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: attention
Tags: art, art therapy, artists on tumblr, Arts, attention, birds, collage, creative art therapy, creativity, creativity development, dreams, dreams and art, expressive art therapy, Facebook, focus, illustration, image, inspiration, learning, mental-health, mindfulness, narrative, nature, outdoors, painter, painting, self help, spirituality, trauma, trees, visual art, wellness
“When you go out into the woods
and you look at trees
you see all these different trees.
And some of them are bent,
and some of them are straight,
and some of them are evergreens,
and some of them are whatever.
And you look at the tree
and you allow it.
You see why it is the way it is.
You sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light,
and so it turned that way.
And you don’t get all emotional about it.
You just allow it. You appreciate the tree.
The minute you get near humans,
you lose all that.
And you are constantly saying,
‘You’re too this, or I’m too this.’
That judging mind comes in.
And so I practice turning people into trees.
Which means appreciating them just the way they are.”
Ram Dass a.k.a. Richard Alpert (b. 1931)
American spiritual teacher and author
spirit and matter…
a blue painted feather.
“…think of the bird as a teacher. Approach it with curiosity and patience, as if it were the most important thing right now. you do not have to worry about getting it to do something. The bird invents itself and is not dependent on our conscious egos. We must give it our time and space, though, if we wish to learn from it. Allow it to move and change as it desires. You may have the wish to ask it questions, as that is our usual method of finding out about things. Sometimes images do talk, but not always. The important thing is to realize though that it already is what it can convey. The image is a complete statement in and of itself”.
Mary Watkins, Waking Dreams, pg. 109
There is something I don’t know
That I am supposed to know.
I don’t know what it is I don’t know,
And yet am supposed to know,
And I feel I look stupid
If I seem both not to know
And not to know what it is I don’t know.
Therefore, I pretend I know it.
This is nerve-wracking
Since I don’t know what I must pretend
Therefore, I pretend to know everything.
I feel you know what I am supposed to know
But you can’t tell me what it is
Because you don’t know what I don’t know
What it is.
You may know what I don’t know, but not
That I don’t know it.
And I can’t tell you. So you will have
To tell me everything.
– R. D. Lang in Knots
Either you will
go through this door
or you will not go through.
If you go through
there is always the risk
of remembering your name.
Things look at you doubly
and you must look back
and let them happen.
If you do not go through
it is possible
to live worthily
to maintain your attitudes
to hold your position
to die bravely
but much will blind you,
much will evade you,
at what cost who knows?
The door itself makes no promises.
by Adrienne Rich, from
“Prospective Immigrants, Please Note”
“August: You know, somethings don’t matter that much…like the color of a house…But lifting a person’s heart–now that matters. The whole problem with people–“
Lily: They don’t know what matters and what doesn’t…
August:…They know what matters, but they don’t choose it…The hardest thing on earth is to choose what matters.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
Its all that matters, whats the matter, does it even matter? According to Clinical Psychologist and Professor Jordan Peterson, perhaps everything we do matters. Which is actually harder to come to grips with, because that means taking responsibility and making difficult choices. He states
Here’s a way of thinking about error. You don’t exactly know what you’re doing, so how do you get to the point where you know what you’re doing? I think follow your internal intuitions and be honest about it. What’ll happen is a star will appear and guide you. And the star is whatever makes your life meaningful. And maybe you’ll take some tentative steps in that direction and you’ll get a little ways and you’ll think ‘No, that’s wrong.’ And then the thing that makes your life meaningful will appear over there. And then you take a few tentative steps in that direction. But as you step and walk towards these things you change and as you change you get wiser. And what happens is, you keep following these things that make your life meaningful, then you correct yourself across time.
You see the thing there and that’s wrong and you see it there and that’s wrong and you see it there and that’s wrong but you keep chasing it and as you chase it you move forward. And as you move forward and as you do things you learn from your mistakes because you’re honest and you’re watching. You get wiser and wiser and the consequence of all those mistakes is you’ll self-correct the mistakes and twenty years down the road maybe you won’t be making so many mistakes.
They say it takes 10,000 hours to be an expert at something. So you would need 10,000 hours of practice following what it is you need to follow (Jordan Peterson, On The Necessity of Virtue)
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
“Leisure” by Welsh poet W. H. Davies, from Songs Of Joy and Others
published in 1911 by A. C. Fifield
For me art shouldn’t be a fixed idea that I have before I start making it. I want it to include all the fragility and doubt that I go through the day with. Sometimes I’ll take a walk just to forget whatever good idea I had that day because I like to go into the studio not having any ideas. I want the insecurity of not knowing, like performers feel before a performance. Everything I can remember, and everything I know, I have probably already done, or somebody else has
Robert Rauschenburg (1925-), American artist, quoted by Michael Kimmelman in an article about Rauschenburg, New York Times, “Arts & Leisure” section 2, August 27, 2000, p. 26.
Remembering and forgetting are key parts to the incubation stage of creative process. Images and/or ideas found in the foraging and gathering stage begin to simmer and cook. In this chaotic broth, knowledge remembered is then forgotten, or let go of. This alchemical creative process is transformational, allowing something new to emerge.
Once an experience is understood, remembering and forgetting is possible. This transformative process of memory allows new learning, as well as a flexible and adaptive response to life.
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