Last year I discovered this wounded soldier in myself. I was surprised to meet him because I was writing about how the term ‘spiritual warrior’ was incorrect. I never expected to see a soldier of any kind show up in my own work. Yet there he was. My intention was to understand what is happening in the world and what is the right response, the right attitude, the right action? Are we on a sinking ship? Is it hopeless? I had just returned from a leadership training with the Network of Spiritual Progressives. I created this piece in the class I teach on the Creative Process at the School of the Art Institute.
I wrote in my witness: “The lone individual defending himself yet scarily, tentatively extending his heart out into the world? The black sequined and netted material felt to me like the Shadow, dark, mysterious with beauty encoded in the sequins but it also needed red because pain and passion are so tangled up in the Shadow and our Shadow flows out into the world and affects how we are in the world. But the beautiful dark rose also flows from the Shadow stream within us.
I revisited the image this week, a year later. Everything calls me to pay attention to light yet these dark images come up. I try a method that Galit, one of my students is using. She is taking words and giving them definitions based on her felt sense, her intuition. I write, “discover”- reaching into the dark with faith. Then “teaching”- collapsing my telescope and seeing what others have in their hands. I feel like an anthropologist of wound technology. I can tell with my eyes closed how the wound occurred and if I can conjure light I can heal it. Are we supposed to be wandering like this? Is this the work?
I added the mask and ‘red badge of courage’ to the soldier piece. All of it feels old and incorrect, not what’s called for. I wrote in my witness: “My shadow is the heroic guy against the world, even as I have taught others to follow their pleasure through the creative process and trust where they are led…why is this wounded place of red and black asserting itself so strongly? I’ve done the dark; I’m done with the dark. I know it’s time for light, to follow bliss. The piece answers me: “Don’t pretend you are ready.” But I am, I protest. “No, you still prize your dark credentials, you all do who earned them. It’s hard to give them up. The world no longer needs your dark roses, it needs light and you resist that and it is mostly unconscious be cause you say YES, but your body knows you lie.” So I say, “I make a new intention: I see the light, I be the light, I am the light, I love the light.” The piece says: “Let those who have genuine darkness that hasn’t reached its expiration date come to you and give them light. Your darkness is over; funny thing to mourn, but its so.” What does it mean to mourn the dark? I don’t exactly know yet but it has something to do with giving up all the well-earned credentials and meeting the world with an empty bowl. More on that later.
- ▼ 2007 (10)