I made a commitment to myself to paint each time I go on retreat for Spiritual Direction training. This time, I was not feeling it. Hurricane Sandy had just been through the area wreaking havoc all around. She stirred up my own inner storm pretty majorly. I was feeling exhausted, off balance, fragile.
But, I packed my paint and paper in my car before leaving -- just in case...
When I got to the Center I unpacked the paint and paper and set up for painting that evening. I made myself do it. It felt like I was dragging myself through quicksand. I was extremely resistant and cranky and hurting. I did not want to paint alone!
I went to class that afternoon and into the evening. My Spirit and Soul felt extremely fragile. I think I may even have voiced that during our check-in.
After evening prayer, as has been my practice, I headed to the art room to paint. Usually I’m excited, even if I have a sense I may be about to bump into something major. This time, I was down, down, down.
I grabbed the blue paint and covered my painting in blue. The entire thing. Blue. It seemed right. Most of my paintings recently have had blue as the background. Blue has become a place of stability for me in some ways; holding the space for my painting. As I covered the painting in blue, I felt stuff sliding away... little by little.
I grabbed the purple and painted a huge purple star right in the middle of the painting. It was time to face Fear head on. Since fear tends to show up as purple stars, that is where I started.
Then everything changed. I began to surrender to my Creative Self. I lost myself in the painting. Things just flowed.
I put four red hand prints in the center of the star and filled in the “holes” with brown. Then came a swirl where the four hands came together.
Then a Deer leaped upwards out of the center of the star, off the hands. To a green heart at the tip of one of the stars edges. A green arrow pointing the way.
Then a River Otter appeared below the hands. I was challenged by that otter. She wanted to be plumper than I wanted her to be. She wanted to show up Her way and when I gave in She appeared in all her fullness with a large green heart! Red arrow pointing the movement from the center of the star toward Her.
Then I put my attention back into the center of the Star. I began to play with the swirl, to connect it to each hand. A four point spiral formed. I scrapped away the paint to create a heart in the center of that spiral. The hands were connected by Love. My Love and Christ’s Love.
The tree formed next. Growing up on the edge of the painting. Stretching its branches out toward the star, spiraling inward. Musical notes appeared within each spiral at the end of each branch. Without really thinking, each color of the chakra system appeared. Singing!!
Green hearts appeared where branches branched off nestling themselves into the tree; being supported by the strength of its trunk.
Green exploded from the top of the tree.
And a small red flower appeared in the base of the trunk.
The flow continued. I was enjoying myself. I was smiling (which I had not done for days really).
The star drew my attention back to it. It wanted to emanate Light. I began with the Left side pulling yellow out from the star. It wanted to go behind the river otter, so I painted over her head and then re-painted her head. I added red and orange to bring about fire.
I repeated this in two other spots, allowing the Light to shine forth as it wanted.
Then the River Otter wanted to dance. Really inside me, she wanted to dance. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, so I trusted my Creative self, grabbed purple paint and a brush. My Creative self painted musical notes. Then came the shimmering green and purple lines vibrating outward bringing the song and dance to life!!
And one final brush stroke was wanted. I grabbed the yellow and painted a halo over the heart in the center of the painting. My angels and spirit guides wanted to be invited to this party. And it felt like a party!
When I was done, I felt lighter. I felt laughter. I felt peace. I felt like the Sacred had gifted me with remembering all the ways in which She has cared for me, held me, guided me, supported me, and loved me in the past few days as my inner storm raged.
As I write this, I feel gratitude in my heart for this gift of paint and paper and Creative expression. I feel blessed to be loved and held in such a powerful way by God.