Aug 31, 2008

Sunday in the park with peacocks

These ostentatious peacocks are the strutting residents of Campo del Moro (the field of the Moor). This pretty park rises from the skinny Manzanares River and offers beautiful views of the Palacio Real.

Aug 30, 2008

Her wet revenge

It's the golden hour in Almudena Cemetery. We are walking along the lonely main road towards the exit after an afternoon of exploring and taking photos. A bus stops and drops off a Spanish señora in her early 60s. She moves slowly and deliberately into the rows of graves, looking for the headstone she seeks. When she finds it, she pauses to look swiftly around her. My boyfriend, M, and I are 20 meters away and I'm snapping photos of yet another sunlit statue. Satisfied, she returns to her business. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse. Up goes her conservative dress and down her rather liberal panties as she squats and relieves herself. Once unburden, she gets up, adjusts her dress and shuffles back towards the road with a smile, unaware or unconcerned that we've just bore witness to her wet revenge. Slightly scandalized, M and I begin speculating on the motives behind the audacious señora's act. I mean, if she just needed a pee, there's a WC across the street from the bus stop..

What do you, reader, make of this singular and extraordinary event? Does she administer her liquid vengeance every week? every month? Or maybe there's a special Spanish 'piss on your dead enemy' day I don't know about. Just what is the real story behind THIS golden shower?

Aug 29, 2008

It's what's for dinner

The display window of Museo del Jamón on Calle Mayor. Notice the vacuum wrapped cochinillo's (baby pig) little face. I've never eaten the head before but the 1/4 portion of roast suckling pig I have had was delicious. Not sure about having the face on a plate though...

Aug 28, 2008


Taken in a bar a in Salamanca, Spain.

I just found out that my photo of dangling pig legs has been shortlisted for publication in Schmap Guides Online. It's not a paying gig but I suppose it's great exposure and flattery, which the vain peacock in me craves and delights in.

If you're wondering why all the photos lately, well, there are two very good reasons. 1) I've been inspired by daily photo blogs that give the reader a pictorial view of life in the city like Paris Daily Photo. 2) I've hit a bit of a wall with writing. I've got another depression related post in the works but haven't been able to finish it yet. So stay tuned, it's coming. I'll get past this block.

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying my various photos of Madrid.

Aug 27, 2008

A reflection of old on new

Taken in Madrid's posh barrio of Salamanca, this is a reflection of the Iglesia de la Concepción on the glassy modern office building across the street.

Aug 26, 2008

Fresh bread for dinner

Long shadows and fresh bread. Taken from a 3rd floor balcony in the barrio of Cuatro Caminos in Madrid.

Aug 25, 2008

He likes to watch

Parque del Buen Retiro (located in the city centre) is the most popular park in Madrid. It's a welcome shade for the sun weary and a favorite make-out spot for the young and not so young Spanish who still live at home with madre y padre. Couples rollick and wrestle, cuddle and caress on the soft grass as if no one else in the world exists... but alas other people do exist and some like to watch. Like this man. He wanders around the park and gets as close as he can to a lip-locking couple then he watches them until he is noticed. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes. Once spotted he moves on to the next couple who catch his eye. My boyfriend and I experimented with this. We began furiously making out in order to attract his attention and it didn't take him long to see us and wander over with the slyness of a polar bear on the hunt.

This pesky voyeur is very attentive so it was difficult to catch him in action without a camera with super zoom. Still I managed but as someone pointed out to me recently, taking a photo of a peeping perv kinda makes me a perv too. Doh!

Aug 24, 2008

Aug 23, 2008

Snapshots from Atocha's Squatter Mansion

Too much cheap beer last night. We met up with friends to checkout the new bar in a mansion/artist squat on Calle Atocha called Palacio Social Okupado Malaya. This neglected opulent mansion is getting new life from a community of creative squatters. The beer at the bar costs how ever much you want to donate, which is a good deal to one as poor as I. The white plaster walls are covered with alternative art and posters. Drapery is festooned to the ceiling like colourful clouds. Behind the bar is the palatial city mansion where once clearly no money was spared. It's former splendor can still be seen in it's magnificent moldings, grand mirrors and ornately decorated wallpaper.

