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Trickster Trust

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash


Also stolen from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

(please don’t copystrike me)


I believe that the original human impulse for creativity was born out of pure trickster energy. Of course it was! Creativity wants to flip the mundane world upside down and turn it inside out, and that’s exactly what a trickster does best. But somewhere in the last few centuries, creativity got kidnapped by the martyrs, and it’s been held hostage in their camp of suffering ever since. I believe this turn of events has left art feeling very sad. It has definitely left a lot of artists feeling very sad.

It’s time to give creativity back to the tricksters, is what I say.

The trickster is obviously a charming and subversive figure. But for me, the most wonderful thing about a good trickster is that he trusts. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest this, because he can seem so slippery and shady, but the trickster is full of trust He trusts himself, obviously. He trusts his own cunning, his own right to be here, his own ability to land on his feet in any situation. To a certain extent, of course, he also trusts other people (in that he trusts them to be marks for his shrewdness). But mostly, the trickster trusts the universe. He trusts in its chaotic, lawless, ever-fascinating ways–and for this reason, he does not suffer from undue anxiety. He trusts that the universe is in constant play and, specifically, that it wants to play with him.

A good trickster knows that if he cheerfully tosses a ball out into the cosmos, that ball will be thrown back at him. It might be thrown back really hard, or it might be thrown back really crooked, or it might be thrown back in a cartoonish hail of missiles, or it might not be thrown back until the middle of next year — but it will be thrown back. The trickster waits for the ball to return, catches it however it arrives, and then tosses it back out there into the void again, just to see what will happen. And he loves doing it, because the trickster (in all his cleverness) understands the great cosmic truth that the martyr (in all his seriousness) can never grasp: It’s all just a game.

A big, freaky, wonderful game.

Which is fine, because the trickster likes freaky.

Freaky is his natural environment.

The martyr hates freaky. The martyr wants to kill freaky. And in so doing, he all too often ends up killing himself.

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The Martyr vs. The Trickster

Photo by Fred Kearney on Unsplash


Stolen from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert


We all have a bit of trickster in us, and we all have a bit of martyr in us (okay, some of us have a lot of martyr in us), but at some point in your creative journey you will have to make a decision about which camp you wish to belong to, and therefore which parts of yourself to nourish, cultivate, and bring into being. Choose carefully. As my friend the radio personality Caroline Casey always says: “Better a trickster than a martyr be.”

What’s the difference between a martyr and trickster, you ask?

Here’s a quick primer.

Martyr energy is dark, solemn, macho, hierarchical, fundamentalist, austere, unforgiving, and profoundly rigid.

Trickster energy is light, sly, transgender, transgressive, animist, seditious, primal, and endlessly shape-shifting.

Martyr says: “I will sacrifice everything to fight this unwinnable war, even if it means being crushed to death under a wheel of torment.”

Trickster says: “Okay, you enjoy that! As for me, I’ll be over here in this corner, running a successful little black market operation on the side of your unwinnable war.”

Martyr says: “Life is pain.”

Trickster says: “Life is interesting.”

Martyr says: “The system is rigged against all that is good and sacred.”

Trickster says: “There is no system, everything is good, and nothing is sacred.”

Martyr says: “Nobody will ever understand me.”

Trickster says: “Pick a card, any card!”

Martyr says: “The world can never be solved.”

Trickster says: “Perhaps not … but it can be gamed.”

Martyr says: “Through my torment, the truth shall be revealed.”

Trickster says: “I didn’t come here to suffer, pal.”

Martyr says: “Death before dishonor!”

Trickster says: “Let’s make a deal.”

Martyr always ends up dead in a heap of broken glory, while Trickster trots off to enjoy another day.

Martyr = Sir Thomas More.

Trickster = Bugs Bunny.

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Song of Perfection

Poem and artwork by my fabulous teammate, Drishhti Mangar. More on our Instagram handle, Body+ve. Go follow. You’re welcome.


