Waterlogued

If you have been following my Blog, you all know how important the Image is to me.

As part of the creative process, many Posts suggest themselves, and are driven by image before the written word is applied.

Whether in clip art, fine art, paintings, sketches, statuary, all speak to me.

It is no wonder I became a Sandplay therapist, and am continually drawn,

(no pun intended)

to how the image amplifies, contains, and fulfills a concept.

Lately, I find myself pulled to photography more and more.

(it is probably time to step up to a new camera)

I came across a new Application:  Waterlogue.

It has transformed many of my photographs into Monet inspired watercolors!

(speaking of, Huguette Clark’s Monet just sold for $17 million)

Here is a sampling of my own Little Monets!

 

Painted in Waterlogue

 

 

Painted in Waterlogue

 

 

Painted in Waterlogue

 

Waterlogue lends itself best to landscapes and still life photos.

 

Painted in WaterlogueThe Ashland Library.

Painted in Waterlogue

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter Eggs.

Sometimes, human subjects turn out well…

Painted in Waterlogue

My grandson, Soren, Painter of Easter Eggs.  And Mad Scientist (with friend).

Painted in Waterlogue Painted in Waterlogue

And his little Brother, Sacha.

Painted in Waterlogue

(suitable for framing)

Vox Anima,

SDM

 

 

 

 

 

My Big Backyard

One can’t always be living down in the depths,

one has to ascend to the topside world once in a while!

Today’s post is about a place in my big backyard.

Ashland Oregon.

I live at the border of Far Northern California and Southern Oregon.

A mere 30 miles away to Ashland, and I am on a mini vacation.

The Ashland Chamber of Commerce certainly does not need my assistance in promoting their community.

However, Ashland has been, and always will be a Soul Place for me.

I began frequenting Ashland regularly in 1997.

The year of the big flood.

The year I met my beloved Sandplay therapist, Sue Haskell.

I became familiar with the many good things Ashland had to offer,

and I am quite sure it had something to do with my healing process.

Do any of you, dear readers, have such places?

Good food, good books, and beauty are all on my Soul’s menu of necessities.

Here are a few photos from last Saturday’s Sojourn…

Upstairs at Bloomsbury Books.IMG_3512

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Keep an eye on the kiddos when you are in the cafe.

The following was quite a tempting recommendation to order a little something to go with my cappuccino.

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Um, I think I’ll pass on the daily special.

IMG_3521Downstairs at Bloomsbury’s.  One could get a little lost–happily.

One of my rituals after seeing my beloved Sue,

was to bring home a loaf of bread for dinner.

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The Village Baker

And, a stroll in a nearby neighborhood.

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The Library with the statue that proclaims:  “Light the Way”.

And sweet artful businesses…

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It was a good day.

Vox Anima, SDM

Photo Credit:  My Trusty iPhone 5SIMG_3535

Shadow Child

The tyranny of the past is never greater than when we do not recall.”

~James Hollis

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978), "Spring Flowers," 1969

 

On this lovely spring morning, with Robins dancing about, it seems like torture to muse about the Shadow.  Sigh.  But as Jung taught, what does not come to consciousness, comes to us as fate.  The Shadow is tricksy enough–I’d rather chip away at it…

 

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The Shadow, as Jung understood it, contains the best and worst parts of ourselves.  And it is a psychic function that these parts remain put away, hidden, in the shadows as it were–hidden away from ourselves by ourselves.

(what a phenomenal trick!)

One of the early major tasks of recovering from childhood trauma, is to retrieve the Child.

Left in the shadows, swimming in the old trauma soup, I had to find mine, bring her up, and love her for all that she is.

In the beginning, once we met, it was quite tender and positive.

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Overindulged sometimes.  Spoiled sometimes.

Norman-Rockwell-Nanny

 

In re-reading “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life”:  How to Finally, Really Grow up” by James Hollis, I realize that the child is quite alive and well in me, and that perhaps I had over identified with the positive side of the archetype–leaving the negative, shall we say to the Shadow?

(there I go again!)

Somehow, I wanted to make her Divine, which is mixing metaphors, archetypally speaking.

(I hope I am making sense here)

Hollis writes in the section titled Becoming Who We Think We Are about the inevitable existential childhood woundings of Overwhelmment and Insufficiency.  

I was quite familiar with Insufficiency, but my Ego disallowed Overwhelmment as a possibility.  When I reviewed the stratagems of this wounded aspect,

(it took me 5 disturbing read throughs to get it)

I saw my Shadow Child there.

