Sometimes I need to think…

much smaller.

My thoughts are way too macro right now.

Today, I’m choosing to go micro in my thinking.

I believe my brain will thank me for the respite…even if it’s fleeting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

ever have a bad brain day?

I was reminded today of something from my children’s early education days.

if-it-feels-yucky

That was fine when my kids were developing a sense of how to behave around other kids and caring teachers were asking them to give language to their feelings. However, as adults that’s not nearly enough of a “gut check” on the huge amount of messages coming our way all day, every day.  Our bodies give us so much information…heart rate, muscle pain, hunger, thirst, fatigue, shaking hands, sweating and so much more.  I know at least for me, the more I notice, well, the more I notice. 

And once you notice, you can’t NOT NOTICE.

Terribly well written, I know.  If we were talking in person that might make way more sense to you.  OK, I’ll try a little harder…

On one hand it’s a good quick question to keep in mind?  Does this feel “yucky” to me? However, yucky alone requires deeper exploration as grown-ups.  Is my body trying to tell me something my mind wants to override or disregard?

brain its the way it is lillibridge          bad-brain-day-lillibridge

My mind wants to override messages the rest of my system is sending constantly.

Sometimes I have to tell my brain to step out of the room.  Because it says some utterly crazy bullshit sometimes.  I’ve had a quickening heart rate in a situation recently and I took notice.  When I listened, I realized that what was required of me was courage, not medical attention.  I know I’ll tell my body to leave me the hell alone and let my brain take the wheel again, but now that I’ve noticed…well, you know, I can’t NOT NOTICE.

Positive Psychology teacher/author, Tal Ben-Shahar teaches that sometimes we’re having a “bad brain” day.  It’s simply offline.  Makes sense, right?  Just like having a bad: hair, back, skin, belly, knee, wrist, neck etc. day—we should gives ourselves permission to recognize that we can indeed have a bad brain day.  It’s just sending some false data today and if that’s the case, listening to our bodies instead can be the balance our system requires.

If I want to improve my listening skills with other people, I have to at least try to give myself the same courtesy every once in a while.  That means I have to listen more.  Talk less.  It’s 1:24 am and my body is telling me it’s time for bed.  Goodnight folks.

Why we need to question everything

This form of psychological abuse typically plays out like so: The gaslighter states something false with such intensity and conviction that whoever is on the receiving end is confused and begins to doubt their own perspective.

The term comes from a 1938 play called Gaslight, in which a husband drives his wife crazy by secretly altering things in her house and making her question her grip on reality.

an artist’s lament.

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I will forever be seeking to understand the creative brain better. I have to, it’s a matter of survival. With creativity often comes a fair amount of SADNESS. It’s taken me many moons (I’m almost 49) to come to a truce with my own brain, creative process and THE BLUES.

Sadness in creatives is well documented and studied, however, I’ve decided instead of completely accepting this as an undisputed fact that I will seek a REFRAME.

THE BLUES are a part of me that greatly affects how I see the world and make connections in all facets of my life. THE BLUES are not a human flaw or always a part of a bigger mental health problem. They can truly be a gift.


Of course, when these feelings are systemic and debilitating—they need more attention.


Too often in American culture everything is about HAPPINESS, MINDFULNESS and INSTAGRAMMING a life of JOY. Really, all the time? That’s a lot of pressure.

I thought this quote was quite insightful.

“For creatives, this depression is what amplifies motivation to do their work better. It’s not enough to keep doing what you’ve been doing as a creative, you have to do more, and do it well. That’s empowering, if you can make it through the initial dip in energy.” —Tanner Christensen (The link between depression and creativity, and how it can be good for you.) The link is below.

The key is in understanding that energy dip when you are feeling THE BLUES and ruminating—trying to make sense of something. Today is a good example after another, all too common, senseless shooting in America. How can we not ruminate?

http://creativesomething.net/post/55508909341/the-link-between-depression-and-creativity-and

My REFRAME about my own version of THE BLUES is two fold:

—I’m not going to knock THE BLUES back when it comes to my creative work.
I’m going to welcome them with open arms, a cup of tea and a nap if needed.
I’m going to thank THE BLUES for helping me make sense of this complex world
and for giving my work and thoughts more depth.

—I’m CHOOSING to celebrate the fact that I have a lot of creative ideas for projects and try to not get THE BLUES that I can’t possibly manifest them all. After all there’s only 24 hours in the day…damn it!


That is my reframe of THE BLUES and it’s working for me right now.  Perhaps next time you’re feeling THE BLUES creeping in you can give them a hug and ask them what you’re suppose to be paying attention to right now. The answer might surprise you.

It’s challenging when there’s inspiration everywhere…

and sometimes it’s downright debilitating. Come on you creative types, don’t you just want to shut it off sometimes? On the days in the studio when I am deliberate and focused it feels really amazing, but it’s rare. I’m trying to embrace the brain I’ve been allocated. This brain is pretty cluttered and noisy and ridiculously interested in everything.

I can’t help myself. I am truly stopped in my tracks by a shiny object on the side of the road, what’s in my garbage, or stuck to my boots. For years I have tried to fight it. I’ve tried to resist the urge to photograph or jot down something that sparked me and now I’ve realized that although it isn’t actually a most inconvenient trait—it’s a big a part of me and cannot be stifled. It will surface again and again especially if I try to ignore it. Then it gets loud and really obnoxious. I do however really wish that there was a way to shut it of…a metaphoric MUTE button for muse. Let me know your thoughts on this topic. What do you do to shut it off? Thank goodness for truly amazing television right now and a state filled with craft brews.
coffee stains lillibridge dakota 1966

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Feeling Stuck?

Lillibridge modigliani brain exercise

When I am feeling really stuck on a problem or creative dilemma (yes, dilemma I looked it up) I have found that doing something other than trying to intellectually muscle my way through can be surprisingly successful.

So I have been reading directions and watching YouTube Videos about how to assemble a trampoline that just got delivered. Assembling things is one of my biggest challenges. I am ambidextrous. I am a visual learner and I like to jump in and not really plan my projects. I go with my gut and it has generally guided me well. However, I am pretty sure that if I use the same technique to assemble the trampoline that I will be putting people I love at risk.

So, I decided I needed to do something creative to pull myself out of my negative assembly loop. I did this quick computer sketch of Amadeo Modigliani’s Portrait of Franz Heller. Modigliani is one of my favorite painters. I think I’m ready to go lay out the parts and begin the process now. I am hoping a little creative exercise was all that I needed.

Here’s a link to Modigliani’s BIO at the GUGGENHEIM. Fascinating and truly magnificent portraits.
http://www.guggenheim.org/new-york/collections/collection-online/artists/bios/572