The bar. The white plaster has been scrapped away to show the ancient wood beam beneath but it's been done in such a way that it looks like an abstract Jesus on the cross.

The first floor was all we were allowed to poke around. The upper floors were under gated lock and key.
Still looking grand and lavish.

Aug 22, 2008

Local colours at a puppet show in La Corrala.

I took this photo during San Isidro on May 15th. San Isidro is the patron saint of Madrid so there are fiestas and shows all over the city. This is a crowd from my barrio. Corralas are apartment blocks built during the 19th century. The buildings surround an interior courtyard with balconies overlooking the courtyard. La Corrala in Lavapiés is a monument of historic interest because it exemplifies this type of tenement. This corrala however was never completed so the courtyard is now a plaza and with balconies facing it and ubiquitous laundry dangling from it. Nowadays La Corrala is the stage for operas and puppet shows. 

I like this photo for all the chaos, colours and different types of faces and expressions. Lavapiés gets a lot of flack for crime due to it's large immigrant population. People fear the place. But I love this barrio and its colourful nature. Here we have the multi-ethnic community of Lavapiés enjoying a puppet show together. How refreshing.

I've got more photos of Lavapiés locals in my earlier blogs An August Night and Dancing on the streets of Lavapiés.

Aug 20, 2008

Moment by moment

A mindful two minutes in Retiro park.

It is 30 Celsius, 2 hours before dusk. The air smells brown and green. The trees break the light of the sun into random patches on the grass. There's a slight breeze. Some leaves are made light green by the sun while others are dark green in the shade. Trees protrude at all angles, cutting up the sky. I am seated, leaning against a fat tree trunk. A fat old man in sneakers circles past me for the third time. A running team stream by, kicking up dust in their wake. A couple in their 80s sit on a wooden bench by the path to my left. Her hair is dyed dark and her arm is resting on the bench back behind her husband's hunched body. She taps her fingers without rhythm. His head is turned away. Various birds sing, mingled with human voices, muffled traffic, and feet walking heavily on the beaten earth. A police patrol car circles behind me. A girl with a thick cotton headband cycles by on a men's bike. A lame-legged man hobbles by holding a cane in one hand and his wife's hand in the other. Leaning up against a tree to my right is a blonde young man in shorts and a black beret, reading a newspaper. A woman in red pants hurries towards her destination as life unfolds moment by moment.

Aug 19, 2008

A cluster of street art in Lavapiés

A faceless building under renovation on Calle Santa Isabel has become the canvas for various street artists.

This surreal multi-faced piece says "Let fly your dreams, fears and imagination."

A collaboration of a few artists in three panels.
Translates roughly to "To call attention, you didn't have to shout at him."

These weird floppy faces are the trademark of Rallito-x. This prolific artist has his posters all over the streets of Madrid. Photos of his street art gallery are available on his myspace. He's quite impressive. I recommend taking a look at his work.

A work in progress? Rallito-X and others collaborate.

Aug 18, 2008

Mission Accomplished

On July 18th I decided to create a blog and begin blogging daily for one calender month in an attempt to stimulate my brain juices. Despite creative despair, frustration and lack of ideas, I managed to plowed through. This is a small victory, the tiny success of a goal completed. But I'll celebrate it because I've been told that success is not a measure, it is a feeling. So, I say "Yay, yahoo, woohoo! I feel good!"

Thanks to everyone who read my blogs and supported my efforts. Bless your sweet souls, you kept me motivated and stopped me from giving up.

So what next? I'm going to keep blogging my creative projects, findings and opinions. I'm going to keep building and tweaking this blog thing and I hope you all keep coming back.

Aug 17, 2008

Cajónes and Zapateado

Today, I'm in the mood for percussion so I'm going to share a couple of excellent Youtube videos that feature Spanish beats.

A cajón is a kind of box drum played by slapping the front face (generally thin plywood) with the hands. According to wiki, the slaves of West and Central African origin in the Americas, specifically Peru, are the source of the cajón drum. In Cuba, the cajón is associated with the Afro-Cuban drum/song/dance style known as rumba, while in Peru it is associated with several Afro-Peruvian genres. It is said to be the most widely used Afro-Peruvian musical instrument in the 20th century.

