Tag Archive | "calligraphy"

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Slacker Reform History Round Up

Posted on 17 June 2009 by Carl

For many of you Slacker Reform is relatively new to you, however it began in earnest back in 2008 as a Wordpress hosted blog as personal outlet for my development.  It has since shifted focus into helping create a revolution of Slackers bent on finding their passions and doing what calls to us and not what is assumed by society.

So here is a round up of some of the most popular articles from Slacker Reform’s history and some worth exploring.

Back in November I found this TED talk with IDEOs CEO Tim Brown on Creativity and Play.  While the talk is highly entertaining it is deeply insightful on how adults often stifle the urge to play.  Are we that afraid of being appropriate all the time?

December found me with the urge to play and Play Auditorium, an exceptional game from Cipher Prime, hooked me in with the beta.  It is now out in full release with 70 plus levels blending music, physics and problem solving all in one.

In January I was dancing a lot and an article by Garr Reynolds caught my attention on Wynton Marsalis’s book on how jazz music can be the catalyst for change in your life.  Finding an improvisational form of art which requires a high degree of skill really opens up your personality in ways you wouldn’t expect.

The 3-2-1 Method is more a trick of the mind than a system of productivity.  It’s a way to get over that little mental roadblock that stops you from starting.  I’m no productivity guru and I never want to be but this one definitely helps me keep some of the easy mundane tasks in check.

In February I found myself explaining my vagabond life to people more and more so I wrote the How To: Living Out of a Suitcase 101 guide to help explain it.  While I recently talked about this process in my most recent video blog, this How To is much more detailed on how I went from having a full apartment in Montreal to living out of a suitcase and vagabonding through the U.S.

Thanks to a Christmas gift I took up calligraphy in January and by March I was practicing regularly.  It helped me find peace of mind when I struggled with loneliness and lack of focus.  This is how calligraphy helps me clear my mind.

April was a busier month at Slacker Reform.  I reviewed Jonathan Mead’s e-book Reclaim Your Dreams.  I wrote about making sure It’s Our Time and Our Focus that matters in maintaining momentum.  And I called out three Nonconformists who really stand out: Clay Collins, Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Mead.  Two of whom I’ve recently interviewed and Chris is on the list to be interviewed soon.

I skipped May entirely.  Actually I told you to Skip Work or School or Life and walk the world a while.  You could even tell your boss (or other authority figure dictating your time) to e-mail me since I gave you permission to say “I Don’t Care [today is for me]“.

And while it is still June, I’ve been videoblogging more consistently and while it’s a new trick for me, Tricks Are For Kids.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these articles please Stumble This.

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How Calligraphy Clears My Mind – Focus From a Pen Nib

Posted on 25 March 2009 by Carl

Fingers stained with ink I set the fountain pen down.

An hour has passed.  My mind is clear and aware.

Alphabets are arranged over and over again down the sheet of paper.

I have been practicing my calligraphy.

No pen, no ink, no table, no room, no time, no quiet, no inclination.

-James Joyce

fountainpen How Calligraphy Clears My Mind   Focus From a Pen NibIn an age of fonts and typography (including the wonders of kinetic typography), there is something very simple about calligraphy that takes me out of time and place.  It is practicing my penmanship as if I were six years old. It is mastering the easy flow of my hand across the page. It is sculpting each letter to form as if carving letters of stone. It is sitting in class and doodling my name every different way I can see it.

When I sit down with my notepad and fountain pen my focus is scattered and often I am feeling stuck.  Unable to move forward with action whether it is writing, choreographing, or editing a design.

Setting nib to paper the letters take shape.  I become active.  Each stroke draws me in farther and soon pages are full and an hour has disappeared.  My mind is clear of distraction and my attention is sharper.  No surprise, I am happier.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this as a state of flow.

Mihaly, a prominent psychologist on creativity and happiness, explains the power that challenging creative activity can have on our sense of being.  With a high level of challenge in an activity which you have a corresponding level of skill you can enter a psychological state of flow.

Flow is described by athletes, composers, programmers and artists alike as a state of being where action flows without needed direction.  The focus is so intense time and the feeling of self fall away so that there is no barrier between the actor and the activity or the artist and the art.

“Being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”

-Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Interview for Wired

Practicing calligraphy pulls me into a state of flow.

When I am struggling in ennui, a moment of adversity, or just scatter-brained, taking up an activity which is single-minded and purposeful, one that can always challenge me, and pouring myself into it clears away all the obstructions.  I forget about the bad day, the pressure to write, the calls I should make or the lack of ambition I have to get out of the house.

I come out focused.  Ready to move.

What is your focus activity?  What do you do to find clarity and calm?  Let me know and comment.

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