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One of the many ways PTSD affects those afflicted with this horrendous injury is the complete annihilation of their “raison d’être”.  Simply put in English: a reason for living.  A reason for being alive.

For those who do not have PTSD this isn’t an easy concept to understand.  “What do you mean you have no idea why you are alive?”  There is a complete look of stupefied rage on the listener’s face.  We are often met with anger: for most part anger born out of fear so deep it resonates in ancient cells, for without purpose, what is there to live for?

There is a cavity that opens before the listener’s mind’s eye that is as deep and dark as hell, overpowering, overwhelming and without hope.  Despair is all that can be heard.  So rage is where they listener goes.

Can we find our purpose in another?

Some think so, and they try but in so doing they trap that individual in a stasis, never allowing them to move from that which gives the other purpose.  For example, the wife of the cop with PTSD who supports and cares for that servant of the public.  The pits and despair are places the wife knows well, her entire focus becomes the protection, care and support role she takes on.  Slowly, bit by bit she loses any sense of what life would be like out of the pit and all that she is becomes his/her PTSD.  The injury becomes everything, any movement out of the pit is frightening.  It is a norm that is both comfortable, as it is painful.

A child?

Frankly, yes.  Our children give us a reason for not vanishing.  When we have children they become our entire focus and our raison d’être.  Is this healthy?  Good lord, no.  In so doing we bring up self-entitled brats who are going to find adulthood a huge disappointment.

No.  Sadly, our PURPOSE has to come from deep within our souls.  Introspective.  Focus internally not externally for that purpose.

Teaching children at Wix Brown Elementary was often a challenge.  27% of the children were in foster care, they came from the much ignored segment of Canadian society that the Drug and Gangster Culture nurtures.  Whilst FB is full of kiss the Syrian refugees, I wonder how many have visited North Delta High to see the special locked facility where at risk teens are kept until they can be booted out onto the streets to die.  Those 27% children and the others who lived on the grow-ups or with Gangster parents needed the gift of ART; the vision of what life can be and an idea of the beauty that is within us all, no matter the darkness that surrounds us.

During a lesson to a group of Grade 6’s one of these gifted children (who suffered from Foetal Alcohol Syndrome) asked me what my voice was.

My voice.

My artistic voice.  I love to teach art through the language, the voice and the alphabet of artists past and present.  To step into their minds eye for a while and see the world as they do.  In so doing the children and adults find themselves, bit by bit.  I looked at him and said, “I don’t have one.”  He said simply, “Well you should you’ve been doing this long enough to find one haven’t you?”



Simple truths from young minds.  So I looked him in the eye and I said, “But it’s terrifying.”


“Because to find my voice I have to go deep inside myself.  I have to dig through everything until I find it.  That’s why.”

He just stared at me and then quietly said, “Just like all the others then.  They were all rejected and nobody understood them, but they still did it and sometimes it turned them crazy when they had to look inside themselves… like Van Gogh.  But you still have to do it.”

Grade 6.

And so INTROSPECTIVE ART was born, in my tiny brain and in a tiny piece of BC.  Introspective Art is my purpose and reason for living that is entirely selfish and focused only on finding and uncovering the truth that lies within.  It uses the masters of movements that have gone before: Expressionism with all its need to express an idea or emotion; Fauvism with its wild exuberance and play with brilliant colours and shapes; Abstract Art distilling reality into shapes and colours that beg the viewer to think; Realism that snaps a moment in time, encapsulates us in a moment; Pop Art with all its joy and silly, there was much behind its politics and need to explain our living experience and finally, Surrealism where the world is taken and simply given a bit of a shove, until it mirrors questions without answers.

Loss of Purpose.

It is what happens when PTSD strikes your brain.  Injures.  Incapacitates and harms.  Finding that PURPOSE, that raison d’être is everything to do with healing and recovery.  It cannot be about another person.  It cannot be about anything but YOU.  This is a terrifying concept but one that simply must be addressed if bit by bit you are to claw your way out of the PTSD Shadowlands.

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