Diva Dawns by Amber Bonnici.
Dear human beaming,
something worth considering as another ends meets another new beginning:
Expression is the opposite of depression.
Being someone who has experienced bouts of depressive states or downward spirals of kinds and others, and simultaneously being someone who is learning to make those crucial small corrections en route towards any one of them, those words carried some serious healing power for me when I heard them last summer. By choice not dwelling longer on what those earlier bouts may or may not have been rooted in or caused by, let me put it like this:
I seem to have bypassed a downward spiral with a tiny and absolutely remarkable marginal this morning.
It must have started the way it usually begins: with all kinds of things layering up, like storm clouds on a carefree blue sky. There was tiredness after a long autumn, restlessness concerning where and how and with whom to spend The Remarkable Tonight and the next few days. There were questions related to creativity and unmet expectations concerning what I should have been able to have created/made happen in the time I have had to myself over the last few weeks. Reoccuring theme(s)? Seems so.
So I did what I have been doing lately when internal circumstances are being brought to the boil: I turned the stove off. I took the saucepan off the hot plate. Instead of digging deeper into annoyance and impossibilities, I simply stopped digging. Then I took a good look at my destination. Yup: I had once again been heading directly towards the Swamp Of No Creation.
The Swamp Of No Creation is the shitty place where I have been sworn to uncomfortable, unbreakable silences, where I vow to never, ever, ever, EVER touch anything that might bring me some joy in this world again. The Swamp Of No Creation is the stinky pond where I’m supposed to throw and get rid of any art I have ever created or am even dreaming of creating, not to mention all or any supplies I ever might want to use to do it – papers, words, pens, glitter, guitar, you name it (yes, guitar. I already saw myself zipping it up in its case in order to hide it in the darkest corner of my wardrobe for forever after).
As (sh)it happens, the network of roads that are leading to this place must be very intricately woven, as the routes seem to differ slightly. However, my internal GPS seems to be getting the bigger picture more and more clearly. From a more and more safe distance, I am being reminded to – excuse my French – fight, to fight, to fight for my right to party. Party meaning enjoying life and all that good stuff that is able to come into being through my heart co-operating with my head and hands. Good stuff including me making constructive choices to the best of my abilities at any given moment.
Writing this, it strikes me how incredibly easy and structured most processes sound in hindsight, and how mucky it can be when it gets mucky. I am lucky, I know. However, I am also beginning to see that most opposites actually more often are back to back to each other like coins, rather than at different ends of a wide spectrum.
The same brainpower that generates the image of the Swamp, also creates that Fertile Land Of Possibilities. Likewise, last summer I identified the two competing aspects of some of my most common traits and behavioral patterns – what they look like when they work against me, and what they look like when they work for me. They go as follows:
On the left the demanding, driving Never Enough, which in its more gentle and constructive form appears as an enthusiastic Always Ready.
Again on the left, Too Much!!!! (too big to even fit the picture) which tries to convince me of being too much of this or that, whereas the sane side of it is simply just me being Fully Alive, with all gifts I possibly have to offer the world.
On the other hand, the Worrier in me loves to whisper Better Safe and tuck away feelings and brilliance rather than being open to the Precious Life that my Appreciator of Life so easily gets excited about.
Last but not least, my tendency to say You First really is just rooted in a very heartfelt trait I either was born with or picked up someplace good: Be Kind.
Yes, I had great fun when drawing these. Yes, it has made it easier for me to move in between the settings, now that they have a face. Yes, there are probably more of them around. And no, this is not a final solution for necessarily anything at all, merely an observation of where I’m at, and how I got here. However, with these words being rooted in almost getting intimate with a downward spiral this morning, and with the pictures being rooted in identifying internal spooks, the (almost) opening phrase becomes even more poignant:
Expression is the opposite of depression.
Or, in other words: shit is the best fertilizer.
May your transition from one (calendar) year of life to the next be smooth, and may you discover and rediscover things cherished and longed for as we venture into yet another New. Rumour has it right: everything is possible.
The first and last pieces of art in this blogpost are by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici whose work I “accidentally” came across this morning. Or, actually it went like this:
Due to an inner craving of soulfood, I, prompted by a mail from Nia Tehcnique Inc., decided to join the Woman Unleashed Online Retreat over the next few days (anyone can join the event for free and participate as much or little as feels right and good). Anyway, the event turned out to be hosted by Amber, whose web presence felt encouraging and inspired me to look up her art. Having spent the past month reading Clarissa Pinkola Estés’ Untie the Strong Woman and crafting my own relationship to the Holy Mother & the representations of her, Amber’s painting above (Diva Dawns) was breathing new air into me, whereas the Virgin of Guadalupe (below) kind of completed a personal cycle.
Exit cruelty, enter love.
As the reasons to or the impact of a long-term, severe or clinical depression in or on a person’s life never are to be underestimated, I want to underline that neither I, nor Clarissa Pinkola Estés who I once again happen to be quoting in the beginning, are uttering these words lightly. There are some things that we can overcome on our own. There are others, that we may need help with.
And what “should” I be creating this time of year? Apparently not so much, really. At least not anything I tell myself I should be creating. So rarely are births or rebirths really about pushing – they are more likely to be about letting go and come what may.
Rebirth by Amber Bonnici.