The taming vs Good enough holding….   (Edited)

“… an environment that holds the baby well enough, the baby is able to make personal development according to the inherited tendencies. The result is a continuity of existence that becomes a sense of existing, a sense of self, and eventually results in autonomy.” (From Home Is Where We Start From: Essays by a Psychoanalyst by D. W. Winnicott)

“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse.  ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’ (From The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams)

 

 

 

 

Also, I’d like to share an article with the title The Midlife Unraveling by Brene Brown, imbued with humor, on the serious and painful business of the midlife unraveling, which I know from experience is a lot of things and often encompasses a spiritual awakening of sorts, a waking up to more reality, a need to feel suppressed emotions and unspent grief and a reclamation of aspects of one’s self.

Brene Brown writes ‘Many scholars have proposed that the struggle at midlife is about the fear that comes with our first true glimpse of mortality. Again, wishful thinking. Midlife is not about the fear of death. Midlife is death. Tearing down the walls that we spent our entire life building is death. Like it or not, at some point during midlife, you’re going down, and after that there are only two choices: staying down or enduring rebirth.’

The tearing down and rebirth pains are only yours to endure. Nobody can feel the grief and cry the tears for you. It can be brutal. Like a boxer you have to walk into that ring alone and meet all that you have denied, forgotten, buried, lost, suffered. They say that boxers do not only face their opponents in the ring, but also themselves and that boxing forces oneself to look deep within to discover one’s true self. Maybe, I don’t know much about boxing, neither do I like watching it, though I do admire the presence, speed, stamina and skill that it requires. Only you have no padded gloves and you don’t fight what you find there, you see, feel, remember, understand and embrace over and over – because we are built in layers we heal and understand in layers.  You can read the passage at:  https://brenebrown.com/blog/2018/05/24/the-midlife-unraveling/

Edited

You look a tiger in the eye. And trust without fear. That’s what it is to be a woman. (From Jojo Rabbit)

Recognize When There’s No Tiger in the Bushes or That You Can Deal with It (Rick Hanson, Just One Thing)

‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.’ (George Eliot)

Today’s drawing is influenced by Jojo Rabbit, directed by Taika Waititi, whose mother is of Jewish descent and father is Maori. The film is set in Nazi Germany towards the end of the war, featuring a childish version of Hitler, who has unicorn for dinner, while everyone else at the table is having watery soup. He is the imaginal friend of a ten year old Hitler Youth member, Johannes (Jojo) Betzler, who is desperate to belong and has been indoctrinated to hate Jews and worship Hitler. Even so, and despite the mythology in his mind, he can’t bring himself to do cruel things like killing rabbits, and thus, he acquires the name Jojo Rabbit. Jojo’s father has gone missing in the war, his sister has died and he lives with his mother, Rosie, who has been hiding a Jewish teenage girl in their attic and is risking her life for what she believes. When Jojo finds Elsa he becomes conflicted between his burgeoning feelings for this new friend and his ‘brainwashed loyalty’ towards the Nazi regime.

I found the film aesthetically beautiful and tender. It is a different kind of commentary on the dark and destructive nature of fascism and racism with a lot of redemptive hope about humans and human affairs. It seems to profess faith in the power of individual action and resistance to bring about change. George Eliot wrote ‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.’ Hopefully any kind of resistance is a force that ripples outwards and changes the boundaries of what we might consider possible. It is a kind of art comedy. It has a lot of colour for a film set during the war. The tall Gestapo man that comes round for inspection when Jojo’s mother is absent is like a figure from a Rene Magritte’s painting. the film opens with a Beatles song playing in the background and concludes with lines from a poem by R. M. Rilke:

Let everything happen to you. Beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.’

Another theme in this narrative is that if we love someone we need to set them free to be themselves. Jojo will reach this understanding at the end of the film even though by then his mother will have died and his Jewish friend will be the only loved one he has. There are also other interesting threads of story within the story. From the beginning of the film, for instance, we see that Jojo cannot tie his shoelaces. Towards the end of the film we see him walking in the street. His attention is caught by a beautiful butterfly, which leads him to a place where people have been hung. As he looks up from the butterfly he sees his mother’s legs dangling. The shoe laces are undone. In a poignant scene the boy ties the shoelaces.

As I spent several hours over two days creating the picture I realised that we may collectively carry our own personal versions of images from the film of war stories we have heard and history lessons we have digested, and the fear of persecution for one’s beliefs or for speaking up might always be lurking in some corner of our heart.

Painting by Henri Rousseau

On love and life

“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget” (From the Cost of Living by Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy)

A book on love by bell hooks                                           

bell hooks is a writer, feminist theorist, cultural critic, professor and lecturer around the world. I have just finished reading her book, All About Love: New Visions, in which she discusses the politics and nature of love, what stifles and what nourishes it in different contexts. She looks at love through psychological, philosophical and sociopolitical lens. She draws on her own spiritual path and life experiences, and also, the work and writings of people from diverse fields and different spiritual and religious traditions to discuss the politics of love and to support her conviction that there is a dire need for a return to love in our contemporary world.

In an attempt to create a brief summary of the book, chapter by chapter, I will inevitably highlight only certain points she touches on because the chapters are rich in content. My choices may also reflect what has felt more relevant to me and what I believe reflects more universal dynamics and experiences. Other people might find other bits more relevant, depending on where they live because the book is contextualized, their personal experience and spiritual path.

She begins her book with a quote from Jack Kornfield: ‘It is possible to speak with our heart directly. Most ancient cultures know this. We can actually converse with our heart as if it were a good friend. In modern life we have become so busy with our daily affairs and thoughts that we have lost this essential art of taking time to converse with our heart.’ This theme runs throughout the book as she discusses how there are not many public discussions of love in our cultures right now.  She talks about the important place of love in any movement for social justice and the need for a love ethic in all areas of our life. One of the basic underpinnings of her discussion is the impact of patriarchy on relationships, family and society. On reviewing the literature she found that the institutionalization of patriarchy and male domination stand in the way of love in families and influences relatedness, freedom and justice in society. Read more…………………