My Ballet with Creativity and Food | Breaking the Block: Part I

By |2018-07-04T10:33:33+00:00Jun 18th, 2018|

Mind and Matter

The source of this series, Breaking the Block, stems from an internal analysis that I’ve recently done while thinking about the months-long creative funk that I’ve been experiencing. In all of my creative life as a working photographer, I can’t recall suffering from as strong of a block as this one. For a while, I embraced it and used it as a crutch… an excuse to not create. Then days turned into weeks and then months. It’s actually frightening when I think about how much time has gone by so easily and quickly. Shockingly, it has only been very recently that I decided to do something about it. Or, if not actually do something, then at least analyze what my current situation is and determine what is causing this creative block. It was through this internal audit that I came up with several themes that I’d like to share with you over the course of this series. At first, I considered recording videos to share these messages but the truth is that I think more clearly when I’m writing and clarity is what I need most right now in order to do justice with sharing these thoughts.

While writing the posts for this series is about helping myself, it is also my strong hope that it can serve to help others, too. I hope you find some use from these posts and would love to hear from you either in the comments section below or you can email me directly at brian@matiash.com. No one should feel alone while engaging in—or struggling with—creative pursuits.

Food for Thought

One of the first comparisons I made to my struggles with creative growth was with my struggle with food. Well, not with food per se, but with body weight and the effects that food has had on that. If I were to plot my weight against my creative energy, I suspect that I’d see a very clear correlation. In other words, I firmly believe that when my creative engine is firing on all cylinders, my physical energy is in tune, which translates into not only exercising consistently but also being disciplined with my eating habits. Conversely, when my creative tank is empty, my tendency is to abandon everything else that is good for me, including exercise and eating well. For example, from 2015 through the middle of 2017, things were great. Nothing is ever perfect, but there was a rhythm that allowed me to grow creatively. It also fueled me to exercise consistently and eat well. As a result, I was in excellent physical condition (losing over 50 lbs), I felt great, and I even treated myself to a new wardrobe of clothing that fit my improved physique.

Then things began to change towards the beginning on 2018. I plan on exploring what those reasons are in other posts within this series, but the results have been profound. And, again, my relationship between creativity and fitness presented itself conversely. I’ve put on about 40 lbs and had to literally shelf my “Healthy Brian” wardrobe, reverting to more loose-fitting attire.

It’s worth pointing out that I don’t typically work in such extremes. I understand that everyone has their ups and downs. My issue is that this down has lasted longer than any other I can remember and it has taken its toll. Fortunately, I feel—and hope—that something is changing and now is the time to identify and execute on a course of action to return to a better place.

It’s Not a Matter of Right or Wrong

It’s not like all of this happened overnight. It has been a slow burn getting to this low point but the pattern has been very clear, and that’s a good thing because if you can see a pattern, you can devise measures to break it. The first thing that I need to realize is that this isn’t a matter of right or wrong. A big reason for thinking this way is because people tend to lay blame on things that are wrong and, in this situation, blame is a useless mechanism. It’s the emotional equivalent of empty calories. Rather, I need to realize that this is how things are now and that is how I want things to be. It’s not about making excuses for how I let myself get to this point. Right now, it needs to be more about me forgiving myself rather than blaming myself. Most importantly, I need to remember and believe that I can make things better for myself. Admittedly, all of this can effortlessly slip into the “easier said than done” camp, which is why “how you approach the road” is so important.

For the past few months, I’ve all but withdrawn myself from creating or sharing new content. On the creativity side, I haven’t taken many new photos, nor have I edited or shared any. I stopped recording new videos and have been on a hiatus with my podcast. On the nutrition side, I have given myself license to abandon exercise while eating whatever crap food I want. It’s a classic coping mechanism. No surprises, right? The first step is that I’ve identified these destructive patterns. The next step is embracing—not admitting—that I need to fix myself. The key is to fix me with care and inner-empathy. Rather than focus on how far I’ve let myself fall, I need to focus on the journey in front of me. Just because I’m working to reach a finish like that I’d already crossed doesn’t make the effort—or the reward—any less meaningful. It also doesn’t mean that I have to set unrealistic expectations. It’s all about incremental growth. Start with small daily wins and then move the needle a bit further, making the challenges a little more of a stretch to attain.