 Sulking.  Wanting.  Power.  Control.  Hiding Out.

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Hollis advises:  “After all, these adaptive stratagems experimentally evolved to help us survive, and without them we might not have gotten out of childhood.  But can we readily give our lives over to these conditioned reflexes now that we know they are there? … “

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He further states: “Go ahead, defend that child as one should, but do not give it the power of choice in your adult life…learn anew that the adult can manage so much more than the child.”

 

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Vox Anima, SDM

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Art Credit:  Norman Rockwell

 

The New Testament of Mary

This post is about a book.

“The Testament of Mary”, by Colm To’bi’n.

(the punctuation marks should be directly over the letter o and i — I do the best I can on my  Mac keyboard)

I normally have a number of books that I am reading at any one time.  A kind of rotation.

Mainly, nonfiction, poetry, fairy tales, and some fiction.  I find true stories and biographies more compelling than other genres.

I purchased this book well over a year ago after hearing Terry Gross interview the author.

To’bi’n’s portrait casts a spell.

In a strict, unsparing narrative of 81 pages, he presents her as a solitary older woman seeking to understand the events surrounding and after the crucifixion.  In a latter life stage individuation task, she judges herself and others harshly.

From the cover note:

“This woman whom we know from centuries of paintings and scripture as docile, loving, silent, long-suffering, obedient, worshipful mother of Christ becomes a tragic heroine with the relentless eloquence of Electra or Medea or Antigone.”

I found this self-effacing study of the human Mary to be gripping, enigmatic, and a testament to Self Honesty.  Toward the end,  Mary shares dream material, which demonstrates the veracity of the Dream and how the Dream brings Truth.

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I first saw this Pieta at the De Young Museum in San Francisco.

Massive in size and impact.

And as I read The Testament of Mary, the painting returned to me,

again and again and again.

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Vox Anima,  SDM

Art Credit:  Adolphe William Bouguereau, Pieta  1876

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Apples and Oranges

Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne

In the interest of transparency…here goes…

(what you just heard was the sound of swallowing hard)

Have you ever caught yourself in the act of comparing yourself to others? I found myself caught in the shadow’s grip (again!) of looking at someone else’s lovely oranges, while my own lovely apple was in plain view.

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I thought, it is a permutation of Little Envy, my shadow sister.  She’s quite a little monkey! And, she loves bananas.

 

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But last night, in my dreams, Envy appeared as a man.

 

Burning Man Bandit Photo by Robert S. Kline
Burning Man Bandit
Photo by Robert S. Kline

A red-haired, mustachioed Bandit.  He was trying to kidnap me…

(as Jung said, look no further than the facts of the dream)

The dream resolved with me singing to Bandit, and eventually, he softened, melted, and sang along with me.

(Dream endings aren’t always so neat and swift, by the way.)

 

 

In Cinderella and Her Sisters:  The Envied and the Envying by Ann & Barry Ulanov, they make the point that the act of envying objectifies the one being envied, and, in essence, robs them of their humanity.

I thought of it much like turning one into a sex object.  Horrors!

I have also been on the receiving end of envy.

 

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And I can tell you, it feels CREEPY.

And, no matter how I protested my humanity to the one envying me, I could not be seen, heard, or understood for who I am.  Terribly frustrating and nonproductive, too, I can tell you.

I think the best I can do, any of us can do, is catch ourselves in the act.  

BYU College of Fine Arts
BYU College of Fine Arts

And then, seeker that I am, ask my Self about this need or deficit that I am picking on in the act of comparison?  And do so with love, and forgiveness in this business of being human.

Who was it that said:  “Nothing human is alien to me.” ?

Wiki (the ultimate source) quotes Terence, the ancient Roman Playwright”:

“Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto” or

“I am a human being, I consider nothing that is human alien to me.”

Unknown

Amen.

Vox Anima, SDM

About Face III

I was going to title this post:  From the Neck Up.

Dr. Frederic Brandt
Dr. Frederic Brandt

Does the face say it all?

Would you trust your face to Dr. Brandt?

A New York Times article claims that many people do.

As many as 30 patients a day @ $7000 a pop.

You might recognize a few of his famous patients here.

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…Returning to James Hillman on The Force of The Face…

and just in the nick of time.

(and no pun intended)

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Hillman discusses the ravages and pain of cosmetic procedures,

and the loss of connection with one’s identity in the process.

He quotes Joyce Nash, Ph.D., who describes her face lift in detail:

Most patients underestimate the amount of pain and physical trauma involved in cosmetic surgery.

They are also unprepared for the depression that may ensue.”

