LAURA K KERR, PHD

Category Archives: Creativity

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 alsoContinue 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 theyContinue 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 theyContinue 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 catContinue 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 putsContinue 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 worldContinue 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 proposedContinue Reading

Embracing the Shadow Side of Creativity

Embracing the Shadow Side of Creativity

In a blog post, “What is Creativity?,” Maria Popova quoted designer Charles Eames on the cultural obsession with the creative process: “Recent years have shown a growing preoccupation with the circumstances surrounding the creative act and a search for the ingredients that promote creativity. This preoccupation suggests we are in a special kind of trouble —Continue Reading

An Ambivalent Writer

An Ambivalent Writer

I spent the weekend at my alma mater, Pacifica Graduate Institute, attending “The Writer’s Journey” conference. In a plenary given by Michael Meade I learned some Native Americans believe that if you don’t give away what you possess, what you possess will rot inside you. When I heard this juicy, albeit necrotic perspective of theContinue Reading