This video below shows a graphic comic artist demonstrating automatic drawing. I learned to do this in the late sixties when I was studying art. Although the artist says, “let your brain” do the work, I actually experience it as letting my body/mind do the drawing while suspending any conscious, deliberate attention. (I imagined that the energy for the movement of the drawing come directly from my heart through my arm, bypassing my head. I felt like an observer to my own drawing process.) While following along as an observer I was always surprised at what emerged. At some point late in the process I would notice an object emerging from the markings. At this point I would redirect my attention and apply deliberate action to bringing out the newly discovered object. This process of automatic drawing has been very rewarding, both as a meditative process and a way to discover new images heretofore hidden below my conscious awareness.

www.youtube.com/watch

www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/style/can-plants-talk.html

Dr. Andrew Weil visited The Joe Rogan Podcast on December 12, 2018 and talked about mind/body, placebo, hypnosis, professional guided imagery, and several other interesting topics. Much of the discussion emphasized the role of mind and imagination in well-being and healing. Weil is an important figure in the awareness of the mind/body relationship and a leading practitioner of Integrative Medicine. This video is almost 2 hours long, and I listened to it in 2 sittings, but I found it worth my attention throughout. Enjoy.

I’m not sure if pre-migraine visualizations count as an aspect of imagination, but maybe…. The illustrations here are pretty close to my own experience but I see more facets within the images and more colors in the facets. Interesting- and troubling that more is not known about this.

http://www.openculture.com/2019/07/a-beautiful-1870-visualization-of-the-hallucinations-that-come-before-a-migraine.html

A Beautiful 1870 Visualization of the Hallucinations That Come Before a Migraine

in History, Science | July 12th, 2019 Leave a Comment

Headaches number among humanity’s most common ailments. The headache-related disorders known as migraines may be rarer, afflicting roughly fifteen percent of the population, but they’re also much more severe. Besides a headache that can last as long as three days, migraines can also come with various other symptoms including nausea as well as sensitivity to light, sound, and smells. They even cause some sufferers to hallucinate: the visual elements of these pre-migraine “auras” might take the shape of distortions, vibrations, zig-zag lines, bright lights, blobs, or blind spots. Sometimes they also come in color, and brilliant color at that.

Those colors jump right out of this 1870 drawing by English physician Hubert Airy, with which he sought to capture his own visual experience of a migraine. He “first became aware of his affliction in the fall of 1854,” writes National Geographic‘s Greg Miller, “when he noticed a small blind spot interfering with his ability to read. ‘At first it looked just like the spot which you see after having looked at the sun or some bright object,’ he later wrote. But the blind spot was growing, its edges taking on a zigzag shape that reminded Airy of the bastions of a fortified medieval town.” As Airy describes it, “All the interior of the fortification, so to speak, was boiling and rolling about in a most wonderful manner as if it was some thick liquid all alive.”

To a migraneur, that description may sound familiar, and the drawing that accompanied it in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 1870 may look even more so. Called “arguably the most beautiful scientific records of migraine aura ever made” by G.D. Schott in Brain, Airy’s drawings “record the progress and expansion of his own visual disturbances” over their half-hour-long onset. Apart from their stark beauty, writes Miller, the set of drawings “anticipates discoveries in neuroscience that were still decades in the future,” such as the assumption that the hallucinations originate in the brain rather than the eyes and that certain parts of the field of vision correspond to certain parts of the visual cortex.

“There’s still much we don’t know about migraines and migraine auras,” Miller writes. “One hypothesis is that a sort of electrical wave sweeps across the visual cortex, causing hallucinations that spread across the corresponding parts of the visual field” — an idea with which Airy’s early renderings also accord. And what about the source of all those colors? Electrical waves passing through parts of the brain “that contain neurons that respond to specific colors” may be responsible, but nearly 150 years after the publication of Airy’s drawings, “no one really knows.” Migraine research of the kind pioneered by Airy himself may have dispelled some of the mystery surrounding the affliction, but a great deal nevertheless remains. Airy’s drawings, still among the most vivid representations of the visual aspect of migraines ever created, will no doubt inspire generations of future neuroscientists to find out more.

 

Toil and Hope

November 6, 2018

Here is my latest sculpture, “Toil and Hope”.  It is made of a found object, wood, and gold leaf. It 19.75″ tall and 10.5″ wide.

Toil and Hope

Toil and Hope

This is Krista Tippett’s wonderful interview with the poet/philospher John O’Donohue from August 6, 2015- his last interview before his death. It is a deep conversation into beauty, life, love, language, and the imagination. Enjoy.

 

“So I believe that deep in the heart of each of us, there is this imagining, imaginal capacity that we have. So that we are all doing it.” John O’Donohue

O'Donohue on On Being

Image by Anders Mohlin/Flicker
JOHN O’DONOHUE
The Inner Landscape of Beauty

The Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue was beloved for his book Anam Ċara, Gaelic for “soul friend,” and for his insistence on beauty as a human calling. In one of his last interviews before his death in 2008, he articulated a Celtic imagination about how the material and the spiritual — the visible and the invisible — intertwine in human experience. His voice and writings continue to bring ancient mystical wisdom to modern confusions and longings.

Find the link to this interview HERE.

 

Or copy and paste this:

https://onbeing.org/programs/john-odonohue-the-inner-landscape-of-beauty/

A New Moment

July 2, 2017

I have finally reached that moment where when I awoke today I could think that I had no more clients. Not for today, tomorrow, or the foreseeable future. I had a feeling of relief and joy yesterday as my last appointment came to an end. It has been a bit sad and a bit sweet to experience the conclusion of the therapy relationship with client after client. As each was so different in their therapy- their needs, thought patterns, feelings, style of learning- so have they been different in closure which had begun some time ago and ended yesterday.

I will miss those people, each of whom was so different and with each of whom I shared a unique relationship. Some I had seen for years. They were the easiest with whom to say goodby- the most ready to go, although not necessarily wanting to let go. Some I had seen for only weeks. I was a little harder to say goodby to them. While they were appreciative for what they learned in our short time, we were both aware of the potential that will be lost.

Some I expect to hear from in the future, after some time passes, to sit over a coffee or tea more like old friends. No expectations, no demands. Some I will not hear from and they will eventually fade from my memory.

There are still many tasks to be done to close my 46 year career and 37 year independent practice. Offices to close, papers to organize or trash, furniture to redistribute, professional organizations to contact and modify my memberships, shifting in budgeting concerns, modifying tax obligations, etc.

But the biggest adjustment of all will be with regard to how I use my time. This is a mystery to be solved, or at least understood, only with experience. I need time to understand my new relationship to time. I expect to no longer have the constraints of the appointment day to day schedule. I imagine that, over time, I will settle into a rhythm of activity which will be more consistent with myself and less deferent to the demands of the professional world and the management of client contacts. I think there will be days when I forget about time and just attend to whatever I am doing. And I think there will be other days when I my attention is wide and spacious and not focused on any outcome.

Many years ago, a close friend and colleague once told me that I was ambivalent about money. I rejected the idea but, upon contemplation, i discovered that I was, indeed, ambivalent about time. While I wanted to build a prosperous career, I also did not want to give up my more personal time. This realization helped me to focus my imagination on the form and construction of my career with a minimization of conflict over loss of time.

So now I have arrived at a new moment. My calendar is cleared of repeating appointments and therapy sessions. I walk into my studio/workshop feeling such a wide breadth of opportunity and possibility that I stand there in awe with no specific form to my next move and many raw possibilities gathering to be brought to form. Stay tuned. This is what I hoped for. And so it begins.