What Does That Even Look Like?

The detail and degree of incremental growth vary from person to person. As someone who has a history of backsliding into negative patterns relatively easily, it’s important that I set attainable and incremental goals. One of the sources of inspiration for this came from my good friend, David Imel, when he recommended I browse the NonZeroDay subreddit. I’m going to share more about my sources of help and inspiration in another entry but I thought it’d be helpful to include this here. For me, attainable and incremental growth looks something like:

  • Start with sharing a new photo on social media for one day while eating sensibly for that same day. Simple. Straightforward. Attainable.
  • Next, move onto creating a new long-form blog post once per week while extending sensible eating habits to three times that same week and introduce one 45-minute cycling session on the Peloton bike. Notable growth while still being attainable.
  • Where I go from there will be determined by how successful I am with reaching my previous goals.

And, yes, it’s certainly ok if there’s a slip. You don’t need anyone’s approval, forgiveness or validation except for your own. I believe that this time if I treat myself with understanding and kindness instead of with guilt and blame, I will see better and more lasting results.

What’s even more exciting is that you’re a part of the journey, too. It took me a long time to get to the point where I was comfortable with sharing this with you. When you’re barraged with manicured and polished content portraying seemingly perfect lives from every possible angle online, it can be a bitter pill to swallow when you compare yourself to it. Toxic thoughts begin creeping into your subconscious as you use the sugar-coated success of others as the yardstick for how you measure up and when that happens, it can very easily lead you down a dark, downward spiral.

But, we’re past that now! Now, it’s all about bettering ourselves by living healthier and more creative lives on our own terms. It’s not meant to be easy or quick… nothing worthwhile in life ever is. But, it can be inclusive and supportive. Again, my goal of sharing this new series is partly to hold myself accountable by shining a bright light on things, as well as to offer up a place for others who may be feeling similarly in your creative lives. I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or email me at brian@matiash.com. We’re going to do this thing together.

54 Comments

  1. Linda Tennant June 18, 2018 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m in a similar place — so I will be following your journey with interest. Likening shame to empty calories –brilliant.

    • Brian Matiash June 18, 2018 at 3:35 pm - Reply

      My pleasure, Linda. Thank you for reading it! I’ve got a number of topics already laid out for this series and my goal is to be as transparent, personal, and helpful as possible by sharing my experiences. I can’t be the only one going through this and if I can help even one other person, I’ll consider it a win.

  2. Sandy Young June 18, 2018 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    I’m looking forward to following your journey! You were talking right to me, I’m sure of it!!

    • Brian Matiash June 19, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

      My favorite articles are the ones where it feels like the author was writing it specifically for me. Knowing that it is the case here makes me even more excited to grow this series. I hop it helps you on your journey!

  3. Stephen Stevenson June 18, 2018 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, As a longtime follower of your creative journey you hit a nerve for me. I too suffer from bouts of allowing negative patterns to take my other self hostage. By sharing with others you have taken a big step towards moving back into the light, so to speak. Apart from having a negative block that reads havoc on your creative self you also need to be aware that negative feelings about yourself can also affect those dearest to you. I too will be following your journey with interest. This community that you have nurtured will only get stronger by sharing in your trials and tribulations (read honesty). Congrats on taking a major step forward. The biggest takeaway from this post is that the shame you mentioned is only imagined and that those who love you, care for you and follow you are true friends who only care for you as a person and the best ones to fall back on for support in your journey towards the Brian you want to be.

    • Brian Matiash June 22, 2018 at 12:46 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Stephen. I agree with you on all counts, especially the part about “negative feelings about yourself can also affect those dearest to you.” Nicole has been a rock through all of this but no one should have to be on the receiving end of such negative feelings indefinitely, which is motivation enough to fix things. I hope to keep growing out this series, partly to help myself but also to help others. Reading comments like yours is an amazing motivator. Thank you, again.

