madshutterbug (madshutterbug) wrote,

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On Art, and Nursing, and the Price of a Cup of Coffee

I've about decided to blame all this on the Man With No Name, kenshusei. Yes, this is a gentle, friendly nudge here, and make no mistake it is friendly. I am rather amused to be able to claim that I know a Man With No Name. He wrote something yesterday about bereavement, which I didn't answer despite my extensive personal and professional experience in this area, partially because others already said much of what I'd say. And partially because, unless my professional judgement leads me to start pushing on the topic, I've come to the position that the best one may say to the bereaved is Silent Action.

What the Man With No Name did say got me to thinking, as it so often does, though not necessarily about bereavement. Unless one accepts that as being part of life. No, I got to thinking about the similarities and differences between two parts of Who I Am, and What I Do.

"Art Provides a Catharsis of Emotion" is a concept/thought/philosophy I keep coming back to repeatedly. It is one of my first lessons as an artist, and remains the most basic one. After all, if there is no evocation of emotion, the artist missed the mark.

Lately, in my meditations, I've stumbled across another aspect of this, and it seemed so very obvious to me at the time that I literally emulated Homer. "D'oh!" Along with providing me a measure for success in what ever I might produce, it also helped explain why I pay so little attention to most art critics. Particularly those who go into great lengths to explain the significance of the piece being critiqued (or criticised, as may be... ), and why I pay so much more attention to someone who says, "I don't know about art, but I know what I like." Or words to that effect.

Because those words reflect that the Catharsis -- Happened.

Now, all that the artist can do is put things together, arrange the circumstances for that Catharsis to occur. They can't make it happen though; it happens within the participant, the viewer of the piece the artist created. Or it doesn't.

Which, curiously enough, is the same as Healing.

I am a Registered Nurse, another part of me, and what I do. I help people to heal. Now, I can define what's happening here a lot better than I can define what happens, or how I arrange things as a Nurse to accomodate Healing than how I arrange things as an Artist to accomadate Catharsis. I've achieved an insight into this, and I'm going blank on the word I really want to use, kenshusei, but it's the same one (from Zen Buddhism)which describes the experience when a martial artist works through a number of obsticles and achieves enlightenment... well, probably that's the word.

The veteran Nurses who wander through my place here know exactly what I'm speaking about, and the younger Nurses, and those who are still studying the Profession either have heard it, or are about to. The descriptor is "Nursing Process", but that's only a fancy means to say: I think like a Nurse, therefor I am a Nurse. (With a nod to De Carte, from whom I shamelessly steal a paraphrase.)

The license I hold simply provides me with the legal ability to bill someone for providing Nursing Care. It's not what makes me a Nurse. But all that I can do as a Nurse is arrange the circumstances, put things together to make it possible for someone who needs to, to Heal. Themselves.

But while I can tell you what the thought processes are behind my practice of Nursing, I find it much more difficult, possibly impossible, to tell you what the thought processes are behind my practice of Art. Still, the fact that they are such similar end experiences explains to me why those who practice their particular Professions (Nursing, Medicine, or even Law) that bring to it that particular flair, a noticable 'elan', also will be found practicing that peculiar etude, 'Arrangement of Circumstances to Provide Catharsis' known as Art.

So there. Oh, and here; here's a couple bucks. With all of that you can go buy a cup of coffee.
Tags: art, healing art, nursing

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