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I LOVE this picture!  I call the big pecan tree at my grandmother’s house the “family tree".  It was the center of my universe of bliss as a child, and considering my “family history", it is the most accurate representation of any healthy parts of family and bliss and connection to the good parts of family that were available to me, and that time was when this was the most true.  I included photos of that tree in my first 2 journal pages: “Little Girl Bliss” and “Family Tree.”  Those of my siblings who were old enough before Grandmother moved away from the house in the country, including myself, all used to LOVE climbing on the pecan tree and playing on and around it.  Many many wonderful memories of many kinds in, around, and in the vicinity of that great tree.  In this picture, the cornfield is behind me, and I am facing the driveway by the back of the house from this angle.  That’s definitely me in the picture, of course.  Happy moments!

Hanging Around the Family Tree

This was done entirely in colored pencils—a first for me.  I am trying to learn how to use colored pencils better, as my last piece was the victim of “wax bloom” and by the time I discovered what was the source of the haze, I had added other media that made it impossible for me to correct it.  I may go back and do that one over again, at least the background, but I’d have to start from scratch on the background portion and lay over the rest of the image as a transfer.  But for now, I am busy constructing all of the images that I want to do for a series of “memories” from around my grandmother’s house and vicinity.  This is the second or these drawings that I have done so far.  The first is a quick sketch (aka “stage 1”) done in graphite and charcoal and I’ll upload it shortly.  I’m still not happy with my media skill with colored pencil coming out of this one, because I am still not getting the depth of color that I want before I have difficulty getting the paper to accept more layers, and I’ve seen colored pencil drawings that did achieve this, so I see potential to improve.  Could just be the cheap paper I’m using, or how I am constructing the layers.  I’m applying layers with a lighter touch with multiple layers in the buildup, and I’m using a workable fixative between sets of layers to avoid wax bloom and regain tooth, but I still don’t get back consistent tooth after applying the workable fixative as I feel there should be after about the 10th layer and then applying the workable fixative.  Maybe I need to apply more layers of the fixative, or be more careful about skin oils or other pollutants that are getting on the paper, or something else?  Will continue to work on refining technique with the pencils.

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The process of art journaling is like a form of meditation for me.  The process of developing a visual image in this way takes me away from words, labels, definitions of things, and pushes me over to a more heavily right-brain oriented activity.  Once I transition to right-brain emphasis, I easily get into a “flow” mental state, but what I am discovering is that, just as when I am sleeping & dreaming, my left brain isn’t turned off, though on a top level of consciousness it would seem so to me.  While my right brain has my main consciousness busy with lines and colors and shapes and texture and media and tapping my memories and imagination to create an image that represents something about my thoughts and feelings, there is also this heavily integrated left-brain/right-brain activity going on very intensely while my hands are working on the details in the journal page.  But the words and the story start flowing later, and the messages that my brain is sending through the journal page, and the significance of it really unfold and present themselves to me when I stop working on the image.  It’s an incredible thing, that I liken to how can go to sleep with some unresolved problem hanging out there with no clear solution (sometimes even the problem itself is not clear to me), and I wake up with an amazing perspective, both on the problem, and options for resolution.  This process is like doing that but I’m still awake.  I’m not even aware of this process going on while I work on my journal pages, but I am seeing a clear pattern emerging that this happens, even when I think that I am doing a journal page about one thing, but by the time I finish, I realize that it represents something very different that I had imagined was going on in my head.  It’s like the process throws open all these windows and doors inside of me that I didn’t know were there, and the bits of data that are related to one another seem to find each other and have tearful reunions in my head, and then catch each other up on what’s been happening with them since they were last connected.

