Thursday, February 20, 2014



My heart is like a dead bush
Whose berries are mute:
My heart is like a bent tree
Whose branches are bent with heavy fruit;
My heart is like an empty shell
That sinks beneath the sea;
My heart is sadder than all these
Because my love has left me.

Raise me a glass of champagne;
Fill it with flair and purple dyes;
Design its label with vibrant impressions,
A colorful intense disguise;
Work it in yellow and green,
In colors and lines reminiscent of my beloved fleur-de-lys;
Because the birth of my new heart
Will emerge when new love finds me.


This poem does not share in the boundless originality of Emily Dickinson. It is far from the solitary sublimity of the handful of Emily Brontë's apocalyptic lyrics, and yet it is a poem of majestic and permanent presence, with a stance reminiscent of Christina Rossetti's elegists of erotic sorrow. 

The touch of champagne is invariably light and bubbly, while the pitch is soft and low, disturbingly felt. And, though very rarely are ecstatic and celebratory thoughts expressed in hushed undertones, the emergence of them in the final stanzas brings us to a happy place whereby their presence is remembered, and longed for. 

This simple remembrance alludes to the potential guilt of the surviving sentiment: hope, a concept which was not perceived as positively by the Ancient Greeks as it is today. 

"My love has left me," is plangent with heartache, while "the birth of my new heart will emerge when new love finds me" is of little comfort, since hope is but a little respite granted by erotic loss. 

The happiest sentiment: "In colors and lines reminiscent of my beloved fleur-de-lys," is where one finds the gracious, gently testifying presence of a uniquely personal aspiration ~ despite the love that was lost, leaving the Reader with an expectation or conviction that assures one that the prospect of love is just beyond the horizon, even if it is not yet present.

One would not normally associate this poem with "happiness" ... but happiness is not only a blissful feeling devoid of other sentiment, happiness is a physical space into which one moves. Happiness surrounds all the other emotions and is there, available for our choosing. Sometimes, as in this poem, we have to search harder for it, but it is there. It appears the moment we fill our minds with happy thoughts. In that brief moment, pain is but a background noise. As with all human sentiment, happiness has to be continually renewed or it fades. However, every time we choose to fill our minds with happy thoughts, we are born anew. Expectation, or birth, is thus the intended sentiment of this poem, and hence its title. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Artful Garden

The Sacred with a Human Face (work in progress)
Soph Laugh
Acrylic on Canvas

The garden of the artist, with the painters pigments, brings to light, as Milan Kundera puts it, "hitherto latent forms of existence'. Observing creation from within, so to speak, a kind of transmutation through which a joie de vivre, an exultation of spirit arises. The feelings evoked during the creative process are most private - par excellence - and become the ultimate foundation of the artist's vision for the artwork which, consciously or unconsciously, they are creating. It is in this process that an artist recognizes themselves. 

In the picture of the 'work in progress' painting above, the paint above the spot where the woman's eye will go appears to have dripped. The same goes for the paint above the mouth. For the artist, viewing art is not limited to a visual engagement with a finished piece; it involves the interrelations of a variety of senses. Dozens of narratives take place as the painting takes its form. Understanding art is not merely understanding what is seen - the final product - it is reading the experience as a multitude of possibilities that correspond to a process; the process is the art. 

As for philosophy, it comes on the scene belatedly: we cannot think of the experience before it has manifested itself. This is the meaning of art. Minerva's owl takes it flight only at nightfall. 

The processes involved in painting give us a more subtle appreciation of our relationship to art, founded on experience. Experiencing art becomes our guiding value, finishing a piece of art a liberation into the many fruitful dimensions of existence. The artist lives their art as the art itself is created. As with life, art is constantly becoming, ceasing, perhaps, to be art once it becomes. 

Art is more than an aesthetic relation to the world. It provides the artist a more personal experience of meaning, which engenders a new understanding of the sacred, what one might call 'the sacred with a human face'. The question is then that of knowing how the experience of art contributes to our understanding of it. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

On Love

"Marrying for love is a relatively recent European invention made possible by the industrial revolution." 

