#2A & #2B Reciprocity: Coherency and Organizing Principle

Anavami Center

Anavami CenterIn February we are exploring Reciprocity, the exchanging things with others. It is fundamental to the Marking practice and allows us to acknowledge the field as the collaborator in all our markings. We are inviting relationship with an animistic universe. The core of this point of view is contrary to René Descartes philosophy where he maintained that the only exchange is between humans as dualism of two finite substances, mind and matter. Many now in distinct fields like David Abram, ecologist and philosopher, Merlin Sheldrake, microbiologist and writer of history and philosophy of science and Arnold Mindell’s transpersonal psychologist, process therapist and writer for social change disagree with that limited view. Many other fields are expressing that the interconnection with our environment is already in place and instrumental to personal and planetary well-being. Our practice in marking is to perceive an open system where we can exchange energy or material with all life and objects in our environment.

Anavami CenterIn David Abram’s chapter on reciprocity in Becoming Animal he sets the stage for a different organizing principle where we cannot always apply logic perceiving, as nature is mysteriously interrelated. There are various ways to understand this greater connection. Heart Math Institute Research Director Dr. Rollin Mc Craty speaks of “an energetic alignment and cooperation, to manifest intentions and harmonious outcomes.” Through biofeedback research Heart Math suggests an organizing principle, which brings the brain, mind, body and emotions into balanced alignment and changes our relationship to everything. He calls this state as coherence.

This week for home-reflection we played with the Sun as orientation of directionality. It is metaphor for knowing where we are in a more expansive way than the binary left/right or back/front. We also used the Polyvagal theory as a metaphor. It points out that the vagus nerve running through the autonomic nervous system is the internal control center. It is the orientation of the critical functions of human physiology determining our reactions creating the difference in how our brain receives and responds to information. It is the guide to whether we are centered, connected and feeling safe or go into flight, fight or freeze. The polyvagal exercises help to keep us in that safe center so we can respond appropriately when necessary. It is a metaphor for our planetary sun as the central component of life. It is understandable how the myth narrative of our planetary people points to creation myths of the Sun-God from Egypt, Norse, Hindu, Mayan and the central figure in Christianity of Jesus Christ.

Anavami CenterCoherency, although often defined with logical interconnection or sense of understandability has a greater context. An aspect beyond this is the meaning of coherent as closely attached or connected, which is not always logical. The stories by which we make sense of the world, formed by inherited beliefs, are not always congruent with a greater perception, connection and exchange within the biosphere. Sometimes these are not brought to full consciousness until a great tragedy or decision must be faced. These beliefs are most often expressed symbolically in our creation myth. In our work this week we incorporated those myth stories as we explored our relationship with animism and allowed us to expand our reciprocity beyond just the mind matter approach to interactions.




In-Bodying the Field Blog #1D: Re-wiring, Metaphor & Bear of Gravité Poem, Tacking into the Wind

Anavami Center

Anavami CenterAs we Mark we are rewiring the way we perceive reality. What better paradigm than the academic training of visual arts and how deeply ensconced in materialism and economic machinery that world often manifests. Our interest is tacking in on the winds of intuition and the sensorial connection of the body as we develop the imaginal that leap of vision. Heart orientation is central to this process and as the HeartMath Institute explains through its innovative research in stress, coherence and heart-brain interaction, this requires some tools. We will look at their resources for optimal performance through coherence. The three most powerful techniques are Freeze-Frame®, Cut-Thru® and Heart Lock-In®.

Traditionally, the mythology around artwork is a dramatic angst of hair pulling, addiction, depression, revelation and elation. There is validity in this model in the arts that embrace the soul-searching roller coaster. The angst of the artistic process is aggrandized as we are looking for something outside of that model, an allowing of the full spectrum of emotions while we cultivate a resilience through coherence. We need not be lost to art but rather create approaches of marking as a way to cultivate sensibilities by developing a different level of awareness and response. In HeartMath the state of coherence is associated with sustained positive emotion and a high degree of mental and emotional stability. As we are rewiring how we perceive the reality that we have created simple HeartMath techniques can be adapted for our process. This is not to flatline but to know coherence and have the awareness to recognize how it nurtures authenticity, creativity and innovation.

Anavami CenterWe are not going for a product at this stage, nor are we going for good, it’s working or even finished. It doesn’t mean that those feelings are not a part of what we do, but we are not making artwork with that kind of navigating. We are experimenting, exploring, changing habits developing new awareness. The first step is to realize when you are working the old stuff, which usually brings forth comments like; I don’t like it! It is dark, light, no values What does it need? Can I make it work? Etc. It is valuable to realize when you are in judgement, working a strategy or trying in any way. If you are identified with the work then it is not what we are doing. Instead, we are developing a new relationship with who we are and the collaborative work that we do-collaboratively as well as a sense of release from detachment that will allow us to look deeper as we move through the rest of these marking sessions.

One of the tools we use is poetry, which acts as a leverage to create a more nuanced context for our work. In the In-Bodying Marking we often use poetry to shift out of the everyday mind and find that the use of words can extend our ideas beyond the literal. Jane Hirshfield’s short Ted Talk shows how this works as she asks how do metaphors help us better understand the world? And, what makes a good metaphor? she explores these questions with writers like Langston Hughes and Carl Sandburg, who have mastered the art of bringing a scene or emotion to life.



In exploring gravity & levity for a future In-Body marking session again the Great Bear emerges from my painting. It is not so much as the quality of poetry but the experience with the secondary process, which will be brought forward in another blog.

Tacking into the Wind by Majio

Great Bear with delicate feathered wings
holds me to his will for neuroplasticity
teasing me with dopamine until like Pavlov’s dog
my vision narrows and I am a circus two-stepping-bear
who I cried for as a child at the Russian Circus

The only motivation is survival and that is dim and twisted
my mind is no opponent, yet my animal body lurches
beyond the myopic blinders to slide from under the weight
to move until dancing takes hold, it is not fun it is not easy.

Markings first show from where I have come
then where I am…..way becomes the path
I tack into the wind