Wow. I’ve really neglected the blogging. I guess that is not atypical; I read somewhere that 30,000 blogs are started each day, which means probably something like 99% abandoned within a month or two. I refuse to succumb to those statistics! Plus much has been going on in my life! I’m contentedly still sober and feel like my program to remain so is going well. I’m starting to feel more hopeful about my future too. And I’ve been getting some inspiration from others through my reading, both in terms of a philosophy of living, and also in emboldening me to put pen/brush to paper/canvas with my own ideas.
The first book I want to mention is In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Mate, a doctor who works with addicts in Vancouver’s notorious Downtown Eastside. The best description of addiction I have ever come across, written empathetically with a view to understanding its causes, and how tragically ineffective society’s current response to it is. In Maté’s view, addiction is an essential a problem of brain development, a maladaptation to less than optimal life circumstances beginning at birth. Addicts look to substances to find solace, unable to resist the impulses of the brain seeking pleasure and comfort amid a seemingly hostile world. There is no easy solution but simple awareness of the mind’s workings can be powerful. The ability to provide empathy and comfort to one’s self, and to “let it go” when obsessive and self loathing thoughts overwhelm can provide a new freedom. I find this prescription is fairly consistent with the 12-steps of AA, both the ideas of powerlessness, and of turning our will over to a Higher Power as a means of getting beyond the cacophony of our minds, and it’s reaffirmed my commitment to work to the 12-steps.
I’ve also recently read another great book about creativity. Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon is a great short little illustrated manifesto of how to be creative. He offers ten practical ways to approach the creative life, based primarily around the idea that art is mostly reinterpreting existing ideas, and so we should not allow the need for originality to hold us back. The real challenge in tapping our creative muse is in the doing, so he offers some ways to help us all get to work effectively, including a suggestion to resist the siren call of technology and use our hands to draw and write. I’m going to try that one (I say as I type away on my iPad…).
Speaking of creativity, I am still painting. That piece that I committed to finish in a week (ha!) is actually almost done. I think I like it. It has a starkness to it, though I still would like to add something that suggests the movement of cars (as it is a freeway in the foreground). Anyway, here it is in its current iteration. Going to work on it this afternoon some. Cheers folks!