Artists expressing suffering through their work is nothing new. Some would say it's one of the art world's oldest traditions. Art therapy is also nothing new. But, recent years have seen an uptick in the number of exhibits combining the two in innovative and meaningful ways.
Simple moments hit me the hardest: a couple of weeks ago a vet told me that he noticed it's easier for him to tie his shoes. It's something most people take for granted, but it makes his day just a little bit easier. That's huge.
You have to change. If you don't change, you're going to die. That is the chilling realization that prompted Gulf War Veteran Michael Nguyen to turn to mindfulness practice to save his life when PTSD was running it into the ground.
But, we will not let it take us down. We will keep putting one foot in the other. We will dance through it. We will write through it. We will love each other through it. We will take the ugliness and transform it into something beautiful.
Jim's tragedy seemed insulting to my already-injured family. Jim died on Sept. 5; my mom died on Sept. 7. She was 46 and I was 15. Jim was 47 and his oldest child was 15. History, cruel beast, had repeated herself in a mocking chorus of eerie parallels.
The medical pundits are wagging fingers and lecturing everyone about how best to manage this crisis. (Lecturing, that is, from the relative calm and safety of television studios, rather than the in the mind-numbing chaos of the ER.)
What if, every day that you are at work, you face serious injury or death? Such work has many challenges, but often unexamined are the spiritual crises that dangerous work entails. It doesn't just threaten the body; it also threatens the soul.
The day after 9/11, Beryl Bender Birch, yoga teacher and Wellness Director at the time of the New York Road Runners, was called upon to help families of victims, first responders and others suffering the brutal aftermath of the attacks on New York City.
Jumping at one's own shadow is a perfect metaphor for living with post-traumatic stress disorder. A darkness that sets up permanent camp in your peripheral vision and won't go away, no matter how much sage you burn, or how many gods you pray to.
By looking at these four central tenets of Buddhism we can better understand how micromanaging our circumstances can cause us to become agitated and restricted. Instead, when we learn to let go of our attachments we can transform our lives in an innovative way.
The risk features involve power, privilege and prestige, the value placed on group membership, the prioritization of group loyalty, the impulse to protect an image, and an institutional sense of righteousness and entitlement.
I'm trying to figure out how best to honor my pregnancies -- all three -- and the body that housed them. They don't necessarily need to be emboldened in my postpartum size and I guess stretch marks of the soul are the stretch marks that aren't readily visible to anyone other than me.
Empowering also entails a responsibility to others to permit them the space to become who they are meant to be, not who I want them to be. And finally, "opening" creates a channel of connection to the people in my life. Where I once built walls, I now build bridges to hope.