A Weekly Honing: Comfort


Painting the Blue Funnel Puteaux 10 April 2008The word to ponder for the week from Hone Life is Comfort.

What makes me comfortable? Surprisingly, what has persisted in my ponderings is a paradox. It seems that what makes me most comfortable is being uncomfortable. Does this make me a masochist? No, not really, because it’s about the place in which I most like to be.

It’s my studio and writing room. Without wishing to sound melodramatic, it’s the place in which I wrestle with my creativity, where I am at the edge of my known world, pushing my boundaries out into new domain. It’s a bit like being on the edge of a cliff, knowing that the only way forward is to step off into the air. You’ve got some gear with you but you don’t know if it’s the right gear. Is it even the right bit of cliff? At any rate, I’m risking death. Other artists have expressed the phenomenon in different ways:

“To see far is one thing, going there is another.”
(Constantin Brancusi)

“I remember Francis Bacon would say that he felt he was giving art what he thought it previously lacked. With me, it’s what Yeats called the fascination with what’s difficult. I’m only trying to do what I can’t do.”  (Lucian Freud)

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” (Michelangelo)

Here’s a quote – a question (that he goes on to answer) – from The Courage to Create, (Rollo May):  “What is the relation between talent and the creative act, and between creativity and death?”

My present studio is my smallest ever and yet my most favourite. It’s a little attic.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s my favourite, because the attic as a symbol stands for the mind and the spirit, and much more – realms in which I am most comfortable. Here are some possible interpretations of  attics which turn up in dreams:

“The attic is often a place of exploration …” and “… “… in some dreams … where we meet those things we would rather not see or remember.”  (Tony Crisp)

” … an attic … represents hidden memories or repressed thoughts … symbolizes your mind, spirituality, and your connection to the Higher Self.” (Dream Moods)

“The attic is located in the top of the house, much like our brains are located in the tops of our bodies. We keep items in storage in the attic–sometimes the articles stored there are items we hang on to but no longer need, and sometimes the articles are lost treasures.”  (BellaOnline)

Outside of dreams, Gaston Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space: “… takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our thoughts, memories, and dreams.” (John R Stilgoe). There’s a section where Bachelard refers to novelist Henri Bosco’sL’Antiquaire‘ in which there is a house which Bachelard describes as having “… cosmic roots …”. The house has a tower and I believe an attic is also a tower and can share its symbolical meanings. Both have windows which can be said to be eyes. Are towers, attics, always watchtowers?

“This house … as a stone plant growing out of the rock up to the blue sky of a tower. … At first we are in the labyrinth of corridors carved in the rock. … we come upon a body of murky water.  … beyond the underground water,” … “A very narrow, steep stairway, which spiraled as it went higher, … carved in the rock. … emerges into a tower.” “… the ideal tower that haunts all dreamers of old houses.  … “perfectly round, …” … “brief light” from “a narrow window.”  … a vaulted ceiling,” … ” … a great principle of the dream of intimacy.  No one will be surprised to learn that the tower room is the abode of a gentle young girl … The round, vaulted room stands high and alone, keeping watch over the past in the same way that it dominates space.  On this young girl’s missal, handed down from her distant ancestress, may be read the following motto:  The flower is always in the almond.”

From this extraordinary piece of writing we arrive at the idea of the attic as the Vesica Piscis and The Flower of Life!

To see a cluttered attic in your dream, “… is a sign to organize your mind and thoughts.” (Dream Moods). I’ve been decluttering recently and reorganising my little attic studio – making it a more tranquil and harmonious place in which to be uncomfortable!  After all, if I have to die in this place every day, I want to do it in comfort!

Ann

About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer, Proofreader/Copy Editor
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14 Responses to A Weekly Honing: Comfort

  1. What a ‘comfort’ this post is. Have been working on something with no idea what will become of it. I forget that this is ‘normal’, this state of discomfort for most artists. Had two dreams, years apart: one was rising a set of stairs to an upper room of sorts, where in my conscious mind (being so called awake) I knew it to be the room of creativity. And recently one of decluttering a room, except this seemed a basement. I know that in psychology this would probably mean I’d have to get ‘the basics’ right in order to get to the upper room. Thanks for posting this, it’s a help. Will follow the links you provided to get to know more. The quotes are lovely!

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    • AnnIsikArts says:

      You’re obviously very self-aware. I didn’t know how to begin to interpret my dreams till I read ‘Women Who Run with the Wolves’ (Pinkola Estes). Also, in your dreams, it came to me that there is always a link between the basement and the attic and each time we sort out one of the two, we have to go back and sort out the other. When one shifts, the other has to be adjusted to keep the house stable. Also, it’s about treasure – there is always more to ‘unearth’ to carry to the attic. We dig deeper and higher constantly? 🙂

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      • Oh well done! I’ve begun with trying to practice Right View in Buddhism. Keeping things as they are and not connote or layer life as it happens with extraneous meaning. The idea of treasure is worth raking through the muck.
        I’ve read Women Who Run with the Wolves. It was a borrowed copy and am in fact thinking of getting one for my shelf. It’s nice to refer to from time to time.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        I have a feeling if we lived in the same town, we’d get to be great pals! I’ve had a quick read on Right View. I found myself nodding my head in agreement and understanding a lot. It’s interesting that what is considered Wrong View bears a strong resemblance to the Ten Commandments. It makes me speculate on the wanderings of Moses.
        Pah! I can’t express myself properly in a little box! Whatever I say will sound trite! Come to England for a chat! Ann

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      • You’ve no idea how much I’d like to! Budget’s a bit small at the moment though. But it’s on the wish list. There are all sorts of comparisons that can be made. I think Jesus spent a lot of time in Tibet; there’s a chunk of his history missing, that ‘they’re’ not telling us.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        One of my favourite books is Deepak Chopra’s ‘The Third Jesus’, which examines that ‘chunk’ you are talking about! 🙂

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      • Oh yes? I’ve been avoiding Deepak Chopra purely because of his fame. But I’ll research this one. I read a book by a female theologian who discussed Jesus – The Dead Sea Scrolls. Very interesting reading. It was a borrowed book, a long time ago and do not remember the name of the author. Maybe the internet will throw something up. I’ll let you know.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        I’d be interested in reading that book about the Dead Sea Scrolls. I’ve just been reading a newspaper article about 70 tiny metal (lead) books that were found in a cave in Jordan. Many of them are sealed and it’s being speculated that they’re a lost collection of codices mentioned in Revelation. Wow! That’s a bunch of books I’d like to read. I see little of Christ in Christianity. Given up on churches. 🙂

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      • It’s a relief every time I find someone that feels that way about christianity. Sealed lead books in Jordan. Hoo boy. I wonder if ‘they’ will let us know what it says.

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      • AnnIsikArts says:

        Whatever is in these books will be sieved and sieved and sieve – eventually. That thing about the rich man and the camel and the eye of the needle? Well, powerful and in authority is about as rich as you can get! 🙂

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  2. I’ve had two different dreams at two different times regarding this post. The latter had to do with clearing the mind. Things are truly in a jumble. The other dream has to do with rising a set of stairs to an upper room. Thanks for posting this, am off to unclutter. Shall follow the links you provided.

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  3. I can very much appreciate the “comfort” (if you will) of feeling “at home” in a relatively unsettled place. I find this longing expressed well in Augustine’s prayer, “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

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    • annisik51 says:

      I understand this feeling Tony. It is a universal truth expressed in many different ways. It is what all this marching over cliffs is about …! And the decluttering is a conscious act – except when I forget this – to clear away a space for more than just my puny creativity. 🙂

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