#ThrowbackThursday: When Zeeva was Blind

Once upon a time… I Was Blind. THEY said I’d be blind for the rest of my life. Being blind is a scary and crazy experience for anyone–but I’m an ARTIST. I could no longer see–but I couldn’t possibly give up the rich world of ART. 

The Getty Center had a VISION: to create a program to give real ACCESS to their amazing collection so that blind and sight-impaired visitors could come with their families and friends to reap the many benefits of ART. They called for for a committee of blind and sight-impaired people who loved art to help them create that ACCESS. We came. Six months later–the Getty had a wonderful audio tour and incredible replicas of details from great works of Art that could be appreciated through the sense of TOUCH. 

I was so impressed with their vision and the access they’d created, I challenged them to go one step further: were they ready for a Blind Artist as a Docent?

They had the vision to take me on. THAT saved my life… I could now be surrounded by the world’s great works of Art that I could see in my mind’s eye and through the eyes of the visitors that I challenged to see what I could no longer see… 

One day, I received a call from the director of the docent program at the Getty. They’d received a communique that delighted them, showing them that their docent program–and their blind docent–were succeeding as they’d envisioned. I’d inspired one of their visitors to take what she’d experienced at the Getty, think about it, and consider a whole new perspective on art and the experience of art than she’d had before. And, to share it with others upon her return home…

By empowering a blind artist to keep experiencing art that she could no longer see, the Getty Center continued to empower my coming back to a meaningful life. They asked my permission to provide my e-mail to Karin Eaton, and Karin asked me to write this article to publish in Surface and Symbol, so providing me with a whole new challenge for my injured brain…

Perspectives On Vision from a Sight-Impaired Artist:                                     By NZ  Zazhinne, Originally Published March 2001 in Surface and Symbol, the Arts Journal of the Scarborough Arts Council, Toronto, Canada   volume 13 no.2

Preface by Karin Eaton, Executive Director, Scarborough Arts Council:

“All art starts as an idea; you don’t have to be able to see it to appreciate it.” These were the words I overheard at the Getty Center in Los Angeles that set off a series of events resulting in the inspiring article by Z. The words startled me. I had already spent several hours touring, exploring, gasping with amazement and wonder at the Getty Center; its art, its architecture, its environment. Such a provocative statement could not be ignored. I turned to look at the speaker. She was obviously a docent doing one of the many architectural tours of the Getty. But no ordinary docent, Z, as I have come to know her, had the dark glasses and white cane of the blind. Even now as I think back at the moment, tears come to my eyes. I was so moved by the significance of her words and the obvious ‘vision’ of her own actions, that I was unable to speak. I repeated her words in my mind and wrote them down so I wouldn’t forget.

When I returned to Toronto, the incident had an unreal quality that continued to haunt me. I had to contact this person. I had to share with her the fact that I had quoted her in presentations and conversations. Through the miracles of technology it turned out to be quite easy to track her down through the Getty Center website. And so, an email relationship was born.

Z makes me remember why I slog away as an administrator helping artists have a place to be. Z makes me realize that the colour of every day is different and that they’re all wonderful even the grey ones. I knew that Z’s vision should be shared. Read her story for yourself. Be inspired. —Karin Eaton

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My name is Z and I am blind. I was not born blind. It has been about three years. I am fortunate enough to have seen many of the great wonders of the world, to visit great and small temples of art and culture on four continents.

In early 1998, a freak environmental accident left me with extensive neurological damage that resulted in blindness and multiple disabilities. No matter how much one changes in life, I do not think we can change the core of who we are.

I am blessed: I am a highly spiritual person and a creative spirit. When I became brain-damaged and blind, Spirit, Creativity and Art saved my life.

“Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved the art of magic and ritual, and the magic and ritual of art…”                                                            Born and raised in New York, I am the daughter of immigrants. I first learned the language of my grandmothers, and then had to learn the language of my country. I began to learn the global languages of art, dance, and music.

My first taste of multi-media was in the Byzantine churches of New York City: all carved and gilded wood, vividly painted and gilded icons, glowing in the light of candles, scented with frankincense and myrrh, ritual filled with chanting and the rich choral traditions of the Eastern Orthodox church. My first taste of magic and transformation came from the marvelous folk tales of my people. From my youngest childhood, life was a magical, multi-sensory experience.

Early in my career as an artist, I was my own medium. A child in love with ballet, I began to train my body in that rigorous discipline. I grew, adding other dance forms and I loved the immediacy of expression that came along with a trained body. I think it is the discipline that I learned in the dance studio, honed by some of the finest dancers in the world, that has allowed me to cope with disability and the long road back to rehabilitation.

I am very fortunate to have a brilliant mother who loves art, and our mother/daughter time, on stolen lunch hours was best spent at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We would mount those steps and she would ask: “Where do you want to go today?”

I would wander the halls of the UN Secretariat building while she worked. There is some astounding art there–each member nation sends its best. I would visit works that sent my imagination soaring: everything from huge antique tapestries or mosaics from Iran or Iraq, incredible elongated statues carved from African woods, paintings from around the world, and one of my special favorites, a stained glass window by Marc Chagall.

That early exposure to inspiring art and inspiring visionary people from around the world gave me a global consciousness and love of diversity.

I became interested in world music, world culture, world religions and mythologies. Always fascinated with the magic of perception, I cut my adolescent teeth on Huxley’s writings. The concept of liquid theatre really grabbed me. I wanted to feel everything, experience everything. I would play at what would it be like if I were… a tree? A cloud? A Roman statue? How did it feel different in pose than a Greek statue? What did an Egyptian pose evoke? What about a Rodin? Or a rearing beast, or a Matisse?  As a young dancer, I would forget other visitors at the Met, and stand in front of a statue or painting and take a pose.  What movement came before the pose was frozen? What movement did it flow into? Who WAS that person, what did they feel like? Who was the artist, why the choice of a moment to capture forever? What would it be like to see or feel as they did?

The concept of synaesthsia has always fascinated me. Most everyone can say what the “blues” sound like. But what does red SOUND like? How does yellow TASTE? And if silver had a scent, what would it be?

Oddly, before I became blind, I had some “experiences” at it. As a young child, I learned my choreography on a stage that was marked. My mentor (an old and famous Diaghalev dancer) blindfolded me and told me to do it again! I protested. She explained that when performing, I would not be able to look at the marks, or see the audience, or other dancers–I would have to know where I was by my ‘other’ senses. That rocked my world!

As a student at an experiential college, I explored what it might be like to be in a culture so foreign that we would be as blind or mute: we spent a couple of days in pairs, one blinded-folded, both unable to speak. Terrifying at first, but once you went with it for a few hours, profound and deep.

Later still, I went through a bout with a strange disease which put varying pressures on my optic nerves, putting me though a year of sight changes that were highly disturbing. Sometimes I could see perfectly, though there were times that things looked very distorted. After a year or so of changes, I was left with a stabilized tunnel vision, and a loss of some color differentiation: I could no longer see those fine gradations of the millions of colors I once saw. I thought THAT was bad!

I had lost my pastels, and could no longer always tell the difference between scarlet and crimson. I suffered eye fatigue after six (or so) hours of intense work that would take my ability to differentiate between related colors, blur detail.

I adapted by using only a few different colors of paint at a time, and placing them in their proper places, by scheduling my activities for the “good” sight hours of the day, by using the eyes of artist friends. I went to see things early in the day. If I had to really see later, I would have to rest my eyes completely– for hours before.

I saw several specialists, hoping for the return of what sight had become impaired. One was the guru on this syndrome. Dr Guru and the others concurred: I had stabilized for some time now, they said. “What you see is what you get. Won’t get any better, won’t get any worse. Adapt.”  They told me it wasn’t so bad, and as the woman in the next room was getting ready to have her second eye removed, I understood. I adapted. I kept making art.

In early ’98, an accident changed my life. I was ill. I saw doctors. They said I was now blind. I thought that would clear up in a few months. Instead, my sight and health roller-coastered. I began to fall while dancing or walking. I could not make the two sides of my body cooperate. It got worse. I was in constant excruciating pain.  Over the course of the next year, sight became a colorless fog of shadow-y amorphous forms and movements–if I was close enough. I became anoxic, and more disabled. I experienced all the things we human beings go through when disaster hits. Anger, terror, self-pity…the gamut.

I am blessed to be surrounded by some of the most wonderful people in the world and I am grateful for the friends who help and encourage me.  A few years later, I have gathered a rehabilitation team of awesome cheerleaders who help me find ways to heal, and cope and fight the damage, rebuild my injured brain. I refused to accept that making and experiencing art was lost to me. I still make art, though now I sculpt, and carry color charts in my purse so others can correctly provide or describe a color to me. I learn adaptive technology (talking computers) to allow me to return as fully as I can to life, to work.  I visit galleries with many people, visit artists and ask them to talk to me about their work while I feel it with my hands. Unless paintings are a completely flat wash, one can feel direction and texture and intensity of brush stroke. How each artist describes their work is fascinating. Some start with the visual gestalt. Some with the idea that inspired it or the feeling they want to convey. Some focus on a favorite detail or the process.

I want to know colors: what KIND of green is it? Very few blind people have been blind from birth–so most have some sort of color perspective. To hear something described as a “nice” color is like describing a chord as a “pleasant” one. Is it major? Minor? Does it have a flatted 5th? Don’t know the names of colors? Tell me: is it army green? Kiwi green? Green like spring grass or summer? Evergreen? Swampy green? Insect green?

I am always asking people to share.  I have a friend whose description of the sky can make my spirit soar. How would YOU describe the Sistine Chapel, given 5 minutes? Picasso’s Weeping Women?  What would YOU choose to share? All art comes from inspiration that hits in the form of an IDEA. An artist communicates that idea for viewers to be touched and to share. Sighted or not–everyone can understand and share an idea. I met a blind poet who had been a painter in his pre-blind life. He said it made him so mad that he couldn’t see that he shunned his artist friends and became instead a wordsmith. A feted and honored one. But I could not believe that he would give up what I hungered for…

I believe in magic and transformation.

A young girl, I saw a protest march in Central Park. Someone had painted a sign that said “Accept No Imitations.” 

Someone else took the paintbrush, still wet, and added an “L” and it became: “Accept No Limitations.” My credo for life.

By NZ  Zazhinne March 2001

from the upcoming book “Stories: in the Key of Z”   by Zeeva International aka Zeeva Natasha Zazhinne  (NZ Zazhinne)

Zeeva International aka Zeeva Natasha Zazhinne  and (as NZ Zazhinne) is the author of ‘Zeeva the Art of Wellness: The True Story of How Z Got Well Again and You Can Too!’  available now on Amazon here: http://goo.gl/GmeoVX

 

Respect Veterans? How About Some REAL Respect?

Happy Veterans’ Day. It makes me SICK. Here’s how AMERICA celebrates our vets: Here’s a discount on CRAPPY JUNK FOOD. Here’s a SALE so you can buy crap you can’t afford. Here’s a parade so all the important people in town can make themselves look good. HOW ABOUT GETTING OUR VETERANS WHAT THEY NEED? HOW about if the US government & the US military starts showing our veterans some REAL RESPECT & some REAL THANKS for their service?

A year ago ( Nov 14, 2013) CNN reported: ‘Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That’s a suicide every 65 minutes.  As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher… Experts have no doubt that people are being missed in the national counting of veteran suicides… & the Department of Veterans Affairs only reported data from 21 states–with 2 of the largest states California & Texas–among the states whose statistical data was missing from this ‘study’ which looked ONLY at 77% of the recorded suicides in 40% of the U.S. population.’

From what I hear from people working with veterans–it’s more like 55 attempts a DAY–& there’s that ‘77% of only 40% of the population…’ How many US veterans are REALLY so broken they’re trying to kill themselves each & every day?

And why do you think they’re turning to SUICIDE as the answer?

A survey by the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America showed that 30% of service members have considered taking their own life. 45% said they know an Iraq or Afghanistan veteran who has attempted suicide. “There’s probably a tidal wave of suicides coming,” says Brian Kinsella, an Iraq war veteran who started Stop Soldier Suicide, a nonprofit group that works to raise awareness of suicide.

Post-traumatic stress & traumatic brain injuries are the ‘signature injuries’ of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yes–I take it personally–because I KNOW the HELL of BRAIN INJURIES.  I also know YOU CAN BEAT BRAIN INJURIES–but not the way that most VA’s are treating them!

We CAN do better for our vets. We CAN do better for all the many people suffering the cognitive, behavioral, emotional, & physical problems & the neurological damages caused by war & the toxic world we live in.  But those who are profiting off the suffering of others will not give up their profits easily. There ARE cost-effective ways that do work. But they just don’t fit the profit-hungry Pharmaceutical Model of Medicine that our system sanctions & our tax dollars buy.