But who doesn't long for love in their life? Many of the world's citizens have the luxury of choosing a companion following their own inclinations, yet not all. 

This does not necessarily indicate that these individuals are downtrodden; on the contrary. Some are extraordinary. Yet even the extraordinary long for that tour de force within them to be ignited in the most personal of ways: 

Romantic Love.

Milk and honey are the ingredients of romantic love, the nectars of fantasy's delight. Sweetly reminding the bourgeoisie that as a consequence of irresistible delicacies, there comes a price that can affect the laws of succession. If one is in the Spring of Life, then the effects are largely individual, but if one is in a Second Spring, these matters are of keen interest. 

A crucial consequence of Romantic Love was the emergence of an enormous love of children, unprecedented in history; and the invention and increasingly commonplace nature of divorce, the latter being a most disagreeable topic at dinner parties. 

With the advent of the human-machine revolution on our heels, again; love will someday be amorphized into an entirely different species, perhaps into an algorithm or software program held in some sort of highly malleable superconducting material. 

Turning Romantic love into an ideal of form. 

When our species has direct control over its own form, the true nature, if there be such a thing, of the entity will stand alone, embodying the very thing it seeks. 


Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Beautiful Mess

A Child's Heart (2014)
Soph Laugh
Acrylic on Canvas
Private Collection

For, lo, the heart is pure, the love is true and good; gentleness appears in their eyes; wonderment in their presence shines, and the voice of a child echoes their becoming... Love, my child, my treasure, as the world loves you. 


There must be genius in simplicity, though I fear my mind may be too complex to comprehend it, fully. 

I cannot deny how the dramatic inwardness of simplicity fascinates me. It is the love-child of Chaucer and Shakespeare, the epitome of inward freedom. 

What is this genius that delights and why must we leave it? Does it arise from the innocence of our heart's mind in childhood, propelling our adult minds into continual worship with the nostalgic notion of creative delight, and can it persist if we express it?

Many in the world consider useful that which helps to enlarge our possessions or to raise our station in society, though laying claim to such appellations might be scorned in polite society. Thus we soften and simplify desires and longings to: that which tends to make us happier and better and which can be called useful to ourselves and others; a more befitting epithet for socially expressing our personal interests. 

Thinking is the heart of my existence, it is my ally with virtue and is the promoter of my happiness. As much as I romanticize the notion of equality in existence, I can not help but recognize that certain perceptions and realizations are more vivid and striking than even the paintbrush can furnish; yet when I paint, immersed in the vastness of music, in close proximity to my own heart, the notions of simplicity of being are more meaningful than mere words could by nature of their limitations convey. And yet it is words that soften the moments in life that are not as gloriously elegant in their simplicity. This not only complicates simplicity, but also simplifies the grandness of some moments to the point they are mistook for mere simplicity. 

Immersed in a loving sentiment as musical as Apollo's flute, painting is one avenue of expression that compels my heart toward this simplicity, and yet I cannot sustain it. My mind is wired to think about it, which means I must naturally leave it due to my dwelling between the two expressions. 

To devote study to a species of learning which relates wholly to false marvels is not to be expected to find complete understanding. But consistently visiting these moments does allow one to dwell among them long enough to find a number of highly personal understandings about the nature of life, existence and self. 

Leaving these moments appears to subdue the exploration, but the inspirations that arise while in these moments are shared by the original explorer.

Thinking about simplicity is as real as thinking about the sciences of facts and things. Exploring simplicity is perhaps a science of fancy, but perhaps more time should be devoted to making our inquiries as intelligible to our hearts as they are to our minds. 

Even in the act of appreciation we must let some allusions pass unapprehended rather than submit to them; allowing ourselves to heuristically grow in a way that answers to other questions need only arise when our query does. I am of the belief that the most basic and fundamental queries are continually being answered by our being in all that we think, do and feel. Thus a sense of urgency does not exist for me, only a desire to travel in delight with the narratives that speak to as many aspects of my being as is possible. 

