Real Talk: Living Artfully
September 2nd, 2023
Our group discussed what makes something "art" and how maybe everything is art. We discussed how art may be a combination of perception, intention and creativity. Maybe art becomes "art" when we can connect with it by seeing something of ourselves in the art. Almost like a mirror reflecting back at us. Maybe art is within our human nature and design. We are emotional and cognitive beings designed to make, do, and express. Maybe everything we make is an intentional creation and therefore a form of art. From our homes, to our clothes, to paintings and music.. Art is everywhere. Art shapes our community and the world. Art may have been something innate in our human existence, and we then capitalized it by creating art to be sold. Art has the power to manipulate minds and emotions through, for example, marketing and advertising. How is this sort of power being used by those with money and influence? Yet, we also discussed how art can have extremely positive influences and be used as a therapeutic tool to address mental health challenges. We discussed how art can be a tool for practicing mindfulness, relaxation, acceptance, and focus. Everyone contributed to the discussion by sharing aspects of their experience with art and their perception of art. We agreed that art is difficult to define with words, but can be more easily felt with our heart.
Food for Thought:
How do you determine what is considered art? What would life be like if you perceived everything as art? How has art impacted your choices in life (your style, your home decor, your self-expression, your purchases, etc.)? How can you incorporate more healing art into your life? What types of art do you find soothing and healing? How can you live artfully?
Real Talk: Exploring Identity
June 17th, 2023
Our group discussed what shapes our identity and how the essence of who we are is complex and unquantifiable. We discussed how society pressures us to conform and be defined by our labels and roles (such as mother, teacher, woman, etc.) and fails to fully encompass or represent the complex human being that we truly are. We discussed the tendency our brain has to place people and ourselves into categories in order to help make sense of our world, and how these categories and labels are actually quite limiting, restrictive and primitive. Everyone contributed to the discussion by sharing aspects of their identities and how their identities have impacted their life and choices. We discussed how over-identification and attachment to identities can lead us to distress and create a barrier to embracing our true selves. We agreed that having an open mind, being mindful of the words we use to describe ourselves and others, and daring to stay true to ourselves in a world that pressures us to conform is an important part of leading a more peaceful and fulfilling life.
How have you determined who you are? What roles, labels, and words do you identify with? What parts of your identity did you choose for yourself and what parts of your identity do you think were determined by others, by society, or by chance? How does your sense of identity impact your choices, behaviors and relationships? Whose opinions and beliefs have the greatest impact on how you conceptualize your identity?
Cultural Impact on Mental Health
May 13th, 2023
Our group discussed how culture plays a significant role in shaping our mental health experience. We discussed how our cultural norms and expectations can put a lot of pressure on us to conform to a way of life that may not be aligned with our truth. Group panelists shared about their personal experiences regarding how religion, cultural norms, beliefs, and generational traumas shaped who they are. We discussed the importance of being true to yourself, engaging in self-care, and having healthy boundaries with self and others.
In what ways has your culture and upbringing influenced your mental health and the way you perceive yourself? How can you support yourself when your culture is negatively impacting your mental health? How can we work together to create a culture that is more nurturing of mental health needs and challenges?
Real Talk: Finding Purpose
February 25th, 2023
Our group discussed how society and culture puts a lot of pressure on us to find our purpose in life. We discussed the tendency to perceive purpose as an objective rather than as deeper meaning in life, and how that impacts our confidence in achieving life fulfillment. Everyone shared about a time when they felt connected to life and themselves and how life purpose is an intangible, unachievable concept. That, maybe, there is no "purpose" in life, but rather an ongoing exploration for meaning by making choices to be true to ourselves and live in accordance with our values. We also discussed Ikigai, a Japanese concept about one's reason for being, and how that could be applied to each of our lives.
How are you creating meaning in your life? What values help guide your life decisions? Are you working so hard to find your life purpose, that you're missing out on the beauty that life currently has to offer you?
Real Talk: Societal Change January 19th, 2023
Our group discussed how one of the hardest parts of societal change is agreeing on what we want to change and how we want to change it. We discussed how what may be perceived as positive change for one group of people, may not be perceived as positive to another group of people. We discussed how it's important to recognize and accept our differences rather than trying to change everyone to be the same as us. We agreed that change begins with each individual person taking responsibility for their part in this world and helping to make the world a better place by spreading awareness, compassion, and kindness.
So, how are you helping to make a difference in this world? How are you showing grace, humility and understanding to diverse others? What can you do to give back?