Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Journey into the Heart of Darkness

This is the last day of working on this painting.  I have been working on it all Fall and it has taken me down the rabbit hole of Darkness.  If you can have a goal in intuitive painting process, today it was finishing up the painting; bring it to some sense of completion so that nothing was left unfinished into the New Year.

I decided to start with Light...Light coming out from the edges of the Door.  I grabbed yellow and started painting it along the edges of the Door, then I covered the green heart outline with yellow.  Then I covered the small blue heart with yellow, then purple.  

The problem was that it was not working for me.  Yellow.  Light.  Not working.  

My teacher laughed at me and commented that my mind was having its say.  She said thank your mind for trying to keep you safe.  Tell it you are safe here and don’t need it to keep you safe.  Then jump down the hole....
She was right, of course.  When I checked in with myself, I felt lost.  Lost.  Stuck.    Filled with Fear.  I knew this before I showed up that morning.  I had been in that space for a few days.

So, I painted it out.  I grabbed crayons and started allowing squiggles of orange and brown to move all over the painting.  Then came red right up the center and right across the heart forming a large cross on the painting.  Then came black squiggles on the top.  I squiggled all over that painting, allowing all that feeling of being lost to get onto that paper.

Then something powerful happened.  I squiggled black down the painting.  It was not strong enough.  I grabbed a black paint brush and painted a black line right down the painting.  As I did it, I hit the paper with such force and rage that sent me cowering in the corner.  As that black line was painted the door that kept all my anger and rage hidden from me, stuffed in my Shadow flew open and I was overwhelmed by it.

I couldn’t handle it.  I was shocked by how much rage was in my heart, hidden deep in the depths.  I had stuffed it there and left it and it had grown...

I do not even know where the anger was directed.  There was too much of it.

I curled up in a ball as far from my painting as I could get.  I sat there for the longest time.

My teacher came and sat by me.  She commented on the energy that was in that last stroke and wondered why I was here hiding.

“It was rage not energy.” I answered.
She told me to get it out.  What color is it?


"Get it out.  Put black on your brush or hand and get it out.  You have come this far.  You have worked so hard to get here, bumping up against this time and time again.  Go there.  This is a safe space for you to go there.  Jump down the rabbit hole."

She sat with me encouraging me to move shoulder to shoulder...tender loving support.

I got up.  Took a deep breathe.  Put black on my pallet and began to paint black all over the painting.  I allowed my rage to run down my arm, through my brush and onto that paper.  I hit that brush hard against the paper.  

Then I put the brush down and started using just my hands and paint.  I covered that painting numerous times with black.  Parts of the hearts tore off with the force of the brush or my hand.  I ripped them the rest of the way off and put those pieces in the center of the cut out heart, where the obstacles were.

I kept at it until I felt spent...spent of as much rage and anger, grief and sadness, and fear as I could get out.

I stepped back and looked at my painting.  It was black.  All black.

I haven’t had that happen in a long time.  That last time I painted the whole painting in one color was blood red this past summer.  That was hurt, broken heartedness, anger.

I stepped back and sat.  I moved farther away, back to my corner.  My teacher arrived.  I commented on how I wanted it to be beautiful.  Others were throwing paint on their paintings and bringing color.  Why couldn’t I do it?

Why can’t you?  she asked.

It didn’t feel right.  I was aligning myself to darkness.

She suggested that I do some ritual to honor the work that I had done, the releasing of all this anger.

I nodded my head as tears fell.  I asked to use her Angel Candle.  She has held me many times in meditation over the past year when I have needed Her.  Now, I felt like I needed Her.  

As my teacher went to find a candle, I felt a call to the greens in the back of my car.  I heeded the call without thinking, put on my shoes and got the greens.  These greens came to me when I asked for help in a releasing ceremony.  They answered my call.  Then they changed their minds and wanted to be part of a gratitude altar I made on Thanksgiving Day.  That morning, as I walked out the door, they reminded me that they had volunteered to help me release what needed to be released.  I had packed them up and put them in my car.  Here was why...

