The Art of Seeing Depression

The Art of Seeing Depression
By Tom Wootton
Author of “BiPolar In Order”

James Turrell is one of the most remarkable artists alive. He has an amazing understanding of light and perception. By using darkness and almost imperceptible light, his artwork totally changes the way we see the world. I think his work with light and darkness is a perfect metaphor for trying to see depression in a new light.

james turrell – the tunnel

When you enter one of Jim’s installations, it is so dark that you cannot see anything, or at least not much. The amount of available light is simply too little for our eyes to use. His artwork is not a picture on the wall; it is the entire environment, in which both the perception of the audience and time act as critical components.

If you stay long enough, your eyes begin to adjust to the lack of light. You start to see things that were there all along, but your eyes were not yet ready to perceive.

When you go back out into the “real” world, you bring an entirely new perspective; you begin to see everything in a whole new light (pun intended). Jim’s work can truly be described as a discovery of the act of seeing.

james turrell – experimenting with light

My own art is similar to Jim’s in many ways. Like Jim, instead of using a brush to paint a picture, I choose to build an environment that blocks out light and helps me to perceive. Unlike Jim, my art is not in the physical world; it is in my interior world.

Instead of blocking out the physical light, I learn to block out the thoughts and feelings that distract me from seeing the more subtle light that shines within each of us. I then discover deeper truths hidden within my own consciousness. When I return to the external world, I begin to see the same subtle light in the eyes of everyone I meet.

My art is called meditation. I have been practicing it for over 45 years, sometimes as much as 8 hours a day. Meditation has given me the ability to “see” things in a much deeper way. It can be described as the discovery of the act of knowing.

james turrell – afrum white

I recently went through a fairly deep depression, and came out thinking a lot about James Turrell. I don’t know if he is bipolar or experiences depression, but if he does, I bet he sees it in the way I do.

When I went into depression the first time, all I saw was darkness and pain. At the time, I thought it was unbearable, but looking back and comparing it to some of the far deeper hells I have since experienced, it was really nothing.

As my perception has grown, I am beginning to “see” things I never knew were there: good insights, lessons, and personal growth. In “seeing” clearly, I notice that now depression doesn’t affect me so negatively. It now affects me much more, but in a positive way, at least according to the way I have learned to “see.”

On a scale from one to five, I used to think of a five as experiencing no depression at all, and a one as so deeply depressed that I would attempt suicide. I thought four was a little painful, three even more, and two almost unbearable. Since there was no “light,” and all I could “see” was pain, I judged my experiences solely on that basis.

As I spent more time trying to “see” in depression, I began to notice many things that were probably there all along, but I could not “look” through the pain to “see” them. As I started to discover the “act of seeing” in depression, I started to ponder the significance of my discoveries.

Each time I experienced depression, it became clearer to me. I began to redefine what depression was, based on the features that I could now “see” more clearly. My scale began to change, from a scale based on pain, to one based on a much richer perception of what was going on. I still define a five as “having no symptoms,” and a one as “so difficult that I try to kill myself,” but four, three, and two have become a rich and varied landscape.

james turrell – untitled

I have also come to understand the significant difference between those who have “situational depression,” caused by outward circumstances, and those who have what I consider “true depression,” caused by mental illness. I have learned to articulate that clearly enough to make a difference in the lives of both those who are truly depressed and those who love and support them.

Everyone experiences some form of depression at least once in life. If it is really bad, it means extreme sadness, crying, inability to function fully, lethargy, dullness of thought, and more. For most, it is caused by some great loss like the death of a loved one, or some other great tragedy.

james turrell – roden crater

You wake up in the morning so sad, you think you cannot get through the day. It might even debilitate you for a day or so, but for the most part, you get up, grab a cup of coffee, go to work, and somehow make it through the day, even if seriously diminished in your ability to perform. If it is really bad, this depression lasts for weeks or months, as you slowly get on with life. That is a three in my book. It is also about as deep as anyone gets from “situational depression,” the kind that comes solely from outside circumstances and not from mental illness.

A two is not just the same thing with more intensity. It is fundamentally different than a three. In a two, the world becomes black and white. There is no color. There is an intense physical pain. Thoughts become confused. During such pain, I lose the ability to even remember a time when it was not like this. I can see no future when it might go away. (This is called “state specific memory” and is very common.) My mind keeps repeating “kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself,” and I keep seeing visions of car crashes and every method of suicide that you can imagine. All I can do is hang on. A two is the worst kind of hell. (At the time of writing this, I erroneously assumed that a one meant you killed yourself from the pain of the two state.)

james turrell – light install

Being able to explain depression better and help others is great, but there is so much more. Central to my belief, is that nothing is all good or all bad, but a combination of good and bad components. We “see” the good and bad according to our ability to perceive and the filters that we place on ourselves, based on how we assign value. In my struggles with depression, I have been frustrated with my inability to “see” any good in it. In my recent depression and thoughts about James Turrell, I have begun to “see” depression in a whole new light. I am not ready to choose depression, but next time it comes, I look forward to exploring a whole new landscape.

james turrell – untitled

I have noticed that aspects of depression that I used to consider a two and almost unbearable, I am now denoting as a three. I have also begun to gain tremendous insight into many things, including my spiritual life. It is from a spiritual perspective that I have really begun to see that depression can be a great thing. In my readings of the lives of saints, pain and despair is often mentioned as a catalyst that helped them to become better persons and act in a manner that is called saintly. After always struggling with this concept, I am now beginning to understand.

