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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Is mindfulness a gateway to enhancing creativity?

I've practiced mindfulness meditation for many years, and found it quite often leads to enhancing my creative process.  Sitting for morning meditation helps clear my mind.  It allows me to relax anxious and confusing thoughts that can get trapped and cloud my mind.  Through meditation, internal chatter passes through my mind without developing into thought patterns.  I experience refreshing moments of inner peace and silence.  Thoughts come and go, with some catching my attention to find me quickly engaged in internal dialog.  This is a constant recurring cycle.  Resistance, as we know, only strengthens the thought attachment process.  As thoughts arise, I focus on my breathing and let them float by.  This process repeats over and over.  During calm moments, when I successfully allow thought clouds to float by, the space I experience creates room for new possibilities to arise.  This is like watching a flower bloom in my mind.  It nurtures a feeling of internal calmness and self control.  Hope and fear melt away, being replaced by a sense of emptiness, openness and non-attachment.  There is great freedom inside a sense of emptiness. 

Morning meditation builds each day into deeper and more enriching experiences that form a 3-dimensional fusion of my inner and outer realities.  These realities appear to work together in greater harmony and productivity.  That sense of balance appears to also stimulate my creative ability and output.  It makes me feel lighter, more relaxed and happier.  I laugh spontaneously at nothing, or something silly.  I can travel as myself into new personae, and laugh at myself heartily.  I relate sensitively with people's expressions of joy and enjoyment.  It's a magical process, and one that I love.

In that respect I find very directly that mindfulness enhances my creativity.  This translates into my being more energetic and motivated to express myself creatively, through drawing, painting, playing and composing music, writing, taking pictures, and speaking with friends about life and exploring the great extents I can expand my life and do great things.  Now if I could only be more disciplined to meditate every day, and I'm practicing to reach that goal.


Artutain and the Creativity Lab

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Artutain is an exciting new company I've developed that focuses on how creativity affects learning, project development and project management.  We motivate breakthrough thinking and acting by using a creativity lab model, which is a special project initiation and collaboration approach to generate effective personal projects and company goals.  It's amazing what people and organizations can create individually and collaboratively when learning and project development occurs in ways that open up new avenues of creativity and project development.  Artutain creates products to stimulate creativity, and inspiring programming within encouraging and productive environments to provide tools for developing passions into satisfying accomplishments. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Perfect Circle Surrounds You: The Expanding Universe and Beyond, Billions of Light Years Away: Inspired by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, Scholar, Visionary, Cool Guy!


I dedicate my next work, A Perfect Circle Surrounds You: The Expanding Universe and Beyond, to Dr. Tyson, an exceptionally inspiring person.  Humble and wise, dedicated and personable, Tyson’s 54 years on Earth have seen him move impressively in his own circle from the Bronx Science through Harvard undergrad, Austin for his PhD, then professor at Columbia U, and onto his current post: Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a research associate in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural HistoryTyson's entrance into the main stage of subjects and notable voices affecting culture has a refreshing personal style.   He breaks stride from an extraordinary group of societal contributors, since he doesn't share their publicly discussed peculiarities in social, communication and behavioral ways (some appear behaviorally as autistic scale): Michelangelo, Mozart, Abraham Lincoln, Van Gogh, Nikola Tesla, Dali, Einstein, Marilyn Monroe, Robin Williams, Bob Dylan, Al Gore, Bill Gates and perhaps our new Facebook friend Mark Zuckerberg.  Dr. Tyson is socially savvy and warmly personable.   

Maybe Tyson's focus on intelligent design and distinguishing between terrestrial and gas giants in space may affect his sensitivity to smaller-scale human interactions.  Alternating between operational views has allowed Tyson to create friendly and authentic social abilities.  Dr. Tyson and I share very little professionally, so I found it inspiring that we share a spiritual outlook on the cosmology of life.  Tyson considers the physical world one of essential elements that remain largely undiscovered by humans, which I interpret to mean we have a great grasp of our immediate raw elements upon which to base our everyday concepts of reality; and we also have miles of space (literally, billions of light years) to explore and discover new tangible (and perhaps intangible) elements and ways of understanding what we already know (our surrounding environment) and explore much, much further into a vastly unknown sphere, (things we have no idea that exist). 

