Looking For Clarity?

Four things that have spoken to me this week

Dr Victoria Powell

--

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Untitled (March 5th) #2 (1991). © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.

I’ve got four lovely things for you today. A bit of poetry, some music, a film and an artwork that knocked me for six this week. All on the theme of what on earth am I doing in my life, feeling a bit lost, and finding solace in the arts. Maybe the long, grey days of winter are having an impact on me, but over the past couple of weeks there has been a distinct gear change in my head. I’ve slowed down and shifted from self-flagellating workaholic (my standard modus operandi) to doing the thing immediately in front of me, and no more. Barely that, actually. It’s quite freeing.

I recently started listening to the Huberman Lab podcast, which brings the latest research in neuroscience to a non-academic audience. This week the guest was Dr Kay Tye, a brilliant scientist whose work investigates the neural circuit basis of social interactions and loneliness. It was a fascinating listen on all sorts of ideas but the one thing that I remember most clearly from two hours of chat was that she only checks her email once a week, and doesn’t do social media at all. I’ve been skirting around this for a while, but I’ve now removed the email and instagram apps from my phone home screen, and deleted quite a few others entirely. Also very freeing.

I still check them every day, but I’m consciously decoupling and it has definitely given me a bit of headspace to go with other flows a bit more. That’s not to say that I see no benefit from a bit of downtime with instagram, and in fact this week the algorithm handed me this golden nugget: Helena Bonham Carter reading Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese. Its about self-acceptance, belonging, and our need for connection with others. It perfectly sums up how I feel at the moment. Plus her voice is like honey.

Another one of the podcasts I regularly listen to put me on to Tracy Chapman’s performance with the American country singer Luke Combs of her beautiful song Fast Car at the Grammys last Sunday evening. It’s heavenly. I’ve listened to it about fifty times…

--

--

Dr Victoria Powell

I write about art, history, politics & culture, without the confusing art speak. Crazy about dogs. Victorian historian. 19th-century gentleman in a former life.