I lit the angel and set her in front of my painting.  I sat and stared at her with the greens next to me.  I started to fiddle with the greens...

I began to cut off the pine sprigs from the branches.  I put glue up on the painting and attempted to glue one sprig to the painting and it kept falling off.  My teacher brought me pins to help hold the pine.  

I placed sprig upon sprig upon sprig on the painting in the center of the cutout heart, around one of the obstacles.  Their green, their life, their energy changed the Darkness of the painting.  It somehow released the rage, transformed it into something different, allowed for me to experience this Darkness in a different, more whole and healed way.

I wanted to thank it.  I wanted to thank the sprigs.  I wanted to thank the black paint.  I wanted to thank them all for helping me release.  I took some tobacco and placed it on the painting just below the greens.  Then I grabbed a leaf of sage and put it with the tobacco, praying that the sage continue to clear this anger, sadness and fear from my body and soul.

I lit some sage and saged the painting, saged my Spirit.  Breathed in the clearing energy of the sage.  Prayed....

Then I sat.  I settled in.  

I had been given a ritual to perform to help release some stuff I was bumping up against and now seemed the time to prepare for it.  I sat and did as the Spirit had guided me to do.  And as I did so, an altar appeared around the Angel. 

I began to realize that She was holding the energy of my intention.  She was holding my prayers.  I could prepare now, because She held it for me.  I could continue this journey of releasing and trust that these prayers would be held until it was time to burn them.  Her Light did that.

Later that evening, my friends gathered with me to burn these sticks wrapped with my prayers for release and transformation.  With the Angel next to me, I threw them in the Fire and Fire responded.  Fire sparked and crackled and threw fireworks out at me.  Fire answered my request and I thanked it.

This journey deep into the Heart of Darkness has been a challenging journey filled with ups and downs, wounds and healings, movements and countermovements.  I am forever grateful for the space and opportunity to allow my Creative Self to take these journeys.

Blessed Be.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Door

I have been on a journey into Contemplative Christianity for a few months now.  Part of my practice is to sit in contemplative Silence each morning for 30-45 minutes and sink into the Heart of the Sacred.  It has been a rich, healing, painful, deep experience.  The Darkness of this Silence holds such beauty, Light and movement.

Over the past few weeks the Silence changed.  A door appeared.  A big black door that I can not open or go through.  It just sits there haunting me in this still stale dead silence.  I yearn to go through that door and leave behind this dead silence.

I began today with that door.  It has become more and more pronounced over the past 48 hours.  It was there through my entire morning meditation before I left to come paint.  So I picked up a brush, put black on my pallet and painted a huge door over my entire painting.  

I painted over the hand.  I painted over the obstacles.  The yarn fell off as I worked at making it black.  I painted over the intertwined hearts.  All of it gone.  The painting became the Door.  

And I stood on the yellow doormat waiting to get in....

Light seeped out from the edges of the Door.  The Door glowed...

And I stood waiting....

I want through that Door.  I thought about cutting the Door open and painting on the other side.  That did not feel right.  The Door has not opened.  It is shut.
I am on this side.  I needed to paint on this side.  I needed to allow my Creative Self to express her feelings and hopes to the Door.

I sat down on my mat.  Then I found myself laying down, mat on top of me.  I closed my eyes and went deep into that yellow and green asking what is next....

An image of a heart came to me.  I folded the paper and cut out a heart.  I looked at the yellow and green heart.  I looked at the yellow mat with a heart shaped hole in it.  I looked at the Door.

I picked up the yellow and put it on the painting across the door.  I fit it so the obstacles were in the heart shaped cut out.

Then I grabbed the yellow and green heart and glued it up on the painting.

Then my First Chakra leftovers called to me.  I dug them out of the stack of painting on my teacher’s top shelf.  I cut out another heart... deep blue.  I put it up on the Door.