  4. Dave Reasons Sr June 18, 2018 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Brian, I feel your pain. I go just about every morning for a long walk. Most days I’ll average 8 to 11 miles. It clears my head, get me wanting to do other things and keeps my mind sharp. At 72, I need all the help I can get to keep the juices flowing. I had let my set eat everything in sight and just keep buying bigger clothes. However, two years ago, I told myself that’s it, 350 lbs was just to dang much fat to tote around and I started walking. Now I weigh 200 lbs. and no longer take any prescription medicine. So, if an old dude like me can do a turn around, then I’ve got faith in you abilities. Your fans have missed your podcast and articles and look forward to your creative return.

    • Brian Matiash June 22, 2018 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      You are fantastic, Dave! First off, congratulations on shedding 150 lbs of fat!!! That is amazing! I completely agree with the psychological benefits of simple walks. Nicole and I take our two dogs for walks everyday (unless the weather is extremely hot or cold) and I always feel myself refreshed. Sometimes, we overanalyze things on our walk but other times, we simply enjoy the quiet. I’m hopeful that with our move back to Portland next month, I’ll regain all of that creative energy that I’ve since lost. Things have picked up a bit this week. I’ve still had off-days recently but I’m working on not letting them hog my attention.

      And thank you so much for being a fan of the podcast. Sharky is going through some serious stuff, too, and it’s hard to do that show without my co-host. I’m hoping to resume recording very soon, though.

  5. brook Ward June 18, 2018 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    Brian: for me a change of locations and interacting with other new (to me) creatives helps. With that said, you’re welcome to visit Pittsburgh. I could introduce you to some great photographers and we can some great photos.

    • Brian Matiash June 22, 2018 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      I completely agree with having a change of location, Brook. That’s why I’m so excited to be moving back to Portland next month. Nebraska is fine but I didn’t anticipate how much of a drain it would be to my creativity. And thanks for the invite to Pittsburgh. I’ll definitely reach out the next time I find myself headed your way!

  6. Ken Schoening June 19, 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

    I just wanted to add my “Thanks for sharing” to all the others. You’re an inspiration in more ways than just your photographic talent. I look forward to the rest of this series. May God bless your efforts!

    • Brian Matiash June 22, 2018 at 12:57 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much, Ken. It means the world to me that this post is finding an audience. It’s so much easier to work on this stuff when you’re surrounded by great people. I appreciate you being here, Ken.

  7. Jim Denham June 19, 2018 at 10:17 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Brian. Sometimes, sharing your issues, the real ones, are difficult. I too have had to make lifestyle changes to turn some things around and it’s very embarrassing to admit where I’ve been, but exciting to see where it’s going. Hopefully, this process helps you hold yourself accountable and motivates for positive change! I’m cheering for ya!

    • Brian Matiash June 22, 2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      You’ve been along for my ride for years, Jim, and I always appreciate hearing from you. And, yeah, this was one of the most challenging posts to write because no one wants to lay out the bad bits. It’s easy to pretend that everything is well. That’s how platforms like Instagram have flourished. Just share the manicured side of life and everyone automatically assumes that’s how things are. I’m at a place where I need more authenticity and feel compelled to share the good and the bad. Again, thanks for being a part of the journey for all of these years, Jim.

  8. Ted Jerome June 19, 2018 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Hey Brian–after missing your No Name podcast for quite some time, I finally got around to investigating and found this entry. I’m sorry you’ve encountered this, but it sounds like you have a plan to work your way out of it. The very best of luck to you! I’m eager to hear your voice again.

    • Brian Matiash June 23, 2018 at 5:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much, Ted! I’m hoping to get the podcast back up and running soon. A part of that has to do with when Sharky will be ready to go. I really appreciate the kind words. I feel like good things are happening.

  9. Phil Barcroft June 25, 2018 at 10:26 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing Brian, I commend your bravery in doing so. It struck so many chords with my own struggles in my photography and person life. I hope I can draw enough inspiration from your blog to make my own changes..

