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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Animal Portraits!

Do you have a favorite kitty or canine? Send me a picture and I'll apply my artistry... It's not expensive - Only $100. per drawing, unframed. You'll have a lasting keepsake of your charming, loyal or playful animal companion.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Language for Perception

How do you perceive? Well, you just do it. That's an inadequate answer, so I decided to do some thinking about this.

Perhaps the way I teach people to observe themselves would be relevant to making up a language for perception. It's my business to be teaching people to perceive what they take for granted by teaching Alexander Technique. I use the often ignored kinesthetic sense as a medium, rather than the visual or auditory...but maybe we can cross-pollinate with it. Maybe we can use the same process and apply it to perception in general - say, the visual sense.

In Alexander Technique classes, students walk across the room and try to describe how they are walking. They can't, usually. So I introduce them to categories to form some questions for themselves. These categories function like thinking tools to organize and focus their point of view.

The categories are:
  • timing
  • sequence
  • quality
  • direction
  • relationship

Once they have these categories, their ability to describe what they're experiencing for themselves gets unleashed. Their new ability to observe and describe what is happening works so well they can later design, on the fly, inventive ways for getting past some pretty serious self-imposed limitations.

So perhaps we could do this with perception in general. We could make general categories to help people ask themselves specific questions. Answering these questions would give us new perceptual information out of what we usually take for granted.

We're talking about the raw perception, not the content. So - how we direct attention to say, the visual sense with these categories? If I were to apply the same categories I just mentioned, I'd get something like:

  • Quality: attention can be focused, like a searchlight, or diffuse like an overhead light.
  • Timing: depending on when you pay attention, different things will be happening. A frozen image will show you stuff that you would miss in a movie, for instance. Bits and pieces do not have the same effect as the whole. Timing will influence the figure-ground relationship of what you can see. If you're moving fast while traveling, you'll have a whole different experience compared to moving slowly.
  • Sequence: chains of paying attention to one thing after another bring different results; and mixing up sequences actually has an associative emotional effect. It's easy to mistake sequence for cause and effect.
  • Direction: Where we are oriented contributes to Point Of View. POV and motive about what you want others to do, react and agree with you will color how you describe what you see.

Anyone else want to try one or more of these four categories about perception that I made up and apply them to help generate a new language for perception?

This is using your Thinking Skill bag of tricks!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Love and Respect - Mixed

Respect can be so often offered as a deal or a trade - but I guess that can also be true about love. Many people attempt to negotiate tacitly while professing to be offering "love."

Marriage, for many people, just allows everything about the relationship be implied rather than specified. Have always regarded marriage as a lazy person's way to say, "Hey, rather than negotiate and really make agreements specifically that we're going to keep with each other, let's get married and that umbrella will take care of the whole conversation about our agreements." Once the situation of defining what, exactly, the agreements really are, things can fall apart...because people who didn't know how to talk to each other tried to use marriage for the substitute of not having a clue how to make agreements.

In a sense, many marriages are all about expectations about how the husband or wife role is "supposed" to go, as if it's a slot or a job. If the couple's cultural assumptions match, then all is well. Most often in this era, these cultural assumptions do not match. In addition, cultural assumptions about love often do not match people's own needs because the times have changed.

Professing love, many people are really only making a deal without knowing what they are actually getting or giving. Of course, people can get disappointed if the deal is not suitable - but I'm not sure if it's actually love that they're getting or giving. There's really nothing wrong with making a deal. In a sense, a deal is an agreement.

It seems to me that respect contains quite a bit more sanity than the passions of love. so many people destroy their relationship by allowing the small indulgences to determine the course of how they "please" each other. Rather than showing the petty, dark and small side and allowing it to "run" the relationship, respect allows the positive, constructive side to be the driver.

Passion - looking at the root of that word is really interesting in the origin and history of the word "passion." Rather than an intense striving sort of meaning the word has come to mean in today's culture, it turns out that "passion" is related more to "pass." It is a surrendered state, an allowing sort of action. The word passion comes from meaning of "passive."

So it's not just that there is love or not love, but what sort of love there is, what sort of respect there is. Quality is everything in love - and in respect!

Respect can be had out of fear as well as love. Of course, there is a twisted sort of love that is also mixed in with fear or power to wound which would be a variation of "respect" in parent/child love when control or authority is an issue.

Many emotions may be mixed in with each other. As long as it is partly "love," does that mean all of it still Love? I think not.

For instance, love mixed with blame or a sense of cause and effect or consequence gives an impression that the other person is causing love to occur. One of the interesting characteristics of love is that it is something like a fountain of one's own.

It is common to be notoriously inarticulate when it comes to misunderstanding or mis-naming one's own emotions. Many people use the more general term "love" when a better word for what they are doing might be "care," "admiration," "compassion," "desire," "attraction," "infatuation," "absorption," "attention," "adulation," etc.

This is true for other emotions as well. Pride without fear is a desire for excellence. - (a quote from a friend of mine named Chuck Lewis, author of "You're Gonna Love It!" - a book on selling for artists.) Pride mixed with fear -  it is one of the seven deadly sins of self-involved arrogance. A big difference exists between the two.

If that's true, why is anything with a little love mixed into it called the real thing?

Does this idea that emotions can be mixtures make you curious the next time you think you think that you know what emotion you're feeling?
Tell me about it...