Tyson’s compelling discussion with Evolutionary Biologist, Dr. Richard Dawkins in 2010 at Howard University also touches on human ability to create abstractions that represent extensions of our abilities and physical forms and shapes (watch it on YouTube).  One popular abstraction example is Math, Tyson says, which is one of the most conceptual human inventions, since we don’t find “Math” anywhere tangibly.  Rather, Tyson says math serves to allow humans to compare tangible results to arrive at effective directions, thus reducing reliance on unnecessary processes that naturally fall away from our genetic make up.  Tyson suggests that the brain contains a number of evaluator systems to align good judgment, such as, checking the safest route to walk or drive, sizing up danger levels that our genetic systems have developed to turn on or off certain sensory abilities in relation to our physical surroundings and survival needs.  Tyson claims humans learn to abandon their senses in order to prune back unnecessary sensory activity in order for brain processes to remain efficient.  Math, he continues, allows you to logically estimate the best comparative routes to arrive at a particular goal.  Math, Tyson adds, allows you to imagine beyond your senses and beyond the capacity of your mind.  Thus, Tyson asserts: math becomes a tool of the mind to maintain evaluative abilities beyond what it can actually perceive simply by looking around the immediate physical world.

The piece below shows ever-expanding sets of circles meant to represent human evolution and expanding universes (I believe there is enough evidence to suggest the existence of multiple, parallel universes).  It is a sketch of both the potential for mental capability beyond the actual universe humans exist.  Biological forms we are aware of are round, like human organs, especially heads and brains.  Concomitantly, scientists envision a rounded universe, as Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity showed us in curved space-time (where we find the appearance of the 4th dimension, a representation of how adding the variable of time alters our visual perception of form).  Technology that aides memory recall (Websites, Facebook, Blogs, etc) transforms thinking into tangible forms we can more easily revisit and reshape into new forms and arrangements.  Perfect Circle isolates a focus on broader forms in relation to the shape of our universe.  A tricky and hypothetical subject.  A great subject for art's limitless imagination.  

Are we simply large floating, spiraling fractals?  Or, are we grounded to other life-sustaining forms or sources?  If there are other universes floating around near ours, perhaps the Big Bang was a collision of neighboring universes and not an implosion, as is the current theory?  Turok, Ovrut and Steinhardt, string theorists, conceptualize the existence of 11 dimensions coexisting in parallel relations, and that our universe is a result of a collision of two of them.  So very small is our Earth and immediate reality in relation to the large universe we live in and possible neighboring ones?  A Perfect Circle envisions in one small frame, the entire expanse of current layered universes.  This micro-atomic view allows our minds to grasp both our external totality and our possible place within it.

My belief is that nature replicates in similar patterns.  Perfect Circle presents a head-shaped object representing a universe with many layers (a prismatic view from a human perspective and design basis), which simultaneously emit and receive information to aid their development.  I envision the universe to have a neck and head-shaped structure that has a funnel to limit input and output activities of a larger livable sphere, maintaining the stability of our solar system.  The piece suggests that the universe is not a series of neighboring planes, or ‘branes’ as Turok imagines, but as a unified whole (that may or may not have individual atomic parts that actually touch each other). The piece also allows for a fix to current String Theory that relates all fundamental forces to forms of matter, which I expand to suggest that not everything that ‘exists’ is in material form: a curious notion to ponder and enjoy!  I welcome your comments.  



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Driftwood, Meadow Lane, South Hampton (pencil on paper, 2012)

This driftwood drawing is of a drifter from an ocean in South Hampton.  Its shape, the result of constant rolling in salty water, stripped to its bare essentials.  Its bark is richly textured.  A fine subject to draw.  Did it float for years in the water, then find its way to the edge?  Or is it a sign of last Fall's water levels from hurricane Irene that carved away half of the shore line in South Hampton, and carried off many little pieces of pine trees.  Maybe the future will see the development of a small camera to accompany such drifters on its meandering journeys, and to tell their stories.  In the daily company of jellyfish, crabs and various shelled creatures, this little drifter gets swept up in daily tides.  The sun dries it over and over again, like a well-worn ritual.  I found it laying in the sand, about 50 feet from the ocean's edge.  Its character is that of an old shoe, with its shape tightly defined, yet containing enough air to stay afloat.  


Friday, May 11, 2012

Are You a Drifter or a Shifter?


Are you a Drifter or a Shifter? Are you a passenger or contributor?  Are you caught in the seemingly endless tunnel of human experiences and their motion, or will you make a mark, a dent, some sign to show you have lived?  Somewhere, with something, you can define yourself with an activity to make a contribution to history.  Branch out, take steps to change the course of something, make a mark that’s your own.  You enjoy shopping, but hate long lines, so did the folks who started Fresh Direct, a home delivery food service, that’s mushroomed into a multi-million dollar company.  You love making art, but can’t figure out a way to make a living doing it, check out The Abundant Artist, who helps artist reclaim their dreams and make a living doing it.  Don’t let the general drift of human experiences fool you to think you are contributing to anything in a defining way.  And don’t remain disempowered to contribute to something because you are unaware that are caught in the drift.

