Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Building identity

Our Identity is the puzzle of our whole life.

How and where we socialised, who and what meant something to us, our values, what we instinctively and rationally choose, how we make decisions, how we shape our day to day life.

"To make a living is what we get,
But to make a life is what we give."
Winston Churchill

Someone said once...and it was thought provoking. 
Is it a "déjá vu" to you as well?

Making a living is what we learn to take out and away from the economy, what we get from the work we do.
I don't know, but I think making a life means a deeper level of understanding of ourselves, the world, to be a human being and our relation to another human being and society.

I am running a meet up in Basel to share art and creativity.

The next meet up program is a painting course for anyone who wants to explore their creativity.
I am working on  exploring with others  how it is possible to let everyday pressure and the pragmatic "to do list" go for a few hours and let myself just be and for example paint. 

Imagine and proceed without a serious expectation of one specific outcome. 

I do not know how the painting will look in the end.  It is just about the process and exploration  how I can express myself in a new way. 

Being creative, doing something of which we don't know the exact outcome feeds our soul and means that we give a part of ourselves out, we develop enjoying the procedure of creating.

Making a living and making a life is not the same.  

Making a good life is art. 

In the Hungarian language, we have the saying "életmüvész", a life artist. Someone who  makes a living by what she loves doing what makes her happy and satisfied plus maybe, only maybe earns a lot of money.

Being creative, doing something that expresses ourselves in old or new ways opens up deeper dimensions of our identity. Even if we do it in 1-10 % of our daily life. It needs to be a process.

We might create a new dot that will connect us to previous dots of our life and a new path, a better path. 

It is some form of bravery.  Isn't it?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Join Slow Art Day on the 12th of April, 2014 in Basel

"Art is a human activity consisting in this, that one man consciously, by no means of certain external signs, hands on to others feelings he has lived through, and that other people are infected by these feelings and also experience them."    What is Art ?  - Leo Tolstoy  1896

“It gave me a new framework for looking at art on my own.  But then it also provided the opportunity to discuss my perceptions with others who had done the same thing.  Brilliant!”
A Slow Art Day participant 

If you are interested in Art, come and join  SLOW ART DAY at the Kunstmuseum Basel  on the 12th of April.
Slow Art Day is a worldwide event to enjoy and experience Art.  I am hosting this event in Basel to see the James Ensor, Die überraschten Masken  exhibition.

Look at the Basel Slow Art Day link for more information and register if you feel like looking at art, meeting like minded, talking about the artwork.

What is Slow Art Day ?

Looking forward to meeting Art lovers.
In case there will be enough registrations, I am hoping to get Kunstmuseum to provide us a free presentation of the artist, the artworks and the era.


Friday, 31 January 2014

Full-blast living ?!

Are you officially not a creative type either ?

  “Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives. Call it full-blast living.”

 Mihály Csíkszentmihályi   -  leading researcher on positive psychology

As a child, it is normal to just play and enjoy being and doing without time and result obligations, to just experiment. Then we enroll into school, and our round way of thinking is adjusted into the structure and conformity.
I am convinced that by doing creative activity, life gets a wider perspective and is less restricted than by only looking for challenges of the mind.

I like to think of myself as creative, but officially I am not. I once had myself officially tested whether I could work for the creative industry or not, and I was not chosen. In any case, I enjoy fully creating almost anything until it starts becoming a routine activity. In fact, I realised that the more I let go of the result of whatever I do, the more exciting and fulfilling the activity is.

Every adult is creative to some extent, but it often happens that  children get more  applause for bringing good grades or achieving at sports events  or  are announced by the school or their  parents to be smart, and so they automatically take this as the secret of the best way of living.

By the time we get through formal education, probably whatever school system it is, we have developed our ways of thinking and conformity, and unless we are picked to be real artists, we believe we cannot be creative.

