Whole Life Magazine

October / November 2016

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Page 34 of 43

creativity & art Connecting through Conscious Comics WLT: You've talked about your struggle with an eating disorder. How have you learned to have a healthy relationship with food? LP: It's been quite a jour- ney. About 10 years ago I reached a breaking point and I was terrifi ed it was never going to end. I was 25 and found myself walking around Stanford's campus, right next to Facebook. I was talking to my parents and then sud- denly fell to my knees and said for the fi rst time, I need help. They tried to help me, but I blocked them, though at least I got a therapist. The day my dad died, I vowed, for his sake, never to throw up again. But I was still binging all the time and feeling out of con- trol. Finally, it was time to get serious help. I went to a rehab cen- ter for fi ve months. I learned how I had been using food to manage my feelings, and spent that time learn- ing how to eat like a regular person, and also, the most important part, be with my own feelings without going to food to sooth myself. Since rehab, it's been an ongoing practice of recovery. Meditation, yoga and dance are key ways I stay connected to my body in a way that helps me choose to honor it. WLT: Have you always been inter- ested in the arts? LP: My mom has drawings from when I was very young that look re- markably similar to what I draw now. But I never had any inten- tion of being an artist. I was a sports kid, a brainy kid. I liked to write, but art was not my thing. Actual- ly, until I went to Burning Man in 2010 for the fi rst time, I would have told you that I didn't "get" art. I didn't see what the point of it was. You can imagine my own surprise when I sud- denly realized these silly stick fi gure drawings I was doing to get my point across about something, and to make myself and others smile, were actually turning into a thing. I think compel- ling art changes the world, in the most beautiful, honest way; both in terms of the present pleasure it can provide, as well as the inspiration for new thought, possibility and change. WLT: Did you always have a creative side, even though you originally pur- sued technology? LP: Yes! I'd been a blogger since the word blog was invented. I love to write. I would never have called myself an artist, but technology is immensely creative. To create something as complicated as the Facebook "Like" button and make it seem simple in design meant creative problem-solving every single day. I felt immensely nourished cre- atively, perhaps Dharma Comics was partially born from our attention of making the complicated simple. DHARMA COMICS L eah Pearlman invented Facebook's "Like" button, is the founder of Dharma Comics, a popular web series and author of DRAWN TOGETHER: A Dharma Comics Collection on the Curious Jour- ney Through Life and Love (October 2016/TarcherPerigee). october/november 2016 35

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