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Current Issue: Volume 25, No.15 , Week of November 20, 2005

Narratives of desire and awareness: jeanne's jaguars.

Naked Space Performance Art Exhibit: Love 1A
Narratives of desire and awareness: jeanne's jaguars.

NEWS and Announcements Site Map
Previous Issue: Volume 25, No.14 , Week of November 6, 2005
News and Announcements from the Department of Criminal Justice, UWP
News and Announcements from the Department of Sociology, CSUDH

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: October 28, 2005
Latest Update: November 20, 2005

E-Mail Icon jeannecurran@habermas.org
takata@uwp.edu

Topic of the Week:

Narratives of desire and awareness:
jeanne's jaguars.


This is a story I haven't told for years. There seemed to be no need. Once, long ago, I had headaches that wouldn't go away. They got worse and worse, until they never left. My doctor said I was fine. Fine, indeed. In desperation I picked another doctor at random from the directory in my doctor's building. She told me my blood pressure was dangerously high, and that I would have to monitor it daily, and asked who my doctor was. Embarassed, for him and for me, I claimed not to have one, so she prescribed medication.

But she was a conscientious doctor, and I must have inadvertently said enough to let her locate my doctor, whom she promptly told of the dangerous condition. He was furious. With me and with her. He told me I had a psychosis that made me believe my blood pressure was high, when in fact it wasn't. He threatened to report the woman doctor for seeing his patient without his permission. I knew him; he was a friend; he was under a lot of stress; so I agreed to see the psychiatrist he insisted upon, and started on a search for another doctor, one who might help me past whatever was happening. My doctor was very well known, and his present state, plus his annoyance with me, might lead him to harm another doctor's reputation.

I tried a couple of traditional doctors who were so confused and rattled by my questions and my doctor's name, I gave up and tried alternative medicine. Though I tried everything they recommended faithfully, nothing relieved the pain, and the blood pressure continued to need medication. Meanwhile, the psychiatrist assured me that I did indeed have a rare psychosis that led me to believe my blood pressure was high, and wanted to send me to another psychiatrist who specialized in such weird psychoses.

Somewhere in the midst of all this I went to a well-known and well-respected pain clinic, where they recognized the headaches, saying that usually only men had them, and that only 10% of those who did have them had them continuously. Well, at least I was rare. That must count for something. Having told me that, they said they couldn't do anything for me because I wasn't in pain. Hello!

This went on for a while with me seeing more doctors (once they figured out that I really was in pain) than I can remember or count, each of whom asked a thousand specific questions relating to his or her specific perspective, and absolutely none of whom could figure out what to do but send to me to another doctor. At some point in this travesty of health care, one of the non-traditional doctors insisted on trying acupuncture. He left me on his treatment table and simply didn't reappear for a very long time. In desperation, I got up off the examining table, opened the door, and called out for a nurse. Along with the nurse the doctor came running in, barking at me for getting up and the nurse for whatever. Then he turned to me and said, "Don't you realize I have AIDS patients who get acupuncture treatments, and if they get up and walk around and a needle falls out on this floor, and you step on it . . . " He really didn't need to go on; I knew I was in a Kafkaesque novel out here in LaLa Land.

I put on my shoes, so I wouldn't step on acupuncture needles lying about; the nurse left, maybe in tears, and the doctor stormed out. I was in need of sanity and support. It was at that point that I reached up quietly and petted my jaguar on his soft neck. "It's OK," he said, "we'll get out of here. Don't worry about it." Yeah, my jaguars talk, English at that. There are two, but only one was with me that day. I'm not sure when they first came. That was the first time one had ever come into one of the doctor's offices. But on the way home in the car, I noticed they were both playing on the telepone wires, and following me carefully, all the way home.

This is a true story. Those jaguars stayed with me for many months, actually until my neck was broken in a car accident. That was when the pain stopped. One of the medical specialists was trying to get my blood pressure under control after they had accidentally given me steroids, about which some of them didn't know, and the blood pressure and maybe a few other things went wild (my pscyhosis again, I presume). My husband suggested they give me more of whatever they were using, since it was the first time he had seen me without pain in months. But the doctor said that wasn't because of their medication, it was because the energy patterns had changed when my neck was broken. I didn't believe him. I waited daily for the pain to come back. But he was right. It never did.

No, I do not recommend breaking your neck in a SigAlert to stop acute pain. Risky, my friends. But, yes, I do recommend jaguars who will playfully get you out of crazy places, many of which seem to be found in institutions, like those of health care, criminal justice, and education. I had imaginary friends as a child. Most of us did. But they made us let them go when we were older. I'm not sure what prompted mine to return, but I'm certainly glad they did.