It was the misery of depression that brought me to the realization that I am mentally ill. The unbearable pain is what helped me to recognize the torture I have done to others. Without the heartache, I would never have learned who I really am, and come to understand the power of acceptance. Without the despair, I would not have had the desire to become a better person.

The saints talk about having a despair so strong it becomes unbearable. The despair they feel is specific, it is the agony they feel from not having a direct experience of God. The despair becomes so strong, that they would rather die than go another minute without Him. They describe it as getting to a point that their own sense of self becomes the thing that separates them from God; they feel that they “die” into oneness with the divine. I believe that is what Saint Paul meant when he said “I die daily.”

james turrell – sky apace

In my depressions, I feel tremendous despair. My mind keeps repeating over and over “kill yourself, kill yourself.” What if my perception keeps becoming clearer and I start to notice that the despair truly is for God? What if the self that I am trying to kill, is the “little self” that is keeping me from realizing the true nature that I believe is in each of us. This is our divine self. Jesus said “The kingdom of God is within you.” It seems that for at least some of us, it is depression and despair that gives us the ability to “see” our divine self. That is why depression is the best thing that ever happened to me.

(See Post that follows: “BiPolar In Order vs. Bipolar Disorder” for my opinion of Tom Wootton’s book “BiPolar In Order,” and my story of why I chose to purchase and use this book to help me with my Bipolar).

perception of an artist

perception of an artist
by jennifer kiley

Stardust by Adam Cvijanovic

Adam Cvijanovic, born in 1960 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a painter based in New York City. He paints large-scale paintings onto Tyvek, an extremely thin and durable plastic sheeting, which can be easily moved from place to place. It allows him to create large paintings that expand and create new space. He extends beyond our physical world. Observe his achievement in Stardust. His works expresses the limitations of the artist’s media to create alternate versions of space.

Stardust was created in 2010. Cvijanovic has given the impression of a hole blown out of a wall and as you look through you see the far expanse into space. It’s realistic image convinces the viewer that they are observing a 3-D vision of the space they are in, with what lies in an unbeleiveable location out into the space of the universe, yet appears real. It dismisses for the moment your sense of the possible vs the illusionary.

Stardust is taken from images of the Orion nebula, just south of Orion’s Belt, from the constellation of Orion. Usually only seen in photos taken by a telescope, which I frequently collect, I love the images so. Cvijanovic creates it in a painting in an amazing depiction. One feels like one could walk into the painting. Stardust is a grand illusion, which caught my eye and that prompted me to want to share something so imaginative. And through this discovery, I searched out other examples of Adam Cvijanovic creative talent to share with the curious art lovers out there.

love poem (10 minutes after the end of gravity)

A last bit of information on Adam Cvijanovic, he studied at the Philadelphia College of Art in 1982 and Columbia University in 1986, but he is largely self-taught. As you can see, after viewing this piece, it made me want to seek out other paintings he had produced.

kitten update-a splash of schmaltz…

the secret keeper:

you will love the kitten action in this post with music video & photos. adorable. song by melissa etheridge blends well with the filmmaker’s actions & stills combined. put a smile in my heart & love on my face. jennifer

Originally posted on MacKENZIE's Dragon's Nest:

Well, I’ve been holding off posting an update on Gatsby and her boys, Poe, Parker (who used to be Scout), and Carter. Today, as the mercury rises, I figured it was as good a time as any to put a progress report into the wilds of Cyberia.

Breakfast time.

As you can see, they are all on solid food, though they still enjoy bottle treats when offered. Baby Carter has everyone wrapped around his little white paws–something about his miniature stature and wise, wise visage. Not that Poe and Parker get short changed, by any means. In fact, as the eldest, Poe insisted on his own picture here:

Big Poe.

As for the rest…Enjoy the following video. And forgive the schmaltz. What can I say, I’m a sucker for the kids and a Melissa Etheridge song.

View original

Why I Am Against Bipolar Meds

Being bipolar without disorder.
by Tom Wootton
published by permission from author
Published on June 23, 2012

Why I Am Against Bipolar Meds

The extremes both for and against meds give new meaning to the word Bipolar.

Many people say you should not discuss politics or religion with your friends because you might not be friends much longer. If your friends are Bipolar or associated with it in any way you might want to add meds to the list. The extremes both for and against meds give new meaning to the word Bipolar. The poles often seem further apart than the most intense debates in politics or religion.

I have been speaking with groups about Bipolar for almost ten years now and have tried my best to stay out of the debate. But many in the audience won’t let me. At the end of my talks I am frequently accosted by members of one camp or both. It is pretty clear that neither side even heard what I said and the only thing they listened for is whether I took their side in the only thing that matters to them. I didn’t validate their extreme point of view and they are furious with me.

In his song The Boxer, Paul Simon said, “Still, a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” In my case they often hear things that were not even said. In their minds I gave a talk siding with the enemy.

I have always pretty much ignored the med controversy because it is not central to my message. Until now. I heard something recently that made me want to take a stand.

I have always felt it important to keep up with all points of view regarding Bipolar. If I am going to hold myself out as an expert in the field, it behooves me to be current with what everyone is doing. To that end I recently attended a video presentation made by someone from the anti-psychiatry camp. It was very well done and included many good points to consider. I better understand the anti-psychiatry point of view from having watched it.

At the end of the video, the young man who made it got up and made a few remarks. When he got to the topic of medicine I was relieved to hear that he had a more nuanced view than simply looking at all meds as bad. While he saw them beneficial in some instances, he proudly declared that he had been med free for the last year. This was met with enthusiastic applause.

The crowd became much more subdued when he stated that everything was going great until a month ago when he was hospitalized yet again for losing control.

Then the kicker came. He said he hoped to be off meds again as soon as possible and the applause was even more robust.

It all became clear to me at that moment. I decided that from now on my response when people ask my take on meds will be, “I would rather be on meds with Bipolar IN Order than off meds and still in Dis-Order.”

For those of you paying attention I just made a pro-med statement. If that is how I feel, why did I title this article Why I Am Against Bipolar Meds? Because that young man inadvertantly hit the nail on the head – it is not about meds, it is about whether Bipolar is in Dis-Order or IN Order. The pro- and anti-med camps are so obsessed with medications that they completely miss the point.

If you visit the sites that are anti-med or anti-psychiatry it is mostly about what they are against and not about better outcomes. They are not talking about getting Bipolar IN Order. They are talking about their opposition to a set of tools. They are fixated on meds and psychiatry instead of gaining understanding about how to function while manic or depressed.

Meds can be a powerful tool for minimizing symptoms. They can help reduce the intensity during the Crisis and Managed Stages of Bipolar Dis-Order and help you to get to Recovery where the highs and lows are reduced and you can function. Meds can play a central role during all three stages of Dis-Order.

Medicine can help moderate the intensity during the Freedom Stage of Bipolar IN Order, but they cannot get you IN Order by themselves. The role of medication becomes more peripheral as one moves through Freedom Stage to Stability and is largely irrelevant once one reaches Self-Mastery. There is no point in taking something to lower the intensity when intensity is no longer an issue.

The only way to expand your range is to increase your awareness, understanding, functionality, comfort, and perceived value in having highs and lows. You also need to understand how long you can function at each intensity level before it escalates. Medicine cannot do that for you; you have to do the work yourself.

Since medicine alone is incapable of getting people to Bipolar IN Order, the only outcome promoted by the pro-med camp is remission. And that is the worst thing about meds; those who advocate medicine as the solution to Bipolar Dis-Order can only advocate making Bipolar go away. They need the illness paradigm to make medicine the central tool and are unwilling to consider that remission is far below what we are capable of.

Once you understand Bipolar IN Order you see remission as an interim goal, but unacceptable and even foolish as an end goal of treatment. The central point of any discussion about Bipolar should be about moving from Bipolar Dis-Order to Bipolar IN Order. Medicine can be an important tool, but if it is the central topic it can relegate those both for and against its use to a life of Dis-Order.

Statement by Jennifer Kiley ~the secret keeper~

I do not take psych meds with the exception of a med for panic and anxiety disorder. it wards off the feelings i would get when i would try to leave the house without them. having a cell phone also aids in pushing down the panic and anxiety. it doesn’t help with the nausea i sometimes feel, then i take a different med for that but that is a medicine for health not for f@%@king up my brain so that i can not think clearly or have the energy to create until i want to stop. psych meds for bipolar, for me, cut off my connection to my muses and the use of my mind. i go through the highs and lows of bipolar II. i have hypomanic episodes and then i go into a deep depression with feelings of suicide so overwhelming that i don’t feel i can control my urges this time. but i always do. i find a way to fight myself to somehow pull myself out of those dark shadows. writing seems to be one of the answers. music is another. it is at this time that i find it the most difficult to reach out to anyone. when i feel that low i don’t feel anyone would want to be there for me.

i accept that bipolar causes you to have extreme mood changes but it can be quite exciting when you are in the hypomanic phase. my energy is unending. my mind opens up to a clarity that no good drug could ever make me feel. this is all natural. why would i want to control or stop these feelings. admittedly when i go into a depression it is the most diffcult state to exist in. tonight i felt that way. i felt like i wasn’t real. what i did is write poetry. i expressed through words what depths of pain i was in. it felt like i was all by myself. that the only answer was death. the feeling of not being real was bordering on scary. i felt totally isolated. it is then that i cannot reach out. but this time i did reach out. i tried to feel for someone else instead of for myself. gradually, i was being pulled out of te darkest of dungeons. the pain of depression is a sweet sadness that my soul holds inside of me. someone protects me from suicide. i know there are manic phases that can make you feel psychotic and you break from reality. so i am not saying that everyone should chose the path i take. i just am tired of the psych meds. they don’t feel right for me. i took them for too many years and they never made me feel better. now i feel something and i am not drugged out and my body is happy to be losing the drug weight and returning me to my thin self that i was before i started taking what i call poison. it definitely poisoned my body. if they are going to treat you, then do it with natural medications. that’s what i take for my sleep cocktail. i have insomnia & for a really long time i took prescription meds to help me sleep like ambien cr. it didn’t help. it just shut out my dreams and gave me nightmares and restless sleep. now i take homeopathic meds with meds for muscle cramps for my legs and my panic med. the cocktail lets me sleep with ease once my head hits the pillow and i even have dreams that i sometimes remember. but everyone needs to do for themselves what they need to do. i don’t speak for anyone but myself when i say no psych meds.

