ART AS MEDICINE: Feelings Matter

By Elanit Kayne Linder Director, Care Navigators, Jewish Family Service of Greater New Haven, Author of “The Bucket and the Stone”

As we enter into the new year of 5784 with all of our different prayers and practices, flavors of Judaism, and synagogues that sprinkle across the landscape of Greater New Haven, one thing is clear to me: feelings matter. As early as 1991 Dr. J. Andrew Armour proved that the heart has an intelligence, literally an energy affecting brain coherence. The intrinsic cardiac nervous system fires ninety percent of the information or neurons from the heart to the brain in communication, and not the other way around. If we literally remain open hearted, transparent, and loving, we can affect our cognitions and neuropathways.

This research shows that our hearts literally process our environment in a similar yet different way than our minds (Dispenza, 2017). In The Bucket and the Stone, I refer to these different centers as thought and intuition (Linder, 2017).

This year, I will present to you my new series JourneyDrawings: Art as Medicine, I believe that we must not only understand our feelings on the both the intellectual and heart level, but we must be able to visualize them too. It is the visualization that allows us to take the idea or feeling, out of our physicality and present it back to ourselves. This presentation, or step back, takes the emotion down and engages our executive decision maker (Kalmenson, 2013).  

We all suffer. Judaism is full of suffering both in our historic journeys and the spiritual ones given over in the Torah. The question is how do we heal both as (i)ndividuals and as a community? (i) will use a simple set of (i)conography to make the lofty concepts of quantum physics and Jewish Mysticism not only understandable but also cross-cultural, so that we can all learn together regardless of background or affiliation. It is this unity and oneness that I am very invested in as an (i)ndividual and (i)n community. 

(i) is the small spark from the [I]nfinite that is inside of the body as the soul. It is the spark. Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah name the different layers and manifestations of the soul as nefesh, ruach, neshamah, chayah, and yechidah. For the purposes of Realistic M(i)nimalistic communication, we will use (i). 

[I] is the [I]nfinite large and expansive. One might name [I] the Universe, or an un-ending expansive energy. One might name [I] G-d. Jewish Mysticism and Kabbalah have 72 names for the [I]nfinite and its manifestations in the world.

The Beis Samech Daled is translated to with G-d’s help. In our work it represents the proposal that everything in this world is yesh me yesh or something from something. The below drawn Hebrew letters represent “with G-d’s help” or yesh me ayin translated to something from nothing. Only with G-d’s help can the world itself change in miraculous ways ie something from nothing. 

If I just got a little too religious for you, and your Jewish practice involves lox on a bagel, or a 7% return on a DNA test at 23andMe, let me share some quantum physics. There is the infinite: some big dark space out there with sparkly little stars in it and we don’t know where it ends. This we can all agree on. When we choose what we know in front of us: this is where I go every day, my personality in public is like this, when I wake up I check my cell phone; or negative cognitions such as I’m 50 years old I can’t go back for my master’s degree, my husband will always blame me, or I can’t stand the line in this grocery store; we are missing more than 99% of what is in front of us and the infinite amount of other options in that moment, the present tense. 

Dr. Gabor Mate discusses the healing or returning to ourselves and inner qualities as it relates to trauma, illness and person in environment. Viktor E. Frankl created logotherapy with the intent that creating meaning in our lives is the healer. Rabbi Majeski in the Chassidic Approach to Joy speaks like Dr. Joe Dispenza in picking something other than the material in front of you, but something more expansive in the quantum to focus on. What all philosophies have in common, ART AS MEDICINE: Feelings Matter (Continued on page 20)











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