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Going Forward (with clarity)   Sobriety/Recovery Journals

Started 2/16/14 by Elsie (Elsiek); 48970 views.
MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

3/8/20

Hi Brian

Thanks for that. Of course,  what feels balanced and reassuring enough as a general life perspective is lost when clinical depression kicks in and that is  the hard part. What sobriety does (IMO) is to ensure we are actually present in our own life and that means we can respond to opportunities and create a more positive and different narrative together with those who know us sober.

How is the outdoor kinetic sculpting coming along?

xMary

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/8/20

The sculptures are going fine - we've had a fairly mild winter so I have been able to work outside more than usual.  And I've also been doing some smaller indoor sculptures when I can't work outside.  There are pictures of Instagram.

Last fall we went to the Snite Museum in South Bend, Indiana which has a large number of is outdoor and indoor pieces.  It was wonderful to actually see his worke in person.  It gave me lots of inspiration.

An interesting development, I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but I've developed an interest in ballet.  It started with some things I saw on Faecebook - I kept watching them and then got more and more.  And in the last 4 months I've gone to three performances, two mainly Balanchine and Ashton and on of Martha Graham.  We saw a Balanchine version of Firebird with the original Chagall costumes that was just amazing.  I'm not sure I know what to make of ballet, but there do see to be some simularities to kinetic sculptures - I just watch the movement.  I'm enjoying something new.

And none of this would have happened if I had still been drinking - stopping does give you your life back.

Brian

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/9/20

Hi Brian

There's something so nice about suddenly developing an unexpected interest! I have had an interest in dance somewhat foisted upon with with my daughter being in performing arts training. I tend to favour the dance she feels comfortable with- jazz, contemporary, commercial, basically because I'm her mum. But in her shows the ballet is so often the most entrancing. It's wonderful seeing the boys at her college especially- probably because you see so few boys and hardly any talented ones at your average local dance school but her college has a particular strength in recruiting and training boys.  When I was a child and danced my favourite was tap and I adored all those Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. Ballet is however the basic discipline from which it all stems. But pointe work is what sorts out the women from the girls and it's a pretty strange and tortuous aspect of it when you give it any thought. The lines and shapes that can be created with ballet on pointe are really striking, elegant and beautiful, but I can't get over how terrible it is for the dancer's feet! My daughter has come to terms with having 'the wrong feet' and really the wrong legs and hips for ballet, which given she is perfectly well-made and healthy is quite odd in itself!  She has a low to average instep, tapered toes (which mean that pointe shoes never fit and essentially she has to balance on just her big toe), straight legs, and forward facing hips with not much natural turn out.  The physio who works at her college has said that she must never work in fifth position as it forces her legs and hips out too far, and the tendency to take the strain in the feet is what has probably caused her to get plantar fasciitis in the past. I certainly hadn't realised it was this technical! And clearly however hard she tries she will never be a ballerina ( luckily she doesn't want to, but they have to do ballet whatever their interest) I suspect even the most naturally adept ballet dancers really suffer for their art. 

Your kinetic sculptures sound really interesting- I take it that suggested movement is part of the principle? I watched a programme about the history of the moving image in the 20th century and the presenter explained about a sculpture of a very odd looking human being that I really wouldn't have understood without his explanation of the way it had been conceived and shaped to suggest forward movement, referencing certain key muscles.  Amazing that something static can achieve that. 

Thank you for a nice bit of thinking on a Monday morning- it's taken my mind off all the practical stuff I have to do today!

Elsie x

MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

3/9/20

Couldn't agree more, Brian -- and not just that I got my diminished and cramped old life back but that  so many new doors opened. When you're absent from daily life, you don't notice the shrinkage and lack of pleasure, when you get sober it seems to expand and fill out. I went on doing many of the same things, writing, reading, gardening, cooking but with a renewed and  more lively interest.

Ballet sounds an exciting interest -- I watch various kinds of performance art from time to time and when I was working on John Cage, I watched Merce Cunningham and that opened up so  many aspects of movement, gesture, the unspoken for me. I spent time  with videos of Jonah Bokaer who was influenced by Merce Cunningham and some of his performances reminded me of your kinetic moving sculptures. Tell me what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Douu44HtLWc

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/jonah-bokaer/

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/9/20

Elsie,

l sent you a private message so you can see me on Instagram.  Most of my sculptures are copies of George Rickey's work.  His idea was that the sculpture itself should not be too interesting, all you want to see is the movement, and the movement should be subtle and unexpected - these aren't  whirlygigs.  Ideally you want to see them in a garden - big garden - on a day with light but gusty winds.  You sit on a bench as watch and for a while nothing happens.  Then there is a little wind and the sculpture moves, but not how you expected it too.  They are really wonderful.  You can find lots of them on YouTube, but they are really wonderful to see in person.

