Flower Mandalas

Flower Mandalas

How Movies Saved My Life

Red%20Daylily%20II.jpg
Red Daylily
My first movie was The Wizard of Oz. I was three years old, we came late to the theater, and we sat in the front row, all the way to the left. I had never seen moving pictures. I had never seen anything that large. The witch’s cackle and the flying monkeys terrified me in a way I had never been scared before. This is my first memory, and what I most remember is that I loved every minute of it.
When I’m feeling down, I go to the movies. I always watch the previews. They give me hope. This summer several exciting-looking blockbusters will open. I’ve seen the previews. I know that at least half of them will disappoint me, but I don’t care. “Something to live for,” I say, to whomever I’m watching the previews with.
Movies, and to an almost equal extent certain TV series, have been pivotal to me in a dozen different ways. Star Trek and Twilight Zone opened my eyes to fundamental truths of human behavior and the workings of the human heart, filtered through aliens and time travel so they could get past the censors. Ground Hog Day sustained me for the first few months following my near-death experience, a time in which I had to learn everything over again and again. As noted in an earlier blog post, The Matrix broke me out of a mental deadlock and spun me into a strange new world of legal labyrinths, from which I brought back a keen sense of the difference between vengeance and justice. But one movie literally saved my life — not once, but twice.
For several years post-college, I was living in Brooklyn, NY, and had a girlfriend in neighboring Queens. I was riding a motorcycle at the time, and part of my commute between home and girlfriend involved the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the BQE. I was reasonably adept at dodging the lightning-quick NYC traffic and at monitoring the cars and trucks on all sides, but no amount of defensive driving could have prepared me for the imminent convergence, by a tractor-trailer on my right and an old Caddy on my left, into the space that I and my little Yamaha were occupying.
Seconds before the Caddy reached my space, I recalled a scene from the Mel Gibson film Road Warrior. In this film, post-apocalyptic Gibson is “Mad Max,” a cop whose wife and kids were ruthlessly murdered in the earlier film by the same name. In this film, if memory serves, Max is being pursued by two guys on motorcycles, each armed with a crossbow. In the instant before he’s certain to become a human pincushion, Max throws his souped-up police cruiser into overdrive and the twin cyclists shoot through the space he occupied and into each other.
My bike was an underpowered 200cc two-stroke, so overdrive was not an option. I did the next best thing and hit the brakes, hard enough to fishtail but not so hard I’d lose full control of the bike, and I watched as, like two enormous ballerinas, the car and truck eased into alignment and sped away.
Twenty years later, that same scene saved me again when a drunk driver was racing toward me, heading southbound in the northbound lane of Route 128 near Boston while I, in my underpowered Plymouth Neon, headed toward him at 70mph. It was about midnight and I was trying to pass a Chevy on my right. As I rounded a curve, I noticed that the headlights coming toward me were off, somehow, and realized, with only a few seconds to spare, that collision was imminent. My choices were to attempt to complete my pass and move into the right lane, to tap the brakes and try to fall behind the car to my right or, remembering Road Warrior once again, to hit the brakes hard and fishtail behind him. I chose the latter. Seconds later, the oncoming car passed through the lane I’d been occupying, followed within 30 seconds by a police car heading south in the southbound lane. I read in the local paper that the driver, a drunk 28-year-old, had been apprehended two exits further down the highway. Earlier that year, two teenagers had been killed by a drunk driver at approximately the same spot. I had passed their twin roadside crosses moments before my own near-fatal encounter. Born after Road Warrior had been released, perhaps they had never seen it.
I have often thought and sometimes written about the healing and transformative power of art, but most of my focus has been on artmaking. Now I wonder about the power of receiving art from others and take some comfort in the belief that what I produce, too, may in some way be life-saving, somewhere out in the world, somewhere in time.

More anon,

- David
Discussion:
How Movies Saved My Life
Art, Healing, and Transformation group
Flower Mandalas Project group
Cultivating Creativity group
Request a flower mandala screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
© 2008, David J. Bookbinder

Flower Mandala: Balance

Chinese%20Tree%20Peony%20Pods.jpg
Chinese Tree Peony Seed Pod
There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.
– Carl Jung
Discussion:
Art, Healing, and Transformation group
Flower Mandalas Project group
Cultivating Creativity group
Request a flower mandala screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Image © 2008, David J. Bookbinder

Flower Mandala: Celebration

Sunflower%20%27Moulin%20Rouge%27%20Ia_filtered.jpg
Sunflower ‘Moulin Rouge’
You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour.
Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour.
And there are things to be considered:
Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth. Create your community. Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader.
This could be a good time!
There is a river flowing now very fast.
It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid.
They will try to hold on to the shore.
They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly
Know the river has its destination.
The elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water.
See who is in there with you and celebrate.
At this time in history, we are to take nothing personally.
Least of all, ourselves.
For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt.
The time of the lone wolf is over.
Gather yourselves!
Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary.
All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
–The Elders, Hopi Nation, Oraibi, Arizona
Discussion:
Art, Healing, and Transformation group
Flower Mandalas Project group
Cultivating Creativity group
Request a flower mandala screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
Image © 2008, David J. Bookbinder

Flower Mandala: Rosa ‘Belle Poitevine’

Rosa%20%27Belle%20Poitevine%27%20I_bw.jpg
Rosa ‘Belle Poitevine’
Click here for color image
A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.
– Diane Arbus

Discussion:
Art, Healing, and Transformation group
Flower Mandalas Project group
Cultivating Creativity group
Request a flower mandala screensaver: Fifteen Flower Mandalas
© 2008, David J. Bookbinder

Previous Posts

The Transformative Power of Art (2)
In Paris, Doors to Other Cities Here's another example of the transformative power of art and its ability to connect us. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz8L4MJMXgQ[/youtube] More anon, David Store: Flower Mandalas CafePress store Book: Fifty-Two Flower Mandalas book preview (Kic

posted 12:36:23pm Dec. 06, 2014 | read full post »

The Transformative Power of Misfortune (5)
"Everything Happens for a Reason" I often hear the phrase "Everything happens for a reason" when I talk with people about their lives. The usual context is that something unexpected, often something bad, has occurred either in the distant past or more recently, and with a philosophical shrug and a

posted 12:24:49am Nov. 23, 2014 | read full post »

The Transformative Power of Misfortune (4)
Another post from a reader: A Journey of a Lifetime Being stranded at the bus stop in Rosendale more than 5,000 miles from home and a random act of kindness has led to an unbelievable journey for a SUNY Ulster student from the Republic of Azerbaijan. When Gulnar Babayeva arrived in the Hudson

posted 1:30:55pm Nov. 16, 2014 | read full post »

The Transformative Power of Art (1)
Haas & Hahn: How Painting Can Transform Communities Here's an example, on a big scale, of the transformative power of art! In a TED talk, artists Jeroen Koolhaas and Dre Urhahn demonstrate how they built community and transformed neighborhoods by through painting -- and by throwing neighborhood

posted 10:00:20am Nov. 11, 2014 | read full post »

The Transformative Power of Misfortune (3)
A poem about her triumph over adversity from a reader: I could write to you about a grown up run away child that really ... Loved to love- Got beat up by a man that I loved That was 2009 I went to Kauai Walked and swam Looked at beautiful things Transformed I returned to the scene of the cri

posted 9:16:20am Nov. 10, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.