Silence Is Golden

October 28th, 2015

Dear all

There has been a long silence, for which I want to apologise and at the same time there are no excuses… But I had/have my reasons.

In case any of you are still checking my site, there may or may not be some exciting projects coming up. There may or may not be the resurgence of Cartoons For Change. And it may or may not succeed…

Everything is uncertain, like the state of the world. It ebbs and flows, and I am trying to get ready for a flow… And at the same time wonder, are you still there? And would you like to see more… and if yes, let me know what… please

In the meantime I leave you … with leaves…

IMG-20151028-00498

Aldona

Let’s Talk About Creativity!

February 19th, 2015

Hello again, after long last

Welcome to my channel, and it is all about creativity! I think the world needs more colour, needs more diversity, it often also could do with more creativity. And I like to reflect on creative creation!

Many people often ask me how I get my ideas and how they could become more creative. In any case creativity means work… it doesn’t just happen like that!

But everyone can be creative, and everyone can generate new ideas … it is about how can we improve on what we already do… My aim is to hopefully inspire and open up those possibilities for people who care to watch my clips!

Why should I talk about creativity and reflect on it? For one I am an artist working on webcomics, and stories. Although one could argue not all artists are creative… But moving on, I also have a background in neuroscience and psychology, with focus on perception and cognitive psychology, so I know a little bit about how the brain works…

That being said, I am not an expert. In the sense that I will not sit here and tell you bullet points about creativity. I want to create an evolving conversation, and reflection around what it means to be creative. I want to offer options. A vast array of possibilities and perspectives… I will make recommendations of books and clips and you choose whatever you feel like speaks to you…

Creativity is about painting with all the colours of the rainbow and considering all perspectives of an idea… the more we can diversify our own train of thought, the richer our ideas and the results can become. It is about being able to feel the inspiration, embracing the unknown and choosing from a diversity of possibilities…

So join me in my clips about “how to be creative” and also have a look at my (almost) weekly creative talks where I talk a little about different movies, different aspects of life. It is more of a drivel really, but maybe you find some inspiration in there too!

Hugs

Aldona

Check out the creative talks/news here:
Creative News With Aldona’s Drivel

The Creative Powers Within

March 6th, 2014

As I am trying to connect with my inner creative powers, I had some interesting discussions and revelations. A friend, who is a teacher, mentioned that the ultimate question about every human being boils down to: “Where is your self-worth chipped, and how can it be healed?” (Thank you Christian Kissling)

That quote followed me for a long time because this notion came up in other conversations and is being a focal point of the course “The Artist’s Way”. And the sense I’m getting is that if only we all had a better capability for self-approval and love for ourselves, we wouldn’t succumb to all the artificial needs for money, power, territory, etc… Needs that have been created (and sustained within our society) to fill a void that cannot be filled by anything external. Forces that in fact are destructive rather than creative… And so if we can connect to our inner self we connect to our creativity… and subsequently distance ourselves from destructiveness.

But how can we do that? There is some healing to do, and some find that with meditation, some find it in the arts, writing, singing, dancing, others in prayer, but If we can find our inner joy and happiness, independent from anything and anyone else, and we can become truly self-sustaining in terms of approval, we could potentially strip ourselves of all the unnecessary needs. And that’s also when we become true joyful creators of our life.

Now that sounds all very spiritual, but practically it starts by questioning what is it that I want and why. Whenever I feel the need to buy something, I ask myself “haven’t I got enough shoes already?” (yeah right!)… And realising that no material possession can bring joy to an unfulfilled heart! And so I try to find other ways to dig deeper… It doesn’t always work, but it’s a start to heal the heart and spirit.

Inner peace it is, I guess. And joy. And all of that comes from within, and if anything this picture is supposed to reflect on that notion. Because joy is the best creative energy there is!

dreamsofalife

I am a Creativist

February 20th, 2014

cartoons2_wotext

I haven’t had any dreams for a long while now, as you may notice…, but this night woke up from one and I was lying awake and at 4 o’clock in the morning I scribbled something on a piece of paper. I knew I had to capture it, otherwise I could not go to sleep again. Here is the unabridged version:

“I dreamt… a question, or a notion… that maybe contrary to popular belief, our mindsets and structures in the (so-called) civilized world are no more based on facts than the superstitions and magic of our medieval ancestors? Is it now me being a critic, a pessimist, a destructivist? Quite the opposite, I believe. Just the creativist who believes that once we understand that everything is smoke and mirrors (or dragons and wizardry) we can truely become creative artists of our collective fate.”

I need to explore this thought more deeply. But I will leave it here for you, to reflect upon, to comment upon if you wish.

Sometimes people come and say to me ” I admire your arts, I wished I could be creative”. If you read my last post you know where my stand on this is,… we all are creative! We can all be creators. And we can all collectively create. Maybe it’s just that we don’t see the blank canvas in front of us…

Only when I woke up I actually looked up if the word “Creativist” even exists. I found it here: Urban Dictionary

Fitting, innit?

cartoons2

 

Artists’R Us!

October 17th, 2013

scan0006

One night I woke up from a dream. And I had this epiphany, that everyone is an artist… And I mean everyone!

Funnily enough I dreamt of a Hiring Manager. So it wasn’t a job one would usually consider artistic. And yet, in my dream, it was! It was about the fact that every job can become an art. And every person can be an artist with whatever they do, if so they choose!

A simple definition of an artist is: a person who creates something from nothing. Or a person whose work shows exceptional creative ability or skill. Well there is an interesting debate on what makes an artist and you can read someone else’s blog on this here!

My definition of an artist is more inclusive: A person who shows creativity in what they do and makes an art out of it. Because I think that artistry is just a mindset! It’s about seeing that spark of inspiration and following it with curiosity of what will become,… When I start working on a page of a comic, it often turns out completely different than I initially planned. But exactly the same happens when I facilitate a group in a Leadership Program. So the art just emerges and the (co-)creation is being brought forth into the world.

How can we bring that spark of inspiration, curiosity and creation into the workplace? Not just doing something for the sake of doing or making money, but for the sake of creation? I cannot answer this question, because the answer might be different for everyone. Some need to re-ignite their inspiration for their work,  some might just need to start letting go of old patterns and be curious of trying some new moves, and others might need to shift the mindset that work is just… well… work…

Once we start our artistic journey even a conversation with the customer service could become magical (read more about it here).

So I say, embrace your inner artist and create!!

You have no clue where you will be next year? The future seems too uncertain? Try to create a vision and go from there! I truly believe that it is important to be a visionary, because I think that visualizing a desired future is your best bet to make it all happen!

The reason I am saying this, is because I have experienced it first hand! For example when I envisioned my perfect job in 2005, one year later it all came true. My vision connected me emotionally with what was important for me at the time. I just knew I wanted to work in HR, with great people, have a friendly environment around me, and preferably to be able to speak more English (I was living in Switzerland at the time). My next job offered all of that!

Now, years later, I have decided I try the same magic again for my professional life as I haven’t really engaged in creating a vision for my business. This is what came out of it:

vision

I think the best way to describe it, is that I believe my heart is like an account for love. But unlike money, the more love, understanding, compassion, acceptance and other positive qualities I can spend, the more joy it will create in me.

Now you are going to say: this has nothing to do with work. Well for me it does, because I want to create a sense of passion, abundance and beauty. The same goes for customers and organizations. In my dream world all corporations could operate with love and measure their heart KPIs! Because I truly believe, if there is passion for an organization and its people, it will be a healthy organization, also from an economic point of view.

Not sure now how I will achieve my vision, but I set my heart to see the opportunities… And I know I am only human and I sometimes have a tendency for negativity. So I know I will trip and I will make mistakes along the way. But that’s OK. I have my vision now…

I cannot but recommend everyone to try out a visioning exercise. Whether it is trying to think about the emotional state you want to find yourself in. Whether it is about the specific job you want to get. Whether it is a place you envision you want to go to… Draw it, write it down, dance it in the rain or create a sculpture… as a reminder.

And you have set the first step on a path that will lead you wherever you need to be!

 

The Great Depression

September 24th, 2013

The world is in dire need of antidepressants!

fallenangel

Fallen Angel, 2002

I didn’t post for a while, because I was depressed. Maybe I also didn’t know how to frame what I was perceiving in the world around me. But when I read this article by Justin Wise, it all made more sense to me!

So, no, I am not talking about the economic crisis when talking about the world’s depression, although the two might be linked. No, I really mean a collective depression, which is a psychological disorder and part of the mood disorders!

I went into a long discussion with a friend about whether the world has a unipolar (general negativity and lack of drive) or bipolar depression (the negative phases interchanged with phases of manic behaviour)…

I am frankly not quite sure. But I have to say, I don’t think the world’s mood is in balance. All I hear is we’re all just not doing as good as we should. And while that is often meant on an “economic” level, it is affecting me emotionally. So we are dragging each other down by that social discourse, which I heavily reflect in my cartoon work (anything including Pat Potter)! But even though we all speak about it, in my mind the economy is not the purpose of our existence nor does it have to be the source of our well-being (OR our misery).

So, talking about emotions and moods… Are we having a sense of helplessness or are we looking positively into the future? Are we focusing on negatives or rather on positives? And do we really believe… in our hearts… that we are good enough? How do we really feel?

I am sad. Mainly because what I perceive is the symptoms of a collective depression, which also results in a growing number of people with burn-out syndrome. Oh, and I do acknowledge the economy and its feelings… but why do we all have to be depressed too? It’s not the first time the economy is feeling under the weather. I know that there are studies that have shown that depressed patients would feel better if they talk to someone who is worse off than them. But in case of the economy I just don’t think it will feel better if we just continuously moan and whine to it!

And I believe there is a better world out there! And maybe if we’d start think a bit more positive, we’d also stop hoarding material things, stop waste so much and start sharing a bit more with the ones who really need it. But that is just a hunch. In any case, we might find that the more valuable currency of the world is our emotional connection to each other… But how can we even connect when we are in a depression? …

So to close this with the famous words of Edina Monsoon “Well it may not be all great and good but it ain’t that bad, so cheer up world it may never bloody happen!!!” (read the whole quote here)

shadowtime

Try to think back of the time when you were a child and exploring the world? How did that feel?

When I think of that time, there was this overall sense of how magic the world is, how I look at everything with a sense of awe and how I didn’t buy into all of what adults tried to tell or explain to me…

And yet the more I got socialized the more I discover answers for everything, found explanations for things that appeared mystical. And gradually I lost that sense of magic, My view of the world changed. And I often find myself trying to rediscovering this mood of wonder but it isn’t that easy. Especially in daily business. Yet it is a helpful mood which powers should not be underrated, even in a realm that is seemingly devoid of magic (eg. a corporate office)!

I have recently re-discovered the work of Frank L. Baum and I am amazed how it makes me feel. There is a certain quality to his books that lets you explore new worlds like a child would. And as reader you can adopt a little bit of that wonderment. Interestingly there are animals that can speak, characters made out of metal, straw or stone, girls are transformed into boys, witches are good and everything is possible as the world is filled with wonders.

Now why does that have anything to do with our reality? With business and leadership? I feel in my heart it does have very much in common! Even though we claim to be informed intelligent beings, most of the world is a mystery. And a lot of the answers we create are just castles of sand. The current world and economy has reached a level of complexity that is difficult to comprehend, the future is uncertain and that leaves us in a bit of a pickle. A bit like some situations Dorothy (Frank L. Baums main heroine) finds herself in.

Different moods can come up when dealing with such a world of uncertainty. And whereas I can find myself anxious, I read that Dorothy adopts quite a contrary view! She steps through all of her difficulties with a sense of wonder. Now according to many sources (here are some: case-studyshifting anxiety) this is a much more helpful mood to adopt when dealing with an uncertain environment than anxiety.

Movie-Poster for 'Willow' drawn at the magical age of 11

Movie-Poster for ‘Willow’ drawn at the magical age of 11

So I find myself learning a lot from Dorothy and I try to use wonder and curiosity a lot since I moved to a different country and culture as it just helps me to be in awe of what I discover. Of course I try to understand what is new to me, but when I can’t I just accept it for what it is. Like Dorothy accepts so many wondrous things in her journeys without judgement. And I use wonder every time I step in front of a new group of participants in a workshop. Because no textbook can prepare me for the diversity and

the experiences in the room. And so wonder is the best mood to be prepared for the unexpected without fear or anxiety!

I observe that this comes natural to children, but to adults not so much. It is so ingrained in us to be able to explain everything that we forget to just accept the fact that there still is magic in our world. And by magic, I mean everything we just can’t put a black-or-white label on. Children have a much more open-minded approach to the inexplicable or unforeseeable and so my recommendation is not to go through hours of coaching, but to rediscover wonder in the same way children do. And so let’s not be embarrassed to read lovely children’s books, or watch animated movies from Hayao Miyazaki (especially Ponyo) who in my view is the pure master of transporting his viewers into a mood of wonder. Or read Season 4 of “Working Beauty” where instead of children, there are curious aliens exploring a corporate world. And maybe we can transport a little bit of that mood into our everyday lives.

“My people have been wearing green glasses on their eyes for so long that most of them think this really is an Emerald City.” Frank L. Baum

 

intuitionI have finally created a business website that I am moderately happy with (after having been unhappy with it for a while, it IS an improvement). And I realized it was almost like a self-finding experience. And it all made me think: how can we find our unique voice? And once we do, how can we express it? Or better yet, how can we find the strength to trust it…

But let me start from the beginning. I spent about a week’s work on my “professional website” (the website I wanted to advertise my services) and I put it online in January 2013. And I left it there, Like some unwanted old sweater you once got as a gift, but don’t dare to throw away. Now that’s a great pre-requisite for a business site to attract clients?!

Months later (just a couple weeks ago) I got in touch with my dear friend who herself was in the process of finding her voice and writing content for her eagerly awaited Leadership.is website (at least I was eagerly curious what it would be like… and it turned out to be as glorious as I thought… check it out!) and this conversation inspired me to re-think my own website. Why? Because I was clearly unhappy with it and I finally realized why. Instead of making it my page, I had tried to create a page of what I thought a professional “business/consultancy” page should look like. And I realized that I believed that people would only take me seriously if I make the “socially accepted” thing. I modelled it on examples I found on the web. I wrote the texts in third person, as if I am this famous person who has other people write about them and I called it “Cartoon Consulting”… and for me it all fell completely flat!

Instead of starting work on that, I decided to re-vamp my Working Beauty blog page where I publish my weekly comic about women in organizations. I realized that I had energy and I was motivated. And I was thinking a lot about what my friend said, how she was inspired by my Working Beauty blog, how that page was completely me… the consulting page not so much, she admitted. And I also realized I had far less motivation to even change my consulting site… why should I? I just HAVE to make it, like anyone else does for their business… it needs to look professional, accredited, certified and it needs to sell stuff.

It had to end here. I started asking myself what do I need to create so that I can ignite the same passion for my “business” as I have for my comic. First I took the executive decision that I would change the title into “Cartoons for Change” and already I felt a lot more motivation to start working on my professional site again. Within one day, I created a new set of logos, a website header, fresher font colours and a facebook page to go with it. And I decided to start my own reflection blog. This is my first post, as you can see.

By no means do I feel this site is ready. It’s like life, a work in progress. But I finally feel I started to speak in my unique voice here.

Now coming back to the title of the post, I think what I am really trying to get to here is that often we find ourselves in situations where we do what we believe others want from us. We behave from our own belief that this is what others will accept, or what others expect. The downside of it is, we can crush our spirit with that. We can literally stop ourselves from being ourselves! And often these processes are not even conscious.

I am not alone with this, there are many people I have met recently who are working with others to align people with their soul purpose (Aviel) or help women create purposeful businesses (Quiddity). Also my cartoons are there to help people see different perspectives and to question the status quo… and hopefully also to find themselves a little more in the process. And as you see, I am not perfect in that respect either, and as my friend says “Sometimes you need to get lost before you can find yourself” and I had to go through that process. And I will again. So it’s a constant quest and I see myself as a visual explorer of possibilities.

So there are ways to find our voice. And often we know what it says intuititively, and as soon as we hear it, we better trust it. Only then will we start to express it. All I can say at the end  is: a year ago I told someone about “Cartoons for Change” (I used the exact wording) and it is beyond me why I later overruled my intuition and decided to call my site “Cartoon Consulting”. It only shows me that I did not trust that my unique voice would be heard. … I still don’t know if it’s going to be heard, but I trust that I have to be myself to give it a chance!

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