NEWS: Cards and Collaborations!

I’m so excited to be chosen to collaborate with another artist and art director for an upcoming local gallery in Vauxhall! I can’t say too much right now as we are still in the early stages of development. But what I can say is that we will be creating greetings and postcards for the African diaspora more specifically to be sold in the galley and also with other indie and national establishments.

We’ve already had a meeting, and I can already tell, it’s going to be great- the signs, the synchronicity, it’s all there!

So watch this space!

Stay blessed,

M x

Autumn reminders.

I’m loving the autumn colours! I get so inspired by mother nature.
The transition of life, the transition of colours….

Change can be a beautiful thing, perhaps not at the time of change but once you stand back and can reflect on it. You realise how powerful or significant it is. Change will always happen, in many ways and forms. Sometimes at the time negative, sometimes positive. It can be a struggle to go through the motions. It may feel like the world is against you. A pressure to stay afloat and on top of things to counteract the dynamics of change. Sometimes we resist change, sometimes we don’t want it in our lives. “I’m happy being comfortable!”, “I don’t want to move, it’s nice and cosy here!”.

I’m not going to lie, I have those moments too. I just want to curl up in my be and not go outside. But then when life gets stagnant and boring, what do we do? Change. Really, it’s inevitable.

If we can harness the perspective to take it as it is, and admire it for its powers, I think life will be more fulfilling and more satisfying.

Knowing that change will benefit in the future, – provided there is positive action- should be truly appreciated. We don’t grow if we don’t change!

Talk about it! (mental and spirtual health – Part 2)

It seems to me, living in London, being brought up in an African/British household and community, and having reserved, conservative parents have definitely made accessing counselling or psychotherapy really off-putting. Team that up with a society where the previously expected formula for a successful is ‘go to uni + do a masters + do an internship = job’, and it increases more symptoms of decreasing mental health!

‘Sick, twisted people go the mental hospital’, ‘Are you mental? Are you sick in the head?’ – It’s this kind of statements and utterings that are often conveyed within a lot of households. The image of the distressed, rough looking person with a straight jacket and a constant twitch that eludes danger and insanity is commonly in the minds of a lot of people where mental health is involve. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. 

Many people are suffering the same things but are afraid that it will make them seem weak. A negative label hanging over their heads like their an outcast to society. It’s simply not true. There are many ways to deal with our stresses and issues in life. Meditation is common place. Going tot he gym. Having sex. (Okay maybe not so much as a long term solution, but it gives some endorphines to us). Praying. Art therapy, dance therapy, drama therapy, etc. Talking to someone about it….like…a friend, stranger, or going to a qualified counsellor at a local health clinic. Even creating online groups to discuss about certain topics like anxiety. It helps.

I’ve tried counselling and told one or two people about it that aren’t family, because again of the social stigma. But I’m putting it out there now. And it helps. It’s one of many ways to work on issues that we all suffer from. Having an objective point of view within a completely confident environment and a professional experienced approach makes a difference. I had about six sessions – it was a free service available at uni – but even then it made me see a little ‘out of myself’. It gave me some distance and perspective that I appreciated because I didn’t think about it that way before. Luckily it was free as well. I have to admit, many private health services cost an arm and a leg, which makes it even more inaccessible.

It’s funny that in the States it’s not a big of a deal to have a psychotherapist on hand. Or have a marriage counsellor (or at least its more accepted in society). But in the UK, it seems like a very big deal. Why? Hmm.

It seems that discussing mental health publicly or at least having a person to talk to about is a real demand – even in a world where everyone is ‘talking’ (communicating ) on social media.

Happy #WorldMentalHealthday ! Keep sharing.

On my next post in this series I will be talking about Art therapy as it is a new found appreciation of mine, and more.

Please share your experiences, stories or opinions whatever it may be. I would love to do podcasts or interviews with anyone who would like to share and contribute towards future posts in the series. You can always contact me directly on my email mm.dubale@gmail.com.

