Entries in SoulMindMatter (38)

Sunday
Oct032010

An amazing seventeenth-century woman whose boldness and vision would still be exceptional today

The Dolder Grand

Health Care &
Rejuvenation

 

PD Dr. Rainer Arendt
Internal Medicine & Cardiology FMH
Prevention & Regenerative Medicine 

Timeea-Laura Burci
Lifestyle Coach & Jin Shin Jyutsu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

Maria Sibylla Merian was born just thirteen years after Galileo was prosecuted for proclaiming the earth orbited the sun. But in 1699, more than a century before Darwin or Humboldt, she sailed from Amsterdam to South America on an expedition to study metamorphosis. It was an unheard-of journey for any naturalist at that time, much less for a woman, and she undertook it at the age of fifty-two - with only her daughter for company.

For two years she stalked the tropical wilderness looking for the caterpillars that were her passion and sketching her discoveries on scraps of parchment. Her careful observation of iridescent blue morpho butterflies and giant flying cockroaches made her one of the first to describe metamorphosis - at a time when theories of spontaneous generation still held sway (old snow gave birth to flies; raindrops yielded frogs) - and laid the groundwork for modern-day biological science, particularly ecology.

But her accomplishments were mostly dismissed and then forgotten in the nineteenth century when scientists feared that they would be discredited if they built on the work of women or "amateurs".

Kim Todd has restored Merian to her rightful place in the beautifully written and illustrated "Chrysalis". Taking us from golden-age Amsterdam to the sweltering rain forests of Surinam to the modern laboratories where Merian's insights fuel a new branch of biology.

Kim Todd brings to life an amazing seventeenth-century woman whose boldness and vision would still be exceptional today.

Kim Todd
Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis
Orlando, FL 2007 (Harcourt Inc.)

 

Friday
Sep172010

"Know thyself"

Before being admitted to the famous oracle at Delphi, located on the slopes of Mount Parnassus in central Greece, those seeking advice had ample opportunity to ponder the weighty γνῶθι σεαυτόν, "Know thyself", which was inscribed in the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo.

Going deeper and expanding along this line, you may find more unsettling sayings in the Nag Hammadi Library, Book of Thomas: "Those who know all, but are lacking in themselves, are utterly lacking," Saying (67), and “If you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty...”, Saying (3e).

Pablo Picasso. Girl Before a Mirror. 1932.

To find out who we are it may be helpful to learn what we want, but even this is not so easy…,“It isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement”, Abraham Maslow.

Sometimes, even overwhelming success may leave us in a state where we don’t know what may still be worth pursuing. We will undertake now and in future instalments to demonstrate a few practical exercises for finding out what we want, to observe ourselves through the eagles’ eyes, thus starting to learn about who we are.

In 1976, Linda Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon introduced a novel self-guided intuitive writing practice into school and university psychology, as well as into coaching. “Proprioceptive Writing” was meant to bring oneself into focus and to clarify one’s life (see Lind Trichter Metcalf and Tobin Simon, Writing the Mind Alive, 2002, The Random House Publishing Group). It is not formal, nor is it automatic writing. Rather, it is a somewhat ritualized, regular (once a week or daily if you wish) writing process in a quiet environment, employing several aids to deepen attention and free the voice within, such as Baroque music for those with a Western listening tradition, a candle, a stack of paper, a pen. This writing practice reportedly helps generate authentic insight and joy. You can use it to awaken your senses and emotions, to dissolve inhibitions, unburden your mind and resolve emotional conflicts, to connect more deeply with your spiritual self gaining self-trust, strength and clarity.

When starting out, get comfortable with being alone, then free yourself from censorship – internal or external -, from all expectations of performance, remove the telephone from the room, allow yourself to be off the hook for the next 30 min. Inward is more than a gesture, it is a place where you feel relaxed, but also braced, self-contained. Create your own ritual, choose your music, preferably the slower movements, light a candle, get a stack of unlined paper in front of you. Using unlined paper for your Write is a gesture of freedom. Now you are about to write, this time is for yourself. Close your eyes and cup your hands gently over your ears. Take several long breaths, then begin to write what you hear, slow down and turn up your hearing, your thoughts are spoken words. You may be worrying, lamenting, complaining, scheming, boasting, defending, or accusing yourself or someone else, or simply noticing nothing – you can give voice to it all.
Listen to what you write, hearing yourself, without judging or censoring.
Be ready to ask the simple question, “What do I mean by ___________? Into the blank goes whatever word, phrase, or expression catches your attention. Repeat the question – mantralike. Always write out the question, and write what you hear in response to the question.

At the end of twenty-five minutes or so, the music should stop. Finish writing out your last thought. You’ll have many more opportunities to return to those thoughts during many more Writes. Before blowing out the candle, write down the following four questions and answer them in writing. 1) What thoughts were heard but not written? 2) How or what do I feel now? 3) What larger story is the Write part of? 4) What ideas came up for future Writes?
Now blow out the candle, staple your papers together, date it at the top.
Read your Write aloud so that you can hear your thoughts again in your own voice. Resist the temptation to revise your Write while reading it through.

You are welcome to bring your Writes to Zurich with your next visit, we will figure it out together and “shed some light on your destiny”….

Friday
Sep172010

“Marriage should be enjoyable”

The Dolder Grand

Health Care &
Rejuvenation

 

PD Dr. Rainer Arendt
Internal Medicine & Cardiology FMH
Prevention & Regenerative Medicine 

Timeea-Laura Burci
Lifestyle Coach & Jin Shin Jyutsu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Orthodox wedding 1962. Photographed by Elliott Erwitt.

 

The famous American psychiatrist Milton Erickson, born 1901 in Aurum, Nevada, died 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona. Most of his life he suffered from polio contracted at age 17 that confined him severely paralysed to bed for more than a year and made him dependent on a wheelchair later in life, as he never recovered completely. He became the father of a large family with four sons, four daughters and - largely self-taught - revolutionized psychiatry and psychotherapy by re-inventing a new form of brief therapy utilising ancient trance techniques from the dawn of mankind.

Opposite to Sigmund Freud he approached the unconscious mind as creative and solution-generating.

A man from Philadelphia, whose headaches Erickson had cured, sent his aunt and uncle to see him. He told Erickson, “Those two have quarrelled every day of their married life. They have been married over thirty years.”


Federigo da Montefeltro and his spouse Battista Sforza, painted by Piero della Francesca in 1470. Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi.

The couple came out to see Erickson. Erickson said, “Haven’t you had enough of quarrelling? Why not start enjoying life?” And they had a very pleasant life.
Erickson when asked what he did to the couple answered, “I just used a waking trance which developed into a light trance. I asked them, ‘But why not enjoy life? You’ve had over thirty years of quarrelling. I think marriage should be enjoyable. And you haven’t too many years left to enjoy marriage.’ And they were appreciative.

Pablo Picasso and Jacqueline Roque in 1961. Pictorial Parade, New York.

“Too many therapists think they must direct the change and help the patient to change. Therapy is like starting a snowball rolling at the top of a mountain. As it rolls down, it grows larger and larger and becomes an avalanche that fits the shape of the mountain.”

If you encounter problems in your married life, bring your spouse to Zurich, we will put both of you in a light trance and have you re-invent your marriage…..
And you may especially enjoy this stepping out of tiring and sick routines, leaving all the quarrelling behind!

Further study:
Find a great many of Erickson’s anecdotal and autobiographical teaching stories collected by Sidney Rosen in the book My Voice Will Go With You. New York 1982 (W. W. Norton & Company. Inc.).

Page 1 ... 4 5 6 7 8