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Archive for the ‘Menopause’ Category

For my 50th birthday, I bought myself a copy of Jung’s Red Book.  Over the coming months, I will be exploring Jung’s journey into the unconscious as I review my own dreams in preparation for an exhibition I will hold at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota in October, 2010.

Having just finished menopause, I am taking this opportunity to pause at midlife and reflect back on a series of dreams, just as Jung did when he wrote the Red Book.  In response to my dreams I have been begun creating a new body of work which I hope will help me clarify the direction my life needs to take in the coming years.

Recently, the New York Times had an interesting article about the Red Book.  Click here to check it out.  Here is  another link with images from the Red Book exhibition that is currently on at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York.  I also found a wonderful video showing the evolution of Jung’s mandala’s here.  Go to the bottom of the list of presenters and you’ll find a link to the Oct. 7th talk on his mandalas.

How have you honored major transitions in your life?  What forms has your creative energy taken as you have moved from one stage of life into another?

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六十余州名所図絵 甲斐 さるはしMonkey Bridge (Kai, Saruhashi), from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces [of Japan] ([Dai Nihon] Rokujûyoshû meisho zue) 「六十余州名所図絵 甲斐 さるはし」

Monkey Bridge from the series Famous Places in Sixty-odd Provinces of Japan

Nothing replenishes my creative spirit more than a good walk.  The older I get, the more I find walking is essential not only to my physical health, but also to my creative process.  I learn so much from watching how nature moves from one season into the next with such grace and beauty.  There is no better teacher of color than nature herself.  As I watch her move from the intense greens and blues of summer into the golden yellows, browns and brilliant reds, I am awestruck.

Taking a daily walk is also an incredible source of pleasure for me, as it has been for many artists before me.  One of the things I love about Japan is the tradition of sketching and writing poetry while walking through the countryside.  This woodblock is an example from of one of my favorite Japanese artists -Utagawa Hiroshige.

This year in particular, the imminent arrival of fall with it’s shorter days reminds to me to slow down and savor the fruits of the harvest as I enter the next stage of my life.  Having just finished menopause, I am now looking forward to beginning a review of the creative work I have done so far. Through this process, I hope to have a better idea of where my creative work wants to go in the next half of my life.

While I was in Japan this past spring, I noticed so many books about walking and sketching or writing poetry.  With the most rapidly aging population on earth, as well as the longest life span, I think that the Japanese are on to something here.  As we age, taking time to connect with nature on a regular basis by walking while expressing ourselves in art and poetry seems to be a wonderful way to connect more deeply with ourselves while replenishing the creative well within.

The Joy of Bubbles

The Joy of Bubbles

This past week, as my son and I have been out walking by the light of the full moon, I have been amazed by how much the same terrain is transformed when bathed in mo0nlight.  Walking together has become a special time for us.  While we are out, he loves to recite his favorite cartoon dialogues for me, blow bubbles and dance in the streets with our dog.  As the mother of a child on the autistic spectrum, I have often found it difficult to share the kind of interactions that are more common for other families, like a conversation with eye contact.  To be honest, this used to make me feel very sad and left out.  Last night, however, as I watched his beautiful bubbles floating in the moonlight and listened to him joyfully hum bars from his favorite cartoon, I was filled with such gratitude.  Our lives may be atypical, but they are also filled with so much beauty and joy, if I only remember to slow down and savor this walk through life.

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Dream Snippets

African Lion

This morning, I turned around and found myself face to face with a lion.  We looked directly into each other’s eyes for a moment and then I woke up.

In the past, I would not have bothered to write down such a flimsy snippet.  Over the years, however, I have learned that such fragments can be precious, pearl like gems emerging from the sea of dreams.

When I have paused to review my dream journals, patterns have emerged, stringing these pearl like fragments together to reveal the beginnings of new growth, the presence of healing energies and fresh insights which have helped me tremendously in waking life.

I have to agree with Jeremy Taylor, D.Min, when he says that “ALL dreams, (from the tiniest fugitive fragment to the 25 page epic with many illustrations), have multiple levels and layers of meaning and implication.”

So now, as I am going through menopause and find my dream recall decreasing, I am all the more grateful for precious dream fragments like this one of looking directly into the eyes of a lion and being seen by him.  I am struck by the fact that neither of us are afraid of each other.  This is something new.  What courage and strength are entering my life as I transition to the next stage?

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