Thursday, April 19, 2012

My Significant Other is the Kosmos Part 6; The Body Electric Sings Me

I spent 7 years in art school. I spent the next 7 years forgetting everything I learned in art school; that's when the real work began. This is literally true, and the paradox is that it was all necessary. But none of it prepared me for the plunge into my self-made existential nightmare, nor for the events on that Sunday in May, and most especially not for what was to come 3 months later in August.

The unexpected - this is what the creative urge, the eros of becoming, always strives for. What is most astonishing is that that eros works through all of us mostly unconsciously, somehow sending us blindly down strange and unfamiliar paths that we would never choose if the opportunity was plainly handed over to our sensible selves. Yet we are pushed, or pulled, and we stumble forward not knowing if terrifying monsters or heavenly cherubs await us around the next bend.

The direction my art making has taken is a good example. For the last 7 years my primary medium has been sewing thread. Previous to that I fancied myself a sculptor and installation artist, working with whatever materials the latest dumpster or thrift shop would offer. The work was surreal, psychological, dreamy. Then one day an artist friend thrust a box of industrial sewing thread spools into my arms, declaring she had no use for them but surely I would give it a try. Being an inveterate scrounger I happily took the box, despite the knowledge that the extent of my sewing experience was replacing buttons on shirts. Nonetheless I began playing with the thread, at first wrapping small object such as toys, dolls, old tools, etc. Eventually I started to get a feel for the material and took to exploring further. Much to my surprise an entirely new world opened up to my creative efforts and I expanded into wholly new and uncharted territory. 7 years later new possibilities still unfold and I find myself asking, who knew? Totally unexpected, totally wonderful.

Yet despite this mysterious unfolding and flowering in my artwork my life and psyche crashed into nothingness, a black hole out of which I barely escaped, battered and bruised and still trailing the smoke of cynicism and doubt. I was determined, but I was injured, and I was without guidance. Perhaps it was this state of mind that caused me, on that Sunday in May, to inflate a mere coincidence into something numinous and meaningful - or perhaps, just perhaps, it was the pull of creativity, of evolutionary eros. In any case, I took it as a sign and embarked on a regular practice of chakra visualizations with the Redmond CD. Over time I not only noticed the entrainment I spoke of earlier, but also a curious sensation that I could actually feel each of the chakras as I focused on them. This caught my attention as I am not usually susceptible to suggestion - I apparently can't be hypnotized, and try as I might I just cannot see, hear or touch angels and spirit guides. So this surprised me, though I didn't take it too seriously and never mentioned it to anyone.

One morning in August I was following my usual routine of Hatha Yoga exercises, ending with the Corpse Pose, flat on my back, arms at my side. I was relaxed, feeling the gentle loosening of muscles and joints and following my steady, light breathing. Suddenly and without warning an unfamiliar electric sensation rose out of nowhere at the base of my spine, grabbing my attention. At first pleasant, it seemed to slowly expand until I became alarmed at its strangeness, thinking I may have strained a muscle in my lower back. It continued to grow, and I started to panic, certain I should get up and change position. Then a thought came to me out of the blue, a voice almost, commanding me to not be a coward, to give in to the sensation. My response was quick - what have I got to lose? At that moment a huge surge of electric nerve impulse shot up my spine and into my head. My whole body convulsed as wave after wave of the most exquisite and simultaneously violent sensations shot through me. I had no clue what was happening but I allowed it to take me, and it shook me like a wet fish. For 15, 20 or more minutes I was trapped in its grip, my body flailing and writhing and convulsing on the floor, completely beyond my control even if I had wanted it - which I can assure you, I didn't. Eventually I came to exhaustion and realized it had to stop, and with that did.

I got up and walked around, bewildered and astonished. Tingling sensations continued to ripple over my skin, my head feeling as if it had expanded like a balloon. I had never in my life experienced anything remotely like this, nor anything remotely as intense. I realized a completely unknown and shockingly unexpected door had opened and I had just passed through it. As Dorothy so famously said to her companion, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore". Indeed, everything had changed.

To be continued....