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: outdoors
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These are really the thoughts of all men in all
ages and lands, they are not original with me,
If they are not yours as much as mine they are
nothing, or next to nothing,
If they are not the riddle and the untying of the
riddle they are nothing,
If they are not just as close as they are distant
they are nothing.
This is the grass that grows wherever the land
is and the water is, This is the common air that
bathes the globe.
Song of Myself (part17)
by Walt Whitman
Tags: art, artists on tumblr, attention, beginners mind, collage, creative art therapy, creativity, creativity development, e.e. cummings, illustration, image, mental-health, mindfulness, nature, outdoors, painting, Poet, Poetry, spirituality, visual art
Recently I came across the Contemplative Photography movement, which incorporates Buddhist mindfulness practice with Western ways of seeing the world. Contemplative Photography practice is based on holding an intention of learning to look and see through a lens of nonattachment. Through practice, you begin to trust the gaps in discursive thought where clear seeing and inspiration emerge in your art.
Matthieu Ricard describes Contemplative photography as
seizing the present moment as one would delicately hold a poppy without shedding its petals. It is about nonattachment; one has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but everything to offer to the eyes of the viewer (from jacket of The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the world with fresh eyes, written by Andy Carr and Michael Wood, Shambala, 2011)
Miksang is a Tibetan word which means “Good Eye”. The practice is founded on Shambala and Dharma Art Teachings of Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche. The word “good” relates to uncluttered vision and seizing the present moment. In the following video “Miksang” practice is explained in a way I hope you find inspiring.
Posted in Creativity
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With their whole gaze
animals behold the Open.
Only our eyes
are as though reversed
and set like traps around us,
keeping us inside.
That there is something out there
we know only from the creatures’ countenance.
We turn even the young child around,
making her look backward
at the forms we create,
not outward into the Open.
R.M. Rilke, from the Eighth Duino Elegy
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“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.
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“Ten times a day something happens to me like this – some strengthening throb of amazement – some good sweet empathic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.”
― Mary Oliver
The most treasured moments are those timeless ones where you are totally engaged with whatever you are doing. You are in the zone, the canvas, the rock climbing or the conversation. You are completely focused and feel positive shifting of energy. This experience is a cultural universal. When we are in that place we are connected, fulfilled, at “one” with and at home. Just what is this state of consciousness or energy that gets activated?
Chi is described as the universal life force or energy that permeates everything in existence. Is this mysterious river of energy related to Mihali Csikszentmihalyi’s flow state, the state of mind where we are optimally challenged and totally engaged?
Watch John Vervaeke explain the psychological experience of Chi………Chi Explained Without Magic.
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Whats the connection between horses, teachers and artists? Creatively foraging and found Artist Bruce Nauman sharing his thoughts on You Tube. One interesting point he makes is that good teachers get right to the difficult spots, just like good artists go right to the difficult parts in whatever medium they work in.