Friday, January 18, 2013

Opening your heart / Munsch / Women

In looking up some famous men from the 19th century, yesterday, I came upon this little sentence regarding Edvard Munch, painter from Norway.  He painted  "The Scream", for example.   

Munch was highly influential, particularly with the German Expressionists, who followed his philosophy, "I do not believe in the art which is not the compulsive result of Man's urge to open his heart."

He was having something of a breakdown when he painted "The Scream".  He also painted Nietzsche, whom I feel I need to perhaps read in primary source material, fairly soon. 


We see here, Nietzsche with a nice little village in the background featuring even a church.  What baffles me ever again is that men of the 19th century felt so much that art and the expression of feelings had to exist in contradiction to the church and "bourgeois values".

I like Munch's saying--"I don not believe in art which is not the compulsive result of Man's urge to open his heart"-- but I am beginning to think that men who struggle so much with this emotionality or lack of it in their world or in art have some trouble seeing where it exists.  A kind of blindness or deafness, all the while trying to see and hear.

Women come by it more naturally or easily, I think.  Was Munsch married.  It does not look like it from the Wikipedia.  Nietzsche wasn't.  His flame was also a revolutionary and refused to get into the yoke.

This below, is a thing I wrote for my women friends, and attached is a note one of them sent back to me.

Women Friends, Pearls of Great Price

Old friends are the most precious pearls,
grown splendid through the years,
with time and patience,
in the womb of friendships’ stresses and comforts,
in coffee gatherings and baby showers,
aerobics class and Bible study,
where the beauty and the grime of life was laid bare,
and analyzed, held up to the light and laid back down or put to rest,
all while our children flourished, and sometimes not,
our marriages matured, or sometimes died,
our households kept on top of, or not so much,
our careers, the moving targets in the mix,
squeezed in barely—though we were supposed to be
modern women(—what the heck).

Whatever  all happened, great and small,
we  became wiser, dearer, polished for each other 
and through each other.
We have no people who have stood by us so long
and  steadfastly,
who did not shrink
from our blood and tears,
our disasters and triumphs. 

After our own mothers and fathers,
no human beings have had this much compassion for us.
You are incomparable.
Jesus is the pearl of great price,
the very best companion
and most important possession, 
God of compassion and sacrificial love.
But you come soon after him.
You are exquisite, each in your own way.

Brigitte, Dec., 2012

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”  Isaiah 49:15.

A woman friend sent this note in reply: 
They Teach It at Stanford

In an evening class at Stanford the last lecture was on the
mind-body connection - the relationship between stress and disease. The
speaker (head of psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one
of the best things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a
woman whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her
health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends. At first
everyone laughed, but he was serious.

Women connect with each other differently and provide support
systems that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time" helps is to create
more serotonin - a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression and can
create a general feeling of well-being. Women share feelings
whereas men often form relationships around activities. We share from our
souls with our sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very GOOD for our
health. He said that spending time with a friend is just as important to
our general health as jogging or working out at a gym.

There's a tendency to think that when we are "exercising" we are
doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively
engaged—not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and maintain
quality personal relationships with other humans is as dangerous to our
physical health as smoking!

So every time you hang out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat
yourself on the back and congratulate yourself for doing something good for
your health! We are indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let's toast to our
friendship with our girlfriends. Evidently it's very good for our health.

Forward this to all your girlfriends 
 and stay in touch! Thanks
to all the girls in my life who have helped me stay healthy, happy, and
feeling very loved.


Ruth Strand said...

Oh, Brigitte, I love your beautifully written poem! How true, how true. Thank you for sharing this -- Would you grant permission to share it (crediting you of course) sometime at WWF for a devotion? And "Amen" to the comments from the Stanford lecture. It affirms what I knew in my subconscious to be true--girlfriend time is good medicine!

Brigitte said...

Thanks so much Ruth. I was afraid that it left out husbands and maybe that wasn't nice, but husbands are so different from girl friends, you can't compare them. As someone I know likes to say, the matters are "incommensurate".

I want to come to Wednesdays, but I've been really sick with the flu.