I have heard of a thing called pleasure. It sweeps across the desert, stinging my eyes and getting in under my clothes. Red faced and raw I let the force of it take me to the ground, obliterating my footsteps, erasing the past and all paths to the future. Continue reading
You are risking everything reading this. And with these five words…even more. Because in these few seconds you have spread open the lobes of your brain and welcomed me in. How can I ever honour such a gift of time, of self, when the worlds I write could betray you so easily with a slip of continuity, a forced metaphor, a character left hollow by my impatience for your praise… Continue reading
What is an idea? It’s a burst, a sparkle of new connectivity. It’s a delicious brain buzz humming with the unfettered thrill of happily ever after. A little Disney orgasm if you will – cue crescendo and bluebirds. But without action, let’s face it, any idea is purely a personal pleasure. When you take new micro neural connections and expand then into the social system as macro reflections in real-time… woah, then you’ve got an orgy on your hands! Continue reading
In the long low darkness of the void, while your brain chemistry adjusts to change, there is one last sacrifice to make. After setting aside your rituals, your be-all-end-all attentions and beliefs, you must now claim one final permission in order to connect with your authentic self: time. Continue reading
Why alter the attentions of our little friction in the universe? Why change? Love. Not for family, friends, not for any ideal, country or even love of self; because the self is a violent sneeze, a brief yet explosive misting of mucus soon lost to time. Eloquent, I know. True change courts a love beyond our humanity, known only when we offer ourselves wholly to the unorderable bliss of the universe. Bring that love home, and your human connections can finally become what they need to be – your reality and guide to purpose. Continue reading
The void is being in love with two men, two stories, two promises. One glows with the promised flush of that first hot thrust. Immediate gratification. The other tantalizes with the promise of a full to bursting future, but it’s a happily ever after that pulls further away with every desperate reach from within the void. Because while your brain chemistry adjusts to reward a new set of attentions, and you progress towards real change, there is no way to ignore that first lover’s little whisper in your ear… “I swear,” it teases, titillates, “this will be the last time.” Continue reading
Welcome to play! Invite a creative content creator into your child’s life and watch the magic happen! Who needs video games, anorexic dolls, and regimented craft kits when kids have so many stories ripe for exploration and invention. A creative content creator isn’t a babysitter or a simple craft coordinator; our specialized skill set opens imaginations and turns story into a personalized – ridiculously fun! – physical reality. Continue reading
Are two heads better than one? How about three? Or five hundred? Almost everything we touch, taste, see, hear, and even smell, is a product of multiple minds meeting in the middle. We live in a globalized culture of collaboration… a world of compromise. At all stages, from concept to marketplace, any new idea must survive countless negotiations and push backs. Logic and personality are our best weapons when battling for an innovation, but both are subjective and eat up substantial time and energy – along with team building, group brainstorming, meetings… meetings… AAAAAAAARG!
We can’t escape collaboration. Heck, conception is the ultimate collaboration and none of us would be here without that! But we’ve got to take a break from the office orgies! We’ve lost touch with the private, primitive urge to create independently – just for the hell of it. Social media and globalization have linked value to multiplicity – whether in ‘Likes’ received, dollars earned, or people converted. But stop. Just stop. Stop letting other people design your world.
With such an overwhelming breadth of new products and creative productions coming at us 24/7, we’re becoming desensitized to individual acts of self-expression, especially our own! But how do we resist the seductive fact that collaboration naturally produces idealized forms – Plato would be so pleased! We now need trainers, masseuses, uniform designers… to score a single hockey goal. A piece of clothing is nothing until it’s dressed up by models, makeup artists, photographers, and airbrushers. This progression to idealization is, of course, perfectly natural and predictable from a neurological standpoint. But why be a slave to your brain when it guts the value of your uniquely imperfect humanity?
We’re a competitive species, for resources, mates, and ego actualization. But how do we compete, head to head, with 7 billion people! Go back 30 000 years… one man… a dozen shells… one necklace. His personal tribal contribution was sacred and precious. Every moment he spent on the task reinforced his own value to himself and to his tribe. Does working a shit job to afford a Louis Vuitton purse really provide the same validation? Why do you think one is never enough? Look how fast our purchases become our insatiables. This is what happens when we lose connection with our individual ability to express our humanity as tangible sensory creations. But there’s hope. Let’s collaborate across time, not in time. Take the gift of the tools (farming, technology, etc.) designed by minds who have come before us, and start small…
Exercise in Engagement: Bring the system boundary back down to the surface of your skin, breathe, then stretch it out to the volume of your kitchen – nothing and no one else exists. You must be your own validation in this moment. Forage for ingredients and dare to build the most personal sandwich possible with what you find. Doesn’t have to be perfect, healthy, or follow any Food Network rules. Screw Plato! Explore the experience of this sandwich with each one of your senses, one at a time, then all together in a moment of total engagement. This sandwich is you because you made it without compromise or negotiation and because (not to be too graphic here) it will literally become you in a matter of hours. Now go forth and conquer!
