echotango lead me to capturing gratitude

You know those moments when you connect with some one who is travelling along a parallel path, going a similar direction, but just a bit further along, and
you go “ahhh yeah!! every thing is going the way it should be”. Moments when you realise the intersection of all your varied skills can work together and
you can look at all the possibilities of applying them in your life. These moments seem to be flying at me recently. Some times a little too quickly, where
I am needing to drop other things to grab them, or chase after some that are hurtling along too fast for me to seize.

One of these moment brought me in contact with Alex Kelly, an artist, producer, film maker, activist, and general all round awesome person, with a passion
that is contagious. Kelly has this great blog echotango, which explores social change, arts, impact producing, activism,
social change film, social justice, story based strategies, and much much much more really exciting and informative musings…

Alex is the National Producer of Big hART.

Any way, she introduced me (through her awesome blog) to Lauren Tober, a clinical psychologist (yay!), mindfulness yoga teacher and photographer. Lauren has this project called capturing gratitude, a global happiness project, exploring gratitude through photography. During the month of February people will be posting daily photos of gratitude, encouraging and facilitating their own gratitude practice. Get involved via her website!

There is some thing so beautiful about how an image and the stories that hold it, envelop it and are activated through its consideration. How an image can hold you captivated and allow gentle (or confronting) questioning. The internal and external narration that travels with an image.

 

Yes, stories, I love you.

Museum of the Long Weekend

As you already know, if you read my first blog post about Big hART, I am a big fan of this arts and social change organisation. Last night, during my midnight cognitive dialogue, I read some really beautiful blog posts from the Museum of the Long Weekend (MOTLW).

MOTLW is a Big hART project, as part of the Centenary of Canberra’s celebratory weekend SPIN, looking at the psychology of leisure, Australia’s recreational history, through an ephemeral museum on wheels. 40+ Vintage Caravans will be converging on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, next weekend the 18th-20th October.

It’s exciting, I get to go up as part of my internship. And I have been following the vans (travelling along three convoy routes) as they journey across the continent, with much yearning and desire to buy myself a beautiful vintage caravan, or a bus, or just a general car, and pack up all my belongs, hit the road and share stories and narratives with people in caravan parks, road stops and beautiful sandy white beaches (preferably north of the cold Australian weather).

These blog updates, especially the ones shared by Elspeth, are beautifully crafted short stories of time on the road, those moments we go through, of introspection, outrospection, processing, connecting, building, gaining, losing, learning.

Last night as I read these, I thought of how beautiful it is to see people share so openly and vulnerably (courageously) and how much taking in these stories stirs so many feelings and emotions, so many sensations.

Thats what I am passionate about.

Check out the blog here. And please share with me what you think. Lets engage in a mutual narrative of sharing.

ACT

I am suppose to be studying for my exams in a couple of weeks, or getting to bed early so I am fresh to brave the RMIT Uni striking staff picket lines tomorrow morning, to get my final, last, psychology lab report into the submission box on time… but instead I am thinking of all the things in my life that are causing my internal dialogue to fire and chatter away quickly.

So rather than try to push it all away and ‘get on with what needs doing’, I thought I would just share it all with you.

ACT!

I am reading an article at the moment on ‘Acceptance and Commitment Therapy‘ (ACT), which is a ‘third wave’ behavioural therapy that, unlike any other psychotherapy, does not have the goal of getting rid of ‘symptoms’, but to “create a rich and meaningful life, while accepting the pain that inevitably goes with it” (Harris, 2006). This may confuse people a little, in that ‘why would I want to accept pain and discomfort?’ sort of way. But it makes so much sense to me, and the theory/therapy fits in nicely with my ’empathy cultivating, creative narrative, uncomfortable dialogues’ theme… The article talks about the root of psychological suffering stemming from human language its self. It looks at the idea of a public and private language. How our private language (the language that we use to talk to ourselves, plan, visualise, analyse, etc) is our cognition and that this internal dialogue or narrative (see!!) is a double edged sword. On the nice side of the sword, it provides us with all this really awesome stuff, like learning, and creating, and planning, and making models of the world. While on the dark and dangerous side, it has us lie, manipulate, be ignorant, we use it to scare ourselves… and even worse… we use it to destroy ourselves.

So sure, its all pretty heavy duty, but not really. Basically what ACT does is look at how we can develop skills to either problem solve our ‘issues’ or the dark side of the sword, or develop acceptance that this shit happens and that some times it is out of our control. And then it helps us to commit and ACT toward living a valued life…

Maybe I have lost you… and maybe I am too tired and should just get my beauty sleep… BUT I want to say this… maybe if we can begin to feel safely uncomfortable of our own ‘symptoms’, then we will be more readily able to feel safely uncomfortable by other peoples ‘symptoms’ and gain strength and resilience and understanding and empathetically grow!!

Just a thought, at 12:44AM.

(There are more things chiming in my brain that I wish to share… but maybe I will post it all separately, so if you have become bored of this post, you won’t miss out on the other exciting stuff – trust me, it is exciting!!)

Blame… where does it lie

Radiolab is one of my favourite podcasts (along with a few others that I will post soon)… Not only do they provide awesome science made easy to understand, but explore the narratives of human nature, human existence, the underlying basis of humanity…

This episode, Blame, addresses, in 3 beautifully crafted and moving stories, the idea of blame, the idea of framing blame, how we can look at blame, moving through blame and the idea of unconditional positive regard, looking at behaviours from an empathetic understanding.

The first story Fault Line, looks at neuroscience, deviant behaviour and the criminal justice system, free will, choice, and accountability.

Forget about Blame? looks at the area of NeuroLaw, and the increased use of neuroscience to argue individuals are not always to blame for criminal behaviour, but rather neurological dysfunction…

My favourite story, Dear Hector, is an amazing story of unconditional positive regard, empathy, acceptance, and forgiveness that is almost impossible to comprehend. Empathy at its finest. The narrative is crafted beautifully. (I must warn that it is a confronting story, that will move you, but thats what empathy is all about right?!)