  10. Dan Hawk June 25, 2018 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Brian, so glad you shared this. I think there is profound power in sharing our struggles, and inviting others to know us- even when it’s not the curated version of success we usually present. I’ve had similar success with sharing my health/weight-loss struggles and the accountability is really useful.

    And, I’ll help you spend more time out hiking when you get back to Portland!

  11. Karen Ing June 25, 2018 at 10:38 am - Reply

    Change happens good and bad. You have laid out the beginning of a new path – you will find success. I have RA and am a cancer survivor so I know all about excuses not to do something. I am working on the what I can do every day. A slow journey but a rewarding one. Keep writing!

  12. David James June 25, 2018 at 10:43 am - Reply

    Brian – Thank you for sharing your story. I think you are right on with your observation regarding the relationship between creative activity and eating habits (or drinking, smoking, etc.). As a creative person, I think we feed off of our creative work more than the average person. Our level of creative productivity definitely has a profound effect on energy levels. For those of us who do this for a living, not being productive can be particularly rough. I don’t get up and go to a job every day, so If I’m not shooting I feel anxiety and guilt about not doing my job. That combination of low energy, anxiety, and guilt exacerbates whatever underlying issues we may have (food, alcohol, whatever). I think sharing your story though this blog, your podcasts, etc., will go a long way towards getting you out of your funk and help others in the same situation. Best of luck to you.

  13. Janice Brunelle June 25, 2018 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Brian,
    I am a hobbyist photographer who enjoys your images. I hear you about the nutrition and the lack of creative energy. A really good, short program that guides me each year is the Whole Life Challenge, it’s more than just nutrition. Even though I don’t do all the restrictions throughout the year, it’s definitely “food for thought” about what we we eat. I also liked the stretching and daily exercises it’s so good to have that extra energy.
    https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/

  14. Norma June 25, 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

    You probably have no idea how many people can relate to your situation and feelings. You aren’t alone! Thanks.

  15. Michael Rothenberg June 25, 2018 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Brian, thank you! It’s always inspiring when someone takes the risk to be vulnerable and human. My appreciation for your expertise is no less, and my respect for you as a rigorous and honest self-observer only grows. Let the guilt go and bask in your imperfection! Change comes in small steps.

  16. Joni Solis June 25, 2018 at 11:30 am - Reply

    I have suffered from bots of depression ever since I was a young child and still do from time to time. But I have noticed that since I moved to a whole food plant based diet that these bots of depression are much less and don’t last long. Then I read an article that said that a whole food plant based diet can have positive effects on your mind/thoughts and not just your body weight and health. Wishing you more positive thoughts moment by moment.

  17. Rebecca Waters June 25, 2018 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your journey so far! Even though I am pretty new to photography (since 2010), I have made this my passion for the years to come. I retired two years ago but at age 68 (69 this year) I still feel I have many years to perfect my beloved craft. However, not withstanding the physical ailments that come with aging, I too get into creative slumps. The first year of retirement I challenged myself to taking 365 days of random photos. I posted weekly on Facebook and got lots of inspiring comments from my FB community. It was a challenge that was mostly invigorating but at times a dreaded task. When I was down physically or mentally, I found the challenge too demanding. Your piece above has substantiated what I felt all through the challenge, on good days creativity was maximized and on bad days creativity was at its lowest. Knowing this now, I realize like you, that I must stay in the fittest condition, mentally and physically so that my photography can continue to improve. Good nutritious meals, limited alcohol consumption, and weekly extended hikes in the local state park are the keys for me. Thank you again for the inspiring piece. I will continue to follow your journey

  18. Roger Mullenhour June 25, 2018 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Brian it takes a lot of courage to put your personal life out there for all to read. I think it demonstrates you have turned the corner towards the improvement and regaining the inspiration you are looking for. Sharing one’s experiences, good or bad, is a great step to making changes and helping others who will be reading this blog. There are a lot of us that get into the same boat you have been in. Onward and upwards. I will be reading your journey.

