Art Before Breakfast

0219_drawing-breakfast-624x434Today I heard an interview with author Danny Gregory that charmed and captivated me.

He has just published a book:

“Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways To Be More Creative, No Matter How Busy You are”

(I have no proprietary interest)

I know that many of you who subscribe and read this blog have an affinity for the arts.

I want to share this work with you,

particularly, as Self Expression and the Creative Process is dear to my heart.

I’ll quote a little from the author, and you can see for yourself the appeal.

(I hope)

“Be here.  Now.  Art stops time.  When you draw or paint what’s around you, you see it for what it is.  Instead of living in a virtual world, as we do most of the time these days, you will be present in the real one…tell your story.

Danny's Breakfast
Danny’s Breakfast

Life is just a long succession of small epiphanies.  You need to stop and seize them.  By making art, you will be recording what you are living through and what you are learning about it.  Your art will set a frame around it and give you perspective on what really maters…

Welcome to the world.  It’s not perfect, but beautiful. And the most beautiful things have character and experience built into them…We all live in chaos.  It’s the natural state of things…everything is always changing…turning into cosmic mush…Creativity is the act of shaping the mush of the world around us into something–of creating your own order.

There are always to0 many things to do, too many obligations and chores that take precedence over you.  Maybe you think to yourself, ‘Sure, I’d love to make art, but I don’t have the time to indulge myself right now, etc. etc.’  It’s the essence of life.  It’s what distinguishes us from the mush.  And it’s why our ancestors survived while other less adaptive critters perished.  They responded to change by being creative in some way, by inventing new answers to the chaos…art-before-breakfast-680x450

Creativity can become a habit that fits into your life, like Pilates or flossing, only a lot more fulfilling. You just need to shift your perspective on what it is to be creative…You just have to be you–and express what that means.

I plan to read his book and use it.

Anyone care to join me?

We could form the Vox Anima Breakfast Club.

Vox Anima,  SDM

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Illustrations by Danny Gregory

Other Art Credit: Tumblr

About Face IV

 “For by his face straight, shall you know his heart.”

Shakespeare, Richard III

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 “The face is the soul of the body.”

~ Wittgenstein

As I continue the exploration of Face, Beauty, and Soul, I thought I’d zero in on how much is really happening, phenomenally, in our one and only Face.

I don’t spend a LOT of time in front of the mirror,

(really, truly)

but when I am ill, I tend to be looking more (or maybe noticing more)

For?

Signs, symptoms, health, wellness…

The eyes are my barometer, measuring degrees of such.

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Let’s re~visit James Hillman on the Force of the Face.

“Not because of cosmetics and surgery is the face an aesthetic phenomenon, but because it is biologically so.

Besides the muscles needed functionally to chew, kiss, sniff, blow, squint, blink, and twitch  away a fly, most of the forty-five facial muscles serve only emotional expression.”

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Marilyn Monroe said:  “I can make my face do anything I want.”

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That is Mastery.

Lauren Bacall
Lauren Bacall

Hillman, continued:  “The face reveals character, the mirror does not lie.

My face announces my presence, reports my nature, and above all, by facing outward, bears a message for others.  Angels blow trumpets.  They call for awakening.  So does the face; it demands response.”

So, dear reader, I would posit this:  What message does your/my face bear for others?

What awakening is being called for in that face of yours/mine?

What response is being asked for, demanded?

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Hamlet to Gertrude:  “You go not, till I set up a glass–

where you may see the inmost part of you.

Vox Anima, SDM

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Art Credit:  Tumblr & Pinterest

PrettyPorn: Living The Instagram Life

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Did you know that Instagram is now touted to be the new Facebook?

(!)

I found a most provocative piece in the NY Times (of all places), written by financial planner Carl Richards.

Now I must confess, my news reading habits do not generally fall to the financial page, but he caught me with this one:  Living the Instagram Life.

In it, he confesses and admits to shadowy things.

Competitiveness, for example:  “It’s very difficult to compete without feeling envy.  A wise friend once told me that every time you try to compete, you’ll always lose.  Because even if you’re the best this year, someone will be better than you next year.”