Bipolar Advantage

nora ephron thru tears to laughter

nora ephron thru tears to laughter
a tribute to nora ephron
died tuesday june 26th, 2012 at age of 71

Nora Ephron (May 19, 1941 – June 26, 2012) was an American filmmaker, director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, playwright, journalist, author, and blogger.

She is best known for her romantic comedies and was a triple nominee for the Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay for three films: Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle. She sometimes wrote with her sister Delia Ephron. Her last film was Julie & Julia.

On June 26, 2012, at the age of 71, Ephron died from pneumonia, a complication resulting from acute myeloid leukemia, a condition with which she was diagnosed in 2006. In her most recent book, “I Remember Nothing” (2010), Ephron left clues that something was wrong or that she was sick.

(1983) Silkwood (writer)
(1986) Heartburn (writer, novel)
(1989) When Harry Met Sally… (writer, associate producer)
(1989) Cookie (writer, executive producer)
(1990) My Blue Heaven (writer, executive producer)
(1992) This Is My Life (director, writer)
(1993) Sleepless in Seattle (director, writer)
(1994) Mixed Nuts (director, writer)
(1996) Michael (director, writer, producer)
(1998) Strike! / The Hairy Bird / All I Wanna Do (executive producer)
(1998) You’ve Got Mail (director, writer, producer)
(2000) Hanging Up (writer, producer)
(2000) Lucky Numbers (director, producer)
(2005) Bewitched (director, writer, producer)
(2009) Julie & Julia (director, writer, producer)

Essay Collections
Crazy Salad
Wallflower at the Orgy
(2010) I Remember Nothing: And other Reflections
(2006) I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
(1975) The Boston Photographs

Nora Ephron Highly Recommends Having Meryl Streep Play You

Time Talks: Nora Ephron, Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci
Discussing Film: Julie & Julia

Nora Ephron Salutes Mike Nichols

Nora Ephron Interview
Meeting Writers – Nora Ephron

Nora Ephron: Farewell to a Legend

Sleepless In Seattle Traler (1993)

Sleepless In Seattle – Empire State Building

Related Link: Heartbroken In Manhattan: Remembering Nora Ephron by Arianna Huffington

to rome with love

to rome with love
by jennifer kiley

Woody Allen’s New Film and he’s in it. I am an avid Woody Allen fan and have been since the first time I viewed his Best Picture Academy Award winning film: “Annie Hall.” La-di-da… You speak lobster don’t you. Favorite scene is the sneeze. For all who have seen Annie Hall know what I mean for those who don’t you should really check it out. It is absolutely delightful. My present favorite Woody Allen film is, of course, “Midnight In Paris.” I’ve watched it many times on DVD, on Demand, or where ever I might come across it. It is such a wonderful fantasy that any writer would practically sell their soul to experience. No spoilers here but I highly recommend this film if only to find out where Owen Wilson’s character disappears to at night. And, can you answer the questions: “Do you get wet? Or, Do you feel the rain?” I am a romantic. Midnight In Paris has romance. Woody Allen must havehad a vision before writing this film. He creates such magic. From watching the Trailers from: “To Rome With Love,” it looks like another great film from Mr. Allen. If he does a film from every great city of Europe, he will have loads of films to wend there way through his imagination.

In 1966 Woody Allen wrote a Broadway show called Don’t Drink the Water. It was about an American Embassy behind the Iron Curtain. It was made into a film but didn’t do well. Woody then wrote a screenplay titled: “Take the Money and Run. It was a bank-robbing comedy. He wrote, directed and starred in it. One of my favorite scenes in this film is at the teller’s window when Woody’s character hands the teller a note. A whole routine was made out of the spelling and pronunciation of the words on the note. “What is this “gub,” “I have a “gub.” The teller calls over another employee to get him to read it. All Woody wants to do is rob the bank but all this attention is being drawn to him. It is a total farce. The film cost about $600,000 to shoot in San Francisco and received excellent reviews. It showed a profit and an entertaining film career began.

To Rome With Love is a wonderfully romantic fantasy of Rome as seen through Woody’s peculiar vision. This is the first film he has acted in since 2006.

Woody interweaves several stories, characteristic of Robert Altman. Woody plays a retired music promoter who journeys to Rome with his wife, Judy Davis, in an attempt to connect with his young daughter, played by Alison Pill. They’re on a romantic journey with a young Italian lawyer. The boyfriend’s father, a funeral director, causes for amusement, has a magnificent tenor voice but he only sings in the shower. Fabio Armiliato, a famous Italian opera singer, plays this role. He opens with the aria from Tosca. It takes your breath away.

Penelope Cruz plays a candid but funny hooker involved accidentally with the wrong man, an inculpable naïf who is at the receiving end of a marvelous lesson in love from her. Simultaneously, his young wife is getting a similar lesson in love from a inane movie actor. Plus there is the scenes where Ellen Page of Juno and Inception moves in with newbie architect Jesse Eisenberg and his girlfriend, played by Greta Gerwig of Greenberg fame.

Alec Baldwin plays his older mentor, who has a fascination with the Ayn Rand book The Fountainhead, a legendary book about an independently minded individual and film, in which Ellen dreams about sleeping with its hero, architect Howard Roark. (Gary Cooper played him in that film.)

Roberto Benigni plays a man who is given ‘Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame’ but doesn’t understand why. He is caught in the trailer being filmed as his faced is covered in shaving cream while an interviewer is speaking while the camera is running.

