My 48th Birthday

May, 2015

It was my 48th birthday and I went to pick up my son from after school care. Once he was in the car, I mentioned my birthday and below was the wonderful gift he gave me.

Don’t get so caught up in your work, your worries or other relatively unimportant things. Raise your head and look around. You might just see those you love.

Van Gogh – The Spiritual Guide

I was with my son in Paris in July. It was a great trip. I wanted him to see the world. When he was young, he had wanted to be an artist and I decided way back then that I would take him to the art galleries of Europe and beyond.

Art and therapy from Van Gogh
I was standing in front of this self-portrait of Van Gogh

Standing in front of Vincent at Musée d’Orsay was a highlight of the trip. As we looked at Vincent, I said something to my son like, “You will see this photo and others here the rest of your life, in books and online. At this moment, you are standing in front of beauty. Cherish this moment.” I was speaking to him. I was speaking to myself.

Artist as therapist
Lost in the moment, while viewing the stars

I stood before the stars Vincent had seen and captured and was lost to the world. While the room was crowded, there was no one else there but Vincent and me. Eventually, my son broke through and I took this photo. There are things and moments that transcend time, when we stop questioning – when we are at peace.

Van Gogh and Jack
Van Gogh and my son Jack

I wanted to remember this moment forever. I asked my son to stand in front of this work and I attempted to capture just enough of him.

Van Gogh perspective
Van Gogh perspective with my son

A teenage girl next to Jack exclaimed in English that she had seen this painting on “Doctor Who” and she and my son shared a moment together. I then watched him, as he took a photo and took one of my own.

Some would consider the life of Vincent Van Gogh as a sad one. I see the beauty that he gave us and take joy in knowing that he was here and joy in his gifts to us. Some people feel deeply and suffer for it. Vincent was able to reach out through his pain and communicate in a way few others have rarely approached. I celebrate his life!

There is a beautiful moment from “Doctor Who”, when The Doctor and companion take Vincent to the future – (2010) to see how his works were received. A man who would die alone with no idea that he had a positive effect on the world was able to see how very much he gave us. Do you ever try to project into the future and imagine the ripples in time of your existence? Do you ever try to live in such a way that you can be remembered fondly?

Psychology and interaction with nature

This psychology podcast discusses the influence of “greenery” – nature – on psychological outcomes, reduction in crime and other psycho-social factors.

“If you live in a big city, you may have noticed new buildings popping up — a high-rise here, a skyscraper there. The concrete jungles that we’ve built over the past century have allowed millions of us to live in close proximity, and modern economies to flourish. But what have we given up by moving away from the forest environments in which humans first evolved? This week, we discuss this topic with psychologist Ming Kuo, who has studied the effects of nature for more than 30 years.” (Accessed 14 Sept 2018,