Trauma? Besides the acute postoperative distress, which passed in time,

there were long-term effects:

Nash had trouble wearing earrings,

because her earlobes were sutured to the surrounding skin.

Her glasses no longer held behind her ears.

Her jaw was permanently discolored,

and she had the sensation that a strap was cinched tight under her chin and over her skull.

“What I saw was disturbing.

 It didn’t look like me,

and it didn’t feel like me.

Something was lost.

A sense of sadness welled up…

The frown lines, the sleepy look, the sagging cheeks and neck were gone.”

Hillman continues…

Nash’s “improved appearance” treats the face as a new and improved product,

according not only with the younger age she feels,

but with standardized notions of appearance.

(sound familiar ladies?)

Her postoperative image adapts to convention imagery;

is that also the image of her character?

Has she abandoned her uniqueness, sold her soul?

It is the effects in the face, the transmission to it of the passions of character,

that Marilyn Monroe hoped to have the courage to face.

Marilyn Monroe, actress, New York City, May 6, 1957

Anna Magnani, the great postwar Italian actress of passions,

supposedly told the makeup man doing her face for a scene:

“Don’t take out a single line.  I paid for each one.”

magnani 3Magnani3600full-anna-magnani

Vox Anima, SDM

Photo Credit NY Times – Mike Trebay

“The Man Behind the Face”

Other photos credited to Tumblr & Public Domain

Woman Without a Past

Jeremy Lipking
Jeremy Lipking

In my very first post, Priming the Pump,  I wrote about Source, or the Wellspring from which creativity and life flows…and my beloved Wilsonia.

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My family of origin, through trauma and tragedy lost all photographs and memorabilia.  It was, in effect, an obliteration of the ancestors.  The family history.  And, as time went on, it was as if some part of me, or my past had never existed.

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When I stumbled onto the art of Jana Botkin, a kind of photographic memory in my psyche was constellated.  And the realization that without the reflecting mirror of the image, the effect was akin to being a woman without a past.  No wonder, at times, I have been so orphaned and bereft!  No mirror in people, places or things to remind me of who I was, where I came from, and how far I have come!

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Stimulated by photos and drawings of my dearly beloved childhood sanctuary, helped me to remember myself.  

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It is through the image that healing takes place:

jungreading“The great problems of life…are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious.  These images are really balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality.  This is not to be marveled at, since these images are deposits representing the accumulated experience of thousands of years of struggle for adaptation and existence.”  C. G. Jung

 

 It is through the artful image that body and soul are released and restored.

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bubblesVox Anima, SDM

Art Credit:  Robert Vickrey

About Face II

“I want to grow old without facelifts.

They take the life out of a face, the character.

I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made.”

Marilyn Monroe

Miss-Monroe-marilyn-monroe-32256592-1131-707

And the discussion continues…

and the exploration of the subject of aging.

Long before 60, I have been interested in the subject of Beauty.

Real beauty;  that which is enduring, authentic, and more than skin deep.

This is a large subject–perhaps requiring more posts or…?

 

Recent study turned to “The Force of Character and the Lasting Life” by James Hillman.

Fontana_delle_Arti_Via_ Margutta_2010_Rome

Parenthetically, and historically, I will say Hillman’s work has not spoken easily to me.  And I do find it interesting that it is from a masculine perspective I find some grains of truth in exploring the archetype of aging, as it applies to conscious femininity.

However, his “Interlude on the Force of Face” has my attention.

I have excerpted some of his research below.

Roland Barthes makes a useful distinction between the chronos of biology and the chronos of passion, such as we see in Rembrandt’s late self-portraits where the ravages depicted are due less to the passing of time than to the effects of passion.

It is these effects, that Monroe hoped to have the courage to face.

She spoke not of the biological face, but the face “I’ve made”.

 

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…the human face as an archetypal phenomenon bears one message: utter vulnerability.

Therefore, the face will be disguised, covered, decorated, surgically altered–

or on the contrary, deprived of all possibilities of hiding, as in the abject condition of prisoner, captive and victim.

This is why our faces are so impossibly difficult to accept:  We are staring into “vulnerability itself”.

Perhaps this is why, vanity and introversion aside,

I have been loathe,  and remain loathe to be photographed!

I cannot bear the primordial image embracing my whole character, as it remains incomplete, and is still taking shape!

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“From mirror after mirror

No vanity’s displayed

I’m looking for the face I had

Before the world was made.”

Yeats

Hillman wrote that Jung did more than transcend Freud when he relativized the power of the analyst by opening analysis to the face.  Face-to-face.