Participation in the general movement of life makes you a passenger, not a contributor.  You can strive to be an excellent passenger, that’s for sure, and a noble goal itself.  But I‘m interested in rule-changing, rule-expanding actions that newly define a field, or its direction.  It’s fun to alter the course of something.  I had a chance to do this with Camp Huntington when I took over the Direction of the program, and helped improve its overall program design.  This improvement strengthened quality of service for camp participants, staff and clients, and resulted in the sale of the program to a large therapeutic treatment and education company, the Aspen Education Group and the CRC Health Group.  Remaining a little family-owned camp was an option, but I was interested in how to reshape the program while also expanding its services to a wider audience, which was the result. 

This next piece from my first pen series is based on “shifting” the context of existing content.  It’s about opposing forces and their elements.  The rightward facing elements stack together in the same general direction and contain various content, representing the normal flow of human actions.  The object’s points represent forward motion.  The single left-facing shape shows opposing motion that creates a new direction.  It sleekly laced itself beneath the other existing forms, and thus was able to distinguish itself, and open up new pathways of creative exploration.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hard To Handle, Amorphism (The Grateful Dead & The Finger Lakes)

Hard to Handle, Amorphism of The Dead & the Finger Lakes. 2009. Daniel Falk. New York. Pen on paper.  A piece that amorphically mirrors the pattern of New York's Finger Lakes and the improvisational musical patterning of The Grateful Dead's 1971 Hollywood Palladium show, in which the version of their popular cover of Hard to Handle was played with dark, rich undertones that flowed into each song part with five distinct players (Micky Hart, an original drummer, left the band for a 5-year hiatus in February of 1971); finding the band expressing and interacting around a central song structure and extending their rhythmic and musical communication in harmonizing patterns that are temporary, generative and fluid.  Geographic patterns like the Finger Lakes show external markings, yet contain mostly unseen influences that "improvisationally" crafted an opening .  The Dead's performance combining wisdom, ease, and insight, is reductively considered from vast hidden sources as: Artful Structural Crafting, a creative expression model I've identified to label elements present in making art pieces memorable.  The Finger Lakes pattern are the white vertical sections towards the bottom of the piece.  Both, the Dead's lead singer Pig Pen and lead guitarist Jerry Garcia performance finds them synched together in a high degree (no pun intended!) producing a mythical tangle of cobalt mesomorphs stirring golden flour in a surging sticky grasp of velvet-fanged musical tides, believing in itself and journeying cellularly and focally to a faraway land with a long coat-tail on which to dance with them.  In similar creative spontaneity, the Finger Lakes appear like a lion claw's scratch mark, indelibly defining space and time.

Review the Finger Lakes pattern and compare to the intuitive example I've drawn, which was completed without prior referencing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finger_Lakes

Have a listen to the Grateful Dead's Hard to Handle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Na9a79rdjxs


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Storytelling is important to me, and fun to engage in.

I love art-making, it's where my imagination can travel freely into curious new worlds.  Part of that form of expression is storytelling through various creations: images, characters, sounds, songs, sculpture and writing.  My last post was a story that playfully asked a question about the mind, and whether we can see it and touch it.  I enjoy pondering the meaning of things in my drawings, underlying and overt.  As I draw, my mind constantly churns: analyzing and turning the process I'm engaged in physically to make a piece of visual art into an exploration of that experience.  My mind becomes an ally, a partner, an echoing voice that accompanies my drawing process.  Often when I listen to music while drawing, I can reduce the volume and activity of thinking.  I also experiment with not listening to music to allow myself to focus on drawing and solving problems that arise in fulfilling the creative vision I'm pursuing in a certain piece.  This piece below (The Source of Thinking, 2008) is the next in my first series of pen drawings.  It reveals the combination of visual-motor actions combined with accompanied thoughts.  The pathways the piece contains represent both visual and intellectual patterns of thought and interwoven memories.  Simplicity and complexity coexist, teasing each other forward in a dance of curiosity, of magic and wonder. 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

If you met your Mind, would you recognize it? (The Bingo-Zingo Theory)

'Meeting of the minds' is a phrase that intrigues me to think: is there a mind to meet?  Humans refer to mind as something intangible, a mysterious rider within us, but what if it is a liminal being?  Maybe I've seen it without realizing it?  Perhaps it became insulted that I haven't acknowledged it before, and didn't say, hey, what's up, finally, we're meeting, great!  "You want coffee, or some particular type of mind-juice?"  Does it want and can it get a drink sometime and have some laughs?  Should I be paying more attention to it as a separate entity?  Can it become upset with me?  Does it have friends it complains to about me?  Do they meet on a regular basis?  Is it a little avatar in my body somewhere, or some curious extraterrestrial appendage?  Is part of me, or it's own being?  Does my mind experience human emotions, lonely, happy, sad, angry?  Maybe when I experience certain emotions, I'm mirroring them from the ones my mind is having toward me?  Is mind a concept, a religion, a Hollywood scriptwriter's invention?  Can someone direct me to the mind center for some answers?