And I bet it hurts not much

For it pricks you no more

We’ll hum the song of perfection dear

Until they all march out the door,

The insecure have named,

The jealous have framed,

All of them had put you through shame,

The heartless yet “faultless”

Were the ones who tamed.

We’ll paint you perfect honey

We won’t spare a single freckle for sure

We’ll hang on you a price tag too

And you’re ought to be allured,

We’ll dig you a deep grave

And you can toss your soul within,

Forget not to embrace it with all your flaws

Lastly to strip down

Your namely “faulty” skin

Oh wild creature of the cosmos

Swaddled in the shimmer of stars

Your quirks and untamed beauty

Are a crime here

And they’ll attend your funeral with

Plastered smiles and paper flowers

~

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Blogs

10 YouTubers You Should Know

Thomas Frank

MostlySane

VIVA

Mr Kate

Vlogbrothers

Nathan Zed

Sabrina Cruz

Kurzgesagt

The School of Life

Jordindian

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Let’s Deal With Disappointment, Shall We?

The tension in the room is palpable.

Everyone in the class is eagerly waiting for the bell to ring.

5…4…3…2…1

*ringggg*

Once the teacher leaves, we all rush to the nearest bulletin board on our floor. All of us want to know whether we cleared the test, or failed.

No, we weren’t looking at the results of our final exams.

We were looking at the I-Section entrance test results.

Every year, our school conducts an entrance exam for secondary school students to test their smartness. Then, they segregate the “smart” kids into a different, Integrated-Section.

Yes, I’m in this section. No, sometimes (such as now) I don’t like it.

So our results are on the bulletin board, but I already know my marks- 45 out of 50.

I don’t want to say this, but – oh god – I was disappointed with my marks.

Sometimes I wonder whether I could be the definition of a typical Indian teenage nerd- smart, constantly worried, over-analytic about marks, overpressured and overburdened. Ok, the last part is a bit of an exaggeration. Seriously mom. I’m fine. Don’t send me to the counsellor or to math tuition.

The funny thing is, though, that even though I got through by a big margin, I still felt kinda uneasy. Like I hadn’t done enough to prove my nerdiness to other people. Even though I had accomplished my goal, my mind was too fixated on the smaller picture. Marks.

My whole day went past me like a blur, while all I thought about was how bad I was at acing tests and how much I sucked at them.

That afternoon, during my bus ride back home, my history teacher, who’s a very sweet person (I’m not being paid to say this), asked me if I was sick or something. ‘Cause apparently I looked like I had a fever.

I told her about my rather disgraceful test performance, and she just broke into soft laughter.

“Don’t worry so much, ma. If the teachers are happy with your results, then it’s fine! Don’t take it so seriously.”

Those words gave me just the perspective my naive mind needed. My mood went from sullen, brooding, contemplative and disappointed to accepting, and ready to make a change. I was ready to change my day into one full of opportunities at my disposal.

Here are 5 things I did that evening to lift my mood. You should try them too.

Talk to a friend.

If you’re feeling low, pick up your phone and chat up with an old friend. The feeling of having someone who listens and talks to you can be therapeutic at times.

Tell yourself that it’ll pass.

Because it will. You know that. Stop for a moment, tell your little irrational brain to shut up, and remind yourself that whatever you’re feeling is perfectly normal, and your despair with come to an end.

Throw your responsibilities away for a day.

One primary reason for disappointment is high expectations. From anyone. So since you can’t control what others expect from you, the best you can do is control what you expect from yourself. Don’t push your limits for a few hours. Just. Relax.

Play a sport.

Sports are awesome! They are also scientifically proven to reduce stress and depression. So if you have a basketball court or just a park in your neighbourhood, call a couple of your friends down and play for a while!

Write about it (as I am now).

Writing helps because nothing provides perspective through self-realisation quite like writing. The minute you put a sad feeling on paper, it loses its dramatic, overestimated impact on your mental wellbeing. There’s no need to amplify a situation through writing. As long as you write down the bare facts about what happened and how you feel, this works.