  19. Kathy June 25, 2018 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Brian. It’s too bad the move to Nebraska didn’t work out. I too was wondering what happened to the podcast – I so looked forward to Tuesdays so I could listen on my daily walk. I hope the issues Sharky is experiencing will sort themselves out and you are able to get back to producing the podcast for the love of doing it, not because of pressure to get it done.

    Good luck with the move and I look forward to following your journey.

    PS: Hi to Nicole :)

  20. Pete Mackie June 25, 2018 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Is your desire to be more creative to: 1) generate revenue (a.k.a. make a living), 2) the pleasure of your results, or 3) both? If “both” is your desire weighting equal or not. Knowing this would better assist me how to best ultimately respond to you.

  21. James Richards June 25, 2018 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    I understand and know how hard it is to get started and keep going. I love sweets so it is hard to stop your self and the weight gain, ya. Think it is hard now wait a few years and try again. I use to be able to knock of pounds like sweat. Because that is what I did. Sports and racket ball was great. Issue now is I can’t or I am afraid to. Back surgery’s and a 30 day stay which saved my life changed that. When to Africa and lost 10 pounds and enjoyed it. Now to keep it off. Biking helps, no on a moving bike about 20 miles a day. Again hard to start but also hard to stop moving. Watching my wife lose 30 pounds was great however someone had to eat her share of the food, bad move. Look at it this way; Your young, healthy and not in pain 24×7. You can do it as you have before and all will come back and even better. I know I’ve done it. Now I am working on doing it again. Don’t wait until you in your 70’s to do it because by then you’ll be on pain drugs, bad joints and half a heart like me but you can still do it. It just takes more will power!

  22. Mike Weimer June 25, 2018 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    Brian,

    I have been in a funk like you describe for a couple of years. It started with a huge disagreement with my local camera club way back in the fall of 2016. I haven’t picked up my camera to take a photo since that incident. And I find myself in the same circumstances as you regarding exercise. It’s been really hit and miss. I recently moved to Grants Pass, OR and have investigated the local camera club here – only once. I suspect I need some “competition” and regular opportunities to get me moving. At any rate, I intend to read your series religiously and think seriously about what you are expressing. Hopefully, it will provide some pointers to assist me in getting back into an experience I love(d). Thanks for writing this.

  23. Deborah A Braun June 25, 2018 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, your journey and timely post was a very interesting read. I have been having the same problem over the past month. I have been on a weight loss plan for a year and a half. I have lost 60 lbs., but for some reason I have plateaued for the last several months. I am feeling that has caused a “plateau” in my creativity. I look forward to your future posts!

  24. Ulrich Tutsch June 25, 2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Back to the glory land – YES!!!! I lived in NE for 2 years and felt like a fish out of water. We lived in the Sand Hills region where it was HOT in the summer, but not muggy as in Lincoln. After arriving in the middle of NE, I checked the map to see whether thee was anything of interest. My eyes were drawn to Halsey NF. So I packed the family in the VW bus and drove there expecting to see stately trees as in the Pacific NW. What a let down!!!! The NF was planted! maybe 20 – 30 years ago (at that time), so the trees were thin and maybe 20 – 30 feet tall. But I tried to find some beauty in that area, and I found it. The cottonwood trees in the fall, the windswept hills with deep snowdrifts in the winter, the HUGE thunderheads etc. I also found out the hard way that food and creativity are closely connected. When I cut my sugar intake to a bare minimum, my brain cleared as if coming out of a fog, and creativity slowly came back. Another thing that helps me nowadays to avert a deep dive into the funk is to take pictures of something completely different. My escape is food photography, where I create my own dishes and take images of it. So eating (a healthy meal!) and photography go hand in hand. Then I go out and find something that tickles my fancy, and I’m back in the groove. Anyway, welcome back to the glorious Pacific North West.