 

I have a very strong ability to sense patterns (another right-brain characteristic) and relationships between things, and seeing as much of the whole picture as possible in order to put things into the proper context is something that I gravitate towards.  I feel the similarities and differences in things, and connections between them, even when someone is attempting to conceal them.  My brain apparently does this even better in auto-pilot mode when I am doing the art journaling, and my brain is getting a rest from words, labels, criticism, etc.  In that flow state, my brain seems to be able to see everything, and accesses it all, and when I stop doing the art, it tells me what it’s discovered while kicking around in my head, and as that happens, these realizations get incorporated into the next revision of the current image, or it may inspire a future image.  Ultimately, I find that with each journal page that I have completed, and even each time I do the process, I feel less burdened than before I did it.  I’m still amazed by that, and I wonder what others experience when they do art journaling?  This is dramatically obvious to both myself and my husband, and our amazement continues to grow with each new step in the process.  Who knew?

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In this picture, I was looking at my son, as I often did back then, and I was thinking that he deserves the absolute best mother in the world and I want him so badly to be happy in every way that I never was, and I am trying to think of how to make that possible when he has just me as a mother (a woman his father not-so-fondly referred to as gutter trash that he was kind enough to pick up off the street, though I didn’t deserve it, and I was an ingrate for leaving him, but I digress).  I had my son because I wanted a child more than anything in the whole world, to have the chance to give a better life to a child than I had had, to give me someone to love more than I loved myself (which I really didn’t at all), to make him feel special like I wanted to feel special as a child.  I wanted my son to have the best life humanly possible, yet I and I felt back then that I myself was invisible at best and seen as garbage and a burden at worst by my own family.  My husband (my son’s father) told me over and over again that I will never be anything but garbage, that without him making me look good, that I was nothing, and that was before I left him.  And frankly, I bout into it back then.  I thought that this little precious angel boy deserved a really good mother, and I wanted to be that, but I didn’t yet know how to be that.  I didn’t even know who I really was myself, and I really felt like I was unlikely to succeed in my present state at that time, thought I didn’t yet know how to make that better.  I thought it was important to make myself a better person, and I needed to learn a whole lot of stuff to be able to do that.

What I had learned up to that point was that the world was upside down for me, relative to what I assumed others called their lives, and in my own childhood what I encountered was that you couldn’t assume that someone could be trusted just because they were your family (I was repeatedly sexually molested and battered by two of them who were supposed to protect me from the bad guys, others just turned their backs on me), or because they had a public trust to protect the innocent and helpless, or because they once professed to love you and you had children together.  And given that these are the people from whom I would have expected to get a reliable set of rules for right, wrong, good, bad, etc., but I knew that the rules were often arbitrary, changing based on convenience and biases of the rule givers and enforcers, and even abusive, I had to make up my own rules and create my own universe around me.  Since the role models were not reliable, I had to figure out my own rules, and my own identity separate and apart from them, so I tried to stay open to other perspectives and try to find bits of truth for myself.  For me, the whole world was life on the other side of the looking glass, and anything was possible, both in a positive and negative sense.  I could create an interesting life for myself and my children if I could manage to ferret out the truth and develop the right structure to live within that was consistent with that. 

Great ideas, but the devil was in the doing and the details.  It was difficult to shield my children from all of the missteps when I set off down a fork in the road for a bit, discovered that it was a dead end or the path otherwise didn’t work well, and then had to get back on the right path again.  I was only twelve when I started listening to everyone who wanted to offer me perspective, to try to glean something useful from them.  Some of them really would have appeared to be weird to other people, and they would have dismissed anything they had to contribute because they judged them for things that was often superficial—perhaps sensational, like the nice man that I met who was in the process of going through gender reassignment and looked kind of strange.  People would look at him/her and judge based on external appearance.  But the whole notion of judging someone based on the superficial package I had rejected from the age of about 10, when I first learned about racial prejudice, and kids being valued or devalued based on how “beautiful” they were, not by how good their hearts were.  Not to mention growing up in the south, where I was forced to keep quiet about being battered and sexually molested by family members, and NEVER EVER talk about the elephant in the room.  I knew how it felt to grow up being judged by people who didn’t even know you at all, like my father’s family.  I was too different from them, and I didn’t live by the simple rulebook that they expected family members to follow.  So just because someone looked different was not a criteria for rejection, and it didn’t disqualify whatever I might potentially learn from them.