Denying or suppressing our humanity while at work can lead to tragic consequences… depression, anxiety, illicit stairwell trysts, office shootings, or the time my boss found me sitting on ‘the new guy’s’ desk after a drunken Christmas luncheon, performing an erotic reading of an article I’d found in a seismic geophysics magazine on the evolution of the scientific method – oh gawd the horror, the shame! Don’t let this happen to you! We are at our best and brightest when we stay connected to our passions and personalities. The following five tips are simple survival strategies to help you keep hold of your sanity and soul at your own office day job:
1) As counterintuitive as it feels, as hard as it is to say… go on, admit it, you WANT to be sitting there. If you don’t believe me, click here for compelling neurological proof.
2) Personalize, personalize, personalize! You don’t have to go as far as my art installation office phone pictured in the photo above. Even I have to admit it might be getting a wee bit over-accessorized; I messed up twice the last time I had to dial our Xerox technician’s number on my emoticon keypad. A couple of your favourite pictures, inspirational quotes/posters (although these can all too quickly slide into the ironic), or comic strips can add some mood enhancing personal colour and flair.
3) Practice mindfulness brain games to help you reengage with your tasks and surroundings in novel ways. Try focusing on the experience of one sense at a time or imagine that you’re exploring a museum exhibit showcasing long-outdated 21st century office supplies. Trust me – it can really open things up. Just don’t advertise your little field trip, especially if you’re the only employee already risking your professionalism (let alone dignity) by dialing with customized emoticons.
4) Oxygenate! If at all possible, incorporate plants into your office environment. Spider plants are surprisingly easy to sustain and provide the optional bonus of an interactive tactile relationship. Refuel the rest of your body with a living lunch. I don’t mean go hunting for something (or someone) skulking around on the third floor, but get creative with your limited office kitchen supplies and make yourself something worth waking up for.
5) Keep your fantasies out of the office! Breaking news – you are a sexual being. Acknowledge this honest truth and move on. And obviously, do not, under any circumstances, engage in drunken desk hopping this holiday season! Keep your daydreams focused on your future, your weekend, or if things get really bleak, pretend you’re embroiled in a multi-billion dollar international corporate espionage conspiracy while filing your next report. Regressive? Perhaps. Nerdy? Decidedly. But desperate times call for decidedly desperate measures.
Most importantly, stay conscious (always a good place to start) and on guard for subliminal, and not so subliminal (like that stupid Chubb door sticker I have to try to ignore every morning!), social and environmental cues that threaten to compromise your value as a precious, uniquely wonderful human being. And if you manage to get out alive this Friday, have a fabulous, unabashedly human weekend!
What do you do to stay human at your 9 to 5 job?
Do you have a porous thalamus? Skewed dopamine receptor ratios? Thinner than average grey matter, and white matter of questionable integrity? If so, congratulations, you were born with a creative brain. Sounds glamorous, doesn’t it? But why let the genetic freaks have all the fun? The loosened associative neural processes that produce the novel connections and useful insights we define as creativity can be artificially induced. Interweaving your action sequences lets your body send sensory information through the thalamus in a pattern that mimics the structural pathways of an innately creative brain, allowing anyone to engineer their own eureka breakthroughs.
By physically interweaving your daily action sequences (e.g. combining three chores into one), you can imitate the porous information filtration of a creative brain’s thalamus, as well as its rather non-committal white connective circuitry. Comparatively disjointed associations will be simultaneously activated by the interwoven feed of sensory information as it bounces between loosely connected attentions/tasks. Novel connections will appear through this jumble and can be vetted as to their potential to contribute to a useful solution to a final related, or sometimes surprisingly unrelated, goal.
Ok, let’s get to work. Follow along with the (rather roughly) sketched process diagram (above) to get an idea of how to incorporate this creativity boosting exercise into your own life. In this example, doing all three tasks concurrently brings a new relationship to light. The end goal of organizing the golf equipment strewn around the living room (don’t ask!) is, by comparison, quite similar to putting away the groceries and laundry. Both latter tasks have a dedicated, compartmentalized storage unit and involve the process of ‘grouping and condensing’. Aha!! How about designing a hall closet golf caddy to fulfill the same role for errant golf equipment! Now if only injection molding and marketing were so simple!
After practicing this exercise, your brain will become accustomed to jumping between attentions while maintaining an underlying focus map of multiple concurrent tasks. Which is to say, seeing the dishtowels in a pile of clean laundry may soon prompt the thought cascade of kitchen, grocery bags, golf equipment… This underlying multiple focus is itself a neural model of how an extended metaphor/theme weaves its way into a creative person’s work. The layered themes of Shakespeare’s Hamlet are a perfect example. And I know I’m risking the wrath of dendrite action potential purists here, but the best way to describe this phenomenon is that, once activated, these associative areas may stay quietly ‘lit’ and be more easily accessed during (near) future conscious and unconscious musings. Ah yes, the sweet beauty of brain priming.