Dreams and the Mental Landscape
As an artist, I am very constantly aware of what is happening in my own head. It's not a point of pride, just a fact- I am constantly observing both the world around me, and the internal.
Doing this has given me great appreciation for taking care of one's mental landscape. And here is what I mean by that and why.
The only way I have ever found to make good art is a process of intense focus and diligence followed by either a good night's sleep or many a nap, followed by the intense action of creating again. When I am stuck on a painting, the only cure is, 100% a night or two of sleep- of separating completely from the problem to let my mind work it out in the background.
There is no feeling like the one of waking up and knowing *exactly* what the next step in your painting is. Almost out of nowhere.
And I notice, when I successfully nap, my mind wanders to these wild lands and makes connections I cannot even recreate-and through all of that, it finds solutions I was unable to see.
But to let this process occurs takes some diligence and focus. It means not allowing too much other crap to crowd the folds of my brain. It means that I don't get to scroll through Facebook for hours a day, because while I'm not really paying attention during that, I AM certainly putting stuff in my mind passively. (Try it- open Facebook, scroll for 5 minutes and then stop yourself, look at whatever content is in front of you and ask, is.this something I'd actually like to put in my brain?)
It also means rationing the amount of information and news you take in on a daily basis, and being conscious of what media you are consuming. I love playing videogames, and I enjoy your typical violent TV series (currently Deadwood). But I have also noticed that my mind starts thinking in terms of the video games, or in terms of the series, that it is a moral and work related obligation that I limit my exposure to all this.
I can only speak about this from the perspective of an artist- but I believe that the experience of problem solving and finding the best solutions while 'powered down' can be found in any and every focus. And that curating the clutter of our minds can help us be our best self. Personally, I also use my art as reminders. I'm not even kidding, this morning, to get myself going in the right direction, I looked at Reaching Ballerina and she set me on the path towards self actualization. I think this is why art is so valuable- it's just a brief moment, but if we pay attention, it can remind our minds of SO much that we don't necessarily get any other place.