Shine Your Light

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say "I used everything you gave me", by Erma Brombek

My daily quote calender item yesterday

When this was unveiled on my daily calender yesterday I thought how relevant it was to my own journey into creative writing and the struggle to allow myself to be freely expressive. Growing up in a culture where self expression is not always appreciated, in fact often winced at, is one of the dynamics at play when we are unable to allow ourselves that which we truly want and should authentically be.

In maturity, we also often realise that when we honour our values and expressions, it does not hinder others but helps them. We all have our gurus. I know of a number of guiding lights who have supported me through many a dark moment, to name but a few I would choose Carl Jung, Deepak Chopra, Eric Maisel, M. Scott Peck…there are many more, including many of my fellow bloggers here at wordpress and other sites.

What happens when we don’t honour our talents?

Ernest Hemingway’s short story The Snows of Kilimanjaro is about regret. Everything is sour, from the putrid, gangrenous leg to the mindset of the dying writer who is the main character and who mourns all the stuff he put off from writing because the time wasn’t quite right and he would ‘do it sometime’. The lesson is about procrastination and making excuses, allowing distractions to creep in and negative self-pestering to win out. To be sure, as Rollo May observed half a century ago, there may be resistance at first from those around you. But stay aware that people are acting from their own fear and suppressed creativity – push on while you gently cajole and inspire them to be the best they can be too. You will find transformation for yourself and others and a new vigour and joy for life. Self-suffocation is the most painful form of spiritual suicide. Don’t go there. Take inspiration from people who have turned their lives around, grasped their authentic selves, made meaning and found life. Here are some clips from Good Will Hunting, a lovely tale of redemption and love.

Delving Deep: Meanings and Metaphors from Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

artist's impression of a big marlin leaping from the sea with the old man in the skiff in the distance

The Old Man and the Sea – Santiago hooks a giant marlin

Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea in 1951 to tremendous acclaim. Read as a symbolic novel with overtones of religion, identity, life and death, I feel it has a much richer set of meaning layers and can usefully be read through the lens of depth psychology as an individuation narrative, a Hero Myth.

The Jungian concept of individuation entails a process of gradual and lifelong connecting with the unconscious at ever deeper layers, ultimately with the collective unconscious which is hard to define but in some ways can be understood as nature itself. This process of connecting with and owning all our archetypal aspects, energies or identities leads to greater wholeness and a lesser tendency for unconscious acting out of destructive complexes. In essence it is a maturation journey, full of struggles and epiphanies. It is also an existential task, to come to terms with death as inevitable and therefore to adopt a meaning-based attitude towards life.

Symbolic Meaning in The Old Man and the Sea

Several layers of symbolic meaning are to be noted and Hemingway builds these gradually by setting out the relationship between the old man Santiago and the boy Manolin. Much mutual trust and affection is evident and this may be read as the dependent and intertwined nature of the archetypes of the ‘puer’ full of energy and freshness, and of the ‘wise old man’ full of wisdom and intuition. The boy will become the old man one day and has much to learn from him; at the same time the old man sees himself in the boy and remembers the happiness of his youth – the cyclical regeneration of human life and the transmission of culture. Santiago dreams of lion cubs on the beach, a sight he marvelled at in his youth when working on fishing boats going to Africa. While he knows he has much intelligence and experience, he is also mindful of his poverty and ageing body. This insight is worn with the idea that humility ‘carries no loss of true pride’ however; he is as valid a part of life as anyone else and indeed so is the noble marlin.

The Sea of Unconsciousness

But the greatest symbolism is in the sea itself which I see as the unconscious, and the search for the ‘big fish’ is a delving into the unconscious for its gifts of wisdom and a connection with the wild creativity (and destruction) of life and nature – for the Self. It is a metaphor for the searching life, as Santiago says to himself  ‘My big fish must be somewhere’. He identifies with the fish and the turtles, seeing in them both the dignity and the vulnerability of his own self. During the fight, he feels sorry for the fish, as well as for his own suffering holding the lines with bleeding hands and an aching back. In the end he tows it towards the shore, exhausted and fighting off sharks, and says, ‘I have killed this fish which is my brother and now I must do the slave work’, as he harnesses the trade winds to set sail for home. He has learned all his life how to suffer and to make meaning from it, then to enjoy the rewards when they arrive. Living so close to nature and struggling for every piece of sustenance, there are lessons to be learned and truths to be remembered from the old man Santiago and his apprentice Manolin. I was carried away by it and truelly uplifted.