The stories of all our lives are somewhat amusing, endeavoring to tell them is where our aesthetic self can be discovered. We may discover ourselves in everything, but we cannot dwell everywhere simultaneously except for perhaps in our minds eye. This last realization is what transforms a child's heart into the heart of an adult. One that recognizes itself in others, without losing sight of who's who. 

The stories of our lives can be a relaxation from life, a study of life, so that the explorer finds him or herself in the tale. This nostalgic aspect of mutual appreciation indicates that we discover ourselves in everything we consider. Whether we are merely igniting its potential within us is unknown and not fully understood. 

Still possession may not be necessary for self-understanding. As seen in a child's heart, a story need only have the charm of a story-book, the child's heart is not seeking to impart or absorb a knowledge of an important element of self-understanding, it merely delights from the simplicity of the experience in being. 

The grandest value in any given experience inclines toward sharing. While this does not discount individual discovery, we as a species are compelled to share our discoveries. For me it matters not who makes a discovery. If it is expansive in nature, I revel in it; if it is limiting, I find within myself that which is needed to eliminate the barriers that separate understanding from self. 

It is the elimination of division that often times results in new, even more ironic barriers emerging. Barriers between cultures, between interests, between people... due to physics and geometry, perhaps we are only allowed so many connections at any given time, not by design, but by nature of our design. 

Wherever discovery lies, wherever genius may be found, wherever existence is or is not, can or cannot be, it is all a beautiful mess. 

A Beautiful Mess (2014)
Soph Laugh
Acrylic on Canvas
Private Collection

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lustre 1

A gentle sheen and a soft glow... the prismatic shine from a beautiful cut-glass chandelier and candelabra during the holidays. These are the sensations love evokes. 

                   Th'rejoicing of spirit in observance of warmness
                   Is fondness in action; and, till action, fondness
                   Is exalted, enthusiastic, benevolent, full of charity
                   Affection, tenderness, intimacy, attachment, to extol;
                   Enjoyed in the moment and each the other's fate;
                   Past reasons discovered, and hence therefor had,
                   Past reason devoted as an unencumbered passion
                   Our delight given to rapture to make the inamorato mad;
                   Mad in pursuit, and in possession so;
                   Had, having, and in quest to have, highest;
                   A bliss in proof, and proved, a wanton glow,
                   Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream
All this the world well knows, yet none knows well
To embrace the heaven that leads men from hell.

-Revision of Shakespeare's Sonnet 129


The extraordinary pitch of controlled intensity carefully evades the evoking energie that these fourteen lines convey, with charged language indiscriminant of the drive that propels the poem forward. While Shakesepeare's Sonnet 129 sustains itself with terrible eloquence, with desire, even revulsion impersonalized with a furious energy, this revision speaks to the flame that binds lovers in order to sustain the massive sentiments rather than extolling the sufferings aesthetically granted to us by the high tragedies. 

To be so bold as to revise Shakespeare's genius is at once to encounter opposition, igniting a critic's ecstasy. But for the writer, to superimpose a personal sentiment upon genius is to allow oneself to perceive genius, to witness genius. 

Love is as personal as genius. It is a sense, a perception, and an intelligence juxtaposed into a magnetic interplay of uniqueness preternaturally natural. Its universality lies at the foundation of human sentiment. Be our superimposition upon a Shakespearean Sonnet or a painting beyond those treasures bestowed upon humanity courtesy of the Masters, each superimposition, like each love, awakens a new insight into the many revelations of being in relation to being in love. 

The intensity, style, intonation, spirit, and passion one brings to any given superimposition are as unique as nature itself. Shakespeare's language is primary to his art, and is florabundant. He ignites within us a deep drive to feel this nature for ourselves, and we are always astonished by that which we feel. 

