Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Hare marches on to go meet April


Here in sunny
Southern California,
March leaves
like a lamb,
came in as
a boisterous lamb,
not quite
the lion.

Painting: Lura Astor

Friday, March 27, 2009

Better Lazy than Crazy

A student once said
better lazy than crazy



I replied, Yeah, cows look lazy but they're making milk
- like crazy.

Reading The Introvert Advantage 
click here

laziness, daydreaming and lounging can be preludes to intense focus of energy, creativity and brain power.

Without my lazy I might be crazy!

Your Nose Knows - Improving Concentration and Learning

There is evidence that fragrances may also
improve concentration and learning. 

from The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.
"Unlike our other senses, our sense of smell has its very own short pathway from the nose to the brain. Have you ever whiffed bubble gum and a memory of childhood floated through your head? We have an immediate reaction to fragrances because they are processed right next door to both the emotional center and the memory center of the brain.

Since our sense of smell registers on our most basic systems, it has an effect on our Throttle-Down System. When smelling fragrances we like, we take slow, deep breaths and so we also take in more oxygen. As we have seen, these two processes increase our energy level. There is evidence that fragrances may also improve concentration and learning.

In one study, two groups of subjects were asked to do connect-the-dots puzzles. One group was then asked to sniff a fragrance. Then both groups were asked to redo the puzzles. The group that had sniffed the fragrance finished 30 percent faster.

In another study of stress response, subjects who were showing signs of stress were given a whiff of spiced apple. This was followed by an increase of alpha brain waves, which indicated a relaxed alert state."

I love finding tidbits on smell and scent in unexpected places!

This from Koku TV the Ballet of Bubblegum

watercolor: Sideways Snake Lura Astor
photo: Big Apple Cafe New Zealand Brisbane Pom 

introvert extrovert

Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. de-pathologizes introversion with a look at the history of psychology, the differences in how introverts and extroverts re-energize, socialize, think, produce and create. 

Laney shows biological evidence of the different pathways neurotransmitters take through the brains of introverts and extroverts:

Extroverts enjoy more adrenaline and dopamine
Introverts utilize acetylcholine and its longer brain pathway

In her books Laney explains, in simple terms, differences between introverts and extroverts, as well as how to better interact and understand each other, personally in professionally, and the gifts we each bring. Laney also includes some right/left brain dominance work.

When part of the community on Caltech campus, when there was still a Women's Center, we offered Massage Tuesdays sponsored by the Center for anyone on campus.

For 10 minutes each, students, staff, administrators, researchers could come in and bliss out on my massage chair as I worked out their stresses and aches, listened, suggested changes (computer height, how to take breaks, change the computer mouse, etc.). Some sat on the couch and chairs and while waiting, met each other, talked life, read from the book shelves.

Some on the massage chair spoke of their latest findings: nanotechnology, millions of light years into the stars, why epsom salts really relax muscles in the magnesium exchange.

We grew an organic grapevine and sometimes were able to put information together to see a bigger picture of what was happening on campus. (At the time, insomnia, TMJ and budget cuts were on the rise.)
One day the Assistant Director asked me if I was left handed.

She said I spoke and behaved as a leftie. That got me thinking. My grandmother, whose father had homesteaded in Nebraska, was a leftie and had been forced to write as a right-handed proper lady so as not to do the devil's work.

Being born a certain way yet accused of being of the devil deeply affected her. There were also accusations that she was therefore not as smart.

This young redhead rode the prairie on a horse to teach in the one-room schoolhouse, at a time when not many women were teachers. I had to remind her of that when she turned 100 and still felt she was not really smart.

When 100, Grandma looked at me and laughingly said she didn't know why she didn't die, heaven don't want me and the devil won't take me.

She lasted just shy of 105, my namesake, who called me her chickadee when I was a kid, both of us looking at the birds in the apple trees. She always grew what we now call an organic garden, something passed on to me through her daughter.


Also recommend: dominant/non-dominant-hand exercises offered in books by Lucia Cappachione, Ph.D., ATR, Visioning and The Power of Your Other Hand.

These exercises address specific queries, externalize internal dialogue, and come up with unique, surprising, humorous, practical results.

Many of these techniques integrate into my Workshops for Accessing the Senses, Dreams, Creativity, Inspiration, Imagination, Theater Games, Fun and Play.

Illustrations: Hand Series Lura Astor

Friday, March 13, 2009

Seahorse Fire Dreams

what a day for a daydream

Illustration: Flame Seahorse Lura Astor