Unnecessary Violence- random archiving of my Shadow Work Journals 1986 to present. Sample 9: September 1, 2004

This daily archiving series is about organizing and dating my journal collection, as well as acknowledging the self-directed violence as important therapeutic shadow work. Processing my projections and darkness.

There is much joy in the pages. There is also a lot of pain. I try not to judge my younger self. Who I was then, who I am now- inseparable. I continue to be sculpted.

Some pages are just… yuck. In particular, the divorce process.

Holy fucking shit. I have come a long way. Big breath in, big breath out and release.

See:

Unnecessary Violence Project Explanation and Sample 1 Oct 21, 1992

Sample 2 Date Dec 15 1994

Sample 3 May 16, 2000

Sample 4 August 14, 2002

Sample 5 June 13, 1990

Sample 6 August 23, 2019

Sample 7 December 17, 1995

Sample 8 October 23, 1995

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 [My “hard copy” collection- this blog has certainly been a journal as well]
Today: Journal Start Date September 1, 2004

Cover

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Sample Pages

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Sample Writing

September 1, 2004

Interacting leaves me tired. I’ve got to start anew, again. 

September 4, 2004

Maybe this is my lesson. That I can be right. To not diminish my rightness. Recall the Seattle bus incident and dumbing myself down to appease J____.

There is new grief and loss with each lesson learned. Did I waste all that energy silencing myself? Afraid to argue? Afraid to hurt others? Is this not me trying to control?! Is this not passive-aggressive on my  part?! Does it not diminish me when I try to avoid conflict?

September 8, 2004

The feeling of being in limbo is itself a loss. Even if the situation turns out fine. 

September 13, 2004

Can one express anger yet remain eloquently silent?

“I forgive you.” What does this mean? To me it means letting go of the past and its negative power over me. It means accepting all of it – good, bad, beautiful, ugly – and understanding it has shaped me…

Safe space. This is what I have created for myself and my children within the walls of my home. Can I extend this to my interaction with others in my life? 

Therapy notes: I and Other- presence, but maintaining I. Read Harriet Lerner’s “Dance with Anger” and the children’s book, “The Giving Tree.” PTSD, years of process, grieving, trauma, caregiving. Unprocessed grief. How to accept anger, express it, control it. Tactile, values, routine –> MUST divorce, in all its definitions. Art, analysis, family ties, self-confidence, decisions, archetypes, concrete examples, suicide, choices, independence, disentangling.

September 15, 2004

What are my goals?

My children’s independence, to write books, to work with teens, self-sufficiency, quiet life. Muteness.

September 26, 2004

Had a meeting over coffee on the porch at Mamma and Pappa. Pappa and I felt like there was a light directing us back to routine, back to excitement over work.

October 3, 2004

The seven drops [from “The Out of Sync Child has Fun”]

  1. Drop your voice
  2. Drop your body
  3. Drop your TV remote
  4. Drop your guard
  5. Drop your defenses
  6. Drop your batteries
  7. Drop your misconceptions.

Sample Drawing

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Sample Quote

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Turn the page- visualizing fading memory

My latest favourite daily practice is to quickly sketch and then saturate the drawing with watercolour crayon and coffee.  I love the feel of the wrinkled page. How the coffee ages the image.  The way a drenched drawing has a life of its own – beyond my control.

I am most in love with the drawing’s ghost.  What happens on the other side of the page.  I am moved by how the resulting image seems to illustrate the concept of fading memory.

“Not only something, but also someone could be there and not there at the same time. And that someone: me.”

– Gerda Saunders, In Memory’s Last Breath

Mind mapping this month’s Power Path as personal therapy.

When I read something that really needs to sink in- I mind map it out.  My whole brain is engaged and I can then look at the mind map throughout the month and be instantly reminded of the lessons.

This morning was all about the Power Path- taking some quiet personal time for a coffee, house to myself (except the ladies of course) and a therapeutic check-in.

 Thank you to my soul sister, Patti Henderson, who first connected me to this powerful resource.

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Evaluate all the structures that have formed your foundation and restructure what is needed.

My biggest takeaway from this month’s forecast:

Allow a new project to fit you rather than you trying to fit the project.

“As you approach your life with creative pragmatism, you may need to cut something loose that has been holding you back. Attachments to patterns that keep you small and hold you hostage to old ways of thinking as well as outdated perceptions about what is possible will only get in the way of you moving forward. If you find yourself saying “I can’t possibly do that”, question this belief. Practice saying “I could do that”. This gives you the choice and the possibility of something new instead of shutting the door before you give yourself the chance to see what is on the other side.” – The Power Path August 2018 Forecast

From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 14: Dying Contemplation

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

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Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

Part 12: The Moment of Death

Part 13: The Act of Dying

Part 14: Dying Contemplation

1. Journal exercise:

What makes you breathe in and breathe out in a full-hearted  way?

For me it is ART.

And so it was for my Dad.

I was so blessed to witness the healing power of art as my Dad thrived at his extended care facility, carving out a life for himself.  He had purpose, routine, passion.  He had reclaimed his emotional life through art.  And he created till the end.  With a full heart.  What can be greater than that?  Wow.  Deep breath of gratitude.

