Update May 2017 | Projects | Sculpting | Latex Molding | Website | Dramamask Publishers

Dramamask Evolution – Update May 2017.

Dramamask update video for May 2017. It’s been a bit of a slow month, but projects such as latex molding, more paint techniques and effects videos will be uploaded shortly. Dramamask Publishers are in the process of publishing a third book and the Dramamask Evolution website is online with blogs, updates, projects, artwork, music and lots more. Other forthcoming projects are featured in the May update video also.
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Music by Angel Rust
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INFP Mandala

INFP Mandala

INFP Mandala

Inspired by Jung’s personality type theory and the Myers-Briggs personality type indicator.

According to the test, will reveal an individual’s dominant psychological functions, thus determining choices, preferences, opinions and decisions the individual will make in the world according to his/her own personality attributes.

The personality attributes, according to this theory consist of eight psychological functions, which include introvert/extrovert, intuitive/sensing, feeling/thinking and perceptive/judgement, with each function ‘twins’ being opposites, or ‘two sides of the same coin’.

My own personality type, according to the criteria of this test, is INFP (Introvert/Intuitive/Feeling/Perceptive), which has been the concept of the INFP Mandala painting, but also hinting at it’s opposite ‘shadow’, ESTJ (Extrovert/Sensing/Thinking/Judgement), which would exist as an unconscious entity in my own mind, being projected onto the ‘outside’ world, onto actual ESTJ types and in reverse, the ESTJ ‘shadowside’ being projected onto myself, as an INFP, causing a conflict between the two personality types, until the ‘shadow’ sides have been recognised by both parties or sides, and recognised the opposite entities within themselves.

Each combination of type determines the character or personality of the particular individual, according to this test, which acts as a good indicator, but to measure an individual’s personality and character, cannot be measured through a simple test and to measure the human personality is obviously, by far, a lot more complex.




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Gnosis

Gnosis

Gnosis

 

Influenced by Jung’s concept of the ‘anima’, and influenced by the representation of the feminine in Hinduism and Christian Gnosticism. Known as Mohini and Sophia respectively.

In Christian Gnosticism, Sophia represents the feminine aspect of God.

Sophia and the feminine aspect featured in the Gnostic Gospels, yet were excluded from the Bible, along with other scriptures, leaving the masculine God, or Father God, without it’s female counterpart, feminine aspect and equal. The feminine aspect of God was relegated to flesh and bones with Mary being the closest aspect of the feminine to God, yet only human, hence why Christianity, along with other institutionalised religions were/are out of balance and primarily patriarchal and tyrannical in nature, causing much damage and destruction within societies through the ages, such as witch hunts, the degradation of women and much worse.

Without the feminine principal, or the degradation of the sacred feminine, societies and the individual will be out of balance, as can be seen throughout history. Fortunately, the feminine principal is striving to maintain the balance once again in modern times, although it is evident within societies, politics, the workplace, and so on, that the balance is not yet completed, but is pointing in a positive direction.

At an individual level, the feminine must be respected by the masculine and vice-versa, to maintain the balance and to respect each side of the equation. A man must be at peace and united with his own feminine nature and the woman must be at peace and united with her own masculine nature, which may have to happen despite the cultural inheritance of the individual, to be a balanced individual and reflecting outwards to the feminine and the masculine within nature. From a gender-neutral point of view, this can be represented with the yin yang symbol from Chinese philosophy, which would also be an expression from the archetype(s) of this nature or essence. In essence, the archetypes are invisible, or inconceivable to the human being, which is why they express themselves in so many forms, from culture to culture and individual to individual.

Gnosis, featured in the painting is the feminine aspect of a male at an individual level, communicating repressed features to the male ego-consciousness of the particular individual at that moment in time. Gnosis has revealed herself in mythical form in the individual’s psyche, although she may take many forms and change shape and form throughout time within the individual. She takes many forms in modern collective culture and sub-cultures, showing the state of the collective mind, culture, or sub-culture within that group. If the culture, sub-culture or group is out of balance, it will be up to the individual to correct his or her own original nature and balance. If not, and the individual’s cultural inheritance is unhealthy, the individual may be plagued with visits from hostile and tormenting entities in dreams and visions, revealing itself as an opposition to their own selves, which unfortunately can express itself in the physical world, with conflict on many levels, which is evident in the the world we live in now.




