Thank-you for sticking with us during the DAGR Summit launch. I know for me personally I typically don't like an email everyday, it is too much. So again, thank-you. For those that came onboard with the summit I pray that you enjoy the content from the artists. We will now be back to our weekly newsletter. This week I wanted to chat about compassion. Artists as whole seem to be some of the most compassionate people around, I wondered if there was a link between compassionism and creativity.

In the realm of art, where emotions and imagination intertwine, compassion emerges as a potent force, it can shape both the creative process and the artwork itself. Compassion, the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, serves as a wellspring of inspiration, enabling us to connect with our subjects on a profound level. Anna Mantzaris' captivating stop-motion animation "Fuzzy Feelings" beautifully exemplifies this symbiotic relationship between compassion and creativity. Of interesting note, outside of the awareness she brings to loneliness and compassion is that this whole piece was shot on an iPhone. Crazy.

Mantzaris' animated world, teeming with endearingly awkward people and whimsical interactions, invites viewers to embrace vulnerability and empathy. Her characters, despite their physical imperfections and social anxieties, exude an undeniable charm, prompting the audience to connect with their emotional journeys. This ability to evoke compassion lies at the heart of Mantzaris' creative process.

Compassion, for Mantzaris, is not merely a theme or subject matter; it is the very foundation of her artistic expression. By immersing herself in the emotional lives of her characters, she taps into a universal wellspring of human experience, allowing her to create art that resonates with viewers on a deeply personal level.

This empathetic approach to art-making extends beyond the realm of animation. Painters, sculptors, musicians, and writers alike draw upon compassion to fuel our creative endeavors. By observing and striving to understand the human condition better, we can create works that evoke empathy, challenge societal norms, and inspire positive change.

Compassion, however, is not merely an external force that we apply to our work; it is an internal quality that seems to shape our creative process. Self-compassion, the ability to treat oneself with kindness and understanding, is essential for artists to nurture their creativity and overcome inevitable setbacks. This is an area where many of us are not as adept.

Self-compassion fosters resilience, enabling us to persevere through creative blocks, self-doubt, and negative criticism. By practicing self-compassion, we can cultivate a growth mindset, embracing challenges as opportunities for learning and growth.

In a world that often glorifies competition and success, self-compassion offers us a path to sustainable creativity. It allows us to embrace our imperfections, learn from our failures, and celebrate their achievements without succumbing to self-judgment. I would suspect that most of us could use an introspective view of how to improve self-compassion. Here are four steps that can help us maintain a healthy level of self-love and self compassion.

The first step in finding that inner self-love is to stop worrying about what others think. You can’t change that. It is not within your control. So why worry about it? If there are people that don’t like you, that is not your problem. It is theirs. They won’t get to know you which is their loss, as well.

The second step is to actually say to yourself, "I love who I am." Do it every day and even say it out loud. It becomes an affirmation that makes you start to believe it after doing it for a while. There is a ton of neuroscience research that upholds this opportunity to change your own narrative.

Next is to force yourself to be happy even when you’re not. Studies have shown that you can shift your mood by simply shifting your inner voice to tell yourself that you are happy. Being happy as often as possible is crucial when loving yourself.

Finally, another great way to start being more kind to yourself is a reflection of gratitude and to help others. Whether you choose to volunteer or you simply reach out to people in need, this is quite fulfilling and will lift your self-esteem that much further. When you are feeling down about yourself, giving thanks for the many blessings you have and helping others can bring you out of that funk. It may also show you that others have problems greater than your own. Helping them may bring them closer to the solutions that they are looking for as well.

Compassion, both for oneself and for others, is a powerful tool in the artist's toolkit. It fuels creativity, inspires empathy, and nurtures resilience. By embracing compassion, we can create works that not only entertain and engage but also move, inspire, and heal.

So, as you embark on your artistic journey, remember the power of compassion. Embrace the vulnerability, the empathy, and the kindness to yourself and to others that lie at the heart of true artistic expression. Let compassion guide your creative process and infuse your work with the warmth and understanding that can touch the hearts of others.

Have an amazing week!