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2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our story opens with the last breath and closes with the first…

The last breath of life leaving the body behind.  The connection severed between the light body and the heavy body.  The end of this life…

Let yourself die.  Let go now.  Hold to nothing.  Trust the process…

Float free in your original spaciousness…

Watch as something slowly approaches.  It is the first breath of life.

– Stephen Levine

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

I was screaming into the canyon
At the moment of my death
The echo I created
Outlasted my last breath

My voice it made an avalanche
And buried a man I never knew
And when he died his widowed bride
Met your daddy and they made you

I have only one thing to do and that’s
To be the wave that I am and then
Sink back into the ocean

– Fiona Apple Source

4. Today’s angel card(s):

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From the heart- a 15 day journal exercise Part 11: Fear of Dying

I am re-reading Stephen Levine‘s A Year to Live- how to live this year as if it were your last as a personal exercise schedule to take time to slow down and truly listen to my heart.

Recall:

Part 1: Catching Up with Your Life

Part 2: Practice Dying

Part 3: Preparing to Die

Part 4: Dying from the Common Cold

Part 5: Renewing Evolution

Part 6: Famous Last Words

Part 7: Fear of Fear

Part 8- Noticing

Part 9: A Commitment to Life

Part 10: Fear of Dying

Part 11: Fear of Death

1. Journal exercise:

WRITE FOR 10 MINUTES ON LETTING GO AND STARTING FRESH.  YOU OWE NO ONE ANYTHING.  YOU CAN START TOTALLY FRESH TODAY.  

Allowing myself to start fresh.  To go into the cave.  To be in solitude.

Loving less interaction.  Loving not trying.  Happy to be doing less.

Healing the sick body and the exhausted mind.

Let it go.

Let it all go. 

Hey! Not feeling valued these days?  Let it go.

Need to feel  more assured?  Let it go.

Figure out next steps?  Let it go.

Should be should be— let it go.

Simplify? Yes.


2. Capture chapter highlights:

Our fear of death is our fear of the uncontrollable unknown.  It is the same old fear.  It lies in wait behind our eyelids as we awake each morning.  It is the fear of fears.  It needs space to breathe.

When attempts at control become a prison only letting go of control will result in freedom.

– Stephen Levine 

3. Explore another source regarding listening to the messages from the heart:

What is that hair ball of old energy you have been choking on?
… Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.The Power Path

4. Today’s angel card(s):

You had the opportunity last month to end up not recognizing yourself.

This past weekend I have had a bit of that existential-post-trip-out-of-body-kind-of-weirdness-needing-to-contract feeling.

[Thanks to my soul sister, Patti Henderson], I check in with the Power Path regularly (especially when I feel like this) as a tool/guide.  I am reminded of the July 2016 forecast:

“Radical personal transformation is possible. Start with taking care of yourself, loving yourself, giving yourself the time and space for emotional assimilation, clearing, healing, and allowing yourself to prioritize your life according to what matters the most to you. Give yourself permission to be irritated and cranky as long as it does not affect others. Be careful of impatience and judgment and always move yourself to a place of compassion and forgiveness.  You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration and to really feel like you are setting your life on a satisfying path.  If you are not there yet, have patience. Perhaps there is something that needs to be completed first in order to free you up for transformation or perhaps there is still fear. Just keep working at it, chipping away at the armor of attachment and falling more deeply in love with yourself and others.” – The Power Path July 2016 Forecast

I am working at it.  If you are not there yet, have patience…  When I am tired and need to rest, I tend to resist.  This resistance then creates an unease I liken to fear.  So instead of saying YES- not only to possibility and life- but to rest and stillness, I resist.  I am learning, however, that this seems to be a new (or at least more obvious) pattern to my creative process:  

observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, observe, listen, inspiration, research, plan, prepare, create, OUTPUT!, experiment, collect, document, reflect, clean up, put away, stop, anxiety, fear, existential crisis, contract, fatigue, retreat, solitude, ponder, more fatigue, reflect, journal, rise up, abuzz, inspiration…

So each part of the pattern is essentially essential- without one, there would not be the other.  The PROCESS has a PATTERN.

“The creative process is not just iterative; it’s also recursive. It plays out “in the large” and “in the small”—in defining the broadest goals and concepts and refining the smallest details. It branches like a tree, and each choice has ramifications, which may not be known in advance… The creative process involves many conversations—about goals and actions to achieve them—conversations with co-creators and colleagues, conversations with oneself.Source: A model of the Creative Process

And so back to the Power Path: You have the opportunity this month to end up not recognizing yourself…  This is a higher centered time of emotional revolution, of seeing things differently, of having a new unique experience of your life, of access to more power, bliss and inspiration…

Certainly this recognition of pattern and process and allowing the process to unfold, even the fear- is NEW and TRANSFORMATIVE for me.  Being in the journal portion of my creative process yesterday, I took some paper and a pen to a bench in the park and just wrote, knowing I am carrying some many insights and personal lessons with me from last week’s trip.  But I knew i just had to write.  To keep the pen moving, writing nonsensically, without thought, without curiosity, without censor… just move the pen and let the verbosity out.

