Sharon Gubbay Helfer
Updated: Feb 4, 2021
A little while back, a few days ago or perhaps a few weeks, it can be difficult to retain a grip on time ... A little while back I could feel something strange happening in the background. There was a competent Sharon out there acting firm and fine in this strange new world. But in another dimension a kind of disintegration was going on, a de-materialization. There was a flood of material coming through my email Inbox, FB pages, invitations, warnings, jokes, all streaming by in what felt like an undifferentiated data flow, nothing more substantial or real than anything else. I felt as though I had been tossed into a clothes dryer, never knowing from moment to moment which way was up, what to hold onto. To express something of how I was feeling, I made this: "Tossed in the Dryer". Click here for expandable image.
Several things came together in this image, from today, or just the other day; and from back in the early 2000s; and then from way back, a picture of me as a child .... and then from way, way, way back. You'll see.
The trigger that started it all was when I remembered something I had done following a drawing session in the Dawson Gallery of the marvellous Redpath Museum on the campus of McGill University in Montreal. The background here is the main display area of the Museum. Onto this background drawing, I had copied a flying figure from William Blake's Milton's Mysterious Dream. Crawling up from the primeval ooze I had drawn, using mud, a lizard fossil that I'd been compelled by as it hung on one of the museum walls.
Here's the fossil. Although this fossil is not part of "Tossed in the Dryer", it is nonetheless somehow present. It is part of the puzzlement about Nature and Culture that is a question behind the Redpath Museum drawing. I didn't know at all what the question was at the time, but it seems I was reaching for it.
I am intrigued by the fact that there has been a question in me for a long time. Some of this question emerged in the session with Qigong master Mingtong Gu, see below!
Once "Tossed in the Dryer" had started brewing inside me, some delicate mushrooms called to me from the grass in nearby San Pedro Springs Park. These mushrooms became layers of background.
As I continued to muse on all of this, I suddenly thought of Mingtong Gu, the Qigong Master I had met at Wisdom 2.0. The picture below was taken just after I had run up after his session, to speak with him. As Mingtong Gu was leading us through movements and soundings he talked at one point about the energies flowing through us and the matter we are made of. He talked of how we incorporate in our bodies the flow of life on Earth from the very beginnings. I told him that I had long been deeply puzzled by the knowledge that I am descended (ascended?) from creatures that climbed out of the mud and continued to evolve ever since. I just could not feel it, it didn't make sense to me. But after his comments, suddenly I could feel it and it did make sense. When I told him these things, he radiated at me with a charming, glowing, knowing smile and said, "Yes, it's all energy."
Which brings me back full circle, to disintegration and dematerialization. The strange sense of flow that living under COVID conditions somehow stimulated. In some way, "It's all energy" ...
Something else: I know perfectly well what is real out there, what is going on, at least as well as anyone else. But then: in what ways might the kind of disintegration that is part of this strange reality of ours ... in what ways might this disintegration make possible new kinds of patterns of thought and action going forward?
There is a lot more to think about and I'm sure I shall do that. Little Sharon, floating in the midst of everything, trying to understand what it means to be here, at all.