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.
…………………………………..
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. 

Advertisements

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.

stainted glass gate.jpg

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.

my three pines-Edit Blue ice.jpg

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.

my three pines.jpg

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

Languageless Regions

“from 25 or 30 sounds an infinite variety of expressions, which although not having any resemblance in themselves to that which passes through our minds, nevertheless do not fail to reveal all of the secrets of the mind, and to make intelligible to others who cannot penetrate into the mind all that we conceive and all of the diverse movements of our souls.”
Noam Chomsky
The infinite variety of expressions is the endless variety of narratives that we spin in our subjective mind then merge that spin with life on earth in all of its dimensions…Language Acquisition is the divide between a chimp and a human…we still have access to that languageless region. It is the well-spring of creativity. But it is best accessed from a position of still point.

Quieting the mind, quieting the ego aspect of the mind is essential to gaining the glimpse that we need to be connected to the primitive aspects of our survival.  The connection with our DNA is consciousness.  It has both a linguistic shade to it and a languageless shade to it.

The languageless region is often frightening because we expect to find darkness. And then complicate what we find with a story.  The moth has two possibilities, flying too close to the flame or wandering too far from the warmth.

As human animals, accessing our ancient instincts needs deliberate intent because the language part of us has so advanced that the instinct part of us recedes further and further back.  This makes it difficult to find our way through the jungle of neurotransmitters to where earlier survival skills were dominant.  We still need these ancient survival skills. Much of modern medicine is not trained in the use of the subjective to access illness in the body.

Principles of therapeutic yoga are in line with psychoanalytic thinking.  Both systems of healing are aware of the importance of the unconscious.  In psychoanalysis, the unconscious is an element of consciousness “beneath the surface”.  In Yoga, the unconscious is the body.  The sensations that are felt are languageless messages from the body to the mind.  We can stray from our desires if we have not understood the body’s message to our consciousness.

Modern humans tend to feel these ‘sensation-messages‘ then proceed immediately to creating a narrative, a story which we tell ourselves. In analysis we spend a lot of attention on the narrative. In yoga, the time is spent on understanding the sensation not as words, but as a languageless communication.

The most attractive part of this lesson on biology and evolution is the tremendous boost that we can get from our own instinct of creativity.  Here is a picture that emerged from my languageless region:

winter-november-edit-1

ST. AUGUSTINE, 450th anniversary: the environ

Preface:

It could only be better if it were Quebec rather than St. Augustine.  I say that because Quebec owns my heart and I tend to find beauty where I love.  But we are here and it is now, and that means photos and enhancements, and trials and errors, even during dinner.  It is very difficult for a photographer to escape without his camera.  It is all somewhat of a bus-man’s holiday.  It may be intrinsic to how I see.  I am a Naturalist.  The laws of nature are all around me.  I see them, and they are not watching me.

 

furs and feathers 2

 

As well as having my camera with me as a companion when I set out to write, I take my fascination for light and darkness as more than a metaphor.  I am a Naturalist.  My world is ever changing.  I am aware of moments of simple awe, and moments complicated by  compound-complex sentences that refuse to end.

A current phrase that I hear said to me is:  “Let it go, Man!”

matt cutter like

 

 

So, I let it go.

The pictures that are in this “note” are a product of the gifts of solitude and consciousness that arose out of “letting-it-go”.  I want to elevate these qualities to a near divinity, but they are so human, and ever so woven into the daily evolution of life, that they fail when I attempt to cut them away from the mother plant.  It is not divine consciousness that I elevate, it is Human Consciousness.

