Project 1 in 4

Last week, I was reading some stuff on the Brain Pickings website, and I read an article about a project that merges art and awareness. Part of the title describes the project well: “Drawings Illuminating the Everyday Realities of Life with Mental Illness.” The project is called “Project 1 in 4.”

The project website says that 26.2 percent of American adults – 1 in 4 people – suffer from a diagnosable condition, and describes the project this way:

“Project 1 in 4 is a daily exploration of the everyday struggles presented by mental illness. Because banishing the stigma of mental illness starts with awareness, and awareness begins with education, mindfulness and empathy.”

I really like the art and perspective that artist Marissa Betley uses to showcase things that have been said to her in interviews. The drawings, simple black-and-white sketches, are powerful in the messages they convey.

I contacted Betley via email to thank her for doing this, to praise her work, and to ask if I could be of any assistance. I think the intersection of art and awareness is great and thought-provoking, and I think her drawings are wonderful.

Betley replied with very kind words, and asked about using a quote from a recent blog post as part of her art/awareness project, which I gladly agreed to.

For Day 49 of the project, she paraphrased this quote from that post: “When those times hit, I would get reclusive. I would withdraw. I didn’t want to be social. I didn’t want to be around anyone.”

By Marissa Betley, Project 1 in 4.

See more from Project 1 in 4.

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Generosity and stillness

Last weekend, I got to spend some time with some wonderful people in Nashville (and enjoy some great food and coffee!) On the way home, I was listening to an NPR affiliate station, and “On Being” was on. The host was interviewing Maria Popova, the creator of the website Brain Pickings (which I have come to thoroughly enjoy.)

When checking out the website and a few of the great, thought-provoking articles, I saw under the “must-reads” sidebar an article titled “Happy Birthday, Brain Pickings: 7 Things I Learned in 7 Years of Reading, Writing, and Living.”

I would encourage you to click that link and read the whole thing. I found it to have some really good wisdom in it, much more depth than you’ll ever find in any “listicle” on some click-bait website.

All seven things are very good, but two of them really caught my attention as being relevant in my life right now, and I wanted to share them with you:

Be generous. Be generous with your time and your resources and with giving credit and, especially, with your words. It’s so much easier to be a critic than a celebrator. Always remember there is a human being on the other end of every exchange and behind every cultural artifact being critiqued. To understand and be understood, those are among life’s greatest gifts, and every interaction is an opportunity to exchange them.

Look at that line: “It’s easier to be a critic than a celebrator.” Be genuinely happy for others’ successes. There is a big difference between constructive criticism and jealousy, and most people can spot it quickly. But in my opinion, that aspect really goes to everything in life: be genuine; be you; be real.

Remembering that there is a human on the other end of every exchange is also important. Be kind. Try to understand, and communicate clearly to be understood.

The next one:

Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.

I have come to realize the importance of this in the past couple of months. Walking, meditating, just the act of taking deep breaths – all of these can help you both physically and mentally. Clear your head, calm down, focus on the moment. Find the beauty in the world.

#findthebeautyintheworld

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Wings and things…

Everything that’s been happening recently has been more behind-the-scenes type stuff, hence the lack of blog updates recently.

I’m working with Adam Davila and Nick Patterson on an upcoming short film called “Four Thousand Wings.” We’ve been in pre-production mode with shot lists, props, planning, table reads, etc.

Also, the Fall of Adam album is mastered! That’s the two-piece music project that Adam Davila and I are in. More news on that soon.

And finally, if you’re in Montgomery this coming weekend, I highly encourage you to go to the Sanctuary this Saturday. Some friends of mine from Hattiesburg, MS are on tour, and they’re making a Montgomery stop. They’re called Ostrov, and they’re touring with a Baton Rouge band called Christworm, and local favorites V-8 Death Car are also on the bill. Details here.

#lovingkindness

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