"Nothing has a stronger influence on their children than the unlived lives of their parents." Carl Jung
When I first read Jung's words they resonated, but I felt there was a brutality to them. Now I see them not only as truth, but to me they speak of a beautiful heritage.
Mom trained as a glass blower and it's the medium that makes her heart sing. These are her vases. She says glass is "alive", still gets excited talking technique and says, "Nothing rivals glass when it comes to playing with light." She sold her tools thirty years ago. Being isolated in the country limited what was available for artistic expression. According to Jung, things generally get ugly at this point. I think what made the difference was that instead of repressing her creativity, it bubbled over and found outlets.
She bought a loom. Those machines are pure math. Being more of a right brain, that loom presented a challenge, but now she makes beautiful coverlets. She got a spinning wheel that purrs like a contented cat. Straight from the fleece, she makes her own handspun into various textures, then gathers natural materials for dyeing wool. Apple tree bark for peach, goldenrod for chartreuse, onion skins for gold. She ended up being head weaver at King's Landing, starting her own business, and travelling to Guatemala to study their fabrics and meet the local crafts people.
Perhaps giving up glass blowing made her even more productive. That desire made for a lot of energy that she put not only into her textiles, but into quilting, homemade toys, cloth books, embroidery, restoring antiques, restoring old houses, collecting artist's treasures, and putting together creative outfits that at times raised an eyebrow or two among our conservative neighbors. I admire women who while raising a family, choose to continue to take steps in the creative process, sometimes visible often invisible. For my mother, putting down her tools didn't make her stop being an artist.
When I first tried paints it was love at first touch. Being surrounded by a stimulating artistic environment as a child made for 'regular excursions into enchantment.' I used to get lost in the bubbles of that purple fairyland vase. After thinking about this for a long time, I know this urge to create does come from my ancestors and my environment, but it's also in line with my true character . My touchstone is that there are some activities that make me more me, 'bringing back the soul' when I loose myself a little.
There is an incredible energy in longing. Mom, always creatively active, is now talking about what it might be like to go back to school. Who knows where that might lead? Her subconscious longing was an energy that propelled me forward more so than her words. This is why I think longing if it doesn't become repression, can be a positive thing that leads to action. That is when it becomes beautiful. This propulsion is a heritage of creativity and wisdom that complements my deepest desires. Jung concludes that self-reflection can heal the 'unlived lives' in the entire ancestral line. Heh, heh. Either that, or I'm neurotic. If that's the case, I'm much happier crazy than I ever would be sane.