Most often, the anxiety aroused by the summons to a larger life is more than we can bear.
James Hollis, “Creating a Life”, p. 49
I have started a new series of paintings with the working title “ The Disagreeables”. For a long time I have tried to override my own inclination towards agreeableness when painting, but it’s hard. Hard not to please my own eyes, hard to go let raw & unmediated expressions take centre stage, hard to be assertive …
To be honest, I suspect I’m too comfortable with being agreeable to get in touch with my own shadow. But what’s the point of agreeable art?! It’s a bit like muzak, isn’t it?
Still reading the Jungians
And so, to escape comfort, I go back to the Jungians for some guidance –
Individuation, according to Jung, means to show up and contribute our small part to the big picture. From afar, that sounds reasonable, even doable, but in practice we all are intimidated by what individuation actually asks of us. Our well-being once depended on our fitting in, being adaptable, agreeable, accommodating. Individuation asks that we actually serve a separate summons to be different.
We are not here to fit in, be well balanced, or provide exempla for others. We are here to be eccentric, different, perhaps strange, perhaps merely to add our small piece, our little clunky, chunky selves, to the great mosaic of being. As the gods intended, we are here to become more and more ourselves. ~
James Hollis, “What Matters Most”, p. xiii
It probably doesn’t sound too smart but I’m actually trying to listen in to what my hidden self has to say … not to make a nicer, but a more truthful kind of art …
Surely the only measure by which we can judge ourselves in the end, or be judged by others, is the degree to which we have heard and responded to the imperative to become ourselves in the face of what would hold us back.
James Hollis: “Tracking the Gods”, p. 73