(I hear echoes of Marion Woodman on Addiction to Perfection in this)

Money:   “And nowhere does envy raise its ugly head more often than with money.  Earlier this year, a former hedge fund trader wrote an op-ed…that opened with this line:

‘In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million–and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough.’

(!!!)

Richards continues… “Something good happened to this guy, but in his mind, it wasn’t good enough because he knew there were other people who received more. Who receives $3.6 mil and gets angry about it?

People who want to live what I call an Instagram life versus a real life.”

He goes on…

“If we’re living a real life, we’ve gained the understanding that getting more doesn’t always lead to feeling happier.  In an Instagram life, we’re instead focused on making it look like we have a better life than everyone else.  But even as we take our own pictures and apply filters to our world, we’re flipping through other people’s photo streams and feeling envious about what we see.”

(Hm!)

… i.e., “they’re only stories…by making these stories our focus, we’ll never be satisfied.  There will always be something else we don’t have that someone else does,

and our envy becomes a trigger for all the bad behavior we’re supposedly trying to avoid.”

E. A. Hanks, a writer and blogger posted about this in the Huffpost 2011.

(yes.  the Huffpost)

She called it PrettyPorn.

“I have a problem:  I can’t stop looking at porn.  I can look at it for hours and I’m not satisfied.  Worse, I think it’s giving me unrealistic expectations..I don’t even really remember how it got started…

If I’m honest, it started when I was looking for new curtains, which then lead to rug possibilities.   Suddenly I needed to pick out a new paint color for my bedroom, and pretty soon I was waking up in the middle of the night feeling as though that I simply had to see more soft-lit pictures of people kissing in swathes of wildflowers…

Goth Fiesta
Goth Fiesta

Here are some of the things that figure largely with PrettyPorn:

Scanned polaroids of cozy-looking disheveled beds; charmingly messy dinner tables post-dinner; high quality jpegs of romantic braided hair; skinny women’s pale backs; cats; cups of tea/wine; fields of wildflowers.    Lots of French things.”

(I would specify Parisian)

Slim Paley
Slim Paley

“PrettyPorn consists of the seemingly endless chain of blogs where dreamy young things post photos and notes (and poems!) about the things they think are beautiful.  It’s an ongoing love affair with an aesthetic based on fragility, beauty, and romance.  “

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pinzelladablava

(I would add sentimentality, and we know what Jung had to say about that)

So Hanks admits her addiction to it, and alluded to the thesis Richards posits,

which, in essence  means if we’re busy consuming others’ images and measuring ourselves by them, then we are not living our own life.

Unknown

So here is a confession from yours truly.

In all honesty,

I can fall into PrettyPorn too.

I fall, get up, take a shower, and remember my life.

I am truly and more sincerely interested in authenticity.

Authentic Beauty.

I’ll be writing more about this…

And I ask you dear readers, bear with me!!!

And please do let me know your thoughts on this.

(It can get a little lonely out here in the muck and the mire)

Warrior Dash Arkansas Outside.com
Warrior Dash
Arkansas Outside.com

Vox Anima, SDM

muck and mire cemetery blog
muck and mire cemetery blog

The Unfolding Story…

Baba Yaga Child Forest Rogers
Baba Yaga Child
Forest Rogers

“Daily we unfold our stories into the world–

some of them consciously constructed, some of them arising of their own accord.

Stories run through us from our ancestors,

from our culture,

from our environment.

There are stories we tell ourselves,

stories which tell us,

even (perhaps especially)

if we are unaware of them.” ~ James Hollis

Beyond identification with family and career, I have wondered about the “pull threads” in my life, my story–or as C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell put it:  What Myth am I living? Or, more plainly, now at the turning point of age 61, “What am I here for?”

I have long resonated with the Cinderella story.

Particularly the Russian version of Vasalisa the Brave.

Vasalisa the Wise.

Vasalisa the Beautiful.

