#123: Mindful creativity, visualisations of depression and anxiety, and a question for you

One thought from me: How creativity and mindfulness might save you, and save the world

The world is strange right now — you might have noticed.

Leave aside, if you can, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the precipice of economic depression the world may be facing into, and the unrest that is growing as far afield as the United States and Hong Kong.

Far from the worst of what is happening, it is strange also just to be in one’s local town or village, with many businesses closed and those that are open struggling valiantly for some form of normality amid the hand sanitizer and face coverings and social distancing.

A series of related thoughts spring to mind:

  1. The world before the start of 2020 was characterised more than anything by an unsustainable consumption of the earth’s natural resources
  2. While it will bring short-term uncertainty and pain, it is in humanity’s long-term interest not to return to that old way of being (our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren may never forgive us if we rush back into the unsustainable old normal)
  3. Much of what was loosely called “economic growth” was based on the unsustainable old normal
  4. Boredom is perhaps the biggest driver of economic growth (the type of boredom that compels us to eat fast food, to make absentminded weekly trips to cinemas and pubs and restaurants, and to make large shopping centres a temple)
  5. The only antidotes to boredom, I think, are either to engage oneself in creative work or to become comfortable with self-reflection.

Exercises in creativity and mindfulness could save you, and also save the world.

Mindful creativity is the opposite of mindless consumption.

Mindfulness is not necessarily about sitting cross-legged up a mountain, or savouring the flavour of a single raisin. Mindfulness is about drawing the mind to the present, away from the endless thoughts about the past and the future.

Mindful creativity — a poem you’ve been meaning to rewrite, a painting on the canvas, a specially prepared meal for a loved one or a business idea you’ve been thinking about trying — is good for your soul.

Mindful creativity is also good for the souls of others, because it is a window into the heart of things that truly matter.

One thought from someone else: A visualisation of depression, anxiety and peace of mind

I’ve always felt that depression and anxiety were extremely closely related.

In my experience, they often go hand-in-hand, the Batman and Robin of mental health conditions.

In the past I’ve thought that depression is usually a deep-seated and negative preoccupation with a version of what has already happened, and that anxiety was a similarly negative preoccupation with things that had yet to happen.

I saw these visuals on Instagram this week, and they hit home for me.

They’re from the Taohaus account, which offers a visual guide to ancient wisdom.

Depression:

Anxiety:

A visualisation of anxiety

Peace of mind:

A visualisation of peace of mind

 

One question for you

What creative endeavour have you been putting off? And what would it take for you to return to it this week?

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