One of the amazing things about ballet to me is just how athletic it is - and as with most high level sports, you just have to have the right body to do well.  When I was in High School we had a gym teacher who was the basketball coach.  He was a fantastic player and none of the best players on our team could do anything against him.  I remember, he would walk toward you dribbling the ball - his head would not be moving from side to side at all, but his hips would be moving as though on swivels - you has no idea what way he was going to go - and all of a sudden he would just go around you and you would be left wondering what happened.  But he was only about 5 feel 6 inches tall, so though he played in college, he had no chance in the pros.  As anyone who has played sports knows, life is not fair.  But he was a wonderful coach and seemed quite happy teaching people to play basketball.  

Brian

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/9/20

I am so new and uninformed about this that when I went to the Martha Graham performance I was amazed to see that Balanchine was influenced by her, not the other way around - it's just amazing how innovative she was.

I like the mixed media visuals in the first Bokaer piece, I'll have to look for more of his work.  Thanks

My education on Face  Book has been by following Ballet del Occidente.   I stumbled across them about 6 months ago and have been following them ever since.

Brian

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/12/20

Thank you Brian- I haven't ever 'done' Instagram so this is clearly the heads-up to start! I'm doing my best to ration my Facebook time as I felt it was starting to impact on me negatively.  I found I was voicing opinions about things that didn't significantly concern me, plus I was getting into heated discussions that left me feeling very depleted. It's true that most people fail to even moderate their thoughts or views in response to others, and never ever change their minds. I was trying to give proper and fair thought to what seemed to be proper and fair comments but it seems that finding a middle position between extreme views is not at all how these online discussions go. Outrage is the order of the day. And sometimes people get really offensive when they clearly haven't even read the intervening discussion.  It becomes an almighty effort to respond politely, so I just stop looking at notifications. But really, what did I expect?  Enough is enough and I'm not going to comment on news articles any more.  a friend of mine once said that I seem to use Facebook as a creative outlet. I think I need to find a better outlet!

I too could do with losing 8lbs...I thought reducing my antidepressants would help as they are known to cause weight gain, but quite the opposite, since I sank into a depression and kept having long afternoon naps and eating industrial quantities of cake and chocolate. Back up to a higher dose and I feel so so so much more lively, positive, and able to concentrate on things other than sugar. 

E x

MaryLouise3

From: MaryLouise3

3/12/20

Hi E

I don't attempt any discussion on FB, especially not political or to do with addiction or recovery. Even the smartest among my friends tend to react according to mood and  I'm often taken aback by the superficiality and lack of thought. So I use FB as a kind of Instagram with plant pics and the odd community garden or book review link. Such a pity because I like conversations online but social media is hard to moderate and taking posts down is depressing.

I'm also NOT posting anything at all on coronavirus because somebody will dash up and start with scare tactics or rumours or incomprehensible charts or why some obscure herbal extract is the cure. It isn't rocket science to find good sources and accurate updates, medical science findings so far, but why do that if you can link to a lurid apocalyptic article in farfetched.com?

On Instagram I link to kinetic sculptors like Brian (!), eyecandy with plants and garden design, conceptual art, avant-garde architecture and poets, some painters, some travel pics, some foodie stuff. Selfies give me the creeps. I would post more myself -- I have so much beauty around here in the mountains, but my Samsung Tablet is a as bad a photographer as I am.

Stay safe my friend

xMary

Brian (BrianB125)

From: Brian (BrianB125)

3/12/20

Mary

That's pretty much how I use Facebook and Instagram.  What I like about Instagram is that it is -so far - just pictures  - with very little commentary.  It's a bit embarrassing how many of what I see is food related, but I do like to cook.  Facebook is great for keeping in touch with people who I don't see in person often, but it is amazing the lack of self moderation people have in posting.

