-Achieving Inner Strength By Unleashing Hidden Nature and Embracing Vulnerabilities-

Inside everyone is a wild, unruly portion, a trait we wish we could contain…something we consider “abnormal. This may be something we believe separates us from the rest of humanity and makes it difficult to assimilate to society. It is something we try to hide in our nature from others, the shadow self, what we try to suppress sometimes not knowing it is this very thing which makes us special, that makes us extraordinary, that makes us human. It is human to attempt to control nature, even our own, but it is also natural to have parts of us which defy domestication, defy conventions, despite our struggles to the contrary. I believe fortitude and courage are also found in times of adversity by not fearing calamity or loss but seizing upon any opportunity for growth in one’s personal battles. According to Sigmund Freud, life is a delicate balance of opposing forces, between Eros (lust for life, vitality and health) and the death drive. I think when confronted with the dark side, the force that wants to end us that we all must ultimately succumb to, it gives us an opportunity to push forward, define our passions and push against the dying of our light, thus increase our threshold for pain and adversity as well as diversify our experience.https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-second-noble-truth/201110/how-recognizing-your-death-drive-may-save-you

This image is about finding strength in the difficult task of embracing the untenable parts of my own nature and finding the upside in the difficult relationship of my artistic creative nature (with it’s many flaws and incongruencies) with my path in life.  It was also influenced by the “strength” card in the tarot, where a young maiden opens the jaws of a lion not by force but because he allows it, showing that it is not through muscles alone that one tames a beast or overcomes fears. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strength_(Tarot_card)

I think it is when we learn the dark parts of our nature and learn to harness their forces that we best find inner strength and can finally hit our stride. So in my image a fiery, red haired woman, not a maiden because she is passed her age of innocence, rides on the back of a male lion through a battlefield. The lion has blood on his face, we don’t know whether from biting in self defense or feeding on his enemies, but no one is alive but them in the scene and human bones litter the field they cross. we don’t know whether those bones are from fresh or old battles, but the lion has a satisfied look on his face and the woman is at peace. Their alliance is out of practicality (he allows her to ride on his back and protects her by jaw and claw while she protects him by being armed to the teeth. Her human weapons and mind can fight human foes in ways he can’t while his animal nature frees him from human rules of engagement. ) but also it is out of respect and a shared fierceness..her own inner lioness rising out of her windy hair in a kind of love story.  I think it is a common thing to hear, “love yourself” as an axiom or cliche but it is a strange notion if one really thinks of it for what would there be to love if we could not find something distinct…something foreign..some otherness within the self? The following is a poem I combined with the image…

Strength

The lion may be tamed or wild.
It may turn against me or roar for me
as we traverse the boneyard of battles gone by
buzzards above us both in the blue encircling sky.
I know this is not the last battle to fight
for as it is day soon comes the night.

The lion inside is the lion I ride
hands in his mane onward we stride
somewhere between trust and fear
anxiety paves the path to bravery
as other battles draw near.

the beast that bares me is my beast of burden
for the heart is a muscle to be stressed then rebuilt
It’s vastness a vulnerability
emotions sometimes overtake
But without them there would be no impetus to make me
Rebel and rage against the pain life brings

as a cat brings an infant rabbit to the feet of her mistress
its delicate body lying listless
the death of innocence becomes the food of life
and one is made a gift of a blood covered knife
thus twice serrated
but we cannot blame the cat now domesticated
for still being part untamed

Mother nature may be cruel but I am fiercer still
For as my wounds inform my will
they drain blood from my heart
so red is the paint i can use in my art.
My strength is my weakness and my weakness is my strength.
And all that is damaged is service of beauty.