  25. Karen Brockney June 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Brian, you are not alone. I’ve been following you since you moved from Massachusetts to Portland years ago. I have had many seasons of feeling uncreative and uninspired, too – and it usually translates for me into eating more and exercising less. My creative life feels stuck so I become rooted in place. However, when I am on fire creatively, it’s as if I’ve acquired legs – I forget about eating so much and want to be in motion, too. I haven’t yet identified what triggers the dry periods so I’m looking forward to your explorations and sharings. I admire your willingness to be so open with use about your creative life. Good luck on your move back to Portland – that city always seems like your spiritual and creative home.

  26. Kim Braley June 25, 2018 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    We’re all human and capable of falling down – what is really great is that you’re willing to share it as part of the process of getting back up. It’s uplifting for everyone who takes the time to read your story. The facade of perfection that we sometimes put on just makes healing more difficult. I look forward to reading your future blog posts and I’m glad you’re on the path back to personal and creative improvement!

  27. jbthomas June 25, 2018 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I have been following your posts for a few years now and appreciate your honest input. We all need to re-invent ourselves every now and again and admire your willingness to take it on. I will follow you on your journey and will probably be inspired along the way. Thanks for sharing.

  28. DCraig June 25, 2018 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Hey Brian, here’s to finding balance and continuing on the creative path, wherever it leads. I have missed your posts but I’d rather you be happy and motivated to create for yourself, first and foremost, maybe only; then for Nicole; and then sometime, for the followers that will be here. It has been a strange time for many, myself included. Seems setback and creative depression (and worse, sadly) surround us. It’ll take hard focus and our good community of friends and followers — see above, the supportive comments immediately uplifted me), so I’m glad you’re sharing. We got this, keep going…

  29. monsetta June 25, 2018 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Glad to have you back. I’ve been in a non-creative mood in the past 2 years since my husband passed away. I’ve decided a few days ago that it was time for me to move on to Linda 4.0 (1.0 being before I met my husband, 2.0 being with him, 3.0 being alone again), and your email just came in linking to this post… Looks like we’re going to get creative again! I’m ready to be one of your party for this journey.

  30. Chris Hunt June 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Hi Brian, I have missed you! So sorry to hear things have been tough for you. I just want to give you a big hug and say it’ll be alright. Focus on what you can achieve and not what you can’t achieve. You will do it.
    You are my favourite You Tuber and I really miss your posts, especially the Redux series. I Love your podcast too and I would love to have that back. You make me laugh and help me enjoy my photography. I am only a beginner and I have found that I like your style and I don’t give two hoots what you look like or how much you weigh. You are great. and I really mean that.

  31. Danelle Jones June 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm - Reply

    You are not alone…

  32. Tim Tamlyn June 25, 2018 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Welcome back, Brian!

  33. Diana Powe June 25, 2018 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    As you note yourself, your writing this is a big step, Brian. A practical suggestion I’d make is to read an old book by a woman named Barbara Sher. It’s titled “Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want” and is different from so many self-help books as she completely discounts the idea of positive thinking. In fact, one of the chapter titles is “Hard Times, or the Power of Negative Thinking” which can be read here at her website: http://wishcraft.com/wishcraft_ch5.pdf

  34. Bill Guy June 25, 2018 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your openness and your honesty. Although I’m not in one of those dark places now, I have been there. And I’ve lived long enough to know that I will be again. We need community. Your vulnerability makes that possible. I look forward to following your journey.

  35. Charles Black June 26, 2018 at 12:41 am - Reply

    Thank you Brian for sharing your personal feelings. I am sure that many of us can empathise with you over this and have difficulty seeing a way out. This article will be a guiding light to us and I will follow with interest and by following, hopefully make changes to my own path.

  36. xbizdean June 26, 2018 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Brian, Truly happy that you are on the way back. We all have missed your insight, creativity, and wisdom. Take the energy from your followers and feel it in your soul. We’re all inspired by what you are doing and will stand by you for the wonderful events in your future….Bruce

  37. Louise June 26, 2018 at 11:25 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this ! I was feeling so down and alone and decided to read you today! Timing could not have been better. I felt you were talking to me as well like some of the comments you got! I am facing retirement and long days alone. I used to be able to keep busy all day long I was saying to myself and now I feel lonely. But I have a camera and good tutors on the net. I have been following you for a long time and enjoy your photo but you texte today help me the most! Thank you so much!

