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Hack Your Brain, Part 1 - Body by Henson, brain by Seuss. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Kelly J. Cooper

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Hack Your Brain, Part 1 [Feb. 11th, 2007|01:17 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
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I suspect that we all change our brains, on purpose or by accident, every day. But some years ago I set about trying to change things in my head on purpose. I was depressed, unfulfilled, frustrated, and generally unhappy and I wanted to be happy.

All I wished for, whenever I wished, was to be happy.

To that end I flailed around for quite a while, trying to figure out some path toward happiness, or at least away from sadness.

I'm not sure if I'd started therapy before or after I started this book, but I have a vague memory that it might've been before. As I was flapping about, I hit this, and it was the first step on the path. I'm still not sure what to call the path - self-improvement seems trite - but it is my path away from sadness and toward happiness.

I'm trying to document my steps on this path - a combination of therapy, therapeutic homework, coaching, support, and books - both so I'll remember it and so I can try and pull some coherent, organized thoughts from what's been a pretty organic process. I have some vague notion that I might be able to make the changes more... um... permanent? realized? organized? Or maybe I just want the attention, I don't know.

Anyway, the book is Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland. It was recommended to me by miss_chance.

It's a really good book, delving into all the different sorts of fears we build up around creating art and being artists.

I'd love to say something profound about it, but it's been probably five or more years since I read it. I just remember it being one of the first books I read where I identified with many of the statements and felt reassured by the idea that other people go through the same crap that I go through.

It's a slim volume and an easy read. I highly recommend reading it, whether you're a visual artist or a writer, because even if you don't agree with the authors' statements, it at least gets you thinking about your own fears, blocks, and internal censors.
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[User Picture]From: miss_chance
2007-02-12 02:47 am (UTC)
I'm glad it helped. My studio-neighbor had lent it to me, so I could flip through it and decide whether or not to get it. I sat down and 3 hours later gave it back to him. I'm sure I will go back to re-read it, but there are still bits that I remember from it. Oddly, I found an intense parallel between a thought I gleaned from that and one from an autobiography written my a 32 year old in her last year of life about her dying of breast cancer. (The last chapters were finished by her then-widower-husband). In both cases the take-home lesson for me was about letting go, especially of things I cannot control or that are inevitable. Tough and excellent stuff.
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