“How is it when the tree withers and the leaves fall?”
“Body exposed in the golden wind.” (Zen haiku)
“When things fall apart and we’re on the verge of we know not what, the test of each of us is to stay on that brink and not concretize.” (From When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Chödrön, Pema., p. 11)
Today I’m sharing some charcoal drawings I’ve started making this month (excuse me for the poor quality of the photos, but I currently don’t have access to a scanner). Lack of canvases due to the lockdown has made it necessary for me to turn to things available on the arts supply shelf, but it’s also something I’ve felt I needed to do for some time now, but kept postponing it. Actually, I don’t think I have used charcoal for over a decade. One of the last charcoal drawings I made was the artwork posted in the previous post, and a portrait of the national poet of Bulgaria, as part of something I was asked to do for a small art exhibition I took part in, while supporting my husband’s work concerning outreach programmes at the time. In the past I’ve mostly used charcoal to make portraits of people, but this time I decided to focus less on precision and detail, and allow for more spontaneity and rawness to enter the images.
Also, sharing two links for two podcasts I’ve listened to over this last week. Both podcasts contain humor and it’s a pity there are no transcripts to make it easier for people in Greece to read.
One is a talk between Dr Rick Hanson and his son Forrester on the holidays and the difficulties that can come up as old traumas and past bottled up emotions can collide with current difficulties and expectations, as well as, the impact of Covid-19 on people’s circumstances and capacity to get together this year. It’s titled: Sadness and Disappointment around the Holidays. It moves through topics like the associations that we make between current sad experiences and unmet expectations and our past material, ways to soften around emotions and release them, the use of imagery to deal with sadness, identifying underlying beliefs, how to let in positive experiences alongside the painful ones, finding agency in the midst of disappointment, communicating our needs and discerning sadness from depression. They conclude that having strong hopes and intentions and weak expectations could potentially help us.
In the second podcast: https://humanism.org.uk/what-i-believe/, Natalie Haynes , a British writer and broadcaster, talks with Andrew Copson about the modern relevance of the work of the ancient classical world and the value of curiosity and inquiry. Haynes values open inquiry, being curious and interested in learning and considers these as the root of happiness without underestimating luck and circumstances. She refers to generations of people being penalized for curiosity when they were young or were judged as not good enough to study the classics or other things by educators, and how this has robbed people of opportunities. Many of us may go back and think about our own experiences in Ancient Greek and Latin classes if these subjects were part of the school curriculum, She refers to the study of the Ancient Greek and Latin as limited to the elite and the importance of exposing all children to classics, which is our collective history and can help us journey through life. This she says is one reason why she has dedicated her life to taking classics to schools and working on giving everyone the opportunity to choose to learn. She also refers to her book, Pandora’s jar, and mentions how most modern narrators of Greek myths, for instance, have been men, who have not shown much interest in telling the stories of the women in these ancient stories.
A quote from Natalie Haynes’ book: A Thousand Ships
“But this is a women’s war, just as much as it is the men’s, and the poet will look upon their pain – the pain of the women who have always been relegated to the edges of the story, victims of men, survivors of men, slaves of men – and he will tell it, or he will tell nothing at all. They have waited long enough for their turn.”