It has been a while since Lanie has been featured here at Sky Clad Therapist. I begin today’s post with a different kind of image, one in which she is wearing clothing. Of course, like most women I know [not all], Lanie does enjoy clothing. My wife is no different as she takes pride in looking good as she takes part in various social and professional functions. Yet, once at home, it isn’t unusual for the clothing to fall off, so to speak.
The images being used today, with permission of course, don’t just tell us a story about various aspects of Lanie, they evoke something universal, a sort of wandering through two worlds – the personal unconscious and consciousness. I am drawing upon James Hollis’ book, Swamplands of the Soul, for the purpose of looking at “Grief, Loss, and Betrayal,” which forms chapter two of that book. Hollis states:
“Our life begins in loss. We are profoundly separated from the protective womb, disconnected from the heartbeat of the cosmos, thrust into an uncertain and often murderous world …there are repeated losses – of security, of connectedness, of unconsciousness, of innocence, and progressively, the loss of comrades, bodily energies and stages of ego identification.”
Lanie, like all of us has experienced losses and grief. Her work as a model takes her experiences and transforms them into images that speak to all of us. We understand and resonate with the evoked shadows, sadness, and in a strange way, even a hint of grief at having survived all of these losses. James Hollis goes on to say:
“Loss is central to our condition. If we live long enough, we will lose everyone for whom we care. If we do not live long enough, they will have lost us.
I lost my maternal grandmother, a wise lady who was very familiar with the world in between. Before her death when I was seventeen, she gave me her copy of Dante’s book, The Divine Comedy. Before that I had lost two school friends who died – one while I was in grade two, and another while I was in grade nine. Then I lost the three remaining grandparents and finally my parents. As one gets older, nature ensures that we suffer these kinds of losses. And, it just isn’t the loss of others around us through death, divorce, separation, geography, or whatever else conspires to separate us; every step we make forward as we change means that we leave something behind, sometimes cherished beliefs about oneself or others. So how does one cope with loss?
“Since we are unable to successfully control life, we suffer in proportion to our losses. The only path through and beyond … is the relinquishment of the desire to control, to let be …”
So, the key is to stop trying to control the things we can’t control. And strangely, that includes the bindings and fetters that we try to place upon ourselves. We frequently block our own creative energies as well as those darker impulses. At least, that is what we assume when unfamiliar impulses surface. What do you mean, take off my clothes and walk nude in my home? Or My family, friends, and neighbours would be shocked? More often than not, it isn’t the others who limit or try to control us in order to stuff us into some acceptable container. We do it to ourselves.
It is with the appearance of Lanie, or some other free spirit who dares to self-discover, to inspire us to trust ourselves enough to free those aspects of self that would have us be better people, and to become aware of the darker sides of self so as to navigate safely around them. We need to learn to trust ourselves.
Lanie can be found on Twitter at @lanie_model.