To encourage my soul, I began by paying attention to what I might have neglected; those parts of myself which I had branded ‘not I’. So, I ventured on a quest to listening to those ‘not I’ parts of myself; my unheard voices, focusing on what had been cut off or had withered to see if it still had any quickening in it. I realized, however, that this narrative of The Unheard Voice was related to my own personal myth in a negative way. I had charged others with the offence of separating me from these withered parts and saw myself as the victim of this separation rather than my own oppressor. As Bochner and Ellis (2002: 90) say, “when you write a story of yourself, you accept an assumption about yourself that then determines in part how you understand yourself”. I wanted to question this narrative and to bring “these rejected and denied elements of soul – life, ‘those places where I said no to my life’ back into [my] daily rhythms” (Weller.2019). I wanted to accept command of my own fate by editing my original narrative. In The Soul’s Code, Hillman (1997:63) describes the concept of the ‘parental fallacy’ suggesting that contemporary civilization is in the merciless grasp of a fantasy about parents being completely instrumental to their children’s fate, I too feel that I have been in the grip of this illusion.
After the long night she soars out of the blackness away from the chains which have held her earth bound.
Once her feathers were white and ghostly, but now they have become golden and pure.
No longer is she leaden and held underground in the dark. Instead she soars towards the blue boundless sky, into the infinite.
Sloughing off the chains of responsibility and constraint.
Reborn again from the ashes.
No longer captive.
The worm of doubt brings with it a distrust in this process. I question whether I am making art from the point of view or my ego’s indulgence and desire to be seen or because of the soul’s call. I have to go back to my original intention and remind myself that I am doing this not because I want to be a famous artist, but because I wanted to experience the thing that happens during the process and find a place of healing. If this is so, then is what I am doing art, can anything that comes out of a personal sense be called art? It is not skilled or technically correct and neither does it have any intellectual thought to it. Is it then something else, more of a therapy rather than a thing to be presented to the world? My only answer to this is that like other forms of unique expression, as in music or poetry, we know when it is true because it touches another’s soul as it touches our own. I can only evaluate the universal impact of my paintings if they affect others, but I can evaluate their personal impact on me by how they transform from one thing into another. It is not the resultant painting that is of sole importance but the re-searching through the process and the healing of the dis-ease as a result. The painting is the expression of that re-searching.