Shadow Energy

Shadow Energy
Shadow Energy

August 19, 2009

This small sketch was made after a warm-up of creative writing.

Exercise:  Weave these three elements into a one page piece

1)    what do you see, hear, smell – right now

2)    what memories pop up

3)    ask a question

My example:

My mouth tingles with Tom Ka soup that I had for lunch, it’s tangy smell still lingering in the air. Bach’s “Gamba Sonatas” fill the space with repetitive themes. A calmness settles over me. I lift my head and catch the distinctive shapes of the pale yellow orchid with its promising buds on the windowsill across the room.

Our Thailand visit of some years ago jumps into my memory.  Lush palm trees and pink lotus blossoms in the waterways, a  backdrop for the vivid blue, oval swimming pool where we spent the mornings lounging in luxury.  Friendly kindness and spicy food comforting us.  Life serene and free from responsibilities in the bubble of our hotel.

The first time we took the open-air makeshift taxi, spewing fumes and noise, to town we were gay and bubbling in our vacation high.  When we passed through the heavily guarded gate, the scene changed. We had forgotten the crowded shacks and dirty children playing in the dusty road that led to the small  center.

We became silent and wide-eyed.  Some of the people starred at back at us.  Most focused intently on their daily tasks ; hanging colored cloth over poles,  lugging buckets of tiny shrimp and fish back from the near-by town,  preparing meals on open fires.

Toward the end of our stay, we talked about avoiding Thailand because of the constant exposure to poverty so close to the tourist hotels.  Did our stay make any difference in the life of the majority of Thai people?  Or would they be even less fortunate if we stopped coming to Thailand because we can’t tolerate the shadow side of life in our face.

Can I tolerate my own shadow side?  Do I hide from it in the brightness of comfort and routine?

Can I believe that the “shadow” ( the denied sides of my personality)  when fully accepted becomes a source of dynamism and power?  Will it give me the courage to go out the gate of comfort and face the wildness of the unknown?

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition.  What you’ll discover is wonderful.  What you discover is yourself.”  Alan Alda

Secret Selves

Dialogue of Opposites M Senese

This drawing was made after a warm-up with a creative writing exercise.

The exercise is to establish a dialogue with a “secret” part of yourself.  Give the part an identity and characteristics.  Get to know that part. Let the writing flow without stopping or correcting as you go along.

This kind of exercise may surprise you with a deepening of your self-identity.

My example:

Dialogue with My Soul

Who are you, my Soul?  First I must understand who or what you are! How can I know you when my personality is caught up in daily living and survival?  You don’t seem to care much for that, not in your vocabulary.  You are so “present” that for you there is no “time” or “death”.

Yet I am stuck in a body that I actually love, with eyes that adore beauty, feel the flow of the curve of hills, taste the play of purple and yellow on fields of autumn grain.  The “me”, that I am most familiar with, worries about paying bills, keeping my weight steady, surviving the family dramas and mastering my own emotional weather as volatile as a Norwegian sky.

You by contrast seem to be all light and love, filled with dynamism, joyous to the point of ecstasy, content with things just as they are.  I have touched you, felt you rise up in me, explode into a million particles, disappear in your orb of energy, stable yet vibrating like a galaxy of stars.

You recede and my old perspective returns, filling the narrow confines of my ordinary consciousness.  I call you, invite you back but secretly wonder if you ever were really with me. It must be a parallel reality that touches me when I manage to get the coordinates right and meet you in the zone like a lover’s rendezvous.

Will you speak to me in a secret language that only we know?  Will you teach me to hear your voice amid the jarring clamor of daily life? There is a field where we can meet.  It is the place where I can most be myself, feeling delight and joy in what I do.

Garden of Possibilities

Garden of Possibilities
Garden of Possibilities M Senese

This small sketch was made after a warm-up of creative writing.

The exercise is to use 6-8 of these “asides” in a dramatic monologue about something that really matters to you.  Write only one page,  without stopping or thinking about what you are writing.  Creative writing exercises often reveal fascinating insights into early conflicts or beliefs that you can use further in your self-inquiry.

Choose 3-6 from this  list:

  1. laugh if you like
  2. if you say so
  3. know what I mean
  4. this isn’t the first time
  5. I have problems of my own
  6. You don’t need a PhD to…
  7. In other words
  8. And so forth
  9. For Christ sake
  10. For better or worse
  11. And another thing
  12. Know what I’m saying
  13. Like I always say
  14. Dig
  15. You tell me

My example:

Laugh if you like, but I’m still trying to figure out what I want to “be” when I grow up!  Seems like at 67 I’m again in what I call a “new phase”.  How many new phases can on have in one lifetime!  For Christ sake, I’ve been “trying” to be something, someone, known, published, respected, seen or important as long as I can remember.  And another thing, when I search through old drawers I find remnants of great beginnings.  Piles of sketchbooks, small scraps of writing, poems, practice pieces, stories and loads of plans for projects with high expectations from myself and others.

You can’t tell me I haven’t “tried”. But does trying really count?  You know what I mean! Can you try to get up from a chair? It only gets you caught in the suspension between standing and sitting – or you could pop up and down over and over, like your butt and the chair are magnets with opposite poles!

In other words, I’m fed up.  It’s about time that I move from “trying” to “being”.  Taking each step forward, keeping momentum, blast expectations and fear of rejection to the skies!

Like I always say, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way!”  Actually that was my mother who said that.  What did she know about it.  She gave up when the going got rough.  She never did “get me” anyway, know what I mean!

She found her soul-friend in my sister – they could chat for hours about food and kids. I sense that I was out of her league.  Too big to handle!  You don’t need a PhD in psychology to see that I was the wild strange one – hard to control or manipulate.  For better or worse she never stopped trying!

So enough of this stuff!  Get off your butt and start working!