108 Contemporary Installation

"Rites of Passage" Installation

"Instead of making survivorship the centerpiece of one's life it is better to use it as one of many badges, but not the only one. Humans deserve to be dripping in beautiful remembrances, medals and decorations for having lived, truly lived and triumphed. Once the threat is past, there is a potential trap in calling ourselves by names taken on during the most terrible time of our lives. It creates a mind-set that is potentially limiting. It is not good to base the soul identity solely on the feats and losses and victories of the bad times...allying with it exclusively begins to inhibit new development." -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes "Women Who Run With The Wolves"

I wanted to share a little about this series and specifically about my favorite piece in this body of work that actually bears the title "Rites of Passage". A few years ago I began a journey into self improvement that began as yoga and meditation. After the first year, realizing the effects of awareness on the body and how you could recognize situations that zapped your energy, I decided to go deeper and began to do therapy. In those sessions there were many things that unearthed. Some days felt like I was being torn apart from the inside and others were a floodlight brilliantly exposing all areas in my life.I felt deep  and compassionate self understanding seeing all the pieces of my life came together and make sense. Who I had become up until that point was a series of chapters creating this incredible story; among them were stories of death, fear, insecurity and tragedy. Here was a chance to see it all from a higher perspective and to work through it. My goal was to walk a very focussed path toward fear eradication. Nothing was off limits and the darker the demons the more I wanted them exposed and gone.

"If we stay as survivors only without moving to thriving we limit ourselves and cut our energy to ourselves and our power in the world to less than half"

 I have mentioned before how the book "Women Who Run With the Wolves" came to me at the exact moment I needed it. I still have only made it 1/3 of the way through as I keep re-reading the chapters, while allowing each story and Dr. Estes clear and insightful interpretations to sink in. Whether it's the struggle of realizing your dreams and feeling like you've failed; a tragedy in your life that carried itself with you; being born into a family that never supported you; or perhaps it's self sabotage due to your fear and self doubt. Whatever fear, tragedy, struggle or insecurity you have faced that has caused you to label yourself a survivor...just know, that when you are ready, it is time to relinquish that label and move onto the next stage. Before reading the chapter about the mistaken zygote, It had never before occurred to me that survivorship is only a small mark on our entire life's story. At a certain point, it is time to let go of that badge and move on to what we deserve, which is a life of thriving according to this book. 

"Thriving means, now that the bad times are behind, to put ourselves into occasions of the lush, the nutritive, the light, and there to flourish, to thrive with bushy, shaggy, heavy blossoms and leaves. It is better to name ourselves names that challenge us to grow as free creatures. That is thriving. That is what is meant for us." -Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes "Women Who Run With The Wolves"

This is what this installation is all about. When I read that passage I pictured the growth and new life I could create with the paper. Utilizing elements from each piece in this series, I hand cut every piece of paper and put them all together with bones, crystallized skulls, dark and clear quartz to symbolize how our lives are this story unfolding even through our negative experiences. The chains drape loosely in and out of the layers to show that these fears, trauma and insecurities are inside of us always; but along with them also comes the potential for us to create the new growth...the thriving. 

Amanda Bradway