On Art and Culture March 19, 2011

06 March 2011, Venice, Italy, Carnevale

Oh Venice, city of Woman, She who slaps, and then gently massages the sting away with her gloved hand, I am forever under your spell.

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Debauchery lingering in the breeze, the brightly colored markings of will’s triumph over repression, and the whispered spirit of lusty poets who needn’t sleep to dream… I have felt them all.  Blowing laundry has been my hypnotist throughout this great land known as Italy, but here in Venice it brings me fire, the inner fury that is Woman, the colors of retched emotion, polarity, and passion are enlivened, and I have no tonic for this bewitched awakening.

Time away allows for the crystallization of adopted behaviors and practiced desires, months of deliberate measures to gracefully become all the collected aspects that travel promises.  But then assimilation’s rival appears at doorstep, a most problematic aspect of my recent ex-life, the insurmountable challenge I came onto this plane to master: a bittersweet wire by which I am attached to family, delectably perverse tendencies that recycle as the same challenge in different packaging time and again.  The slap of mother and the gentle massage to follow, now under the watchful eye of Mother Venice…  Of my dependency, I speak very little, for there is a contorted, tainted love that is fire and wind, a secret longing for independence, with the pain of emotional dependency that is my life’s work.  Yes, it is here in Venice that Mother meets Mother and Daughter, and the differences with which I struggle are aimed at me from all angles, the Mother of all things unconventional a backdrop for a great play.

At this time when immersion is crucial, a mere yearning no longer manageable, I approach 42 still terribly young.  What a shame to waste past years in anger, and now possibly more in regret.  Is it the anger from which I suffer so deeply, or is it the guilt I bear in anger’s habitat?  Oh, glorious Venice with your rich history of breaking rules, how inspired I am by your character.  How strengthened I am by your confidence, and how courageous I’ve become under your guardianship.  The breathtaking color of your symbolic loins gives me such a burst in your baptism, the spirit of the one that takes a stand for her own desires, free from shame and remorse.  Venice, with your richness and unspoken vocabulary, history written by rule makers and breakers, contrarians and awarians, you have taken me by the hand to let it all go. I offer all the “should”s to your waters and replace all the “can’t”s with your steadfast glory… and all my love for Mother is set free to form its own landscape, for love is wild and dynamic, unbridled and without rules, even between a mother and a daughter.

By the bank of your canal, I have received your gift, a silk scarf, four quadrants that represent the seasons of your firey and frigid nature.  A Gianni Versace with one corner dipped into the water, its anchor, as you waited patiently for me to discover your blessed gift of colored laundry in the breeze of your instructive teaching. You must be my Heaven, for you have set me free from the Self that could not grow, breathed your maternity into me, and left me standing tall with a newfound love, all things born of religion and sin, comfort and self-loathing, order and chaos… the dichotomy of love and pain are all the glory.  In two day’s time you have given me the spectacle and the brutality then the loving touch that heals the fury of a daughter’s struggle.



My name is Lauren Berley and I am a Certified Professional Coach. I am also a working contemporary artist. Film maker. Photojournalist. Writer. Small-scale farmer/farm stand artisan. And your kindred partner on the Gifted & Creative journey. I help Gifted and Creative people unblock pathways to creating their most meaningful lives. And my artwork expresses the sensations and yearnings from deep within my little seed of Spirit.

Comments 2

  1. Jenny Coxon says on March 20, 2011

    Hi Lauren,

    We dined and laughed together on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m so glad Sarah told me about your blog. Even better, you gave me the address so I did not have to wait for Sarah to remember my interest. I read three of your blogs from most recent then backward. I decided to come back every day and read one (I have not decided whether to go backwards or start from the beginning of your trip). I am inspired by your words and images, you paint a beautiful and provoking mind image. It was my pleasure to meet you and it will be my pleasure to get to know you through your blog. By the way, I’d like to read about glorious cheese as well!

    • Lauren Berley says on March 20, 2011

      Thank you, Jenny! It was so great meeting you the other night, and I look forward to more time. What an amazing group of people. Thank you for reading. xx

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