The Old Man and the Sea

citation for introductory image: creative commons for use with citation: http://www.bluemarlin3.com/tbf/hemmingway.php

Finding the Lost Generation

Paris in the 1920s was home for a group of American writers nicknamed ‘The Lost Generation’ by Gertrude Stein, herself a Parisian-based ex-pat author and art collector. They were lost because they had suffered and survived the terrible First World War and were considered to have been in some sense ruined by it and in need of something totally new and life affirming. Though Irish author in self-imposed exile James Joyce fraternised with the group, he seemed to be more of an elder statesman to the youthful Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and T. S. Elliot who comprised the core of the group. Though feeding off each others’ imagination and company, tensions were also at times high and the relationship between Hemingway and Fitzgerald was particularly close, yet at the same time troublesome. An interesting post by Daniel Dalton presents an intriguing photograph of the pair

Image

How dapper they both look and you can imagine the buzz on the streets of Paris during the era – both freshly published and hailed as the new modernist writers of the day. While on something of a Hemingway bender of late, reading biographies as well as some early novels, I had read Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby years ago and recently attended the cinema to watch the movie with my daughter. Baz Lurmann has captured something of the facile veneer of Daisy and company through amazing sets, full of glitz and streams of champagne, that cover up an almost total selfishness and lack of empathy. I felt Toby Maguire did an equally marvellous job as Nick, well matched by Leonardo di Caprio’s Jay Gatsby. Their sadness stayed with me for ages after, and in a weird way reminded me of the underlying depression of the nineteen eighties with its similar undercurrents (or reaction formations) of glamour and excess.

saraheknowles

A blog about Mental Health Research - Technology, Trials & PPI

The Bookish Badger

Always happiest when I'm burrowed in a book

Abhishek Sengupta

A Merchant of Magical Realism

Penned Con 2017

Bringing Authors and Readers together for charity

VIVID LENS VIEW

Let Your Eyes Do The Talking...

The Art of Breaking Bread

See the world. Taste the world. Come together. Change the world.

Interior Motive NI

Personal blog all about interior design, home decor and supporting local related business.

honeyandthunder

Tania Sanchez's blog from Hell(as)

World of Blyton

Enthusiastic ramblings about Enid Blyton and her work!

Robert Farrell

Digital Marketing Academy Director, Guest Speaker & Industry Judge

Unique Outcomes

Narrative existential therapy.

- interests of a quiet taoist

- exploring everyday life & public service to others

Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

Life Is Full of Sweet Spots

An Exploration of Joy with Mary O'Connor

Neuroamer

An MD-PhD student's blog about Neuroscience, Neurology, and Psychiatry

Cathy Sultan blog

Author comments

Musings of PuppyDoc

Poetry & Medicine

THE BODY PRINCIPLE

Fibromyalgia and Depression. Fighting the stigma attached to yet another illness not widely understood. We search for answers from the experts who are just searching for the answers themselves. We must take our lives back into our own hands!.... One step at a time... One day at a time!.... Because if you don't who will??

La Audacia de Aquiles

"El Mundo Visible es Sólo un Pretexto" / "The Visible World is Just a Pretext".-

Akathisia Info

Drug induced anxiety could be Akathisia

Jan Carson Writes

Bookish adventures in Belfast and beyond

Life is for Living Every Day

Thoughts on Faith, Family, Friendship; Love, Laughter, Life

lampmagician

A topnotch WordPress.com site

The Creative Muse-2017

Music, Art, and Poetry is Transformative

INKSPIRATION

Following the Black line. All things inky for death heads & leather lovers

James Davies

author, psychotherapist, anthropologist

Fabulous Realms

Worlds of Fantasy, Folklore, Myth and Legend

Blanchard LeaderChat

A Forum to Discuss Leadership and Management Issues

Fabers Abroad

The adventures of two tea-sipping Canadians

Governed By The Moon

Expression both in words and images

Thistle / Flinch

Free books for free minds

Jnana's Red Barn

A Space for Work and Reflection

artmark.me

oil paintings by mark toner

cancer killing recipe

Just another WordPress.com site

Desight for kudobadass typography, Product/Brand design, painted signs NGS London

DESIGHT Inside the world of NGS Lettersmiths of London Art, Design, Signs, Graphics,

Mitchell Osak Online

Strategy for the C-Suite

NiftyFiftyShades

Failed Domestic Goddess

Kundalini Awakenings

Now is the time to Evolve!

Emotional Wellness

From Emotional Chaos Towards Self-Love & Balance

SPIRITUAL CRISIS NETWORK

A resource providing help and information for those going through or recovering from spiritual crisis, for professionals, carers and supporters of those going through or recovering from spiritual crisis.

Kalwinder Singh Dhindsa

A Doctor Who Loving Sikh Derby Man

Retail Acumen: Delivering Excellence in Retail

A team of retail experts who rapidly deliver detailed analytics and insights into your business performance. Contact us on 0844 4145153 or visit www.retailacumen.com

Julian Froment's Blog

Life, Literature and Lewd Comments

The HSD

What happens when a medical doctor becomes a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom

de frémancourt

Transnational | Transfeminist | Transpolitics

%d bloggers like this: