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Beauty Connects Head and Heart

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That’s why schools have their own song; why atheists gaze in awe of the Sistine chapel ceiling; why important events are memorialized in monuments; why men give engagement rings to their beloved; why wives want to decorate the place where th family lives; why Coats of Arms and flags are specially designed to rally loyalty to a cause; etc., etc., etc.

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PS to my faithful followers: I apologize for neglecting you the last two weeks. Life has just gotten in the way again. But I’m back at home with the computer after two trips to visit family, so I promise to get back to you at least twice a week. And I must learn to use my new tablet for future trips. 

Versatile Blogger Award

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Photograph of Albert Einstein’s desk at Princeton April, 1955 by Ralph Morse 

Because Holly from The Holly Tree Tales kindly nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award, I get to talk about my self a little (Win #1) and then nominate other writers for this same award (Win #2).

Win #1: Here are all the tidbits you’ve always wanted to know about me, aka Twinkletoes.

  1. While most bloggers seem to like to write, I absolutely hate it. A blank piece of paper (or screen) makes my brain freeze and often causes a sudden  overwhelming compulsion to clean the shower grout with a Q-tip — again. The only reliable cure is to chain myself to the desk. The reason I blog is that I truly love to HAVE WRITTEN.  Once it’s done, I’m deliriously happy until it’s time to do it again.

  1. I constantly delude myself that I really am organized despite the slovenly piles of paper, books, letters, and notes that frequently park themselves on top of my desk. I keep explaining to all the Neatniks around that it’s really a novel form of horizontal filing, advanced well beyond the common vertical method. When that ploy fails, I fall back on a picture of Einstein’s desk, see above, as well as his words of comfort:

     “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are

    we to think of an empty desk?”  

       Just to keep my personal reputation intact, the rest of the house is

       straight and clean. My desk is the troublemaker.

  1. My worst addiction is a truly terrible one, apparently incurable. At one time, I had floor-to-ceiling bookcases, each full of books in my office, in my living room, in my den, and in my bedroom. (Don’t tell anyone, but I also had smaller ones in the upstairs bedrooms for the children and guests). At least once, I purged most of them by giving boxes of books to family, friends, and several car loads to the local library. At that time, I honestly believed that I could live with the precious few I had left. However, books still follow me home on many occasions, so the collection is growing again. Needless to say, my favorite haunt continues to be a good bookstore that also sells coffee.

  1. I’ve recently fallen in love with the Bulletproof Diet/way of life. Right now I don’t much care whether it’s exactly what the doctor ordered or not because following it is so much fun. What’s not to like about a plan that encourages you to drink coffee and eat good dark chocolate?

  1. I absolutely love classical music, probably because my mother played the piano well. As kids, my brother and I frequently  wheedled and cried until she would relent and play “In A Persian Market” by Ketelbey one more time on an ancient upright piano. Later, we were both marched to as many recitals and concerts as she could afford. And from middle school on, we were treated to seats in the nosebleed section every spring when the opera came to Dallas.

  1. Because I inherited many of my grandmother’s passions, I, too, am a political junkie. Since sixth grade I’ve avidly followed Presidential elections and events in the DC swamp as well as state politics. So it surprises no one that I also frequently appropriate her signature phrase, “Anyone with one eye and half sense would know better than to . . . .”  Unfortunately, I recently discovered that many of these defamed political decisions, at least since WWII, were not stupid, but selfish and corrupt instead.

  1. I first learned about the power of beauty to heal as a child when my father was killed in a plane crash. Music and “pretty rooms” offered comfort when everything else in my life turned upside down. Since then my goal has always been to create beauty everywhere possible, although I have neither musical nor artistic talent. Apparently my talent is to notice and appreciate the good, the true, and the beautiful, then point it out to others. Hence the current topic on my blog, One Eye and Half Sense, is to discuss beauty in its many forms.

