Seeking balance

Peyton_Lindsay_Tellmewhereyou'vebeenandi'lltellyouwherei'vebeen

“Tell me where you’ve been, and I’ll tell you where I’ve been” one of my paintings inspired by Art Farm Nebraska

The title for my last show at the Jung Center in Houston, “Unconscious Conscious,” was pulled from Jung’s quote: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Jung essentially made a battle cry of the importance of realizing your “unconscious.” It can seem like murky territory, but I think of it as understanding your soul, your gut, your dreams and desires, your fears. It’s your real underlying essence — that sometimes gets placed on hold in the name of work, relationships or trying to be whatever you or someone else thinks you should be.

Yesterday, I was talking to my friend Chance, a talented musician who is doing important work at an important nonprofit. Still, despite having the job and skill set, he has this drive to run away, live in an RV in the mountains, take long road trips, explore.

We spoke about finding balance. Knowing that we have to work jobs, trying to find ones that don’t suffocate us, continuing to find opportunities to expand, be creatively stimulated and better ourselves. It can be difficult.

I recently started reading Jung’s “Man and his Symbols.” He writes about how “primitive” cultures often believed in several types of souls — one might be linked to an animal or even a tree.

“This means that the individual’s psyche is far from being safely synthesized,” Jung states.”On the contrary, it threatens to fragment only too easily under the onslaught of unchecked emotions.”

We have vulnerable souls, in other words.

And we live in uncertain times, where things are changing so quickly that it’s easy to get out of breath. It’s easy to feel unsure of our footing. At the same time, we are bombarded with images, stories, social media, ads that can make us question our self worth, that can disrupt our priorities and can command our total attention, distracting us from other important aspects that make us whole.

I’m making some changes in the near future with the hope that they will lead to a more balanced life. I know I’m not alone in this, that a lot of people are searching for more meaning and more authenticity.

“Human consciousness has not yet achieved a reasonable degree of continuity. It is still vulnerable and liable to fragmentation,” Jung writes.

All the more reason for us to take time to fortify it, to do our part to promote understanding and togetherness in our world and in ourselves.

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Hitting the Pavement

ian_anderson

My friend Ian Anderson

Every morning at 6 a.m., my friend, the talented painter Ian Anderson, loads up his bicycle with art supplies and heads to downtown Houston. He sets up and waits for the sun to emerge and highlight the buildings — and then he paints tiny landscapes of the skyline with a limited palette of a colors.

I spent some time with Ian in his studio recently and leafed through the piles of paintings on paper. He said that he hopes to have a show of the works one day, but in the meantime, he’s glad to be painting as much as possible. And, more than anything, he really enjoys what he is creating, every aspect of putting brush to paper and every pedaling adventure in the early morning.

Ian also showed me his failed ideas — the things he started working on but no longer wants to pursue. For a painter who once had trouble getting motivated to create, he seems to be on a hot streak.

Before heading to Ian’s, I popped into visit my other super talented Houstonian artist friend, Kevin Peterson. His studio was also full of new works, which means tons of time spent at the easel, for someone who paints every realistic detail in his fantasy pieces of children walking through the detritus of a city with wild animals at their heals.

I always have liked to spend time with Kevin and Ian, not only because I love the paintings they create. They are hard-working, dedicated and critical in a way meant to promote progress. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people who have a work ethic and dedication that you would ideally like to share.

A lot of people will agree that talent is secondary to putting in the hours of work required to create something great. But then again, few people actually will sit down and toil until they reach a breakthrough. I really do believe that it’s all about hitting the pavement and being dedicated to taking the journey, spending years trying to get better and constantly striving.

When I was in college, one of the visiting photographers came to our classroom and said, “Look around you. Some of you are already talented photographers and some of you are just learning. The ones who are already good will never be great. The ones who are just beginning will have the potential to be great photographers. They’re the ones who will take rolls and rolls of pictures to try to get better. They’re the ones who will learn daily and push themselves harder. The ones who are already good won’t feel the need to try as hard — and consequently will remain where they are today.”

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” — Winston Churchill