The Poseidon Adventure

Page from book art in progress by MDH.
Mixed-media collage with found paper and acrylic paint.

Sometimes I can’t resist a convenient title when the fit is just right! For those wondering, The Poseidon Adventure was a 1970s film about the final voyage of a luxury ship flipped over by a tsunami, the result of an underwater earthquake. The small group trying to survive this “Hell, Upside Down” – as an old poster reads – is akin to mythological or archetypal journeys, with a stated allusion to the Greek sea god Poseidon.

This mythological figure — stereotypically known as a force of chaos — has found a place in my current work: I am embarking on an inner journey with the healing arts, which takes expression through the creative arts. Simply said, my “adventure” is to engage old traumas that I find get in the way of present life and to see how “art” surfaces in the process.

The line from the page pictured above is taken from I Can’t Get Over It: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors by Aphrodite Matsakis, and here is a longer, continuous quote for context:

For awhile, and perhaps for quite some time, the emotional upheavals caused by the healing process might seem to carry you further away from, rather than closer to, serenity and peace of mind. Eventually, however, your psychological earthquakes and floods will subside and you can build yourself anew.

Poseidon was the god not only of turmoil, but of infinite possibilities. When he crossed the sea in his chariot, drawn by gold-maned horses symbolizing beauty and power, the sea became smooth and calm before him.

I am struck by the alignment of various factors making my current “adventure” possible. A mix-mash from a very young age of talk therapy, spiritual inquiry, and artistic exploration, has prepared the way for this stage. Herein I attune to archetypes and mythology illuminating my traumas; fellowship among spiritual communities; partnerships with healing practitioners; and intuition-led art creations.

The unfolding process of combining art with healing is both tender and tumultuous, deserving of time and space to immerse when necessary. As deep waters present daunting insights, support of loved ones and practitioners are essential. Taking breaks is very important — shifting gears to lighten the heart, to breathe from the belly, to walk on the ground and give those “sea legs” a rest!

In contrast to recent years, my life is much quieter “outside” since taking a break from continuous projects, event planning, and deadlines. This change was necessary for what now is taking place, though I do not see this turn as a clean brake, nor need it be. As with everything new, there is a continuation of the old, tapping the infinite cycle of death and life as offered by our cultural stories or mythologies.

A prismatic image expresses this cycle: a fire embracing wood to fuel the flame, wind spreading ashes across the earth, the fine gray particles and rain nourishing roots and shoots, trees reaching to the sun, again the wood greeting the flame, and so it goes. On this day and those to come in the new year, may your fire burn bright and your soul take flight!

~ This post is from December’s *News!* Page. For Nov. 2012 news, visit “A Portal to the Creative and Healing Arts.”

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2 Responses to The Poseidon Adventure

  1. Mary Monaghan says:

    Hi Melissa,

    You gave a great presentation at the LPC meeting and I first wish to thank you again for sharing with our LPC club some of your artistry with both poetry and art. I am especially interested in your commtents here about the spider and Miss Muffet as that is what I will be presenting both as a poem and story Saturday at Fenner and with some questions to 4-6 year olds adding some ideas they might have to add to it.
    I will be bringing a Miss Muffet like doll sitting on a tuffet(a chair) that once was a present to me when I was 4years old and a toy spider. It should be fun to try to think creatively about why Miss Muffet was afraid of something that really should be more afraid of her and think of things we may have been afraid of and why. Afterwards we have a craft activitiy about spiders. Hopefully, I will be able to capture a live spider for them somewhere before then. Wish me luck. Mary

  2. Mary, thank you again for thinking of me as a presenter at the Lansing Poetry Club. I truly enjoyed my visit! The conversation was engaging.

    Your activity sounds like a wonderful plan. Spiders have a special place in my heart, so I think it’s great to introduce another way of understanding these ever-present small friends with the young ones.

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