In the Swiss local schools children have a large number of creating „bastelnclasses until they go to secondary level from the 5th or 6th grade primary school depending on the Kanton. Roughly until the age of 10 or 11 they learn to use many different techniques and material to create a great variety of handmade things. No wonder there are so many hobby artists at different fairs all over the country.

In my life and work, in those cases when I was designing and building any  project, concept, market, program, or our private flats and houses the same feeling of fulfillment and joy came. From the time, when in my work it became  a must to plan the result in advance and to that result adjust activity, work started to be less fun and less fulfilling. What we are payed for is to bring the right results of someone else’s vision.

Structure, intellectual development in a narrowed area or the feeling of security from wanting to know what will happen in the future are inevitable in adult life.

This does not mean that we shouldn’t  play and bring our ownfree thinking and feeling childhoodback for a short time.

Nowadays that I deliberately do more creative activity, I am just more fully me, more alive, and I feel much happier. It can be any small activity like jumping on a trampoline, painting pictures during travelling, cooking without a recipe, playing anything with children, dancing, sewing...
It does not have to be anything great, just do it for the sake of playing in some way. Making pictures with pastel for me is a good start because I need to make an effort to be patient for bigger projects. With pastel I can quickly make a picture or express an imagination. It covers the page well and has a ready look. It is a nice and short experience of playing and fun without being trained or without having any special artistic talents.

Specially at the Christmas Season when everything is about creating internally and externally, we spend more time with decorating, creating ideas, gifts, plans, environments. Luckily we do not need to wait for the year end. In the everyday life it is necessary to think in new ways, do new interesting things which keep us alive and energetic. Even if we are not working in a creative field boosting, discovering and bringing our creative self to surface brings fulfillment to our lives.

We need to be able to think in different ways, because problems can only be solved with a different thought than which the problem was created by.

If you know you need more fulfillment and joy, it is time to slow down, look for the creativity inside you, buy paint or show up at a class

Do not think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It is self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can not try to do things. You simply must do things.

–Ray Bradbury

Sunday, 12 January 2014

What is "SLOW" ?

Slow is  an attitude and a philosophy.

The word slow has received with the development of the industrial age a negative connotation. We do not like to see ourselves as being slow. Do we?

Time is money, time is wasted, time flies, time is gone, time is managed, mostly not managed or even unmanageable. When I am slow I do not use the given time in an efficient way which will lead to unsuccessfulness.

Human beings introduced time measurement and the clock as the only specy on Earth to measure intervals of time shorter than the natural units (day, month, year) to gain control over it, to reduce insecurity.

So wait a minute!  The primary purpose of a clock is to display the time.  Human beings have been able to measure time since ancient times. How many steps forward have we gone in order to control time and in order to reduce insecurity? At the same time, we became addicted to speed, we do more things, produce more stuff in a given time than ever before. Has life become better? Have we become happier?

It is excellent to do things! The question to consider is what and how much of it should we do? Are you doing the right thing? Are you sure? Isn’t it easier to be busy and rush all day, so we do not have to think about our problems and difficulties.

To do things slower, to slow down or even stop for a moment or two to think has serious advantages.

„Go slower, get further!”

The story of the Tortoise and the Hare is an evident association. Tortoise belong to an ancient group of reptiles, appearing about 250 million years ago while eg. the Cheetah, the fastest running animal on the planet evolved only 5.5 million years ago. Animals are fast or slow, based on their life and hunting strategies, but the more energy they need to use for speed, the less time they can keep it. Like people. We have our own unique natural speed levels that keep us going and healthy. Knowing the right speed, keeping our energy at a sustainable level will get us further. Focusing on one thing at a time will increase our effectiveness and ability to concentrate on the right thing.

Slow is an attitude of being aware of ourself, our environment, the advantages of doing things at the right speed, either slow or fast. It is a mindset  focusing on meaning. Aiming to do things well but not overdoing, valuing imperfection, looking for peace of mind.

