Last weekend I went to the Wilderness Festival. As soon as I saw the artwork, I knew that I was going. A magical festival experience can leave you smiling at the memories all through the winter. You enter an alternative world filled with people determined to have fun, and be kind to each other, and creative expression all around you be it in music, art, or thought. It turns out that this artwork was designed by concept store Beyond The Valley. It is more than meets the eye, every element of the artwork has been taken out of books from the 1900s, photo-shoped, painted and put together to create this ethereal moment.
I decided to go as a volunteer for my friend’s project Mindapples. When I discovered this project it really captured me. The idea that we need to take care of our mental health is nothing new to me, growing up in a house of psychiatrists and having been through a lot of what I recently found out is called Post Traumatic Growth (Martin Seligman – Listen to his RSA Talk – Flourish), but what we don’t really talk about is the idea that even on a good day, we all have to take care of our minds. In fact everyone know matter how successful or happy they seem, has to take care of their minds, and it’s something that I think all of us struggle with at different points in our lives.
The project started by Andy Gibson, is inspired by two commonly understood ideas, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ and we need ’5-a-day (portions of fruit & veg) to keep our bodies healthy’ – So Mindapples asks us what our ’5-a-day for our minds are.’ It’s a simple question, and one that is a great deal of fun to ask. Everyone tackles it differently, some are very playful with it, and others really deep. You write your mindapples onto a mindapple card and then hang them onto the mindapples tree.
When thinking about my Mindapples, I realised that as I am not one for routine, I needed them to be conceptual, Mindapples that happen every day at some point for me but in different forms. So I went with:
* Singing a loud, very loudly
* Learning something new
* Creating something (be it a moment, solution or a piece of art)
* Speaking to somebody I love
* Taking some ‘me-time’ to reflect and daydream.
Of course I also have a list of aspirational Mindapples, these are things that feed my mind and make me feel great, but if I am being honest, I do not make happen every day…
* Ted before Bed – Watching a TED talk before I go to sleep filling my mind with some of the great ideas and thoughts out there.
* Morning Yoga – it feels so good but it’s hard to get up that bit earlier to get there!
* Write every day – something that I don’t always make time for
* Dancing and stretching – happens most days but not all
* Reading a book (with real pages and that book smell!)
* Digital Detox – spending some time offline (yes twitter that means away from you….)
* Making sure my room, flat and desktop is neatly organised with everything in its place (actually not sure if all three of these have ever happened at the same time)
* Make sure I Eat Breakfast to start my day
It’s difficult to do all the things that you know are good for you at the same time, even though you enjoy doing them. I think I am going to take up my aspirational Mindapples on rotation, make sure that I do one of these a day as well as my original 5.
Some of my favourites from the festival tree were:
* Count my blessings
* Use my creativity and mind to feel awake
* Write a letter to yourself to open on the same day the following year
* Laugh for the reason of laughing
* Look at pictures of Whales
* Pay somebody a compliment
What are your Mindapples? – you can share then online.
Of course great projects bring together great people, and I had a brilliant time with all of the Mindapples Crew. Here are a couple of links to some of the creative work of the other volunteers that I discovered:
+ Fern’s Rap which she wrote after being made redundant from Wieden + Kennedy
+ Sharliza Jelita whose album is coming out next year. My new fave song is one of her’s that you will have to wait to hear, contains the lyrics “I want more sun, I want more sunshine in my life. Let’s go far away, and do something strange, and live whilst we are young, adventures are fun”
+ Christina’s Little White Sass no more words needed.