It is hard to write about positive things, at least it doesn't come naturally to people. I mean, ask a person to tell you about his/her problems and it will be hard for them to stop, but ask about something positive and, more often then not, nothing will come to mind except several cliche sentences about gratitude.
As society we are trained to talk about problems (just listen to any news cycle), but happiness likes quiet. The question stands, if it's so quiet, how do we achieve it.
An ancient Japanese legend promises that anyone who folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by the gods. So I thought why not try it. It was more then a year since I came to Boston and I was doing great on the outside. All the attention from the exhibition gave me confidence boost and new people inspired me to work harder then I ever did. But in my head I still lived in the past (people who know me will understand why, for other readers I think it's not very relevant). So my wish was to start a new chapter already.
My first crane took me 10 minutes to make, it was not a pretty crane either. 10k minutes - I turned on my calculator app - I will need to be making cranes full time for a month. After I made 20 of them though, it started to take only a minute or two to fold one. I had my little ritual now, every time my brain would wander off into the past I would start to fold a crane, and just as long as I fold one I think about the future, make plans or anticipate something positive.
By crane #200 habit formed, now every time I fold a crane it brought me into a good mood, my plans started to be more concrete and cohesive. By crane #500 (2 months in) I didn't think of the past anymore and now I needed a new cue to start a crane. I could have stoped at that point, really, but I wanted to use the cranes for photoshoot so I decided to keep going.
You can read a lot about neuroplasticity from people much smarter then me, but here's what I came to know in a nutshell: pathways in brain that we use a lot become stronger, pathways that we don't use become smaller. And the stronger pathway is, the more probably it will activate.
Think for example of the city. Maybe you have a street named "Memory #5". Your thoughts are cars and the more cars on the street the broader street becomes. Maybe you thought about Memory#5 all day on Tuesday - that's a lot of cars so now Memory#5 is not a street, but boulevard. So you will probably take it again on Wednesday - it's broad and comfortable now, why not. By Friday Memory#5 becomes a highway, all your thoughts end up there eventually. The only problem is, Memory#5 is not a pleasant memory.
So now let's put a block sign the the beginning of Memory#5 highway and reroute every thought to diverse and pleasant Memories#3, Plan#6 and Goal#4. With time cars will forget Memory#5 exists and it will shrink back to little driveway. Eventually there will be a car there, but it will pass soon.
As the city, our brain forms itself in real time to accommodate our needs, the trick is, it's the brain itself who picks most of that needs too.
I was making cranes out of Vogue Magazine pages. It was nice to see all the different colors and pretty pictures. After I finished them I thought they are very cool visually and of course we need to make a photoshoot about them. I envisioned a story of an eccentric lady (played by @franziskadrummond) who made the cranes and wants to create a sort of shelter out of them not unlike one can find under a willow tree. We made sure to find a fitting costume for eccentric character and went with dramatic red lips for the makeup (by @pictureperfectbylisa). My favorite thing about the photoshoot is how almost ritual-looking energetic first pictures evolve into dreamy and serene last scene, it almost maps my own experience with the whole venture.