Friday, June 3, 2011

Bursting Into Flames - the Horrific Short Life of a Phoenix

Interesting conversation yesterday.
I am walking past an earthquake-torn historic building and someone goes, "We in Christchurch will rise again - like the Phoenix!"
"What - bursting into flames?" I replied
"Well yes, but, wait, not like that - ok, maybe a bad example."
We laugh and walk away from each other.
Yeah, I get what they are saying. Phoenix dies and is reborn from the ash of it's former self.

Big deal.

There's got to be an easier way, me thinks.

When I learned that the Creative Every Day 2011 theme for the month of June was "metamorphosis", I groaned. I really, really did. Sometimes life feels like one painful unfolding of dry onion layer after dry onion layer. I've taken so many healing, Landmark, NLP, hypnosis, counselling, The Journey, yoga and flower essence classes that if I met Oprah on the street tomorrow - she probably would tell me I was doing too much "self-help" and needed to sit my ass down.

Everything has changed for me this year - everything. Where I live, my friends, my job, my university courses, my future. Not all bad changes, but they are big - and definitely take some getting used to. Living in a town that has been half-destroyed by earthquakes, it feels as though metamorphosis fills my every waking moment and every dream. Just down the street from me neo-gothic and historic buildings have crumbled to bits, and new buildings are already being erected to replace them.There are days, like today, when I just want the ground under my feet to (literally and figuratively) STOP moving.

 So, ok, you get the picture. Lots of changes.
Does that mean that I will jump up and down and not do the challenge?
Of course not.

The challenge of using the metamorphosis theme for creativity has actually prompted me to think about some positive, life affirming changes that I might like to make with my life and my art. Many changes I've experienced are those I have had no choice in - call them acts of god, they happen, and you just have to deal with them when they do. But what types and forms of metamorphosis might I like to explore that is actually of my choosing?

Good question.

And does all metamorphosis and change have to involve bone-breaking, flesh burning, soul tearing, cathartic stages of transformation?

God I hope not.

To explore this question I stayed up last night writing a series of poems based around the theme of metamorphosis, and I will be editing and posting them on here as the month progresses. Subjects included the way that books and reading stimulates changes within people, how old age changes people and their sense of self, how simple words and acts can render changes unto a relationship with a loved one forever.

The exercise was helpful, enabling me to write fast, loose, not worrying what came out, just moving from one poem to the next very quickly. It's a great way of shutting up the left-brain from analyzing too deeply, scrutinizing too hard, and just getting into the flow. By the end of the poetry jam session I slipped off into a contented,  creatively-satisfied slumber.

Metamorphosis happens all around us, every day. The seasons, the tide, the dresses of the moon - constant cycles of transformation and difference, always connected with a deeper, more natural balance.

That's the sort of personal metamorphosis I would like to invoke into my own life.

The Phoenix can keep it's dramatic catharsis and fiery death cries.
Some things, like writing, like life, can just be simple.

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