🙂

Stay blessed,

Meron x

 

Progress: Flip IT! (mental and spiritual health – part 1)

I woke up this morning with slight anxiety. Anxiety that makes itself know to me from time to time, especially when I over analyse and dwell on situations (predictably, the situation was regarding finances) – even with positive quotes filled on my social media feeds! It’s easy to take that trip from time to time. But the important thing is not to let those feelings conquer your life, your emotions and your actions.

One train of thought that has been popping up more recently is identifying You as your best friend. ‘The Casual Artist‘ made this aware to me when we had a Skype consultation. During my childhood, I have always felt that I was my own worst enemy. I even have a distinct memory of receiving a report card when I was in year 6, with the teacher stating that ‘Meron can be her own worst enemy’. Once I told the Casual Artist this, he flipped it up and asked me this question: ‘Can you say to me the total opposite of that statement?’

I first stumbled. It was really hard, and I didn’t get why. But he broke it down to me and eventually I stated that ‘Meron is her own best friend’.

I was truly amazed by this. I had never thought of seeing my self in this way at all! Bizarre.

I am my own best friend….Meron is her own best friend. Meron..is…her own…best friend. That makes total sense! It’s the complete OPPOSITE of what I’ve been making myself accustomed to. And so I say to you: FLIP IT. Any negative or niggling statements that have prevailed in your life, ask yourself what is the total opposite of that statement. Then say it back to yourself. 

As an artist, as a human being carving a fulfilling career for myself, there’s still days like this morning where I stumble. However, I’ve been really progressing with being more resilient. Showing appreciation for what I do have. I have time and some means to do what I love. To do develop my work. To create alliances as well as art and change my way of life for the better. Some ladies my age, have been forced into marriage, enslaved, don’t have access to clean water. So hey, how can I complain right? I have some privileges in some sorts and I need to exercise those, if not for myself, than for the people who can’t.

Gratitude is a great attitude.

I will be making another post on mental health and spirituality concentrating on why this is so important to discuss in our community. Especially the ‘black’ communities, where it’s still such a stigma to receive counselling or psychotherapy. So stay tuned!

Stay blessed,

Meron x

 

 

Living that Art life

I have a very vivid memory of me sprawled out on my uncle’s living room floor, with the sun beaming in, and a colouring pencil in my hand, creating away on a piece of paper. My uncle then asks attentively, “So Meron, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m assuming to confirm actions of the joyous but relaxed mood I was in.

“Hmm, either an artist or a doctor”

He then asked which one I would choose if I had no choice but to pick one. I hesitated for a bit, but I confidently said artist. I was about 9 or 10 years old at the time so I was pretty aware about different occupational roles. I always remember that memory because I feel like it’s what I am meant to be. And the more I think about it, the more it resonates with me. Usually the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ is often ignored in later adult life. But lately, I’ve been trying to listen to what my intuition tells me. I think the reason I said both options of an artist or a doctor, is because I want to help people, but I love art and have received more compliments about it then anything else I do.

And it’s so funny because I literally am drawn towards art therapy as a career change! I love psychology and eventually I want to blend the two worlds – art and psychology – together into a nice little world of my  own.

But that art life though!

I’ve only JUST started exposing my art work on social media and online. I’m so bloody defensive of my work, as predictably by my artistic nature, I’m a sensitive soul. Don’t get me wrong, sensitivity is a great thing to have but if your skin isn’t that thick, it’s painful. Luckily, my skin is growing ever more thicker, which is great but I still have some way to go. There’s so many doubts niggling at you like an itchy nose – ‘But I can’t do this!’, ‘I’m not a real artist’, ‘Who’s going to be interested in what I have to show?’, and the classic ‘I’m not good enough’.  Aye aye aye!

I am good, I am kind, I am enough.

I am good, I am kind, I am enough.

I am good, I am kind, I am enough.

