Archive for the ‘creativity’ tag
Often when I am walking through fields and come up a slough here on the Canadian prairies, I will see ducks and other water birds. Getting close enough for a photo is not as easy as one things, especially when the birds are hunted by men with rifles in other seasons. This sometimes forces me to take photos from behind cover such as this photo. It is all about being cautious and respectful.
As the time for my SoFoBoMo project approaches, I find myself wondering what I will actually do for the project. My original idea for using the rear-view mirror has lost some of its appeal because it calls for so much planning, almost staging of each shot. Another idea involving mountains becomes a possibility, as well as a project based on the prairie slough. I even have a project based on one woman and anima sitting at the back of my mind – regardless, I seem to now be less ready than I was a month ago.
Getting back to the photo, it might appear that I am a patient person, one who is able to pause and allow things to develop without direct interference. Well, to a certain extent I am, but in truth, I don’t have a lot of patience or attention span. It isn’t that I get impatient, it is more that I become distracted resulting in losing the thread of attention. Most times this isn’t noticed by others.
Children can handle this “being present in body while not being too attentive to each of their words or actions” as long as the moments when one does attend, one is unconditional in that attention. Their is no judgement on the part of the child. And to observers who can’t see the wavering inattention due to following the wisps of thought, one would be judged as very patient.
I know that I treasure the distractions as they allow me to escape being trapped in a rut of routines. Being unable to contain the little sprites that point to things more numinous than concrete has allowed me to use this to explore, to play, and to experiment.
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.” (Carl Gustav Jung)
I thought that this was a tree until I looked with greater care – it was a fern plant that was as large as many trees in the cloud forest of Monteverde. It was impressive to say the least, a true picture of the force of nature. Somehow, something small became huge, became more than expected. For myself, this is encouraging for it points to the possibility that I will become more than expected regardless of my now being well into the second half of life.
“The unborn work in the psyche of the artist is a force of nature that achieves its end either with tyrannical might or with the subtle cunning of nature herself, quite regardless of the personal fate of the man who is its vehicle. The creative urge lives and grows in him like a tree in the earth from which it draws its nourishment. We would do well, therefore, to think of the creative process as a living thing implanted in the human psyche.” (Jung, CW 17, par 115)
So, does that make the artist a victim? I don’t accept that idea in the least. Am I an artist? In my opinion, yes I am an artist. Do I feel that I am a vehicle for some “unborn work?” Without question I accept this as a truism with regards to my “self.” For some time I thought that it was music that was my art, my gift; then it was the images I would make with paint, water colours or charcoal; and then it was photography. But predating all of this was the notion that it was with words that I was to bring forward some “work.” I knew it wasn’t a matter of choice, but of some compulsion. Jung here shows some of the wellsprings of that compulsion. Yet for me, the wellsprings go deeper, born out of my “raison d’être.” I have a need to poke into life, to examine life and my presence in that life, to question everything in search of what lies beneath. Thanks to JF for sending me a document containing these words:
“The urge to know the things of life, to doubt them and reason about them, became for Plato a daemonic grace, a “force” of human nature that grabs hold of one, not a mere “technique” that one is free to choose or not, not a mere slave to be kicked about at whim. For Plato the rationality in whose name Socrates accepted the sentence of death was not its own ground but the sublimest for of participation in a divine “giveness.” (Heisig, “The Mystique of the Nonrational and a New Spirituality”)
Powerful words that echo Jung’s words while pointing to that sense of deeper and bigger that I keep talking about. Again the lack of choice, of freedom is mentioned. I want to challenge this as I do see a way out of the compulsion – a messy out in which the “host” decided to quit, saying no to life and the divine madness. There are enough examples of artists going mad and ending it all rather than continue being the vessel through which work as yet unborn could emerge.
For me, it has been lying within, waiting for the right time. I sense that my life is more about being tempered and made ready to do the work. I sense that in this process I am to become a part of the process, not simply a victim. When? What is this work? Good questions which, as of yet, have no acceptable answers. And in thinking about all of this, I wonder if this isn’t more about delusions of grandeur, pathetic attempts at manufacturing some mystical meaning for my life. But even this must wait to be proven true or untrue.
On Isla Tortuga, a place that is not too distant from the villa, a trip that takes about an hour by car and boat, was the site where I took this photo of a Black Vulture. This particular bird was watching the antics of a number of other birds as well as a wild pig on the ground below. It was obvious that he was patient, waiting for life to present him with his next meal. Life is meaning enough for this bird and all the other life forms with the exception of us humans – or so I think.
Meaning – that is what drives me to search continually within and without. I hear others talk about “this is all there is” in a world that is fully a world with only the dimension of things that are identifiable by the senses of sight, smell, touch, hearing and taste. Anything else is fantasy, a figment and a lie. In the end, all we are doing is putting in time, just like this Black Vulture.
But, I don’t accept this belief system. And so, I continue the work of soul-making. For me, the work is more important that much of what otherwise fills most lives, the busyness of doing. The soul becomes my temple and the honouring of soul through self-discovery becomes a holy sacrament.
Psychological work is soul work. . . . By soul, I mean the eternal part of us that lives in this body for a few years, the timeless part of ourselves that wants to create timeless objects like art, painting and architecture. Whenever the ego surrenders to the archetypal images of the unconscious, time meets the timeless. Insofar as those moments are conscious, they are psychological – they belong to the sould. . . . For me, soul-maiking is allowing the eternal essence to enter and experience the outer world through all the orifices of the body . . . so that the soul grows during its time on Earth. It grows like an embryo in the womb. Soul-making is constantly confronting the paradox that an eternal being is dwelling in a temporal body. That’s why it suffers, and learns by heart. (Marion Woodman, Conscious Femininity: Interviews with Marion Woodman, pp 134-135; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, 2008, p. 37-38)
For those who base the depth of the world only on their senses, I would like to gift them with a hope for a meaningful life, one in which there is an urge to creativity, to reflection, to consciousness, a religious urge that has at its centre, the soul. I don’t mean religion in the form of a church, but a dimension of being, one that points beyond the smallness of ego to encompass purposeful meaning within a universe which has purposeful meaning.