I chose Sundeep’s father on the basis of three things:  he was sharp and I thought I could learn a lot from him, he was clear in his mind about who he was and what his principles were, and he had a very connected and supportive extended family, which I thought would be good at least for my future children, as they would never have to find themselves without a family, as I did.  The family was conservative, and protective of young ones.  I didn’t believe they would allow anyone to hurt my children.  He was very hard on me, and berated me constantly, but I had some backbone and fought back, so at least I didn’t just roll over and take it.  But we fought throughout our courtship and marriage, and eventually, I came to the realization that he would never stop trying to tear me down, and if I stayed with him, our son would grow up in a war zone and I knew too well how horrible that was.  The best thing that I could do, was to separate, go back and finish my school and try to get some self-esteem, and do the best I could by my son.

But I was always worrying that I would fail, and sometimes that could be paralyzing to me.  I kept trying, but my own fears and insecurities undermined how well I did it many times.   I had a HUGE hole in my bucket from a very tragic childhood, and I was like a drowning person.  I felt tremendous need for a lot of stuff, like unconditional love and acceptance, protection, affection, etc., and I went back and forth between reaching out like  drowning person to grab onto someone to give it to me, and not letting anyone get too close because needing, my childish mind thought, was why I lost everything, and it was best not to need anything from anyone at all, if possible.  Then maybe someone would love me, if I became the ideal person to them.  Problem was, that there was no ME left when I did that.

The only thing that I felt certain about was that education was going to be key, both formal and life lessons.  I was thinking that I’ve got to finish school to prove that I am not garbage.  I need to prove it to myself, I wanted to give my son someone to be proud to have as a mother, and I felt compelled to prove it to those who I wanted to love me unconditionally, but I didn’t believe that it was possible to love me unconditionally.  So I would try very hard to love my son unconditionally and accept him and not judge him, because I didn’t want him to grow up like I did.  I had no idea how to pull this off at this point, because I wasn’t always quite sure which side of the looking glass was the safe and healthy side at any given moment, as I questioned that as I learned more about the world and people around me.   Whichever side I’m on, what I DO know is that the looking glass was never far from me.  The world was truly upside down, and the chaos that came and went was disturbing.   So all I could think of to do was to try to be as honest with my son as I could possibly be, about my perceptions, what I was trying to do, and when I thought I had gotten it wrong.  What I tried to conceal, to no avail, was my poor image of myself, and a deep sense of shame that I even existed.  I had those tapes playing in a loop in my head, and it polluted so much of the good that I tried to do, and took me down more than a few difficult rabbit holes.

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Ok, here’s the “mostly” final picture, at least it is the image that represents most closely what I was trying to express in my journal.  The problem again was with the media, as I had complications from layering the media.  I was intending to do thick transparent layer between establishing the background details and basic foreground image and some enhancements to details in the foreground and some features in the background that I wanted to float over the initial image, so I put down a coat of Golden clear gel.  But I accidentally put some rough grooves into the gel layer that interfered with my ability to smoothly lay down this second layer of detailing over the first, and the rough surface had no tooth for adding media.  It was really frustrating.  I adjusted the tooth by adding 2 layers of clear gesso and finished editing the image, which seemed to give me the details a little better, but when I put a layer of matte acrylic sealer, I got a haze over various parts of the image, some of which is consistent with the pronounced grooves, and some of it where I used graphite, stains, colored pencils and conte to complete the image detailing.  Here it is in the current form, with the haze very apparent:

 

sg0145

I have now sanded this in some areas and knocked off the peaks though there remain some raised areas of the acrylic gel.  Though I tried to limit the sanding around the main image areas that were edited in the second layer, I still lost some of the work, and have made one final attempt to clean it up.  I’m not 100% happy with the image aesthetically, because it is difficult to rework it at this point without risking losing some of the detail that I really like, and I already feel that I’ve overworked it in some areas as it is and I don’t want it to become muddy, so I’m stopping any more edits to the image itself at this point.  All that I am focusing on now with the work is to try to bring up the clear finish until it is as smooth as possible and there is no more haze. 