The simple observation of the wind, or the odor of sulphuric-salt at low-tide, these enable me to see the greater natural beauty that is St. Augustine. We live on the cusp of what mother nature knows is her land.  Not unlike the attempt started 450 years ago to claim the land for humans from humans, Mother Nature has had her eye on our bay-front for her own use.  St. Augustine is trying to save the shoreline for mother nature’s use.  But, even these interventions are an interruption, a cancer that we humans bring with our civilized footprints as fossils for future archaeologist. St. Augustine has a predilection to Pompeii, and to New Orleans.

the oldest city street on the continent

In the summer St. Augustine is a mix of Floridian consciousness with a touch of the tropics that it borders.  We live at the sea level of water, much like New Orleans, or Dutch Holland.  We are intrinsically woven with the sea, into the sea, and the sea is woven into this shoreline that is us.  We know it is the Laws of Nature that govern, and we know that the Law governs as an absolute monarch.  It is as merciless as the Spanish Inquisition or a Roman conquest.  Mother-Nature rules Absolutely. No amount of self-worth or self-pride can out veto a “NO” vote from mother nature.

We killed the previous owners of this land and we now call it ours.  As such, I photograph the land as if it were mine, and I was taking a picture to prove its inheritance.   We are western civilization.

Crossing the Bridge Of Lions on a soft summer evening can feel as glorious as Venice, or as tame as St. Augustine,  and the lens, my companion, searches for an intersection of lines and light.

the bridge

 

 

I enjoy the fascination of finding a fisherman crouched beneath a bridge fishing for life and maybe even for fish.  He seems to not notice 30,000 people circulating around his nest. He carries a tool box for line and hooks, and a knife as any hunter should.  He hunts.

fishing boy

Others sail!

vignette pencil stroke 2

 

 

Contrast in St. Augustine is relatively easy to fine.  We must be looking for it.  We must be deliberate about when we choose the moment to shoot.  There are two moments in Art: deliberated and un-deliberate.  The common sense choice is an extension of being deliberate.  It occurs for me when I am closest to belonging.

pedestrian bridge

In the theater of Humanity, we have so often come away from life to find a point of observation that captures more than the light dancing on an object.  We would like to come away and find a purpose higher than our own internal, subjective point of view.  I seem to find it more quickly when I am working with the elements of Nature directly.

There is a meditative aspect to art that is linked to both the cause of the piece and the execution of the piece.   A Naturalist that I have great respect for is Mr. Henry Beston.  The following is a quote from 1949 forward of his book, The Outer Most House:

“Man can either be less than man or more than man, and both are monsters, the last   more dread.”

an intersection of line and light

The stage at the center of town, holding court, held little interest for me.  The masses captured by a slogan and swaying to the odor of ale, did not impress me.  The town on which this stage is raised, however, does call to me.  It calls to me because the past has not been deliberately hidden.  The awful scars of righteousness and bigotry do not seem to be as hidden as they might be in other small southern towns.  The sins and atrocities of man seem to become part of the fabric of here.  Though, there does appear to be a lot of civic pride about a massive blood-bath in the Matanzas river.

I think of it as the respect for art and architecture.  St. Augustine envelopes most visitors at least at first sight.

galleon

 

El Galeon, an authentic replica of a 16th century Spanish War ship was one such recent visitor.  We stood on the bridge and watched her come in from the inlet at Vilano and move slowly into the bay front.  Spanish and American flags waved her into place.  She was here to be a part of a festival of celebration.

I find her to be a majestic aspect of St. Augustine’s past.  We were, after all, held here by royalty.  And, for as little as we try to make of it in today’s world, we certainly have been deeply influenced by the behavior of royalty and its part in domesticating western civilization.

the galleon 2

 

This floating art work is a salute to war and the spoils of war. Most of what we have acquired was stolen or forced away from its natural habitat.  Our consciousness belongs to Nature, it has evolved along side the earth since the beginning of time.  We are the furthest-most extension of Nature that we have found anywhere in the universe.  And our little town of St. Augustines is such a representative gem in that crown of thorns.

P1170902

 

 

Our town is a triumph of man against nature.  See what we have cut out of mother nature and put in its place.  See how architectural transplants have added multiple uses to the marsh lands. so many more uses than mother nature had intended for this piece of little paradise.

