• A Little Advice…Or Not!
    Glennon Doyle Melton

    My latest experiment is with woodcutting. I’ve always loved woodcuts but never tried one myself. I designed this as a repeating pattern at a size suitable for homewares and interiors. The finished piece will appear in my next post.

    Irecently listened to the audio version of Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. My favourite excerpt is this small piece about advice. It stands out to me because I know that I need to be more mindful in this area with my friends and family. I think Glennon makes a point beautifully and succinctly about what people really need:

    “I don’t believe in advice. Everybody has the answers right inside her since we are all made up of the same amount of God. So when a friend says, “I need some advice”, I switch it to, “I need some love”, and I try to offer that. Offering love usually looks like being quiet, listening hard, and letting my friend talk until she discovers that she already has the answers. Since I don’t offer advice Craig and I find it funny that people ask me for it every single day. Craig once asked what I make of that and I told him that I think friends ask me for advice because they know I won’t offer any. People need a safe place and some time to discover what they already know, so I just try to hold space and time for folks.”

    Glennon Doyle Melton

    I know I have a tendency to offer advice, but I think Glennon is absolutely right. In our hearts I think we do know the answer, and we just need the place and space to connect with it. What do you think? I welcome your feedback.
    Have a good weekend,
    Bren X

    Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton. At the time of writing this does not appear to be available through Audible. I listened to it via the Auckland Library on the Overdrive app.

    Carry On Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton.
    If you are interested in reading more of Glennon’s writing, she is famous for her blog Momastery and has recently released a memoir called Love Warrior.

    This will form the backdrop of my design, but this is not repeating. I will show the completed piece in my next post.

  • A Mindfulness Tool for Unwanted Thoughts

    Today I would like to share a tool I learned years ago when I was struggling with anxiety. It can be an extremely effective tool with practice, even though on the surface it seems very simplistic. I think I originally learned it from the spiritual teacher Jack Kornfield.

    My creation this week uses a mix of media. I created the bird by lino-cutting. I then took it into Photoshop and completed the composition using a combination of drawing and photography. Copyright Bren Michelle 2017.

    When you first become aware of a thought that is unwanted or unhelpful, imagine you are on a bus. Ask yourself if you are happy with the direction the thought is going in. The bus is a metaphor for the thought. Is this a bus you want to be on? Is it taking you somewhere you would like to go? The final destination may be somewhere very unpleasant and difficult to get back from.

    Is this a bus you want to be on? Is it taking you somewhere you would like to go? The final destination may be somewhere very unpleasant and difficult to get back from.

    If the thought is unhealthy, make the decision to get off the bus. When I do this I visualise pressing the button, hearing the buzzer it triggers and feeling the bus slow to a halt. I step off the bus and into the warmth of the sun.
    It helps to have a place to go immediately; I like to think of three things that I’m grateful for (new things each time) so that my brain does not default back to the unhelpful thought. If gratitude practice doesn’t appeal to you, choose something that you like to think about. A healthy problem for the brain to work on is an ideal distraction – what your next art piece will be, what to have for dinner, what to do on the weekend etc – anything that can engage the brain long enough to change course.
    It takes quite a lot of practice but can be powerful – especially when adapted to suit yourself. Allow yourself to be curious because some thoughts need to be investigated or explored (and some very important thoughts make us uncomfortable), but become an expert at recognising when it is a good time to get off the bus. With time, just pressing the buzzer may be enough to switch the thought off.
    This tool can be a good one to teach kids too. I hope that is helpful. Good luck!