I'm just finishing up Week 3 in Walking in this World. Now, I admit that I'm finding much of the book challenging. Transitioning from actress to animal behavioralist/trainer/keeper feels like walking away from creativity. However, the exercises remind me that life, lived to its purpose, is always creative. There is creation when a mathematician writes a proof, or a scientist searches for truth in a microscope. There is art in each human action, if only you let it exist. Therefore, I put my faith in the idea that my life still contains something anarchistic, untamed and alive, and I put together a collage art piece for speaking subconsciously with myself.
Holding a question/issue loosely in my mind, I spent nearly 2 hours pulling images that spoke to me. Some were as expected, animals or ocean. But others were surprising. Many were ripe berries and blooming flowers. Succulent fruits. Opulent pillows. Bold colors leapt forth in Blues, Reds and Purples.
Assembling the images into a message was the next part of the assignment, and oddly enough, I found they practically placed themselves. Even though I'd clipped out many words, only a few made it on the page. Most were simple. "Joy" & "Go. Do. Be." are the primary messages. However, the most unique picture and the most unusual words put themselves right at the heart of the piece. The visual is a stunning crystal formation, white & silver, pointing out in all directions, like a crystalline explosion.... or the tree topper in Superman's Fortress of Solitude holiday decorations. Under that, the words "God wants to see us happy."
Step 3: Write about what you have found. I sat there, pen in hand, overwhelmed by the message of my art (or my heart, as my fingers just Freudially typed). The piece is overwhelmingly about being ripe & ready for bloom. It speaks of joy, and expression. Unapologetic life, bursting forth with a center of divine guidance, inspiration and permission.
That's all well and good to look at and see... but to really GET that message was ... literally stunning. I sat motionless as tears rolled down my face. For you see, I never envisioned my life happy. Some girls put together dream proms or fantasy weddings. Others picture themselves ensconced in happy home lives, or pursing dream jobs. Me... I planned my suicide. Very elaborately, at the height of my fantasy career. Even in those frequently played movies in my head, I was not happy. Even then, I pictured myself emotionally alone in a sea of “friends.” I did not have love, although I had multiple affairs. I was tragic and under appreciated, like the “idols” I looked to at the time; Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin. Ask the people who knew me at 15 and they will tell you that I was a firm believer in “Live Fast. Die Young. Leave a good looking corpse.”
The more I thought back to my past, the more I realized that I never, NEVER thought I’d be happy. I never understood, or even imagined it was possible. I thought it was a good and positive goal to die before the world was ready for you to do so, like the old theatre adage “Leave them wanting more.” I thought "tragic martyr" was a fulfilling lifestyle choice.
No wonder my current situation seems so foreign to me. I wake up, and there’s not some feeling of overwhelming dread hanging over me. I’m not counting the hours until I’m dead. I get up in the morning and I have… hope. Previously, I would have thought this to be selfish, or childish, or both. I would have found the notion ridiculous, and would have scoffed shamefully at myself for even thinking it. But there it was… right in the damn middle of my piece. A clear affirmation that it is right and good to pursue what you love. The simple and loving statement that “God* wants to see us happy.”
I still don’t know exactly where I’m headed or what my life is going to look like in the future. But apparently, inside, I know that I am on the right path, getting riper each moment, preparing to blossom into happiness.
And as if to confirm it all for me, The Laughing Maiden opened her loving arms and with her soft breath, gave color back to the garden. Spring has sprung. No where was that more evident than at Pike's Public Market in downtown Seattle. I strolled through with a smile on my face and a blooming bit of hope in my heart. It is hard to be down when surrounded by hundreds of daffodils and tulips.
For more photos from our Pacific Northwest Adventures, be sure to check my flickr.
* GOD, for the purpose of this post and its various readers, may pleasantly stand for "Give Own Definition". I personally believe in a benevolent higher power, although I more frequently will call it Goddess or Universe. Whatever your specific definition, the point remains the same.