(repeat until less stressed)

…That’s better.

It’s my new mantra thing. It isn’t a permanent solution but it’s a good way to centre my emotions. I know I can do this. Live a life more dedicated to practising art and using it to help others. Essentially that’s my life goal. To help others using art. I’m still not sure how exactly but I think along the art therapy route. One thing is for sure – I just to keep creating, stop the self judgement and do it for me. Not to prove anything or to show off but for me.

And in honour of this post, I’ve featured my latest painting/selfie. What do you think is going on?

Big Magic!

elizabethgilbert-bigmagic

Yes, I admit I live partially in fear and yes its does stop me from doing more amazing things. And Yes I do procrastinate, more than I should.

That’s ‘Step One’ to resolving your issues: admitting you have them. Right?

[Background context] I was massively shy growing up as a child and even still I would take on board too many thoughts about what other people think of me, my actions, my appearance, my identities. Which is why I am drawn to the arts such as painting and writing because it was a safer world than reality. A place that I could escape to express my self with no one looking or judging apart from me!

I’ve always wandered what my purpose in life is and have always been aware of my personal growth questioning the world, contrary to having been absorbed into the recent healing, collective wave of  consciousness.

As it so happens I browsed Amazon and found this beauty! – Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic

–Disclaimer: I haven’t been paid or sponsored to advertise this book—

I just think it’s DOPE. It’s enlightening, humble, witty and very easy to read. Although a point she made in Chapter IV was quite outrageous and disgusting at first. She starts by defining  creative living as…

living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear

…and stops the misconception that creativity is just for professional or academic artists (although if you are a visual artist, then that’s great). You  could be a farmer. A builder. A doctor. Or any lifestyle in which you are consistently questioning, making things happen, and not letting fear get in the ratid ass way!

Her chapters are divided into the elements needed, such as ‘Trust’ and ‘Enchantment’ and is full of little anecdotes and living examples of stepping up your game. She has such a casual, conversational style in writing that is neither shallow nor tedious, but just relatable enough so that you really get what she’s saying – I.e. Life is full of paradoxes, and so is creativity. If you embrace courage, playfulness and divinity in your life, and affirm that fear will not take the leading role, big magic WILL happen!

And I agree! 🙂 Here’s to living a creative life and not just burying my creative head in the sand. Argh.

—————

I also have a YouTube video reviewing the book on my channel Art|Tea|Afrika. Enjoy!

—————

Rabbit

Sensing . Sensing. Sensitive. Sense. I sense. I have sense. Does it make sense? Why doesn’t it make sense? How should it make sense?  Does it matter that it doesn’t make sense? Philosophy, Politriks, Anthropology, Culture.

Sense. Sensitivity. Emotion. Caring. Sensing. Tensing. Caressing the tension. Feeling, Feelers, whiskers, feather touch, goose bumps, sensual. Sense-sual. Healing. Feeling, Caring.

Sensitive: Positive. Negative. Empathic. Unstable. Caring too much, Loosing sense…touch. Helping for the greater good.

Me.

 
Featured image:
“Gray Rabbit” by Arti Chauhan

 

Food for thought….

As I was searching for cheap healthy recipe ideas….At first before reading this, I was sceptical thinking, ‘here we go, another ‘How to’ about super foods and such’, but actually Jamie Oliver has got a point.

He focuses more on the spirit of community, (social interactions, sharing food and stress with our support networks) **which is hugely important and can lack badly in city cultures**, the role of religion or belief systems in maintaining a sense of purpose in life, and getting more physically active by doing simple ordinary things like housework or walking more to destinations, which we have an app to do everything now for us it seems (although I’m not completely knocking apps because they can be quite useful). Appreciating more plant based diets and consuming moderate amounts of wine every day if at all.

And if I look back at my parents lifetime when they were growing up, it’s true. I had grandparents that lived till 100 and older relatives that are still mentally, physically strong. Food for thought…