“Stillness is not about focusing on nothingness; it’s about creating a clearing. It’s opening up an emotionally clutter-free space, and allowing ourselves to feel and think and dream and question.”

“If we stop long enough to create a quiet emotional clearing, the truth of our lives will invariably catch up with us. We convince ourselves that if we stay busy enough and keep moving, reality will not be able to keep up. So we stay in front of the truth about how tired and scared and confused and overwhelmed we sometimes feel. Of course, the irony is that the thing that is wearing us down is trying to stay out in front of feeling worn down. This is the self-perpetuating quality of anxiety. It feeds on itself. I often say that when they start having Twelve Step meetings for busy-acholics, they will need to rent out football stadiums.”

Brené Brown

Around 50 % of the Earth’s population is living in urban areas, distracted from nature. Caught by the industrial age, as modern humans we are addicted to speed and our brain.

The slow movement, starting with the slow food movement in the 1980s addresses the disadvantages of craving for speed, it acts as a counterweight to the fast paced, commodity focused, unbalanced and impersonal nature of much of modern human culture.

The slow movement is a term describing a wide range of efforts happening worldwide to find ways of connecting to ourselves in a more satisfying, fulfilling way and finding unique ways to live a slower life.

Between a slow and fast way of life, there is a large variety and possibility for uniqueness and individuality. When we slow down and unplug, read a book, sit in a park, watch the stars, collect stones at the river side, play with a child we experience a deeper connection to ourselves or to those who we are with or to what we do. We can focus more, do a better job at work, we are more patient, more mindful, we can enjoy the moment. If we slow down to think what we should be doing, we will probably choose to do the more fulfilling thing, than if we rush to do more or more perfectly.

slow values worth considering!

1. Focus on quality over quantity.
Quantity is superficial. Quality is deepness and worth.
- „You don't need more activity, you have to dig deeper instead”  Seth Godin
Slow focuses on doing things well, doing less, but the right thing to get to a higher level of satisfaction and fulfillment.

2. A slow attitude involves making an effort to balance life, that is workfamilyfriends and the body, mind and soul.

3. Healthy food and the taste of food 
Quality and local, seasonal food is becoming more important, because people realise that nutrition and conditions of taking a meal are important for their health. A good taste at the same time involves a lot of local produce because quality raw food can only be produced locally without long delivery times and out of season chemical handling.

4. Developing quality friendships and relationships
If we meet one friend at a time instead of many, we can lead a much deeper conversation, than chatting with a whole gathering. One quality friendship is worth more than a hundred superficial relationships.

5. Focus on keeping instead of throwing away 
By focusing on keeping we can get more attached to using a specific article, we can keep a better inventory, we think about solutions that fit our needs more and are more lasting.

6. Connect to the rhythms of nature
Time slows down if we stop to notice our environment. Going out for a walk and listening to nature, being aware of the place and season makes us feel we have more connection to ourselves and the place. Human being is a part of nature. Time and our life will not rush by if we focus on understanding its rhythms. Keeping our human being and our human doing side in balance leads to a more satisfied life.

7. Letting go of perfection 
Perfect does not exist. Running after perfection is a never ending chase of the unachievable, unreachable enoughness and self-esteem.

8. Enjoy the moment 
  „Happily, once people start practicing to be aware of the moment they are in, most quickly get over the idea that it is „selfish" and „narcissistic” to take time for themselves as they see the difference that making some time to just be has on the quality of their lives and their self-esteem, as well as on their relationships.” Jon Kabat-Zinn

9. Conscious consumption 
  As more people become aware of our broken ecosystem, there is a slow cultural shift towards a more aware consumption. The fair trade movement, social entrepreneurs and brands are making an effort for sustainability, waste reduction and organic production. There is a growing collective interest to pay attention to "conscious consumption”.

The paradox is that spending more time on doing less and being less brings slowly more meaning in life, more peace and less anxiety. Slow is a serious matter.