Untitled by Amaris - watercolor on paper, Feb. 17, 2022 (published with permission)
This image is recently created from a participant in a Spontaneous Creation-Making (SCM) group session (on Zoom), which Barbara and I had initiated decades ago, and currently Hallie is running a group. It is amazing what births shows up when we have time to connect communally, slow down, and then each go off into our own homes for 25 min. creating something completely unplanned. One does not need to be an artist to do this. All medium and found objects, and performances, have shown up over the years. This one above happens to be a stunning water-color painting. Barbara and I have called this SCM practice and the care that goes in sharing the creations in the group sacred circle after, a 'fear' vaccine process since the early 1990s. Why? I'll get to that later.
First, I'll share the story of the 'artist' (creator Amaras) behind this image, as they recently shared this image from a SCM session, as I was interested to put a quote to the piece. I discovered the quote some days after in reading a book entitled "Mary Magdalene Revealled" (by Megan Watterson) of which Barbara was reading and showed me some quotes related to fear in the soul/archetypal register of experience. So, here is the quote that I found and immediately. It seemed like a 'response' to the painting and how it was shared that night on Zoom.
Watterson wrote in a poetic-trance like 'prayer':
"IF I could start again, it would be in the darkness.
And in the darkness, all we would see is a hand suddenly extending out toward us.
And the invitation would be terrifying.
Seeing this hand would compel our heart to start beating....
The fear comes from feeling out of control.
We want to leave and we want to stay in equal measure.
We want to know what might happen next and for everything to remain exactly the same.
Taking this hand is a choice to surrender." (p. 13)
Amaris replied to the quote:
"This is an absolutely incredible gift...It captures the feeling that I had while painted--fear and rebirth, including moving through fear and lack of control within the internal space. Fear that holds immobile in stasis but can give way to room for creation and joy. Thank you so much.
When I mentioned I wanted to publish their creation, they wrote, "I would love to read a blog about art and fear. These are themes that resonate with me very much, especially as it relates to phobia of one's inner experience. Art has been such a part of that personal exploration for me regarding this fear."
I suggest anyone reading this, take time also to be with the creation--and imagine its creating--itself. Wet and unabashedly a singularity of flow and ecstasy, and of course, with all birthing there is fear, perhaps terror, perhaps many sensations and feelings that only later we conceptualize as terror. The painting itself is important also as a process, not merely for Amaris, as she connects memories and investigates the "phobia of one's inner experience"--as she wrote of it later. It is important collectively, and that is significant for the group of SCM with it happening. What an interesting phrase that is. Like their painting emerging, a phobia is emerging to the light, with all the attention of the creator/artist entering into the unknown and unexpected that began with a paper with 'nothing' on it and then the materials and water and colors and rhythms became alive, like a "surrender" --and, ultimately this creation process is still going on, and is now going on in this digital medium of a blog.
I share this all because of the art itself and the process of SCM which I highly recommend as a practice of liberation--and, yes, I also share this 'story' because it challenges what Alan Watts wrote of (Zen style) in the 1970s in a book, I always enjoy going back to, "The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are." In oppressive societies that 'shut down' early in our lives the full re-membering of the matrixial (mother-child-birthing)--and deny its true importance to our being on this planet in a body--I think arts-expressive modalities are a tremendous gift to 'touch' again the rich sensory experiences of who we really are--embodied that is, and yes, for us to stand back and feel the "room for creation and joy" as Amaris says.
So many layers of interpreting and being/with are possible here... I am mostly aware of the power and healing that comes from wit(h)nessing, as Bracha Ettinger speaks of it and when 'more than one attends the fear' and re-births the fear--as communal practice in a sanctuary of art-care. My acknowledgement of gratitude to Amaris for sharing this with us.
Thanks be, to Creation.