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 872

Alone with Everybody  – by Charles Bukowski

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

(Ref: https://www.poemhunter.com/charles-bukowski/)

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 868

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Last year Si brought back a large packet of tulip bulbs from Amsterdam. Special pots were bought, gravel and compost lovingly layered, appropriate spots chosen. The planting happened at the end of December last year. Si and I have fingers of all colours except green. So, we waited for absolutely nothing to happen but to our utter delight, little shoots appeared last week.

The days are longer. The air is lighter. The light is brighter. One season has gone making way for another. Daffodils are raising their pretty heads and trees are sprinkled with white and pink blossom. Meteorolists worry and blame global warming for an early spring but I am happy. After many months of being cooped up in a cup-board, a blue linen dress found its way out into the fresh air this morning. First one this year!

Today is the 20th anniversary of PAPYRUS. We celebrated it as a group of 80-90, discussing the past, present and future of the charity, extending support to each other and sharing ideas about increasing the reach and impact of the work we do. For me, it was a day of hope.

“If I knew to convert
even this day’s riches?
Be content with articulation
Of Earth’s wisdom:
One state must have its duration;
Produces from itself a second;
One state and then another
Leading to an end I cannot presuppose.”

  • From ‘The Mystical verses’ by Joseph Maning, a gifted poet who delights people with his works on the Southbank.

Ref:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/01/northern-hemisphere-sees-in-early-spring-due-global-warming

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?

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(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 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