I’ve added a layer of clear tar gel, though I had already removed the picture from the wood backing that kept it stiff and taping it back on did not give me a completely flat surface to pour over.  There are some slight waves in the paper now, despite its thickness.  So what I’ve done was to do the pour with clear tar gel and used a straight edge like a scree to try to make the gel top surface as flat as possible (trying to avoid adding texture to the surface if possible).  I’m afraid that the final image may have lost some of the nice detailing that is visible on physical inspection that isn’t as clear on the scanned image, but we’ll wait and see.  The clear tar gel is still drying right now.  However, I can already tell that much of the transparency has been restored, and I’m just waiting for the gel to completely dry so I can see if there is any remaining haze. 

From a technical standpoint, there were a few surprises and lessons learned about the media that I was working with, besides what I mentioned above.  One was that once I started putting acrylic paint & stain on the paper, my colored pencils didn’t work well at all, even after adding clear gesso over it.  I had a clear feeling that the pencils had to be pressed harder than would have been tolerated by the acrylic without looking scratched.  I used acrylic stains for several areas of coloring, like the background and in particular all the coloring of the tree stump.  Some was diluted with blending gel, and some was not diluted.  I used staining medium for the first time, which is really cool, because once you mix it with the acrylic paint, if it dries, it is reworkable indefinitely until it is sealed, which made it very much like watercolors.  This was especially cool because, just as I got my paint pallet of pre-mixed stain colors ready to do some adjustments, one of our cats started misbehaving in the next room and I had to stop and deal with that, and my stains had already started drying on the pallet, but were easily refreshed with just a bit of water. 

Notice the looking glass in the background (rose colored).  The story is in the next post. 

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Ok, so I slept on the last version, and thought there was something missing from the “story,” thought it needed some fine tuning to the background, maybe detailing in the image, but as I’ve been learning about this process every time I do it, is that the process gives the lessons to me, and I get them when I get them.  When I woke up yesterday morning, I knew that the core image was only a piece of the story that the picture needed to show.  It needed to be put into context, and in doing so, the big picture of what I was really trying to express started to unfold.  I didn’t see it, and I didn’t see the layers that I have carried around for so many years, layers of shame and blame and self-contempt for every misstep in my life, even before I ever committed them.  But I’m jumping ahead.  These figures needed to be put into a context to be able to answer the question, “What was I thinking/feeling then?”

I searched for a background image that would enable me to complete the picture.  What I found in an old magazine was this:

 

sg0143-1

Lovely picture from an old magazine about old movies, in fact.  The only problem with the picture, is that there is a woman standing in the middle of the picture.  Other than that, it has all of the missing elements.  The wooded setting was/is idyllic for me.  It’s where I felt a sense of peace and belonging.  And then there is that looking glass, a perfect combination for me because I was never 100% sure which side of the looking glass I was on.  This is the perfect combination to round out the context for this picture to enable me to tell the whole story about the state of my mind in this image, and sets the stage to tell the story that I would really say to my son at that time.  So how to address integrating these elements with my current painting?  Remove the woman and draw what belongs there in my story:

sg0144

A gnarly old tree trunk in a forest does not interfere with my story.  In fact, I like this picture by itself, even outside of the story. I drew this with charcoal and graphite pencils, utilizing some of the light of the woman’s image to the extent that it works.  Now I have an altered photograph, over which I will overlay my working image, then continue.

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I have just a bit more work to do to polish this version of the journal page, smooth out some of the details, revise the background a bit and put a thick finish on it, but it’s mostly done.  Artist details:  mixed media:  graphite, charcoal, colored pencils & chalk pastels, acrylic, image transfer (a portion of my son’s face).

