Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Saturday, 25 July 2015

"Once you know with absolute certainty that nothing can trouble you but your own imagination, you come to disregard your desires and fears, concepts and ideas, and live by truth alone."
~ Nisargadatta (20th century Indian Advaita mystic)

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Art Undone

'Through the use of creative psychotherapy, imagination and creativity are engaged in order promote wellness.'

The following is a link to Art Undone's website, which focuses on my work in arts based therapy, featured in the forthcoming edition of Network Ireland Magazine.

art : Eabha Rose

Ryan McBride highlights Alicja Ayres' refreshing perspective on art and performance

Crackplot Interview

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Blue Hat

Marie Engelina van Regteren Altena (Dutch,1868-1958)

The Whisperer in Darkness

"Their main immediate abode is a still undiscovered and almost lightless planet at the very edge of our solar system—beyond Neptune, and the ninth in distance from the sun. It is, as we have inferred, the object mystically hinted at as 'Yuggoth' in certain ancient and forbidden writings; and it will soon be the scene of a strange focussing of thought upon our world in an effort to facilitate mental rapport. I would not be surprised if astronomers became sufficiently sensitive to these thought-currents to discover Yuggoth when the Outer Ones wish them to do so. But Yuggoth, of course, is only the stepping-stone. The main body of the beings inhabits strangely organised abysses wholly beyond the utmost reach of any human imagination. The space-time globule which we recognise as the totality of all cosmic entity is only an atom in the genuine infinity which is theirs. And as much of this infinity as any human brain can hold is eventually to be opened up to me, as it has been to not more than fifty other men since the human race has existed."

H.P. Lovecraft

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

in the words of Silva Zanoyan Merjanian ~

One of the most brilliant talents in the world today, Suren Voskanyan, I am so honored to have one of your masterpieces as cover of my book, Rumor. 

When poetry and paintings like this unite, it's magic...

Suren Voskanyan was born in 1960 in Yerevan, Armenia, where he still resides. He studied the technique of the masters of impressionism and post impressionism in Hermitage Museum, Leningrad. In 1993 he graduated from the Yerevan Institute of Art and Theatre. Since 1993, Voskanyan has been an art instructor at the Design Center.

The artwork of Voskanyan is original, expressive and full of light.  His canvasses are beautifully composed with stylized figures, often times nude, amidst colorful abstract interiors. 

Voskanyan has been a member of the Realistic Artists Union of Armenia since 1997, and a member of the Artists' Union of Armenia since 1999. He has exhibited his artwork since 1984 in galleries in his native Yerevan, Moscow, Germany, Egypt, and the USA.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Beloved Composer Leonard Bernstein on the Importance of Believing in Each Other and How Art Fortifies Our Mutual Dignity