That day, I learnt that no matter how bad a day goes, I can always change how I feel about it with a simple shift in mindset.

I learnt that if I just change your mindset from one of disappointment to one of acceptance and growth, everything will be okay.

Hopefully, you learnt that too.

“I’m sad, hurt, angry, mad, disappointed. But you know what? I will put on a happy face and move on. It will hurt but I will survive.”

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Blogs

Why so many people want to be writers

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Road

The sparkle in her eyes

Makes you feel that fairytales are true

She doesn’t even have to try

She can make you swoon from morning to noon


Then she puts on her disguise

Fact or fiction, oh we have no clue

Cause she’s afraid of what she can do


So she set herself on fire

So we could see her burn

But we’ve only heard her whisper

No matter what she’s done


She can’t take it any longer

She’s going to explode

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road


She was the perfect poster child

Could light up the world with her sense of humour

But now she barely smiles

Oh, what happened there, god knows what hit her


She tries not to cry

But she fears her happy days are over

She doesn’t really think that she’s a failure

She’s just waiting for someone to save her


She set herself on fire

Cause she wanted to be sure

She was gonna be remembered

She thought she wasn’t anymore


Unreal expectations will put her

into overload

Unless she takes a long drive

Down her favourite road

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The Joy of Missing Out

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to offend phubbers of any kind. However, this post might change your view on phone usage (or maybe not). Please proceed with caution.

Imagine this:

You’re outside, without your phone. You have no access to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube. You have no idea what your friend is uploading on social media. Nor do you know if you’ve gotten any likes of that picture of your lunch on Instagram. You are absolutely devoid of virtual contact with people.

How does that make you feel? Anxious, or relieved?

If you chose the former, read on.

Actually, it doesn’t matter what you chose. You should still read on.

Phones have blurred the lines between real and virtual life. Phones are the new public menace. It is so hard to stay of your phones these days, it’s next to impossible. Honestly, I checked and edited my Instagram posts 3 times while writing this paragraph.

We have become so glued to our phones, it’s past the point of entitlement. Now, it’s more of a delirious attachment. Let me warn you, what starts out as a plain attachment or addiction can turn out to be a serious mental health issue in the long term.

Dr Larry Rosen, who is the author of ‘The Distracted Mind’ and ‘iDisorder’, provides an explanation for our irrational love for virtual reality:

“With our extensive commitments to our smartphones and our connections to the world through that phone, we check with the virtual world, and then our adrenal gland starts secreting cortisol (among other chemicals), which makes us feel uneasy that we have not checked in recently.”

Whether people describe phone usage as addiction or an obsession, they’re definitely a distraction.

45% of Indian phone users admit that they use their phones for more than 4 hours a day. Say you sleep for 7 hours and work for 7 more, you’re wasting 40% of your free time just using your phone!!

76% say that they check their phones before sleeping and 53% say that they check their phones first thing in the morning. They don’t even brush. They just leap out of their bed, thinking, “Social Media!!!” That’s what I think, anyway. Well, that’s what I used to do, anyway.

Clearly, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is a prime motivator of their mindless phone usage. Because no sane human being would use their phone for 4 HOURS A DAY.

And I get it, because I’ve been there. We’ve all had that crazy fear of missing out on something infinitely more important (at least in our perception) than the work at hand. Maybe you had your holiday homework to do (which I still haven’t finished; my school reopens in 5 days) to do, while all your friends were going out and having the time of their lives.

What FOMO does to you is convince you that what you’re doing is simply less important than what others are doing. You might be writing a PhD on Climate Change, but your Facebook feed will still find a way to make you doubt what what you’re doing. Just when you think you’re getting on the right track, FOMO will knock  on your door and coax into taking a break.

