Monday, September 1, 2014

Connecting with your shadow

I've discovered (though perhaps I might have guessed this from looking at them) that my abstract paintings flow out a generally ebullient mood, and that when I'm under stress I tend to revert to more representational work. 

I think it's got something to do with the process of looking through my files: when I'm struggling I'm naturally drawn to the more soothing photos, and then the instinct is to replicate them.  More than you probably want to know -- and don't worry, the stress isn't anything too serious.  One of our cats is dying of a tumor (as a friend is fond of saying, #firstworldproblems) and we learned this week that his time is drawing near...

ANYway, so I painted this one after the vet visit.  You might notice, if you look closely, that there's a small figure in the lower left corner.  And when I first painted it, it bothered me; it seemed to be sort of floating above the landscape.

Eventually I figured out that the problem was that the figure wasn't connected to its shadow.  Which leads, of course, to an obvious conclusion: we ALL need to stay connected to our shadows, if we are to be grounded on this earth.  We can't just float along, always assuming the best about ourselves.  It's important to understand that we, too, have our dark sides.  Because if we're reluctant to notice -- and learn to love -- our own dark sides, we're doomed to keep projecting them onto everyone around us. 

Once we can accept our own flaws it makes it so much easier to be compassionate with the failings of others.  We are all living paradoxes -- life is full of paradoxes -- and until we can learn to accept the good with the bad we will never  come to fully understand the richness that surrounds us.

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