Then came five red hands coming up from the bottom.

Then I sat.  I stared at the Door.  I started to cry.  I had placed my heart over the Door so it would not be able to open...

I cried....and cried.... and cried.... a cleansing cry.

My teacher came and joined me.  We talked.  I struggled with words and feelings.
When she asked about a color all that was there was green.  She encouraged me to get up and put green up on the painting.  I sat for a bit longer before I could get up.  I grabbed the green and began to put green on the edge of the door, making the green the Light that glowed from the Door.

Then I covered the yellow outline of the heart with green.

Then I grabbed the white tinted green and began to fill in the heart.  It was muddy.  It was grey.  I couldn’t get the color I wanted.  I got frustrated.  I grabbed the paint scrapper and scrapped off all the paint I could.  I emptied that heart out, down as close to the paper as I could get.

Psalm 13 echoed in my heart.  Loudly.

I needed to write it on that heart.  I grabbed a crayon, but it would not work.  My teacher gave me a rubber scrapper and I wrote the entire Psalm from my heart.  I just wrote the words all over that heart, around the obstacles, along the edge.  I wrote until the entire Psalm was up there....
How long, O God? 
Will you forget me forever? 
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear pain in my soul, and have sorrow in my heart all day long? 
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 
Look at me!!! 
Answer me, O Lord my God! 
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death....

I stepped back.  I sat down.  I thought I was done.  I stared and stared at the painting.  My deepest lament in the midst of this darkness was up there.  The cry I have shouted out to this darkness was up there.

But I wanted to cover it up.  Something in me wanted to cover it up because I was up painting purple over it, filling in that heart with purple. 

My teacher asked why? 

I answered “The words are there.  They do not need to show.”
I was wrong.  I sat again.  I was agitated.  The words needed to show.  The important words.  The words I cry out in that Darkness.  They needed to be there.

I got up and put them back up.

How long, O Jesus?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?

Now, I was done.  I had faced the Door in the darkness of my heart and I had written my lament on it.

Now, I wait in the darkness for Jesus’ answer....
And wait...
And wait....
And wait....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Yellow, yellow and more yellow...

This is the third day of painting on this piece.  I felt like there was only one place to start this morning:
A big black circle around the flame, cutting off the top of the flame.  It loosened me up.  It expressed the Shadow that I felt around my heart.  It released it a little bit...

Then came the coloring of the inner flame black.  I wondered if I would be painting in black today, but yellow came into my mind urgently.  

I grabbed the yellow and began to place yellow hand prints all around the purple circle.   Then I began to make streaks of yellow all over the painting where ever I felt the invitation.  And finally a yellow circle in the bottom of the painting.

Then a deep breathe.  I sat and took some deep centering breathes and waited for what was next.
What was next was more yellow.  I put four yellow hand prints at the bottom of the large heart.  A spiral appeared connecting those hand prints to the large yellow circle.  

When I was done with the brown I had all this energy I needed to get out of me, emotional energy.  I didn’t have words for the emotions, but I knew I needed to get them out.  I grabbed the yellow and began to create a yellow flame at the top of the black circle. 

Then I went yellow crazy.  I mean crazy.  I needed to get yellow on that paper, to release whatever it was that was stuck in me.  I began with yellow in the black circle.  I moved to yellow all around the hearts, all over the bottom of the paper.  I brought the yellow up the sides.  I covered as much of the painting as I could with yellow, leaving pretty much two intertwined hearts and one red hand print.

The hand print was partially covered by the yellow.  I grabbed the red and put the print back up there, then I filled in the brown center.

Then I sat... and sat...  and sat.  Then I moved to the other side of the room and sat.  Then I went and grabbed chocolate and sat.  

I was bumping up against some stuff that had bubbled up in my inner work this week.  I mean it was very present.  It came up Monday, clarified Tuesday and wrote and wrote all afternoon to process it, and The Sacred offered some healing on Wednesday which I was still processing.  Today, Thursday, I found myself in front of a yellow painting with a red handprint and two intertwined hearts.  I found my Creative Self letting me know I was struggling with truly accepting the healing I received.  I found my Creative Self asking me to dive deep into the struggle, into that disbelief, express it and accept it.

