Tag Archives: animus

Drawing What Makes Us Unconfortable

I’m linking this post to the one right before. I think they make sense together, but what do I know.

This last weekend, I participated in a workshop, Awakening Creativity Through Spiritual Practice, taught by Sylvan at Reflections Mystery School. You know you’re in trouble when your response to a trance is, “Whoa! Deep! F**k!” The big message I took away for my artistic work is to draw the pictures that I am afraid to draw, that I am afraid to be seen by others.

I even committed–outloud and in front of others–to do just that.  I have experienced a tremendous amount of anxiety over this for years and kept myself to positive, beautiful, uplifting, and safe subjects. But that doesn’t seem to be what I need to draw and paint. The thought terrifies me, and yet there is so much energy here, which usually means there is much power waiting to be released and used. That is one of the lessons I have learned in working to integrate my Shadows. That, and “to attend to where the energy is”–a corollary of “energy follows attention.”

Today’s post over at Seth Godin’s blog deals with the resistance to actively and successfully moving toward our dreams. He talks about the lizard brain, or amygdala. From scholarpedia, I learned that the amygdala has been implicated in the processing and memory of emotional states, such as fear, aggression, maternal feelings, sexual urges, and ingestive (eating and drinking) behaviors. And yes, all of those are subject matter for the images that are bumping up against the surface of my conscious wanting out.

Last night I took the first steps by looking for stock photos for reference, taking some of my own with my little digital camera, and doing some sketches. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. The anxiety is lessened but not gone.

How does this relate to my last post? Perhaps this is a boundary I must cross to follow the holy man on fire. Perhaps that is just one aspect of my animus. Perhaps this crossing and expanding of my personal boundaries is necessary to grow both in my art and my spirituality.

I don’t know exactly. Maybe it doesn’t make rational sense. But as the BlissChick wrote today, I will follow the breadcrumbs.

Following the Man on Fire

I have delayed posting this as I tracked down the “perfect” image to illustrate it. I’m not finding it, which may be a clue that I need to create it, or that finding that image is not the point.

Last week, I had a dream. Actually, I usually dream, but every once in a while the dream image is very clear, clear enough to remember, clear enough to stick with me. This is one such dream.

I am walking through a marketplace that looks much like a medieval fair, but dirtier. People all around me are sick and dying. I am slowly walking and watching them. My heart goes out to them as they shuffle in the shadows of alleys and doorways. Occasionally, one will cross my path and make me stop in my tracks. There is a moment of awkwardness before the other shuffles off, and I continue.

At the center of the marketplace, I find my teacher elder, a wizened old woman with a round face and eyes. She is tiny, wrapped in cloth to stay warm by a small fire. She may be old, but she is not one of the sick. She is timeless. I sit across from her, and we talk.

A man about my age comes and sits around the fire between us. He is wearing a roughly woven, brown robe, much like a monk’s. He has dark brown, curling hair and a kind, yet compelling eyes. I feel a flash of connection when our eyes meet. We don’t speak much to each other, but both listen to the elder.  A spark from the fire flies out and lands on his sleeve. A small fire spreads over his arm and hand, but doesn’t seem to burn him. He reaches over and taps out or covers the fire with his other hand. He gives me an embarrassed look, as if I have seen something that he usually tries to hide. He is surprised that I have seen it.

Unhurriedly, he rises to leave and walks away. I follow him. I know in that moment that I will always follow him, no matter at what cost–to my life or my reputation. And I know that it will be OK.

Early in December I made the intent to begin a conscious relationship with my animus. I believe this dream is saying that I am on the right track, but that I will have to take risks. My life is pretty “safe” right now, but sometimes I feel that I am on a knife’s edge, that I want to play with fire.

Yet, I am afraid. Afraid of losing control of my mind. Afraid of losing the respect of others, of losing my good name. Afraid that my work (especially my artwork) will make people seriously question my sanity or good spirit. So, I am usually “good” or “pleasing” and sometimes “inspiring,” or so I’ve been told.

But I think that may be changing, which I’ll talk about in my next post.