“Carl Jung teaches that water represents our emotions” –
Estelle Thomson, Painting Under the Sea, 21 Daily Creative Leaps
Waves push and pull… Do I want to be pushed to shore where it’s “safe”, or pulled out to sea – the big scary deep unknown?
Day 19 of the 21 Daily Creative Leaps is about boats… journeys… water… and emotions. Can I just say, I found it all very frustrating. From beginning to end. Isn’t THAT interesting, I thought? Why the heck am I so TENSE, I asked?
I started this creative leap by trying to find a personal picture of boats or the ocean that I could paint. I came to realize that boats are not a comforting symbol in my life. JW sails and has had many boats. There was a boat at our former cottage. He bought a sailboat for his daughter in the past couple of years as well. Both of these boats came with conflicted feelings for myself…
The cottage was a symbol of his former life with his former family. Though it was beautiful, it was not my dream. It was not the dream I had for our family. I have beautiful photographs of the ocean in front of this cottage… of the boat… which I will forever treasure. JW and I fell in love at the cottage, in the springtime, when the waters were grey. I’m glad we discussed what our new dream was together – and the cottage was sold. I am relieved it’s gone. Our life simplified. Our energies focused.
JW taught himself to sail many moons ago. He bought a sailboat for his daughter who grew up learning to sail, then teaching others to sail. The dream of the sailboat being a shared passion between JW and his daughter has not come to life – she just doesn’t have the time between university and working, her relationship, her current priorities. To me, the sailboat symbolizes a passion that I do not share. I love being out on the ocean, I love the water, but having another “thing” to care for in our lives is just overwhelming. I want to support my husband in all of his passions, but we are stretched too thin. I feel terrible about pushing our family towards simplifying and balancing our wants/needs/likes… but it’s necessary.
Prompting her readers to ponder the imagery of boats as a symbol of life’s journey – Estelle asks in Painting Under the Sea – “Are you where you want to be?” This makes me kinda want to scream. I always want to do more, be more, but feel toooootally inadequate. I tend to fall short of truly pushing myself to excel. I’m at a crossroads. I have the freedom to re-evaluate my career – to think outside the box. I can pursue new interests! But how does one find their passion? When I have a goal – I kick butt! When I was in university… I just worked hard and finished my degrees. This attitude got me through two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s. Yet. Here I am. Three degrees. No idea what I want to be when I grow up.
I’m still working hard. I’m reading, I’m writing, I’m growing. I’m being creative, I’m pursuing/exploring meaningful work… but I’m frustrated.
I think my painted wave shows my frustration. The painting is messy. Dark. I kinda feel like that wave is crashing down on me… the weight of the future and the unknown cold and heavy. I felt incompetent the whole time I attempted to paint my ocean wave… not quite being able to get the movement across… not able to get the colours right… wanting to just rip it up. I had to remind myself… BREATHE! I’m not proud of the end product of this painting. I didn’t enjoy the process nearly as much as others. Nevertheless, I’ve experienced something powerful. Powerful enough that I had to just sit and write to calm my waters.
So what does this all mean? No idea. I don’t have the answers… But I read in Be Feel Think Do by Anne Bérubé that just ASKING THE QUESTION can be enlightening… I’m ASKING who do I want to BE? WHAT do I want to DO? I’m trying new things, seeing if they fit and learning what I can along the way. It’s frustrating. It’s overwhelming. It’s exhilarating. Good thing I can swim.
Until next time,
Read. Write. Grown