Three Coaching Lessons of Chandelier of Grief

“I transformed my trauma into art.”  Yayoi Kusama

I have recently visited the Chandelier of Grief, a modern artwork of the Japanese contemporary, provocative and avant-garde artist – Yayoi Kusama – exhibited within Swarovski Museum from Austria.

A sensation of an endless space floods you once you step into that Chamber of Wonder, hosting a rotating chandelier made of Swarovski crystals, situated in a dark/dim lighted room wallpapered with mirrors. Add to that the reflection of yourself in the walls mirrors and you face an odd feeling of being mesmerized. Lost and (re)-found at once.

Chandelier of Grief seems to be an invitation to intense self-reflection that starts with recognizing that space created inside by the grief and continues with an endless encounter with yourself by being mirrored by the environment.

This immersion in the experiential Chandelier of Grief artwork left me with three coaching lessons:

1.Step into the Chamber of Wonder of your grief for finding your authentic You“And, the intense light revolving dazzlingly sinks to the bottom of my heart.” says Yayoi Kusama in the Chandelier of Grief poem. No matter how frightening can be, I chose to visit this Chamber of Wonder, remove my inner masks and be vulnerable. From my current inner reality, I connect with my vulnerability, I recognize it and I caress it. My future self might need that for gaining authenticity. Therefore, I am asking myself: what if I would allow to myself to really connect with me? What if I would show my vulnerability? What would I lose? What would I gain?

2.Take the chance of meeting with yourself and discover your endless facets. The French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan was talking about The Mirror Stage, a developmental stage in which the literal act of reflection is formative of the “I” Function. According to Lacan, this first look at the self that is reflected in the mirror, offers the infant an image of himself as a distinct, autonomous subject, despite the reality that he has at that moment only fragmentary self-knowledge. Despite the fact that this Lacan theory has been challenged and suffered changes over the time, that made me thinking that mirroring might be the very first moment of becoming self-aware, which seems to be such a valuable gift in the process of developing identity. If so, I am wondering: How much self-aware am I? What do I do for improving self-awareness? What are the angles from which I could look at myself? What these angles bring me? How do I differentiate myself?

3.Acknowledge you have always the choice of living your best versiondespite the challenges life brings you. Yayoi Kusama lived a traumatic childhood, suffering from visual and aural hallucinations and being wedged between her parents. And yet, she was able to overcome her past and to make art of her emotional luggage. Keeping in mind that this life of complex childhood trauma nourished Kusama grand and salient art, I could not help myself thinking about the choices we have in front of life challenges and ask myself: How do I transform my emotional heritage? What do I want to experiment? What experiences do I choose for development? How does my best version look like? What am I doing for living my best version?

To me, Chandelier of Grief is not just an artwork, but an experience that might ignite growth. And for that, I am grateful!

to Silviu, Irina and Florin who invited me to live that experience together

Elisabeta Angelescu

Career and Life Coach