Win #2  Next, you really should check out Holly’s blog: http://www.thehollytreetales.com. Her excellent writing covers many topics such as:  life, leadership, health, food, business, parenting, mindfulness, emotional intelligence, inspiration, poetry, gardens, the environment, farming, autobiography, inspiring people, and other topics she chooses to share with others.

And now, saving the best for last and accompanied by a stirring drumroll, I get to nominate other bloggers to become Award Winning Versatile Bloggers. Would each of you please post on your blog  seven things about yourself, then nominate 15, or so, other bloggers to do the same. This is your chance to enjoy a moment in the spotlight where others can see more about you and your achievements.

I choose the following:

Visible Spectrum – A journey through life at https://visiblespectrumblog.com

Wild Pretty Things! in Fashion, Beauty, Travel & Food http://www.wildprettythings.com

Frank Davis – Banging On about The Smoking Ban https://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/

LifeTrap: Motivational, Personality, Random   https://lifetrapblog.wordpress.com

Mabeautility: Passie your beauty, bloggen, lifestyle, dans en make-up https://mabeautility.wordpress.com

Rhythm in Life: Our Marriage, Poetry, Cancer, Brewed Thoughts, Lists, Shop https://rhythminlife.net

ALIRZ646: My Dream_My Goal  https://alirz646.wordpress.com/2017/11/29/expectations/

Season & Serve: A Food Blog for All Seasons   https://seasonandserveblog.com

Searching for Sleep: Telling My Story   https://taylorfinn.wordpress.com

Of Snailmail, Books, & Vanities: Creating home and happiness in a foreign country https://ofsnailmailbooksandvanities.wordpress.com

First Class Act: Bringing Classy Back   https://firstclassact.wordpress.com

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 by Kaye Fairweather

Beauty, Music, and Healing

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Illustration by Jon Lieff from Music Training and Neuroplasticity

I remember a young mother who was concerned about her eight year old so shy that she wanted to stay home most of the time. The mother tried various ruses to get her to play with friends away from home and to reach out to other children, but most of her attempts were less than successful.

She eventually enrolled the child in a music class and left her there alone at the first meeting, then crossed her fingers and hoped for the best. After class, she was amazed to see the exuberant joy on her reclusive one’s face as the little girl began to sing her own name and a welcoming greeting to show off her new skills.

The teacher had eased the tension for all of the students that morning by teaching each of them to sing an introduction that included their name and a welcome to their classmates. Although many adults quake in fear at the thought of singing a solo in public, somehow singing reduced all fears for each of the students.

Singing is also used as therapy with stroke victims or others suffering from some type of brain impairment. Their ability to speak is often diminished. However, singing uses a different part of the brain than speaking does, so singing ofter helps repair the damage. I understand that Gabby Giffords was treated with a form of music therapy when recovering from the assassination attempt.

Music also has the power to help people with dementia remember aspects of their lives that had been long forgotten. I remember reading about a patient who appeared to be totally unable to understand or communicate. But one time  when walking near a piano, he sat down and played song after song after song that he had played as a young adult with a band. Eventually he showed additional signs of recovering both speech and memory.

When reading about the therapeutic uses of music, many people wonder what it can do for the normal person (whatever that is). I know a teaching consultant who encourages all parents to insist that their children participate in music lessons. According to Andrew Pudewa at IEW, it’s not so much an effort to discover the next virtuoso as it is to help the child’s brain develop more fully.

If you’re interested,  The Great Courses, an adult learning resource, recently released Aniruddh Patel’s “Music and the Brain” course. This series of 18 half-hour lectures covers fundamental ideas of music theory, neuroanatomy, and cognitive science and looks at the diverse range of experiments, discoveries, and debates in this fast-changing field. Access the program online at thegreatcourses.com. Also, there are several books and numerous articles available on similar topics.

