Day 884

“Hi. My name is Joe
And I work in a button factory
I’ve got a wife
3 kids
And one day my boss said to me
He said, “Joe?
…Got a minute?”
I said,”Yes.”
He said “Push the button
With your left hand

Repeat….right hand
….left foot
….right foot
….head
….tongue

It was like being a kid again. The Theatre workshop at the Dragon Café let loose my imagination and opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I was part of a community full of great ideas, all of which were real in that room. Colourful currents of creative juices were flowing, intersecting and mingling within that sacred space. Every suggestion was validated, every feeling acknowledged. I felt safe and uplifted. For that one hour I could be anyone, anywhere with any story.

The interaction induced empathy. For a few minutes, each of our characters felt what it must be like to be in the other one’s shoes. We formed strong connections and had great fun.

I can see why Drama therapy works in schools, prisons, mental health centres, businesses and hospitals. It is an instrument for change, individual and social. It can help us work our way through a problem, discover some truths about ourselves, understand the meaning of images that resonate with us and explore and transcend unhealthy personal patterns of behaviour.

Saagar was a natural mimic and actor. Every time he auditioned, he got a good role. Predictably, he played one of the 3 wise men in his primary school nativity play. Then, he was Badger in Wind in the Willows. His last school play was Of Men and Mice in which he played the character of The Boss. He loved the team aspect of putting a production together. The last play he watched was ‘Book of Mormons’.

He was a star and still is.

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Ref:

http://playingon.org.uk/playing-on-at-the-dragon-cafe/

Day 874

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(A door in Zanzibar)

The blue door from ‘Notting Hill’ stuck
on the wall paper of my memory
eons ago.
The glue must be super-strong.

A rectangular passage into a special space.
Simple and warm, fun and messy,
Open and cozy with many possible cups of tea.
A refuge for troubled souls, a place for stories to unfold.

A semicircle of glass perched perfectly on top.
Long panes elegantly framing from top to toe.
The door sat in the centre like a king.
The slit of a smile in the middle welcomed guests
Like messages, notes, post and parcels in.

They said it was draught-proof.
Not too heavy, not too light.
Just right.
The coir mat outside often had a black cat sprawled on it, claiming ownness.
A few yards away a waist high metal gate
sang a little note every time it opened
and another, every time it closed.

A flower basket dancing on one side
with pink and white petunias, ivy and pine,
grabbed a chunk of the sunshine.

Whatever the world threw at us,
The blue door made okay.
It took us in its fold of laughter, healing and trust.

One day one of us left and never came back.
The blue door waits and waits. So does the cat.

Day 870

For all of us who aren’t sure, it is possible to be Christian/Hindu/etc and gay.
It’s also possible to believe in God and science.
It is possible to be pro-choice and anti-abortion.
It is equally possible to be a feminist and love and respect men.

It’s possible to have privilege and be discriminated against,
to be poor and have a rich life,
to not have a job and still have some money.
It is possible to be anti guns and still believe in one’s right to defend one’s self, family, and property,
it’s possible to be anti-war and pro-military.
It is possible to love thy neighbor and despise his actions.

It is possible to advocate Black Lives Matter and still be pro police.
It is possible to not have an education and be brilliant.
It is possible to be a devout follower of Islam and also suffer at the hands of terrorists.
It is possible to be a patient and a healer at the same time,
To be sane and insane, all at once.
It is possible to be different and the same.
We are all walking contradictions of what “normal” looks like.
Let humanity and love win.

(Inspired by Cynthia Stamm Clark)

Butterflies are Us

Art, healing and unifying us.

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Day 867

Kooning
(The Attic, by William de Kooning)

In the 1920s, a Russian film director, Lev Kuleshov filmed a male matinee idol staring in turn at a bowl of soup, a young girl in a coffin and an elegant lady reclining on a couch. The actor got rave reviews from the audiences on his ability to effortlessly evoke hunger, grief and desire in the film. What they did not know was the fact that the director had used the same shot of the actor each time, just cut to each different object.