This video of a live performance is in Spanish Flamenco style. The cajón was introduced to Flamenco music by guitarist Paco de Lucía in the 1970s. While this video isn't the clearest, it's one of my favorites because I think it captures the spirit the drumming.

In this next video a cajón drummer accompanies a shirtless, sexy Flamenco dancer performing on the Ramblas in Barcelona. Again, the video isn't the best around for presentation, but I like it because it captures the experience and energy of this street performance. According to Angelo from Spaintalk, this dance is called "Zapateado" a special type of flamenco footwork, which requires great skill, concentration and a lot of stamina to perform. This is not just a guy stamping his feet on a wooden board for the fun of it, there is purpose and meaning to the movements of this particular Palo (a Flamenco form that is very old and extremely traditional amongst tight-knit Andalusian families and communities).

Óle! Enjoy.

Aug 16, 2008

When the exotic becomes everyday life

“What am I doing here?”
Arthur Rimbaud, writing home from Ethiopia.
I'm a homebody. I've always been a homebody despite the fact that I am a nomad who has lived in many places. I like the comfort of my own chair and my friends often chide me for being the sort of person who doesn't leave the house for stretches of time. I have no proper defense for my eccentricities. I am who I am. It's not that I'm unadventurous, I choose to relocate often. For example, in the last decade, I have lived in 5 cities in 2 countries. My longest habitation was for 3 years and the shortest, 10 months. And while I've been in Spain, I've visited 22 city/towns in 4 countries. In my lifetime, I've been to 11 countries. I'm no stick-in-the-mud, I just like puttering around at home. A lot. I suppose for me, when the exotic becomes everyday life (same old same old) I take trips in my mind in the comfort of my pajamas. Some people would call it a waste, but I'm OK with that. Adventures aren't always external; inner adventures can be invigorating too, thank you.

In the spirit of travel both in the outer and inner world, here are some inspiring and funny travel quotes I quite enjoy:
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.”

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”

“As the traveler who has once been from home is wiser than he who has never left his own doorstep, so a knowledge of one other culture should sharpen our ability to scrutinize more steadily, to appreciate more lovingly, our own.”

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure - self-determined, self-motivated, often risky - forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind - and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Aug 15, 2008

Oiga hombre, eso no está guay!

In Madrid a Chino is both a Chinese person and the corner grocery store. This rather shocked me at first but it's one of the many unPC things I've had to get used to. Immigrants are a recent phenomenon in this country and the Spanish notions of what is acceptable and PC are different from other countries who have lived with multi-cultures for longer.

So it comes as no great surprise to find out about this recent "wink" blunder. The Spanish Men's and Women's Olympic basketball teams used their fingers to make "slant eyes" in team photos for an ad in the Spanish Sports daily, Marca. Jose Manuel Calderon, a player, calls this pose a gesture of affection, a wink. His teammate, Pau Gasol told the Associated Press that "It was something that was supposed to be funny." Funny? An affectionate wink? Well, I don't think so and neither did the many bloggers and journalists who were offended by this type of affection.
"The sheer stupidity of the Spanish team photo does make me just shake my head," said one contributor to the LA Times' Lakers blog. "Being Asian and seeing this however, I do want to shake my fist."
“It’s as if they are taunting—like kids to each other in school—it’s a very childish advertisement,”said Vicki Shu Smolim, the head of New York's Organization for Chinese Americans. “It’s definitely not sending a message of sportsmanship, and is insensitive not only to the Chinese, but to all Asians.”
After widespread criticism raged in British and American media, Gasol offered a conditional, "if anyone feels offended by it" apology on behalf of his team for the slit-eyed gestures. But according to El Pais, apologetic reactions from Spain’s players and federation have been sparse, and its media has largely framed the issue as a bogus cross-cultural attack. The ad will stay put.

Obviously, the Spanish don't get it. They don't understand why this affectionate gesture is seen as inappropriate to the rest of the world. Of course, as far as racism goes, these photos are small potatoes. More outrageous is the racism in football. Like when Spanish football fans throw bananas onto the field and make ape noises whenever a black player (even on the Spanish team) touches the ball. Here's an excellent piece on YouTube that talks about European racism in football.