P1020017

 

 

Evolution is just another name for the slice of life that we have become.  Migration of species moves to a natural order, an order of not-knowing that bothers our consciousness.  Freud would say that psycho-analysis disturbed the sleep of the world.  That German-Jew knew what he was talking about.  We do not want to know that what we have created is created on a bed of sand that has an equal capacity to move from beneath as it does from above.  A foundation of shifting sand brings no comfort. The answer may not be a bigger wall unless we are deliberate about the fact that a bigger wall will only postpone what mother nature, in the long run, will re-capture as hers.  She is a formidable Queen every bit as powerful as Isabell or Elizabeth.  She is mother to every Queen that ever ruled.

a bird of paradise 2

 

There will be more about mother nature in St. Augustine in a separate post.  This post will connect with an episode from the Caleb Sagas.

Thanks for reading.logo

 

It is the process that is beautiful, not the outcome

The shift in paradigm and the use of color are connected for me in the unconscious.  I remember a color that triggers a feeling or I remember a feeling that triggers a color.  AppleMark

In this watercolor the structures were added as a reason or a place in which to insert color.  It is an early summer painting of a scene that did not exist until it was constructed on canvas.  There is no town that looks like this and there is no colors that exist in exactly this combination.  The purpose of the painting was not artistic.  The purpose of any of my work from psychoanalysis to art is meditative.

It is not out of humility that I say I do not find this painting beautiful, I found the process of creating this painting to be beautiful.

Lately I have been arriving at a new conclusion.  Joy is not what we are waking towards.  It is beauty that speak to us in a way that never betrays us.  What I find beautiful, I can not be dissuaded from.  I know beauty when I see it and I can not be talked out of what I find beautiful.  In a way it is beauty that leads to truth for me.  My aesthetics are the most informed aspect of my character, and I never set out to have that be the case.  It happened along the way.

Death is Our Last Chance to Get it Right

It has been a difficult few weeks.  Life can be such an acrobat performance, the way we have to squeeze, and roll, and jump and fall, all just at the right time.  Transitions, be they challenges from the physical, mental or the emotional arenas, have a way of throwing us into a regression and making us momentarily forget that in our heart-of-hearts we are relatively well-analyzed, good people.

The storms that pass over head and sometimes right through us cause us to reflect in a deeper and maybe even new way.  The fact that adjustment to conflict is the normal state of affairs take a while for us to understand.  In fact, we do not want to understand it.  We want to believe in a state of nirvana or seventy-seven virgins, or some form of utopian projection that has life portrayed as it was in the Garden of Eden.  We want there to be a God and minions of angels some assigned to us personally.  Our very own personal archangels.  Maybe, if he was 26 and young and smooth and vibrant and inquisitive and playful and he was as attracted to me as I was to him.  Maybe that kind of angel would help me trod along.  But the angels that I do not see have not helped me yet; or, if they have they have not let me know it was them.

Essentially, even if I am able to call on archangels, at some point I have to die alone, with nothing and no one but me, myself and I, facing the grim reaper, the eternal darkness that we dread even when we hate our lives. The facing of challenges at some level is a personal and painstakingly slow process by which we get to learn that we have no control.  We have no control over any of it.  We live in a universe that lives in a universe that is so vast that the smallest atom is still a large mystery.  And yet, this is not the problem.

This grim assessment above is not the problem, it is the solution.  If we do not understand the nature of life, and the chaotic, and the conflicting, and the concentric repetitions, we will fail at death.  And frankly, death is our last chance to get it right.

As human we share with other sentient life the fact that we are driven.  There is born into us an energy, a vitality with a mission, with an aim that drives us toward what we want.  Desire is the solution to the question of conflict or challenge.  We possess no greater tool than to employ our language toward the goal of getting what we want from life.  Desire is biology.  It is our biology of hope and it is our biology of faith and it is our biology of charity and compassion.  Through wanting we improve not only the quality of our lives (while we have them to use), but we improve the entirety of the globe and beyond.

