At the end of my Signal Fire 'Wide Open Studios' experience last month, we did solos. We spent a few days alone at a spot Tarp picked out for us, to work on a project and be with ourselves after a month straight of being constantly together in the woods. It was during this time that I birthed the idea for Ground Shots (see previous entry) which is in an ever evolving form.
For the most part, with each project prompt we were given on the trip, I wrote verociously. I decided to push my edge with writing work I have always wanted to get out of me. I was afraid to share or felt like I didn't have a peer group that was safe and receptive. I realized that this is important, but I should write and create anyway, despite not having a peer group to actively receive it. The fact that I have ever functioned according to these self-imposed rules is awing me now. The gates have been slowly releasing the past year, and the release is exponential.
Each week during Wide Open Studios, the writing themes I chose (or they chose me) in reaction to our prompts shifted and morphed according to the landscape. The memories and feelings the land invoked in me from intense reflection and personal work birthed a surprisingly large mass of writing. The subtle pressure, the container, the sharing, the peers all contributed to my gentle nudging. I knew I didn't 'have' to share anything. I was given the opportunity to do so if I wanted. I pushed myself to share even what I was questioning was appropriately vulnerable. I wanted to take advantage of what felt like a rare opportunity.
During the solo, the time is fully inner dialogue, a ride along the contours of the inner landscape. The outer landscape is illuminated. It reflects the terrain of the inside. You either fight it or embrace it or a little of both. There are times of lonlieness or fear. Of creating monsters out of nothing. Out of seeds of the past, or of unresolved shadows. Or culturally trained fears of chaos and death. At the same time, the most inspiring thoughts and ideas come from the smallest of reverberations in the inner landscape. This happens when allowed the space to drift and imagine without interruption from other humans or the distractions of the highly stimulating modern world. A-ha moments about the connections between things felt in the body, not just in the mind. Or moments of realization that point to where the deepest patterns in our lives emerge. The origins of the fears of the external, start with a tiny internal seed.
This kind of solo time shouldn't be a a rare occurrence. At one point, as humans we had built in initiation experiences that varied across cultures, going into the wild away from the community alone to face ourselves, and come out renewed and something else entirely. Welcomed. We are meant to be changelings. We are meant to channel, intuit, feel deeply the connections between all things. Yet, we aren't taught to value initiation, so we are often stuck and lost in place of being traumatized without any release, or chance for real inner meeting. A safe container is needed.
I recently read "Entropy," a zine by Peregrine about just that. The need for initiation, release, a community to welcome our new selves and hold us. To be able to actually shake in reaction to our traumas.
Two hurricanes devastated highly human populated areas in the last month. Trauma. I was looking through my writings from my solo, and realized that one of my pieces was a reaction to my fear of the wind, and partly because of growing up in the South where large ominous storms could come anytime. Being just 2 1/2 hours from the coast, hurricanes occasionally moved through and disrupted everything.
Here's a little excerpt from
(Which will be the theme of my first full length Ground Shots zine)
Though there was a certain amount of fear associated with a hurricane's arrival,
something about them,
the very event of ferocious feral change,
also brought a kind of anxious excitement.
Preparations had to be made:
find the generator, fill up water jugs, get candles, LED lights, extra food that did not need to be refrigerated.
You never knew what the winds would bring. [fear of the unknown]
blowing one way in the grand entrance,
thunder and lightening
or even spiraling tornadoes [of radical change]
Then blowing the other direction,
as the giant funnel,
sometimes up to a hundred miles wide,
would topple over us [with new ideas about the world]
We stayed inside and did the same things you do during a snowstorm in Vermont.
Played cards, stayed quiet, made art, watched the weather if the power was still on.
If you were lucky enough to be on the coast,
you had more things to worry about.
like the tides coming in
and blowing water over the land [humbling our hearts],
into sandy transplanted lawns.
The wind carried sand and rain.
Salt and fear.
It howled by the barely thrown together cedar buildings along the North Carolina coast,
some having survived over 100 years of storms.
[Forced naming brings ferocious feral change]
Mosquitoes hide in protected brushy enclaves
just where the air couldn't reach.
Salt spray pushing live oak into shrubs shaped like the wind itself. [forming us]
The wind seems to carry things:
messages, kites, songs, fears, birds, confident wingspans, old news, old patterns, new beginnings.
[Unreachable wildness, wind drifts consumption or contemplation]