Mindfulness & Art in Psychoanalysis.

Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis. 

Iphotoimpression.com, is a service that takes from psychoanalysis the drive to create, and mixes it up with multi-medium philosophies to arrive at instructions for a life well lived.

Ego and Instinct together create our particular brand of perspective and consciousness. It is from this seat of consciousness that we evaluate every thing we see, every thing we do, into the binomial system that we have evolved:  (0 or 1).

 (I like it, I don’t like it, I like this, I don’t like that, yes, no, I like this, I don’t like this. )

The meaning in the mindful law of attraction to psychoanalysis resides in the arena of drive and desire. The sum total of our “no’s & our “yes’s,” Becomes the aim, or direction of the instinct.  

 What you like and what you don’t like changes over time. As long as you have your consciousness, the seat from which you observe both internal and external data, you are evolving.  You are in a state of flux, of flow–flowing down-stream.

As long as your consciousness is not disturbed–you are safe. As soon as the organism is disturbed either from within or without, you experience the intrusion of stress, a slight nod from the adrenal system that subjectively we experience or ignore. (It’s probably a binomial thing).  Nonetheless, it gets louder over time.  A wound that starts out as a minor stressor can grow exponentially into an attack of anxiety–A complete overload of the immure system.

Stress is the biological response to anything that impinged on you in any way, from light, to heat, to sensation, through to thought, mood and feeling & more. We measure stress both through quantity and quality.  How much stress do you feel and how intense is the feeling?

Stress is biology. Anxiety is your conscious response to becoming aware that your biology just did something, or said something; it communicated to the aspect of you that collects and assesses that your attention is required. 

Emotions can be as smooth as a mirror-lake in the mountains, or they can churn like a restless sea in a wind blown storm. Emotions are classified first as pain or comfort and later are further classified by intensity. 

A pain can come from a sliver or from an ax; the range is regulated by how much, and how fast the Adrenalin is pouring into the system and how fast it is being absorbed. 

This is a bit like learning the meaning of shutter speed and aperture on a camera. Most of us have that feature set on either auto or a programmed mode. 

A story to go along with an idea:

Let me continue with a short story.  A old patient wanted to re-gain her spirituality; however, many years before she had had a major falling out with the Church, and eventually with all churches, indeed her fall-out with the church became her fall out with her God.  

She obsessed over her anxiety, she cried that she was alone, she pushed away anyone who tried to help her or even tried to get close to her.  Her heart was entirely closed to the idea of rekindling her relationship with God  or of attempting intimacy with anyone.  She saw beauty but could not let it in.  She turned away from truth for fear that she would be hurt by knowing it.

During one session I asked her what she thought what  might happen if she walked into a church to help her remember the smells and the sensual delights she felt when she was wrapped by a location that had previously held the peace and serenity she was wanting again.

Absolutely refused.  She was so frightened to hear rejection from any authority that she let no relationship pass the gate where her heart, her passion, for life lived in a small quiet corner, in the recesses of her heart, her  mind.  

Old anger had become a fear of feeling.  What if she heard something she did not want to hear?  What if someone suggested that she begin to proceed on a healthier path?  As long as she alone knew the source of her withholding, no one could extract it from her.  All the resistances to changing anything were stock-piled behind a concrete wall of stubborn will-fullness.

In the next session she said she saw no need to come back to analysis since it was clear that I did not know when to stop.  Her last session had produced too many feelings and she was not going to pay me just to feel worst than when she came in.

I had been accused of attempting to crush her rationalizations with mere emotion, and emotions only led a person to unreasonable positions.  

Under the totality of the narrative, the patient had created and was using all her energy to keep away feeling, leaving her with no room to create a life that might include joy, if not peace.  She was locked away, but I had picked at the lock and that sent her back in service of her ego.   I could not be trusted if she thought that the analysis would influence her.  Above everything else, she knew she did not want to be influenced by anyone.

I told her that I so despised authority that I stopped listening to myself a long time ago.

