The past is our history and how we come into being. I’m fascinated by what has gone before and would love to know more about my ancestors. There are family stories that seem to be lost in time. My grandfather came from S Africa and lived in Cape Town. He never had a passport and felt he couldn’t travel because of that. He wasn’t able to gone as he lacked the necessary papers and didn’t have a birth certificate. I have never been to S Africa; it’s a place I would love to visit as I feel I have a connection with it through my grandfather.
My mother was forever moving from one place to another as her father was in the air force. He became a vicar and they lived in a cold drafty vicarage in Rusper. Her mother was a teacher and had taught in Kashmir as a young woman. I felt so sad when she passed away as she had had a fascinating l would have loved to have heard more of her stories and got to know her even better. There were stories that I heard about her for the first time at her funeral, some that made me think about the collective history of our family and our country as well.
There are things that are not spoken about that are shrouded in mystery. I never know what makes some ideas so difficult to discuss and what is taboo and not able to be discussed openly.
If we don’t learn from our past we are condemned to continue making the same mistakes. As Toni Morrison said, “the past is not done and is not over, it’s still in process ….. if you are willing to identify its evasions, its distortions, its lies and are willing to unleash its secrets”.
We are all afraid of the shadow aspects of our lives but they are compost for the soul. There is power that can be unleashed if you are able to face what you find distasteful. So often it is easier to bury and freeze such parts and pretend that they are not there. Bringing those dark secrets into the light enables you to release the fear that resides there and to find the jewel, or essence that got trapped.
I love to dance with my fears and worries, to find out what lies beneath them as they are never as dreadful as you think. It is so liberating to find the jewel and the lesson from the time before. Sometimes there are no words that come from this exhumation, rather there are feelings and as the light enters, such freedoms and release ensues. Then joy can well up from within and you can look at the day to realise with gratitude all that you have around you and the peace that comes from looking into the dark is wonderful.
For artists this can be a realisation and a wellspring of finding the creative void. Where you journey to find anything new or ability to create, to being able to look at something differently, see the obvious and be innovative.