I keep imagining a squishy thing in the shape of a moist, rich cupcake (triple chocolate) in a red velvety, loungy bathrobe, laughing it's ass off at everything I'm doing.  What a lucky formless squish-ball!  And I'm its inseparable workhorse, its dog.  Ok, I admit it, I'm jealous of my mind's freedom of control.  It commands me in a series of rigidly dominant, and often non-linear string of endlessly intense jabber, and it mostly won't take no for an answer.  It's fooled, however, by distraction.  And in this I've been practicing to become a master.  But am I fooling myself, or my mind?  

I've tried everything from therapy to traveling around the world, dating, swimming for miles, only to find my mind a constant companion without ever meeting the dude.  Again, I'm not sure I'd recognize it.  What the little corpuscle do while I'm sleeping.  It could be refueling with some wretched crew in lascivious places, trying to steal my liver or mess with my Facebook timeline to make me an organ donor.  

Why such negative suspicion Sheldon? (Sheldon is my nick name since about 1989, the year the earth stood still for 43 seconds and my mind delivered to me this funny nick name; fyi: 43 seconds being the average time it takes to do many of life's essential things).  The time that humans are occupied with daily life functions (43 seconds), is when the mind worms its way to visit alternative existence planes to cozy up with other sub-terrestrial bio-squishy beings, and demand I stop everything to focus on yet a new tangent.  So what does this squish-ball/ray-of-light/bio-puzzle look like?  And what social network does it frequent?  Start-up entrepreneurs and venture capital firms want to know.  Are you friends with The Mind?  Yes, we're in constant contact!  Too constant! 

Do we sense the mind, feel it, hear it, smell it or just imagine it to exist?  Exist?  Who said it exists?  Well, ok, I guess I've inherited that belief.  And if it exists, what form and shape is it in?  Or do these forms and shapes change?  Whoa, chill out Sheldon, just be...remember your Buddhism; breathe and catch your breath (another phrase worth exploring at some future point!).  

So if thinking exists in, or as a part of the mind, and I can't locate my mind, does this mean that thinking doesn't exist?  Bingo!  And if thinking doesn't exist, then rationality and its objective elements of invented realities don't exist.  Second bingo.  So then only bingo exists?  Bingo.  Now we're getting somewhere.  Well, actually no, because somewhere doesn't exist either.  It went with everything, nothing and now and then

You have to retain something to acknowledge nothing.  But is Bingo something?  You can't take everything away.  Well I guess I can part with everything, since Bingo is so all-encompassing.  And it's a BIG relief to remove the stress of having to account for everything, to handle everything, and to call everything somethingSomething is definitely gone too!  And good riddance.  I've hated something for years.  I've dreamed about getting rid of that too, but that's a hard one to get rid of.  I may try a surprise sleep-mission extraction tonight to get rid of that.

But what if I yearn for a little Zingo every now and then.  Zingo?  Yes, I've discovered that Zingo is the mind of Bingo.  But since everything doesn't exist and everything includes now and then, and they're both gone, then I'm really only left with a confirmed ability to use Bingo.  I may try to locate the existence of Zingo one day, but it won't be easy.  Bingo wil be hard to catch off-guard.  I could try to replace Bingo with a new acknowledgement term, but then if Bingo wouldn't exist, I'm not sure I'd recognize the new word to acknowledge that everything doesn't exist.  I'm keeping Bingo just in case.  

You see, Bingo is not only an acknowledgement of a moment in time, it establishes that time doesn't exist.  But you knew that already, right?  Time was invented by Hollywood writers to formulate scripts for human existence, and to fight off evil film critics before they ate up all the craft service.  Who do film critics think they are?  The mind of Hollywood?  Bingo. Now we're looping closer to a theory of Bingo-Zingo mind.  

Actors so far: You + Story people x Critical Self-Deprecating Awareness + Stuck in the past = Reality we call The Mind.  

Whew, got that into a semi-workable formula, and just in time too: everything was trying to return and bring something, now and then and possibly even mind itself back into the picture.  Damn that mind, it's everywhere and nowhere all at once!  So Sheldon is upset with the notion that a thing called mind is following him around in a shadowy, weird kind of stalker way!  Bingo





Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mahtohk

Mahtohk. 2010. Daniel Falk. Pen and pencil on paper. A bird eyes a distant horizon within a landscape of joyful exploration.In Hebrew, Mahtohk means 'sweet', and certainly this bird is enjoying a sweet landscape to be joyful in.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Entity: Reaching for Peace

Entity: Reaching for Peace. 2012. Tel-Aviv. Daniel Falk. Pen and Colored Pencil on Paper. A dove in the center reaches toward the sky, perhaps towards the sun or heaven, as a sign of peace being possible for human beings to achieve. The horse-like figure appears to be flying, encouraging and supporting the climb to achieve peace in our time.  

Saturday, March 3, 2012