Monday, May 27, 2013

Fun Monday Challenge #4



"5 New Things" collage by Lani and textures from FlyPaper
This challenge is based on Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer's idea of Mindfulness, which is quite simple:  Notice new things.   Just notice new things, even about what we think we already know everything about, notice something new, that you haven't noticed before.  Immediately this puts us in the present, it also makes us aware of context and perspective, and (she feels this one is most important) it reveals to us that we don't know that thing as well as we thought we did.


We know everything changes.  Langer believes we try to hold things still with our minds until we come to the point where we think we know the thing (or person) perfectly, then we treat them mindlessly.  But when we are mindful, we can see the newness and the changing that is happening before our eyes. 

“Virtually all the world’s ills boil down to mindlessness,” she says. If you can understand someone else’s perspective, then there’s no reason to be angry at them, envy them, steal from them.  ... “Once you’ve seen there is another perspective, you can never not see that there’s another point of view.”
(This quote is from the article: "The Mindfulness Chronicles; On 'the psychology of possibility'” - by Cara Feinberg in the Harvard Magazine.  A copy of the article is here:
http://harvardmag.com/pdf/2010/09-pdfs/0910-42.pdf

So here is the challenge:
Go out your door and find five new things, or find five new things about the person you are closest with (or the person you are least close with).  This should result in interest, excitement and elevated positive brain chemistry. 

Try working these new things into an art piece.

For a gorgeous description of this "beginner's mind" or mindful attitude, check out the article on stargazing here:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/3048/
“Where’re you going?” I ask.
“Pleiades,” she says. “You want to come?”
Feel free to share your work or play on Instagram by adding #14SecretsChallenge to your description, or by adding your photo to our Flickr pool.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hooray for these Monday challenges!