My Caucasian boyfriend says who cares, they (basketball team) just look like idiots and I suppose he's right. But because I am Asian, I'm compelled to stand up, shake my fist and say, "Oiga hombre, eso no está guay!" (listen man, that's not cool!) when I see this type of racial insensitivity.

Racist, affectionate or just plain idiotic? You tell me.

Photo courtesy of El Pais

Aug 14, 2008

Aug 13, 2008

Cinematherapy: bringing down your psychic-emotional walls

I've been watching a lot of movies and tv series since going high-speed. The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, BBC Planet Earth, Kenneth Clark's Civilization, the list goes on and on. I've rationalized my copious movie and tv consumption as nutritious couch potato time because I choose only the acclaimed stuff. No junk. Just the cream. OK, maybe a little Survivor but it's sociologically and psychologically interesting. We always have discussions following each episode. And as it turns out, this can be therapeutic.

Cinematherapy is a therapeutic intervention that is growing in popularity. In Psychology Today, Stuart Fischoff, Ph.D blogs about this subject in part one of Movies and Psychotherapy = Cinematherapy. He says:
Movies constitute the premier popular culture form of the day in no small way because of the psychophysiological properties of the film medium; moreover, it does not require the ability to read-not an insignificant advantage. While film has been justly called an "emotion machine," it is also a multi-sensory medium. More than any other medium of entertainment and communication, movies richly represent the swirl of messages: flesh, mind, ideas, pain, pride and laughter, the symbols and images that define what we call "the human condition."
Yes, good movies can be a cathartic experience, they arouse our feelings and give us emotional release.
"The value of movies to progress in therapy is in their capacity to deal with issues that patients can't or won't discuss because they are too painful or too frightening. Movies can bring down psychic-emotional barriers, penetrate the wall of resistance, both conscious and unconscious, oftentimes very deftly and then open up the issues aroused for discussion in therapy....Often, is easier for patients to discuss problems when they are talking about a character in a movie."
How true. Sometimes it's easier to talk in 3rd person, to project. So next time you watch a show, talk about it. It may be good for your mental health.

Aug 12, 2008

Dancing in the streets of Lavapiés

Last night was the final night for fiestas Lavapiés - a celebration of the barrio's patron saint San Lorenzo. The parties will continue in the neighbouring barrio of La Latina from August 12th - 16th. Las noches prohibidas del paraíso has a detailed schedule of events.

I love the many faces of Lavapiés

Orquesta Tatuaje got people dancing by performing popular Spanish rock and pop. I recognized none of what I heard, but judging from all the singing along I saw, I was definitely one of the few out of this pop culture loop.

Dancing on the street. These people were really into it! It was fantastic. At one point a random guy linked his arm into my arm and swung me around in revelry. Que divertido!

Aug 11, 2008

Keeping the Horribles at Bay: Life as Stories

In his 2003 Massey lecture, award-winning author and scholar Thomas King talked about storytelling - how stories shape who we are and how we understand and interact with other people. He talked about the wondrous and dangerous aspects of stories and the moral and social responsibility carried by the storytellers. It was a fascinating lecture series before podcasting so I had to actually set time aside to sit beside a radio. How old skool! Anyway, The Truth about Stories: A Native Narrative, got me very interested in the idea that we are both a collection of stories we tell ourselves and others and the stories others tell about us (our socially constructed identity).

Because I've moved from city to city with regularity, I've had to tell my stories over and over to different people. Every place I've lived has allowed me to amplify some experiences and downplay (or omit) other experiences. I can choose the stories I share. Because I have a blank slate while travelling, I create my identity and meaning by my choice of stories. The only person packing my baggage is me. However, like undies and socks, my depression narratives always get packed.

