Pulling out two stuffed toy mice hidden in a box that had not been unpacked from my office move this spring reminded me of innumerable paintings I have created of mice but I was particularly reminded of this painting I call "Connection". It is the interesting thing about mice--they do often stay hidden or more to the point their lives just carry on in our cupboards and walls--they don't care whether we like it or not--it is just so. This is why they are such a wonderful metaphor for psyche.--something else which carries on whether we pay attention to it or not. The unconscious is carrying on whether we attend to it or not. This painting is about that connection or relationship--this is what the unconscious wants--relationship--it turns the face to us that we turn to it. I have carried on this relationship, conversation and connection with the unconscious through my paintings. For others it could be dance, poetry, writing, drawing, sculpture--deepening into this relationship through the creative process.
How do I begin to speak about something that I experienced as so sacred? When I arrived at St. Margaret’s—I sat in that beautiful 100 year old church and I felt the tears pour, tears of awe, as I was sitting in the experience of what I dreamt many years ago—my practice was a little white church in the country. At that time of the dream, I found this beautiful Church and I hoped to one day have a workshop there and here I was. Through many paintings and the purple glass church window that sits in the window of my office, I have also honoured that dream. And of course starting my private practice. As my practice is a deepening into the divine and sacred—not following any creed but where the dreams take me. And my dreams have brought me here—to these beautiful old pews and soft hewed hardwood floors. The smell is of wood, candle wax, cedar and time. The sunshine softly enters in from old glass panes casting a reflective sheen on the wood—light entering the darkness. And I begin to prepare for those coming—both human and from the dream world. This weekend is unplugged as there isn’t any running water or electricity—it is for me like going camping—something else that I hold sacred. So I go outside to set up my camp stove to boil water for tea and a drama unfolds outside in the beautiful church yard. Out of the trees, from across the road--a beautiful baby rabbit tares out of the forest, across the road, past me and through the frost fence into the grave yard and beyond. Stunned, I observe not a second later a weasel after this little creature—but I stand up and say-- “not today weasel” and it halts in its pursuit and disappears back from where it came. This is what the work is—standing up to the weasel energy/critic that would destroy the young soul—of course real weasels of the forest do need to eat and I do not begrudge them this. But it felt like the right way to begin the workshop with this synchronicity, this metaphoric drama unfolding. Setting up the candles and centre alter in our circle added to the air of mystery. I did not want to disturb the beauty of the pews, so I set up our circle at the entrance of the church, the doors opening into our present experience connected to the historic and on further to the ancient experience of connecting with the mystery of the divine.
Everything ready, I sat outside waiting for the coming guests and one arrived on my heart—A beautiful dragonfly landed and sat quietly on my chest. Reminding me I am met and that the divine (I accidentally typed "diving" here as it is a deepening into the depths) is with me. Years ago, I had another large dragonfly land on my heart as I was with a group of therapists; I was not one yet. The dragonfly sat so long on my heart that someone was able to go and get a camera and take a picture of it. A year later, I dreamt the reason the dragonfly had come is that I had been chosen for something. This experience of the first dragonfly happened the summer before I entered Pacifica Graduate Institute to become a therapist. And I knew it came to tell me I had been chosen for this work and that I was worthy of it—something I needed reminding of as when I was with this group of therapists I could not imagine being one--little own competent at it and certainly then, I felt less than those therapists I was present with. But as always the unconscious knows where one needs to go and what one is capable of even if that little old human doesn’t know it! As I still could not imagine being worthy of this work. It being such an honour that people share of their souls so deeply with me. Not only share but trust me to help guide their process with the dreams-- that I hold the lamp until they can. I painted that dragonfly and she hangs in my waiting room--everyday reminding me that I am chosen for this work…
And then the guests began to arrive and mother bear was there to greet each and everyone… and the workshop began with our circle… to be continued....
In response to an interview on Marie TV with Cheryl Strayed who wrote among other books “Wild”.
You can see that full interview here: https://www.marieforleo.com
I very much enjoyed what Cheryl had to say. I liked her down to earthness--being humble through the struggle. I am a Jungian Psychologist in Edmonton, Alberta and my work is to help clients find compassion by, not pushing the critical voice away, but by taking up a relationship to it. As children most of us are not encouraged to express what we really think or want--just think of two year old children--what is the first and only word they want to say--"No"--yes they overdue it--but it is the beginning of healthy boundaries where we know ourselves to be other than the parent with different desires and wants--even knowings. And so many parents, certainly in my day find the quickest road to taking that "No" away from us. So as adults this "yes" to everyone is really our "true selves" lost. We are not able to say no because we are taking care of the other's needs and feelings instead of our own--this happens to us children when our No get's taken away. I teach or really it is the persons dreams that teach (that I help to shine the light on) them to see the world from their true perspective again--instead of through their parent's or societies or the sibling they were compared to--this is where the critical voice originates from --these expectations. And when we relate to the critical voice, we get to say "yes that is your perspective, however I feel different and this is how I feel"--this empowers us and dis-empowers the critic. We get to respond in a true healthy way which we were not allowed to do as children. Instead we were taught to take care of our parent’s needs or societies. This is not to blame parents, but to take responsibility for what has happened and to begin to see through our own "soul" eyes and to live and express ourselves from there. I also help parents learn how to mirror who their child is through relationship and connection first and then to help direct them. In this way the child is honoured for who they are and what they feel and also guided by the parent's wisdom and maturity. And when we begin to value our "true selves", we can value others, our children's, our partners and our friends and community.
I have been "wonder-ing" about my first blog post and listening to Cheryl Strayed (I love the metaphor of her name as it brings up Jung's idea of stepping outside the "herd mentality") who is an author and down to earth human being encouraging everyone to write today in her interview with Marie Forleo on MarieTV--started me on this blog--mission accomplished Cheryl!
The painting on this blog page comes from a dream of finding again the fairy costume from when I was five years old. Painting this dream brought me back to the joy and fun I felt wearing this wonderful costume. Every time I dream the dream forward, and I imaginally put the fairy costume on, I feel the beauty and magic I felt then--an enlivening. More in my next blog post