Woody’s next film will be shot this summer in San Francisco and New York, with his usual all-star cast which includes Cate Blanchette.

Woody’s last film, Midnight in Paris, earned a $57 million gross to date and a nomination for best picture Oscar.

Woody was asked why he had never moved to Los Angeles, and his Woody-esque response was, “I couldn’t live in a city where the only cultural advantage is making a right turn on a red light.” I think he made the right decision. Those earthquakes, mud slides and forest fires would be enough to keep one away. Besides he’s got New York City in his blood.

What a cast for To Rome With Love: Ellen Page, Woody Allen, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Alec Baldwin, Judy Davis. Here is an amusing tralier for you to enjoy and get a sense of what you have to look forward to when you watch this film.

Antonio Albanese as Luca Salta
Woody Allen as Jerry, Phyllis’ husband and Hayley’s father
Fabio Armiliato as Giancarlo, Michelangelo’s father
Roberto Benigni as Leopoldo, a celebrity
Penélope Cruz as Anna, a prostitute
Alec Baldwin as John, Jack’s acquaintance and adviser
Judy Davis as Phyllis, Jerry’s wife and Hayley’s mother
Jesse Eisenberg as Jack, Sally’s boyfriend
Greta Gerwig as Sally, Monica’s best friend and Jack’s girlfriend
Ellen Page as Monica, Sally’s best friend
Lino Guanciale as Leonardo
Alessandra Mastronardi as Milly, Antonio’s wife
Ornella Muti as Pia Fusari, an actress
Flavio Parenti as Michelangelo, Hayley’s boyfriend
Alison Pill as Hayley, Michelangelo’s girlfriend
Riccardo Scamarcio as Hotel Thief
Alessandro Tiberi as Antonio, Milly’s husband
Marta Zoffoli as Marisa Raguso, an interviewer for Leopoldo

To Rome With Love Trailer [HD]

Love and Belonging

Love and Belonging
By Jennifer Kiley

Using the Universal “WE,” do “WE” deserve to feel Love and Belonging? I asked my s/o what her answer would be? She said, “YES!” Now I prefaced the question by adding the following examples of people: Jeffrey Dalmer, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, Jack the Ripper, the Boston Strangler or Sandusky or Priests who sexually abuse children, Pedophiles, Adolph Hitler, Dr. Mengele, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Jim Jones, Torque Mada (the head of the Spanish Inquisition: that mother f@#ker), and any other person who executed acts of utter brutality. She still said “Yes” but qualitfied it by stating: “if thay had Love and a sense of Belonging they may never have developed into the monsters they became.

The poster I found is quite moving. When I was a child I did not have a sense of Love or Belonging. That came later in my life but I am very insecure about it’s existance and need reinforcement and reminded fairly frequently that I am worthy; that I deserve to be loved and that I am loved. Now I am learning what Love and Belonging really is. When you don’t receive it as a child or you may receive it but only partially from your grandmother who gives it on a part time basis because your mother doesn’t like that you have that relationship at all. Then you lose that one connection to love and a sense of meaning and belonging at least to one person, when she dies when you are still a child. That’s when you learn how to wander and the abusers just up the score on their abuse. No one to escape to any longer. You can’t even call her or imagine running away to her house even though the only way to her house you know is on the thruway.

I am finding love now in my life but every time I start feeling love inside of me, it becomes a frightening feeling. Somehow as i was growing, all the abuse in my life made me come up with the notion that whenever I feel love, I feel that I am being bad. I associate Love with the abuse. Logically, abuse is bad, sexual abuse is bad, being sexual is the way that Love was shown to me. Sex means Love. Sex is bad. Love means sex. Love is bad. Being sexual is bad. Loving someone is bad. It is logical but the logic is flawed. The physical contact that came from the abusers was not Love, it was sexual abuse and physical abuse. all of the abuses. I need to relearn the effects of what the abusers did to me. I need to realize that Love does not have anything to do with sex. Sex is separate. I need to relearn what Love is. I need to understand what Belonging is and what it feels like. I have some good people in my life who are teaching me. I am more able to give love than I am to receive Love, even though that is what I need to learn how to accept.

My therapist is working really hard to help me understand all of this. When you have role models from Hell, you don’t know what it feels like to Love and Belong. It was only those small moments of time where I received a glimpse of what Love and Belonging is. My grandmother, in her way, saved my life, by being there in those short bursts of time. just long enough to register deep inside of me, a sense of Love and Belonging.

I haven’t been the easiet person to live with but my family today made up of people that I care about and who care about me, show patience with how I am and how I am growing. They know I have been working hard in therapy since I was a teenager, trying to heal from the destructiveness and buried wounds of my childhood. It’s no surprise that I struggle with my feelings every moment of every day to make sure they are right or the way that they should be. I am real but it is difficult. I am honest and that can cause pain not just for me. there are many people for whom i have deep feelings of love. I think they know who they are. I try to express those feelings as I am able to. My therapist really helps me out with working through the confusion. I don’t always understand what Love is or how to express it. It is a learning process that I continue working on. I have some great people in my life who are so supportive and understanding. They accept me as I am and give their love so generously.

I was only planning on posting this poster and writing a few words. My exhaustion from the past few days being involved in a most exciting adventure, shut down my creative mind and I believe that my muse or muses were taking the night off. I kept falling asleep at the keyboard. The only creative thing I could do last night was to buy books for my kindle. most of them were from collections written ages ago or those that were for publicity to buy other books by the same author. I did consider buying “The Writer’s Notebook” by W. Sommerset Maugham. It seemed like a great motivational tool but I’m putting it on hold until I read some of his novels and short stories that I downloaded.

