Making sense of our life experiences requires not just analysis and interpretation, but creativity and big-picture narrative. When the two are combined we have integration.
In physics we know that it is through chaos that the fundamental dynamics of the universe find solutions from which order emerges. Chaos is non-rational (not understandable through breaking it down into components or “rations”) whereas order is a flow of energy (whether that be in the form of colours, sounds, words, letters) which are in a specific rational understandable formation; that is, they are in-formation.
Due to this fundamental nature of reality, it turns out that, across a few hundred million years, the brain has evolved to mirror the reality within which it has been immersed. The left hemisphere specialises in analysing, ordering, breaking down; the right in synthesising, creating, building up. This is the yin and yang of reality which, together make for a whole (or holistic) life experience.
Jung said that the ego has no defence against art; by which he was suggesting that the expressions of art which flow primarily through the right hemisphere inescapably expose the deepest hidden reaches of the left-dominant, strategic mind; or the ego. Hence, art is an excellent tool for supporting integrative function of our lived experience.
Similarly, William Blake suggested we should cultivate a moment in each day that Satan cannot find; by which he is referring the strategic (left) mind as Satan, and the poetic (right) imagination as the place of respite.
The function of this page is to provide real-life examples of using the Arts to find that respite, to integrate the mind, to provide a more whole, undivided, complete lived experience.
Eternal Youth – by Christopher Matthew (1999)
In 1999, my father (an A. A. Milne fan) was given the book “Now We Are Sixty” by Christopher Matthew, for Christmas. Now We Are Sixty, was a hat-tip to the book written by A. A. Milne, the famous author of Winnie the Pooh, called “Now We Are Six“. Matthew had taken the rhymes from Milne’s book and adapted them to themes perhaps more relevant for the baby-boomer generation now approaching their 60’s who had grown up with A. A. Milne’s bedtime readings…
As a young osteopath & naturopath, I was often sharing my ideas of what a healthy life might look like with my family – and, off the back of this, my dad decided to send me a photocopy of this poem from Now We Are Sixty called “Eternal Youth“:
Of course, seeing as I’d spent a fair chunk of time wrapping myself in the world of holistic health, even by 25 years of age, I decided I should – just for fun – write a response to Christopher Matthew’s poem, which I called “A Naturopath Replies”, written in 2000.
However, I subsequently went on to train as a C.H.E.K. Holistic Lifestyle Coach, which not only incorporated a lot of information on nutritional physiology and the different biochemical needs of different ethnic groups, but it also expanded my understanding of spirituality and its own role in our nutritional choices; which you’ll get a sense for in this upgraded (2002) version of the Naturopathic response called “A C.H.E.K. H.L.C. Replies”
These rhymes have sat tucked away in various computers for nearly 20 years, but with the release of a new podcast series with Paul Chek called “The Honest Vegetarian”… I thought it might be time to “dust them off”!!