A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Assessing My Creative Work

I've had a change in my sleeping and eating patterns for the last two weeks.  I've been sleeping several hours during the day, maybe because it has been quite hot and I use only fans.  So I've been staying up till around three in the morning.  And then, I stopped cooking and have been relying on Amy's frozen meals which are vegan and vegetarian, but I've lost some appetite.  As a result I have been losing weight more quickly, which is good, but I'm concerned about myself.  My strong tendency is still to stay home and see very few people outside of my home.  I do go in and out of depression, but that seems like something I just have to accept like many other people.  And yet, I have been quite creative, writing blogs, poems, a few songs and drawing.

My emphasis in quite a few of my blogs these last two years has been away from the study of Buddhism and towards the study of addiction and addiction recovery, especially the Twelve Steps.  The big shift seems to be me coming forward as a serious believer in some kind of Higher Power.  I wonder if this is off putting to whomever reads this blog.  Truth is, it puts me off somewhat too when I re-read some of my blogs.  I really do want to be all inclusive.  I grew up around atheists and agnostics and a chunk of the people I know in my town are just that.  Their points of view are just as valid as mine and they have a great deal to offer.  I believe, but I do not know.  We each have to find our way through life following whatever feels true to us.  So my advice to you is to think for yourself, take what works for you and forget the rest.  My advice to myself is to be a bit less impulsive and more open minded.

I also feel uncomfortable with the poems I write.  They come to me very quickly and I do not rewrite, which is true of my blog too.  I think that I write boldly about difficult subjects and, though my intentions are good, I wonder if it's okay to share them.  Probably I am being too hard on myself.  I am just a small voice amongst many voices.  It does feel good to write the poems and to record myself speaking them aloud.  The main thing is that I get something out of it - a clearer understanding.  I think it was Joan Didion who wrote that she writes to find out what she's thinking.  It is like that for me in the act of reaching out to express how I feel about any given subject.

Songs have been coming out of me at a slower pace this year.  I've recorded only a few and haven't uploaded any to the SoundCloud site.  I gave CDs of my music to around four people, but there's been no great response to them.  I continue to pursue it because it provides me with an emotional outlet that I really need.  It's a valued artifact of the changes and stages of my life as well as a way to feel my feelings.  It's too bad that I have no experience with performing and know only a few chords on the guitar which I tend to play haphazardly.  I have thought of taking guitar lessons.  It's funny how scared I am to even try.  So many simple things that a lot of people take for granted I have trouble approaching and doing.

And then there's drawing and painting which you can see I've been doing a lot lately.  I know I have talent that goes in different directions.  I have a versatility of approach and can work with different mediums.  I've gotten some good responses to my portraits on Facebook and again I'm thinking of making more of a commitment to doing them.  One online friend said that he thought I could earn some income doing portraits.  That would be ideal.  I tentatively tried doing that seven years ago, but failed to promote myself.  Once again, I had good ideas, but didn't follow through with them.  But I do need to make some money and I would love to do it through my talent and hard work.  And so I've been thinking the last couple of nights that I need an artist website of my own where I can offer to do portraits either for payment or for a donation.  I think I am also going to put a donation's button on this blog and again offer to do portraits.  All I need are a few good photographs.

Right now I don't have the confidence.  I'm going to have to do the work to get it.  And I'm going to have to cross that line into self promotion.  I'm not sure why I feel it is wrong to promote myself and my art work.  Lots of good and talented people do just that.  Why can't I be one of them?  I am blessed that I have the time, the money and few responsibilities.  How many people have families and  full time work who want to earn money through their various talents?  Portrait drawing and painting could be the focus that I need to actually become a practicing artist.  I tend to go in all different directions, skimming the surface of many projects.  That's not going to work well if I want to earn income.  I wonder if I'm afraid to succeed.
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