The best part of yesterday was purchasing a book that I waited for what seemed like a long time. It wasn’t available when I first went to buy it except if i was willing to pay $450 for it. My next step was to try to acquire it through interlibrary loan. The librarian got back to me through a post card with a disappointing replay of “no they were unable to find access to it.” Well, the reviews at were all 5 star reviews that praised the book. It sounded just like the kind of book that are among my favorite subjects. Yesterday, Sunday June 24th 2012, the book was being re-released in the US. After some anxious moments, I was finally able to download the book to my kindle. The Title and Author are: “The Coming of the Feminine Christ” and was written by Dr. Niamh Clune. If you look back into my archives I wrote up a review of her writing the books: “Orange Petals in a Storm” and “Every Child is Entitled to Innocence.” “Touching Angels” is the name of the post. For “The Coming of the Feminine Christ” in the US click on the title of the book. (there has been a temporary clinch 6.26.12 in the avaliability of this book. when it has been made available again i will issue the new link to & this message will be removed). These books and Niamh Clune’s music have helped me to keep everything as close to under control as is possible for me.

And today through July 8th, I have my favorite Tennis Tournament recording on my DVR daily, Wimbledon. My favorite tennis players won today: Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Kim Cjlisters. I was sorry to see Venus Williams go out in the first round but it was good to see her health allowed her to be back on the court. In the News Conference later the press tried to get her to feel bad about what happened today, but Venus kept herself positive. She was not about to let them bring her down. Good for her.

So my life, my creativity, my bipolar and my feelings of love and belonging keep me in wonderment all of the time. I never really know what is going to happen in the next moment. So, I just live in the moment and try to go with the flow.

Take a good, long look at this poster. It made me feel quite moved by the artist who designed it. It brought up all that I have written, after I thought my muse and my creativity had stalled out on me.

At the bottom I am going to post a video that was made with mystical sounds and with words from a section of the book “The Coming of the Feminine Christ.” It moved me beyond words. Using ear buds hooked into your computer made it a total surrounding experience.

The Angel In the Forrest Video v3
Excerpt from “The Coming of the Feminine Christ”

gratitude found through beauty and vision

gratitude found through beauty and vision
by jennifer kiley

definition of gratitude: a feeling of thankful appreciation for benefits received; thankfulness. appreciation, gratefulness, acknowledgment, thanks, praise, recognition, honor, grace.

i was guided to the video titled “gratitude” by following a feeling. a friend, who has given me support and healing through her gifts of generosity, caring, love and strength, led me to follow the path to this video. the video has the most beautiful images imaginable. included is a clip from a film the speaker is working on titlesd: “Moving Art” by Louie Schwartzberg, check for it at, which helps to truly understand what gratitude is. being grateful for today. it sends a signal to your center of understanding and gives you a strong sense of respect for all that is set before you in your life. it awakens a feeling of gratitude. there is much to be greatful for. watch this video. listen and see the message. be open to receive the gift of perception and comprehension. the artist who created the images and message you will receive contains within him a genius with the talent of creativity and perserverance plus patience, while beauty reveals its self to him. watch and you will see what i am trying to convey to you. below the video, i copied a mini-biography of this film maker who gave this presentation for TED. trust me you won’t want to miss this. thank you my friend who opened this door and thank you to the creator of the images on this video, Louie Schwartzberg.

here is a comment someone who watched this video left 5 days ago on youtube:

Thank you for reminding me…..tears of gratitude fill my eyes as I realize my heart has led me to this place, this video. I forget so often, getting caught up in unimportant happenings, to remember how blessed this life experience is…..

TEDxSF – Louie Schwartzberg – Gratitude

Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.

This piece includes his short film on Gratitude and Happiness. Brother David Steindl-Rast’s spoken words, Gary Malkin’s musical compositions and Louie’s cinematography make this a stunningly beautiful piece, reminding us of the precious gift of life, and the beauty all around us.

As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and “slice-of-life” photography – the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.

Louie was recognized as one of the top 70 Cinematographers for the On Film Kodak Salute Series. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Louie is credited by many with pioneering the contemporary stock footage industry by founding Energy Film Library, a global company with a network of 12 foreign offices, which was acquired by Getty Images in 1997. Motion picture clients of his cinematic artistry include Sex in the City, The Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Syriana, Crash, Men in Black and classics such as American Beauty, Koyaanisqatsi: (my comment: one of the best time lapse photography films i’ve ever seen) and E.T. among others.

Louie went on to found BlackLight Films, a creative production company specializing in producing original theatrical feature, large format films, HD and TV programming.

In 2004, BlackLight Films completed production of the theatrical feature film, America’s Heart &Soul, distributed theatrically by Walt Disney Pictures. In 2006, BlackLight Films completed a series of HD shorts, Louie Films, for the launch of Buena Vista Home Entertainment’s Blu-Ray DVD releases. In 2007, the company produced a 1-hour special, Chasing the Light, which aired nationally on PBS.

Past projects include the 35mm film Seasons of the Vine for Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park and a 26-half hour series, America!, for The Hallmark Channel.

