Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ode to Deacon Fuller

I realize it was because of you I went out and bought that Fender Strat -- black it was and Standard American made it was, with a sweet neck and yummy action. (It was the one that got away.)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Color and the Tree of Life -- Dr. Monica G. Dahl, guest contributor

Lignum Vitae

Images of michele’s exquisite eye for beauty capture my favorite form of art, realism. From her show at Cocco and Salem, I became enraptured first with her eye on the monstera deliciosa. Then the clitoria. After meditating on this brilliant color spectrum of a blessed holy tree, what captured my imagination as a therapist was the mythology of the trinity of the lignum vitae; flower / green pod / fresh seed, the cycle of birth / growth / death / rebirth. Maiden / mother / crone, all in one image of a holy tree. Lignum vitae, tree of life, who is reported to have healing qualities for those who approach the tree at chest height, and rest themselves in this crook of the tree. The tree is said to diffuse all negativity. The use of its heavy wood during WWII reduced its wild population. Sprouting takes scarification of the shell. (like the rest of us)

I imaged the lignum vitae print framed in different colors to draw out the different aspects of the internal image which has a realism of its own that cannot be refuted by argument, logic or debate. The background is the context within which the foreground is embedded. What is foreground? What is background? What is relevant, what is irrelevant? For an individual to have a strong sense of self, meaning and value, the essential cannot be left in the non-essential category/marginalized and the non-essential cannot be centralized. The lignum vitae image was a fine gestalt to play with as a teaching tool in how the frame of reference we give to the emergent realism of living allows us to form mood, ideas, and inevitably behavior. I spent an hour with the framer looking at the different aspects, selecting the green frame in the center as my first reframe.

Once the reframe was hanging beside the original image in contrast with its simple black frame and white matting, two more quickly joined it to become a visual teaching tale in the office. Each of the frames draw the eye to different aspects of this same image. Frame, reframe, reframe again. Different emergent impressions and the options continued to unfold, opportunities/possibilities. This is also how I do therapy. We have a common impression, a shared realism. It is framed in black and white. The facts, just the facts ma'am. Then there is the meaning, the emotional load that we give to the world, or that the world teaches us. Each reframe stretches the imagination to see more specifically or broadly, chunking down into a more detailed data awareness or chunking up into a more connected/holistic data awareness.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." (Aldous Huxley)

In changing human mood/thought/behavior, we begin with a change of awareness. Mindfulness to self and relational activities results in previously unobserved or ignored feelings/thoughts/behaviors becoming self apparent. This insight orientation ideally unfolds with spontaneous change of decision, or multiple decisions, and then there is a corresponding change of behavior because the eye is seeing clearly, the ear is hearing more accurately, the feelings have been harnessed for positive outcomes, self defined objectives, the aim of the mind can be more concisely targeted, the behavior can achieve the desired outcomes. This is achieved by clear perception and awareness of choices/options/decisions and desired outcomes. That which is perceived is achieved.

The pleasure of observing Michele stalk the yard leads to my own yearning to capture images of her engaged in her work. She has gifted me with a camera, and I must now extend my learning, growth, development and understanding into a digital world.

Clitoria Ternatea

Monstera Deliciosa

©text by Dr. Monica Geers Dahl, 2012, photographs by Michele R. Strub, 2010-2012