Brian

Elsie (Elsiek)

From: Elsie (Elsiek)

3/13/20

The interaction I have with friends is pretty innocuous and light-hearted, it's when I comment on news articles that the trouble starts! Sometimes i get several hundred 'likes' which I admit I find gratifying, but people like being awkward or oppositional, 'people' at times including me! I suppose I don't mind clever or tricksy responses, it's when people get personal that I find it difficult to cope with. A discussion about appropriate clothing for serious work ended (for me, it might have carried on without me!) when someone said they felt sorry for me because I hated the female body. 'I wish you better.' OMG.  So patronising and I don't think I had written anything that suggested such a strong emotion.  My initial post had very clearly been somewhat light-hearted, saying that Boris Johnson wouldn't look out of place on a park bench and that the female MP with her off the shoulder look would not look out of place pulling pints.  Irony and humour so often get missed in these discussions.  I wrote that I would go and do a wedding in my gardening clothes and report back on how it went! Hopefully people realised I was being funny and illustrating my point. But the problem is people don't know you, and some people probably don't pick up the nuances of what you write. Some do of course. 

I'm reading 'Emma' at the moment- an Austen novel I hadn't read before. The film was so funny I was inspired to get it on my kindle. I went with my daughter, she loved the film, and I ordered her a nice edition to read. I think I suspect it will be pretty indecipherable for her though, reading it myself. I had forgotten how long and tortuous Austen's sentences can often be, and how easy it is to miss her irony and humour just in the effort to get to grips with her sentence structure.  I found myself wanting to sit my daughter down and 'teach' it, A-level style, and also have to congratulate myself on having successfully got many A-level students to make anything at all of 'Mansfield Park.'  I'm really not doing down my daughter's intelligence, but there's no doubt that the film just extracted the compelling and funny bits. And I'm amused that Mr Knightley is portrayed in the film as being much younger than he is in the novel.  Him being 16 years older than 21 year old Emma is not at all right for our modern sensibilities, is it?  Things have even changed massively from when I was in my teens- or even twenties.  A few years ago we were staying in a holiday cottage and there was a dvd of 'The Commitments,' a film I absolutely loved when it came out. My daughter watched it with her friend who was with us, and they just couldn't understand the Irish accents at all. They practically needed subtitles. When it came out I didn't have the least difficulty understanding, and I'm fairly sure the film would not have been so successful had that been the common response. But you know, I could myself see how much less tuned in to strong Irish accents I am now myself.  Times change, the ubiquity of the media, especially the extensive exposure of both British and Irish English Speakers to American media in particular has almost certainly made us all more similar, has toned down/ taken many edges off regional accents. 

I am grateful to have a chance at understanding Austen. I studied 'Pride and Prejudice' at O Level.  Having been an English teacher and observing my children growing up, I really wouldn't fancy my chances at teaching such a text to even the brightest group of 14-16 year olds these days. 'Emma' was published over 200 years ago; it was only just over 160 years ago when I studied 'Pride and Prejudice', and those 40 years make a very big difference. Endless TV, videos, dvds, now streaming and downloading.  I'm just happy that my children both show signs of being regular readers.  But I'm a firm believer in doing what Doris Lessing said- reading your way from sympathy to sympathy, putting down what does not interest you and only picking up what does.  What does nothing for you at 20 may open doors for you at 40, and vice versa.  Ironically I read that in the preface after ploughing through 'The Golden Notebook.' It wasn't that much of a chore to read, but it was definitely a book I felt I 'ought' to read.  I remember once standing in Borders Books before it closed, a massive store, and thinking to myself, I'm never going to read everything, so I may as well read what I fancy.  I baulk at the moral tone that some literate people take about what is worth reading. Someone looked very disapproving when I said my son was reading the Game of Thrones series of novels. And hooray to Marian Keyes on Radio 4 the other day standing up for 'Chick Lit' which she quite rightly says is a dismissive name for fiction by women, for women.  The presenter said 'yes, but they have handbags and lipsticks on the covers, they don't look serious.' Keyes responded 'what's wrong with handbags?' She's right, but I am ashamed to say that I have definitely judged books by their covers in exactly this way, yet I claim to be open minded.  I haven't read any Marian Keyes, but she's now on my list! I know I have sometimes become aerated at the idea of 'gender neutral' clothing, books and toys, because essentially it seems to me that 'gender neutral' often means the blander end of masculine. 

Rant over. Am I ranting? I feel like I'm ranting!  I've tried to warn my daughter about 'Emma'. I just hope it doesn't put her off reading for the rest of her life! 

Have a good weekend all. x

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