Tag Archives: “Beware: Artistry Kills”

Be Aware: Journaling Helps You


I wrote a piece last week titled “Beware: Artistry Kills.” Well, now I’m here to turn things around. Of what do I speak?

“There is research out of U.C Davis showing that just writing for a few minutes each day about things that you’re grateful for can dramatically boost your happiness and wellbeing.”

There was a piece in the Daily Informator recently called “A psychologist explains the best way to rewire your brain to let go of negative thoughts” in which social psychologist Alison Ledgerwood discusses the empirical proof that we as humans have a natural inclination to veer towards the negative, even when presented with positive information that overwhelms the negative.

You can watch the TEDx talk by clicking on the above link, but essentially Ms. Ledgerwood conducted an experiment and showed that we suck. Okay, I may be oversimplifying the results. But the point, I think, is that negative thoughts beget more negative thoughts, while positive thoughts can easily be turned to negative thoughts; unfortunately for us, it’s much harder to go from negative thoughts to positive ones.

Although that doesn’t seem like rocket science, her point is that it’s an instinctual trait (so don’t blame yourself for doing it), meaning the only way to make things better is to work at it. And the key? Writing, of course!

She suggests that everyone, but especially people who struggle with negative thoughts on a regular basis, start a gratitude journal. The formula is quite simple: Jot down a thing or two about what you feel grateful for, and try to remember those things as you navigate your way through/around your day.

So, I’ll get the ball rolling on this one and hopefully inspire at least one other person to do the same thing.

I’m very grateful for all of my friends, but I am especially proud of my friend Maria A., who begins a new chapter of her life journey today. She is returning to her new-old home of Mexico to start the exodus process. After four long years of endless hurricanes (literally), she’s found the strength to be grateful for her own experience and know that it’s time to move on. Where that will take her is still up in the air, though I know she’ll conquer whatever mountains she faces along the way and vanquish any unforeseen demons she encounters. As she likes to say, no matter how challenging the circumstances, “Follow your bliss, yo!”



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The Original Italian (Poet) Stallion

Image result for Giacomo Leopardi

This lonely hill has always
Been dear to me, and this thicket
Which shuts out most of the final
Horizon from view. I sit here,
And gaze, and imagine
The interminable spaces
That stretch away, beyond my mind,
Their uncanny silences, Their profound calms;

It was always dear to me, this solitary hill,
and this hedgerow here, that closes off my view,
from so much of the ultimate horizon.
But sitting here, and watching here,
in thought, I create interminable spaces,
greater than human silences, and deepest
quiet, where the heart barely fails to terrify.

This solitary hill has always been dear to me
And this hedge, which prevents me from seeing most of
The endless horizon.
But when I sit and gaze, I imagine, in my thoughts
Endless spaces beyond the hedge,
An all encompassing silence and a deeply profound quiet,
To the point that my heart is almost overwhelmed.

I’ve always loved this hermit’s hill,
the hedgerow here that mostly hides the view
of where, far off, earth meets the sky.
But sitting, gazing, I can dream
unbounded spaces past that line
and suprahuman silences,
a final depth of quietness,
where for a little while the heart
is not afraid.

Giacomo Leopardi, “L’infinito”

So if you read my last post, “Beware: Artistry Kills,” you’ll be familiar with the name Giacomo Leopardi (1798-1837) now. He’s the smooth-talking operator who wrote himself into the grave through his poetry.

I was curious, though, was his stuff any good? Although I feel more comfortable being Judgy McJudge when it comes to fiction and non-fiction, I always go with my gut when reading poetry. And my sense with this poem is that it’s got a voice and a viewpoint, two critical things every decent artist requires.

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