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The Making of a Celebrity Portrait by Ian Ruhter

“Based on who this person is I knew I would scrutinize this image far more than any other portrait that I had ever made. During this project “The Making of a Celebrity Portrait,” it redefined how I view celebrities. It made me question if celebrity culture influenced us so greatly that we want to be portrayed like them. In a world that revolves around social networking and selfies I started wondering what these images really say about us.”

“NOW IT’S YOUR TURN. I’m asking you to include a photograph of yourself for this project. The idea is to collect many images so we can create one picture of who we really are. On Instagram, #iamthecelebrity with a portrait of you. Follow @ian_ruhter and @Profotoglobal for project updates. All month long we’ll be cataloguing and commenting on these images. Once this is done we’ll create the final project—stay tuned for updates!”

Depression is not a Disease but an Indication that Human Consciousness needs to Change

anelegantmystery:

Here is another perspective on depression, one that paints the human condition on a larger canvas. I found that a lot of this resonated with me. Perhaps it will with you too.

Originally posted on Voces del Tierra:

Robin Williams

What Dreams May Come-Robin Williams  RIP

After hearing the sad news of Robin Williams and his suspected suicide, I am really tired of hearing some people refer to depression as a ‘disease’. It is not a disease, but more chemical and emotional imbalance of the brain, normally affected by long-term stress, deep trauma or grief, for some it is difficult to diagnose the root cause. Here is a good article written by Dr John Grohol on defining Depression for those of you that are insistent on calling it a ”disease”.

 Furthermore,  should it really be referred to as a ‘mental illness’ either? Through my research and personal experiences, depression is an understandable psychological reaction to the stress and violent deformities of the modern world.

I have tried a number of conventional and non-conventional methods to treat my own depression and I feel the most valuable activities are spending time in…

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You will see the pain and horror, but you will see the beauty too.

This is a repost of Dr Catherine Svehla’s latest entry in her mythology blog that challenges us to embrace the whole experience of life.

Listen to her 30min presentation of the Blackfoot myth of the Buffalo Dance here

Life-affirming mythologies

“Life isn’t meant to be happy. That’s not what it’s about. Ah, the damage that is caused by that attitude. All life is sorrowful. Sorrow is the essence of life. But can you handle it? Are you affirmative enough in your relationship to life to say ‘yea’ no matter what happens?”        

                                                                                                                                                      —Joseph Campbell

 

Buffalo Dance by Robert Bissett

 

One of the functions of mythology is to help us establish our relationship to life, to provide the context and meaning for experiences of all sorts. I’ve been thinking about this a lot this week. Bombs are falling in the Middle East and almost 300 people died in a plane crash. We’re treating children who want into the United States as criminals and arguing over who deserves health care. Here in California, we’re facing severe drought conditions. Times are tough and everyone knows it and we deal with it and carry on, etc.

But sometimes the pain of the world breaks through. Then what?

What’s your world view, your perspective, your myth, about the suffering in the world? Is suffering real? Does it matter? Can we get rid of it if we try hard enough? According to Campbell, a life-affirming mythology is one that makes room for both the joy and sorrow in life and treats them both as inevitable.  In this week’s program I tell a Blackfoot myth about the buffalo that Campbell often used as one example of a life-affirming mythology. It provides a way for people to accept all of it—death and killing and the fact that life feeds on life— and find beauty, sacredness, and connection.

A few years ago I heard author and poet Deena Metzger read some of her work in the space that is now the RFJT Listening Lounge. Metzger speaks directly to killing and suffering of many types and someone in the audience asked her how she could go so deeply into those experiences and come out whole. Part of her answer still rings in my ears. You have to look very closely at every thing she said, and not turn away. You will see the pain and horror, but you will see the beauty too.

We have many opportunities to get close to the reality of death as it happens all around us. Do we dare? Do we dare to feel it?

Enjoy the story.

The painting is “Buffalo Dance”  by Robert Bissett, who has an interesting website about art and painting in addition to his wonderful work. Check it out.