Humans have an innate need to impose order on the world. If we are presented with disparate images, we will try to assemble them into a meaningful order. It we are given a bunch of jumbled unrelated words, we will try to arrange them into a sentence that might mean something.

In the mid-twentieth century, Wiiliam de Kooning emerged as one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism. His art is known to put brains in a tizzy, desperately trying to order and make sense of the shapes within. Faces? Animals? Semi-clad human forms? Women? Doors?

ExcavationdeK
(The Excavation, by William de Kooning)

Maybe life is the same – unrelated images randomly juxtaposed, the human mind desperately struggling to make sense of them.

Ref:

William de Kooning: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-de-kooning-willem.htm
Kuleshov effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gGl3LJ7vHc

Day 866

Having a couple of daylight hours still left after work is a luxury. This evening I was lucky. I walked aimlessly along the Southbank and ‘The F-word’ exhibition caught my eye. F for Forgiveness. Bold posters with simple, human messages from ordinary people from all over the world, telling stories that transform, offering a dynamic and challenging exploration of forgiveness through real life situations.

There is nothing ordinary about forgiveness. Forgiving others. Forgiving myself. I constantly struggle with it.

One mother said “When I was told that my son had been killed in action, the first words that came out of my mouth were ’Do not take revenge in the name of my son.’ It was a totally instinctive response.”

When Saagar passed away, one of the strongest feelings that came up for me was – no one should have to loose anyone they love to suicide. That was the driving force that kept me alive and goaded me on but forgiveness is a subtle and powerful thing that happens at another level. I am very conscious of the fact that it is something I really need to address but keep putting it off while it keeps gnawing away at me. Perhaps, it is not entirely by co-incidence that I chanced upon this exhibition.

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Ref: http://theforgivenessproject.com/

 

 

 

 

Day 865

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Work is good.
Ikebana is beautiful.
Friends are lovely.
The weather is not bad.
The volunteering is going well.
Meditations are peaceful.
Writing is fun.
Si is a blessing.
Family is great.
Smiles and laughter are coming back.
Music is returning.
Good things are happening.
Saagar’s friends are sweet.
Energetically, things feel positive.
All is well.

But I miss him.
I miss him to death. It kills me.
I miss his smile, his hugs, his smell, his voice, his jokes, his brilliance, his light.
I miss the way he made me feel.
I miss what we had and what we could have had.
I miss the cup of tea he would sometimes make for me.
I miss everything about him. I wonder if he knows how much. Our texts, our conversations, out silent communications, our shopping sprees, our travels… I miss them all. Even though he is always present, I miss him like hell. Nothing seems to lessen the missing. It is always there, like an unbearable part of me. The wretched missing and me are incurably, painfully one.

Day 862

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He often watched ‘How it’s made’ on TV. He was fascinated with the process. Be it guitars, dream cars, ballistic missiles or bubble gum, he was intrigued with how things were made. In school he studied Design and Technology (D&T). As a project he had to design and make something in his last year at school.

Together we came up with the idea of a jewellery stand. We discussed the desired features, materials, shape and size and over time he refined the idea with the help of his teachers. A few months later he brought home this beautiful piece of work. He had managed to add a mirror, adjustable fittings and decorations to it. I was immensely proud. Another one of his many gifts! May be his finger prints are still on it, intermingled with mine. 

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(Saagar, slightly blurred, in the background in his school D&T lab)

Two hundred and thirty one children in the UK died of suicide before finishing school in 2015. Nearly 100 children aged 10 to 14 killed themselves in the UK in the last decade, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The more I look into it, the more my heart breaks. I am sorry if my writing has the same effect on you. It is such a waste! We are loosing our future to suicide!

 “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”   – Nelson Mandela

Ref:

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/feb/04/female-suicide-rate-in-england-highest-for-a-decade-in-2014-figures-reveal