July 31, 2016 Stanley Park [unedited]

Sometimes you require, crave, demand solitude.  I am spreading.  Folds of flesh start to fall.  No longer am I fetus, infant, toddler, child, pubescent juvenile, young adult, adult, daughter.  My skin has slipped from its hinges and is askew.  Existential downtime when home from a trip.  The glow stick is snapped and the heat spreads upward from the heart- the peritoneal lining feels acidic- the heat spreads onto the face  and the sweat creates a hovering layer not quite touching the skin.  The hands cool, clammy, wet, wrung, wringing.  The brain turns 360 degrees in its cavity before settling back.  It is requesting something and I am not sure what.  I want to debrief and talk deep but dialogue feels futile.  The birds will have it.  Sitting in the park, the putter of Sunday life the soundtrack.  I request and require solitude, I write in my mind, observe the human, like on the bus this morning, and I feel so disconnected.  The birds will have it.  Three robins sprang up in front of me as I walked towards the bus stop.  The meeting?  The meaning?  Are they guardians?  Souls?  

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As the flesh comes off its hinges and becomes papery and fragile, it peels away, revealing the skeleton underneath.  The flesh no longer the nurturer.  The bones though still provide structure, framework.  There is a child playing with his little sibling and he keeps repeating “Stop in the name of love!”   Meet it all with love.  I must gather myself, my thoughts and my to-do’s and remind myself to trust the permanent change.  To celebrate every breath, to make sure I make the right agreements.

A gentle journal vomit session tends to cleanse the nooks and crannies of the mind and heart and spirit.

“In the world of YES, Fear = Contraction.  When we contract, we become closed or restricted.  This can cause us to retreat or give up.  Take a look at what causes you to contract or expand with regard to your creative dreams.  Creative dreams themselves are natural expansion devices.  They contain energy, motion, and desire.  We can learn to respond to change creatively by studying our habitual responses and making adjustments.  It can feel natural to respond to change by contracting or saying no.  Contraction is not bad, It just slows expansion.  What makes you feel expansive, open to change, and like saying YES?” – SARK

Source: Make Your Creative Dreams Real: A Plan for Procrastinators, Perfectionists, Busy People, and People Who Would Really Rather Sleep All Day by Sark, Simon & Schuster 2005

So did I end up not recognizing myself after this month?  Hell, yes!  

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Mindmap Tutorial Week Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?

I am diving into a much-needed new mindmap this week, so I thought I’d create a tutorial during my process!

Recall: Introductory blog post- mindmap tutorial week

Today:

Part 1 of 7: What is a mindmap?

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Mindmaps (or mind maps– but I prefer the one word version) are essentially visual diagrams.

Wikipedia definition:

A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank landscape page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.

Mind maps can be drawn by hand, either as “rough notes” during a lecture, meeting or planning session, for example, or as higher quality pictures when more time is available.

Mind maps are considered to be a type of spider diagram.  A similar concept in the 1970s was “idea sun bursting”.

For me, mindmapping is a tool to move all the churning ideas and voices out of my head onto paper, in order to organize my thoughts and to quiet my mind.  I gain perspective; I can start to strategize and prioritize or make new realizations and connections.  I can develop, or pare down.  I gain new insight on what direction works, what direction doesn’t, what I can cross off, what I can add.  I love the visual.  I love the tangible.  I love the evolving mindmap.  I love looking at old ones and seeing what worked and what didn’t.  I can create a mission and a vision statement more easily.

Mindmaps can be personal, or done in a group, with a group, for a group.   You can mindmap alone.  You can mindmap for someone else as they dialogue.  It is a great listening tool.

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They can act as a type of journal, or therapy, or a tool for strategic inquiry or project planning.  The possibilities are vast and endless.  I use many kinds like:

• emotional mapping

• project mapping

• priority mapping

• “current situation” mapping

• gathering support mapping

• personal challenges mapping

• story structure mapping

• character background mapping

• journal mapping

core values mapping

• mission and vision building mapping

• creative strategic inquiry mapping

• meeting notes mapping

•  etc.

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I use a variety of kinds of mindmapping styles like the familiar linking or bubbles, or making lists, making scribbles on a torn piece of paper or more elaborate panels.

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I love to illustrate and color them.   To make the task more ME and to make me energized, I tend to collect images I love and draw them out.

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Looking back on them, I can shed a tear or crack a smile at their ridiculous complexity:

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And sigh in relief when I get to the core of it:

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Homework:

Write for 15 minutes in your journal about what you might want to mindmap about this week.  Don’t overthink.  JUST KEEP WRITING.  There is no right or wrong.

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Tomorrow:

Part 2: the Big Vision

Day 4 and 5 Inside Out Project Summer 2015: Digging Deeper

INSIDE OUT PROJECT: OWN YOUR JOURNEY- Breaking the cycle of violence through creativity

Inside Out Project – Own Your Journey SUMMER 2015 is a three week intensive arts-based program running out of Mountainside Secondary School (July 6-24, 2015) for youth ages 13-20 that uses the vehicles of therapeutic art, photography and stop motion animation to teach life and transferable skills while developing self-empowerment, peer to peer interaction, community connections and by providing tools to make healthy, non-violent choices. The goal for Inside Out is to help students address the root causes of violence (with a special focus on violence against women) through creative expression. The program allows students to creatively reflect on self, to work in a team and to experience critical engagement and transformative changes that shift their attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent violence. Three experienced facilitators (Ian Powell, Erin Ross, Kat Thorsen) provide instruction and support.

