When I was little, there was a troll that lived under the bridge near my Nan’s caravan. My hair was made of spun gold and I felt magic coursing through the long grass, as I played at the beach. Every rainbow held a secret message for me. Every leaf of clover was lucky. I tiptoed through life in wonder, absorbing the simple pleasure of connection to the moment; of drizzling honey onto warm bread and catching shrimp in a bucket. When I learned to draw, everything was worthy of a sketch: my school uniform, the record player cleaner, the china fruit bowl. Still life was still alive.
As I grew older, that connection dulled, and it dulled until I almost lost it. I remember returning to the beach and feeling that palpable loss, realising that magic had never existed and that it was silly to have ever felt that way. Adulthood had no room for such fantasy. I turned my attentions to my work and my mortgage.
Two months ago, here in Switzerland, I lost the job that I’d lived and breathed for three and a half years. From this point on I have been in a whirlwind of travelling, adventure, universal divinity and friendship. I’ve witnessed the edges of the shamanic realm and the final moments of shooting stars in a sky so speckled with stars, I almost lost myself. I’ve made friends with the universe, together with a few more lovely human beings that are part of it. I’ve watched the earth’s shadow move across the moon and the moon obliterate the sun.
Now I’m acutely aware that most people would just take some gardening leave and that I might have overdone it a bit. But I followed what my heart was saying and it led me in that direction. I am so very grateful and I will never stop listening to it again.
And today, as I cook Sunday lunch, listening to Foreigner’s Greatest Hits, in a little Swiss place I call home, I know that whatever happens next will be just as incredible.
Magic is truly everywhere, we just need to look for it.
I’ve recently been working on parts of my character that I didn’t like. Jung would call this our shadow side: the side of us that is hidden or negative; this is our dark side, the side that we would prefer did not exist and for most of the time, we are unconscious to it.
It’s been a really interesting journey. I’ve examined the possibility of certain people being in my life for a reason, (particularly if I don’t like the fact that they are there) accepted that I’ve been wrong when I was sure I was right, and stopped blaming others for my short-comings… Mostly.
True, I feel lighter, I like myself more and believe it or not, I like other people more, as I realise that they fight the same internal battles as I do. The human psyche is a wonderful and complex thing and as we analyse and solve one riddle, another is sure to follow.
I also feel this process could take a while.
So today, having read a few books on this subject, I am writing to you as no expert. But my opinion at this moment is this: that without our shadow, we can not define our light.
Just like people, the greatest works of art are worked in light and shadow and they are perfect, just the way they are. Maybe we’re too hard on ourselves. We are dark and light and everything in between and whilst it’s healthy to have a preliminary sketch of ourselves, I’ve always felt grey to be over-rated.
Having rejigged my website a bit and realised I need better shots of all of my artwork, I took a moment this morning to step outside and inhale my first fly of the year. I live in the countryside, near a lot of water and it’s at this time that the forests start to wake up with a low primal hum of insect life. Pretty soon there will be a deluge of buzzing beasties that will send us running, but for now, it’s safe to sit outside with a cuppa and put myself to good use, after what has seemed a very long and unproductive winter.
I’m really happy to have finally pulled my finger out and organised some prints of my Fire Fox to be sent to the Fox Project, for onward sale. I’m painting a series of ‘Nature in Technology’ which I’m hoping to finish this year. This fella is one of four right now; I guess I’m aiming for a few more- four on a wall is a bit lame. Like many of us, I have a day job and most evenings I can barely get to the sofa to nod off. Printing is probably the way forwards for artwork right now as not many of us are in a position to buy originals. That and collaboration with voluntary organisations. It’s such a pleasure to see an image you’ve created being appreciated and it’s food for the soul even if it’s not food on the table.
My time in Switzerland has been a complete adventure. I’d never seen mountains up close before, or extremely bad parking, or 20 red kites following a tractor. I have been writing about these times, but only for my family and friends, so that they could share the experience and feel that they were here. It’s time to change that, I think. Social media and the internet gives us such a great opportunity to share and grow and whilst it’s utterly daunting to put yourself out there, so many of us have something to say.
Thanks for reading.