Tag Archives: Psychology

Expressive Arts Project

Several weeks ago, I invited an artist and colleague to lead my “Psychology and The Expressive Arts” class in an art project. She had the students work in dyads and write out three definitions of “home.”

Then they were given a page of lines from a book of poetry by another professor at our school. The book is Lele Kawa: Fire Rituals of Pele, by Taupōuri Tangarō (Kamehameha Publishing). After choosing three of these lines that most represented their definitions of “home,” they were to create a poster out of various materials that were available to them.

Click here to see a slide show of those posters that describe “home.”

A hui hou!

Metaphors

One of my readers hoped that the reason I hadn’t been blogging recently was because I was off drawing with my new-found pastel chalks. I wish I could say that was my excuse for being absent this last month, but the truth is that I have been doing my best to lift the spring semester off the ground.

One of my favorite courses to teach is “Psychology and the Expressive Arts.” Not only do they learn how to use the expressive arts (writing, painting, clay, dance, music and more) in doing counseling, but to use the arts to re-discover the creativity within.

This past week I gave my students an assignment to write about one of the metaphors in their lives.

Metaphors are all around us, and I offered suggestions for my students to find them in unexpected places.

One of my personal favorites is the metaphor of sailing. I’ve used it so many times in the past that it’s almost become a cliché, and yet it is a strong metaphor for me. Those of you who have been reading my posts fairly regularly will remember that I lived on my 37’ sloop for five years.

I moved off my sailboat to the Phoenix area when I was assigned to be a pastor there. About six months into that appointment, one of the men in the church came to me and said, “This is the first Sunday you haven’t mentioned sailing.” He went ahead to say that he wasn’t tired of it, but that it emphasized the fact of how many ways sailing was a rich metaphor for our lives.

We’ve seen many sailing metaphors illustrated on posters or key chains and the like. I am reminded of one metaphor in particular that continually comes into my life, and that is the way we have to maneuver the boat in order to get to our destination.

You know that a sailboat cannot go directly into the wind without being stalled. The sailor must tack back and forth, sailing just off the wind, yet never losing sight of our goal.

The same thing is true of my life. When I am not able to sail directly toward my goal without getting stalled, I don’t need to let that stop me. I can veer off course a little as long as I keep in mind where I ultimately want to go.

This has been true so many times – with education, career, home, relationships. How easy it would have been to give up, rather than to let the wind carry me in a different direction!

A hui hou!

Comfort Zones

One of the weather announcers this week talked about the seasonal climates and how people react to them. On the mainland, almost every area is experiencing some horrendous heat, and people wish it would cool down. This person showed pictures of the same geographic area complaining about the extremely cold weather and snow conditions earlier in the year.

A statement was flashed across the screen that said the comfort zone for most people was between 68 and 78 degrees, and that anything on either side of that was outside our comfort zone. My own physical comfort zone fits into what the television suggested, which is one of the main reasons I live in Hawai`i (big smile).

We have other comfort zones, of course. Many people find a comfort zone in the way they eat, and become uncomfortable about trying new cuisine, even when they are traveling in a foreign country. That has never been one of my dis-comfort zones. I love to eat too much not to try almost anything in the way of food.

For others, the comfort zone might be the clothes they wear, or hair styles, never trying anything new or outrageous. I think it’s fun to step out of the box in these and many other areas once in a while.

I do know about comfort zones, however. Typically, I am a painfully shy person whenever I am not in a familiar setting. People who know me, have problems thinking of me as being such a social recluse and introverted person. If I am with a group of people I know well, or if I am standing in front of a classroom of students where I am “in charge,” I am fine. Mostly I tend to avoid situations where I won’t know anyone, or if I am not sure what is going to be happening.

This past Saturday, I posted about my cheesemaking experience. At least once a day after I signed up for the class, I wanted to back out, then forced myself not to. (I’m not even very visible in the picture at the top!) Once I got to the class, met the others who had come to make cheese, and got started in a process that was so much fun, I completely forgot to feel shy.

Where are your comfort zones? How would you describe them to someone? At least once a month I try to push myself into a situation where I am out of my comfort zone. What do you do to get outside your box?

Mahalo!

Feral Fables

“For centuries, women and men have sought guidance and counsel to help them in processes of change, healing, and transformation.”

That is the first sentence in the introduction to my new book, Feral Fables. How many of us have checked the I Ching, or Animal Medicine cards, or the Tarot to see what they have to say to us? Not only is it fun, but it also can be enlightening in some strange, unexplainable way.

We are spoken to through many avenues. Insights may come like lightning bolts or in a still, small voice. A friend says something that strikes us as relevant to a question we’ve pondered. We hear a conversation that brings sudden understanding to a problem. A dream reveals an answer to a situation. We read a story that becomes more significant each time we read it.

