I’ve been doing a lot of deep-diving lately, strengthening my awareness of my connection to my true self, my higher self, my soul – there are many ways of saying this I guess, but there’s one thing that’s true. She exists, co-existing with the very Source of Life itself, a soul having a human experience being the best way I can currently describe it, and if I can learn to be more in tune with her than ever before I need never again be concerned about what I will do. I will simply BE and allow the doing to arise and unfold without any unnecessary interference from me.
As artists, if we are lucky and find good teachers, we get to hear about and read about and learn about ‘getting out of our own way’ as we work. It is a wonderful thing to practice, and is also a profound lesson for life itself. We do best if we can drop our meddling, let go of our belief in the illusion of control, and let Life’s flow come through, allow ourselves to be the conduits we are really called to be, allow Life and Creativity itself to express uniquely through us. Yes, we each bring a unique flavour, an essence that wants to diffuse itself among all other living beings. Sure, we learn skills to make the most of our underlying gifts, but the gifts and the creative essence of who we really are allow for a life so much less full of effort than we have been led to believe is required – if we can only let go and trust.
Intuitive painting teaches us a lot about that kind of living. Intuitive living helps us to paint like that. It’s not either or, but both and. And you can start from either end, just believe that one will affect the other.
Recently, I was working on a number of pieces with nothing more than a sense that I wanted to ‘play with juicy, colourful, transparent glazes’, and so I did that with 6 18″ boards and a 20″ canvas. There was another set of three boards, of a bigger size (A1), on which I wanted only to use a lot of under layers of collage and paint, colourful scribbling and sanding back to see what kind of textures and effects I could get and find out what I would then DO with such pleasing but ultimately fairly meaningless results.
In both cases I have been brought along on the journey with great surprise and joy. And in the three larger pieces in particular, I have been in love. In love with the process, which has been deliciously slower than I am used to, and in love with the pieces themselves at pretty much every single stage of the way, layer by slow, intuitive layer.
There was a day when I felt I had to do something new on these three – and this was to completely paste them with pages from my journals. The whole surfaces of all three. (My previous Blog post features an image showing one of them at that stage.) And then I was to continue with the painting, scribbling and sanding process. I came to feel they were me. I was in them, looking out. it somehow wasn’t just a metaphorical thing like “my personal, written pages are in there, so I am in there” – but it felt more real, more special than that in a way I can’t quite grasp, let alone explain. But I was in love with them as they progressed and they did so slowly and deliciously. It was ME loving ME as I both looked in and looked out.
They continue to develop with even greater personal meaning…and my bottom line is that I am deeply connected to myself in and through them.
I believe it is from deep connection with our essential selves that we are able to connect fully with others. And that, I am firmly convinced, is what we all need. Connection. Not just belonging – belonging comes and goes as our lives move on and develop and we find ourselves doing different things with different circles of people at different times. Much of it can be fleeting. Belonging can end unexpectedly and leave us floundering.
Fitting in was what we aspired to when we were very young, and that’s where a lot of our angst came from if we were not conformists and always felt different, out of step. As artists tend to do. At some point later we perhaps sought to belong, find our tribe. People like us. But the higher need we have at our core is for authentic connection. And connection is available to all of us at all times, and surpasses all need for sameness.
True connection can be for a fleeting moment, at the supermarket checkout. It can be with family, friends or neighbours too, of course, or it can be with complete strangers. It can happen without our even having to be in person – oh, how we’ve got so used to a lot of online activity lately! And I have felt the power of true connection again and again whilst speaking to a screen and receiving people’s reactions and feedback.
To truly connect we reach out with our unguarded hearts and souls. We look directly into others’ eyes (or down the camera), the gateway to their hearts and souls, and we give from ourselves with no fear or embarrassment because we know they are the same as us underneath everything. Direct words. Loving smiles. Confident assurances that we ‘know’ to be true from our own inner connection to Source. The Truth about what it is to be a human being who is becoming more and more fully realised as such.
To begin – simply go within. Let it be an honest desire. Invite your soul to speak and guide you. Even if you don’t know or think there’s a soul in there. Doesn’t matter. If there is, she will respond. If there isn’t, you may still unlock a new desire to move to a deeper experience of being alive. Push down your walls of belief, of unbelief and of cynicism and open your heart to whatever is good and true and it will pour in…and then, when it transforms you, you can pour it out to all you meet. Bit by bit. Day by day.
(Some of the colourful squares became something very unusual for me…the large pieces with me firmly embedded in them are on their way still…watch this space. The featured image is part of one of the finished squares.)