Watercolour/gouache sketch from the years I spent hill walking in Wales.
Five years ago, I attended an Adlerian Summer School, based on the teachings of Alfred Adler, Austrian psychotherapist and founder of the School of Individual Psychology (1870-1937).
One of the workshops I signed up for was entitled ‘Earliest Childhood Recollections’. It was Adler’s theory that if we could pin point our earliest recollection/memory, we would find clues to what he referred to as our ‘private logic’ – metaphors for an individual’s personal lifestyle.
During the workshop, we were asked to go back to our rooms and make a sketch of our earliest childhood recollection. This exercise proved to be most revealing.
Sketch of my earliest childhood recollection.
This image depicts me at three years old standing in front of a cobbler’s shop fascinated by a colourful, miniature carousel displayed in the window..
When I was three years old, my Mother and I were living in Dovercourt, Essex – a small seaside town. This was immediately after World War II when my Father was still in the Mediterranean with the the Royal Navy.
Each day as we walked to the beach we passed a cobbler’s (shoe repair) shop which displayed in its window a brightly coloured miniature carousel. In a post war Britain, devoid of colour, it was a magical sight for a small child.
One day, I escaped from our garden. Given our close proximity to the sea, police were called and a general search was held.
I had somehow made my way to the cobbler’s shop and was found standing in front of the window transfixed by the colourful carousel.
And so how does this memory express my ‘private logic’ as a metaphor for my personal lifestyle?
Throughout my life, I have escaped from situations where I have felt hemmed in either emotionally or physically. I have always loved colour, and today as an artist am known for my love of colour……..
watercolour – Welsh landscape
For the first forty years of my life, I was a square peg desperately trying to fit into round holes. It was very painful causing me high levels of stress and anxiety.
At forty, I experienced a major turning point, which was when I stopped being all things for all people and became true to myself. With that came freedom. To coin the late Joseph Campbell’s words – it was when I began to ‘follow my bliss’.
watercolour/gouache – Welsh landscape.
Over the years I have met many people who are struggling with what it is they want to do in life. Often guided by teachers, family, society or circumstances towards careers and lifestyles that don’t fit with who they really are, their lives are often filled with an underlying sense of frustration.
Learning about Adler’s theory was a ‘lightbulb’ moment for me and has given much food for thought. I am sure it might help others to see more clearly what their own ‘private logic’ is and consequently the lifestyle best suited for them. Regardless, it’s a fascinating exercise.
As always, I leave you with a colourful, magical hummingbird flying free with Mother Nature. Have a creative and peaceful weekend and week ahead.