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Orgasmandala

Orgasmandala

Orgasmandala

Painted in 2003 and influenced by Eastern and Western spiritual, philosophical and psychological ideas.

The ‘mandala’ surrounds and crowns the female form of Vishnu, also known as Mohini from Hindu tradition. The mandala is also split into four, representing dominating traits in the human personality, inspired by Jungian psychology. The traits are taken from a group of eight traits, which divided into two, gives four traits with their opposite four.

The female represents the feminine part of the psyche contained within a male, which according to Jung, is the spokesperson and bridge which communicates between a male’s unconscious and conscious mind – the communicator of dreams, visions, ideas and intuitive information. Jung calls this entity the ‘anima’ which means ‘soul’ or ‘mind’. The opposite exists within the female and is called the ‘animus’ and appears in male form.

Orgasmandala represents the arrival of an idea, insight, or epiphany, when the individual finally integrates what is communicated from the unconscious mind via the anima to the conscious mind, which may arrive as a problem solved or a feeling through intuition, realised by the conscious mind. A psychic (meaning, relating to soul or mind) orgasm, which leads to a further understanding, contributing to balancing the mandala, representing the individual’s psyche as a whole – striving for a balance between the unconscious mind and the conscious mind, or dark and light parts of the soul, or mind.

The mandala emanates from the indigo orb situated at the centre of the mandala and at the centre of the anima’s forehead – representing the source of all things, or pure consciousness, where light and dark, good and evil, and all opposites do not exist. An undivided unity, not separated by a human perception of duality and fragmentation. An eye of insight, or ‘anja’, as it is known in Hinduism.




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Existential Steps

Existential Steps
Existential Steps

According to existential philosophy and many religious, and ‘spiritual teachings’, there may come a point in the individual’s life, where he or she may feel it imposed on them to question their own belief systems, which include the personal belief systems and the cultural inheritance of the individual. For the lucky few, this may be a smooth transition, but for many, may invoke a feeling of emptiness and existential anxiety.

The personal beliefs and cultural conditioning, no longer serve many individuals and to shed the skin of old belief systems and cultural or societal ‘norms’ may cause a feeling of intense unease.

With the confrontation with who you really are, which invariably comes into conflict to who you think you are, causes a conflict in the mind, of the old and the discovery of the real self, which lies hidden under the layers of conditioned thought or programs absorbed from the individual’s environment since birth.

It dawns on the individual that he or she, is alone in their own quest for meaning and truth, which maybe a task not easily taken, but once the seed of realisation has been sown, there is only one way forward, which is to embrace one’s own life and seek out their own meaning and values.

Not only will this cause an inner disturbance, the consequences will also cause an outer disturbance, with many personal relationships dissolving, but also a forming of new relationships, more in alignment with the individual.

With the individual’s relationship with their own inner world, will affect their own personal relationships on the outer level with kind and also their relationship with the world at large. What happens within, happens without, and vice-versa.

The steps in this painting represent the angst and anxiety when confronted with this realisation. Finding oneself in an abyss of nothingness, with a glimmer of light at the top of the steps, with each step needing to be tread, before walking through the door to one’s own true self and finally feeling secure with that union. A confidence with who you truly are, muting the self-sabotage of our own inner thoughts, while at the same time being unshakable in the face of the sabotage from the outside world. Nurturing compassion from the inside, reflecting to the outside. The ultimate goal.

‘Existential Steps’ – Painted around 2001/2002 by Mark Adams (Dramamask).




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Mandalasm

Mandalasm
Mandalasm

Another early painting, in around the year of 2002. I was realising at this moment in time, I wasn’t really an aspiring artist at all, but felt the urge to communicate ideas, whether that be to myself or to anybody who was interested. My endevours in painting and drawing were largely a private affair, although I wanted to develop a skill to improve a communication in form to what I wanted to express in ‘physical reality’. I was thinking that the images I wanted to reproduce from my mind’s eye, were in fact, essentially ‘mirrors’ to my own ‘self’. On the surface, this may seem quite self-indulgent, but there were deeper meanings to all of this seeming tomfoolery.

Alongside the ideas of Freud and Jung, I was reading and researching a fair amount into the realms of Shamanism. I was also dipping my toe into the realms of Hinduism and finding parallels between modern psychology, Shamanism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Western religious traditions, which also included pagan traditions.