Louie has won two Clio Awards for Best Environmental Broadcast Spot, an Emmy nomination for Best Cinematography for the Discovery Channel Special, Oceans of Air, and the Heartland Film Festival’s Truly Moving Picture Award for Walt Disney Pictures’ feature film release America’s Heart & Soul.

Louie completed production on a feature length nature documentary, Wings of Life, to be theatrically released worldwide, under Walt Disney Pictures’ new production banner, Disneynature. The film was released in France (March 2011) under the title Pollen and won the Roscar Award for Best Cinematography at the 2011 Wild Talk Africa Film Festival.

Louie spoke at the TED 2011 conference in Long Beach, CA and has been a regular presenter at the annual Bioneers Conference in San Francisco. Currently, Louie is in production with National Geographic to produce Hidden Worlds, a 3D Imax film.

bullies: the other predator

bullies: the other predator
by jennifer kiley

posted this poster a few posts back but was inspired to reblog from songofthesirens – the bipolar journey down the rabbit hole. i wanted to make it even more central. reblog if you agree with this.

it’s good to see this being spread around. it is so meaningful. the message is of vital importance. did you see the video that went viral and was all over the news and talk shows on june 21st 2012. the woman in her 60s who is a bus moniter was being bullied by students on the bus. they were verbally as well as physically bullying her. fortunately, one of the students on the bus used his cell phone to get it on record. he, also, wanted to submit it to the show tosh 2.0 to be broadcast. it made youtube instead. it was so disturbing and even more disturbing that no one stood up to these bullies to come to the woman’s/grandmother’s defense.

the students will be disciplined. the father of one of the students said in an interview that when he was talking about this to his child he cried. he couldn’t believe that his son would do such a horrible thing. he was very disturbed by the whole thing. it will open up a discussion among parents and their children. that is at least one of the positive results from all of this.

also, some people started up a collection to send the grandmother on a vacation. they thought they would receive enough to send her someplace nice, well, as of last night’s (wednesday) news braodcast people had sent in over $130,000 dollars. that’s how effected people were to seeing this barbaric behavior.

since i wrote the above paragraphs the amount of the donations exceeded over $500,000 dollars and there are 28 days to go to make a donation. also, the students have made a public apology. when at least one of the students watched the video, they said that they couldn’t believe that they could have done such a horrible thing. the grandmother who was bullied is doing okay. she is not going to press any charges. she is leaving it to the school to discipline the students. she has done several interviews. disney wants to invite her to be their guest. airlines are offering free airfare. the grandmother is taking it pretty well and is even saying that they really are not bad kids. watch the video for yourself if you haven’t already seen it. judge for yourself.

teens bullied grandmother bus moniter

if you have’t seen this footage, it is important to understand the kind of behavior that is being committed by the teenager of today. these teens are relentless in their bullying treatment of an adult. this is terrible and one incident of bullying. imagine being a gay teen having this kind of bullying harrassment occurring on a daily basis while in school or out of school or through the social media or through text messaging or any form of communication that you can think of. this is wrong on any level. there are too many teen suicides because of bullying. the students in this video may have apologized and are sorry and some are horrified to see their behavior. but the bullying doesn’t stop. the teen suicides continue to happen because their lives are made to feel like hell. the hopelessness of their feelings of being made to feel worthless. the pain feels like it will never stop. the bullying is endless and it never feels like it will ever stop.

how does this behavior of bullying ever seem acceptable? why is it acceptable to the bullies? don’t they realize how destructive their behavior is to the victim of their bullying? the words that bullies use. the physical abuse the victim must endure almost constantly. when you watch this video you get only a sampling of how persistant and continuous the bullying goes on.

it reminds me of the torture of the bull in a bull fighting ring. first the matador teases the bull with his red cape causing the bull to charge him. the matador wants to exhaust the bull and to make the bull angry so that he will charge him. but what does the matador have in store for the bull but pointed sticks to push into the bull’s body. this continues to the crowds cheering excitement. eventually, the sword comes out. it is time to finish off the bull. the bull must die after all the torture that he must endure first. this is fun for the crowd. thumbs down for the bull. he must be sacrificed to satisfy the mob mentality for blood.

it’s interesting that the word bully contains the letters for the word bull. the bull was just behaving like a bull. defending himself. he doesn’t know they want him to die. all along death is his fate. do bullies act the way they do so that the ultimate outcome will be achieved. that their victim will, after all the horrible tormenting, take their own life as a sacrifice to the bullies? it is afterall what they want symbolically, to be rid of the person who is different and makes them feel uncomfortable. they have this urge deep inside to torture their victims. why? what for? what compels them? have they no sensitivity to how their torture is making the other person feel inside?

is there a pleasure or sense of power or control bullies receive from such vile behavior? to see someone gradually deteriorate before their eyes. are they blind? can they not see cause and effect? are they not aware of the teen suicides? what do bullies think teen suicide is about? don’t they make the correlation between bullying and teen suicide?

are bullies sociopaths? do they need to be locked away from society? are we safe with them free to roam our schools? our playgrounds? cyberspace? what should be done to protect the innocent from bullies, the other predator?

defining language to conquer labels

defining language to conquer labels
by jennifer kiley

i’ve been having a debate on labels for a long time. don’t like them when they are derogatory. but when one uses them in writing are they still labels or are they words you use that people are familiar with and you are trying to reclaim their value and to redefine their core meaning in a positive way.?

i am bipolar or i have bipolar.

i am a lesbian or i am woman identified.