 

I really wanted to capture how I felt about my son when he was too little to remember.  Thinking about my kids is a big part of my bliss, and this really says it all.  I was so young myself that I really wanted to show him how very much I wanted him and loved him and hoped that I could be a really good mom to him.  He was indeed my little angel.  This journal page is a reminder of how precious he was and how privileged I felt to be his mom.

angel of mine stage 2

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Angel of Mine stage 1

I’m just starting to develop this composition, so this is stage 1 of this piece.  This is a portrait of me with my son, my first angel, when he was between 2-3 years old.  I am about 23. 

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Ok, this entry is not about a particular entry in my art journal, but my thoughts about what I’m learning about myself in the process today.  The pages are me getting down visual representations of thoughts and feelings at a given time, sometimes in a given moment.  It doesn’t even matter for me if that moment has passed in terms of time, because the image flashing in my mind’s eye brings me back vividly to the memory and how I felt and thought at that time quite easily.  What is helpful about bringing those images out of my mind and onto paper, is that looking at that page allows me to reflect on those thoughts and feelings in a different way, and I find myself trying to understand both where I was coming from and what I can learn from that, to shape my perspective and expand my own toolkit of life.

 

So I have been thinking about the journal page that I posted yesterday, and trying to decide what I was trying to tell myself.  The facts are that information/instruction/treatment was provided to me in a form that I was supposed to rely upon, and that information was wrong.  Where I have been feeling stuck is that the survival adaptation part of my brain is screaming that the rules as I understood them and used to keep myself safe were wrong.  Relying on a pure left-brain approach to the problem to understand and apply generally accepted rules for living, interpreting facts, acting in reliance upon professionals based on a set of assumed criteria, and even the criteria for extending trust and having confidence about what they provide—is broken.  What I have been feeling unsure about is what is exactly broken, and more specifically, how can I feel safe and confident to go back out into the world and be effective as a whole individual?  And what have I actually been doing as a process to achieve that?

Well, first was recognizing that something was clearly broken somewhere, based on the facts.  Something was wrong, I went to doctors of various kinds that I was sent to as recognized and recommended experts, in many cases specialists in particular kinds of problems, sometimes generically expert, like my primary care physician, Dr. Clark, and the outcome of all of the time, money, surgeries, treatments, drugs, tests, evaluations, was that the truth of what was wrong with me was missed-repeatedly and consistently by almost every single doctor.  I believe that I am developing, through my journaling, what was missing, and I have some the beginning of some ideas about how to address that going forward.

First, I’m looking at my process for problem-solving when faced with a new situation/set of facts and the need to adapt and survive.  Before I know that I’m dealing with something new that I don’t already understand, and that adapting to that new reality is necessary for survival, I have probably been feeling ill-at-ease in some hazy amorphous fashion, without a clear sense of what is underlying these feelings.  I’m distressed and uncomfortable, but I don’t know why.  Before I begin to feel that way, I’ve probably been working mostly in a left-brain sense with a set of rules that I apply to my situation, and for the most part, the parameters that I am relying upon seem to be working, and my right-brain function is something that I do for personal pleasure and balance.  The left brain world is a predictable and safe world because things fit together in logical, predictable ways, over and over again. 

Background

I don’t know if I ever was attracted to pure left-brain modes of thinking and living.  If I was, I can’t remember it.  I don’t know if I was pushed into right brain perspectives by exposure to life being inherently unpredictable and unsafe since an early age (even predating the fall at 5 years old, there was serious illness requiring hospitalization even before that), or to a parent’s perception that life was this way because they grew up with a “rulebook of life” that taught them that life could be devastatingly unpredictable and unfair, and survival required a great deal more than what could be extrapolated from objective analysis based on generally accepted facts.  I do know that what most distinguishes my parents from one another and why their marriage was doomed from the outset are how polarized they are in this regard. 

