Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Life in Progress

Above is a photo of two pieces in progress. The figure on the left has been in such a state for much longer than the one on the right, which will hopefully be completed in the not-too-distant future. Like these images, my life seems to have been halted mid-course.

For the past year or so it has been a constant struggle to find the hours and energy to delve into the work I feel like I was meant to do. As a result I've found myself in a deep depression which deprives me even of the desire to work, forcing me into a vicious cycle which just keeps pushing me farther and farther away from where I wish to be.

At one point the situation was so bleak I ended up being dependent upon a drug for weeks to make it through (not a drug in the conventional sense as it's perfectly legal, requires no doctor or psychiatrist to prescribe, and the dealers include your friendly neighborhood Barnes & Noble and Borders, but a drug nonetheless). You probably are familiar with it: a hefty series of four books centered on a love triangle between a vampire with a conscience, a werewolf, and a clumsy human. Seriously, this saga, which shall remain unnamed, is a far cry from literature — it is a highly-addictive substance specifically designed to target and mentally incapacitate a select range of females (basically anyone who felt like a social outcast in high school which is a pretty large demographic). It was escapism of the worst kind.

My full-time day job is a necessary evil as it pays the bills, but while it once seemed content to remain in the space allotted to it (approximately forty hours a week in a generic office building) it has grown insatiable in appetite, demanding to take over my attention and identity. It wants to be the sun around which the rest of my life revolves. I'm taking steps to extricate myself from the increasingly hostile environment but I don't know how long it will take to regain some sort of healthy balance. In the meantime I'm trying to find some perspective and inspiration to hold onto so I don't lose myself completely. Mary Oliver's poem "Wild Geese" has become a holy mantra, and I pour over the images in my mind each in turn like the beads of a rosary.

In tribal and pre-literate societies illness was often believed to be a result of a loss of essence. Personal turmoil can entangle the soul or cause it to wander away, but it can also be stolen or deliberately mislead by clever sorcerers. It was one of the shaman's many tasks to journey into the Underworld to retrieve the soul that had been lost (or taken) and reunite it with its waking self, thus restoring a person to wholeness. I need to reweave the connections with my guides so that I can find my soul again.

No comments:

Post a Comment