Recall

Day 1, July 6, 2015: Own Your Journey LINK

Day 2, July 7, 2015: VPD Mounted Unit LINK

Day 3, July 8, 2015: Animation and anatomical hearts LINK

Day 4 and 5: Digging in deeper.

We were busy last few days!  Hands-On Animation Tests, Public Service Announcement Discussions, Mind Mapping, Shane Koyczan TEDTalk, Project Planning, Therapeutic Arts and Crafts, Dialoguing, Creative Process etc…

What I love seeing unfold are the connections forming within the group.

Here are some highlights from Day 4 and 5:     —

I sit before flowers
hoping they will train me in the art
of opening up

I stand on mountain tops believing
that avalanches will teach me to let go

I know
nothing

but I am here to learn.
― Shane Koyczan

                  —

It has quickly become apparent that this is our hub/dialogue/creativity table. We move back and forth naturally between the computer lab and this room where we do old fashioned handmade stuff and group dialogue/mindmapping.

It hurts to stretch your wings. But doesn’t it hurt even more to let them atrophy?

You can survive without Creativity. But you won’t ever come fully alive & unapologetically yourself, unless you practice it, every damn day. – Andréa Balt, Creative Rehab

  

Next week we begin our group animation project!  Stay tuned!

The Inside Out Project- Own Your Journey Summer 2015 is offered to youth at no cost thanks to a grant from the Civil Forfeiture Office (CFO) in partnership with the Victim Services and Crime Prevention Division (VSCPD), BC Ministry of Justice.

CHECK OUT:

10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Frida No. 5: “I have wings to fly…” coloring page

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event. The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo.

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For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another. It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever… A surprise. I will be posting one a week.

Recall:

Frida No. 1: Sock Doll

Frida No. 2: The Dream

Frida No. 3: The Chakras

Frida No. 4: Frida and her magic cone of truth

FRIDA NO. 5: A COLORING PAGE FOR YOU.

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PDF: Coloring page

IT’S FOR YOUR HEALTH!

CHECK OUT:

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10 Tuesdays. 10 Fridas. Art Blog Event. Frida No. 2: “The Dream”

I’m celebrating my blog with an art event.

The event honors the woman who inspires me to keep it going as an artist: Frida Kahlo.

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For 10 Tuesdays, I am creating/posting 10 different portraits of Frida Kahlo in some form/medium or another.  It may be a drawing, an object, a doll, whatever…  A surprise.  I will be posting one a week.

Recall Item Frida No. 1: Sock Doll

FRIDA NO. 2: THE DREAM

This chinamarker panel on masonite board is one of my most personal pieces and measures 18″ x 24″ by 1/4″

It is part of a personal art therapy series of panels.

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 Frida Kahlo is an icon and muse that I return to again and again.  I am infused by Frida and I consider myself a Kahloist.  She epitomizes the artist and woman in pain.  As I was going through my divorce, I was driven to draw Frida as a child.  The medium I chose (or it chose me) was china marker on masonite board.  Child-Frida was a light to help me process through and to lift me out of the hole of depression.

I LOVED making this series even though they were done at 3 AM with my heart pounding and anxiety choking me.  They allowed me to release the pain in the moment.  They allowed me to process the pain in my therapy sessions.

The 12 pieces (only a few remain in my personal collection) illustrate the power of art to process life changes.  Heavily, honestly.  I never tend to go light.

And the pieces have been protested: LINK

 

Email me for purchasing options (and details about the dream).

CONTACT KATARINA: Email

  

Self-imposed exile- let it go, let it go.o

Curled up in my chair in self-imposed exile.  Wrapped in old knits.

Personal art therapy- drawing fan art
Personal art therapy- drawing fan art

Loving less interaction. Loving not working on my to-do’s. Happy to be doing less.

Should I worry and fret?  Feel guilty?

No.  Nah.

Let it go.

Let it all go.

So fatigued- let it go.
Heavy grief dreams these days- let them go.

Dreamt about running, easily, in a race, Olympic level, through the forest- let it go.

Dreamt about mom- and both of us not getting off the ferry in time and being separated from our kids- let it go.

Frida let go
“Let go of the need to heal old emotional wounds.” – The Power Path

Hey!  Feeling valued these days!  Let it go.
Feeling more assured- let it go.
Loving the new work- let it go.
Should be illustrating- let it go.
Should be should be- let it go.

Hey, waking up without anxiety! Let it go.
Should I be worried about—? Let it go.
What about resolving—? Let it go.
Organize those papers- let it go.
Push yourself- let it go.
The sun through the kitchen window- let it go.
Look how far you’ve come- let it go.
I need to think. Let it go.
Loving solitude. Let it go.

Simplify? Yes.

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Personal craft therapy- picking up old scraps of cloth and just letting whatever happens, happen.