And, in Marion Woodman’s evolution of the Body Soul, she found phenomenal evidence for the power of the face, and the witnessing Other.

“A face, in the end, is the place where the coherent mind becomes an image.”

James Elkins

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…I intend to find the facial courage I will need, to see what the mirror can only fleeting give, on this journey of individuation…

Vox Anima, SDM

Art Credit:   Diane Epstein Photography

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Molto Mantra Per Favore

I remember sitting with my beloved psychotherapist, guide, and mother mentor and exclaiming:  I forgot!

In context, let’s just say, that I had forgotten something quite essential to my own being and nature.  And in the process of Her presence, I remembered.

After my exclamation and reflexive self criticism on forgetting, She, with great love, reassured me that this is the human condition.

And, pointed out all are subject to the phenomenon of forgetting and remembering in developing consciousness.

Martha Graham  Photo by Imogen Cunningham
Martha Graham
Photo by Imogen Cunningham

If memory serves, this was over a decade ago.

MarthaGraham“If any one faculty of our nature may be called more wonderful than the rest, I do think it is memory.  There seems something more speakingly incomprehensible in the powers, the failures, the inequalities of memory, than in any other of our intelligences.  The memory is sometimes so retentive, so serviceable, so obedient; at others, so bewildered and so weak; and at others again, so tyrannic, so beyond control! We are, to be sure, a miracle every way; but our powers of recollecting and of forgetting do seem peculiarly past finding out. ”  Jane Austen,  Mansfield Park

In recalling the birth of this website, again, over a decade ago, I want to revive the mantra that guided me at the time–a kind of love letter to the Soul:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into Martha Graham 40, 1931_jpgaction; and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  If you block it, it will never exist in any other medium and it will be lost.  The world will not have it.  You must keep that channel open.  It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable.  Nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is for you to keep it yours, clearly, and directly.”  Martha Graham

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Vox Anima, SDM

Martha Graham

Photo Credits:  Tumblr

About Face I

John William Waterhouse
John William Waterhouse

In a prior post, I promised to return to the subject of aging and vanity.

Fasten your seat belt–here we go!

Mark Shaw Vanity Fair
Mark Shaw
Vanity Fair

 

Mark Shaw Vanity Fair
Mark Shaw
Vanity Fair

 

For about 10 days, or so, I have been under the weather, with a ROTTEN cold.

Bored, I read everything in sight, including  “Empty Mansions:  The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune”.  Won’t spoil it for you, but talk about the Introvert’s Introvert!

Huguette Clark
Huguette Clark

I started Hillary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall”  but found the bloody 1500’s a little too much for my state of being.  Ever notice how when you are sick, things (even benign) take on a malevolent tinge?

Boredom led to the Online News.

“50 and Fabulous!” the headline crowed.  Over 999 sources and articles were listed.  Oh my.  My little shadow sister, whom I will name Envy, had a field day.

Exhausted, and mildly ashamed, I turned to lighter reading.  Real Simple’s January edition on THE BALANCED LIFE.

Immediately, that little monkey, Envy, found an article on SOLVE YOUR SKIN PROBLEMS.  

  Q:  Acne and wrinkles at the same time? A:  Try a Retinoid. Daily.

Now wait, We thought:  Isn’t there some Retinol in the medicine cabinet from our beloved’s brush with skin cancer? Hmmmm.  Isn’t that the same stuff in these fancy shmancy potions?  Hmmmmmm…

Vanity

After 10 days of never ending mucous, hacking, and dehydration and the lovely wardrobe to bring comfort (old stained thermals in the shade of tootsie roll brown), it seemed like a good idea!  Why not multi-task?  If Flotus can be 50 and fab, open to Botox and Refreshers, We can at least be “60 and Scintillating!”

I began the Retinol.

Day 1.  Ok!  A little dryness, tightness.  Isn’t that what it is supposed to do?

Day 2.  Hm.  Ok…

Day 3.   The Sahara Desert appeared to be on my face and in the mirror.

Alarmed,  I thought:  “It’s that wicked cold!  Has me so dehydrated!!”.

But wait,  I had plenty of water, tea, made 4 different kinds of soup (from scratch).

Day 4.  Did I get overexposed to the Sun in the dead of winter? Nope. CR@P.

All is Vanity

Dammit Envy! Dammit Vanity!

Every day since has been a vain attempt at reviving my poor face.

You know that old cliche about being comfortable in your own skin?

I’ll add that to my Bamboo List (see Going Bamboo).

Vox Anima, SDM

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