30 Day Colouring Challenge — Day 3

I joined Tumblr and Instagram recently and I have been discovering all sort of interesting people and accounts. One of them was The Daily Marker. It is run by a crafter/artist named Kathy. She is hosting a 30 Day Colouring Challenge. She is encouraging you to colour for just 5 or 10 minutes a day. I think its a really great idea because colouring reduces stress. I’ve decided to give the challenge a try. We are on Day 3 already.

30daycolouringchallenge

For this challenge, I decided to dig out some old colouring books. I can’t do an entire art journal page in 5 to 10 minutes a day, so I needed something simpler. So far, I have ended up colouring for longer, but I worry less about time when I am not comitting myself to a whole art journal spread.

The challenge is a great idea. Now, pardon the silliness of my entry. 😀

I have this strange little colouring book from Claire Fountaine. It is meant for kids, but whatever, I like it. There are two figures on each page and you have to design their look and colour them in. Super girly, but fun. Here is the book and what a blank page looks like.

2015-03-04 12.13.222015-03-04 12.13.16

This is my entry for today, Day 3, done with good old fashioned pencil crayon. Yay Steampunk!

2015-03-04 12.11.14

It All Starts With You — 1000 Voices for Compassion (#1000Speak)

speak for compassion

Compassion is the strong sympathy and sorrow felt for another’s suffering accompanied by the motivation to ease that suffering. It is not the same as empathy or altruism, but they are all related. Empathy is the ability to take the perspective and feel the emotions of someone else’s situation. Altruism is the selfless behaviour to help someone else. It is often prompted by compassion.

Compassion is a virtue that we, as a society, don’t seem to practice enough. Why is that? Maybe, it’s because we just don’t have it in us anymore. Life is competitive, everyone wants what everyone else seems to have. People are working longer hours to get ahead, or just to make ends meet. That has to be juggled with family, friends and health. Today, the first response to pain or suffering usually involves looking for someone/something to blame or shielding ourselves by passing judgement. Shame and blame is a quick, easy way to combat suffering even though compassion and understanding are more effective. I’m not intending to make excuses for us here, there should be no excuses for lack of compassion. I don’t think we, as a society, meant to be less compassionate, just that we have adopted other priorities and this is the result. It’s time to be held accountable.

An article in Scientific American in 2012 discussed how wealth influences compassion. Several studies were conducted examining how social class (wealth, job prestige and education) influence how much we care about each other. One study found that drivers of luxury vehicles were more likely to cut in front of other drivers or speed past pedestrians than other vehicles. Another study showed that those with lower incomes and less education were more likely to report feelings of compassion in response to watching a video about children suffering from cancer. The same people had lower heart rates while watching the video compared to their wealthy, more educated counterparts. A lower heart rate is indicative of paying greater attention to the feelings and motivations of others. Previous studies have also shown that the upper class are worse at recognizing emotions and less likely to pay attention to the people they are interacting with.

Why is this? Wouldn’t it make more sense that having fewer resources, you would be more selfish? Apparently not. There may be some truth to the rich, educated and snobby stereotype after all (keeping in mind, that according to my education and where I live, I fit into this stereotype too). Researchers believe that with wealth and abundance comes more freedom and more independence from each other. Could it be that if we are less reliant on each other, the less we can relate to one another and the less we care about each others’ feelings?

Pema Chödrön said something in The Places That Scare You that I really liked; “…compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It is a relationship between equals…compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” We are all connected and will remain connected because we are all human. We all struggle, we all make mistakes. That should not be forgotten because of a difference in social status or ignored because we don’t agree with something. Behind every situation there are people trying to make the world better for themselves or the people they love. Surely that is something we can all relate to.

Scientists believe compassion is vital to our survival as a species. This notion dates back to Charles Darwin and The Descent of Man. He believed sympathy was our strongest instinct and that it would spread through natural selection. “…the most sympathetic members would flourish best and rear the greatest number of offspring.” Considering what awful things we do to each other, it seems ludicrous that sympathy would be one of our strongest instincts, but the fact that we continue to survive as a species proves that it is true. Human babies are the most dependent and vulnerable offspring on Earth. Babies can’t sit up or feed themselves. They can’t even hold their own heads up at first. This vulnerability has led to the evolution of social structures and has essentially re-wired our nervous systems to make us a care-giving species.

Compassion is not written into our genetic code, but humans are wired to be compassionate right down to the neurochemical level. Imaging studies have shown that the area of the brain that lights up when you feel pain is the same area that is activated in response to seeing suffering. This area, the periaqueductal gray, is also associated with nurturing behaviour. Suffering is seen as a threat and the reaction to a threat is to self-protect, but biology has shown that at the same time, we also instinctively want to relieve suffering via nurturing. It could be our competitive lifestyle leaving us exhausted or a lack of connection created by wealth and power or something else entirely, but somehow, society has evolved to ignore that basic nurturing instinct. Compassion is not something we are born with or not, it is a practice. One that can be taught and learned if we would only make it a priority.