Such is the nature of these fables. This is the sort of book you can tuck in your purse or briefcase and have handy at all times. At odd moments, you can pick a fable at random to see what meaning it can bring to your life. Whether you are male or female, youth or elder, there will be something of value in each brief fable.

What is a fable anyway? The dictionary describes it as “a fictitious story meant to teach a moral lesson.” I believe it is more than just a moral lesson. I prefer to say that it shows us “Truth” greater than “truth.” I wrote these to use as I worked with psychology clients who were looking for that Truth in their lives. You can do the same for yourself.

If you are an e-book reader, you can get your copy of Feral Fables by clicking here. If you prefer to have a hard copy, a place where you can write notes in the margins, then a hard copy will soon be available. I’ll keep you posted.

You can read these fables with the intention of finding clarity on some issue in your life, or maybe the serendipity will surprise you when you read them just for fun. In either case, please let me know your reaction to these wild tales.

Aloha!

The Magic of A Book


There is one book I have read over and over ever since its first publishing date in 1959, and that is The Magic of Thinking Big (Paperback) by Dr. David Swartz. No other book has had quite the impact on my life as this one.

In the early months of 1973, when I was a newly single woman and mother of four, I needed something to keep me from going over the edge. As I started absorbing the messages in this book, I found a few short key phrases from each chapter that struck a deep personal note.

Then I wrote those out with a felt marker in big lettering on a piece of paper that I taped to the dashboard of my car. No matter where I went, those words were right there in front of me. Only when I felt the message had penetrated, would I put up words and phrases from the next chapter.

I cannot begin to tell you how deeply those phrases stuck with me, even to this day. In spite of my degrees in theology and psychology, I find it too easy to forget how to apply what I know to my own life. This book helps me do that.

My original copy is held together with rubber bands, and the pages are torn, smudged, tear-streaked, and almost unreadable. This past year, I finally bought a new copy. I suspect I’ll end up buying yet another copy before my life is over.

There have been over 4 million copies sold at this point, so I’m not the only person to find direction in The Magic of Thinking Big. I can almost guarantee that you will find something in this ageless book by Dr. Swartz that will improve your life, even if you don’t think you need it.

I haven’t told you which phrases I used to strengthen my life. In reading, you’ll discover the ones that apply to you alone.

Note: As an Amazon affiliate, I am obligated to tell you that if you click on the book and order it from my website, I will receive a few cents from your purchase, but please don’t let that stop you. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Mahalo!

Aloha!

Feral Fables, my newly published e-book, will be available for a special promotional price of $2.99 until August 1, 2010. Go here to to buy or sample Feral Fables. Use the promotional code “SL25S” (not case sensitive) at checkout.
Mahalo! (Thank you!)

The Purple Chrysanthemum

Today’s post is a bit of my short fiction.
From time to time, I will post something on that order.
Photo taken at Kalopa State Park, Hawai`i Island.

 

The Purple Chrysanthemum

 

Chores never cease, never subside. Menacing dark corners tower above and below her, dusty and dank. Driven here, thrust there, the woman frantically toils in vain. In every quarter of the luxurious home she unearths wads of shabby rags, inside bureau and closets, beneath tables and beds, over shelves and bookcases.

There is no seclusion here. It is no longer her home. Aliens invade, then abandon her in chaos. Serenity is shattered in the assault.

In a frenzy, she searches for one spot, one haven of beauty where she may hide from the muck and gloom, sludge and shadow. She is imprisoned and enslaved by the moment, shaken and disenchanted by infinity.

Others chart her headway as she labors, then regresses. Despondently she presses onward, now advancing, now reversing in an endless non-dance. Joy pales as the obstacles flourish in neglect. Song is stilled, light fractured, until she spots an overlooked box, unobtrusively tucked away behind the bureau.

In dismay, she lifts the lid, supposing it to be filth-filled, or barren at best. A small packet sheathed in foil rests inside, dormant yet dazzling in its obscurity. From the crumpled edge of the opening there protrudes a long green stem, crowned with a large purple chrysanthemum, blossom of her soul. An abundance of petals, long and delicate, unite around a pollen-filled golden center.

Tears fall as she recalls the moment she clipped the bloom from its parent. Tenderly she had placed it into nourishing water where it could take root and grow. Now long forgotten, the chrysanthemum has flourished, alone and in the inky obscurity of the ragged box. Surely it was withered and dead by now, for many moons have passed. Other celebrations have come and gone, but the blossom remains.

She pauses, then meticulously peels back the foil covering. That which was dormant for so long has burgeoned with fragile and lacy roots. What once was a flower, cut off from its source, has sprouted in the dark, unattended and ignored.

Weeping, she holds the hardy segment of beauty in the palm of her hand. The tiny bit of life, buried in the pit of her soul, is resurrected and retrieved. The purple chrysanthemum will never perish. She will survive.