A couple of things that caught my attention this week….

We respond to incoming stimuli and information as we make it our own with thoughts, sensations, emotions, and shifts in ideas or actions….                    

I watched a documentary created by local school students about Lazaretto, the quarantine facility on the island, which is now an abandoned stone building complex. It was based on architectural plans by Weiler and was built after the Greek revolution. It was a rather impressive building on a spot with a breathtaking view of the sea and the town. It included a rectangular courtyard, kitchens and offices and 32 apartments for travelers. Initially, it served as a quarantine space for travelers who were forced to remain within its walls for several days in order to avoid the spread of infectious diseases like cholera. During the Cretan revolution it was used as a shelter for the refugees of Crete and then it functioned as a prison, a lunatic asylum for people deemed as mentally disturbed, addicts, the homeless, paupers, and so on, while after the civil war it was used for the detention of political prisoners. So, one could say that even during its early more glorious days when it brought income from travelers it was about isolation, human suffering and oppression. This was intensely felt during the film where potential restoration plans and ideas were also presented. The island has many derelict impressive buildings from older prosperous times and it is sad to watch them turning to rubble. I am all for restoring and creating new uses for buildings that can potentially create historical continuity, benefit neighborhoods aesthetically, create work places, bring revenue and also make use of old material and what has stood there for so long. So, the ideas mentioned included a hotel with a spa where modern architectural features could be combined with what has remained of the building, a medical conference area, a university or other educational facility. But the lack of resources and other obstacles that were highlighted in the film practically means that it may eventually crumble. As I imagined what it could potentially become and how it could transform the area in many ways (even property prices would go up in the surrounding area) I was surprised to also feel that perhaps it is meant to crumble and eventually disappear and maybe the magnitude of the pain and suffering and its dark history call for it to dissolve. Could it be a kind of justice brought about by time? Sometimes old structures can be healed and restored, but sometimes the old has to die in order to release old dynamics and to create space for the new. Maybe returning the site to nature through restoring the natural environment to its former beauty; for instance, planting a park, could be a different kind of restoration.

Reading the article below brought to my attention an interesting distinction that I had not made previously; the distinction between vertical collectivism and horizontal collectivism. We usually discuss the overall qualities and advantages and disadvantages of more or less collective / individualistic cultures, but do not often consider this distinction.

‘Harry Triandis made this distinction between collectivism. Vertical collectivism is observing hierarchies, and so certain people have higher status and more authority than you. You have to respect those people, and you have to treat those people a certain way. But in a society that follows horizontal collectivism, there’s less emphasis on hierarchy, on authority, on power. You’re…… focused on your relationships and the goals of your social group’

(Retrieved from https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_cultural_differences_shape_your_happiness?utm_source=Greater+Good+Science+Center&utm_campaign=ecea6c2bb1-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_GG_Newsletter_May_22&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_5ae73e326e-ecea6c2bb1-70743655)

Free Barbie monologue from  ‘I am an emotional creature’  by Eve Ensler

‘There are more than a billion Barbies in the world. Imagine if we freed them. Imagine if they came alive in all the villages and cities and bedrooms and landfills and dream houses. Imagine if they went from makeover to takeover. Imagine if they started saying what they really felt.  Let Barbie speak…’ Read more………………..

Writing, painting, and drawing are linked….

‘Loving ourselves through the process of owning our own story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do’   Brene Brown

Extracts from Living Color: Painting, Writing, and the Bones of Seeing by Natalie Goldberg

Writing, painting, and drawing are linked. Don’t let anyone split them apart, leading you to believe you are capable of expression in only one form. The mind is much more whole and vast than that.

I took my paints and the fountain pen I used for writing and I sat in front of my friend Gini’s funky adobe higher up on the hill. I first drew that house with my pen and then colored the drawing in with my paints. I found out that the pen’s ink ran with the watercolors.

I was delighted one day to paint an adobe house blue. Stepping through the belief that I must paint mud brown, I experienced an explosion of energy and freedom. It was as though that blue paint were a sword slashing through illusion,

I painted the sky red instead. I painted Jazz yellow. He was a brown dog but yellow expressed him better. Color became fluid. Leaves did not have to be green. I added turquoise, then mixed blue with black and splashed on navy, which added a touch of melancholy— after all, it was the end of summer.