“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” ~ Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth
“I’m devoted to the idea that the use of images can not only transform our experience of time and space, but also has an absolute biological function that is directly tied to an essential state of being which is this: the feeling that life is something worth living.” ~ Lynda Barry
I saw an image yesterday depicting how extroverts and introverts are faring during this time of quarantine and sheltering at home. The extrovert was on bended knee, looking out his window, wailing in pain. The introvert was at his desk, peacefully working away in a state of flow.
My heart ached for the extrovert.
I tried to imagine how that must feel…trapped…claustrophobic. Confined inside without ready access to the energy and vibrations that emanate from others while out in the world—engaging and interacting. The lifeline…life blood…for the extrovert.
It would be like placing me in a room of 100 people for weeks, forced to converse in small talk, over and over, without the ability to find a quiet table off to the side, where I could be alone, recharge, and think.
But even as an introvert who can function peacefully while in isolation, I have felt deep pangs of longing for the color of living a full life…a life of free movement and profound joy without limit. Richness in sucking the marrow out of life. What Joseph Campbell refers to as the rapture of being alive.
The Power of Image in the Rapture of Being Alive
Before the world changed to a new normal, I had a chance conversation with Lynda Barry at the 1440 Multiversity campus. Lynda was seated on the steps near the lodge, waiting on her ride to arrive. I hesitated to interrupt her private space, but I knew I would regret not asking her the question that had been burning inside me for weeks.
“Excuse me, Lynda?”
She looked up with a smile.
“I was wondering if I could talk with you for just a moment about what you mean when you talk about the power of an image.”
Lynda brightened, stood, and walked over to me.
“I’ve been chasing that since I was 18 years old. I’m now 64. But it’s like this…the speech part of you is different than the image part of you. What we get from an image is different for everyone, and you cannot force it. It’s what happens to us when the brain shifts…as we go into that trance when we create. Getting going is the only way it comes. Moving your hand gets you there. It’s the experience that life is worth living.”
I see the power of an image as a current. When we create and allow that current to flow from us…through us to others…it enlivens us, brings us awake, opens us, and travels to others…connecting us in bonds that defy time and space.
Creativity as an Energetic Conversation
We enter into an energetic conversation with the deepest parts of ourselves and others. An inner exchange and a contribution to the world’s frequency that is rapturous to both give and receive.
The current finds the audience, the image lands. The energy exchange occurs. How we receive it is the power of our own image making that comes in to shape and interpret it through our own experiences and emotions.
It lands like water on a tender new shoot of green…which the shoot then pulls up through its roots and sends it to where it is needed most.
Are we willing to open, to dive deeply within ourselves, and then release that current to the world like a child pushing a toy boat from the edge of a pond?
Are we willing to create from our hearts which are full of wonder, curiosity, and joy, as well as grief, fear, and loneliness?
Can we get going and get our hands moving as Lynda suggests?
Even though we are behind physical walls, we have the power to transcend those walls whether they are within us or around us. There is profound bliss in the meaning we receive, the meaning we ascribe, and the emotion and energy that comes through us…the creator…to the ones consuming it.