Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

I have resolved to chose a number of topics, and write short articles, as I've been invited to contribute articles to several on line magazines. I do not by any means consider myself a very good journalist, but I'm glad of the opportunity, and can use the discipline.

I made a committment to write in this blog, and whether it should be information or aesthetic resource, I haven't yet really determined. I am not uncomfortable, exactly, with the notion "personal", because, as a feminist, I've been saying that the personal is political for a good 30 years.

How can the personal not be spiritual, political, and what informs our aesthetics as well? As above, so below. I think what I am uncomfortable with is ironic: because of the often spiritual or metaphysical nature of my art work, I've become afraid to express the dark, the painful, the depressed, the "negative". Which of course only makes me want to do it more, the same way I used to end up dancing around with a lampshade on my head at formal occasions after a few rounds of tequila shots (in my much younger years). Make something taboo and watch how interesting it suddenly becomes.

Although I've read everything from Quantum Psychology to Peace Pilgrim's Memoirs and Caroline Myss "Anatomy of the Spirit", in reality, I am not a "positive" person by nature, and often have to work very hard to shift my consciousness away from habitual dark tracks. Sometimes, I don't want to. A good depression can inform one of authentic needs, a tantrum releases blocked or stagnant energy, getting pissed off is sometimes not only appropriate but absolutely necessary. In fact, with Cronehood, I've become outright irritable. And all of my pretty and charming masks have dissolved.

Don't get me wrong..........I absolutely agree with the necessity for positive thinking and affirmation. Equally, as someone who has suffered with depression, who wakes up remembering that thousands of species are passing out of existance every week, That all that cheery seasonal consumerism comes at the expense of the planet's health, as one who personally must deal, as most people must, with the suffering to be found in a hospital ..... I confess I have a horror of the "dark side of the light chasers" (this is the title of a book by psychologist Debbie Ford (1998). One of my favorite quotes is by (again) Ursula Leguin: "Light is the Left Hand of Darkness".

Sometimes the soul needs a wailing wall, and sometimes the spirit needs to ferment and incubate in its depressions, and sometimes the heart needs to tell its dark story in order to heal. Any actor knows that a full spectrum emotional affect is necessary to create a profound performance.
And those who are too preoccupied with their "purity" have a tendancy to project their shadows elsewhere..........


Anonymous said...

I too tend towards the darker moods and ways of being in the world. Working with the archetype of the shadow means we are mining that darkness for its hidden riches.

I find that my deepest and best work always comes out of a time of despair. When I am questioning and struggling I create. When I am happy and joyous, I bask. Basking is harder for me. Claiming the golden riches out of my compost is harder for me - but emerging cronehood makes it easier.

I think of you each day - sending a piece of myself to sit with you as you walk this path with your brother. He chose a wise traveling companion.


my croft said...

My Reiki teacher said that one of the greatest lessons she learned was depth of trust and love that was needed in order to do the necessary sharing of her anger with her family, friends, and colleagues.

I love being in my 50s. I never would have imagined this would be the case when I was in my 20s, or even my 30s, and I think a lot of it is because of the shift in "what is important" has been so profound. The older I get, the less I fret and the happier I am.

I also think of you every day, and hope you are doing well.