Exploring colours and a book
I bought a little book as a gift, but I read it as I was finishing this painting. The title is Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination and it contains a speech JK Rowling gave at a graduation event.
On empathy she says: “Now you might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I personally will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared…………… Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other peoples’ places. Of course, this is a power like my brand of fictional magic that is morally neutral. One might use such a power to manipulate or control, just as much as to understand or sympathize. And many prefer not to exercise their imaginations at all. They choose to remain comfortably within the bounds of their own experience, never troubling to wonder how it would feel to have been born other than they are. They can refuse to hear screams or peer inside cages. They can close their hearts and minds to any suffering that does not touch them personally. They can refuse to know. I might be tempted to envy people who can live that way, except that I do not think that they have any fewer nightmares than I do…….… Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to a form of mental agoraphobia, and that brings its own terrors. I think the willfully unimaginative see more monsters. They are often more afraid. What is more, those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy.”
Exploring colour and developmental chairs
I like to share useful or interesting ideas that I come across or that resonate with me, and also, processes that I am familiar with or believe they have the potential to support change and bring about healing. So, today, along with the painting I have been engaging with recently I will refer to Michelle Chalfant’s experiential process of healing and integrating and the concept of the self as expressed through the three chairs in The Adult Chair: A Guide to Loving Yourself. Her work is based on Susan Aston Crumpton’s work. Read more…..
Two metaphors from recent readings and a painting
Internalizing green zone experiences builds up a core of inner strengths. In a positive cycle, this fosters more experiences of the Responsive mode and therefore more opportunities to grow inner resources. Then you can handle larger and larger challenges, staying green inside even when the world is flashing red, with a bone-deep resilient well-being that nothing can penetrate and overwhelm. When faced with a challenge, be mindful of which particular need— for safety, satisfaction, or connection— is at stake. Deliberately call upon your inner strengths related to meeting these specific needs…… Then, as you experience mental resources, you can reinforce them in your nervous system. I’ve sailed some, and I’ve managed to capsize a boat that didn’t have a keel. If the mind is like a sailboat, growing inner resources is like strengthening and lengthening its keel. Then you can live more boldly, trusting that you can explore and enjoy the deeper waters of life, and handle any storms that come your way (From Resilient by Rick Hanson, 2018)
There is an old saying that consciousness is like a container of water. If you take a tablespoon of salt and place it in a small container, say, the size of an espresso cup, the water most certainly will be too salty to drink. But if your container is much larger— say it is capable of holding many, many gallons of water—water— that same tablespoon of salt, now placed into this vast amount of liquid, will taste fresh. Same water, same salt; simply a different ratio, and the experience of drinking is totally different. Consciousness is like that. When we learn to cultivate our capacity for being aware, the quality of our life and the strength of our mind are enhanced (From Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence by Dan J. Siegel, 2018)