out or the grade that I would get if it was a project, I'm just in the moment, feeling what I'm feeling and accepting it, and trying to communicate it. I doodle, sketch, talk into a tape recorder, whatever. Sometimes when I feel particularly pressured to produce something (like I'm a factory instead of a human, *be*ing) I get out crayons and draw and think, "what I'm doing is good! and won't be judged!" and it's so freeing, so happy. just my thoughts... great thread.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 09-21-2007, 04:28 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Creative


Danu,

I'd go with that if I were you -because it is exactly the intuition that I've gotten. That self expression is a pretty big issue with me and that (social) anxiety is like the prison cell that I'm trapped in but art or creative expression is like the window with a great view. ....and wonderful things can start to happen when you use your creative side. For one thing, they say that anxious adults were imaginative children -and I'd rather put my energy into this positive side than the negative.

So, who knows? I may be stuck in this prison cell -but there is a kind of escape if I use my imaginative side. ...maybe even a real escape eventually: I could get out early for 'good behaviour'...!


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