I’m a PEACENIK & PROUD of it! I’ve worked & marched for PEACE. As a kid I worked  & marched alongside of Viet Nam Veterans Against the War. I hear stories about how hippies & other Peaceniks dissed our Viet Nam Vets. They got MORE dissed & are still getting dissed–those who are still alive–since so many DIED from Agent Orange Cancer, other war-related illnesses, & lack of appropriate care & support–by the very government they fought for & the Veterans Administration–both more concerned about photo op’s & “how things LOOK” than getting our vets what they need! As a grown woman & a brain injury surviver myself–even when I was blind & still pretty sick & struggling myself–I was doing all I could–using talking computers & sharing the treatments that were WORKING for me.

Brain-injured vets have contacted me for years–seeking a different way than the “bagful of drugs”—err—“medications”-they tell me is the “treatment” they get from the VA. No counseling from people who really understand. No real rehabilitation. They tell me the wards are crowded & noisy. No wonder some “choose” to live in the streets. No wonder some, in desperation, take their own lives. As a brain-injured person who had a lot of training & expertise in Alternative & Body-Mind Medicine, with more than 2 decades in the field of Peak Performance when I became so brain-injured THEY said I’d never get better again–I knew I needed quiet & low environmental input–especially when my brain was trying to HEAL ITSELF–which the human body is made to do. That is–when it’s not “medicated” into complacency & it’s processes are interrupted by “Science.”

WHY isn’t the VA & the US govt doing more for our veterans? Brain injuries became the “signature wounds” of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars just a year or two in. Yet it took a retired Navy physician, a rock singer, & the private sector—soldiers’ families & people like me—publicizing & donating money to provide our service people with helmets more like those used by football players—for YEARS before the military woke up about helmets that could better protect against IED’s & Operation Helmet is STILL providing these better helmets! In my old e-zine–I was only one of many private citizens who helped advocate getting SOLDIERS at WAR better protection than the MILITARY & the US GOVERNMENT thought necessary.

I’m just one woman & a brain-injury survivor myself, still battling an inefficient & corrupt system & dealing with almost more than I can handle. I’m handing it because I have to. I’m disgusted with the lies & subterfuge of people in the VA, in the Social Security Administration, in the hallowed halls of the US governments–federal & local–who give lip-service & wear flags & say “Thank you for your service” while continuing to draw their own salaries & benefits for denying those they are supposed to be serving their benefits.

I KNOW people care. Please… CARE ENOUGH to rise up & demand REAL, EFFECTIVE treatments become available, accessible, PAID for & provided by our Health-Care systems. We’ll save money–& we’ll save LIVES. DON’T just SAY ‘thank you for your service’ but help support & fight for veterans having a hard time!

The military chews up our soldiers & throws them away. You want an example? Spc. Brent Grommet, an Afghanistan veteran, went through proper procedure to ADOPT his military working dog– as both Army regulations & Federal law allow. He & his dog went through basic training together, they got deployed together & they were injured together by a roadside IED. They came home on the same transport together. This 23 year old now deals with traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, spinal-cord injury, daily pain, migraines, chronic breathing problems & PTSD & he did everything right to get his dog released to be adopted by HIM! Instead of being returned to him–his dog was kidnapped by a military man of higher rank–who’s apparently now in the Pentagon–so I guess he thinks he’s ‘untouchable.’ Read the story Soldier’s hero dog ‘stolen’ by military  Nov 9 NYPOST

Sickening. Not only did this wounded warrior did NOT get a ‘thanks”– he was threated by officers to NOT speak to media about the fight to get his dog & fighting buddy back–or he’d ‘be sent to prison at Leavenworth… not a threat… (they said) it’s [military] law.”              YOU CAN  HELP this VET get his DOG BACK! This is a NEW petition with MANY SIGNATURES NEEDED BY DEC 09, 2014 TO REACH GOAL OF 100,000! When I signed it today there were only 173 signatures. PLEASE SIGN IT & SHARE IT!

You can also make TAX-DEDUCTIBLE contributions to groups like The Wounded Warrior Project who spend over ½  (57.9%) what they take in for  on programs & services they deliver to VETS, & with just over ⅓ (36.3%) going to their fundraising efforts. Charity Navigator rates their Transparency pretty high: a score of 96 (out of 100.)        At least that part of your tax dollars won’t be wasted.

Yes–the concept of Veterans Day makes me sick because of the hypocrisy of marketers & politicians who ignore the real needs of our veterans & use this one day as an advertising extravaganza when we have now lost more of our veterans to suicide than we have on the front.  Yet more money gets put into these interminable ‘studies’ that could go to actually providing meaningful & PROVEN TREATMENTS that could help people HEAL & the considerable advertising dollars by businesses could instead be channelled into projects like The Wounded Warrior Project to REALLY say “Thank you for your service.”

