Monthly Archives: January 2012

“Good” and “Sweet”

There is an important distinction between what is “good” and “sweet.”

Good: “Good” actions are those that lead to enlightenment, improvement, positivity, growth, and love. More often than not, “good” actions are not “fun” things. We may need to have an unpleasant conversation with a friend about her addiction, arrive late to an important meeting because a stranger ran out of gas on the freeway, or pick up our dog’s poop to keep the neighborhood beautiful.

Sweet:¬† “Sweet” actions are those that are pleasurable: they make us feel excitement, short-term happiness, or arousal.

Understanding the difference between these two concepts is critical to personal growth and genuine happiness. When we cannot tell the difference between these two concepts, we misdirect our energy and waste tremendous amounts of time.

Deep down, we know when we are using “sweet” things (shopping, sex, drugs, alcohol) to fill holes in our other aspects of our lives, but giving “sweet” things up is difficult, so we close the door to our thoughts and continue on a pattern of destructive, anxiety-provoking behavior.

We may overindulge in food, becoming compulsive eaters who are addicted to the dopamine-rush of a fatty meal. We may zone out for hours every night in front of the television, without leaving time for friends, family, or self-improvement. We may spend prodigally to repress something that is bothering us: “Ugh, I should really nurture my relationship with my husband/read that fascinating article I’ve been putting off/clean my home, but I’m going to buy this instead.”

We can use food, television, and shopping like emotion-numbing drugs or we can use them to bring people together and nourish ourselves. If there is a hole in your life created by emotional or physical trauma, the only thing that can fill the hole is hard work on yourself (individually or with a loving professional). Using people or things to procrastinate putting in work on ourselves may be “sweet” in the short-term, but it is not “good.”

There are, however, many things in life that are both good AND sweet: savoring a delicious fruit (taking joy in the taste and nourishing your body), smiling with a young child, engaging in random acts of kindness, having sex with a loving partner, petting a dog (I’m sure the dog would also find this “sweet,” even though he may have no concept of “good”).

When we fill our lives with things that are both good AND sweet, we maximize our capacity for joy and pleasure.

Ask yourself: What am I doing in my life today that is only “sweet” and not “good?” How can I find more joy my “good” actions? Am I too concentrated on aspects of my life that are “sweet” or am I moralizing excessively and obsessing only over what is “good?” If I cannot identify what I can improve about myself, how can I gain insight into who I want to be?

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Top Colorful Art Links of the Week

Since I’m living in Morehead, Kentucky for the next four months, the majority of my artistic explorations have to take place online. The internet is such a lovely tool for preliminary exploration and vicarious living.

Since we are quickly approaching January 24th, the worst day of the year, and cases of Seasonal Affective Disorder (and general grouchiness) are reaching their yearly peak, this week’s post is about color and joy! Let’s get to it!

Image: Getty

On Tuesday, Phillips de Pury and Company opened a new exhibit (curated by Herv√© Mikaeloff), Fly to Baku, in their London art gallery. Twenty-one contemporary artists collaborated on the project to produce light-and-plexiglass ‘paintings’ of Azerbaijan. The installation is striking and joyful, and a stunning exemplar of collaboration. You can read more about the exhibition here and view highlights here.

Image: Matthew Brodie

Madame Magazine featured the work of Matthew Brodie in a 2011 edition. Brodie creates fashion out of paper and other media that are not conducive to draping or shaping on a human body. View more images of Brodie’s work here.

Image: Alyse Nicole Dunn

Contemporary pop artist Alyse Nicole Dunn works in the medium of paint to explore alternative views of race and skin color. The resulting works are bold, distinctive, and original. View more of Dunn’s work here.

Image: Mark Mawson

Digital Photographer Mark Mawson is inspired by the “vibrant colors that brighten up everyday life.” He captures vibrant, fluid images of natural phenomenon: water, smoke. View Mawson’s work on his personal website here.

Image: Yayoi Kusama

Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama created “The Obliteration Room” by installing an entirely white domestic living space and inviting young visitors to ‘obliterate’ the room with thousands of colorful stickers. I love the simplicity and whimsy of this project! View images of the installation here.

Viewing art, looking at bright colors, and enjoying the creativity of others are all steps that can help combat depression and SAD. If you suffer from SAD or need a pick-me-up on the worst day of the year, you can read about holistic treatment options here.

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How Americans View North America (Game of Thrones Edition)

The first big snow-storm of the season is hitting the Midwest!

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