Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT June 18th 2021

Thank you to everyone who joined for this session!

In today’s session, we gathered from across the globe to view Lady Gaga’s short film “911.” After spending about 5 minutes viewing the music video together, we took a few moments to silently review the song’s lyrics and collect our thoughts. THen, we began our close reading discussion with the question, “What is our entry point? How do we find our way in?”

One participant started our discussion by noting how the vivid scenes and colors of the video created a chaos that reflects the traffic accident revealed at the end of the video. We discussed the setting, colors, and costumes that created what some described as a dream, others a nightmare. As we looked closely at the lyrics, we found that perhaps another description of the experience would be one of hallucination or the visual experience of a psychotic breakdown, echoed in the lyrics “my mind takes me to manic places.” Moreover, we reflected on the lyrics continual reference to medication as an escape from the troubles of reality.

We we also struck by the symbolism of the images and objects in the dream state portion of the video, and how they represented parallel images and objects in the scene of the accident: the sand dunes of the LG advertisement create the desert scene of the dream, complete with a dark horseman; the EMS first responders use reflective mirrors in place of pen lights; Lady Gaga’s ankle bracelet serves as her tourniquet.

The piece was moving at both a visual and auditory level, and was a representation of Mental Health, its impact, and the non-linearity of experience, memory and trauma. The imprint of trauma on the brain and its impact to response and behavior. A great way to understand illness in context. 

After a lively discussion, we moved on to our writing prompt: “Draw or describe (or sing!) the beautiful places you keep yourself.” After writing for 4 minutes, we began to share our reflections. One participant offered us a natural garden scene where she could “befriend butterflies” and “eat fragrance.” She held onto the blades, even as “the black suit of emotions” poured like a crushing waterfall. Another participant described a summer hike, a path where a tree “canopy shields me from the world.” She reflected on the energy in the air and the beauty of the flowers. Here, she wrote, is “a place I return to often. A place of respite. A place to rededicate myself to living.” Finally, another participant invited, “come walk with me on the beach.” We reflected on sharing a special place with others, and how we can leave ourselves there. “Pieces of us are still scattered on the shore, among the shells and the starfish.” In these beautiful places, we all found respite.

Participants are warmly encouraged to share what you wrote below (“Leave a Reply”), to keep the conversation going here, bearing in mind that the blog of course is a public space where confidentiality is not assured.

Also, we would love to learn more about your experience of these sessions, so if you’re able, please take the time to fill out a follow-up survey of one to two quick questions!

Please join us for our next session Monday June 21st at 6pm EDT, with more times listed on our Live Virtual Group Sessions page.

5 thoughts on “Live Virtual Group Session: 12PM EDT June 18th 2021


    Amongst evergreens and loons’ wails; under a transitory summer sun
    I am transformed into a sleek dolphin weaving in and out of warm waters.
    A current must have transported me from my birth place of salt-filled lungs
    to this magnificent mountain lake gouged out by glaciers long ago.

    Liked by 1 person

    • al3793

      Patricia, this transformation takes me back to a summer in Maine when I found the “loon’s wails” most memorable except that I had forgotten about that sound until now. The action packed into these four lines that takes the reader from a warm saline bath to a glacier lake is so-real in contrast to the surreal experience of the music video we examined. The birth place of salt-filled lungs is an apt metaphor for the safe harbor of the amniotic environment of a mother’s womb. Andre


  2. Describe the beautiful places I keep myself~~~

    There are beautiful places I roam to buffer myself from the noise and havoc of the world that surrounds me.
    Climbing a trail on a perfect summer day where the trees’ canopy shields me from the world.
    I feel protected here as my feet glide on the soft earth.
    To either side, are beautiful native flowers.., cardinal flowers, bluebells, yellow rockets tucked away under the branches of the mountain laurels.
    These gifts of Mother Nature flourish here in the damp fertile ground of decaying leaves.
    I inhale deeply the air, it brings a sense of energy to my heart and mind.
    The troubles of the world are removed and I have only the wood thrush and cardinal, singing in the treetops, to break the silence of the moment.

    It is a place I return to often, a place of respite, a place to re-dedicate myself to living.
    It is my place of remedy.
    It is here I feel closest to my Creator.


  3. al3793

    I immerse myself in the balm of creation
    at whatever altitude to which I can ascend
    among the behemoths of the western sky
    snowcapped, etching the seemingly endless sky
    with that unmistakable, jagged silhouette of young mountains.
    They blow the aroma of the sage into my face
    flying down from frigid summits, and then are warmed as they
    cross the dry, lakeside meadow and proceed
    up the chute of a path that leads to wherever
    the Wind chooses to send me.
    “Let’s try this one and see what happens.”
    An ironic grounding, multicolored butterflies, and hummingbirds
    “joyas voladaros”, flying jewels
    dot the arid landscape with colors from nature’s pallet that
    seem unnatural.

    What a beautiful place to keep myself.

    You have anointed me
    To bring glad news
    To help heal broken hearts and
    Comfort those who are mourning
    To bathe others with an unction of gladness and
    Share a mantle of joyful faith and the hope of
    Your Spirit that I am graced to bear.
    You have anointed me.
    (cf, Isaiah 61:1-3)



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