My mother grew up in a somewhat parallel world to me (perhaps to a lesser degree), where the generally accepted rulebook of life and assumptions that people generally relied upon to survive and prosper did not work in her childhood.  She had a very abusive father who maliciously hurt his wife, children, grandchildren, and others, and a mother who was not capable of protecting herself or her children.  I think she spent most of her life struggling with how to reconcile that, and her own self-esteem suffered as a consequence.  I feel certain that at least one of her assumptions was that she was supposed to be able to see the world and function in the world as if the standard rulebook applied to her, yet she knew that things didn’t work that way in reality, though the enforceable rule was that one was never to air one’s dirty laundry in public, so secrets were kept and as a child, predictably, she internalized a sense of failure.  This approach, however, has proven untenable for her, and in order to survive has repeatedly had to adopt more right-brain approaches to problem solving in order to survive.  The emotional conflict and the underlying damage to self esteem of trying to apply a “round peg” set of assumptions and rules to her “square peg” reality that she knew intuitively would work has been profound.  The irony of it all is that most of the time she devalues in herself what are strengths that actually positively set her apart in an evolutionary sense (in my opinion), and focuses on the damage that actually resulted from trying to “fit in.”

My father’s childhood was the opposite.  Life was uncomplicated and practical, and the rules that he learned served him well when he only had to serve his own needs.  Life was very much A + B + C = D, and when something or people came into his life that didn’t fit that in a way that interfered with his ability to enjoy living in his A + B + C = D rulebook, he would remove them and replace with what did fit.   As a child, he was not prepared to understand and cope with complications outside of that, and the choices that he has made have been to eliminate them by removing them from his path, and continuing on his journey.  Revisiting those choices is not something that he has ever been willing to do, I think because it has never been necessary in order for him to survive and prosper.

Had I been more like my father, I could have sidestepped some of the complications (and complicating people) that came along, but not most of them.  Some I simply could not have avoided, like being molested by my grandfather, being battered by my father, the accident at 5 and the long history of illnesses, my parents’ marriage breaking apart and being abandoned physically by the age of 12, emotionally and physically neglected long before that, were all things that I could not adapt to on my own during that time.  I could not protect myself then, though I made immature attempts to find creative solutions on my own at the time.  It’s been helpful for me to reflect on the various ways that my siblings and I have developed our own perspectives, and how we apply them to our present-day realities.  Each has developed strengths around resilience, adaptability and creativity in general, though each of us, including myself, continue to struggle with significantly low self esteem, and varying degrees of emotional dysfunction that pop up at various times, most notably during periods of high stress and stressful familial interaction of some kind (death in the family, family conflict, celebratory family gatherings, etc.).  And how we cope with instability varies, as well.

Present Situation

My dilemma is that I have discovered that I have relied, to my detriment, on the expert advise and treatment by a whole series of doctors over many years, who repeatedly and egregiously got it very badly wrong, and I will suffer the consequences the rest of my life.  The little girl/inner child in me is screaming at me that it is my fault because no one can really be trusted, and while that perspective may be valid for a child living in an environment where those that are entrusted with their protection are the ones that she needed protection from, it is not useful for this adult, and doesn’t improve my chances for survival, much less prosperity.  I have to have a basis for establishing trust and reliance upon others, because there will be times when I will need it.  In discussing this problem recently, I was advised that even if a doctor in the future might be wrong, that I should trust that they were doing the best that they could do, and that should help me to feel better/safe/etc.  That should be my rule.  My reply was, that this rule would not work for me, though I needed time to sort out the problem with the rule.  I only knew that it wouldn’t work for me, because it wouldn’t enable me to feel safe.  It may work for others in typical life situations, but my life is anything but typical. 

I may have developed some insight into how to formulate a better rule.  While what they got wrong can now be recognized as objective facts, in order to get to these objective facts (i.e., what was the wrong answer and what was the right answer), a specialized set of capabilities were necessary, along with a willingness by the person possessing them to utilize them in a particular way in order to arrive at the answer.  The capabilities require significant left-brain/right-brain integration in problem-solving abilities, along with a strong ability to assess when and how to apply them.  The professionals that I have maintained trust with, were those who had these capabilities and willingness and desire to apply them in their work with me.  Unfortunately, the majority of health care and related providers tend to be more heavily on the left-brain end of the spectrum, and atypical, unpredictable, unusual explanations for problems are not likely to be recognized or understood by them.  Most are less intuitive, less creative, and not likely to perceive or intuit things that are rare and occasionally unique.  They may not be stimulated by things that are unpredictable and, like my father, may be conditioned to sidestep complications by abdicating care-giving responsibility if they cannot explain the situation with logical, known scenarios that they were trained to treat in a measurable, predictable manner. 