Why Jaguars? I have no idea. Never met one in real life. Mine are gentle, race on ahead or play on high wires, but let me know they're there. I had a friend who was very ill, so ill she said she just couldn't meditate, though she had for many years taught meditation and had been to a meditation camp in India with the Beatles. I sent her the jaguars, and she rested more comfortably, and found it easier to meditate. So my jaguars fly through time and space, and seem to really get to where they're going. Some of that, I'm sure, depends on my investment of love and discipline into their journey and their task. But some of that is the magic they bring with them of a spirituality we can never fully understand, and some of that is the love my friends invest in welcoming them. Spirituality, like everything else, is interactive, and we can help each other through journeys that intimidate us on our own.

The jaguars haven't come out to play in a while. There's been so much to do here at school and with visual sociology and the art of engagement. I was surprised to see them again the other night, when another friend spoke of the stress of the testing situation in school. And suddenly there they were, saying "We can help. Just send us over." To do that effectively I needed to explain the narrative of desire that usually leads them to appear, and the awareness of spiritual and social collaboration that lets them fly to and fro. One of the other wonderful things about them is that when I send them away that doesn't mean I lose them, for, you see, they just clone themselves, so they're here for me as well as for whomever I send them to. I don't know how they do that. But it doesn't matter. Stories, mythos, see, belong to the spiritual world of belief. They're mine, those jaguars. They're there, or here. I know that. I don't have to validate it. But if you say they're not, it just means you can't see them. Maybe the love you're investing is different. Maybe you have to believe to see them. But that's OK. If they're there, they'll try to help you whether you can see them or not. Like love invested in our world.

jeanne

p.s. The pain never came back. And blood pressure medication is still needed. Whatever. jeanne

NEWS, Announcements, and

Current Events Discussion Topics:

jeanne won't be in on Tuesday, November 22. Sorry, but the radiation got me. Instead of meeting Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, as announced last week, I'll be in on Monday, November 28, so we'll have all day to plan our Naked Space Exhibit on November 29, and Betty's Retirement Party. The Exhibit and Party will go on from Noon to 7 p.m. spilling out of jeanne's office.

WE WON . . . WE WON . . . FOR NOW
We'll spend the last weeks of the semester planning cards and boxes and box sculptures that will help us bring real understanding of the social issues we're living through to our neighbors, our friends, our families.

  • The Ecstasy Exhibit at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art through February 20.
    "Ecstasy" is the trippy, messy, highly entertaining survey put together by Paul Schimmel of the Museum of Contemporary Art here. It sprawls through the Geffen Contemporary, the museum's cavernous warehouse in Little Tokyo, which too often begs for attention but is now jammed with blissed-out mobs.

  • The Art of Engagement:

    Saturday, December 3, 2005
    7:00 till 9:30 p.m. Please make a reservation for seating.
    The Art of Engagement
    Jack Rutberg Fine Arts Gallery
    357 North La Brea
    Los Angeles, California 90036

    Revised Syllabi for jeanne's Fall 2005 Classes
    Instructions for Tutoring Requests and to Upload Learning Records

    Famous People and Concepts We Should Have Heard Of, But Often Haven't.

      People

    • Helnwein - Austrian artist who is deeply engaged and uses his art to convey his messages. Compared to Beuys, who despised the commodification of art.

    • Botero - Colombian artist who could not help himself - he had to paint the violence he witnessed in his own country.

    Concepts:

    Jeanne's Lectures for Fall 2005

    Academic Support and Resource Links

  • SquiggleResource Literacy

    Using Academic Language Effectively

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary Search:

    and Careers

    • Resumes:

    • Letters of Recommendation:

      • Letters of Recommendation: How to get me to respond to your request. Many of you need letters. If you will follow this format, I can do them quickly and make them good.
      • Dog Letters If you do not give me adequate information, but do manage to get my attention, you may end up with a dog letter. That is a letter that says that you work well with people, that you are enthusiastic, that you persist at getting things done, and that everyone likes you. Of course, my dog gets along well with people, brings his ball to them, is enthusiastic, and persists at getting them to take his ball. Everyone likes my dog. That's a dog letter. It's so general it could be about my dog. jeanne

    • Career Options You Might Not Have Considered

      • visual media and their interdependence with other means of knowing to understand that we are not totally rational creatures deciding things apart from our feelings and values. Wolfowitz (new President of the World Bank to aid developing countries AND principle advocate of the Iraq War) might feel very differently when he is exposed to visual and aural images of the poor developing countries that have not before been his primary concern. So we want to know how best to present those developing countries visually. And we might find that we can have a career doing that sort of thing, so it does reflect on us as individuals. Added April 2, 2005.

    That Was Fun! Sneaky Strokes and Flying Good Dogs

    Flying Dog is also a painting by Zhang Kai. Best I've ever come across to illustrate our site with magic numbers and unicorns and whipped cream cats and now, flying dogs, oh, and Faupel's Flying Fish.:

    • Icons and acronyms and what they mean in Internet Speak

    • Index of Nice Things We've Said to Each Other

    • Flying Good Dogs: Whenever something happens in class that works out well, that inspires you, that helps in studying, whatever, take a few minutes to send us an e-mail. We'll post it where all of us can learn from it, including other teachers.