 

Grief and the Praise of Life

(h/t Carolyn Baker)


 

“The crucible of making human beings is death. Every culture that is worth a damn knows that.
It is not success. It’s not growth. It’s not happiness. It’s death. That’s the cradle of your love of life, the fact that it ends.”

 

 

 

“Grief is not a feeling. Grief is a skill. And the twin of grief as a skill of life is the skill of being able to praise or love life which means wherever you find one authentically done, the other is very close at hand –  grief and the praise of life, side by side.”

 

 

(from the website) Griefwalker is a lyrical, poetic portrait of Stephen Jenkinson’s work with dying people. Filmed over a twelve year period, Griefwalker shows Jenkinson in teaching sessions with doctors and nurses, in counseling sessions with dying people and their families, and in meditative and often frank exchanges with the film’s director while paddling a birch bark canoe about the origins and consequences of his ideas for how we live and die.

A few of the themes appearing in the film: Where does our culture’s death phobia come from? Is there such a thing as good dying? How is it that grief could be a skill instead of an affliction? Who are the dead to us? How can seeing your life’s end be the beginning of your deep love of being alive?

Stephen Jenkinson has appeared at scores of screenings of Griefwalker across Canada and the U.S. The discussion periods which follow routinely go on for hours. It seems the film detonates a strong desire among people to talk about their experiences of death and grief, and especially to be heard by others.

Griefwalker is available for viewing on Netflix.

 

Seven Habits of the Happy Introvert: Living in the World of Yin

anelegantmystery:

this is the key phrase for me in Margaret’s post – “Because we live in a world dominated by extroverts, we often feel guilty for not fitting in, for not behaving in the ways others expect us to. Think of the lone salmon fighting its way upstream. This is how it often feels for the introvert, striving to find his/her way back to the Source, fighting against the expectations of the collective. But the salmon can only do what is in its nature (see blog on Life of Pi), as can the introvert. The salmon might disappoint the schools of herring that want him to join the fun of swimming and dancing together, but there is no point in the salmon feeling guilty. In fact, guilt can ravage the soul of the introvert, tearing the flesh off his back. As long as your actions are not damaging someone else, you must do what you need to do without guilt and without shame, and honour the calling that carries you forward towards your true home.”

Originally posted on Margaret Mikkelborg:

Image

Notice I didn’t say the “successful” introvert. Self-help books abound on how to be successful: The 10 Habits of a Successful Leader, Seven Ways to be an Effective Leader, The 8 Habits of the Self-Made Rich, How to be a Success and Achieve Abundance: 8 Steps to Achieve Your Goals, etc. Frankly,these titles just make me feel tired. It recently occurred to me that all of these type of self-help books are geared towards extroverts and achieving success in the outer world. What about introverts? For most of us, just having and retaining an okay presence in that world takes up a great deal of our resources. So this blog is for the introverts.

The outer world that dominates western civilization is very yang or masculine in its orientation. We live in a culture that values power, control, domination over the other, war, one-upmanship, aggression, competition, status, speed, technology and…

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When the world gets turned upside down

Dogs teach us to use magic

(h/t Terri Windling)

 

Thinking outside the box – Making the gift economy work

Photo by Lindsey Byrnes

 

“One thing I’ve learned for sure, even though it’s something I’ve been told all my life by my mentors: All beings seek liberation. Even if they don’t know it, they do. They’re like sunflowers aching to the sky. When you start looking at the street and the marketplace and all human beings that way, everything starts to make more sense.”

- Amanda Palmer

(h/t Dave Pollard)

Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame shows how she courageously sidesteps the patterned behavior of how to make it in this world. As structures collapse and implode and become obsolete, how do people interact and engage with each other in new and vibrant ways. Palmer has created avenues of trust and interchange with people around the globe who are fans of her music.  How can each of us encourage and create our own gift economies? How will will that translate into a new language for us to navigate with as we try to map our way into an unknown future?

In this interview with Richard Bartlett, she elaborates a little more on the ups and downs of what she presents in this TED talk.

 

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