Out there.

Artists and the art they make are often criticised as being “out there”, as something too lofty and ephemeral for the regular human being, as if creating and creativity were some kind of abnormal activity and art itself a paranormal entity, understandable and achievable only by a select, peculiar few.
And you know what? Perhaps art and creativity is exactly that – out there. When you think about it, maybe we all need to spend a bit more time and energy “out there” wherever is it art is. All these things keeping us from our bliss, our joy, from making the stuff we love, going the places that energise and inspire us, from thinking about the wonder of ourselves and each other are actually very much “in there” – in our own heads.

Continue reading “Out there.”

Everyone is beautiful after I have my Zoloft.

I have a divergent way of thinking, a certain manner of mood, a cyclic emotional pattern with a name given it by the culture I live – “bipolar disorder”. For me, this pattern is sometimes mental illness, because my thoughts and actions can become harmful for me and for others around me. This is the depression phase which can manifest as anxiety, oppressive sadness and pain, anger, and suicidal thoughts. Other times, bipolar is not making me sick, it’s making me a powerful creator. When this is happening, I can literally do anything I think of.

And I can think of an awful lot. Continue reading “Everyone is beautiful after I have my Zoloft.”

The Invisible Power of Creativity

To them, we are invisible. To them, there is only a faceless mass. A huddle to be shepherded. A rabble to be governed. A market to be plundered. To them, humanity consists only of those they have won over, and those they have yet to conquer. They believe their power is the only power; the only path and the only podium. Continue reading “The Invisible Power of Creativity”

Never Let Anyone Sell You What To Do.

We’ve been programmed to believe we have to believe. No, we don’t. You don’t have to believe anything. Not in anything. When you’re convinced you must believe, everything splits into binaries. Everything falls into two categories – what you’re able to be convinced is truth, and everything else. Why not try not believing? Continue reading “Never Let Anyone Sell You What To Do.”

Don’t Worry About Helping Others.

You’re here on earth to do your thing, your own particular awesome, and that’s all. Your awesome is your work, and yours alone.

You’re going to want to help people with your awesome and that’s perfectly understandable. Most people hope the thing they do will make the world and other people happy and change something, or everything, for the better.

But sometimes doing your awesome, especially to begin with, doesn’t seem to help people very much. It can actually appear to others you’re being very selfish by doing it, and they may claim you’re making them feel hurt or angry or uncomfortable, which could be the opposite of what you wanted, or hoped to do.

Sometimes they’ll be angry or resentful because the thing you’re doing is challenging or confusing them. They may no longer be as sure about who you are, or feel safe around your thoughts, beliefs and values. Sometimes they’ll be resistant to your doing awesome just because it means you’re spending less time and energy fussing over them, and worrying about what they think of you. This can be very difficult, especially if the person who wants you to stop doing your awesome is using dirty tricks like shame and guilt to try and make you stop.

Because of this, sometimes you’ll try to make your awesome into something overtly helpful. Making it into a thing that directly helps others can be a form of validation. But this is too much weight for an awesome to bear, particularly at first. You need to simply do your work, and not worry about how other people perceive it, or what they expect it to do for them, or you. Resist the temptation to redeem your doing awesome by twisting it into a way of helping people simply because it feels self-centred to do what you want.

If you compromise your work by trying hard to make it altruistic or charitable rather than just letting it just unfold into the world and doing it with love in your heart, you’ll have all kinds of problems.

One of those problems will be others finding ways to stop you doing your awesome by involving you in complex strategies they invented to support avoiding doing their own.

Do not allow your beautiful, unique awesome to be manipulated into a rescue strategy for someone with a victim mentality.

Just do it. Make your work. Take your adventure. Be that thing. Whether it helps or inspires others cannot be the litmus test for its worth. Trust in your goodness, and in the love that exists in the place from whence you draw your inspiration. If you do it with love in your heart, it will help people. Your heart is good, so when you do what you do with love in your heart, it is good enough.

Jo Hilder
From “Don’t Worry About Helping People”, one chapter in Do Awesome Broken – Don’t wait until you’re all-fixed-up to create your most amazing life. (C) Jo Hilder.

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Tattoo Chronicles #3 – Never Forgotten

This is my third major tattoo. My strawberry vine.

I told you yesterday about my two totems being strawberries and dragonflies; strawberries because a tiny strawberry was my very first tattoo and a secret between Ben and I, and a dragonfly, because it symbolises new beginnings.

After Ben came home from rehab and we set about our new beginning, I decided it was time for some more ink.

Anyone who’s had more than one tattoo will tell you they’re highly addictive.

I drew up this design for my inner right forearm to symbolise our family coming back together.

A strawberry each for Ben and I.strawberry vine tattoo

And a blossom for each of our children. Four living, one no longer with us.

Our first boy was born in 1988, then another in 1992. Our girl baby came to us in 1994, after which we decided three was enough. Dorothy was conceived in 2001 and would’ve been our second child after Bens vasectomy reversal in 1999. Gabriel was conceived less than a year after that procedure and was still very young when I fell pregnant again.

But I was older, in my early thirties, and I remember I was not feeling completely well when I found out a new baby was coming. Still, we wanted more children and I was excited about the prospect of perhaps another girl, a sister for Daisy.

But she was not to be. I miscarried in my first trimester. I named her Dorothy. Dot for short, because she only ever was a little dot of a thing.

One strawberry each for Ben and I. And one blossom for each of our children, four living, and one never forgotten.

Tattoo Chronicles #1 – Survivor

My first tattoo. Got it in 2008, five years after surviving cancer.

I drew this design up myself, and the tattoo artist commented it was obvious I wasn’t a tattoo artist – too many fiddly little scrolls.survivor tattoo

I wanted this tattoo more than anything. I needed a permanent reminder to never take my body for granted, and always listen to it when it speaks to me. The non-hodgkins lymphoma was stage 3B by the time it was found, undiagnosed for seven months despite my repeatedly visiting a doctor asking for tests. I knew I was sick. He told me I was just tired and working too hard. I walked into my local hospital emergency department on July 17th 2003 and told them if I was going to die, I wanted to do it in their waiting room, not in my kitchen in front of my kids. They found the saucer sized tumour in my chest within an hour of my arrival. Rushed to a bigger hospital in an ambulance, then airlifted two days later to Sydney. Three months of chemotherapy and two of radiotherapy. I learned a lot about myself in that time.

First thing I learned is my body knows what sometimes my mind and will refuses to admit. I thought I was living a good life, but it was a cacophony of compromises. My body said, fine, go there if you like, but I’m not coming with you.

It took time for me to relearn my body’s signals and to rebuild the trust between it and me. Now, I ask it first before I do anything where it will be required to bear the weight of the consequences. Sometimes it says, hell yes! Sometimes it says, are you kidding? Sometimes my body says, look at your arm, girlfriend. And when I do, I’m sometimes reminded I am not made of iron and stone. I can break. But sometimes looking at my survivor tattoo reminds me I can do very hard things. It reminds me not to expect so little of my body.

And sometimes, my tattoo reminds me becoming a survivor requires one almost die, and then come back from that…..but there be a day when I will not come back. Is this that day? No. This is not that day. Today, I live. Every day, until that day. I live.

Selah, my friends.
Jo xxx