What’s it going to take to get Americans to say “ENOUGH?”

Click here to see the ORIGINAL Note I posted “BETTER Thanks for their Service: A Brain-Injured Peacenik’s Plea for Our Vets” on  my Zeeva the Art of Wellness Facebook Page on May 22 2012 

Thanks for your comments–I DO appreciate your comments… on this blog post & my previous ones. I love passion but thanks for keeping it clean. This site is really a work-in-progress & as I, the woman who’s supposed to be “permanently blind, permanently brain-damaged, & permanently disabled”–good for nothing but a residency in a board & care on tax-dollar provided DRUGS–err–“medications” am developing it my SELF–it’s taking me a bit of time to master all the media… I just added an “About” & a Privacy page–with photos & video–CHECK THEM OUT! Let me know what you think & I’ll be back atcha real soon!

Best & BE WELL, LOVE… Zeeva

 

 

 

5 Things a Brain-Damaged Person CAN DO!

I started this blogpost calling it:

What Can a Brain-Damaged Woman Do? A LOT!

We all joke about “brain-damage.’ I’m no different—I do too! We forget something or mis-speak—“Oops! Brain damage!” Many  people who actually live with brain damage—their own or a loved one’s DO make jokes about it. Sometimes you just gotta laugh. But let me tell you: Brain Damage is NO JOKE!

“A brain in a terrible thing to waste.” I always agreed with that commercial. I still do. But not until my own brain was really WASTED did I really appreciate how serious that statement really is.

ZAW Brain Synapses

When I was a kid—adults (my parents, my school teachers, other people I met who taught me things) all told me  “you have a GOOD brain.” When I was a young woman—I dated men who told me they ‘appreciated a woman with a big brain.’ (I also dated men who didn’t appreciate that so much. Hmm–if someone doesn’t appreciate you—need it be said? Bye-bye…)

But seriously: with so many people today dealing with brain damage of one kind or another—maybe it’s time we took brain damage seriously. Really seriously. Because we’ve learned so much about the brain since that terrible thing happened to me to injure mine—& yet so many people are living scared, confused, & with little or no hope for a better life. When I became brain-damaged, the mainstream medical belief was that brain cells could not regenerate, so they told me I’d never get better. I chose not to believe that & began doing everything I could to BEAT it!

Expect Miracles

It was a horrible time to be the only one who believed I could get better. But a couple of years after they told me “brain cells don’t regenerate, you’re not going to get back your sight & you won’t get better & you’ll probably get worse” –some wonderful scientists discovered that brain cells DO regenerate! I found not only was I on the right track—I was ahead of the ballgame!

So here I am—this once “BLIND & BRAIN-DAMAGED FOR the REST of YOUR LIFE” person. I’m learning all kinds of new things. I’m not a tech person by far—yet I’m learning how to make my own website myself, how to create & edit videos, & learning creative programs. Each new thing I learn helps my injured brain get even better than it was. Sure—there are things I used to be able to easily do that I now have to find other ways in which I CAN do them. There are some things that I may never be able to do again. There are some things I’ve never done that I have yet to discover! Imagine!

It makes me mad when I hear about people who experience brain injuries having the people who SHOULD be encouraging them to get better discourage that instead & expect them to give up on the richness of life! That’s just so wrong!

Here are 5 things a Brain-Damaged PERSON—Woman OR Man CAN DO: 

#1—You CAN FIGHT it. The only way you can guarantee that you won’t get better is if you don’t try. So try… & try again… no matter HOW many times & how many tries it takes—if you really WANT to do something… KEEP TRYING to DO IT! They say a reporter once asked Thomas Edison how it felt to fail as many times as he did before he made the light bulb that worked. The numbers vary with the telling of the story—1,000, 5,000, 10,000 times before he achieved success. Edison is reputed to have said: “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Then—success at the 10,001st try! Imagine if he’d stopped trying! So you CAN choose to have a FIGHTING SPIRIT & KEEP TRYING to DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO!

