Psychology + Zen = Philosophy and methods to relieve suffering and reveal happiness.

Psychology:  We project onto others what we reject in ourselves.  Some call it a Shadow.  Healing comes from making the unconscious conscious, taking responsibility for our projections, integrating what is split off as our own thing. 

Zen:  There is no separate self.  When we can be at one with every aspect, then we belong everywhere and we reject no one.  

We heal the world by becoming intimate with our whole selves.   


Entries in Outsider (12)

Tuesday
Feb242015

Rise up, Old Woman!

Julianne, photo by Nicolas Genin"Well, she is more contemporary," the young lady clarified when I looked mystified. We were at a networking event for filmmakers and actors, and I had boldly raised my objection to the disappearance of older women.  She responded by kindly offering hope that things were changing, and presented Julianne Moore as an example of an aging star.  Thinking hard, she filled out her list of two by including an actress in her 30s.

Her 30s.

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Thursday
Jun142012

I am I: A Tribute to Margaret Cho


Inspired by Cho's gestures, energy, and mission, a group of dancers celebrate human diversity in all its splendid manifestations.  

Conceived and Choreographed by Irene Ruiz-Riveros
Video Directed and Edited by Elena TaJo
Music by Steve Elson

I am I: A Tribute to Margaret Cho screened in June of 2010 at Anthology Film Archives as part of an excellent series curated by New York Women in Film and Television.  Running time 5:37 minutes
 

Wednesday
Jun132012

An Oasis of Peace

Wahat al-Salam Neve ShalomWahat al-Salam in Arabic. Neve Shalom in Hebrew.   Oasis of Peace.  The name evokes both longing and sadness. Just an oasis?   In a human desert of outright wars and subtle destructions of the spirit, there is a place where people from opposing sides of what is arguably the most difficult conflict on earth choose to live in peace.

I wanted to visit this place because I am a very jaded psychologist--an optimist disappointed with the failure of ideals

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Saturday
Jun092012

Gay Pride, Woman Shame

Along with so many others, I cheered for New York State last weekend--for our Governor who showed courage and resolve, for all the beautiful people who could now marry their beloved.  At the Gay Pride Parade on Sunday, we were all bubbling in a soup of triumph and ecstasy.  Most of you know that several years ago I decided to divorce my heterosexual spouse because the unfairness of the whole thing, especially the "Defense of Marriage Act," was unbearable. 

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Wednesday
Jun062012

How to Change the World, Justina

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:40PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

One morning on the way to Ballet class, I hear the news that Black Americans are moving away from northern urban areas toward the South and into the suburbs.  This interests me for what it will mean for diversity, so I remember it.  

As we chitchat before class, Justina, a young Black woman just returned from a family visit to Tennessee, comments:  "The South never changes."   I argue briefly and then ponder her comment for the remainder of class.  (You can blame all my mistakes on that!)   When class is over I ask her what she meant.  A graduate student in Social Psychology, she is frustrated by entrenched patterns:  expectations shape behavior, behavior reinforces expectations, and the cycle perpetuates itself.   Indeed, I agree.   Except here she is, an exception.

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Monday
Jun042012

Crutch Master

Gales of laughter in the bus as he gets the first reaction--people on the street in some kind of shock and awe at a man using crutches to skateboard through the streets of New York.   He is known as the Crutch Master, and the mastery is evident and spectacular.   We are in the bus as the audience to his performance.  Hooked up to cameras, a DJ, and a major sound system, it feels like a combination of a hip dance party and a sting operation. "Wall Stall" Shannon Technique 2010 

So we are in the bus to watch the watchers.   We desperately want to see people on the street react to our Crutch Master.  We want their "Huh?"  We want to see them dislodged from their complacency.   We are hungry for it.    Many of us standing, craning necks from window to monitor display, aching to see a bystander get shook up.  Crutch Master is doing his best to deliver.  Here he is bumming a cigarette from a Wall Street Trader.  There he goes doing a jig for a tourist bus.  We see the people try to resist, turn their backs, shake their heads.  In the bus, we are cracking up, laughing forcefully at how people try to just keep going, how they can't recognize a true phenomenon, how they miss what is right before their eyes.  

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Sunday
Jun032012

Gay "Marriage"

Made in 2008 or so, Gay "Marriage" exposes the dilemma of the maddening and unfair paperwork imposed on gay couples who want the same financial rights as heterosexual married couples.   It is a tragicomedy that blends interview and animation to bring to life the horrifying effects of paperwork unfairly imposed on gay couples:  JTROS, taxable gifts, powers of attorney, HIPAA, and more.   

A star-crossed lesbian couple get the romance knocked out of them as they wake up to legal reality.  Music by Mayra Casales.  Running time, 12:13 minutes. 

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Saturday
Jun022012

It Doesn't Show

Updated on Friday, October 15, 2010 at 11:50AM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:50PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

It doesn't show, they started to say after the surgeries.   This should have been a cure for shame, and maybe it was, but it also produced a new problem.   A deep and integral aspect of my personhood became invisible and unknowable. Don't look. Juvenile arthritis is a peculiar and defining experience.  As a toddler, you get braces and casts instead of the exhilaration of walking.  As a kid, you get the special  role in the ballet recital.  Then, as your wrists are progressively deforming, Phys Ed with its impossible pushups and volleyball falls by the wayside.  You are left with the other rejected kids in Choir and then in Drama Club, where, to vanquish your depression, you pledge yourself a career and vengeance.  The twist (pardon the pun) in the story is that, along the way, you fall in love with dance--the one thing that everyone agrees is totally out of the question. 

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Friday
Jun012012

You Just Don't Get It

You just don't get it, said her eyes into my silence.  My beautiful dark-skinned friend from a South American country had just told me of her troubles getting a Visa, indicated how hard she worked in a restaurant to support her dancing.   I felt for her, so the distrust was painful.  Was it distrust, or was I projecting my own?   

Like most of my young dancer friends, she asks me nothing about my life, as if it is already established, not in question.  If they did ask, they might hear

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Thursday
May312012

Reading "Henrietta Lacks"

Updated on Friday, June 8, 2012 at 4:47PM by Registered CommenterElena Taurke

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks might be the saddest book I've ever read.   If you don't know this story, here's the bottom line:  A Black woman's cancer cells were taken and cultured without her permission and, because of their superhuman ability to thrive, spawned all variety of discovery and cure.  She died, her disease almost neglected; her family remains dirt poor and deeply uneducated.  In the absence of information from the scientists who benefited from Henrietta's cells, the family creates stories of heroism or victimization, depending on what's going on that day.  What is usually going on is a fight for survival against overwhelming odds.

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