By letting it go, it all gets done. – Lao Tzu

Touch me life, not softly. #journalentry

How will you take on this week? Last week was truly full of too muchness, too fullness, too many extremes, but at the same time, I was grateful for the intensity. It helped me clarify what was truly important. There was output and connection, there was trauma and fear, there was despair and elation, and there was reconfiguration and realization. How will I take on the week ahead? With a don’t know mind, with allowance, with my hand round my cock, with a hustling frame of mind, with humor and curiosity. With self-assurance. With Frida in my heart.

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[Inspired by The Power Path]

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Touch me life, not softly.– Maya Angelou

DRAWING ON PAIN: Aug 29 – Oct 13, 2013 at Espana Gallery, Vancouver BC

DRAWING ON PAIN

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Aug 29- Oct 13, 2013

Opening August 29, 2013 7-9 PM
Espana Gallery
689 Abbott Street
Vancouver BC
Includes Artist Talk

DRAWING ON PAIN exhibits my personal therapeutic process as I utilize art to help me process the difficult challenges I have encountered (and continue to encounter) in my life– such as divorce, cancer, my friends’ suicides, financial struggles and planning the road ahead.  I call myself a Kahloist and often find it healing to utilize the image of Frida Kahlo to express that internal pain for me.   By facilitating the need for self-expression through drawing, I lighten the load in my heart.

My painting carries with it the message of pain. – Frida Kahlo

EXHIBIT LIST

DOCUMENTARY: Drawn Together- Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art

Thanks to my backers on our Indiegogo campaign, Drawn Together, I was able to fund the making of the documentary short, Drawn Together: Roar Thorsen’s Recovery through Art, directed, edited and filmed by Julian Bowers.  And I am honored to have original music created by J. Lastoria and Julian Bowers, members of the band, Sleuth.

I will forever be grateful for the extraordinary gift of being able to visit with my Dad by watching this video, hearing his voice.

Enjoy:

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 Be sure to check out SLEUTH:

Sleuth: Oliver McTavish-Wisden, J. Lastoria, Julian Bowers, Jesse Easter

SLEUTH ON FACEBOOK:

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The darkening cathedral: processing the emotion of missing. #grief #saudade #journalexercise

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North Vancouver, December 27, 2012

I feel myself intertwined in the confusion of grief again.  It’s caught up to me and it wants to attach itself to my muddled brain as I try to sift and mindmap my next steps and make necessary changes to achieve emotional and financial balance in my life.  So as I am prone to do, I take out my “toolbox” and journal it out.  To sift through and detach, to clear the mind.

FIND IMAGERY AND POETRY THAT SPEAK FOR YOU.

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Mt. Seymour, North Vancouver, December 27, 2012

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The overhead horizon.  They want to say something, the dead.

They smoke but don’t eat, they breathe but still have their voices.

I’ll hurry through the streets as if I’m one of them.

The darkening cathedral, heavy as a moon, ebbs and flows.

– Tomas Tranströmer, Deep in Europe from For the Living and the Dead (translated from original Swedish by Don Coles)

Avlyssnad horisont.  De vill säga något, de döda.

De röker men äter inte, de andas inte men har rösten kvar.

Jag kommer att skynda genom gatorna som en av dem.

Den svartande katedralen, tung som en måne, gör ebb och flod.

– Tomas Tranströmer, Djupt i Europa from För levande och döda.

DIGEST AND REGURGITATE.

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I feel cleansed and ready to face it all.  To make it work!  To LEAP!  Love you, Mom and Dad.

Recall my post on SAUDADE:

Saudade is a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English.  Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.  

Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again…  It can be described as an emptiness and the individual feels this absence…  In fact, one can have ‘saudades’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.

source

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

Change.  What does it mean?

Drawn Together

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Mt. Seymour, North Vancouver, December 27, 2012

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 4

Found journal.

 Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility.

2007-2008

Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005.

On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207.

See 

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4:

[My father loved driving.  LOVED it.  After his stroke, he never drove a car again.  Amazingly, the occupational therapist arranged for an electric wheelchair.  Dad loved the feeling of being independent and free on that thing.  I always had my heart in my throat though, as dad was very unaware of his left side (after the stroke) and needed supervision.  It made for great laughs and excursions.]

Dad, el. chair

The next step at Evergreen is to start training the use of an electric wheelchair, only that it can be used if a third person walks beside the wheelchair when we are outside as a safety precaution.  I have already started a few times driving around the block and down to Lonsdale.  There has to be a person walking beside me for security.

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Soon I will start a refresher course with the electric wheelchair (Susanne) if possible I will “rent” one unit pending a time suitable for Susanne.  Once I will roll away with someone to watch me and to avoid bad things.  Thereafter, I would want to go to the park, possible with Tobey on leash and Nina [Katarina] or Fred, a guardian.  

Dad/ Tobey

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I love my room, my work table and the window facing north.  I love everyone of the nurses and staff and their positive attidue and fun talks.  I love my life.

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Stay tuned for

Part 5: bus tours!

Part 6: toilet routine!

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 3

Found journal.

 Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility.

2007-2008

Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005.

On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207.

See 

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3:

My life has changed completely since it took a few weeks to get used to the care persons and daily routine.  My room 207-2 has become my office and art studio with pictures on the wall.  I now recognize all the nurses as my friends and daughters.   It is like a UN the way the nurses represent a number of nations- a total of approx. 20 countries.  All very nice and friendly.