#2—You can learn to work WITH it & around it. If you can’t do it THIS way—try another way. I’m not saying it doesn’t try my patience when I’m not getting something the way I USED to… but I’ve learned all kinds of tricks to help myself. It’s OK to need help. We ALL need help sometimes. If I cannot achieve something in the way I USED to—& I’m the classic “Mother, PLEASE—I’d RATHER do it my SELF” kid—but I’ve finally learned to & DO ask for help! I’ve learned to explain very clearly HOW to assist me so that I CAN. I USED to have such a good memory people told me I had “a mind like a steel trap.” These days—if I don’t write it down… chances are I’ll forget. But then again, so do a lot of other people who DON’T have brain damage…so really? I don’t feel so bad about it. & it’s OK if it doesn’t come out perfect right away! I’m just learning my way around this blog program—& so WHAT if it doesn’t look perfect yet? I’m DOING it & you’ll see—it’s going to get better all the time!

#3— You CAN TAKE the TIME that you need to DO WHAT YOU’RE PASSIONATE ABOUT. Even if it takes a LOT longer than it used to. Give yourself that break. I’ve always had high expectations of myself & sometimes I get SO frustrated that I’m not ‘getting’ something the way I used to. But I’ve always believed if there’s a will— there’s a way. Accept that it may not be the way you USED to do it. Of course… we all go through changes—so there may be things you USED to be passionate about & able to do that are just not that important to you now. You MAY discover you want to do NEW things that you’ve never done before! So— like anything that’s WORTH it—if you really WANT to do it—take your time & FIND the way. When you find something you’re passionate about, you’ll be surprised how much patience you can have with yourself to fulfill that passion! As you do—your life will become so much more rich & full of meaning!

& while you’re doing it—make sure you demand the reasonable accommodation you need to DO IT! We have this law in the USA called the ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act.) It mandates ‘reasonable accommodation.’  That means that the rules that exist for people who have not been some way disabled need to be adjusted in a reasonable manner that can provide better ACCESS for those of us who are facing bigger challenges than the average bear. I’ll talk about THAT in a future blog… but for now—let me just say:  ‘reasonable accommodation’ is not like ‘every kid wins a prize’ just for being there. It’s something that says—if you’re physically challenged–in a wheelchair or not—public places have to make sure you can GET to them like the people who can walk up stairs can. If you need a service animal—whether a seeing eye dog or one trained to assist with PTSD or if you have seizures, that service animal needs to be with you. If you’re deaf or blind or have another type of ‘impairment’ where you can’t take in information like the rest of the kids… public facilities—including schools & courts are mandated to provide interpreters who can even the score to help you take in the information you need like the ‘other’ people can. Sadly—ask any Disabled Person how often that ‘reasonable accomodation’ actually happens… but we’ll talk about that in another blog… on another day…

#4— You can CHOOSE to BELIEVE YOU CAN HEAL. I have to tell you: I’m not ‘supposed’ to say that word ‘HEAL.’  MD’s in the USA no longer use the word “HEAL.” I guess they’re not allowed to either. You’ll hear them talking about ‘treating’ & ‘managing’ diseases or whatever ails you. But while Dr’s in other countries CAN & DO still talk about HEALING—you won’t hear that from a Dr in the USA. I talk about the history of that—how I witnessed that come to be as I was growing up— in my book, “Zeeva the Art of Wellness.” In fact—according to the powers-that-be—the FDA & the FTC —pretty much no one who is involved in any kind of health-related field in the USA—whether as a professional practitioner or a salesperson or distributor of health-related products— is allowed to use the word “HEAL.” That’s legal & official here in the good old USA.

SO I HAVE to TELL YOU: I’m not a Dr. I don’t practice Medicine. I don’t diagnose or prescribe anything. I’m an artist. A storyteller. And though the stories I tell you are true—I tell you only to inform, entertain, & inspire you. That’s my Standard Required Disclaimer & I stick to it.

#5—YOU CAN NEVER GIVE UP! As a person who was diagnosed with brain damage, told it was permanent, & told just how many things I’d ‘never be  able to do again’ I can tell you that I take some pretty serious umbrage at that ‘not being allowed’ to use the word ‘HEAL’—because I did. I healed my brain damage which was both diffuse & extensive!  No matter how many Dr’s told me “No” I refused to give up! True—I was always also the kid who wouldn’t take “No” for an answer. I could take “Not now” or “Not yet” IF there was a reasonable reason. My Mom finally got smart & would say “In time, you CAN… but not yet…” So if you have a kid who can’t take “No” for an answer… just remember—that just might save his or her life one day! It sure saved mine!

