LAURA K KERR, PHD

Category Archives: Creativity

“Toys of War”

“Toys of War”

In this touching and brief documentary by Andrew Berends, children in South Sudan use clay, pieces of fabric, and flowers to narrate the raid on their village that led to murder of family members and their current state of homelessness. Art is known to help heal the psychological rupture that trauma causes. For these Sudanese children, their creative ‘play’ gives expression…Continue Reading

Longing

Longing

The hollow growl in my stomach when I fill the day gorging on my ‘to do’ list. Idling on the runway, waiting for Gate 64C to pocket our arrival. The way his belly peeked below his shirt when he stretched his arms. Imagining my finger tracing the wrinkles in his worried brow. Realizing the phone…Continue Reading

Dismantling Altars

Dismantling Altars

Last fall I took a writing workshop with Dennis Slattery, PhD at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Among the writing “meditations” he had us do, one was called Dismantling the Altar. As Dr. Slattery wisely noted, we have a tendency to create altars, and other “as if” edifices. Although we create altars to support or even inspire us, they also…Continue Reading

Maya Angelou On What It Takes To Truly Live

Maya Angelou On What It Takes To Truly Live

  In Remembrance of Dr. Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014 “Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they…Continue Reading

Take Time. Be YOU.

Take Time. Be YOU.

“There can be an intense egoism in following everybody else. People are in a hurry to magnify themselves by imitating what is popular — and too lazy to think of anything better. Hurry ruins saints as well as artists. They want quick success, and they are in such a haste to get it that they…Continue Reading

Heed the Advice of the One Granted Nine Lives

Heed the Advice of the One Granted Nine Lives

“In the evening, all the cats who had participated in the rat-catching had a grand session at [the Swordsman’s] house, and respectfully asked the great Cat to take the seat of honor. They made profound bows before her and said: We all wish you to divulge your secrets for our benefit. The grand old cat…Continue Reading

How Chronic Traumatization Interferes With Meeting Goals and Completing Actions

How Chronic Traumatization Interferes With Meeting Goals and Completing Actions

Trauma-related stress reveals itself in many ways. Flashbacks. Nightmares. Emotional overwhelm. Shame. Obsessive thoughts. Decreased concentration. Apathy. Loss of a sense of self. When trauma-related stress is chronic, which is a common outcome of early life abuse and neglect, these symptoms become a way to live without actively recalling the past. As one researcher remarked,…Continue Reading

Where would we be without writers?

Where would we be without writers?

Lately I have been “filling the well,” as Julia Cameron likes to describe our creative souls’ need for a regular diet of stimulation. You might be able to tell this from my recent blog posts. Lots of reviews — articles, books, a documentary. You can tell a lot about a person by what she puts…Continue Reading

“Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness”

“Seven Attitudes of Mindfulness”

“Mindfulness means to be aware, awake. To be alive, attentive, receiving as we move through our day. Not brittle, blind, disjointed, out-of-touch, stressed, nervous, excited — or at least aware of these states and even having a bit of compassion for ourselves. This list is a reminder of another way to be in the world…Continue Reading

History After Trauma

History After Trauma

In 2012, I saw on display at SFMOMA Sam Durant’s “History never ends, I hate to bother you”: Sadie Coles HQ gave this explanation of the piece: “The show’s title [History Never Ends, I Hate to Bother You] may furthermore be read as a sardonic refutation of Francis Fukuyama’s famous postmodern thesis ‘The End of History?’, which proposed…Continue Reading