A Weekend of Letting Go

A Satisying Saturday University Tour

A Satisfying Saturday University Tour

Sam Houston State Univesity, Huntsville, Texas

Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas

I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!

Letter to Carl Jung from a former patient

I regret to see the close of this weekend, as it offered more gifts than I could possibly describe. Saturday, rising at 5:00, I boarded a tour bus with AVID students from my high school and toured two college campuses, returning 14 hours later. The rosy-fingered dawn (Homer’s words from The Iliad) and the warm light from the occasional farmhouse as we journeyed south filled me with an aesthetic delight, and in the soft glow of the reading lamp provided, I was able to get through the first 82 pages in my re-reading of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I love to drive cross-country, but love more being driven, so I can read, ponder and scribble in my journal without interruption. Walking across the sprawling campuses of Sam Houston State University and Navarro College, I was filled with the exhilaration of memories of my own college years more than forty years old now. The look of wonder in my students’ eyes reminded me of my own overwhelmed state when I made my first college tour, trying to decide where to go after high school.

An Excellent Beginning to my Sunday

An Excellent Beginning to my Sunday

Getting home Saturday night, I had no energy left for reading, so I sat and watched some TV and opened a bottle of champagne I had purchased for New Year’s Eve, but never put to use. Drinking alone is not my idea of a perfect way to end an evening, but it guaranteed a good night’s sleep, and waking shortly after 9:00 Sunday, I was ready for a full day. Following my shower, a good healthy breakfast, and a long stretch of tidying some of the rooms of my house that had been “junked” with the contents of my art booth from last weekend’s show, I finally sunk into my leather living room chair and read with delight further into The Fountainhead, allowing an hour of uninterrupted reading and journaling. I didn’t see it coming, but reading this book suddenly filled me with the impetus to begin a new watercolor ASAP. I was smitten with the urge because of this story of a young architect that wanted the prestige of his profession, but was terrified of creating art:

Then he found himself suddenly in his glass-enclosed office, looking down at a blank sheet of paper–alone. Something rolled in his throat down to his stomach, cold and empty, his old feeling of the dropping hole. He leaned against the table, closing his eyes. It had never been quite real to him before that this was the thing actually expected of him–to fill a sheet of paper, to create something on a sheet of paper.

Beginnings to a New Watercolor

Beginnings to a New Watercolor

Closing my book, I dashed to my living room drafting table and readied my supplies. It didn’t take long to find in my computer files the image in my mind’s eye that I had considered the past couple of days–an abandoned filling station in Lexington, Texas that I always see when I travel to Portland to do business with the gallery down there. I have never felt the discomfort of the young man in this novel–leaning over a blank sheet of paper, expecting a world to come into focus beneath my pencil or brush has been the most rewarding of experiences throughout my life, creatio ex nihilo, watching a creation swim out of the void and into focus. When I realize that I am the one making that happen–I cannot describe the feelings that course through my being, but they are not feelings of sickness or doubt.

After some time spent in the preliminary stages of this painting, I decided I needed to “christen” another one of my recently arranged working spaces.

Solitary Reading Time

Solitary Reading Time

Moving down the hall, I took up residence in my newest study area, and re-opened Anthony Storr’s Solitude: A Return to the Self. This book has engaged me since 1988 when I purchased it new. He argues that the individual does not have to find ultimate meaning in life through relationships, that many healthy creative spirits throughout history have maintained fulfilling lifestyles in solitude. My reading today took me through several texts of Carl Jung, William James and Abraham Maslow. I was struck by the text that I quoted at the top of this blog entry, from one of Carl Jung’s former patients. I also drew sustenance from the following:

Maslow realizes that the creative attitude and the ability to have peak experiences depends upon being free of other people; free, especially, from neurotic involvement, from ‘historical hangovers from childhood’, but also free of obligations, duties, fears and hopes.

Reading this piece resulted in an avalanche of ideas tumbling all around me, and I could not seem to write fast enough in my journal to encapsulate them all with adequate words. As the emotions began to rise, music began to flow through me, and reaching for my guitar, I began to do something I haven’t done in years–compose a song.

Working on an Original Composition

Working on an Original Composition

Starting with the hook “Letting Go”, I was surprised at how fast a chord progression emerged, and the words started coming so fast I decided to start recording on my phone instead of writing. I enjoyed the new flood of liberating ideas and tunes that comingled.

The Final Staging Area

The Final Staging Area

Once I captured all the music I thought was going to happen for the day, I decided to move to my study and spend some time in my favorite rocking chair. There was still plenty more to write in the journal, and I really wanted to return to the art and writings of Robert Motherwell, who had captured my attention and affection a few days ago. There were still some more things I was wanting to read about the surrealist notion of psychic automatism and its ability to open fresh channels for making art.

It’s been a whirlwind of a day, but I managed to do what I really craved–read, write, make art, make music and enjoy life.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to understand.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not really alone.

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4 Responses to “A Weekend of Letting Go”

  1. Dian Darr Says:

    Wow! I loved and needed this message so beautifully written. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. createarteveryday Says:

    Sounds like some wonderful times at your place! Your writing is so smooth and complete, along with the photos, I feel like I was right there. Alone time can be so refreshing and invigorating, even moreso in the spaces you’ve created there. Have a great week!


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