So… is my brain COMPLETELY healed? Good as new? The very real truth: no it is not. Yes, that makes me mad sometimes. It makes me frustrated. But my brain is now a heck of a lot better than many ‘perfectly good brains” that were never damaged at all & I can do a lot of things ‘THEY’ told me I’d never be able to do again. And imagine: I haven’t even discovered YET—all the things that I CAN do!

So stay tuned! JOIN me as I take back my life & SHARE the Art of Wellness & Living Life Well… this really IS an Interactive Work-in-Progress! As I develop this site (remember—I’m not a tekkie–but I’m doing it ALL myself– so HOW ‘brain-damaged forever’ is THAT?) I’ll be adding things from my bags-of-tricks & YOU can participate & help me!

So thanks for sharing this time with me & please COMMENT! I WANT to know what you think & I have SO many things to share–your comments will help me know WHAT of the things I LOVE & have to SHARE you want to see on this site!  IF YOU DON’T SEE a COMMENTS SECTION below this post—just GO to the TITLE of the BLOGPOST & CLICK on that! When your page refreshes—come back to the end & I promise you—the COMMENTS section will be there! Just another little kink to work out as I learn my way around! THANKS for joining me & I’ll see you next time!

BE YOUR BEST & BE WELL! LIVE WELL! & oh yes… ALL WAYS… LOVE WELL!

Zeeva

Free to Do Anything

A Life-Saving Lecture from Dad

Remember when you were a teenager? Maybe you’re  teenager right now! We all get those lectures from our Dads–we roll our eyes, we tap our feet, but if we really listen–they do mean well–we might learn something we never expect can save our life one day!

I’m an artist–but a scientist who loved me–my Dad was an MD/MedProf/Researcher/Institute Director– taught me about the brain when I was just a kid. That’s how I knew the MD’s just had to be wrong when they said I’d be ‘brain-damaged & BLIND—forever.’ As a dancer & artist who grew up inside mainstream medicine, I learned a LOT about health & wellness, how-to be well, & I learned a lot about holistic health & wellness! When the worst that could happen happened to me—-I had to figure out how to get well again. Some call me a brain-injury survivor. I call myself a brain injury VICTOR. All the MD’s said I’d NEVER SEE & NEVER get WELL AGAIN! I believed in miracles. I knew how to make miracles & I became a miracle! I GOT BACK MY SIGHT & my WELLNESS & became an inspiration for many people who demanded I share HOW! No joke: when people learned that that “poor blind woman” could now SEE–I got over 10,000 e-mails & letters asking HOW I did it! I wrote a book to answer all those questions–it’s called ‘Zeeva the Art of Wellness: The True Story of How Z Got Well Again & YOU Can Too!’ WON’T YOU GIVE ME a THUMBS UP on the vid? & I invite you to follow my BLOG! It’s been a long road & filled with adventures–some bad, some good, & I’ve done a lot of interesting things & met a lot of interesting people along the way!

And oh yes—BUY the BOOK! You can get it direct on AMAZON.com HERE: http://goo.gl/DmiuN8 or you can click on the picture of the book (to the right of this blog.) Even if you just click on that pic to see what it’s about & what your ordering options are–please do me a favor & click that FB LIKE button–y’all know that matters! & if you don’t mind–choose the Amazon option as that will help my new book get that coveted Amazon rating & THEN you can add your Amazon review once you read it! You KNOW that MATTERS too!

JOIN me as I take back my life & SHARE the Art of Wellness & Living Life Well… it really IS an Interactive Work-in-Progress! As I develop this site (& I’m not a tekkie–but I’m doing it ALL myself–HOW ‘brain-damaged forever’ is THAT?) I’ll be adding things from my bag-of-tricks & YOU can participate & help me! & Please COMMENT! I WANT to know what you think & I have SO many things to share–your comments will help me know WHAT of the things I LOVE & have to share you want to see on this site! THANKS for joining me & I’ll see you next time!