In past weeks I've written about mindful meditations in controlling depression and making meaning by using the metaphor of life as story. This week, I'm going to look at how narrative therapy seeks to make meaning from our stories so that we can heal. What exactly is narrative therapy? Therapist, Erik Sween, has an article that explains narrative concepts in layman terms:
  1. Every type of psychotherapy designates a different aspect of life as the basic unit of experience. For example, behavioral therapy focuses on behavior, cognitive therapy focuses on logical thinking, while systems therapy focuses on family interaction as the basic unit. In this way, narrative therapy holds up the story as the basic unit of experience. Stories guide how people act, think, feel, and make sense of new experience. Stories organize the information from a person's life. Narrative therapy focuses on how these important stories can get written and re-written.
  2. Narrative therapy proposes that people use certain stories about themselves like the lens on a camera. These stories have the effect of filtering a person's experience and thereby selecting what information gets focused in or focused out. These stories shape people's perspectives of their lives, histories, and futures. Despite information to the contrary, these stories of identity can be remarkably stable. Narrative therapy provides a means to refocus the lens on this camera and help reshape a person's stories and life.
  3. As people, we are inescapably meaning-makers. We have an experience and then attach meaning to it. Since time immemorial, and the days around the campfire, we have been telling stories. Stories are our most familiar means of communicating the meaning we find in our experiences. Narrative therapy is interested in the stories we live by - those stories we carry with us about who we are and what is most important to us. Narrative therapy involves unearthing these stories, understanding them, and re-telling them.
  4. Many forms of psychology and therapy place enormous emphasis on the process of individuation. In this way, the individual is believed to construct her or his internal world almost single-handedly. Narrative therapy provides a contrast to this perspective. Narrative therapy proposes that identity is co-created in relationship with other people as well as by one's history and culture. Thus, being seen by others in a certain way can contribute as much as seeing oneself in a certain way. We come to see ourselves by looking in the mirrors that other people hold up for us. In this way, a person's identity is said to be socially constructed. Narrative therapy focuses on the degree to which that socially constructed identity fits for that person.
  5. Narrative therapy consists of understanding the stories or themes that have shaped a person's life. Out of all the experiences a person has lived, what has held the most meaning? What choices, intentions, relationships have been most important? Narrative therapy proposes that only those experiences that are part of a larger story will have significant impact on a person's lived experience. Therefore, narrative therapy focuses on building the plot which connects a person's life together.
  6. A person's life is criss-crossed by invisible story-lines. These unseen story-lines can have enormous power in shaping a person's life. Narrative therapy involves the process of drawing out and amplifying these story-lines. Questions are used to focus on what has been most meaningful in a person's life. Common areas of inquiry include intentions, influential relationships, turning-points, treasured memories, and how these areas connect with each other.
I recommend reading the entire article. Depression is a real downer and finding many ways to heal and control the downward spiral is one of the most important things anyone who suffers from depression can do. Choose the make meaning, be mindful of the present moment and figure out which stories are better off not repeated again and again and which ones are worth retelling.

Aug 10, 2008

Taste life twice

"We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection."
Anais Nin

Aug 9, 2008

An August night

Our night out began with a free concert of traditional andulsian music and dance at Templo de Debod for the Veranos de la Villa 2008 and ended with drinks at our neighbourhood party.

Templo de Debod is an authentic Egyptian temple that was built in the 2nd century BC and given to the Spanish in 1968.

There are free concerts all summer. The lights at the end are for the stage.

After the concert we walked back to our barrio for the fiesta. Lavapiés was the former Jewish quarter of the city until the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Nowadays it's the most multi-enthic barrio in Madrid with more than 50% of its population of foreign origin. I love all the different faces I can see here.

Bingo is always popular.

So are the Mmmm Mojitos I got at a Cuban bar.

Aug 8, 2008

Walks after dark: Found Art

"Refuse and Recycle in a Throw-away World" 

On one of our nightly strolls we came across the remains of a photography installation on a wall on Calle Jesus y Maria. I liked the way the peeling photos and the pile of cardboard boxes resonate artistically together. 

Aug 7, 2008


"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes."
Charles Swindoll

Aug 6, 2008

Saying Yes

Here I am jumping on a beach in Lagos, Portugal. 

YES I can.

Aug 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary

I arrived in Madrid two years ago today. Since then I have lived in 4 apartments in 3 Madrid barrios, visited 22 city/towns in 4 countries, given 1200 hours of English classes, eaten all sorts of tapas, drunk many vasos of beer, wine and brandy, learnt a little Spanish, spent hours on metros, had my wallet stolen by a gypsy girl, made a few friends, survived the horribles, welcomed my beloved back into my arms, and made many of my childhood dreams come true. The journey has been rich, varied and unpredictable. I have laughed a lot and cried a lot and dreamed a lot. I have seen many many beautiful and disgusting sights. In fact, I have become used to things I couldn't have imagined. And the adventure is not over yet...

