Our Inner Darkness: the Shadow Self
Over the weekend, I worked a three day festival and had a lot of very positive interactions with potential buyers. While I always have the inevitable browser (or several) who insist that I must be using psychedelics to come up with the surrealistic themes of my art, I realize that they are mainly just trying to interact and be clever but their distracting inanity does help me to appreciate that rare browser that really wants to talk about the meaning and intent behind my work.
This weekend, a buyer that stood out was very taken with one particular piece. She kept leaving and coming back to stare at it again and again. We engaged in conversation. I was happy to prattle on about the dream work inspiration for my art, my interest in Carl Jung and the cosmic unconscious. She nodded along and then paid me one of the nicest compliments that I've ever received.
"I have a lot of artist friends," she told me, "that are technically very good, but I look at their work and I feel like any one of them might have painted it. They are still trying to discover who they are as an artist. They haven't found their voice.
"I look at your art and I'm looking at the work of someone who has found her voice. You know who you are."
I think of my work as a journey toward discovering who I really am; as an ongoing process to connecting with my shadow self and finding true and lasting inner peace. She reminded me that even if I'm not completely there yet, I am on my way.
Every new day, every new dream journey, moves me closer toward that sense of feeling right in my own skin; of accepting my place in the Universe.
I've got a long way to go. I know that. My Shadow Self, that neglected and unloved inner child, still waits inside me, waiting to feel that sense of complete acceptance and approval that she never felt. Trying to connect with her and give her that sense of belonging keeps me moving forward.
We fear the Shadow Self like we fear the Devil: the great dark unknown. We think it lurks out there in the darkness, watching and waiting to hurt us and swallow us whole, but the Devil, our Shadow Self, is always truly inside us.
We need to shine the light of love and acceptance upon our dark inner self. She is worthy of love and compassion. She was always worthy, but learning that may be the hardest lesson of all.
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