How can we build a more compassionate society? It all starts with you. A society is built of individuals and it is the actions of those individuals that determine the characteristics of the society. Let yourself off the hook once and a while. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to have it all. Compassion spreads quickly. Positive emotions are just as contagious as the negative ones. In fact, they spread more rapidly and collectively. When you are kinder to yourself you create a wealth of compassion that you can extend to others. One person cannot change the world, but if each individual allowed compassion to be a primary motive instead of being the best and having the best, the world would be a more peaceful place.

(To learn more about 1000 Voice for Compassion and how the project got started, visit the official blog here.)

1000voices

Questions, Questions, Questions!

As you’ve probably noticed, I’m a sucker for blog challenges and….I have found a new one! I found this one through the same bloggers who always have fun features, namely Not A Punk Rocker and Part-Time Monster (Thanks ladies!!) It’s put on by Suzie81 Speaks who asks you to answer seven questions. Apparently Suzie did this last December, before my blogging time, and it was a big hit in the WordPress community. The idea is to meet new bloggers and get to know each other better. Sounds like fun to me. If you want to join in, visit Suzie81 to see the rules.

And now, the questions…..

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

I wanted to remain anonymous (most real life people don’t know I have depression), so I needed an alias, but I also wanted it to tell you a bit about myself at the same time. I made a list of possible names and then tried to find one that wasn’t taken on all the social media stuff. I have since thrown out the list of possibilities…the only one I can remember is Disenchanted Doctorate. I went with Somber Scribbler because it tells you what I blog about, living with depression and my doodles. I decided not to include the doctorate stuff because I wanted to connect with a variety of people, not just other students.

somberscribbler lettering

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

I am a new blogger, so I’m the one that needs advice! lol. I would say interact. Blog often and reply to comments. Also, have an “About” page…somewhere where I can go to learn who you are and what you are about so I can decide if I want to follow you or not. Twitter helps too.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

Strange doesn’t really happen to me…stupid, yes, all the time, but not strange so much. The strangest thing that’s happened might be my mother picking out my husband nearly a decade before we got married. If you want to hear that story, check out this post.

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

Hubby randomly saying he loves me or calling me his “pretty cupcake” are right up there!

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

This one is hard. Maybe I’d like to go back to Europe in the Victorian Era. I’m into Steampunk, so I’d love to steal some of the fashions from back then 🙂

Get in Gear

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

I like my name just fine, but if I had to pick a new one, it would be something short and easy to spell and pronounce. It was so annoying to have all the kids snicker as the supply teachers butchered my name. My name has also been spelled wrong in my yearbooks, on art show pamphlets and on contracts. Grrr!! I’d go with Ava. I think it’s pretty and it is unique (among my age group at least).

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

I have no idea…..um…..Somber Scribbler? How original.

 

What would your answers be?

Catch up: Self-esteem Challenge

Surprise surprise! I completely goofed. I was on vacation for a week in NYC. I knew I wouldn’t have internet access. The friend we were staying with doesn’t have wi-fi. So, I wrote out my last self-esteem challenge posts ahead of time and set them to post on the right days. This was the first time I set posts to publish instead of immediately publishing myself. I set the date and time on each post, making sure to save changes….but I didn’t realize you had to hit publish too. Woops! So nothing published while I was away…doh! Since I’m a little tired of the self-esteem challenge, I published them all at once. You can find the entries here if you missed them:

Day 26

Day 27

Day 28

Day 29

Day 30

I’m not sure how I feel about the self-esteem challenge. I don’t think my self-esteem has improved, but it made me think about the good things about myself, which I appreciate and it did make me feel good at the time. Maybe I need to make a list of good things about myself (with no excuses) to refer to every once and a while to lift my spirits a bit. In the end, it was a good exercise and a good reminder that I’m not all bad.

NYC was fun. Maybe I’ll post more about it later. It was busy and awkward. We couldn’t have packed more in if we tried! It was go go go! By awkward, I mean four people crammed into a tiny apartment with a toilet that kept plugging for a week. For a depressed, anxious introvert, space and privacy are necessities! I survived though and have some fun memories!

I hope you all had a good week. I’m now off to catch up on your posts and tweets 🙂

Self-esteem Challenge: Day 30

This blog challenge was developed by betterthandarkchocolate.tumblr.com. If you missed the introduction or want to see a summary of all the questions, go here.

LAST DAY!!

Day 30:
Are you happy with yourself?
Rate your self esteem on a scale of 1-10? Has your self esteem improved?

I am not happy with myself. Way to state the obvious huh? There are a lot of things I need to work on but, things could always be worse. So I am thankful that they aren’t.

My self-esteem is really messed up. I don’t know how to rate it. I’m a bit of a contradiction, maybe that’s why I am so stressed all the time. I don’t think too highly of myself and I give others more respect than I give myself, but I set big goals and expect more from myself than I do from other people. Don’t you need to have good self-esteem to set goals and expect success from yourself? How do you rate that? If 5 were average, then I would be below average, but not 1 because I set goals and expect success…so 3 maybe?

30 days!! I did it!! 🙂

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