Copyright 2017 by Kaye Fairweather

Heroism Is Always Beautiful

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The two heroes of Sutherland, Texas

The pictures above hopefully will help erase the other less comforting images from last Sunday in Sutherland, Texas. Wearing the hat is Johnnie Langendorff, 27, who drove his pickup in the chase after the vindictive gunman left the church in an attempt to escape the immediate area. To the right is Stephen Willeford, 55, who had grabbed his rifle and run out of his house barefooted when he heard the sound of gun shots coming from the church.

He confronted the shooter, Devin Patrick Kelley, leaving the church and managed to wound him as the  young man ran to his car. Kelley immediately raced away, but the older man, seeing Langendorff sitting in his pickup nearby, asked for help and they started the ninety-five mph chase down a local Farm to Market road.

Eventually Kelley lost control of his car and ended up in a ditch, then shot himself. Willeford and Langendorff guarded by waiting nearby until the Texas State Patrol arrived.

Pictures of the two heroes were taken the next evening at a local vigil for the victims of the tragedy at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

Although praised by both strangers and neighbors as a hero, Willeford insists that he doesn’t think of himself like that. “‘I’m no hero. All I want to stress today, is the people at that church, they’re friends of mine, they’re family, and every time I heard a shot I knew that probably represented a life.”

Even as he grabbed his gun and a pocketful of ammunition, he admits he was scared to death. “I was scared for me and I was scared for every one of them, and I was scared for my own family that lived less than a block away. I think my God, my Lord, protected me and gave me the skills to do what needed to be done. “
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If you are interested in reading more about these two men, both Conservative Tree House and Canada Free Press have articles today.

 

 

 

 

Beauty Equals Healing

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Chained Angel by Carrie Mixon

If we did not instinctively understand that experiencing something that is beautiful brings healing, we would not appreciate the quote by Alain de Botton that I posted two days ago.

It is perhaps when our lives are at their most problematic that 

we are likely to be most receptive to beautiful things.” 

But our everyday lives are filled with seeking beauty to comfort ourselves or others. When a friend is ill, we bring him flowers. After burials, at least in the South, we cover the grave with flowers. When a child cries, we automatically  sing to him.

When angry, we turn to the music of Grieg’s “In The Hall of The Mountain King” if we’d secretly like to sneak up on our enemy, or Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” if we’re ready for war. Either piece played at full volume alleviates our internal stress. Although sometimes we try to express our anger in the most potent way possible by using words ordinarily forbidden; the trouble is that profanity seldom helps as much as beauty.

A fairly recent cultural adaptation of using beauty to heal is the popularity of adult coloring books. Avid users insist that the quiet time involved in creating pleasing results helps to relieve anxiety – and avoid use of those forbidden words.

On the other hand, if the cause of our pain is unrequited love, both sexes often resort to the beautiful power of poetry. Yes, even the boys who sat in the back of literature class making jokes and rolling their eyes often find themselves jotting down rhyming words and muttering their newly minted lines that are intended to catch the fancy of the object of their affection. I know this because some of these male students  will even approach an English teacher asking for editorial assistance.

Sometimes we reach for beauty when fearful. The picture above, “Chained Angel,” was painted by a daughter whose mother just discovered she had breast cancer. The girl’s family had recently been torn asunder by a bitter divorce. She had felt abandoned by her father, and now even before those wounds had begun to heal, she faced losing her mother too. As the surgeries and treatment began, she painted because there were no words.

She felt chained to circumstances that she did not create and had no control over. Even the lesser dreams she recently had dared to believe in now seemed shattered.  Yet, while creating beauty with her own mind and her own hands, as she worked to illustrate the  struggle out of darkness into the light, she managed to overcome that double setback.*

The beauty that she created became part of the healing process for  the whole family. Indeed, it speaks to and for all of us who have felt chained by forces outside of ourselves and over which we have little or no control. Yet circumstances force us to  live with new realities. We have to “learn to make lemonade out of the lemons” brought into our lives. We must become angelic despite the chains because to do otherwise is untenable.

Copyright 2017 by Kaye Fairweather

*The good news is that her mother did recover and that her father did give her away at her wedding.