The following article was recently published in Psychologica Magazine’s special edition on Trauma. I’ve included a link to the full magazine, lots of great articles on trauma treatments, both from a clinical perspective as well as personal. Hope you might find something that resonates.
Tag Archives: Arts
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silent spaces…pause between words…shaping time…making art.
There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.
The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the ﬂoor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.
The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.
The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.
And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night
like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.
I stayed suspended and green
between sun and geography –
I saw how wings worked,
how perfumes are transmitted
by feathery telegraph,
and from above I saw the path,
the springs and the roof tiles,
the fishermen at their trades,
the trousers of the foam;
I saw it all from my green sky.
I had no more alphabet
than the swallows in their courses,
the tiny, shining water
of the small bird on fire
which dances out of the pollen.
by Pablo Neruda, from Fully Empowered, 1962
translated from the Spanish by Alastair Reid
In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand
there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see
or the child’s older self, a poet,
a woman dreaming when she should be typing
the last report of the day. If this were a map,
she thinks, a map laid down to memorize
because she might be walking it, it shows
ridge upon ridge fading into hazed desert
here and there a sign of aquifers
and one possible watering‐hole. If this were a map
it would be the map of the last age of her life,
not a map of choices but a map of variations
on the one great choice. It would be the map by which
she could see the end of touristic choices,
of distances blued and purpled by romance,
by which she would recognize that poetry
isn’t revolution but a way of knowing
why it must come. If this cheap,
mass‐produced wooden stand from the Brooklyn Union Gas Co.,
mass‐produced yet durable, being here now,
is what it is yet a dream‐map
so obdurate, so plain,
she thinks, the material and the dream can join
and that is the poem and that is the late report.
a poem by Adrienne Rich
“Days” from Collected Poems.
Used by permission of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Philip Larkin.
Source: Collected Poems (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2001)
“Oh no! Meg cried. “It’s- it’s the most wonderful thing in the world!”
“What a very strange world yours must be,” the beast said, “that such a peculiar-seeming thing should be of such importance. Try to tell me, what is this thing called light that you are able to do so little without?”
“Well, we can’t see without it,” Meg said, realizing that she was completely unable to explain vision and light and dark. How can you explain sight on a world where no one has ever seen and where there is no need of eyes? “Well, on this planet,” she fumbled, “you have a sun don’t you?”
“A most wonderful sun, from which comes out warmth, and the rays which give us our flowers, our food, our music, and all the things which make life and growth.”
“Well,” Meg said, “when we are turned toward the sun– our earth, our planet, I mean, toward our sun– we receive its light. And when we’re turned away from it, it is night. And if we want to see we have to use artificial lights.”
“Artificial lights,” the beast sighed. “How very complicated life on your planet must be,”
Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery
And it was at that age … Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don’t know, I don’t know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don’t know how or when,
no they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke loose on the wind.
by Pablo Neruda
To paraphrase Dr. Jordan Peterson from a recent TED lecture, “there are things that you know deeply, you just don’t know that you know them.” Creative process is a way to allow the known unknown to surface through the arts. Encountering the known unknown often leads to the emotional experience of awe. We risk a leap of faith from what is known into what is not yet known. This is the experience of not having the words to describe, feeling deeply moved, touched, terrified and fascinated simultaneously. Neruda’s poem conveys the experience of being summoned and touched, and then “my mouth had no way with names[…]something stirred in my soul”. Creative process is a way to allow known unknown treasure to surface. The expressive arts have the potential to inspire and reflect back what we most need to know in a form that may be both seen, shaped and shared.
Posted in Creativity
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