  38. Svato June 27, 2018 at 4:16 am - Reply

    Hi there Brian, greetings from Slovakia. I was about to write a loooooong reply about how i know exactly what you’re talking about and going through, but then it hit me. So I’ll just use two more words that sum it all up: THANK YOU.

  39. Vitor June 27, 2018 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Thumbs up Brian! Keep on going!

  40. Jayme Spoolstra June 28, 2018 at 9:05 pm - Reply

    I just found this. It’s so very relevant to what I, too, am experiencing. A creative block with my photography and a downturn in healthy living. I need to get it together and change my game… but it’s so easy to be lazy (I just went through some illness and recent surgery, and while I do work in the sports photo world, my creative, ‘for me’ work is non-existent).

    I’m anxious to follow your journey – I hope that your inspiration will also help to kickstart my own. Cheering you on your journey!!

  41. Gale Stoner June 29, 2018 at 5:32 am - Reply

    The timing of your post couldn’t be more relevant to my present journey. I’ve found 30 lbs of the 51 I had lost 18 months ago. And I have been struggling with where is my creativity has slipped. I’m back on my exercise bike this afternoon followed by a one-hour walk with my camera on my shoulder. I expect to burn a few calories today and find at least one new subject to shoot. I’m with you Brian!

  42. Bob Barr June 29, 2018 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    I notice your ideas for growth are social media related. Maybe social media is your problem. Typing things on a computer is not social. Face to face interactions is. I have not fallen for the Facebook, Instawhatever or Twitter models and I feel better for it. I found them to be shallow and negative places, especially Facebook, so I removed them from my life. Constantly going up and down is a symptom of depression. Have you talked to a professional about it?

    • Kurt S Laidlaw July 5, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

      Bob, I pulled the plug on FB when the Cambridge Analytica fiasco came to light. I got away from social media almost completely. I was amazed to realize how many useless hours I was expending reading FB postings instead of doing something productive with my day. The one big problem I have is that most of my art groups share their works and critiques via FB and I and miss out on that, but on the whole, I find them more days I move away from FB the better my mood and my general mental health. It’s a bit like being is a 12 step program for alcoholics.

  43. Compton G. June 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I have not read any of the above comments before writing this. I have been in very similar position medically and being a diabetic the options were not very nice. I too spent time deciding what to do about it. My answers were quite easy to find, but possibly not so easy to do. In the end I have used the help of technology. I bought myself a Garmin type fitbit. This almost shames me into doing things I should do. I am the type of person who can start a job and then realise that I had sat by my workstation for three hours without moving. My garmin tells me to move every half an hour. I set me a step target for the day, this is calculated every day on an average, so I am becomming fitter by the week. I am trying to stay away from carbs and in the last few months I have lost a reasonable amount of weight and have started to have to wear a belt or my trousers start to decend. My heart rate is monitored as is my sleep. Sorry I think this is the longest piece I have written for years. I wish you luck and am thinking of you. John Pierce, Wolverhampton, England

  44. Kurt S Laidlaw July 5, 2018 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Well, Brian, from the tone and quantity of comments, you certainly struck a chord with many of us. My downward spiral seems to have started about the same time yours did–no photos, no real interest in photographic editing, no painting with Painter, etc. I got to the point was was feeling guilty sitting at my computer so I would just start playing mind numbing games “just to help get my creative juices flowing. I was no longer the person I knew I could be when it came to friends or my spouse.

    Your blog started at just the right minute for me. In August, we are going to Japan for our 25th anniversary, and I was beginning to dread the idea of having to take photos to show people. Hopefully following your journey will give me some needed positive mojo. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I look forward to watching your progress as well as that of the many people who have responded to your offer to share your experiences.

  45. howardwthompson July 6, 2018 at 8:52 pm - Reply

    Love the inspiration. It gives me some hope and inspiration to move forward

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