"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Can Only Dance with the Ones That I'm Given; or, Don't Go Changing to Try and Please Me

Today Cobalt's mother hurried up to me as she was dropping Cobalt off for school.
She was flushed, excited.
I don't often see her with this kind of smile, dear reader.
She began to tell me how she had been doing a lot of reading. And that she had a plan for Cobalt.
She wishes to cure Cobalt of autism.

Autism can be reversed, she said. I've seen it.
Cobalt is doing very well here at school, I say.
But Cobalt could be doing so much better, she says.
She pats Cobalt on the head as she says this, in front of all our students who I've brought on this sunny day to greet their friend.
Jenny McCarthy and Oprah have unwittingly caused more people to feel---well, a strange happiness that comes from promises of changing unhappiness: the kind one feels when it is felt that what you have just isn't good at all.

I think about Cerulean, who is, at last account, on the fifth classroom placement in four years.
I wonder if Cerulean yet receives plankton, hyberbaric oxygen, crystal therapy, and the like.
I think of Cerulean's family.
Of how they would be over-the-moon happy---if Cerulean was at the same place that Cobalt is.

I thought yesterday about beginning a different meditation practice into my routine: the making of enso. One every day.
After my encounter with Cobalt's mother, I think tomorrow is a good place to start.
Namaste, dear reader.
Namaste:
Cobalt
Naples
Vermillion
Thalo Blue
Rosegold
Madder
Camouflage
and
Cerulean

10 comments:

Pelicano said...

A leaf caught in the river-current glides, slowing as it enters a nearby pool. Restless, it is found again by the swift current.

I had not yet stumbled across enso. You have now altered me irreversibly.

neroli said...

Pel:

I paln to get one of these for my enso practice...
http://www.buddhaboard.com/bbmain__content.html

reading what you've written, I think of the paintbrush (waterbrush :) as a leaf...

Thank you!

captain corky said...

Lots to think about... I can't wait to hold my son this morning.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Compassion, dear one!

I must laugh, because I don't have enough patience to let the Buddha board web site load! ;-)

I am very interested to know if you will paint a broken or unified enso (grin again.)

Today is always a good day to start!

Pelicano said...

Well then! There are many of your paintings walking the earth. :-D

neroli said...

Captain, I'm glad to know you!

Dear One, I'm so glad that you are feeling better! You're cracking me up with the website loading---it didn't even have the brushstroke as you moved the mouse?
When you clicked on one of the small lotus, nothing happened?
That's too bad!
I think I'm going to get one for the classroom too. Madder has gross and fine motor challenges, and works best in the vertical---and loves to paint. (I would be too, too happy to see Madder painting enso!)
Today? closed---for happy reasons!

Pel--now it is *you* who is doing the altering :)__/\__

Pelicano said...

Do forgive me, my eyes and ears oft deceive me, leaving me blind and deaf to the leaf-tracks on water, petals as they fall, the tracings of a hand across canvas...

How's that? :-D

neroli said...

:-D
__/
*neroli, happy*
(thinking of the sound of one hand clapping, and the sound of tracing across water)

Pel, I've always admired and enjoyed your writing.
Thank you.
What do you think about a game of *cadavre exquis*---enso-style?
*grinning*

I think AFKAPW would play, right, Artist?

Pelicano said...

Ah! When I was in my early 20's my friends and I used to play E.C.- with folded-paper drawings...some are actually pretty cool. I ought to scan a few and post eh?

Enso-style? ...uh...ummm...hmmm...er....uh....well.... :-D

neroli said...

Pel, it would be fun if you would scan and post them.
When I thought of EC enso-style, to me, they would look like so many lovely little Rohrschachs---(without all the associations ;)
Me?
I was always the kid who loved to put ink, paint, what-have-you on paper, fold, rub, open---the image never failed to delight: always seeming surprisingly lovely and not-quite-right-lovely all at once.
It seemed quite comforting.
Perhaps I could make some enso in my practice this way?
*grinnning*