Kanye is being Kanye
Kanye West has gone to seek the Muses.
The “Life of Pablo” rap star has disappeared to a mountaintop retreat in Wyoming to seek inspiration for a new album, TMZ reported. The gossip site says it knows exactly where Kanye is, but uncharacteristically won’t spill the beans because they like his music too much to direct distractions his way. TMZ’s report ends the “Where is Kanye” parlor game that the chattering classes have been playing since West scrubbed his social media accounts last week and left his wife, Kim Kardashian West to attend last week’s Met Gala alone.
West is joining a long running series of creatives who’ve temporarily withdrawn from society to engage in their craft. In 1968, the Beatles famously traveled to an ashram in India to study transcendental meditation; a trip that resulted in songs for “The Beatles” and “Abbey Road.” Bill and Melinda Gates go into “Think Week” seclusion twice a year at a waterfront cottage in the Pacific Northwest, during which colleagues, friends and most family are barred from contacting them.
“Creativity breathes better in solitude,” says Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills psychotherapist. “It’s very clear that art comes from within the person and to access the space within, it helps to be extricated from human stimulation.” According to a 2016 study in the “Frontiers of Psychology journal, people who went on a month-long yoga retreat saw improvements in “mindfulness, wellbeing and personality,” even if they were already experienced yogis.
This benefits even typical office drones. “A person who has been on mindfulness retreats has much clearer access to the unconscious part of their mind,” says Donald Fleck, a New York mindfulness meditation expert. “There’s a logical mind but you’re more likely to come out with something different if you have greater access to the unconscious.”
Fleck regularly hosts retreats of various lengths, but doesn’t encourage people to immediately book lengthy trips into the wilderness. “Two weeks is a long time to be with your own mind,”he says. Instead, he recommends trying a mindfulness summit for a day, then perhaps a weekend and finally something longer.
Indeed, one can even withdraw too much from the madding crowd. “Most people want intermittent breaks when they have contact with other people, even for just lunch and dinner,” says Walfish. For example, the Beatles flocked to the ashram not just with each other but with a posse of lovers, assistants and reporters in tow too. The Gates obviously have each other during their fourteen days of solitude.
Having accessible human contact is especially important for Yeezy, since he allegedly suffered from a nervous breakdown last year that led to him canceling 21 concert dates. “For someone who has had recent emotional mental issues, it is extremely risky…to go anywhere far from a loving support system,” says Walfish. “It risks a serious regression” in mental health.
As such, she recommends that West invite either a close friend to join him or have his wife swing by (the social media superstar has been hanging out with her kids in Los Angeles.) “My message to Kanye is that he should be taking Kim and the kids along,” she says. “They can go skiing when he’s writing.”
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