A Systems Shift

By on Oct 11, 2013 in addiction, art, Authenticity, recovery, systems | 0 comments

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I’m working with some sheets of watercolor paper that I had painted while living in Santa Fe, NM. I know one of them I painted while sitting on the 200 year old wood floor in the gallery where I also lived and that I’d been watching the movie Bright Star and was deeply impressed by its beauty/combined with pain and longing. I was feeling the richness of the colors and thinking about the lives of poets in other times.



Today it’s sunny and I’m in Southern California. There’s carpet on the floor where I live now, so it’s not as romantic to be sitting on it painting. Summer is over and I’m glad not to have to be worrying about wasps. I was making these watercolor sheets into small cards but now they look like book covers for a one poem book. I love this place where something is developing and I’m listening gently but deeply for where the thing wants to go.

This morning I’m thinking about what I’d said about how the system we live in is codependent/addictive. I myself am a recovering codependent/addict. I think a lot about what it means to, as Anne Wilson Schaef expresses in her books on addiction and codependency, shift from an addictive system to a living system. I think about HOW to do this, as well. In our culture we tend to think so much in terms of accomplishments. But what we’re talking about here are inner technologies. I think it’s hard to be conscious that we’re living in an addictive system. We watch TV and fall into a mass hypnosis. We are living in The Matrix, living our lives just like in the movie. We accept things as they are – and then oops – a little blip, a glitch in the program, like the scene in the movie where they’re in the house and they see the black cat and a second later see the black cat again, and you think: hmm, something’s not quite right. I think synchronicities are signs of the living system. And art-making for me is a mirror of how I’m working my inner technologies – either running my old, cruddy, dysfunctional system or the living system.

This aspect I’m talking about is a critical one to look at if you want to live authentically. There are many ways to express this ideas. I was watching Steven Pressfield, author of the The War of Art, talk about it to Oprah the other day. Steven Pressfield calls the inner thing that keeps us from making our art, or doing anything that our souls want us to do, Resistance. He says that the more important it is to your soul’s growth, the more Resistance you’ll feel. He says Resistance is a given.

Codependency and addiction are complex subjects. I especially love looking at how these patterns affect the artist.

Here are a few of my favorite books on these subjects:

The War of Art, Steven Pressfield

When Society Becomes an Addict, Anne Wilson Schaef

Co-dependence, Healing the Human Condition, Charles L. Whitfield, M.D.

Witness to the Fire, Creativity & the Veil of Addiction, Linda Schierse Leonard



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