This December the Poetry for Personal rolling bicycle based health fair display booth went out for the second month. It was quite a bit colder this month so not nearly as many people were out. We did get more in depth conversations with a lot of people. We focused on quality instead of quantity. Here’s the video of the initial booth setup again, then our booth talking to people from the Rupanuga Vedic College. They were very interested in sharing information about their free open house every Sunday at 4 PM at 5201 Paseo in Kansas City, MO. According to Wikipedia, the Hare Krishna mantra is a word repeated chant that helps bring followers closer to Krishna consciousness. Our outreach efforts and their outreach efforts had kind of a funny cross-talk going on. Spirtuality is definitely one of the ways that people can support themselves through adversity, though.
We also got a chance to interview Jacob Wiens of Tricycle Transit, who talked about using art and bicycling to overcome difficult times in his life. Jacob is a sculptor and granduate of Kansas City’s Art Institute.
We stopped for a while at Bad Seed organic farmer’s market where we talked with one man who wanted to tell us how gardening had been very influential in helping him handle bipolar illness. He said, “When I go out to garden and work in the dirt, all the stress in my life just goes away. The key is just to get outside. And the results….The result is that I went from 285 pounds and now I’m less than 218 pounds. Our bodies were made to be active. This is the best thing for mental illness. We are nature’s creatures, and we meant to be outsdoors. I went from three meds to not having to take any now.”
In Great Britain now, doctors can write people prescriptions for exercise, which has been shown to have a big or bigger effect on depression than antidepressants. A recent study publicized in the BBC showed that being outdoors is especially important for young people or people with mental illness and can boost mood in as little as five weeks.
Another guy we talked pointed out how important arts is for people’s well being. He pointed out that after 911 people were talking about cutting arts programs because of funding. Some advocates stood up for the arts and said, “No, now we need them more than ever. This is how we get through times like these. A lot of really good art came out of tough times like these. In the Great Depression arts were one of the important things funded by the Works Progress Administration.”
We talked with Lindsay Fletcher, a hairstylist. This short video shows he she uses her trade to help other people feel good about themselves and help her to make a difference in the world. We met up with Christina Hankinson, who talked about the work she’s done using art therapy and art camps to help kids with autism feel good about themselves. Another person who wanted to stay anonymous told us about using beads, jewelry, and macrame when she teaches kids. For them, being strong for their family is one of the most important things, and feeling that their parents have been a role model and an example of faith.
Our last video is from Mati Mat, or Matt O’Brian, who talked about using his band, and his singing and songwriting to get through really tough times in his life. He says that songwriting is kind of like journaling except that it’s done in public and people will get to benefit from your experience.