i am a writer or i am an author or i am both.

when does one change from being a writer to an author?

does it happen once you are published?

or are you always both because if you keep writing than you may have something that is published and writing that is in process. and you may never be published now, in your life time or ever. does that stop you from being identified as a writer? is the word writer a “label?” or is writer just a way of expressing part of who you are so that you and others can understand something that may be important to you. or it is just a way of identifying yourself or the way others identify themselves. if you write poetry, are you not a poet? do you think it is important that someone besides yourself knows that?

it is a driving force in our society to have at least some sort of identity or you might feel lost. if you have nothing to hold onto that is you, do you stop existing? is that why some people “lose their minds?” what exactly does it mean to “lose your mind?” it seems rather careless. that is something oscar wilde would say. i think i went through a phase in my late teens that somehow i was going to “lose my mind.” where i got that idea, i don’t remember. except that i was fascinated with psychology from the time i first discovered it. understanding the mind. when i would get stoned on pot, i would want to analyze the experience of getting high, i had and still do have a strong need to understand everything.

back to identities: when does one have the right to define their identity with words that give their life meaning and a way to define who they are? is it for themselves to place the word artist into thier verbal or written bio or must the outside world or culture give them the definition of their life’s existence? the acceptance of the world, is that what is needed to feel you really exist? when we are kids, many of us have a wish to be famous. is that about immortality? it doesn’t seem to make the really talented geniuses of the world terribly happy about fame. i think it’s more about leaving your mark, making a difference, helping to change the world in some way that improves it and that has a postive effect.

i have a confession. there is something that bothers me, i feel very wrong about people who become famous because they are famous for doing absolutely nothing. they just happen to be on a reality show. and i am not talking about shows that support talent. they are famous for living in front of a camera. what is that all about? the film “The Truman Show” showed how phony that really was. i don’t get why anyone watches these shows.

digressing is something i am quite good at. my next question is where does meaning come from afterall?

there are books written about probably everything that exists in the human universe. but then there is always a place for different interpretations of any thought or theory that exists or that hasn’t been hatched out yet.

is everything known already but just impossble for any human mind to perceive in an open consciousness? the buried unconscious or subliminal subconscious or vivid dreams that reveal symbols to the hidden part of the infinite universes. we just need to remember. maybe we all have temporary amnesia about all that has been revealed to us.

death is such a secret. why? what would be so wrong in letting us all in on the (i wanted to say “joke” but that would be rude) secret? are the athiests right? my feeling is no one really knows the truth, at least not the full truth. it’s been divided up and administered to various gate keepers or secret keepers. that way no one can tell the whole story. we each have to tell our own part of it.

is that what writers do?

is that what artists do?

is that what musicians do?

is that what poets do?

does everyone play a role in holding onto the secrets of the infinite?

now i am going to be facetious. do politicians have any clues to the meaning of life, death, the hereafter or were they sent down here to play chess with the lives of all living things? some i feel are sincere but most i am not sure that i trust their motives. what is their real purpose?

i once asked myself, more than once, does one need meaning and purpose to live out a contented or happy life?

my life is driven by the force, but once i was under the spell of the protestant ethic. work. work. work. it didn’t matter that you enjoyed it. what mattered is that you just did it. shut up and were satisfied. happiness didn’t matter.

when i speak of the force, star wars comes to mind, but it isn’t that force necessarily that i am referring to and yet it might be. i am talking about being connected to the energies of the multi-verse with it’s 11 dimensions. infinity upon infinity upon infinity and so on. we always think that we are the only planet with a life force of humans and other living things. how arrogant are we? this vastness of space that goes on forever. think about the possiility that there are other universes and there are other life forms who may or may not think about the philosophers’ questions of life and death and infinity. our brains cannot consciously perceive the infinite. we may try but our brains might explode if we actually succeeded.

so back to labels. i like to know who i am, to understand the inner workings of my being. i use words through writing and talking to express that meaning. to go beyond myself, i want to understand the basic meanings of life. love is important to me. caring for other creatures, human and animals are important to me. feeling excitement and exhilaration when something special effects my life or the lives of others in my world. my world may start with those i am close to personally but it extends to all people. in a symbolic way, i care that anyone is not loved, is suffering, is starving, have no shelter, are being harmed in any way. i don’t understand why there exists in the world so much hatred. i know why there is so much animosiy and hatred but why people want or do feel this way needs to be corrected and turned into peaceful coexistance. whether that will ever be possible, i cannot say. it isn’t about to happen in the near or far off future and i am an optimist.

now is it wrong or just part of using language when we give what we are writing about words that give the appearance of what some perceive as labels? i think we need to use whatever words are within our grasp to tell our stories. you can’t stop using the word bully because we don’t like what it stands for and means. when i use the word it is understood. so back to the beginning, it is when words are used in a derogatory manner that turn them into labels that are negative or bad. but when i am telling you the truth about someone being a bully, the word is being used to express meaningful communications.

this discussion has only just begun. words are important. if we didn’t have them it would make it extremely difficult to communicate. definitions are also important. that is what creates the understanding between people.

one last point: it is extremely important for people to reclaim words that have been distorted and used as slanderous and to humiliate. we need to instill the power back into the words that were usurped and to give them there true meaning and remove the stigma that ignorance has placed on them. the list is long and the reclamation is a gradual process. but we need to be brave and say the words out loud until we can shout them out until all the world can hear them.