An invitation arrives in my Facebook inbox on 17th January asking if I would like to join a group of female artists participating in an art exhibition in a funky new gallery located in a city seven hours away by bus.
My hearts sings with excitement. This will be my first time to exhibit in an actual gallery. The distance to travel is seen as an adventure and the creative juices are ignited
Staring down at the blank white canvas, I feel moved to apply black paint. ‘No you need colour’ the doubting mind protests – the title of the exhibition is Feminine Wash. It ‘needs to look clean and fresh.’
Ignoring my first intuitive impulses, I allow the mind to take control, applying the paint thinking about colour, shape and texture, but nothing feels good any more. Layer upon layer of paint – I am not happy with the progress but keep telling myself ‘it’s not finished yet, another coat will do it.’
My greatest fan, weightiest critic and also my best friend and partner walks into the room and says bluntly “That is so ugly!” referring to my work in progress. Deep down in my gut I know he speaks the truth. The painting is dead. It has no “Life Force”.
“Look where you are, how can you freely flow the paint working jammed up in the corner.”
I feel a surge of anger erupting and voice out loudly “I so want to smash something right now”. Walking away, he says calmly, “Good, go do that, then get in touch with your passion”.
“Preferably over your head” echoes around the empty room, the venomous delivery ricochets off the walls returning to me to swallow, along with my pride.
I feel nauseous and quickly go outside to spit out the bad taste of my toxic outburst.
I remember the wise words of Rumi – the13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic:
From the root of the root of your Self
Find the antidote within the venom…
That’s it! Fear is present, uncoiling an old root pattern that has subtly slithered its way back into my thoughts of ‘not being good enough’ to exhibit outside of my comfort zone.
The negative thoughts of doubt, unworthiness, and of course ‘what will people think’ have been like a snake in the grass slinking around the edges of my mind.
In the past I would have given up and taken the easy way out with a lame excuse and cancelled my participation in the exhibition.
Well, I do have proof. I have just been told that my painting is ‘so ugly’ why would I want to exhibit it?
I now am able to have a good laugh at myself for allowing these insane thoughts to have any value over how I choose to live Life.
By not focusing on the ‘so ugly’, I remember the words ‘free flow and passion’ being shared and breathe into the vibration of their essence.
I am now staring at a stark white blank canvas and again the urge arises to paint it black.
I remove myself from the corner, allow the passion to flow freely, feel the rhythm now moving excitedly throughout my body and begin anew.
The paint flows freely and I feel ecstatically alive.
I rest in gratitude for being in a Sacred Relationship that is truly unique on so many levels.
Sitting crossed legged on the floor while waiting for a layer of paint to dry, I ponder the different process of healing and my art. The art work has multiple layers added to it whereas with healing the body it is a process of undoing.
With painting, I apply the paint layer upon layer upon layer and with each coat or skin it reveals more of itself. The more paint added, the more I can see and feel the energies emerging from it and the Healing Spirit of the work is revealed.
With healing and awakening of the body, it is the exact opposite. I find it is likened to peeling an onion; with each layer/skin you peel away (tears usually come) you see more clearly the pattern, the layers become smaller, thinner, then transparent, and you can finally see right through them. You come to the root of the root of the Self.
The end result: The Spirit of Love shines forth in both processes as healing occurs.
The finished painting looks awesome, and I feel confident and proud as the artist.
Traveling along the coastal road, then winding our way up through the scenic mountain range, the bus trip goes quickly. We deliver the artwork to the curator right on schedule.
The opening night is electric, being well attended by most of the thirty exhibiting female artists, their guests and friends. Not knowing anyone there, I was so pleasantly surprised to see a beaming smile I recognize. A friend from our home town is attending a workshop at the University, directly across the street from the gallery and popped in to say “hello!” later in the evening.
This whole experience has been a huge blessing in many ways, but the one I relate to most is the subtlety of the small fearful mind, the shrewd manipulation of seemingly idle thoughts, being used to seduce one into thinking we are doing just fine. Whenever we think we are ‘already done, or I’m over that’ I have learnt from experience over the years that that is the time to be super vigilant with our thoughts, words, and actions.
We are never truly done until we can meet each and every moment from the Heart of True Knowing, that place of Unconditional Love and Acceptance, of all that arises in us, for us, as us and for all beings.
Ahbwoon Blessing of Love and Laughter
Have fun creating… Until next time!
Note: The serpent seems to show up on my path (literally in Bali) on a regular basis as a sign of transformation, re-birthing and healing. The spirit of the snake is connected to life force primal energy. Their spirit essence always reveals itself in my art work and can be seen in most of my works.