Today was one of those days when I chose to rewind from the trajectory of my life and take refuge in rest and gentle company. Do you ever have those days? They can be days that suddenly descend through intense living of a creative project where, after finding arms that you never knew you had, the power to create momentum and bring art through dissipates . Often these are days that are born of coming to a cul-de-sac in the living of an aspect of a dream. Or they are days of surrender when you just don't know what to do and don't know how or if you want to proceed. I am remembering transition point in my two children's birth's now and both times screaming 'I can't do it!' and my midwife cheering back 'You are doing it!' I am thinking 'yeah - it's that point again right now, isn't it?'
I like to see the whole of my life as a living story and that by viewing it I can make sense of its themes and help change scripts for the better. Much of what I learn on making sense of life's story is from being an Artist working inside creative projects. It's easier to see these patterns when you are in the making seat rather than the living life one. So often it is that I can feel the place when both life and creative projects will move me to a point beyond all control. I know this is simply the nature of chaos in the creative cycle, but what a crazy and scary energy chaos is when we encounter it in life with others..
And when I reach a day like this: a sensible day, what a relief that is. Sensibleness is a stop that will miraculously appear on creativity's bus ride through chaos. At this stage of the creative, living journey we really have no choice but to find the still point, the eye of the storm. But so often we can forget that this is the point of chaos: to make us pause and pray deeper. But today I remembered. I stepped off the bus. I said 'Stop the world I want to get off.' I slept in, I dreamt, I took a trip to a cafe with my son. We sat there for two hours in the window seat chatting and being philosophical together. Then I came home and made comfort food pesto. I am sitting here after munching away wondering on the bus and whether I actually want to get back on it or not.
I have spent the last eleven weeks leading a project to meet the story of the Mood Singer. It is a fictional story based on my own living with bipolar disorder. I am in the process of bringing this story into the world as a film and meanwhile watch and record the creative process in the cast and crew as it unfolds. It is our story now. These last three weeks I have been flipping between working with images to make a fiction film and considering the process and its recordings to make a documentary film. It is apparent that what is lived around the project mirrors the content of what we have been creating. But now it feels like I have met some cosmic secret that doesn't want to be told or seen and forces are colliding. I don't know what to do. The bus doesn't want to go any further. I feel like I can't do it. But I am reminded that this is the transition point of birth.
Last night, my car hit a kerb too fast and the front tyre went flat. A deluge of rain came from the sky. Then the breakdown guy came and cheerfully fixed it. I felt like I had met some kind of a changing point in my life. Today Arin, my son and I had to slip past a head on collision with a bus where the car had gone the wrong way down a dual carriageway. In the cafe we stared at another car parked opposite ours with a flat front tyre on the same wheel as I had had last night. I felt like I was in one of the Three Colours films watching the messages, praying for the guy in the crumpled car we had seen, thinking about the people on the bus who were slowly dismounting in a kind of stupor to enter the new bus that had just showed up to take them onwards, wondering about everything that has been happening in the story of Carol these last eleven weeks and what was crashing, what was at stake and wondering how I am going to make films and research that can in anyway mirror the poignancy of what I am in actual fact beholding and living right now.
Being bipolar, in the mania stage, the brain can see everything in amazing clarity at times. You really go for gold because you see what it possible and don't believe you can't do it. Over the years I have learnt how to ride the energy and fortunately I always keep sanity, but the cost of the magnitude of this self-belief can be the huge depression and sense of helplessness that will ensue at some point.. The project means so much to me. I understand the Mood Singer as the hell bringer on the edge, the power of breakdown in chaos and the relentless drive of the wild and the wonderful nature that we truly are. She will test you to the limit, but she is also the transformative principle. In the end she will reveal to you something new that needs to be brought back in and help your healing. The hard thing for me is that not everyone wants to meet her and not everyone gets her context . But I honestly don't think the world will come back into balance unless we do all meet her. My own life has shown me that the journey with bi-polar is the journey of the shaman. The true need is for a change in the world's systems. We need to open up the wild natureful languages again to help people reconnect and come back into tune with the wider vision of life.
As part of my work, I choose to sit with people who are in these difficult places out of a deep love, because I personally know how important it is to find others who believe in the ultimate possibilities that lie in this excruciating place. I know these points are an opportunity. I believe that everyone I sit with can make it through. And this is why I need to make these films too - to show this.
Yesterday I went to visit the trees at the Botanics. I found myself sitting by a sequoia and then the spirit realms opened. I was overjoyed. I heard Sequoia tell me to remember to trust in everyone having the capability to connect with the spiritual matrix for themselves. Sequoia showed me her medicine. She told me that my life would be taking me deeper into the world of nature again soon and that I needed to let go of everything that I had been feeling responsible for. I wanted to stay there forever, but I thanked the lucky stars that had led me to find Sequoia that day. I also thanked everything that previously had ever been so difficult in my life that meant I had had to go out beyond the human to find what could listen and hold me in the wild nature.
This Mood Singer is tough and convincing right now. She is grinding me under a pestle and I don't believe I can make this film and research project happen. I don't feel any joy in the creative process. I don't think I can make anything that will be of any value or hold its power. I don't know how I will pay the mortgage on Tuesday. I am watching myself in the abyss.. But I know, from living through worse hells that here in the pause, with the prayer of writing, sending out lines of raw and at times lyrical truths, something will happen. A magic will break through. Though the belief has vanished,, my cells remember. I am praying. I am handing it over.
The evening sunlight catches the trees and peering out in between the branches of a leylandii jungle, the elder waves her flowers.
This Mood Singer. She's got it.