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Creating pockets of freedom in the mind. Thursday June 19, 2014

There is a people called the Ndebele and they make up just 2 percent of the South African population. The Ndebele women are known for painting beautiful, colourful patterns on their homes. They are always creating and designing because these huge murals, owing to the fact they are made with mud, do not withstand the sun and rains.

One source says, 'These wall paintings done by the women was their secret code to their people, disguised to anyone but the Ndebele. These very simple-looking painted houses are really a complex system of tradition and creation. This painted tradition is still alive. As every generation passes it down little changes begin to exist. This is their way of communication and expression through their home. The women work long and hard to finish these walls and are noticed by the outside community because of their talent and expression.'

What was significant for me when reading this was the release these women must have felt. It allowed them great freedom of expression, even despite indenture and horrible punishments to their people following the Boer War. It must surely have given them freedom, even if that space, that roomy place, was created in their head only. They must surely have experienced (and still experience) what many of you know psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, calls the 'flow state', that tranquil place in the maze of our mind, that we can all find, if focused and concentrating on something that feeds our often hungry souls. We become so intensely absorbed that it's as if we don't even exist for a time. A blissful state to be in if your mind is as fraught as mine often is.

Watching a TED talk with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi this week, about the flow state, I realised, for the first time, that I don't necessarily have to dig out all my crafting equipment to enter the flow state. Many things can transport us there but it will, of course, be different things for different people. I now appreciate that I enter the flow state whilst I'm running as well as say, painting or crafting. I'd not quite understood that before.

When we discover what creates pockets of freedom in our head, we owe it ourselves, to our mental wellbeing, to visit those pockets, those places, as often as we can.

I think the Ndebele people teach us something else too. For me, what makes a house a home is when it's ever evolving (like the Ndebele's homes) and ever reflecting the person/s living there. Generic in the home is a doleful thing. Our homes too can shout out Self Expression and Individuality. We can make our own canvasses and wall art, even if it's simply flicking paint. En route, we'll surely find ourselves in the world of flow. Not a bad world to land in, believe me.

A Moodscope member.

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Rupert Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 8:28am

Thanks Suzy I agree. In a way I see it as of form of compartmentalising - locking away the drawers full of thoughts that create anxiety and opening those that give you nice thoughts or memories to give your mind a break from the constatnt turning over of negative thoughts. Rupert

Ali Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 9:16am

Thank you Suzy, this makes perfect sense to me. For me my pocket of freedom is when I'm out walking. I have recently discovered mindfulness and can get completely drawn in by the beautiful flowers, fragrant scent and listening to the birds singing away, buzzards calling etc. It's like nothing else matters. My walks have slowed down drastically as I used to be on a mission to get from a to b in as quick a time as I can but that's all gone now. There's so much richness all around us if we only take the time to look.

Thank you.


Quacko Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 11:33am

Suzy- it was a pleasure to wake up to your writing. I love the Ndebele people and their beautiful art. I used to teach art and would use their art as a wonderful example of non- competitive art. Here is an article for all of us about Esther Mahlangu.

Mart Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 2:50pm

Thanks Suzy for today's post. It made me think. I tend to create pockets of freedom in my mind every time I go back and look at my holiday snaps. Or any photos that bring back happy memories for that matter. It's almost like I'm there again re-living the moment. I think it's one of the reasons I love photos so much.

heather Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 3:54pm

Thank you Suzy, reading your blog has put me in a flow state (for a while).

Mary Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 5:12pm

Hmmmm. I think my home shouts "messy person lives here!" but I do get your point (just not about running though). Writing does the same for me, and crafting, and swimming. Very thought-provoking blog, thank you.

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:07pm

Hey Rupert,
Thank you. Yes, I think I may have drawers, wardrobes, chests, suitcases and ottomans full of anxiety in my head. My goodness it's nice to lock 'em up all up or shove 'em all under the bed for a while isn't it? ;o) I'm going to do just that this evening and paint a weary looking wall, in the garden, in the evening sunshine.

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:11pm

Do you know Ali, I have lived opposite a park my whole life and, until recently, taken it for granted. Studying flowers and listening to birds definitely puts me in the zone too. We really must take to time to stop and stare eh? So, so true true. Thanks Ali. x

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:14pm

I have a great urge to call you Wacko Quacko! Would that get me in terrible trouble? I read this article. It's really grand! Thanks oodles for sharing Quacko. Sharing is caring. ;O)

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:16pm

Interesting this Mart. It's like looking through a camera helps us see detail eh? There is great line about that in the film 'Sabrina', the version with Harrison Ford. Can't quite remember it off hand though!

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:20pm

Oh Heather, such a yummy comment. You can come back again! I hope the flow state returneth very soonly m'lady.

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 6:29pm

Sadly the running isn't always possible but whenever I'm well enough to, I'll run hard and fancy myself running the London Marathon next year! I can be somewhat all or nothing.
On a side note, I can't express how difficult I find it commenting 'down here'. I can pour everything into a post but then struggle to reply to folks, but feel bad if I don't because they have taken the time to comment. My appreciation to other bloggers is always done under 'anon'. Anyway's. I've just realised why today! The answer will be on a Moodscope post near you soon! ;oD
Thanks Mary. Happy Flow Zoning.

Suzy Thu, Jun 19th 2014 @ 9:44pm

I'm thinking that the watching the world cup puts me in the flow zone as well. I'm not sure how I feel about that!

Dande Lion Sun, Jun 22nd 2014 @ 12:20pm

thank you suzy so much, this is just the superfood i needed for my well being today. my life has come crashing down and the only thing that keeps the light shining in is my creativity and my cat. i'm incredibly curios about the power of creativity as a means of connecting to ones higher self and shifting my vibration by being in the now fully. i'm also curious as to why creativity is the only thing that feels safe and is a growing calling ad interest whilst it seems all aspects of my life fall away: high flying career, money, relationship, friendships, physical and mental health and even some of my spiritual beliefs. maybe i'm about to have a phoenixing out of the ashes experience! (i'm not high! - quite low actually) just curious about what all of this means, this power of creativity. i do find that bliss through mindfulness meditation too i should mention. and occasionally through a really great vegan meal! wishing you all a creative and flowing day. x

aldex Wed, Jul 23rd 2014 @ 4:29pm


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