The above is a painting I finally finished. (After showing up for myself) I have been working on it for about 2 years now. This particular piece was my exploration on compromise in relationships.
The idea behind it began with a video I watched of Jennifer Aniston interviewing Portia and Ellen on the Ellen Show.
You will have to watch the clip to get a greater understanding. I love for my outside world to help me question my inner world, and this is one reason I create. I create to explore myself and I have been having an existential crisis in my life for at least the last four years. It has definitely been my dark night of the soul, my journey into the valley of the shadow of death, and my all out saving grace wrapped into one. I am forever grateful for this journey within.
After watching this snippet of the show on the YouTube, I quickly jotted down the premise for the piece of work. I was fascinated by the relationship of these to women and their journey together. I wanted to show how this journey could be used to reflect how we as humans compromise in our lives to bring about acceptance and happiness in our lives.
In the painting I depicted a dilapidated house in the background that is ready to be transmuted into something greater.
According to the video this is what Ellen likes to do. She likes to explore the beauty of a home and create something greater in the process. Many of us do this in our everyday lives be it working for a corporation or a small mom and pop business. We want to create something greater in our world.
I then placed Ellen and Portia on a path in the woods.
Ellen and Portia on the Path
Ellen and Portia in Shadow on the Path
This represents their journey together and the journey of all humans in existence. One can see within the painting that the light from outside of the woods has lighted the path and helps to define the features within the darkness of the woods. We cannot see this inner world unless we shine some sort of light on it. These two women are experiencing their journeys, albeit differently, together. Ellen is pulling Portia in a wagon. Ellen may be moving from one creative project to another creative project, but she is compromising with Portia by pulling her weight along instead of making her walk beside her. This is a compromise being made to have the fulfillment of a relationship. As long as the weight is not a negative aspect of the relationship, then there should be no reason why this particular choice of compromise should be detrimental to the lives of those involved. I see this as a greater truth that can be seen and accepted by others as well with these two woman as a great example.
Within my exploration of this concept I have added to this picture. When I add things I do so because I feel they are needed. It is not until afterward that I begin to explore their meaning. For instance. I added a small herd of deer. 4 to be exact and all does. I then find our that deer can represent grace, love, generosity, and abundance. I also found that deer symbolizes an inner journey, specifically female deer.
Then the number four has very specific meaning.
I have also added
ivy, bluebells, red japanese maple tree, white blooming cherry tree, bridge, stream.
There is probably many more symbols, but you can see how they begin to paint their very own picture within the artwork.
The symbolism seems to just grow from the creative process. These things are never consciously chosen because of what they represent. It is as if the symbols manifest themselves to help me to understand what I am working through as an artist and human. To me is is a connection to the spiritual aspects of my journey, and I love exploring this part after the completion of a piece of work.
The best and worst thing about symbolism is that it can be interpreted however one would like.
I for so long have had an inner world of chaotic stories filled with negative reactions and intense emotions. I have told myself these stories with a chaotic dialogue. Talking about what I felt was going on in just about every situation I had been in. When I entered into a place, I immediately took the seat of inner reflection. Constantly judging my every action, every thought, every emotion, every word spoken aloud. I judged it against my background of perspective that I had of the world around me. I chose how I would interpret my world.
I am coming to the conclusion of my delusion.
I synchronistically was given clarity this morning from this piece of Sufi Rumi wisdom:
Although an imaginary image in this reality does not exist,
see how the world turns by a fantasy that still does persist.
Mankind’s peace and war because of a fantasy are turning…
Mankind’s pride and shame from a fantasy are springing…(Original Link)
I have been battling my internal dilemma, my imaginary image of the world around me. Why do I create something to battle? Why do I create turmoil? I know I create the perspective that I choose to see in the world around me. So why am I creating such a daunting reality?
Why, because I have lived the story that I was told. I have lived with a reality inside my mind that is a reflection of someone’s mind or image of the world.
I recently watched two similar documentaries that were completely different, and it really helped me to perceive this little bit of truth. These were not intentionally watched to seek very different perspectives, we just watched them very close together because the environment and innovation have been on our minds. I was given a good dichotomy that was going to ring true just a few days later, and this is why I was led by the universe to watch them.
For this little piece of Rumi wisdom to be understood the full content of the documentaries does not need to be known.
The first documentary was the Atomic States of America.
The primary objective of the movie was against nuclear power. I can tell you that the story plot heightened and culminated in me feeling horrible about human innovation and that society should be wiped off of the precious mother earth so that she can heal. Of course this is the primary purpose of the movie. It is meant to show the bad, dark, negative side of the atomic age and nuclear power as a whole. I would not be surprised if it was created with funding from the coal industry.
The second documentary Pandora’s Promise.
was also about nuclear power completely but from the opposite viewpoint. It was pro-nuclear power. This documentary heightened and culminated in me feeling overjoyed and excited about human innovation and advancement as a society. I was filled with musings and creativity after watching this movie. I felt positive and wanted to get to work on creating something great!
I definitely wanted to explore more after the second documentary. I do not want to debate morals and who is on the right side of the fence. I do not want to figure out which way is the right way. I only want to think about and explore the side the makes me as a human feel fulfilled and alive.
After watching Atomic States of America my husband and I were brought into for two days an existential crisis. We were ruminating about the tragedy of our lives and the lives of all of mankind. We were trying to figure out what we could do to help reverse the horrible bad things that we as humans have wrought on this earth. This is not a very happy place to be. We want to exist and be happy. We want to love our fellow man and celebrate in his victories. We do not want to exist to tear down and destroy society. Yet we allowed negative thoughts into our inner realities. These thoughts brought about more negative thoughts and more ruminating about sadness and wrong.
I do not want to live like this and neither does my husband. I definitely do not want to raise a family in this hole of a reality. Like we have dug ourselves down into the pits of hell and now we must exist amongst the monsters and death that we have uncovered.
Certainly I get to choose which reality that I want to exist in. I get to pick the side that I want to be on. I see this now. It has been here all along and I just choose not to see it. I get to live in my chosen reality. This is the only reality that I get to experience. Why would I not choose to experience the good positive feelings instead of the negative.
I am reminded of a saying, and I am not sure who said this, but it sits well with this lesson of mine.
“It doesn’t really matter what path one follows. What matters is the way that they follow the path.”
Are you allowing negative thoughts to cloud and darken your reality?
I am brought to the visualization of how the darkness and shadow help to define the light. We cannot have positive with the negative, but we definitely do not have to only live out the negative aspects.
I am reminded of another Rumi insight:
“Now is the time to see the sunlight dancing as one with the shadows.”
I am beginning a new series of portraits today. This series I believe has been implanted into me as a tiny little seed that is going to grow into something that will help others to perceive this wisdom. I will be exploring the ideas of shadow and light and how they interact with one another to help us perceive our reality.
In the mean time, what did you get out of this?
I will be exploring this subject a bit more as I work on this project and hopefully you can help me to explore more deeply.