Staff: all very nice.  Nurses from all countries- Philippines, Slovakia, Romania, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Croatia, Jamaica, Hawaii, Salvador, Peru, Ireland, England, Scotland, India, Fiji, Hong King, Korea (South), Serbia, China, Russia, Uganda, Ghana, 20 countries!

There are a lot of “thieves” around, especially old white-haired ladies.  One stole the small table pushing it ahead of her out the door.  I found the table down the hallway later.

One guy, R., steals towels and facecloths carrying a big pile on his lap in his wheelchair as he goes from cupboard to the next.  The nurses tell me (they are used to this), they take all of it from his wheelchair and put it back.  The “thief” does not notice this.  He is sleeping.

A. steals everything- chairs, bedcover, cups, plates, glasses, framed pictures, Kleenex boxes.

K. runs around in his wheelchair all day shouting messages to everyone “Bingo at 2”. “movie at 4 pm”. “Church at 12 o’clock.”  He continues around the unit and repeats the same message to everyone.  K. comes into my room, “Have you seen A.?”  2 min later , K. comes in again, “Have you seen A.?”

Cleo, the housecat, sleeps on the sofa in the suite adjacent to the dining room.

Entertainment:

2 large screen TVs, always on

Telling stories

Playing cards

Bus tours

Reading

Church

Bingo

Singing

Music (piano, violin etc)

Showing DVDs

New ideas for entertainment:

Standup comedians, magicians

Group tap dancing

Painting, drawing, new art techniques

Reading from humor book

Overhead projector with slides

Roar donate equipment

World map with stickers to let each one point out where they are from.

Standard Codes (Alarm):

Movie idea:

With a proposed title as “The Greenhouse Growers” and the underline would be “we are nursing plants back to life by constantly watering all plant and feeding to cut them down for gifts and ornaments for funerals, birthday etc.”  As an opening, it is suggested that the movie “Murderball,” with old people running the wheelchairs, could be the opening or the finale showing the cured, graduated patients. 

Stay tuned for

Part 4: the electric wheelchair!

Part 5: bus tours!

Part 6: toilet routine!

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 2

Found journal.

 Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility.

2007-2008

Roar had a debilitating stroke on September 2005.

On February 14, 2007, he moved into room 207.

See PART 1

PART 2:

Next candidate for room.  He is wearing the green scrub uniform everyday.  Does not change often.  Dr. A.  (“ex” doctor) who said he practiced in Stockholm and Vancouver… Long grey hair (horsetail).  Only three teeth.  Green old “uniform” (scrub) from previous week.  It took a long time to get used to this man, snoring, pooing, farting, pooing, coughing, arguing, stealing.  He always comes into room at 2 AM (1 AM) and puts his lights on.  I ask him every time to keep his light down.  He walks with a walker and a cane, shoes loose, untied which makes them slap slap slap.  I can hear him far away.  He is smelly.  Never goes to the shower room.  His pants are soiled in the lower back.

If he was a doctor, I was the King of Norway.

A.’s room is a big mess.  A.’s room sometimes frequently is ransacked by the nurses.  Cutlery, f(?), stolen plates, figurines also food and juices.  One time they found in the nighttable a large bottle which made the girls nurses very upset.  (Only certain persons are allowed to have access to liquor (like me).

Only A. is forbidden to touch this, due to his illness, having failing kidneys.  Every third day of the week, he is taken by the ambulance to the hospital for dialysis, which is cleaning the blood through a machine.  His left arm is full of large lumps from removing blood and injection again the same for cleaning the blood.

Many times he is irritated and cussing, swearing, making accusations about people stealing “his things,” which he stole himself from the dining room.

Because of his condition, there is no use to argue with him even if he gives nurses hell most days of the week.  During treatment days (3/week) sometimes he comes back around 1 AM after visiting sis brother in Surrey.  At such times he comes back drunk, which makes the head nurse furious.  “This is unacceptable.”  After such days, he sleeps to the next morning to 10 AM or almost the whole day.

A. one day coming back from the hospital, he looked at his room.  “Where are my plates?   Who stole my plates?  This is straight stealing.”  A. stole those plates in the first place.

A. never reads the papers I give him.  He just puts them in his pile of stuff.  He sits all day long at his table in the dining room eating, watching the big screen TV, not talking… For friendship I have given A. several photos I took of him.  They are still in his drawer.  No one to show them to?  

Stay tuned for Part 3!

My Dad’s #journal recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Rm 207. #residentialcare. PART 1

Found journal.

 Roar Thorsen recounts the daily trials and tribulations in Room 207 and the halls of a residential care facility.

2007-2008

My father passed away in Room 207 on October 25, 2012 at approximately 9 PM.

To share this journal is incredibly healing for me, for as I type it, I feel I am sitting with Dad in our favorite spot in the cafeteria, discussing and laughing and sharing with each other.  I learned about the importance of journaling from Dad.

PART 1

[I have kept crossed out words as they show his process and I am using only nicknames and initials for residents and staff]

“Careful what you wish for.” Dad’s birthday card glued onto first page.

Feb 25, 2007 [date may be wrong as my father had difficulty with numbers, dates and mathematics after his stroke]

Items for preparation proposal of for new movie.

