Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Happiness Advice

Here’s what brain research says will make you happy:

  • Ask “What am I grateful for?” No answers? Doesn’t matter. Just searching helps.
  • Label those negative emotions. Give it a name and your brain isn’t so bothered by it.
  • Decide. Go for “good enough” instead of “best decision ever made on Earth.”
  • Hugs, hugs, hugs. Don’t text -- touch.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sensory Integration Therapy

This is another therapy for healing trauma that I learned about from reading "The Body Keeps Score."

From yee Wiki:

Sensory integration therapy is based on A. Jean Ayres' theory of Sensory Integration. Ayres' Sensory Integration (ASI) is a theory that describes:

(1) how the neurological process of processing and integrating sensory information from the body and the environment contribute to emotional regulation, learning, behavior, and participation in daily life.

(2) empirically derived disorders of sensory integration and an intervention approach. “Sensory integration theory is used to explain why individuals behave in particular ways, plan intervention to ameliorate particular difficulties, and predict how behavior will change as a result of intervention."

Sensory integration theory originated from the work of A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, an occupational therapist and psychologist, whose clinical insights and original research revolutionized occupational therapy practice with children. 

Dr. Ayres wrote "Sensory Integration is the organization of sensations for use. Our senses give us information about the physical conditions of our body and the environment around us...The brain must organize all of our sensations if a person is to move and learn and behave in a productive manner."

The Sky Stone

Turquoise is perhaps the oldest stone in man’s history, the talisman of kings, shamans, and warriors. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque, yet soothing to the touch, healing to the eye, as if carved from an azure heaven and slipped to earth. Its unique shade of blue, often blue-green, lends it name, turquoise, to all things of this tranquil hue. The delicate veining or mottled webbing in cream or brown is inherent to the stone and serves to enhance its character. 

The name turquoise is derived from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning “Turkish stone,” because the trade routes that brought turquoise to Europe from the mines in central Asia went through Turkey, and Venetian merchants often purchased the stone in Turkish bazaars. 

For thousands of years, turquoise has spanned all cultures, prized as a symbol of wisdom, nobility and the power of immortality. Among the Ancient Egyptians, Persians and Chinese, Aztecs and Incas of South America, and Native North Americans, turquoise was sacred in its adornment and for power, luck, and protection. 

Turquoise beads dating back to 5000 B.C. have been found in Iraq, and the Egyptians were mining the stones in the Sinai in 3200 B.C. The death mask of Tutankhamun was studded with turquoise, as were the mosaic masks dedicated to the gods, the fabulous inlaid skulls, shields, and power statues of Moctezuma, the last ruler of the Aztecs. 

For nearly a thousand years, Native Americans have mined and fashioned turquoise, using it to guard their burial sites. Their gems have been found from Argentina to New Mexico. Indian priests wore it in ceremonies when calling upon the great spirit of the sky. Many honored turquoise as the Universal Stone, believing their minds would become one with the universe when wearing it. Because of its ability to change colors, it was used in prophesy or divining. To the prehistoric Native, turquoise, worn on the body or used in ceremonies always signified the God of the Sky alive in the Earth. 

Carved Geode Skull

Beware, the Geode Skull -- I'm reminded of the accidental brain injury of the unfortunate Phineas Gage.

An excerpt from an 2010 article in "Smithsonian" by Steve Twomey;

"...In 1848, Gage, 25, was the foreman of a crew cutting a railroad bed in Cavendish, Vermont. On September 13, as he was using a tamping iron to pack explosive powder into a hole, the powder detonated. The tamping iron -- 43 inches long, 1.25 inches in diameter and weighing 13.25 pounds -- shot skyward, penetrated Gage’s left cheek, ripped into his brain, and exited through his skull, landing several dozen feet away. Though blinded in his left eye, he might not even have lost consciousness, and he remained savvy enough to tell a doctor that day, “Here is business enough for you.”

Gage’s initial survival would have ensured him a measure of celebrity, but his name was etched into history by observations made by John Martyn Harlow, the doctor who treated him for a few months afterward. Gage’s friends found him “no longer Gage,” Harlow wrote. The balance between his “intellectual faculties and animal propensities” seemed gone. He could not stick to plans, uttered “the grossest profanity,” and showed “little deference for his fellows.” The railroad-construction company that employed him, which had thought him a model foreman, refused to take him back. So Gage went to work at a stable in New Hampshire, drove coaches in Chile, and eventually joined relatives in San Francisco, where he died in May 1860, at age 36, after a series of seizures.

In time, Gage became the most famous patient in the annals of neuroscience, because his case was the first to suggest a link between brain trauma and personality change. In his book "An Odd Kind of Fame: Stories of Phineas Gage," the University of Melbourne’s Malcolm Macmillan writes that two-thirds of introductory psychology textbooks mention Gage. Even today, his skull, the tamping iron, and a mask of his face made while he was alive are the most sought-out items at the Warren Anatomical Museum on the Harvard Medical School campus...."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Mark Rothko: Paint It Black

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore, I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a new born baby it just happens every day

I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door, I must have it painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black

No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not foresee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes

I want to see it painted, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I want to see the sun blotted out from the sky
I want to see it painted, painted, painted, painted black, yeah

Small Charles Movalli Landscape

This small Charles Movalli landscape hangs on the wall at Stately Mangus Manor. The Magnificent Marvin bought this piece for his collection. In fact, I thought that the MM had painted it for the longest time, until I noticed the signature. I have my own Movalli in the Mangcave...

Charles Movalli:

We are sorry to have to say that Charles has passed away. We will miss him greatly. March 20, 2016. -- Nancy Movalli

Charles Movalli was a great ambassador for the Cape Ann School. Cape Ann is the longest active artist colony in the United States. That it has flourished for so long comes as no surprise, for the landscape is one painting after another, just waiting to be painted. After all this time, you’d think the nay-sayers of art, the "it’s-all-been-done" crowd, might have a point, but motif #1 still draws painters, each of whom produce artworks that are distinct, unique, and groundbreaking.

Charles’ lecture on the Cape Ann School was not to be missed. Winslow Homer, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, and Emile Gruppe are a few of the colony regulars going back nearly 200 years.

The artists Charles admired and learned from as a young painter (Emile Gruppe, Carl Peters, and Aldro Hibbard) all heavily focused on composition, and thus his paintings have a solid structure even amid dinghies bobbing at the dock and buildings listing under the weight of their years.

And Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know, wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files
We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know, wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

Hide it in a hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes
It's a little secret, just the Robinsons' affair
Most of all, you've got to hide it from the kids

Coo coo ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know, wo wo wo
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at it you lose

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, wo wo wo
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson
'Joltin Joe' has left and gone away, hey hey hey
Hey hey hey

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Bessel Van der Kolk, MD Quotes : The Body Keeps Score

I'm only 75 pages in, but I can already say that this is a very important book on therapy, informed by many of the advances of neuroscience about how the brain, mind, and body work. If you have any interest in these topics off PTSD, trauma in general, stress, OCD, phobias, anxiety, etc., and the healing arts, I recommend reading it.

Dan C. Wingren

Here are some scans of paintings by one of my SMU art mentors, Dan Wingren.