Although, a relatively simple concept, ‘Mandalasm’ was created with the idea of a mandala, from both Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The ‘abstract’ design, or symbol which separates the two faces in Mandalasm, is my own spontaneous representation of a mandala, which according to Jung, represents the ‘state’ of one’s own ‘inner’ psyche. The psyche strives for balance and the ego, which most of us can only identify with at a conscious level, is only a fraction of a part which contributes towards the psyche’s striving for balance, although the ego must recognise all parts to become balanced, which for the ego, is like searching to look at the back of one’s head without a mirror.

The two face entities in this painting represent ‘guardian angels’, who, although are two separate entities, are one entity, who are one, but separate at a frequency. The entity or entities are female and represent a nurturing and caring quality, but also possess a darker side, which includes a freedom to explore, whether to one’s peril or growth.

I personally, experienced these female entities, in my mind’s eye on several occasions in my youth while learning certain activities and they came into my mind’s eye at an intensity before making a choice for learning which would disturb my psyche and put it out of balance for a long time to come, which would force me into a position to face my fears and demons, when I may not have been ready at that stage in my life, although when is an individual ready? At this moment in time, an interest in Shamanism shed more light, on a universal dilemma. An archetype of a paradoxical nature which consisted of exploration and wonder, but also of warning and trepidation.




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Agoraphobic Nomad | Focus and Refocus #2 Mind Exercise

Focus and Refocus #2 Mind Exercise

To illustrate how the mind will give you, or reflect back at you from the outside world, from what you consciously focus on, here is a simple mind exercise which will demonstrate this fact:

Wherever you are, whether sat in a room, out and about, or wherever you may be, consciously think of a colour. While thinking of your chosen colour, notice how all the objects in your environment with this particular chosen colour, seem to ‘pop’ out or resonate with far more emphasis in relation to the objects which are not of the chosen colour. For example, if you choose to think of yellow, all the objects coloured yellow will seem to be highlighted, with everything ‘not’ coloured yellow, fading into the background. You may also notice that this exercise seems to take no effort to little effort to achieve the results stated here.

In essence, by practicing this technique for long enough and focussing on the colour of your choice, which in this case/example would be yellow, will result in seeing a world of full of yellow objects, or at least will be the dominant colour being reflected back at you from the ‘outside’ world. The conscious process of practicing focus on the colour will eventually transfer into the ‘automatic’ part of the mind, thus becoming a habitual ‘program’ or learned skill.

This mind exercise shows in a simple way, how what we focus on will affect how we see the world around us and applies to everything we choose to focus on. Unwittingly, we all use this method of thinking and somewhere along the line, all of us who developed anxiety conditions focussed on the feelings of anxiety at the expense of all the positive things which we have in our lives. We gradually, over time, created a world which reflected mostly or only anxiety back at us.

The good news is, we can use the same method to train our minds to focus on what we want reflected back to us. Again, this will take practice, in the same way we unwittingly practiced focussing on the feelings of anxiety and an anxiety provoking world at the onset of our ‘condition’.

Another wonderful aspect of this method and once the realisation of how this part of your mind works becomes knowledge through experience, is that you find you have a choice in how you wish to see the world, or your own world. Some of us choose to see beauty in the world, whereas others choose to see the world as a depressing place to live. Both view points in reality are most likely true and to ignore the ‘bad’ things (for example, injustice, cruelty, etc.) which happen in life would be morally wrong from my point of view, but what I am talking about here is strengthening the part of ourselves which sees the positive aspects of the world and of our lives at a healthy psychological level. I am not promoting apathy. I am promoting a healthy mind which benefits the individual and who/what the individual is associated with. I believe by developing a healthy mind, strengthening a positive view of ourselves and of the world around us puts us in a stronger position to deal with the ‘darker’ aspects of reality, including our anxieties, concerns and so on. This is the way I ‘choose’ to see things and of course everybody is different and everybody can choose their own realities in which they wish to live, for better or for worse – I choose the better!

Have a wonderful day!




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Agoraphobic Nomad | Focus & Refocus

Focus & Refocus

Since experiencing the agoraphobic condition along with panic disorder I have, over the years, employed the method of ‘distraction’ to avoid, or escape any feelings of anxiety and/or panic. Although distraction has served me on many occasion to decrease the feelings of anxiety, I have found it has limited effect and has only helped to ‘take the edge’ away from the ‘unwanted’ thoughts and feelings . ‘Distraction’, in this case, is of course, looking for something to keep one’s mind occupied to force one’s mind away from the thoughts and feelings of panic and anxiety. Most of us know how hard it is to try not to think about something, which maybe fearful, disturbing and so on. Distraction takes a lot of mental energy and the ‘unwanted’ thoughts/feelings pretty much always return.

I have always felt uncomfortable with the term ‘distraction’ as relating to a method to ‘deal’ with anxiety and here’s the reason why: To me, distraction suggests an avoidance, a ‘running away’ from, an escape from your thoughts and feelings and essentially an escape from your own self. The conscious mind seems only to have a limited amount of power to override any thoughts and feelings which are stored in the ‘automatic’ thinking part of the subconscious/unconscious mind. On a more ‘down-to-earth’ level, it may be easier to understand the automatic thinking part of the mind as a program, or an assortment of programs (see the post entitled: Retraining, Installing and Reinforcing Thought Patterns & Behaviours) which have been learned over the years.

Instead of using ‘distraction’ or avoiding unwanted thoughts and feelings which is in effect still focussing on what you ‘do not want’ and in essence keeping the thoughts and resulting feelings alive, I have found focussing on what you ‘want’, is far more effective. Look for things which excite you and interest you – something which is more interesting than the thoughts and feelings which promote anxiety. For example, think of all the positive attributes you have, what positive activities you want to do, where you want to be, what makes you happy, etc. Immerse yourself into an interesting hobby or topic and take it with you in your mind and if you can, into the situations which provide a stimulus for anxiety. For me, when I go out and push through my own boundaries, I think of where I want to be, what I want to do and the life I want to live. Alongside this, choose something which is interesting to take with you while you go out and about or are faced with situations which provoke anxiety. For instance, I have started taking a camera out with me, while pushing through boundaries. I can find something interesting and take photos of what I find interesting and focus on using the camera itself and at the same time, reminding myself of the life I want to live.

There is a difference between ‘distraction’ and ‘focus’. It may appear as if the focus method is the same as distraction, but there is a huge difference. In this case, distraction is avoiding, whereas focus is embracing. Focus is concentrating on what you ‘want’ whereas distraction is focussing on what you ‘don’t want’. So, focussing on what you don’t want, gives you what you don’t want and focussing on what you want, gives you what you want.
I have found, after years of using distraction methods, that the ‘unwanted’ thoughts or thought patterns do not change, but focussing on what is wanted does create new thought patterns, or programs. This is a skill and like any other skill which is to be learned, takes practice and repetition. Gradually, through effort and repetition, the new thought patterns, programs, neural pathways – call them what you will, will strengthen and override the old non-self serving thoughts, creating thought patterns, programs, neural pathways, etc, which will serve you!

Have a wonderful day!

PS: Will soon post a simple mind exercise technique which illustrates how your mind will give back to you what you feed it.




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Agoraphobic Nomad | Retraining, Installing and Reinforcing Thought Patterns & Behaviours

Retraining, Installing and Reinforcing Thought Patterns & Behaviours.
Reinforcement