When Zeeva was BLIND-#Throwback Thursday

April 29, 2003 Zeeva brings the art of Dance to the Los Angeles City Council on the International Day of Dance
April 29, 2003 Zeeva brings the art of Dance to the Los Angeles City Council on the International Day of Dance
In 2003, Zeeva was blind and dependent on supplemental oxygen. Her white cane & her oxygen tank were her constant companions. Here, Zeeva & Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Writer, Producer, & Arts Activist Marta Schill listen to City Council proceedings, awaiting their turn.
In 2003, Zeeva was blind and dependent on supplemental oxygen. Her white cane & her oxygen tank were her constant companions. Here, Zeeva & Dancer, Choreographer, Teacher, Writer, Producer, & Arts Activist Marta Schill listen to City Council proceedings, awaiting their turn.
The event began with the Pledge of Allegience.  L-R Marta Schill, Zeeva International, Los Angeles City Councilwoman & supporter of the Arts Jan C. Perry... as to what followed? "the wildest "Morning Moment of Inspiration" the Los Angeles City Council had ever seen, as reported the following week by The LA Weekly: ”there had been nothing like it since fictionalized Owens Valley herdsmen ran their sheep through this very hall to protest the theft of their water."
The event began with the Pledge of Allegience. L-R Marta Schill, Zeeva International, Los Angeles City Councilwoman & supporter of the Arts Jan C. Perry… as to what followed? “the wildest “Morning Moment of Inspiration” the Los Angeles City Council had ever seen, as reported the following week by The LA Weekly: ”there had been nothing like it since fictionalized Owens Valley herdsmen ran their sheep through this very hall to protest the theft of their water.”

 

A brief speech, a presentation to the City of MECDA's Healing Through Dance Program for Women & Girls at-Risk, an Invocation...& I announced: “LET the DANCE BEGIN!”
A brief speech, a presentation to the City of MECDA’s Healing Through Dance Program for Women & Girls at-Risk, an Invocation…& I announced: “LET the DANCE BEGIN!”
NO ONE coming to the Los Angeles City Council meeting that day expected anything like this! The majestic doors of the hall were thrown open-music began to play-& a bevy of beautiful Dancers-ages 19-77-entered...to bring Dance "to where it normally is not."
NO ONE coming to the Los Angeles City Council meeting that day expected anything like this! The majestic doors of the hall were thrown open-music began to play-& a bevy of beautiful Dancers-ages 19-77-entered…to bring Dance “to where it normally is not.”
The Dancers entered the Council circle, bringing beauty & grace & joy & INSPIRATION to where just a few moments before was contention & frustration. When Zeeva got back her sight & saw this photo of her beautiful dancers among the politicians...she titled it "The Sacred & the Profane." Though I've spoken to LA City Council many times since on other ARTS issues--they all say "OH! Zeeva International!" & smile, remembering the belly dancers! SO MUCH GRATITUDE to ALL who DANCED that day, & to former LA Councilwoman Jan C. Perry, a great supporter of the ARTS, who helped make it happen!
The Dancers entered the Council circle, bringing beauty & grace & joy & INSPIRATION to where just a few moments before was contention & frustration. When Zeeva got back her sight & saw this photo of her beautiful dancers among the politicians…she titled it “The Sacred & the Profane.” Though I’ve spoken to LA City Council many times since on other ARTS issues–they all say “OH! Zeeva International!” & smile, remembering the belly dancers! SO MUCH GRATITUDE to ALL who DANCED that day, & to former LA Councilwoman Jan C. Perry, a great supporter of the ARTS, who helped make it happen!

Did you know I was BLIND for more than 5 YEARS? It was the hardest time in my life! But even blind, I did my best to keep Art alive in my life–knowing that ART HEALS!  I started life very young as an artist & dancer… & ART–when I say ART–I mean ALL the ARTS: that which we know in the USA as Fine Art (painting & sculpture,) Music, Dance, Poetry, Theater, & some or ALL of them combined in what we call today “Performance Art.” But from childhood–I was always an activist–doing work for my communities in the areas of ARTS, Environment, & Human Rights.  I’d been blind for more than 5 years & getting ready to travel south of the border for holistic treatments unavailable to me in the USA  when my friend & sister-dancer Marta Shill gave me a call. “Have you heard?” said Marta–then President of MECDA–the SoCal Dance, Culture, & Music association she’d co-founded more than a quarter century ago, “UNESCO’s challenged dancers worldwide: on this coming International Day of Dance, bring DANCE where it normally is NOT!” I began to visualize… Of all the many beautiful places in Los Angeles I still held in my mind’s eye where Dance was NOT–where could we bring DANCE? WHY NOT CITY HALL? So we DID!  The MUSES were delighted & the Gods must have been pleased. A few days l left for a Holistic clinic in Mexico… & returned with the gift my SIGHT regained…

the Art of Wellness & Living Life Well… an Interactive Work-in-Progress