Only Shakespeare could capture love walking forth into the dawn, whereas a purloining, irrespective the intent, produces only a solipsism of its own accord. Still, in defense of this subtle account of Shakespearizing one's thoughts upon the nature of love, who else in the history of human literary achievement could convey a sentiment so grand so as to occupy the hearts and minds of humanity from the dawn of existence? 

The Genius of Alexander (1814)
Élisabeth Louise Vigée-Le Brun


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

L'Oraison de Saint Julien

"L'Oraison de Saint Julien" is a tale about pleasure. La Fontaine's amusement for this tale is unmistakable; his vibrant vocabulary and wittiness contribute to our delight as the narrative unfolds. One is especially charmed by the ending of the story; Renaud a naïve fellow, ends up spending the night with a lady instead of staying at an inn. He is a good, earnest and honest fellow, never taking advantage of his new mistress, even when she offers him money; he only takes what he needs. He is good-hearted. We can learn from this that it is not always detrimental to be innocent. La Fontaine is siding with Renaud, although he does warn us that usually he does not believe in prayers and magical incantation; the only words he believes are worthy are those uttered to woo a beautiful lady: 

Bien est-il vrai qu'auprès d'une beauté
Paroles font en amour des merveilles: 
Tout coeur se laisse à ce charme amollir.
De tels brevets je veux bien me servir; 
Des autres, non.

(To charms and philters, secret spells and prayers
How many round attribute all their cares!
In these howe'er I never can believe, 
And laugh at follies that so much deceive. 
Yet with the beauteous fair, 'tis very true,
These words, as sacred virtues, oft they view;
The spell and philter wonders work in love: 
Hearts melt with charms supposed from powr's above!

La Fontaine also tells us that the finest moment of the story happened between two sheets; however, he teases us by not telling us explicitly what occurred at that time: 

Je n'ai pas su ce qu'étant dans le lit
Ils avaient fait...
Apparemment le meilleur de ce conte
Entre deux draps pour Renaud se passa.

(What further passed betwixt the pair that night
I cannot say, though we'll believe 'twas right.
Between the [bed]clothes when laid, and unrestrained,
Most clearly, Renaud all his wishes gained.

I am of the impression that these moments are as euphorically fleeting as life itself. Of course, comparing a moment of passion to anything metaphorically, be it a moment in time or the nectar of a flower, is perhaps not as enjoyable as the moment itself, which is not as licentious as it is a blissful oblivion to the outside world. 

The prologue of rapture and tranquility reflect the sincerity and passion in the hearts of lovers, as well as the curiosity contained in their soul. 

Just as in La Fontaine's tale, we cannot see what lies between two lovers ~ nor must this be unveiled to be synthesized by our imagination. We are always mystified by non-revelation. It allows us to dream up numerous scenes following the ones we imagine. 


McCullough, Mary Elisabeth, "Laughter and Enjoyment", Analecta Husserliana Volume LVI

*"L'oraison de Saint Julien" ("Saint Julian's Prayer) is a tale about a positive reversal of fortune. Renaud is a superstitious young man who, after pronouncing a prayer to Saint Julien for protection, is mocked and robbed by rogues who had falsely befriended him. However, the saint listened to Renaud's prayer. The latter ends up much better off, that is, regaining what had been taken from him and additionally obtaining a memorable and enjoyable experience int he arms of a charming gentlewoman. 

La Fontaine framed his tale by naming it a prayer to Saint Julien l'Hospitalier (this tale is about hospitality). Saint Julien was a legendary character of the thirteenth century. A hart announced to him that he would kill his parents. Angrily distraught, he accidentally killed them. For penitence, he became a boatman and was kind and hospitable to a leper (Christ disguised) who announced forgiveness to him and lifted him up into heaven. The implicit moral of the story is that one should always be hospitable; one never knows who an uninvited guest might be, as the lady of our story finds out. She rescued and entertained Renaud, who ended up being her lover. 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Une Ode à L'amour

Happy Lovers
Jean-Honoré Fragonard
Norton Simon Museum of Art, 
Pasadena, California

Je ne crois pas que je suis le seul à penser que l'amour est le génie de l'existence dans la tradition humaine. Je suis conscient que lorsque je transfère au génie ce qui est attribué à l'amour, je tiens simplement l'ancienne tradition romaine que d'abord établi les idées de génie et de l'autorité.