“Great stirrings of the mind have frequently followed great ages of travel. Throughout history by going to far places and seeing strange sights men have prodded their imagination. They have found amazement and delight and have reflected that life back home need not always remain what it has been. They have learned that there is more than one way to skin a cat, that there are more things in heaven and earth than was dreamt of in their philosophy, that the possibilities of life are not exhausted on Main Street...The discovery of new worlds has always renewed men's minds. Travel has been the universal catalyst. It has made men think faster, imagine larger, want more passionately."
Daniel Boorstin, The Image (1961)

Aug 4, 2008

Keeping the Horribles at Bay: Making Meaning Out of Nothing

Madrid is in the grips of a heatwave and I am so hot I can't be bothered to move. Lethargy, worry, stress and general dissatisfaction lay heavy on my body. I'm sleeping a lot. Maisel would say that I am having a meaning crisis and I need to look for ways to plug up my meaning leak. Instead I want to cry in self-pity over the meaninglessness of my life. What's the point? It's all drudgery and I don't see the need to go on. I'm exhausted and joyless and hopeless, tossed about at the mercy of external forces outside my control.. (economic crisis = still unemployed)

Well, it's time again to keep the horribles at bay. Time to take responsibility for what I can do. Time to navigate. I am the meaning maker in my life and I favor the metaphor of life as a story. So then, if I am the hero of my story/quest then I must act in the face of obstacles. Take action. The right action in the moment. But what is right action? Whatever I decide is the right thing to do. How do I decide? Intuition tempered with common sense. Action brings with it energy and the feeling of accomplishment. The only thing to do now is make a list and follow through. This may not get me work in August (when all of Spain is on vacation) but it'll make me feel better and that's meaning enough for me.

I recommend:
Podcasts by Dr. Eric Maisel called Your Purpose-Centered Life. He is a staunch atheist and he deals with making meaning in a meaningless universe.
His first series, "art of making meaning" he describes the atheist's way or in a nutshell: life is not about finding yourself, it's about creating yourself.
In his second series, "How Purpose Heals Depression," he discusses existential concerns and ways to heal.

Aug 3, 2008

Connecting the dots..

Why, why, what's the point? Where is this all going? What does it all mean? Is there meaning? Am I just wasting my time?

I'm often stumped by questions of meaning as I stumble through my zig zag life and I'm always fearful that the events in my life are wayward dots that will not connect to create form. But this is a normal fear, I suppose, when you live off the well-trodden path.. the trick then is to find voices of those who have gone before. Those who have survived and thrived and are willing to tell you something about the journey.

"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
excerpt from Steve Jobs
Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Aug 1, 2008

The principal remedy for depression

Today while I was websurfing for something to blog about, stumbled upon Eric Maisel. He is a creativity coach, therapist and author of many books, including The Van Gogh Blues: A Creative Person's Path Through Depression. He says that:
In order for you to live an authentic, meaningful life, which is the principal remedy for the depression creative people experience, you must feel that 1) the plan of your life is meaningful, 2) the work you do is meaningful, and 3) the way your spend your time is meaningful.

To reach this goal, you must consciously hold the following four intentions:
  1. To articulate a life plan that feels meaningful and to strive to live by that plan.
  2. To articulate what constitutes worthy work and to accomplish that worthy work.
  3. To articulate how the seconds, hours, weeks, and years that make up your life will be made to feel meaningful and to strive to actually make them feel meaningful.
  4. To put the first three intentions into practice in a coordinated way.
In other words we need to intentionally make meaning. Stumbling upon this man's ideas is like finding an unexpected gift. So I followed his web-trail and found he also had interesting things to say about creative mindfulness, which takes traditional mindfulness and puts it in the service of creativity. Eric Maisel Creativity Central is a blog where he and guest blog correspondents from around the world write about creativity, and the creative life. Interesting stuff.

Now that I'm inspired to action I'm off to have a think about making meaning.
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