Sunday, September 28, 2014

Interesting Read.

How Repetition Enchants the Brain and the Psychology of Why We Love It in Music

“Music takes place in time, but repetition beguilingly makes it knowable in the way of something outside of time.”
“The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism,” Haruki Murakami reflected on the power of a daily routine. “Rhythm is one of the most powerful of pleasures, and when we feel a pleasurable rhythm we hope it will continue,” Mary Oliver wrote about the secret of great poetry, adding: “When it does, it grows sweeter.” But nowhere does rhythmic repetition mesmerize us more powerfully than in music, with its singular way of enchanting the brain.

How and why this happens is precisely what cognitive scientist Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas, explores in On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind (public library).

Margulis writes:
Music takes place in time, but repetition beguilingly makes it knowable in the way of something outside of time. It enables us to “look” at a passage as a whole, even while it’s progressing moment by moment. But this changed perspective brought by repetition doesn’t feel like holding a score and looking at a passage’s notation as it progresses. Rather, it feels like a different way of inhabiting a passage — a different kind of orientation.
In On Repeat, a fine addition to these essential books on the psychology of music, Margulis goes on to explore how advances in cognitive science have radically changed our understanding of just why repetition is so psychoemotionally enticing.


"Follow Your Dreams? Nope!

How To Be A Success At Everything

What's Really Standing In The Way Of Reaching Your Dreams

Not to burst your bubble, but "follow your dreams" isn't very realistic advice. Here's what you need to conquer to really reach your goals

"Follow Your Dreams" might be the most well-worn piece of advice in our culture.
Inspirational movies allow us watch people achieve their goals and overcome obstacles because of their strong desire to succeed and the strength of their will, and we believe that it can happen for us too.

This focus on dreams is not completely misplaced. It is important for everyone to have a big-picture goal that guides their actions. It might be a dream for the ideal job, or perhaps something deeply personal. People can derive energy, focus, and a sense of meaning and purpose from having significant goals that they strive to achieve.

That said, a pure focus on the dream is actually likely to end in failure. That's because obstacles cannot be overcome just through a commitment to the goal.

It's important to analyze what that inner voice that talks you out of making changes by giving you all of the reasons why you might fail is saying. You often use those reasons as excuses not to pursue your dreams.

Instead, you need to take all of the obstacles you find and plan for them. The obstacles that will block you from achieving your goals will be there whether you are ready for them or not. The more time that you spend planning for the things that will go wrong, the less likely that the obstacles that appear will derail you.

There are two types of obstacles that you need to plan for:

Resource Problems

The problem with your dreams is that they take a lot of time to achieve. As a result, you need to budget, time, money, energy, and space to making those dreams a reality.
Chances are, though, you don’t have a lot of extra time, money, energy, and space just waiting to be used. Instead, you are going to have to find a way to reorient your life in order to find ways to reach your dreams. That is going to require some effort. It is also going to mean negotiating with friends, family, and coworkers to create the resources you need to succeed.

The Temptation

Temptations are actions that are attractive right now that get in the way of your dream. Just like each delicious bowl of ice cream makes it harder to lose weight, temptations are hard to resist in the moment.

In the workplace, temptations can be things as simple as emails that suck up your discretionary time or as complex as opportunities for promotion that might benefit your career in the short-term but make it harder for you to reach your ideal role in the workplace.
Temptations are particularly difficult, because in the moment they really engage your motivation. Temptations are hot psychologically. They create feelings of need and desire. And in that moment, they are hard to overcome.

That means that when temptation strikes, you need to find ways to cool it off. Find coworkers and friends you can call to help you keep focused on your dreams. Don’t make decisions in the moment. Always ask for time to think things over. When you face a temptation, ask yourself what you would recommend to a friend facing the same situation. The distance you create by pretending to solve your problem for someone else can make the temptation seem less tempting.

In the end, it is great to have dreams. But, you cannot just dream. You also have to acknowledge that you live in the real world. And that means doing the hard work to translate that dream into a plan that takes life’s obstacles seriously. It is less fun to plan for obstacles than to dream, but it is ultimately more rewarding.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

For this Hard Head Woman: And for All Those Dying to Emerge from the Shadows

In the 3rd week of the Shadows series of workshops at Ashe Cultural Art Center thus far, has been a wonderful experience.  With an exhibition to follow in March 2015 entitled Standing in the Shadows (no More), the vision of all this will be for not only for this Hard Headed Woman & hopefully others, to continue to define & refine.  
Photography by Gus Bennett,Jr for the New Orleans People Project

"You choose. That's what this says to me: whether it be praise or surrender, to dance or cry, to be still or move . . . this picture says a lot to me about the power of a woman who chooses". D.L. Reid
So ones will know, I was not having a "Glory"! moment.  I was actually grooving to Parliment/Funkadelic totally oblivious to anyoe around me when Gus captured this shot.
 Standing in the Shadows, is part of my Fig Tree Project based on the Bible Scripture in Micah 44.  That Scriptural prophecy resonated for me in many ways.
The purpose of the project is multi-fold... layered.  On a personal level, I'm at a stage more then ever to not be in the shadows though some who know me would balk at the idea of my being in the shadows at all!  But 5 of the last 6 years, I felt like I was, that somehow I had lost me starting a forced "sabbatical" one not of my liking or choosing.
Now reflecting back, I see that time as a molding, a shaping that will render a deeper rhythm while I'm reemerging.   The "shadows" have been embraced, the stories & experiences that were reaching out sometimes whispered, sometime with a plaintive cry,will definitely frame with not only my art but in other ways yet to be rediscovered.
just in the last several months, I thought I was feeling like my old self until I came to grasp I had not.  I actually came to be a far better me & what has been showing up, I really liked. I've always liked me, but this enhancement is even juicier.
There was no major, dramatic made for TV moment that cause this to happen.
I simply was ready...
This Hard Head Woman was ready...
"Sometimes it is the smallest decision that can change your life"~ Keri Russell