The Birth of Venus
Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)
Uffizi Gallery

Shakespeare, dont le génie a eu lieu à son amour pour la magnificence littéraire, aurait choisi Aphrodite comme le dieu du génie de l'amour. Dans Antoine et Cléopâtre, Shakespeare a le dieu Hercule, comme le génie de Anthony, l'abandonner. Mais le vrai génie de Anthony était dans son amour pour Cléopâtre, dans ce sens, Hercules a quitté, mais Aphrodite l'a porté à Cléopâtre, si ce n'est que dans la mort.

Antony and Cleopatra (1885)
Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912)

Quelle est la relation avec le génie frais de sentiment humain? Nos confusions au sujet des normes canoniques pour le génie sont maintenant confusions institutionnalisées, de sorte que toutes les décisions quant à la distinction entre l'amour et le génie sont à la merci de l'opinion.

La belle dam sans mercie (1893)
Hessisches Landesmuseum (Darmstadt, Germany)

Avec français servant de la langue de mon amour, je présenterai une mosaïque d'exemples authentiques de la façon dont l'amour est exalté comme le génie de l'existence dans la tradition humaine.

L'amour est le génie qui affirme son autorité sur moi, quand je reconnais sentiments plus grand que le mien. J'espère que de nourrir ce génie en moi-même, et ne peut compter que sur les nombreuses expériences d'amour que j'ai eu pour véritable appréciation.

The Kiss (1889)
Auguste Rodin
Rodin Museum, Paris

Peut-être Emerson aurait écrit sur ​​la question dans son journal en tant que tels:

N'est-il pas en chacun de nous, comme c'est étrange! Regardez nos espèces; - les sentiments peuvent être ressentis, - bien que maintenant il n'y en a pas ici de les sentir, - mais les sentiments qui pourraient être ressentis que seraient les faire tomber et se pâmer comme tomber amoureux. Qui en doute? Étiez-vous dans l'amour? Avez-vous déjà ressenti l'amour pour l'autre? Rappelez-vous alors, ne sont pas les sentiments qui ont fait votre rythme cardiaque et votre accélérer le souffle, qui a la plénitude de l'affection intense et le plaisir de la rougeur des joues, qui vous a fait trembler de plaisir, - ne pas qu'ils se sentent à vous aussi naturel que vous-même? N'était-ce pas la vérité que vous connaissiez avant, ou avez-vous jamais s'attendre à être déplacé de l'amour par quoi que ce soit mais le sentiment vrai et honnête de l'attachement profond? Jamais. C'est Genius en vous que la réponse à Genius sans ou affirme sa présence en tremblant sur ​​les lèvres de l'autre.

Le Printemps (1873)
Auguste Cot
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

English Translation: 

I do not believe that I am alone in thinking that love is the genius of existence in the human tradition. I am aware that when I transfer to genius what is attributed to love, I merely extend the ancient Roman tradition that first established the ideas of genius and of authority.

Shakespeare, whose genius was held in his love for literary magnificence, might have selected Aphrodite as the god of love's genius. In Anthony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare has the god Hercules, as Anthony's genius, abandon him. But Anthony's true genius was in his love for Cleopatra, in this sense Hercules left, but Aphrodite carried him back to Cleopatra, if only in their deaths.

What is the relationship with fresh genius to human sentiment? Our confusions about canonical standards for genius are now institutionalized confusions, so that all judgments as to the distinction between love and genius are at the mercy of opinion.

With French serving as my language of love, I shall present a mosaic of authentic examples of how love is exalted as the genius of existence in human tradition.

Love is the genius that asserts authority over me, when I recognize sentiments grander than my own. I hope to nurture this genius within myself, and can only rely on the many loving experiences I've had for true appreciation. 

