Suicide is a difficult topic for the living.
And it hardly seems approachable on this lovely Spring Saturday.
This post has been stirring since I learned of the death of Dr. Frederic Brandt,
celebrity dermatologist, who recently committed suicide.
It was exactly a year ago to the day of his death that I posted about his work,
under the title About Face III.
It has been reported that Dr. Brandt was in despair,
and devastated regarding comedic characterizations of his appearance and personality.
It has been difficult to articulate to myself why I would wish to address his work again…
maybe there are too many metaphors, ironies–best to leave the dead in peace?
Perhaps I am trying to punctuate prior posts on the subject?
In pondering this,
with great feeling and sensitivity,
I would suggest that seeking to alter one’s visage is a perverse form of perfectionism–
leading one further and further away from him or herself…
In suicide, apart from the loss of a life, is the tragedy left to the living as to “why”.
We can never know, exactly.
I would offer this: Perfectionism Kills.
Marion Woodman spoke strongly and seriously about the fatal flaw of perfectionism.
In that, how we will always fail in the attempt, and are doomed in the attempt.
I offer my respect to a doctor, a healer, who went beyond the human and became a God to so many in the limelight.
Rest in peace Dr. Brandt.
Vox Anima, SDM
It’s time for a little self deprecating humor.
Please humor me.
When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with my mother’s lipstick: Fire Engine Red.
My curiosity led me to her vanity mirror where I smudged my little face with red.
I can clearly see mother’s reflection and the shocked/angry expression on her face–
That was the only make-up she wore.
That, and Chanel #5 and stiletto heels!
(they used to be called spike heels)
(as I write this in my cozy acorn wooly slippers)
To this day,
Lipstick means Mom.
The Mom that was a beautiful, spirited woman, who died too young, and left a little girl without the best woman in the world to guide her into adulthood.
So, perhaps it is no wonder that I have an affinity for lipsticks, pencils, and glosses.
Reveal: I count 25 in my kit and kaboodle.
I also must admit, I do like shoes.
But there is not a high heel in my closet.
Oh, maybe one.
Pretty racy, eh?
Well, dear reader, thank you for bearing with my meandering muse on early lessons and lingering influences about beauty.
Love you Mom!
Images from Pinterest
“For by his face straight, shall you know his heart.”
Shakespeare, Richard III
“The face is the soul of the body.”
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,
but when I am ill, I tend to be looking more (or maybe noticing more)
Signs, symptoms, health, wellness…
The eyes are my barometer, measuring degrees of such.
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.”
Marilyn Monroe said: “I can make my face do anything I want.”
That is Mastery.
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?
Hamlet to Gertrude: “You go not, till I set up a glass–
where you may see the inmost part of you.
Vox Anima, SDM
Art Credit: Tumblr & Pinterest
“A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of Grand Jatte “
…just one more image that reflects the transition into autumn.
Yesterday, was the best blend of cool and crisp; warm and sunny.
The feeling in this painting reflects perfectly the energy in my household yesterday afternoon. Sigh.
My beloved enjoyed his last cigar of summer (outside).
I pampered myself (inside).
Windows, doors open to let the blithe air in.
(I suppose I am blogging in reverse)
Saturday in Ashland’s Lithia Park was bliss.
After all the smoke and fire of summer,
we are enjoying our first true rain today.
(can you tell that I am not a linear thinker?)
Liquid golden wishes to you, dear readers.
Vox Anima, SDM
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.
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.
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!
It is through the image that healing takes place:
“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.
Art Credit: Robert Vickrey
“The Paradox of life and death
returns in a new form at each new spiral of growth.
If we accept this,
we are not torn apart by the opposites.” ~ Marion Woodman
Lydia came to us with her name.
She was on her way to becoming a junk yard dog, when we learned about her.
Her retriever buoyancy and passion for children was too much for the first family.
Lydia joined ours, and became the youngest sib to two other dogs.
She brought a balance to the ruff and tuff one, and a job for the eldest, which needed a maternal herding outlet. A fine little trio. And, a LOT of energy.
Her diagnosis of untreatable cancer came suddenly this week.
I recalled Marion Woodman’s (MW) story about her own dogs, as soul animals.
And Neil Russack’s book on Animal Guides, where he writes about the capacity for deep healing intimacy between humans and animals:
“…so my own little dog kept me linked to life when my vitality was fading. When I took him with me into the country, we would take a long walk during the day, then spend the evening by the fire. Sometimes, we walked at dead of night in the dark woods, and the white tip of his tail would lead me home in the starlight. He was the one who, by helping me find my way, showed me who I was.”
Both Woodman and Russack remark on the timing, the co~incidence of the dog’s death, as a punctuation in their own individuation journeys.
Perhaps, as I just crossed the threshold of 60 years, Lydia has been with me for the empty nest Demeter depression, and the entrance of The Crone?
Animal behavior experts warn against anthropomorphizing, or projecting human sentiments and characteristics onto our animals.
Fine then. Projection removed.
But I say, what about Soul?
“Soul hears with eternal ears,
sees with eternal eyes,
smells with eternal nose.” ~MW
And I would add, Soul’s Body wags with eternal tail.
Vox Anima, SDM
Priming the pump is generally defined as:
a government action taken to stimulate an economy during a recessionary period.
I borrow the metaphor for the creative process, to get the juices flowing, as it were, after a lengthy period of —
Stagnation? Stagflation? Incubation?
At any rate, some sort of, “-tion”.
Another way to look at the metaphor is the hand water pump.
As a child, my first experience of the water pump was on the deck of the family cabin in Wilsonia, CA.
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountains at 6,617 elevation, our cabin was a refuge from Fresno’s blistering summer heat.
Built by my Maternal Grandfather’s family, the cabin served as my wild sanctuary.
I remember photos of these men in model T Fords crawling up those hillsides, like bugs, loaded with building materials!
The cabin was bare bones primitive.
A common room, with stone fireplace and built in dining table and benches (which held storage of games, cards, and books about mythology) was the heart of the place.
My favorite piece of furniture was the the suede fringe chair by the big console radio. The mammoth photo of a snarling mountain lion hung over the couch nearby. I preferred my distance from the cat.
A tiny kitchen, the size of a small closet, was the place for meal preparation and clean up.
3 Bedrooms, with strange wall art that the family had accumulated in the Southwest–very Georgia O’Keefe. Patchwork quilts made up the old brass beds. Each room had a chamber pot, in the event one did not wish to make the long trip outside and down the steep stairs to the outhouse.
The only running water to be found was out of that miraculous marvelous hand pump on the deck.
After minutes of pump priming, freshets of icy pure mountain water would emerge, never failing to delight me.
When the plumbing upgrade happened, bringing a shower and running water inside, I was deflated. Perhaps, the reconfiguration away from the source was drying to my little soul?
…C.G. Jung utilized the image of the riverbed as a way to describe archetypes.
The riverbed may dry up at times, but the water surely finds its way back to the grooves laid down over eons.
Perhaps, the beginning of this blog is like that initial trickle of water from the aquifers of the Soul.
I invite and welcome your comments as we prime the pump together.
Vox Anima, SDM