(press play to hear me read the following post)
My creative process is fluid, and organic. Some days it flows for hours on end until sunset peaks through the window & I realize I haven't spoken to anyone all day. It's true this process is quiet, slow and very introverted. All things that modern society urge us not to be. But that makes it all the more necessary to return to the magic of making something by yourself that couldn't exist without you. After painting for hours without any digital disruption I feel grounded and at peace. I am at home.
Now, I'm probably hyper aware of the implications of digital media being that I double majored in Digital Media Studies and Psychology. I'd often see parallels between the invasive nature of tech (particularly social media) and more subtle forms of mental health issues. But the research combining both subjects was kind of lacking due to the ever changing nature of digital platforms and ways in which we communicate. I started practicing yoga the same semester I studied intrinsic motivation and was also designing products and apps for my Capstone (in other words I was learning mindfulness, self discipline, and was making something everyday). So I decided, what the hell! Might as well apply everything I was learning to myself. *
After a while, the anxiety started to fade, depression damn near disappeared because I wasn't resisting my emotions, and I felt genuinely GOOD for the first time! But I did notice that a state of happiness (which yes - was sometimes stimulated by a creative practice), was always accompanied by one key variable: a lack of digital connectivity and a lot more authentic face to face interaction. There would be days I'd purposely avoid screens and spend the day making something (anything!), and wandering getting lost and talking to random people; just to settle into my life and connect with something much larger than me.
When I'm in a state of flow I'm at peace. In fact, I'm more apt to call the feeling "Santosha". In sanskrit the term means 'content' and implies a state of neutrality, of wanting nothing more than your current state.
Santosha is acknowledging that this moment is new and you wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
In contrast, I experience happiness as a hyper, ecstatic state of being; a feeling that's impossible to maintain.
And so, happiness in it's own way necessitates its opposite; depression. The moment that fact hit me, I stopped coveting 'happiness' which seems to be ever elusive anyway in this digital era of FOMO. But peace, is always there. It simply requires you to let go of those thoughts of "I want" and "I need" and "I'm not" (and insert every other introject you can think of), and it asks instead for you to acknowledge where you are right now.
Seriously, log off facebook, instagram and everything else that takes you away from YOU. Close this browser (after you finish reading of course). And ask yourself - Are you ok? Are you breathing? Are you alive? Then you have every reason to celebrate and be thankful, because you have the ability to create the next moment, and in turn to create whatever life you want. So what's next?
You tell me...
*note: *I should also mention here, that yes! there is a contradiction because as much as I avoid digital media, I also work in tech - but my passion lies in integrating my knowledge of well being into every digital & tangible object I create.