Perhaps Emerson would have written on the matter in his journals as such:

Is it not in all of us, how strange! Look at our species; - the sentiments might be felt, - though now there are none here to feel them, - but the sentiments that might be felt that would make them fall and swoon like full in love. Who doubts it? Were you ever in love? Have you ever felt love for another? Remember then, were not the sentiments that made your heart race and your breath quicken, that brought the fullness of intense affection and pleasure to the redness of your cheeks, that made you tremble in delight, - did not they feel to you as natural as yourself? Was it not truth that you knew before, or do you ever expect to be moved from love by anything but true and honest sentiment of profound attachment? Never. It is Genius in you that response to Genius without, or affirms its presence trembling on the lips of another. 


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Snow White's Seven Dwarfs

It is not so much a matter of what we do in life, as much as it is being able to whistle while we do it. The goal of any given moment is the understanding that all of Snow White's Dwarfs are essential to conceptual enlightenment and understanding of self, to be as conscious as possible in any given moment throughout our entire journey through life. Bringing as much depth and wisdom as they can to each experience, Snow White's Seven Dwarfs aid in our understanding of self, helping us uncover the obstacles that keep us from whistling and from the realizations that come from self-understanding in relation to the world around us. 

Even if we do manage to find enlightened understanding in each moment of our lives, what then? The answer to that question is as diverse as the population answering it. 

Returning to the realm of a child's imagination, let's examine how each of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs can help us better understand ourselves and how we relate to our experience of life and living with others. In their innocence, children often see clearly to the heart of things. Free from the illusions of how things "should be," freer to perceive themselves and others as they are. The innumerable "what ifs" coupled with the delightful curiosity we experience in childhood allows us explore the many possibilities of self as we try to decipher which Dwarf is needed to respond to the patterns that influence our lives.

This is a natural liberation of self toward its goal of understanding. It is essential to support this imaginative creativity if the individual is to remain open to the expansion of his or her own sense of self throughout its many changes of form. 

Pattern recognition is a skill that develops through life. From the recognition of a mother's face to the recognition of our ever-changing family roles, the assimilation of patterns moves from the simple to the complex. Each of Snow White's Dwarfs tells us something about ourselves and something about the world around us. Each becomes a part of the inner story of understanding that is constantly forming as we learn and grow.

In the search for meaningful identity, we often times embrace symbolic characters and their archetypal identities. When previously adopted personas no longer satisfy and our dissolution plunges into unknown realms where clarity and certainty no longer exist, attachment to a previous identity dissipates and ceases to taunt us in our dreams and fantasies, and the ability to open ourselves to a larger possibility of existing emerges. 


Snow White's first dwarf, Doc, is a universal identity. The more our conscious mind expands, the larger our identity becomes. As we ponder the elegance of the universe, we have the opportunity to transcend our smaller, more limited perspectives, and identify with others and the entire cosmos. 

This is a common theme in experiences associated with the preservation of the human architecture, otherwise known as the mind-body experience. When the identification with the smaller ego states gives way to recognition of a unitary identity with multiple experiences and sensations, the foundation for true self-knowledge is laid - the knowledge of the cosmos within our own being, the very fabric of the universe of which we are entirely composed. 

The Buddhist maxim Thou art That expresses the notion of the transcended individual whose purpose is to break through the bonding with smaller expressions of thought and sentiment to achieve a realization of grander, unifying thoughts and sentiments. This does not deny the reality of smaller identities; it merely perceives them as welcomed, co-participating parts of a grander identity. Whether that identity is unified is unknown but, presumably, it is integrated. 

Like Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we ultimately consolidate our identities into the identity of Doc to sustain larger ones like Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, and even Dopey. Glimpses of these other identities surface from time to time, in no particular order beyond our habitual, unexamined reactions to various internal or external stimuli. When one recognizes which identity is perceiving any given internal or external stimuli, examination of other points of view becomes easier and can often times lead to the discovery of a more unified response to stimuli that incorporates all of our sentiments rather than excluding specific ones because they have not been previously called into action. 

