What I came here for

OpalRingGroupingWEB-72ppi

Arianna Bara

Before I made jewelry, I tried a lot of different things. I drew, painted, sculpted, took pottery classes. None of them felt like “what I came here for”. I kept asking myself in which direction I was supposed to go and no way became clearly “the” way.

In the 90’s I read a book on lucid dreaming, which is a way to awaken within your dream state so you can ask your subconscious questions about your life: little questions like how to solve a problem, or the bigger ones like “Why Am I Here?” questions. I practiced the techniques and, amazingly, was able, several times, to become aware or “lucid” when I was dreaming.

As you can imagine, this is tricky on several levels. The key is to realize you are dreaming without waking up. One of the ways you can do that is throughout the day and as you fall asleep at night, you ask yourself the same two questions and listen for the answer. You ask “Am I dreaming”? “Can I fly”? As you ask yourself throughout the day, the answer is, of course, no. I’m not dreaming, I’m writing this on the computer. Can I fly? Nope, my feet are firmly on the carpet.

As you ask yourself these questions as you fall asleep, there will be a time when you ask yourself if you are dreaming, and you will be uncertain. You will ask yourself if you can fly and you will. You will fly!

flight

Dream flying is the most exhilarating thing. You just want to fly forever. So the next tricky part is to stop flying and ask your question. One time my question was “What will my art look like”? I saw myself in a gallery and my work was on the wall. It was far away and I kept trying to move in closer to see it but I couldn’t get a clear view. It was small and seemed metallic, but it was hanging on the wall and so was not clearly jewelry.

I had fun with lucid dreaming and had some fabulous flights, but never found exact answers to the questions I asked. It took constant practice and I was unable to keep up with it as the demands of my life took precedence.

I discovered jewelry-making about 10 years later, when a friend invited me to join her in a class. I had recently lost my husband and was stunned and grieving. I had no idea what metalsmithing entailed and next to no interest, but I wanted to spend time with her so I signed up for it. The minute I picked up a pair of round-nosed pliers and wire I began making spirals. Over and over. I was hooked. Then came the hammer and the forging and the torch and there was no going back. All the therapy I needed was in those motions and the creative process.

So, what did I come here for? I believe we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are here to remember, in the face of love and loss, that we are radiant eternal beings. We are here to “arise and illuminate”, as poet John O’Donohue says. That is what my jewelry is about.

 

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