Explorations of mind, paths, and life

In a Bottle

Posted on October 21, 2007 - Filed Under self reflect

I do my best writing in those early waking moments before I am completely lucid and able to rationalize or control my thinking. In that period of time, as my mind wakens, I am flooded with ideas, music, poetry, thoughts, writing, scenarios or problems I had been chewing on but unable to figure out. This morning I began seeing my little office at the college, working on setting it up, what I have already placed, seeing vividly the sun on the wall, the little boxes I brought in to hold supplies, where I might place my degree’s and licenses, the atmosphere, and then the words “art therapy”. The president had inquired as to whether or not I might do “play therapy” with the students seeing that they weren’t children, which later encouraged me to change the words to “art therapy”. Suddenly, I saw myself sitting in the chair in my office, holding a page from one of my old sketchbooks from High School. The image was of a woman trapped in a bottle, one arm extended above her head, the other pressed firmly in front of her on the glass. She looks melancholy, frail, and tired.
I asked, quietly, if “I” could talk more about the image.
“Yes, it is a woman a bottle.”
I practiced asking more, without being confusing, “Tell me more about what a bottle is to you.”
Then my mind opened up, “A bottle is a glass structure, that creates the illusion that the world can see the contents, and ultimately the contents are aware of the outside world, however the glass creates a barrier and neither the world or the contents can truly merge or know one another.”
I let out an acknowledgment that my husband heard as we lay in bed –
“Who is the woman?”
My mind is silent for a moment as the other piece of me contemplates the answer, wondering if she can trust the “counselor” with the information. “She is who I believe myself to be, alone, trapped, tired, seeing a world move before me and having no connection with it. Enclosed by a barrier that lets me see but does not let me feel.”
As this information emerges, I notice that I still struggle to feel emotions today. That isn’t to say that I don’t feel happy, sad, angry or fearful, but rather, I struggle to trust myself to really take in those feelings and allow them to be with me. I am very good at shushing them down, moving to another experience, and the few times in which I get that connection I cry. So much fear keeps that illusory barrier between me and the rest of the world.
I look at the girl holding her artwork – so much has happened between the person I am today and the girl I once was. I can remember being a child and feeling so intensely the emotions natural to us. I could feel the earth beneath me, feel the sigh of a tree or the call of a bird – and so much taught me not to feel as I could not trust the world with that information and level of vulnerability. I remember the first time I drew my mother, sitting on a lounge chair on the front lawn, sipping her wine and talking to me as if I was somehow able to grasp all the complications of her life. I felt so important and valuable to her and I wanted to always feel that – later that day I was downgraded to a complication in her life. What remained was my ability to express myself through pencil and paper both verbally and graphically – with the bottle between.
“The woman is reaching? Her hand is up?”
“Yes, she does not want to stay in this space – there is some hope that she can escape or someone might help her out.”
I notice that there is no cap or cork on the bottle, it is open to the possibility of escape.
I had not thought about the messages of my artwork during my teens to early 20’s. It has reminded me that we communicate with more than just words- but through smaller expressions such as art, body language, poetry, and music – the power of those expressions profound in learning more about ourselves.


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