Vasilisa

After some time in the swamplands of the Soul, I think I just might have an idea.

Shannon Kirsten Calligraphy
Shannon Kirsten
Calligraphy

Vox Anima:  Wishing you beauty,  SDM

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Art Credit goes to Ivan Bilibin

A Memory Museum

“The only history you can really know is your own.  The only art I am truly an expert on I’ve  experienced firsthand.  As a critic, I am partly research analyst, comparing and evaluating new data.

But I’m also a curator of my memory, which carries traces of art encounters from over the years.

A few of those encounters–with certain objects, books, buildings –have altered the atmosphere, changed how I see and joined a permanent collection that I regularly revisit.”

~ Holland Carter,  August 5, 2014, NY Times

Hagia Sophia
Hagia Sophia

 

After just finishing “The Goldfinch”, by Donna Tartt, let’s just say I have been steeped in the idea of how deeply art affects an individual, and why.

NY Times
NY Times

Cotter’s article, in essence, asks the question:  What works of art have changed you?

Intriguing.

This had me musing and remembering the first time I viewed a particular painting,

and “got it”.

It was the direct experience of this painting that kindled a fire of knowing

how art moves and matters.

flickr

Georgia O’Keeffe

de Young Museum  San Francisco

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Petunias

So, now I ask you, dear reader,

to share about what art experiences have shaped you?

Vox Anima, SDM
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Hele On!

I am in the process of moving to a new office space.

My fifth, in private practice.

As an intern, I began in a professional office suite in an historical building on a Hawaii bay front in Hilo.

 

37-8 The S. Hata Building

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With views like this.

What a pleasure to step outside and feel the soft breeze on the skin.

Hawaii is definitely a place for the senses.

Nostalgia!

(perhaps the topic for another post)

Back on the Mainland, my next two offices were apartments, which I converted into office space.  Casual, homey, private, and comfortable.

Of those two, my favorite was the one on Third St., a Victorian in a historical district.

(even though it was cold in the winter) 

The Space has always been very important to me.  

After all, it is The Space which holds the Psychotherapist and Client.

In the beginning, without completely understanding why,

the paramount nature of The Space has been a critical piece of my work life happiness.

I remember reading research about the significance of the office and its effect on client outcomes — the findings were counterintuitive for me.

Which, in essence said that it didn’t matter!

I took a leave of absence in 2010, and when I returned, I was on the hunt for the next space.

I found a house, which is shared by other professionals:  a civil engineer, massage therapists.

My room is small, I made do, and it has served well, but I have been squished.

I would go to work, acknowledge feeling squishy, and keep on keeping on.

Perennially, my radar has been on for a larger, more accommodating space.

One in which invites stretching out, moving, and more ways to play and express…

For four years nothing remotely right surfaced.

(that is a long time to feel squished)

I was steadfast in my standpoint of the space being right,

in terms of energy, or chi if you will.

Lo, and Behold!

One of my roomies decides to move on, quite suddenly it seems.

The Space, down the hall became available to me.

As with most decisions like this, I sleep on it.

I waited to see what the resonances would be as The Space emptied.

All is well.

The process, the creative process of making it mine is underway.

Facing north – east and painted in a cold, dirty white, it begged for color!

After a little back and forth with mySelf about how FAR to go with this,

my Soul won out.

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As I write this, the painting is about complete.

One wall remains, which will be painted in Spirit Blue.

The African Art will go up, and things put away will re-join me there like old friends.

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Goat Boys by Betty LaDuke

I anticipate, in many ways, that this will feel like an ascent,

a homecoming, after four years in the doldrums.

This reminds me too, of the patience and absolute trust required for Soul.

That nothing should be forced.

That the unfolding is underway, even if invisible to the eye.

There is a Hawaiian pidgin expression that speaks to this:  Bon bye.

Loosely translated:

Bye and Bye.

All in good time.

All in God’s time.

There is also an expression for moving on:  Hele On!

And so I am…

Aloha and Vox Anima,

SDMHealer, by Betty LaDukeHealer by Betty La Duke

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.

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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