    When developing anxiety disorders, you consciously and unconsciously ‘trained’ your mind with thinking patterns which were not beneficial to your well-being, emotional and physical state. Through repetition, these thinking patterns took their place in the part of your mind which is responsible for ‘automatic’ responses, behaviours, thought patterns, etc. For example, to take a ‘down-to-earth’ example, which many of us are familiar with: when learning to drive, I found it quite awkward and unnatural to navigate my coordination with all the tasks required to drive a car. Through conscious repetition to learn this new ‘skill’, or thinking pattern and behaviour, I found myself being very capable with the skill, learned behaviour and thinking pattern. Most of us will know that the transition of learning to drive by consciously employing the techniques to do so, soon became an ‘automatic’ habit, skill or behaviour. Most of us will know that this newly learned skill, habit or behaviour became automatic, without thinking about it consciously, in a relatively short period of time.
    This is the same for any learned thought process, skill, habit, behaviour and so on. If you ignore the negative and positive aspects and implications of whatever habit or behaviour which has been learned, you will realise you can feed the area of the mind or brain, which is responsible for ‘automatic’ behaviours and thoughts, with anything you choose to and will produce the corresponding and related thoughts, feelings and behaviours from the initial conscious ‘learning’ process. Whether positive or negative, the behaviours, thought patterns, etc, have been learned.
    This is good news, as once you become aware of the transference of conscious thinking affecting the automatic part of the mind or brain, you can choose and learn new ways of thinking and behaviours which are beneficial to you as an individual. In the same way you have learned ways of thinking and behaviours which have not benefitted you in the past, you can now choose to create new ways of thinking and behaviours which will positively benefit you, through repetition. Repetition is the ‘mother’ of all skill!
    It has already been proven through science that neural pathways are developed in the brain with developing skills, habits, thought patterns, etc. The neural pathways are reinforced through repeating the behaviours, patterns, etc.
    Even with experiences which happen from outside of yourself, which you may feel you have no control over. You can choose to interpret the experience in a positive way. If you feel the experience has had a negative impact, you may choose to interpret the experience in a positive way. For instance, what have I learned from this experience? What are the benefits I can take from this experience? How can I improve myself from this experience? There are so many ways to change your viewpoint, eliminate or diminish thinking patterns and interpretations which may result in feeling anxious, depressed or other feeling states which do not benefit you in healthy ways. Be the person you want to be and choose to be!
    As I have already written in previous posts, I have employed many techniques, new ways of thinking, which have benefitted me tremendously. Through all of the years of experiencing agoraphobia with panic disorder, what I have learned through experiencing and researching the condition, through the ups and downs, has not been in vain, or I choose to learn from it and do something about it!
    I have created small posters which I have taped to my bedroom wall. The posters remind me each day and every time I walk by them, of the techniques, skills and methods I want to ‘program’ into my mind and brain. This serves to reinforce the thoughts, behaviours and so on, to create healthy habits, skills, thought processes, neural pathways, or whatever anybody wishes to call them, to lead to a healthier state of mind which can only lead to a life which the individual chooses. My posters are tailor-made and personal to myself and I will reinforce, refine, add to, simplify, etc, over the course of time, if that means an improvement towards my recovery, health and well-being. I have also colour-coded each poster to form an association between the particular colour and the content of the poster. I have used the colours of the rainbow in sequence to make it easier for me to recall the information leading to further reinforcement. This method works for me and others may find methods of association which are more suited to themselves.



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Agoraphobic Nomad | Thoughts, Emotions & Physical Body

Thoughts, Emotions and Physical Body

When I first started to feel high levels of anxiety and experience panic attacks, many years ago, I learned how, and became aware of my thinking and thoughts which were affecting my emotions and feelings. I became aware of how thoughts, which often ‘run’ automatically, would appear, seemingly from out of nowhere and induce a corresponding ‘feeling’ state.

However, it hasn’t been until recently, I have ‘tuned into’ how my body reacts to my thoughts and emotions.

Over the years, I have ‘tried’ relaxation and meditation techniques, but I never seemed to come away with anything of therapeutic value, or anything which would reduce the feelings of anxiety in the long term.

Recently, I have decided to go back to relaxation and meditation ‘exercises’, or at least combining a tailor made method. I have been conscious of monitoring my bodily reactions to thoughts, during every day relaxation/meditation practices, as and when they arise. I have been practicing for about four weeks now and am becoming more and more aware of my thoughts affecting my emotions and the resulting bodily reactions, whether pleasant or unpleasant.

To become aware of bodily reactions (ie: heartbeat, breathing, tension, relaxed state, etc.) has been invaluable to me, as with this awareness, I can pick up cues from my body to highlight thought patterns, which may or may not be in conscious awareness at that moment.

I think people, prior to developing anxiety conditions, may either be out of touch with what their body is trying to tell them, or choose to ignore what their body is trying to tell them. I think, due to ignoring or being unaware of the body’s reactions, anxiety increases (or the body ‘shouts’ louder), until the individual has no choice, but to listen to what the body is saying. Of course, thoughts, feelings and physical reactions are all linked – they all affect one another.

The thoughts, whether automatic, or consciously chosen, obviously need to be changed to more healthy ways of thinking, if inducing unnecessary feelings of anxiety and the thoughts which evoke healthy feelings and a relaxed state, obviously need to be reinforced and employed.

Being aware of how my body behaves in response to thoughts and emotions has been a weakness’ of mine for ever since I can remember, but practicing the new techniques as I have mentioned, is increasing my awareness of what happens in my body, leading to more control or choice with how I think and feel.

I would certainly suggest to others’ experiencing anxiety conditions to find the connection between thoughts, emotions and the body, or mind, body and emotions, to become aware and to transform towards a healthier mind, healthier emotional state and calmer physical state.




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