My teacher gave us an invitation before painting. She invited us to think about our Shadow self and reflect upon what we parts of ourselves we have relegated to our Shadow. Then she asked us to invite some part of us back into the Light.
I was actually hoping to just play with paint, brightness, joy and ignore all that was falling apart in my life. But no! That is not what I was invited to do. I was invited to dive back into my Shadow self, back into the darkness.
The problem with this exercise is that I have locked so much of my self in my Shadow so as to continue this enduring that I do. Opening the door even a little is hugely painful.
So I entered this exercise tenatively. I decided to start with Light before going dark. I grabbed the yellow paint jug and began to make a huge yellow ball on my painting. That was fun. As I was doing this, I began to realize that I was painting the sun, my third Chakra, Holy Energy and Light and all that wonderful fun vibrant alive stuff. Yeah. That felt good after struggling through the last few paintings.
Then I invited the Shadow to come into the Light. I hoped that the Light would hold too much Shadow from coming. I laughed as I stepped back and saw a record (you know that you played on record players). I began to swirl my hands in the blackness and then rub them around the Light integrating Light and Shadow together.
That was okay until somehow it released rage. That is what I don’t like about my Shadow. When I invite parts of myself back into the Light, I have to deal with the anger and rage I stuffed down inside myself as I shadowed part of me. It came red -- red as can be. I began by thinking about rooting myself. But as the anger showed up it turned quickly into beating the red into the painting. Covering the bottom, slapping it, splattering it, spreading it. Then something invited me to take my rage up and I slapped paint right up like flame igniting for the first time.
I kept at it with other colors -- purple, light blue, more yellow, more black. Slap, spread, integrate. Slap, spread, integrate. Slap, splatter, leave it. I moved with whatever color captured my eyes back and forth between the paints and the painting. Changing colors often, allowing for my flightiness to show up. Voice, vision, power -- Shadow.
I stepped back once I had added all the color. I liked how there was one slap of red, yellow and blue (roots, power, voice) directly in the middle of the black Shadow. That spoke to me.
I stepped back further. I stared at the circle, at how much color had showed up. I realized that although I unleashed my anger, I had not invited anything to come back from the Shadow. I was indeed playing with paint, color and anger.
As I reflected upon that, the image of a tree popped into my head. And that is when I had a deep Ah Ha! moment:
The tree is ME.
All those paintings where trees have popped up and I have defined the tree as my hope and vision -- as the Sabbath Center.
From the Goddess painting
to my work with ash
to my work with my second chakra
It was all about ME stuck in my Shadow,
kicking and screaming
hoping for an invitation
to be set free!!
Free from the box I had locked it in.
Free from the Shadow I had long ago stuffed it unwillingly into.
The tree is me.
the me that wants to create;
the me that wants to manifest something amazing and transformative in the world;
the me that has brought forth this re-awakening.
The me I have been mourning the loss of for 15 years.
The me I have been searching to re-unite with all that time.
This time powerfully. So powerfully that this painting got physical, got down-in-my-body physical; not just spiritual or intellectual. Physical!
It became a tug of war between two forces
The tree -- me -- unleashing, creeping out of my Shadow
My old life I just left behind pulling me back through an invisible cord.
Here is how it got physical: as soon as I put that tree on the painting I got dizzy. Every time I moved the world spun. I could feel the pull backward. I could feel myself pulling against some invisible cord. I could not keep balance.
Each time I moved toward the painting, dizzy. Each time I moved away less dizzy. Sitting fine. Standing dizzy. It sucked big time. But I kept painting hoping it would pass. Using the walls to balance myself. Shaking my head, trying to clear it of dizziness. Shaking my back, moving my hands up and down my back trying to get rid of that pull.
Painting all along
and allowing more of me to show up
FULLY show up.
My heart at the center, layered over those three slaps of yellow, red and blue -- power, voice, and roots. It felt powerful to watch my heart arrive there and open and fill the space between the branches that were reaching up to the Holy.
The dark green became anger, Shadow. It felt awful. I wanted to cover it, lighten it as soon as I put it on. I paid attention to that one for a while. I worked at lightening it. Then the yellow circle appeared -- my power showed up in the midst of that anger. The feelings turned, transformed. I was able to allow the anger to ignite movement within me -- not to overwhelm me, but to propel ME out of the Shadow and back to the Light. As I did that more yellow appeared, the purple circle appeared and the painting began to feel balanced, good and settled.
The problem was I knew it was not done. Settled was not where this painting was taking me. Dizziness was still there. There was more work to be done....
and allowed my voice to appear
allowed my roots to deepen, strengthen, lengthen
allowed my heart to flame upward to the Holy.
This creative process always surprises me. It keeps me on my toes.
And sometimes it gets very physical
Sometimes the Holy knocks me off balance
to open me