Script for Fredrik Thorsen & group

Prel. title proposal:

SERVICE STATION

THE REST HOME

THE HOME

002 NORTH

THE GREENHOUSE GROWERS

Starting procedure:

#1: signing in-forms

#2: viewing rooms 1-2 pers. rooms (“cells”)

#3: meet nurses and other patients

Examples of typical patients:

“Speedy Gonzales”: old lady, can’t talk, runs fast, fast wheelchair runner.  [Dad adds later note]<– Gonzales has stopped.  Only sitting in her wheelchair.

“Collector” R.: steals towels

Old lady: “Please.  Please.  A lady fell.  Please.”  Man: “Nobody lives in that box.”   Old lady answers: “I know, I am just checking for the body I put in the box.”   Man: “Oh?”

White hair old lady come into my room and ask, “Who the hell are you?”  I chased her out.

Often a white hair bandit comes into the room looking.  “Where am I?”

K. spits paper balls.

Monday Feb 25:  Moved to presidential suite due to painting of 407 [sic] for 2-3 days.  Door to dining room could not be closed.  In the morning, an old man rolls in asking, “Are you Mr. Bunsen?”  I said, “No.  Try the kitchen.”  “Thank you.”  

View from the suite very depressing looking through the glass door.  All you see is a collection of old people in various stages mainly sleeping in chairs with open mouth, staring at nothing.  Large TV is always on.  Nobody watches, except an old lady which [sic] sits always in in front, approx. 2′ from the screen!

My old “cellmate” dies (M. from Latvia), about 3 months after I entered Evergreen [Roar entered Feb 14, 2007].  He snuffed it.  No more snoring (thanks).  As a routine they placed him in the “transition room” which is used for the family to be with the person for the last days.  I called it the “elevator,” next step heaven or hell.  The transition room contains oxygen for use.  

Administration were looking for suitable replacements after M. died.

“Candidates” were proposed:

NO 1. Mr. J. Typical English snob from London.  “Can you please dampen the light?”  Can you please turn down the TV?”  “There are going to be changes around here!” he said.  After notice to the nurses, he was moved the next day to the room he came from.

NO 2. Mr. R.  A big man rolled in on his large electric wheelchair.  When he came in all the way into the room, he could not run around and was banging the wall and bed.  “Could you please move your bed so I can have better space?”  I said, “No.”  He was moved back to his room the same day.

NO 3: Dr. S...

Stay tuned for PART 2!

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

Change.  What does it mean?

Saudade- the emotion of missing

I miss the mundane to-do lists

These days when I dream of Dad…

Drawn Together

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking. #drawntogether #fatherdaughter

These days when I dream of Dad, he is walking.

I also feel peaceful and protected.  It feels very much like:

I find myself mesmerized when I drive by sites of beauty and sentimentality.  Yesterday afternoon, the trees glistened in the sun as I drove west on Hastings in Burnaby.  Wet with raindrops, they were lit against a dark sky in the east and an intense rainbow appeared.  A few days ago, I was driving West along Pender towards the bridge and I saw four distinct old men, whose solitude and whose character stuck with me so profoundly.

• The man in the wheelchair, sitting and smiling at pigeons, a beam of sun warming him.

• The  seemingly 90+ years old Woody Allen look-alike with his curved spine and his high-waisted pants held tight with a belt, in his cardigan and wearing glasses, gleefully sucking on a cigarette in front of MacLeod’s Books.

• The stately dressed old man, with his hat and long coat and his pants alarmingly short, using his cane to hit signs and bikes and other objects has he walked.

• And the Santa Claus, walking serenely East on Pender in the midst of suits and high heels.

They stayed with me, these images.  Were they messages from Dad?  The sentimentality I felt for him in those moments actually filled me with peace.

Starting tomorrow, I will be sharing Dad’s journal, YOU KNOW — NOTHING, in parts to celebrate the approach the release of Drawn Together.  It’s a gem.

 

The book,  Drawn Together, is getting close to completion!  Greg Salisbury of Influence Publishing is hard at work finalizing the work and I am so thankful to him (and to my brother Fred, who is helping with images) for the hard work.  I feel an intense MISSING when I think about holding the book.  I can hardly think about it.  But that is how I anticipate it.  I may feel filled and whole.  In fact, I know I will!

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

Change.  What does it mean?

Saudade- the emotion of missing

I miss the mundane to-do lists

Drawn Together

My mom’s ashes in the vintage makeup case. Dad’s ashes in red velvet by his fave pencil case.

I miss the mundane to-do lists from my Dad. I miss the supply run. The putter of routine.

Dad longed to be back at his chair in his last few weeks, longed to be back to his routine.

