(Photo above by Maler Photography)
Today we’re discussing creative work, but the lessons apply to virtually anything in your life that brings out feelings of resistance, fear or self-doubt.
Our guest is Monica Ong, a Connecticut-based visual poet and designer. She’s been practicing Buddhism ever since discovering it on study abroad in high school and our conversation today is filled with practical insights on how to navigate a creative career as a Buddhist.
Monica’s own story is about identity and paving her own way as a visual poet. In 2015, her book, Silent Anatomies, was selected by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo as the winner of the Kore Press First Book Award in poetry.
On this episode, she shares about her journey as a Buddhist and a creative, as well as how chanting helped her navigate the pandemic, when she struggled deeply with sleep issues and health.
Key takeaway: Chanting and taking small, consistent steps to tackle our self-doubt can help us create the life and work we are proudest of, no matter what others might think.
1:32 Introduction to Monica’s work
2:44 How she became a visual poet
6:53 When and why she started practicing Buddhism
11:08 How chanting impacted her creative work and path
15:36 Dealing with insomnia during the pandemic
23:55 How she has challenged self-doubt and resistance
33:18 Balancing work, art and family all at once
40:35 Navigating the desire for validation as an artist
47:47 Her favorite Buddhist teaching
50:03 What she’s working on now, and a poem about Vera Rubin
Note: In the poem about Vera Rubin that Monica reads at the end of the show, she refers to an excerpt from this article.