So if you think you’re losing hope, fear not! In the words of master hustler and iisuperwomanii, Lilly Singh,

Temptations to slack off will always be there, and that will never change. What has to change is your ability to deal with temptation. To be successful, you need to be able to look FOMO in the eyes and say NO. In response, FOMO will stand there, pout, and throw a temper tantrum, but you have to be strong and hold your ground. The only way to overcome FOMO is to recognize that the joy of accomplishing your goals is much greater than the disappointment of missing out on a little fun. Parties are fun in the short term, but fulfilling your goals will bring you great happiness in the long term.

There’s more to life than just seeking validation from superficial people. If you do want to use your phone, use it for a good purpose. Don’t just use it to gain more attention. Use it to make a difference.

So, the next time you decide to focus on your priorities instead of aimlessly scrolling through your phone, stop for a minute and soak that feeling of joy in.

The joy of missing out.

And feel proud of yourself.

This blog post has been written with inspiration from The Times Of India newspaper, dated 27th May, 2018.


Also, please do check out my last post, How to Steal Ideas, and show it the love it deserves! Any feedback is greatly appreciated:)


Check out my gal Kasvi Methi’s blog, Profound Findings of an Unfound Highbrow and show her some love! She’s my new contributor, and from next week we’ll be collaborating and providing you with even better content!

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How to Steal Ideas

Stolen from Austin Kleon.

Nothing’s original.

There is nothing new under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Originality is undetected plagiarism. Nothing, absolutely nothing in this world is original. “Original” art is just connecting the same old dots in a different pattern. And the best way to get more of these dots into your life is to steal them. There are bajillions of things to steal in the world, and many people to steal it from. Use what you find interesting, appreciate what you don’t, and move on to the next thing to steal.

You are your own remix.

You are a mashup of your mom and dad and your ancestors. Your ideas are a mashup of the people you surround yourself with, the friends you make, the music you listen to, the movies you see and the blogs you read. 😛 In the same way, your ideas are a mix of other people’s ideas. You might feel like the ideas in your head are 100% yours, but that couldn’t be more far from the truth. Your job is to pick the sources and ideas that you want to be influenced by.

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. -Jim Jarmusch

Build your own creative lineage.

One good way to keep the art flowing is to consider yourself as part of a big creative family tree that has all your role models in it. Start with one thinker. Study everything there is to know about them. Then find three people that thinker loved and study them. Grow branches of your tree as far out as you can. Seeing yourself as part of a bigger picture gives you a sense of purpose, makes you feel less alone and more empowered to continue doing what you’re doing.

Putting up pictures or quotes of your favourite people in the world is a great way to do this. They’re like friendly ghosts, pushing you forward.

Teach yourself.

Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it also cured polio. Keep your eyes open for anything worth Googling. Whenever in doubt, Google. Google your dreams, your nightmares, your problems and absolutely any random thought on your mind. It’s sure to either give the right answers or lead you to better questions.

Write it down.

If you’re in the hunt for ideas, there are two things you’ll need to carry with you all the time: a pen and paper.

If you see something worth remembering, chances are you’ll forget it in the next twenty four hours. The difference between a genius and a normal person is that when a genius comes across something cool, she notes it down.

See something worth your attention?

Steal it.

It is better to take what doesn’t belong to you than to let it lie around neglected. -Mark Twain

Sorry this post is a bit short. Next week will be better, I promise!

What do you want to see next? Any ideas on your mind? Leave a comment below!

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An Ode to Spider-Man

There goes a tale

Of a young, smart genius

Whose fate gave him immense powers

And laid the weight of the world on his shoulders


His age was never considered

When his life took a drastic turn

He just accepted his burden

And swore to never let his heroes down


But soon, one mistake of his turned into two,

And two into hundred,

He lost the trust of those he loved

And even more of those he looked up to


But amidst all the chaos and confusion,

Amidst the rise and fall of his soul,

He rose from the ashes of his defeat

Reborn as someone stronger than before.


His courage and self-belief

Has indeed taught me

That with great power,

Comes great responsibility.


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