Desire manifests as creative energy characterized by a sense of obligation to the self.  Artists have an obligation to create and we are each the architect and artist of our lives.  It is a direct contradiction to what we know about life and death.  On the one hand we have no control and on the other hand desire sets in motion all kinds of actions that cause conditions to either fall in or out of our favor.

1888680_10201653037997261_1906409878_n

“I want your sun

to reach my raindrops,

so your heat can raise my soul

upward like a cloud”

~ Rumi

Wabi-Sabi: the artful dodger

There is a Japanese Art called:  Wabi-Sabi

     “According to Japanese legend, a young man named Sen no Rikyu sought to learn the elaborate set of customs known as the Way of Tea. He went to tea-master Takeeno Joo, who tested the younger man by asking him to tend the garden. Rikyu cleaned up debris and raked the ground until it was perfect, then scrutinized the immaculate garden. Before presenting his work to the master, he shook a cherry tree, causing a few flowers to spill randomly onto the ground.

To this day, the Japanese revere Rikyu as one who understood to his very core a deep cultural thread known as wabi-sabi. Emerging in the 15th century as a reaction to the prevailing aesthetic of lavishness, ornamentation, and rich materials, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection and profundity in earthiness, of revering authenticity above all. In Japan, the concept is now so deeply ingrained that it’s difficult to explain to Westerners; no direct translation exists.”*

imperfect dulling piano

I immediately loved the concept.  I thrive on imperfection.  In fact it is the domain name for this web-blog.  Imperfestionism means that I am more in touch with the process than I am with the out-come.  I love the freedom that being imperfect gives to my otherwise very clever and competitive ego.  At this point all that I know of Wabi-Sabi is that I like the little that I know about it.   I like to believe that I can take that phrase from another culture and create out of it what I want it to mean to me.

I want wabi-sabi to mean to me that i can learn to approach everything that I want both spiritually and materially from the perspective of desire. I want to be able to decide for myself what is in my best interest and what I want to do.  I want to let people, places and things (the nouns)  impact upon me; and I want to be able to generate a feeling of either I like that, or I do not like that in response to all the universe can throw at me in life.

Photography, philosophy and psychoanalysis have been among my deepest passions and i am proud to report to you that I do all of them imperfectly well.  Experimentation in the creative arts is enhanced by a lack of concern for what other have to say to us.  As the brush teaches you how to create a stroke, or how an instrument teaches you how to make a sound, or how a patient teaches you what he needs in order to effectively sing better; your soul learns to listen to your body that has often been drowned out by the sound of the perpetually boastful, arrogant and dysfunctional ego.

Imperfection and impermanence carry the same connotation as selfishness.  They all seem to be some kind of back-bone to American values.  Olympians must be strong, with stand pain, be dangerous and fearless and must win.  These qualities are not qualities that lead to the simple life–the life that is guided by joyful moods and happy events.

Wabi-Sabi is not a thing or a state that everyone will want.  Some people will choose competition and fame as the road to their happiness.  Others, the art folks who follow The Artist’s way, would not be able to thrive in a competitive environment.  For those souls, they must find a way to detach from the desire for perfection to be accepted, and attach to the desire to be accepted by your deeper self.

Meditation is a great example of wabi-sabi.  Who does it perfectly?  Meditation is beautiful in its imperfection.  That is one of the reason why people who do it return to it.  It works to re-align the body and the soul.  It search for the realignment  between are heart-felt desires and our ability to let ourselves want what we want.

I am glad that I found the word.  Wabi-Sabi is a new thing that I want to allow myself to have.

Below is a manifestation of selfish imperfection.  It is selfish because my interest is about this piece pleasing me. I wanted it to provide me with meditative moments, especially while in the process of creating it. Secondly  its impermanence is inherent.  Paper and card board to not exist forever.  The shelf-life of paper is relatively impermanent in geologic time.

IMG_4358

excerpt from a ransom blog