Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Canary in the Coal Mine

I’m reblogging this because May is MCS Awareness Month. If you don’t know what MCS is, I highly recommend that you read this article because it’s something that everyone needs to be aware of. I follow the blogs of several people who lead very challenging lives because of MCS and it’s something that can affect us all to varying degrees. The sad thing is, it’s totally preventable.

Life in the City with a Future

This was a nickname given to me at work. If you haven’t heard the phrase, it relates to the fact that coal miners would bring canaries into the mine with them. The small bird would show signs of physical distress if toxic gases where present well before the miners would be able to detect the gases presence. And OBVIOUSLY the miners would evacuate the area.

How did I acquire this nickname? It is because I have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivities). It is just as it sounds – many different chemicals make me sick. I first noticed my symptoms almost 30 years ago: mostly headaches when I was near someone wearing perfume or cologne. I stopped wearing scented products and asked family and friends to tone it down. For about 25 years my life was fairly normal. But about 5 years ago a few things happened to kick my sensitivities into…

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Blogging Break

I’m taking a break from my blog for a while.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be reading my favourite blogs, I just won’t be posting anything.  I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures.

gpscan1 gpscan2These are plots that I used to test the first computer program I ever got paid to work on.  It was in the late eighties, before the Internet took over the planet.  How things have changed!  😀

Jungian Circle

I used a circular framework for my last couple of doodles (see here and here).  I call them doodles because I don’t do any planning, I just draw the next thing that comes into my head or fingers.  However, I find that I can’t do entirely spontaneous pieces – I need a framework of some sort.  A few years ago I read Jung’s autobiography.  He liked to get his patients to produce mandalas – circular pieces of art that drew out their subconscious thoughts.  When I mentioned my need for a framework for doodling, my friend Sally speculated that Jung also found that the circular framework made it easier for his patients to access the creative flow.

Just after I finished reading Jung’s book I had a dream that consisted only of a circular design that evolved in front of me.  The dream happened, serendipitously,  just before I started taking an art class that Sally was running.  She provided us with circular canvasses and circular pieces of sheet copper to stick in the centre.  I decided to use the design from my dream (slightly adapted for the materials, and embellished); the one and only time that I have literally “dreamed up” a piece.  Here is the result (sorry for the poor quality photo):

IMG_1224The elements in the design represent various aspects of the psyche and the methods I’m using to bring them into balance.  Jung theorized that the psyche is composed of three components – the ego, the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious.  He also proposed that within the collective unconscious were masculine and feminine aspects that gave men a feminine component to their psyche, and vice versa.  I have to admit that this is as far as my knowledge of Jungian philosophy goes.  In my design, I split all three of Jung’s components of the psyche into masculine and feminine parts.  These are represented in the outer circle of the design as astronomical symbols for the sun, moon, Mars and Venus, and yin and yang symbols.  The copper part represents the desired unity of the psyche with the astronomical symbol for the Earth – a cross within a circle.  The hearts represent the Buddhist practice of metta or loving-kindness, and the eight lotus petals represent the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path. 

I don’t think it would qualify as a great work of art but it’s a personal piece, packed with meaning.

Spring Has Definitely Sprung

In my Irish garden, the snowdrops, dafodills and fritillaries have gone over. In the last few days the rest of the plants have put on a huge amount of growth. I took all of these photos yesterday evening.

Flower Circle

Flower Circle

Flower Circle