When we incorporate multiple sentiments toward a first blush recognition or understanding, we expand our awareness of the original sentiment. Ruminating on the perspectives of other points of view is as delightful as it can be cognitively expanding. No wonder Doc is a universal identity, recognized in each and every culture for the ability to examine very specific reactions in order to maintain the integrated state of existence. 

Doc does not criticize the ailments of others, he merely listens and tries to help. When individuals go to see Doc they are looking for the opportunity to be heard, to share their best thoughts on why they are identifying with Grumpy, and to receive help in identifying problems so solutions can be sought. 

Doc's understanding of specifics comes from his consideration of all of them. It is from this expanded scope of understanding that we identify, relate, and adjust according to our wants and needs. The sooner our needs are met, the sooner we can help meet the needs of others. 

Doc is the universal identity that helps us break through the tightly held bonds we form with thought and sentiment, freeing us to consider alternative thoughts and sentiments that might just prove to be the very thing we needed to hear all along. 


Ah, Grumpy, the first level in our hierarchy of identity. Self-preservation is the key identifier of Grumpy. In this state we identify with the body - when the body is hungry, I am hungry, when it hurts, I hurt, when it is tired, I'm tired. The body cloaks the invisible identity, revealing its shape and expression. When we identify with the body, we are primarily focused on the physical form, as well as its physical qualities of male, female, young, old, beautiful, healthy, or sick. 

Physical identification is necessary to maintain biological health. It allows us to recognize adverse symptoms or sensations and seek help from our Docs. Without Grumpy to monitor and know what we can and cannot do, we might jump off a building anticipating flight. We would not recognize when we needed to eat, sleep, or move. Without Grumpy our health would become seriously compromised. Without Grumpy, we would become dissociated from the body and disconnect from the physical experience. 


Nestled right beneath the surface of Grumpy is Happy. Happy is King of our Emotions. Happy wears the clothing of our feelings. When we experience strong emotions, Happy comes alive and identifies with feelings in all their glory. Even our language sounds happy. I am happy, I feel happy. (Other languages in the realm of emotions exist: I have fear or anger but Happy is King, the ruler of the Kingdom of Emotion.)

I feel therefore I am, or more accurately, whatever I feel is what I am. Emotions vary depending on the state of one's internal kingdom, but ultimately the entire kingdom looks toward its ruler to determine the ideal state of the kingdom: Happiness. 


Sleepy represents our identification with our will, behavior, and our actions. This is where we realize that we are a separate entity with the power to choose our own actions and consequences. Sleepy is the ego identity, oriented toward self-definition. The irony associated with Sleepy is how active Sleepy is ~ though you'd be hard pressed to recognize it at the surface. Sleepy is sleepy because he is exhausted. 

Sleepy identifies Sleepy with what Sleepy does. When Sleepy does something right or achieves something difficult, Sleepy feels good about Sleepy, relaxes and goes to sleep. When Sleepy makes a mistake or fails to achieve a task, Sleepy stresses out, believes Sleepy is bad, and falls asleep from sheer mental anguish and the physical exhaustion that comes from mental turmoil. 

Sleepy thinks that what Sleepy does is a statement of who Sleepy is. Ego emerges from Grumpy (physical) and Happy (emotional) and can be thought of as the inner executive, as the middle manager in charge of all of our mental gymnastics ~ no wonder Sleepy's sleepy.  


Sneezy is our social identity, also known as the persona. The persona is the personality created to interact with others - it is the part of ourselves that the ego allows to rise above the surface. Whether we choose to sneeze, laugh, complain, analyze, teach, or martyr ourselves is entirely a matter of taste. Our social identity may be the compulsive helper, the pleaser, or the entertainer. In our families we often take on the role of the artist, musician, Yoda-like wise one, or the fun-loving, fun-to-be-around, best-liked, most likely to succeed one. 

