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use [art] to re-wire your mind

We all find ourselves at a dead-end at some point.

I had been at the dead-end for a while but haven't noticed. But then I saw it. How I'd been repeating the same thoughts and actions to no avail. I knew I had to try something new, but I didn't know where to start. I was stagnant.

A few months ago I stumbled onto a new road.

I had a strong, excited, almost sexual urge to paint on canvas. I just wanted to do it. And there wasn't anything stopping me. No more looking for "the right answer." I just went to the store and bought a bunch of art supplies and started to move paint around on a canvas. I didn't care about whether the paintings were good or not - I was satisfied by the physical act itself.

Fast forward 5 months or so, and I've produced 40 or so paintings -- I've even sold a few. I still don't care much whether they are good. The act of making the art is itself the reward. I tripped and fell into more than just a delightful hobby. I found a window into a better way of working, a method for getting out of my own way.

Anatomy of a Dead End

It's worth casting light onto my "normal" approach to life. You may recognize it from such films as "Every Moment of Your Day" and "Repetitive, Anxious and Obsessed." Like the annoying loud person at the party, this voice still gets a lot of airtime, but I'm learning to find ways to politely exit the conversation.

Dead End (Basic Bitch Monkey Mind)

The Good Stuff

Focused on achieving an end goal.

The work itself is satisfying.

"I'm running out of time. I'm behind."

"I'm lucky to have some freedom today"

Mental, abstract, vague

Physical, practical, real

Absorbed in ideas about the future

Absorbed in present activity

Not enjoyable to experience.

One of your favorite ways to spend time

​Seeks perfection; afraid to start

Excited to jump in and learn progressively

​Wants to look good; seeks validation.

Wants to share and give

Worried about money, doesn't want to get burned again

Accepts vulnerability and takes the right risks

Takes things seriously & personally.

​Playful, feels more themselves

Spirit animal is coffee jitters

Spirit animal is post-coital bliss

The great thing is, every time I make art, I am strengthening this new approach to life. I'm learning how to move forward and not get stuck.

I'll leave you with this question:

What area of your life can you use as a safe "training ground" for uncovering a new relationship with yourself, a new attitude, and new process, or a new mindset?

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