Without exception, this accounts for every single professional that I can recall ever working with about my health problems, who both got it wrong AND lost my trust.  What I recognize sets apart those that I do trust, even if they haven’t always gotten it right, were that they are both professionals who recognize that whatever list of explanations about a situation they have been trained to understand and help to develop solutions for, there are always other possible explanations and solutions, that they just don’t know yet, and they don’t put their egos in between what they have previously understood as the realm of possibility and likelihood, and what might actually be the truth of the matter.  They both demonstrate strong L-/R-brain integration, a perpetual “on-the-job training” mentality, keep their egos in an appropriate place, and respect that my information and interpretation of the facts that I suggest may be relevant should be approached with a view that any or all of them may in fact be relevant, and should be integrated with their accumulated scientific knowledge and expertise to collectively arrive at the truth as it unfolds, allow those aha! moments to happen, not take it personally, and develop a plan that addresses the reality, however novel it might be to them. 

In order for me to have confidence and trust in that professional, I must know that they are able and willing to listen to me and recognize when they need to shift from left-brain predictable approaches to incorporate right-brain creativity to the problem-solving process.  This is when I need them to stop behaving like a “deaf man” by filtering what I tell them through what are predictable explanations and dismissing or ignoring what doesn’t fit (declaring that it’s all in my head and I need psychiatric treatment because I’m deranged).  They should not act like one of the “blind men and the elephant” but should rather open their eyes and try their best to see the whole picture.  The professional who is willing and able to do this on the intake end, and capable of integrating this information with the scientific knowledge and skills that they have acquired and does this, is someone who, if that person does their best, then that is good enough, even if they get it wrong, because they took everything that could be known by them and did their best with the capabilities that they had, and then I will accept what they provide, even when they were wrong.

And frankly, this is the kind of people that I expect to be survive along with the rest of those who will be perpetuated down the evolutionary timeline.  That, at least, is something that I can predict with a high degree of certitude, and, in my opinion, as it should be.  Adapt or die, or if you won’t/can’t adapt and don’t die, expect to be really miserable if you ever encounter something new that you can’t just sidestep.  For me, I will hang onto my growing set of survival skills; they seem to continue to serve me often and well.

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Family Bliss Journal 08.2009 4084x3272.2009 4084x3272

Some treasured memories from my childhood, and fodder for future art journals, since there are no pictures of most of these things, I will have to create them myself!  I was 12 years old in this pic and had just left home.  When my grandmother looked at me with the look she has in this picture, I knew that I was good enough in her eyes.  She was so peaceful!  I miss her!

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scanned7-1

This is the 4th and final stage of this mood journal series.  Here, I have reached the conclusion that, as always before, I have always found solutions to the toughest problems that I have had to confront, and solution/resolution to the current problem will be found within me, as well.  Rather than looking for answers (illumination/strength) from outside, clearly I have the ability to come up with my own solutions that work for me, and I just need to focus on figuring that out by putting my energy there.

This final installment stands as a reminder to me of my own power to move these seemingly solid hard walls.  Historically, the tougher the problem that I have to solve, the more energized and focused I get, and the more powerful and amazing are the creative solutions that I develop.  While it may appear that I have been cut off at the knees (literally in this picture), and bound to stone structures that haven’t been moved in centuries.  Pretty compelling representation of (seemingly) impossible obstacles.  Yet, it is clear that, despite the current situation, that power comes from within, and all that I need still exists in me.  So now I simply need to gather the information and develop the action plan.  Removing the emotional obstacles (negative perceptions) is key.

I have developed one image that has the 4 stages together, because it helps me to clearly see the progression and transition:

Art Journal

I really like how much more effective this was for me, and I intend to do more.

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