She wavered in the transference between loving to hate me and in thinking I might be as crazy as her.  That created a strong enough bond to keep the transference on a steady course.  There would be time, time to see what the relationship will look like when she begins to recognize that what she shouts most vociferously about is being a victim of her own circumstances.  She told me she abhorred victims and she thought she could chew  them up and spit them out before they knew what was happening to them.  The delusion lies not in the accuracy of that statement but in the idea that it was she who was most hurt, most devastated by her sabotaging intimacies.

What is art and what is psychoanalysis?

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There are two themes in the above introduction to this essay.  One involves what it is like to practice the art of psychoanalysis, and the second is the theme of art for art sake.  I am inclined to believe that the two marry very nicely.  Psychoanalysis has a lot in common with art, both require a lot of technical training and both have foundations in altruistic aspects of being humans.  I am very interested in humans, they interest me as much as the other parts of nature do.  Pine trees and red leaf maples are gorgeous like some humans are.  Filthy dying swamps and the smell of low-tide also have a wabi-sabi kind of charm that smells like other aspects of humanity.

Perhaps it is in the attainment of a goal that the two disciplines meet.  When I am involved with a digital painting or with a patient, nothing else is around to distract me from my mission in the moment–to do the best that I can to represent and impress truth and beauty.  I use the word impress as the root of the word impressionism.

Psychoanalysis has a lot in common with impressionism.  Transference between the patient and the analyst  is emotional impressionism.  The painting above is an impression of Canada a place where much of my love is stored among the antiquities of my ancestors–poor farmers creating large families to populate the cold northern part of America, baptized as much by native Americans as by the English or the French.

To think like an artist and to think like an analyst require similar talents.  Both causes require talent and both causes require time and dedication as well as a deep respect for the wisdom of witnessing as a form of cure for the existential conditions that humankind faces today in 21st century civilization.  So many minute decisions are involved in the exact shade of color that is chosen and so many minute decisions are involved in deciding when an intervention is called for and when it is best withheld.  

The disciplines of psychoanalysis and the disciplines of art require tremendous consideration be given to the subjective…is this a zero or is this a one? 

Both disciplines necessitate boldness as well as empathy and contemplation. 

Both require a gentle application of knowledge and neither can be rushed.  There is a form of the sacred to both endeavors.  In each form there is great desire to contribute.

Color, mood, form, lines, boundaries, choices, and “decisions and revisions” are always at play. 

The Good Part is knowing that I never know the out-come before I start, I do not know the out-come until I am finished.    I think both aspects of me have enjoyed the moments during which I was engaged.  Both applications of myself take me out of my shell, my solitude, my narcissism, long enough to find and express joy in the process as much as the product. 

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A New England Kettle Pond

 

 

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Writing with Light, using my cones and rods, I get to interpret light and use that interpretation to observe beauty from my subjective perspective.
On a walk around my Walden Pond, I could see November in the objects and their shadows. I could see light as it dropped like water on a leaf or a needle of a pine tree.
Light moves around when a leaf swirls in the wind and a new shadow is cast on a new branch.
It is a privilege to be able to have the time and the equipment needed to be able to have a day of gratitude. There are times in people lives when to bridge a divide means a lot of subjective work at uncovering clarity. This is an ongoing process in both art and therapy.

Mindfulness in Psychoanalysis is one aspect of my life, and iphotoimpression.com is another aspect of my professional life. These two ambitions drive me still today. What they have in common is the intensity of emotion as a reflection of intense color. The colors that make up the above composition are cream, aqua, deep red fuchsia and a hint of purple and green. Among these colors are variations in contrast and tonality.

I took my camera out to photograph light, only by coincidence and intuition did the objects end up in the images created. I love trees, they feel essential to me. I live among them. When I look out my window, I see nature and neighbors here and there in these woods on the edge of a New England Kettle Pond.

 

 

 

The Private Practice: in writing

 

 

floralcloud.jpegThe Private Practice: In Writing 

I infrequently see angels. Although, I have at times felt startled thinking I was about to step on my little Yorkie. A more deliberate glance showed nothing there but the remains of a shadow that lives in my mind. Lyla continues to live: in my mind.
When I access my French Canadian roots, I feel enveloped by the arms and culture of my grandmother. Memere, was her name. I still see her in my minds eye much like I see little Lyla who was always underfoot. 

My morality lives a different narrative in French than does my English narrative. I have know this for many years. As many year as I have know that a souls last death is when no one else on earth is alive to remember it. I keep Memere alive.
I guess I might call myself an emotional pragmatist–someone who follows nature, like another might follow football. I like knowing the nuances. And those same nuances that I see in the tall pines and the swinging birches, I see in the magnified imaginations of both my conscious and my unconscious mind.
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Autumn is nearby. This year she has not given much warning about the impending transitions about to happen–in my case from a bathing suit and bare-feet to long pants and a sweater. But, that is only the start. Transitions at this time of the year demand that we pay a conscious attention to not only today, but to the inevitable death of summer tomorrow. In this case the fleeting last hours and the fleeting last flowers of summer 2018.
We can’t ignore it–at least, we can’t ignore it for long. High winds crawling across the Atlantic Ocean from South Africa will actually rip some trees out of their roots. Imagine what it might do to you, if you were unfortunate enough to be where the tree was when the winds hit the coast. And, of course, when the rain falls it will be cold, and the bones will feel the chill; just a month ago the wind was welcomed as a soft, gossamer breeze fluttering like a yellow finch or the humming birds sucking up nectar from the brightest flowers in the gardens. 

Here, in my little Canada, I am fortunate enough to anticipate fall, and eventually winter. The Canadian geese are on a flight pattern that has them stopping for a lunch break on Watchaug Pond. It probably looks not much different from Les Canton d’es Est to these migrators. Except for one nuisance: in Canada they are generally satisfied, there is no perpetual motion for the next exciting bit of success and the latest gadget that complicates life while convincing Americans that this very expensive thing will make life easier. The light bulb, internal plumbing and gardens in the Townships seem to have been joyfully arrested in the clutches of 1950 sentimentality with a touch of 2018 wisdom. 

defense as the object of analysis

ego defense-Edit.jpgIt is always about the object of analysis.  The object of the Analysis is the process of the analysis.  All faculties of the mind/body matrix are accessed.  The subjective arena in both the patient and the analyst make up the content, the narrative if you will. There is no other content other than what is brought into the room for a semi-sacred conversation that ensues.

The defense is always the resistance to knowing more.  Closing the psychic door to additional facts and feelings is a form of isolation that the patient brings into the room and has used this defense in a multitude of other ways.  The only way we shall take interest in the resistance defense is in how it manifests itself between the patient/analyst dyad.

Why has the patient suddenly stopped coming forward?  What internal diversion caused the conversation to shift and what has it shifted to?  There is a kind of detective work to analysis, a search for clues that widen the pursuit of self-truth and self-knowledge.

Since all conflict is within and since most patients come in trying to avoid conflict, the task is huge, not insurmountable but big. The nature of trust is an aspect of the relationship that can take the longest to produce fruit.  Condemnation is feared.

It Would Not Matter Tomorrow

It Would Not Matter Tomorrow

At least that is how he chose to bear and grin the anger, and the sadness that was exposed on his face. Everything took time to heal and somethings never healed at all. Snapped bones and disease he knew about, but the fragmented emotions they receded to a location that his ancestors called the soul. And to Caleb that was still mysterious.

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All we know now about these emotions is that they hide in the body until they can not hide. In time they become a disease that language recognizes, and from the beginning, they are a story, a narrative that forms what we call life–the force of being alive.
Maybe the genome for feelings will be discovered. Freud had hoped that chemistry would dismantle our need for neurosis, but neither Westinghouse, nor General Electric has provided much to go on.
One hundred and thirty years ago these dreams-things were the promise of charlatans. I am not sure much has changed. The more I can live with death the more I can live out my consciousness to its fullest.
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Darkness is not sweet. You can not pretty-up a red-winged hawk flying away with a five pound Yorkie in its claws. But, shit happens. And when you are through watching that gruesome image fly away, a dear friend calls to say she is beginning treatment for lung cancer. And, did you know the boy that is maimed for life when his motorcycle slid off the road. He hit a patch of salt and sanding from winter. “No”, “he was not wearing a helmet.”

Where does healing come in? What exactly can be healed? Is it ever the mind and not the body, or ever the body and not the mind?
Essentially there are two elements that might concern us: one is light and the other is darkness. They are analogous to being awake and being asleep, to being conscious and being unconscious.
Someplace between these two polarities, we practice something called “falling ill” and “becoming well”. We exist on a plane between these extremities. The healing arts and sciences attempt to move energy along this loading line. When you fall ill you struggle to pick yourself up–this is the process of healing.

If I can help you with this process I am attempting to practice a healing scheme. I am going to use my emotions, whatever they are to understand you. And in the process of attempting to understand you, we might make a connection, a transference of energy between us. This fusion of energy might be just the additional guide that you need to discover your way back from the darkness and toward the light.
Nothing might change. But the transference of energy is felt and recognizable as a process. Guidance does not come from another’s knowing. Guidance is simply additional energy to light the way.
Good friends know this as Love

 

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Stained-Glass Gate

We get to a certain age and the question that sometimes get tossed around, especially among very close friends, becomes: which one of us will go first. It is not party conversation and often it is not the person you are the most intimate with that will participate in that conversation.

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Life gets to a point where much of what was very important becomes less important and, in fact, at times, it seems pointless.

But the pointlessness is not a cynical position it is rather, a deeply reflective position that requires we to come to terms with ourselves. “Hummmm, I am helpless.” This is not a

defeated kind of position, it is more of a position that has become adopted from wisdom, our accumulated trials, and errors. The gateway to surrender is not crying, uncle.

It is achieved through remembering that healing takes time. And it is also facilitated by remembering we need only a glimpse of light to guide us to the way out of the ice-cold, blue darkness.

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We, humans, get caught up in the conflict of moral surrender if it feels like defeat we might want to fight the injustice to the point of exacting revenge. Homicides and suicides are the consequence of following this maxim too far. But to quit too soon does nothing for one self- confidence.

Time as a factor of healing is evident when we suffer from an ugly virus or a broken leg. It seems less evident, though equally true, that emotional injuries require time to heal as do physical injuries.

Human contentment is acquired in small increments. It happens the way a leaf detaches from a tree in the wind. Suddenly after a lifetime of being the tip of a branch, one realizes they are in flight from one destination to another. You are still part of life the cosmos, just no longer attached to the tree.

You have come to a transition, a new season. Much will change but you will still be you-you in flight instead of you attached. Like a trapeze artist who has let go of one bar and swings blindly and backward releases the bar, turns mid-air and hopes and prays the other bar is there to grab onto.

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In the final performance, there is no safety net.

Life is practicing to die All the courage we used to face those silly little fears, and all the courage we used to face the atrocities of war, they come in handy when we are alone with our most intense and terrifying fears.

Because only then do we see the extent of our strength. We, screaming, as loud as a fisher cat in the woods brings only silence in return. Can you tolerate the feeling? It no longer matters because the feeling you feel is you.

Al Dussault Charlestown, RI

Spring, 2018

st augustine, nostalgia is sad

st augustine has been a mixed blessing this year, but then again what has not been a mixed blessing as i ramble through my memories.  i might be leaving this place soon and i find myself not ready.  the winter has been chilly, the moon is waning and lyla died.

loss and letting-go is bearing down on me.  i feel it as exaggerated gravity.  a kind of electrically exaggerated gravity.  something that is both weighty and profound. let me illustrate it with a few images:

black and purple 2  as well as the pressure and the heightened sensitivity, there is a growing awareness that this 3rd phase of life will make the bumpy past seem smooth in comparison.  i could be wrong and i would gladly be wrong but it does seem to me that tragedy prevails at the end.  even if it was a comic ride for most of life, the end might be a relief–at best.

in any event, it has been a ghostly season.

ghostly winterit feels like mardi gras with no ash-wednesday.  don’t take this wrong–i like dark.  to paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”

turner stormto paraphrase leonard, “you want it darker, turn off the light.”

February 2nd, 2018