Influences from Mindfulness and Neuroscience

Much of my work (using copper and brass wire or metallic threads) depicts the healing effects of Mindfulness and self-compassion, as  understood through neuroscience.

Hard-Wired for Survival (detail)

A piece called Hard-Wired for Survival (depicting a single neuron firing) refers to how neuropsychologist, Rick Hanson, describes how our brains are hard wired for survival and not happiness, which gives us a natural ‘negativity bias’. Thus, it can be helpful to actively cultivate our happiness. I find this such a helpful idea: when I notice my own negativity bias in action in the form of unhelpful thought patterns, I can step back and see what’s going on, rather than get drawn into habitual tendencies or ‘zone out’.

Mirror Neurons: The             Empathic Brain

Mirror Neurons: the Empathic Brain (which I was thrilled to have selected for the Cordis Showcase last year) depicts mirror neurons, which are the part of the brain that give us the capacity for empathy. Without these we would not be able to feel compassion for another or share their joys and sorrows on a feeling level.

 

 

 

 

Soothing the Traumatised Amygdala expresses how the practice of self-compassion, releases oxytocin (the ‘love chemical’) and soothes agitation of the amygdala (our reptilian brain) where there has been trauma. I can personally testify to the healing nature of this practice. I love how the neuroscience research ties in with such a deep subjective, emotional experience.

Soothing the Traumatised Amygdala (detail)

 

‘Loving Awareness’, depicted by the vertical gold threads in relief against the woven background, is that part of us that is always present throughout our lives, despite our physical changes, decline and eventual death. The coloured forms within the ‘framed’ area depict the psychological tasks we have to negotiate as we transition from one stage of life to the next.

Loving Awareness

 

 

Loved Into Being

The miniature piece here is inspired by the notion that many of us are lucky enough to have people who’ve helped us along the way to become who we are now.  When you really think of all the people who’ve had input into our lives, both directly and indirectly, that’s an enormous number of people! Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson wrote about this idea in a recent newsletter: he referred to a TV presenter who, at an awards ceremony, invited the ‘celeb’ audience to spend five seconds bringing to mind those in their lives that had helped them on their way.  The piece is a homage to those who have offered their generosity to my life.