During the last six years of her life, Anais and I corresponded, visited on the telephone, and on a number of occasions spent time together in Chicago and New York. She entered my life at a time when I was ripe to be inspired and to have my envelope pushed. I was working as an artist but had yet to find my own authentic voice. Encouraged to move into the use of art as visual diary, I began to allow myself great freedom of expression, and made a professional breakthrough with a rather audacious body of work which brought me to the attention of the "art world".
Anais invited me to join her in Fez, Morocco, during the trip she was asked to make by Travel and Leisure magazine. Although I did not go at the time, I began traveling to Morocco a few years later, and have continued to do so almost every year since. Having been offered an artist-in-residency in Marrakech in the late 70's, I lived there in an atelier behind the Bahia Palace preparing a body of work which I exhibited at the National Museum in Rabat, the first American woman to be given this opportunity. The title of the exhibition was In Transit, In Trance At, Entranced At: and this is what I wrote about it:
"Art is a vehicle of communication that breaks through cultural and language barriers. I wish to use my work to show what lies beyond linear thought and to contribute to a greater understanding between human beings."
California, Morocco and I have chosen one another. The natural and spiritual terrain of these outer journeys, which my current drawings record, mirror an inner journey I am making into a place of timelessness. And in these apparent outer journeys there is another level operating as well. A searching for the sense of coming home I have known for brief moments and find again from time to time when I release expectation of finding it and just allow its revelation.
When Anais was in her dying process, she asked me to send her energy every evening at eight. She said that her healer, Brugh Joy, had suggested this, and that friends all over the world were committed to helping her in this way. I didn't know what "sending energy" meant, but I felt I knew what love was, and having an abundance for her I held her in my heart with love at the appointed time. Several years later in 1978 Brugh Joy came to Chicago. Remembering his name from Anais' conversation, I went to hear him lecture and had a most powerful experience, for which I had no words. The following weekend I went to my first transformational conference with Brugh, and then a few months later, at Sky Hi Ranch in the California desert, I began training for what continues to be my life's work, the art of psychospiritual healing.
Anais was also responsible for my introduction to Jung, the influence of whom has informed my work with dreams in my own life and the lives of my clients. She told me that she trusted Jungian analyst June Singer, and so years later, needing guidance on my own night journey, I made contact with June and subsequently worked with two gifted and loving colleagues of hers for many years. My last exhibition was in 1984 at the Jung Institute in Chicago and was called Recognitions. I wrote this about the work: "...Lessons for myself. For me the creation of art is an act of alchemy, a transmutation of energy whereby pain, confusion, and apparently unrelated incidents are synthesized into a larger whole which then invites a new gathering of elements to be collaged into a work of "art" symbolizing awareness at a higher level."
I am currently working with men and women in the initiating and ongoing integration of a spiritual awareness. Through valuing dreams as messengers carrying inner guidance, through personal inquiry as to the meaning and purpose of our choices, through recognizing consequences before taking an action, through noticing what in others evokes distain or inspiration, we have the possibility of discovering our true nature and our function and purpose in this life. Working on this level with people offers me the joy and excitement of collaboration with them in bringing into the outer life that which is in a state of latency. A blossoming of soul.
The legacies which Anais left to me are influences which are ongoing entry points to a life filled with curiosity, excitement, astonishment, and infinite possibility.
*Reprinted by permission from Anais Nin: A Book of Mirrors, edited by Paul Herron, Sky Blue Books, 1996.*