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. 

Abstract Expressionism: the spectrum of energy

writing with light and psychoanalytic conversation have this in common:  both are enhanced by the polarities of existence.  both are engaged in what is present and what is missing.  each case is informed by the extremities in a system of energy.

darkness is as revealing as light, shadows are as important as highlights. balance and beauty and truth converge into a singularity leading to the illusion of oneness.

 

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my artwork has evolved from impressionism to expressionism.  this new method of working in the world of abstraction has expanded my vision.  it is the unconscious made conscious by free-association.  here meaning and reason have less to do with outcome; and. process is once again central. it has always been for me.

i find beauty in the subjective, that is to say, i find beauty in the creation of sensation through a steady alertness to evolution.  everything, including the universe, is always and only moving forward through the spectrum of light and energy.  all photography is capturing a single moment in time and space.

the process is meditative.

 

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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:

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What The Dickens…..

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Spending an afternoon strolling around the flora and fauna of St Augustine compels one to want to create.  This town feels so organically grown, so free of stereotypes and so open to allowing in the well-to-do vacationers to spend money to their hearts content.

The art community is so plentiful that I dare say it is over-populated with well meaning folks like myself who consider themselves an artist whether or not any one else considers them so.

If art for meditation is what you are looking for–look no further, St. Augustine offers a plan for the sincere to the talented.  Walking with my camera in this town let’s me challenge my concept of beauty at every nook and cranny and corner or circle that I come to.

These are the best of artist and the worst of artists, misquoting Mr. Dickens.  And while we are on the topic of Dickens an image from a Tale of Two Cities comes to mind.  All that glitters is not gold.

For some, the struggle of homelessness is as real here among the tranquil serenity as it is in the sub-ways of grand cities.  Poor is poor; and, as more of us are becoming poorer and poorer, there is an upper-crust of society that is as rich as any previous Guilded Age.

Our delightful, little, oldest city on the continent is no exception.

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My fickled brain loves Augustine again, not despite its decay, but because of its decay…impermanence is much easier to swallow in the warm than in the cold.

Before and After: the digital dark room

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It is easy to see why this blog post is called, “Before and After” I really enjoy the process of digital painting in the computer dark-room.

The picture above is a typical example of a very low-luster snap-shot.  The digital image below it is the creatively improved image after some tweaking in Topaz Software dark-room.  In this photo I use one program from the Topaz menu.  I am using Adjust.

By importing the original into the software, I am electing to choose from thousands and maybe millions of various options capable of dramatically or minimally altering the shades, hues, and intensities of the image.

In the Before and After example above, I ended up working more with the top third of the program and less with the bottom third of the program.  The shade of blue is altered to a lighter blue and the light from the sun is altered dramatically to create not only depth, but also contrast in intensities.

Multimedia art forms are catching up to the more traditional two-dimensional art methods.  Computer generated art is not new, it is grown up and establishing itself as a medium for the web as well as for brick and motor galleries.

It does not matter if your photography is for your scrapbook or if it is for a fine-arts portfolio, it deserves to be the best and the most creative that you can make it.

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Above is another rather generic scene of the iconic St. Augustine Bridge of Lions.  The first picture was clearly a wash-out and lacked any visual appeal.  It hardly could serve as a memory and at that it was gray and flat.

The Digital Dark room came in handy as I wanted to have this scene in my library of St Augustine photos.  It is a very familiar scene.  The house we have is located just a minute up the road and this is the path that we take to walk into the ancient city.

Although this photo is somewhat improved, it is also somewhat blow-out with too much saturation.  I will probably make a 3rd variation of this image.  In the mean time it is an illustration that even when you go too far with an image re-construction, you still may end up with something that you liked better than the original.

In the next set of twins you will see how an ordinary street scene, can be turned into a canvas of your own.

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Although the second image is a consequence of the original the two have very different missions.  The first might be a memory of a great day in the center of town, while the second is more of a creation of its own.  It can stand alone as a pleasant canvas.  It is no longer simply representational, but it is creational of its own accord.

 

I hope these three sets of images help you to see that new age photography can be as meditational in the digital dark room as it is out in the field.

 

Happy Shooting