Sneezy identifies with self through social engagements and relationships. As Sleepy matures, the identify shifts to include how we perceive our role of service to others, or how we have learned to give and embrace a world beyond our ego-oriented Sleepy self. In the identity of Sneezy becomes our basis for self-acceptance

Sneezy has the ego as its foundation, yet continually expands others. As we react to Sneezy's sneezes, we begin identifying and recognizing our reactions. We might react to another's sneeze with compassion, resentment, or downright disgust, but whatever our reaction, self-understanding can follow. 

Once we recognize and understand our reactions to the many sneezes of the world, we embrace an awareness of others.  As we break away from the sole identity with our Sleepy self and learn to equally care about other people in the world, our social identity expands. How we present ourselves to others depends largely on how we react to flowers. 


Bashful is the center of our creative identity. Bashful identifies with our self-expression - what we say and produce. Initially, Bashful identifies with our world through commitments. I have committed myself to marriage and by that commitment I am a wife or husband. I write, therefore I am a writer. I paint, therefore I am an artist. I am good with numbers, therefore I am a financial analyst. 

Through our creativity, Bashful identifies with the artist, teacher, entrepreneur, politician, mother, or father. (Bashful may also identify with mistakes and failures.) The creative identity expands outward through its ability to contribute and give back to the world at large. 

As Bashful matures, the ability to identify with larger possibilities and to reach for inspiration from the great works of civilization, from the inspiring acts of heroes and saints, poets and painters, inventors and explorers. 

As Bashful expands into the creative flux of the external world, Bashful identifies with the path or journey of the individual. The path or journey is the realization of our personal contribution to the world at large. Ideally, the path leads to an ever-expanding growth of consciousness and the eventual transcendence of the personal self into the transpersonal self. Its foundation is a healthy ego, social confidence, and a sense of compassion for others. 


Dopey expands into our archetypal identity, transforming the individual I into something transpersonal. Our personal story is now seen as an event in a larger story. If we suffered in childhood, we carry a piece of the archetypal story of the degradation of the inner child - the loss of the archetypal "me". The power that our parents lacked was the same power that has been stripped from human beings over millennia, stripped from the archetype itself. Those who suffer from early childhood wounds carry a piece of the larger story of disempowerment and as a result often times focus on the centered values of the home. 

Dopey in his own eccentric way enlarges our understanding of Self as we find our own life themes reflected in fairy tales, mythology, movies, and real life stories. We experience self-reflection in the world at large. We realize we are characters on a stage shared with others. As Dopey matures, he embraces the evolution of the archetypal characters that spoke to him early in life. Once we grow up and head out to work in the diamond mines of the world, we are doing more than going to work - we are contributing to a larger archetypal cause - human progress. 

Snow White's Seven Dwarfs

Each of Snow White's Seven Dwarfs can interfere with our health and undermine our identity. When a dwarf is overly focused on their perspective or their thoughts, it undermines Snow White's ability to keep a tidy house. 

This results in a type of counterforce that opposes the natural identity of the Dwarf. This counterforce usually results in a strengthening of whatever the Dwarf identity opposes. The presence of this irrational bonding keeps the Dwarf from doing its job, but that challenge also enables us to bring more awareness to that specific Dwarf's job, so eventually we can do it better. 

Development of the skills and concepts related to each Dwarf occur progressively in life, each completed stage supporting the healthy awakening of the next. Although Doc tells us that we function through all our specificities most of the time, there are specific habits and perspectives that keep the identify in its prime state of existence. 

Snow White's Seven Dwarfs built an abode for themselves and in doing so were able to welcome in Snow White. The bridge they crossed to work each day representing the entrance to a Norsian Valhalla or diamond mine. 

However many diamonds they mine in a day is less important than the individual tune they whistle as they work. While Snow White was not meant to dwell with her Dwarfs forever, their invitation allowed her to become conscious, despite eating an apple and losing consciousness, so that she too was able to find her higher purpose: to smile and sing a song, which eventually led to her finding her Prince Charming and living happily ever after.