It's been an intense two months since I posted. Dealing with much Fear, Love and Art actually, while also moving through this period of recovery from the trauma of personal events of Winter-time. "The Winter of My Discontent," comes to mind but that would be trite. "The Winter of my near-undoing," feels more accurate. Now however, a few months forward in life, the near-undoing also looks like sort of a strengthening.
For a long time, I'd been afraid of what happened happening, then it did. Sometimes that is life. And when it did happen, it felt like death. Yet I survived. One day, one moment at a time, millions of moments, I lived. I may not have been pretty or graceful about it, but I walked through my days.
I don't feel that i have tremenous wisdom to share at this point. I wish I would; but I can offer myself as an example that sometimes the deepest, most frightening Fear happens to come true; and it doesn't have to be your undoing. You may feel as if whatever it is is going to kill you, destroy everything, leave you destitute and utterly alone and without purpose. In the end, what happens AFTER the worse thing in the world happens, is your choice. Or, rather, your choices. Every moment, every day the choice to let an event run you through or for you to walk through IT is yours. When everything feels totally out of control, you still have one thing in your control, how you will face the situation.
Initial shock from trauma is natural. Pain, Anger, Bargaining, Denial, Fear, Rationalizing, Avoidance,... all completely part of the human experience. But trauma happens and then recovery either begins or it doesn't. Either I get mired in those initial responses and stages of grief or I move through them. Notice them, feel them, move on to what comes next.
And always, ALWAYS, the choice is between Love and Fear. Perhaps it was that the worst already happened, or perhaps it was that the worst thing to happen would be me losing my life over what had occurred; but never did I doubt that Love had to be the undercurrent that connected my choices or I wouldn't recover. And foremost had to be learning better how to Love myself.
And so I made art. Years ago I envied people who were able to create their art AS they struggled with personal issues and challenges. I didn't know how to do that. My art came only with great inspirations and wonderment. And so, life being what it is, hard, I often didn't make art because I was busy struggling to make it through the days, months, years even. Eventually I turned my envy into interest. I began watching people who could do this thing that I could not and I began looking at WHY I was blocked from that which I knew I needed to do -- to make art at ALL times in life, ESPECIALLY when life through me under the bus. It's been exciting and excruciating learning this lesson but as of this winter and upon this day and in this moment, I am to my core grateful I learned it. Making art has saved my life many times. This winter and now spring, it continues to draw (no pun intended) me forward even as it pulls me deeper. Deeper sometimes into the pain, sometimes into the profound, sometimes deeper into the Love that is all part of what I call a death experience. An experience where one's life, even one's self as she knew it dies. Art is what helps me create the new life that comes after the worst thing happening. Birth the NEW life, the new me.
I don't have a professional photo of the most difficult piece of art I've made in a long time. It took February and March to get myself through it. It was disturbing and challenging and profoundly TRUE, every step of the way. It is a prayer flage called "Up From the Broken Heart." It's not "pretty," but I love it perhaps for that reason. (And I find I don't even have a photo on my phone. I will take one tomorrow and post it.)
So, perhaps I now have two antidotes for Fear. The Fear Chair Project taught me that Love is the antidote. But I'm thinking actually Art may be one as well... will give this some thought...Or, is Art a form of Love? Hm