From Drawn Together:

My every-second-day visits are full and busy.  Fold the laundry, pack the clean cutlery and Tupperware into the cart, add the clean laundry to the pile, shove in the old envelopes, check if Roar needs any printouts, pack up the car with the dog and computer and journal and purse and sock monkey bag (just in case we watch a video together and I can sew).  Head to the grocery store for supplies: Gas-X, Listerine, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, shaving crème, pens, paper, salami, cheese, grapes, granola bars, gum, chocolate, lollipops, instant coffee, ketchup, blackcurrant jam, air freshener.  Pick up a bottle of whiskey, new art supplies, and pizza.  Load it into the room. Give the room a good clean.  Load in supplies and laundry, fill fridge.  Put dirty laundry and orange juice containers (my father saves the extra ones for me) into cart.  Grab the envelopes of news clippings he has collected for us.  Get Roar ready, pack his messenger bag, head to cafeteria to the favorite table (it must always be the same table), get fresh coffee, ice cream, etc., go through to-do list, get down to work.  After a couple of hours, take him back up to his room, unload his stuff, give him the time to check that we didn’t forget anything, grab the dog, dirty laundry and hug and kiss goodbye.  Ensure his phone is plugged in and routine is adhered to!

I find grocery shopping difficult.  That is missing-time.  It was the same after my mom passed away.  They were both so infused in my life.

I miss the mundane to-do lists from my Dad.  I miss the supply run.  The putter of his routine.  The structure that made sense.

Dad’s supplies:

… All [his] resistances, all [his] faults, all [his] unexpectedness.  That is, in [his] foursquare and independent reality.  And this, not any image or memory, is what we are to love still, after [he] is dead.

CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

Change.  What does it mean?

Saudade- the emotion of missing

Drawn Together

Saying goodbye to Dad’s room with my brother and nephew. Photo by Darcy Glip.

Naked Ladies Naked Ladies Naked Ladies, by Lynda Barry (Real Comet Press, 1984)

Recall my obsession with my superhero, Lynda Barry.  Well, the obsession rages on, fueled by the newest addition to my collection:

Real Comet Press, 1984

OMG.  It’s spectacular.  Each page is a full-page playing card  illustration of Lynda’s exploration of female body images.

Along the bottom of each page runs a classic Lynda Barry storyline.  Charming, funny, tragic.  It starts with:

When I was about five years old my cousin who was the same age came running around the corner from the back of the house and said did I want to see a boner.  I didn’t know what a boner was but I knew it was probably pretty good from the way he was running...

I will resist the temptation to color in it.  It’s just too amazing.  Copying from Lynda Barry is my personal art therapy anyways, so maybe I’ll color my own versions instead.  I’m definitely thinking wheatpaste!

18″ x 24″ china marker on newsprint.  Inspired by page 8.

This rare book was purchased via ETSY from the shop, DAME STYLE:

Saudade: the emotion of missing. #grief

Saudade is a unique Portuguese word that has no immediate translation in English.  Saudade describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves.  It often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing will never return.  It’s related to the feelings of longing, yearning.  

Saudade is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, well-being, which now triggers the senses and makes one live again…  It can be described as an emptiness and the individual feels this absence…  In fact, one can have ‘saudades’ of someone whom one is with, but have some feeling of loss towards the past or the future.

source

The emotion of missing.  What is it?  As the numbness wears off after Dad passed away on October 25, I find myself longing for that numbness again.  Now I feel the familiar sense of fear- sort of like walking on a unsteady pier or a balance beam that wobbles or a tightrope over a waterfall.  I am flooded with thoughts of doubt.  Did I do enough?  Should I have been more aggressive in getting treatment for Dad earlier?  Should I have taken him for more walks in the electric wheelchair?  Was he lonely and scared at the end?  These are expected thoughts.  I know that.  They are not to be avoided or feared.  It’s the process we all experience as we walk through grief.  I get it.  I dare to look.  But it hurts.

My father loved Cesária Évora.

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

Change.  What does it mean?

Drawn Together

For Dad:

Change. What does it mean to you? #journalexercise

Change.  What does it mean to you?

Write it out.  Collect images that reflect your thoughts.

Journal:

Sometimes I long for stability and sameness.  Change is the constant though.  I have learned to not fight it, learned to embrace it, and go in the direction that feels right in the heart and in the mind.

Change can mean loss. Change can mean gain.

Change can cause fear.  Change can be the catalyst to new paths.  I tend to want to cocoon when too much change happens too fast.  I need time to think.  To be still.  Like today.  I can only manage a few errands on my to-do list, but after that I want to remain wrapped in my tattered old cardigan, not visit anyone, not talk too much.  Just cocoon.

But cocooning itself is essential to metamorphosis.  We cannot avoid it.  I’m experiencing intense loss, a big change, but I am so ready for new wings.

I am not young anymore.  I may even be a grown-up.  Yet, I feel new.  Revealed.

China marker, pastel, linseed oil on wood. Based on Edvard Munch’s “Puberty.”

A pencil box. Regarded with reverence.

UPDATE!  OUR BOOK IS READY!

Go to:

DRAWN TOGETHER

My father’s last pencil box.  It will remain untouched.  It contains his favorite drawing tools like the black pencil crayon and his instant coffee spoon and his rolled up hand towel that he used to brush eraser bits away.

I went into Staples today and felt the weight of missing Dad.  He and I loved shopping for stationary together.

I miss our coffee dates and his to-do lists, but I am ready for the next chapter.  Ready to keep going.

See also:

Life has no opposite

Healing sock monkey watching over Dad

Document it.  All of it.

We’ve become a band of gypsies

Dad’s inner work

Dad’s last day.

Drawn Together