This week I tackled another one of my struggles besides waiting, that is relationships. The first little fable, which I call the lovers, is about the kind of relationships that doesn't last or the kind where two people are together, sometimes for a long time, but living separate lives side by side. Then more rare is the opposite story, the partners, where the two people form a real unit and even after years together still manage to surprise and learn from each other.
Many people think the only possible kind of relationships is the first one. Yet growing up, and still today, I have had the example of my parents having the second type of relationship. It's what felt normal to aspire to. My parents were very lucky, because it's rare to meet someone you feel that sort of connection with. And it's a painful experience to feel it with someone and being pushed away as soon as there's a threat of getting a little close.
It's happened to me a few times. The last time was almost three years ago and it made me want to take a hard look at myself and figure out why it keeps happening, but more importantly it made me wonder how can I change? And that is the real reason I got started on this journey with the fables, to help me change but also to share with others who may relate to my stories and want to change too.
At the time I made the first drawing I had just installed a hummingbird feeder by my front door and there were two of them that kept coming and chasing each other with a friendly buzz. I immediately felt an affinity with the little birds, being small myself and liking to be nimble and move fast. So when I looked for what would be "my" animal symbol, I naturally turned to the hummingbird. And along with it, the tree, houses, and water from the fountain. The funny thing about hummingbirds is that despite their common association with marriage and happy relationships, the real birds are pretty independent and change partners every season. I probably overlooked that fact the first time around ;).
Originally the drawing for my portrait was meant to illustrate this sort of new gift I discovered, that is having an intuitive sense about people, and how I connect to find out who they are, by feeling the harmony between us through the collective unconscious. I had named it "the partner". Kind of ironic. I was completely blind to what I now see was an inability to fully connect with someone.
After this I discovered Carl Jung's concept of the shadow I started to experiment adding an opposite to all my drawings. I revisited this one last year, taking a new look at the symbolism and what the opposite drawing could be. It was a tough one. I won't get into the details, but it involves Jung's theory of the male and female in all of us and how it affects our relationships.
Essentially to become whole we need to unite the male and female parts of our psyche. Picture the round tree as the male part and the house as the female part. The fish is a symbol of this unification and water is the unconscious through which we are all connected. I imagined a pair of doves living in the garden Joseph Campbell talks about in The Power of Myth, protected by two guardians we need to get passed to be able to enter, that is desire and fear.