“We must learn to know ourselves better through art. We must rely more on the unconscious, inspirational side of man… We must believe, without fear, in people.”
“We’ve got to be as clear-headed about human beings as possible,” James Baldwin told Margaret Mead in their prescient 1970 conversation on race“because we are still each other’s only hope.” It is in such troubled times as ours — times of shootings, beatings, and the only kind of violence there is: the senseless kind — that we most need to heed Baldwin, to be reminded of who we can be to each other, of the tender and tenacious common humanity that undergirds all surface otherness.
Count on legendary composer Leonard Bernstein (August 25, 1918–October 14, 1990) — one of the most lucid and luminous minds of the past century, a man of immense insight into the creative impulse,deep capacity for gratitude, and complex emotional life — to do the reminding.
A decade before the assassination of JFK prompted Bernstein to write his unforgettable speech on the only true antidote to violence, he penned a beautiful and elevating short essay for NPR’s This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women (public library) — the same altogether magnificent compendium that gave us Thomas Mann on time and features other ennobling reflections from beloved luminaries like Eleanor Roosevelt, John Updike, Errol Morris, Gloria Steinem, Eve Ensler, and Andrew Sullivan.
Leonard Bernstein by Jack Mitchell
Bernstein writes:
I believe in people. I feel, love, need, and respect people above all else, including the arts, natural scenery, organized piety, or nationalistic superstructures. One human figure on the slope of a mountain can make the whole mountain disappear for me. One person fighting for the truth can disqualify for me the platitudes of centuries. And one human being who meets with injustice can render invalid the entire system which has dispensed it.
A century after Thoreau wrote that there is “no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor,”Bernstein kisses awake our capacity for self-transcendence, from which our capacity to change the world springs:
I believe that man’s noblest endowment is his capacity to change. Armed with reason, he can see two sides and choose: He can be divinely wrong. I believe in man’s right to be wrong. Out of this right he has built, laboriously and lovingly, something we reverently call democracy. He has done it the hard way and continues to do it the hard way — by reason, by choosing, by error and rectification, by the difficult, slow method in which the dignity of A is acknowledged by B, without impairing the dignity of C. Man cannot have dignity without loving the dignity of his fellow.
I believe in the potential of people. I cannot rest passively with those who give up in the name of “human nature.” Human nature is only animal nature if it is obliged to remain static. Without growth, without metamorphosis, there is no godhead. If we believe that man can never achieve a society without wars, then we are condemned to wars forever. This is the easy way. But the laborious, loving way, the way of dignity and divinity, presupposes a belief in people and in their capacity to change, grow, communicate, and love.
In a sentiment that calls to mind Neruda’s exquisite metaphor for why we make art, Bernstein considers the power of art as a medium of love that confers dignity upon existence — our own and each other’s:
I believe in man’s unconscious mind, the deep spring from which comes his power to communicate and to love. For me, all art is a combination of these powers; for if love is the way we have of communicating personally in the deepest way, then what art can do is to extend this communication, magnify it, and carry it to vastly greater numbers of people. Therefore art is valid for the warmth and love it carries within it, even if it be the lightest entertainment, or the bitterest satire, or the most shattering tragedy.
Exhorting us to believe “in one another, in our ability to grow and change, in our mutual dignity,” Bernstein echoes John Steinbeck’s memorable assertion that“the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world” and adds:
We must encourage thought, free and creative. We must respect privacy. We must observe taste by not exploiting our sorrows, successes, or passions. We must learn to know ourselves better through art. We must rely more on the unconscious, inspirational side of man. We must not enslave ourselves to dogma. We must believe in the attainability of good. We must believe, without fear, in people.
Complement the wholly wonderful This I Believe with Bernstein on motivation, his beautiful letter of gratitude to his mentor, and his electrifying tribute to JFK, then revisit Viktor Frankl on why it pays to believe in each other.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Driving Around New York City - 1928


Light clarity avocado salad in the morning
after all the terrible things I do how amazing it is
to find forgiveness and love, not even forgiveness
since what is done is done and forgiveness isn't love
and love is love nothing can ever go wrong
though things can get irritating boring and dispensable
(in the imagination) but not really for love
though a block away you feel distant the mere presence
changes everything like a chemical dropped on a paper
and all thoughts disappear in a strange quiet excitement
I am sure of nothing but this, intensified by breathing

(Frank O'Hara)

Friday, 10 July 2015

in the stars

at the party there were those sage souls
who swam along the bottom like those huge white
fish who live for hundreds of years but have no
fun. they are nearly blind and need the cold.
william was a stingray guarding his cave. only
those prepared for mortal battle came close to
him. closer to the surface the smaller fish
played, swimming in mixed patterns only a god
could decipher. they gossiped and fed and sparred
and consumed, and some no doubt even spawned.
it’s a life filled with agitation, thrills,
melodrama and twittery, but too soon it’s over.
and nothing’s revealed because it was never known.
(The Lovely Arc of a Meteor in the Night Sky - James Tate)

Saturday, 4 July 2015

my arts based therapy practice features in the forthcoming edition of Network Ireland - Holistic Magazine, which will be hitting shops and letterboxes next week! It's packed with great articles on mindful eating, the therapeutic potential of creative writing, non-violent communication, starting new relationships, dealing with grief, why we should spend more time in the dark and lots more!! If you'd like to subscribe and have this issue posted out to you then sign up at http://networkmagazine.ie/subscriptions
(via Network Ireland)