But I did not move.  I stayed sitting until my teacher came and pushed me.  We talked about what came up.  The disbelief.  Obstacle was the word that came with disbelief.  Brown was the color.  Rock was the form.  So up I went (after much prodding).

I began by grabbing brown.  Then I grabbed some  tissues and began to form rock-like lumps on the painting.  That was not doing it for me, so I grabbed red yarn and dipped it in the paint and put it on the painting.  It would not stay no matter how much glue I put up.  So I began to toss it at the painting.  It stuck and the fell and I caught it.  It left this really cool effect.  I did it again and again and again.  Really cool affect.  

One time the brown yarn stayed stuck.  I left it there and added glue and a pin to help it stick.  I got more yarn and repeated until that yarn stuck.  The obstacles stayed when and where they wanted to.  It was out of my control.  I had to trust the yarn and paint to express it fully.

When I was done with the brown and with the yarn, I had this need for more yellow.  But not on this painting.  I grabbed a new sheet of paper and put it on the floor.  I pumped and drizzled a few different shades of yellow on the paper.  Then using a brush I spread the yellow all over the paper.  Then yellow dots went from that paper to my painting.

When the yellow was complete I wanted green.  I wanted the green to have the same affect as the brown yarn.  My teacher helped me clear a wall so I could toss the green yarn at the paper. I tossed it and tossed it and tossed it until it felt like everything that needed to get out was out.

I grabbed the green yarn and put it on the main painting right in the middle between the red hand and the intertwine hearts.  

And I was done for the day...

I have plans for that yellow and green paper.  I have plans for the “rocks”.  

But for now, I had done as much as I could handle doing....

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Path of Darkness....

This is my third round painting my Third Chakra.  Each time I have painted this Chakra I have found myself bumping up against some deep stuff.  Today was no different.

I awoke in the morning with an image of how the paper was to look -- like a cross.  I have resisted the cross look before, but this time I made a decision that I would follow that invitation and see where it took me.

I decided to do this because I have been struggling with my connection to Jesus lately.  Over the last month I had this feeling that I was about to meet Jesus again in a new way.  Signs had been showing up hinting at that.  Painting-wise the signs were all there:  the red hand,  the cross popping up again and again in many paintings.  Jesus was on his way to reintroduce himself to me...

And he did.  It was a powerful week.  Jesus arrived powerfully in all his compassionate healing loving Glory.  He was ever present, ever patient and inviting me anew into a revitalized deeper connection with him.  

You see, Jesus became REAL.  Tangible.  I could reached out and touched him.  He held me in all my woundedness.  He healed me.  He brought me home.  He affirmed the spiritual path that I am on.  He encouraged me to continue saying he would walk the path with me.

I accepted joyfully in that moment.  But my Critic and Ego began to resist.  That resistance showed up in painting over the next few days (two weeks ago).

And then....
Everything went dark.  And by dark I mean dense pitch black Dark.
When I sat in silent contemplative prayer, it was black as night, stale, dead.  I sought communion and met darkness.

The darkness of the season set in.  I feel like I’m being invited to sit in that darkness.  To just sit in it with no expectations and notice what happens.
As I painted my Third Chakra my resistance to that invitation showed up again.  I had energy to hang the paper the way I felt invited to that morning.  I had energy as I began with the gold and yellow circles, with the orange moving upward around the gold circle.

I had energy painting a white line around the purple star and pulling that white outwards making the star shimmer.

Then I painted a green line across the paper and put pink dots along the line.  The vision was a beautiful vine of flowers snaking its way across the painting.  But as I made the flowers I got bored.  My energy dropped.  I started not wanting to finish all the flowers I had decided to make.  

I tried making them a different way to ignite the energy again.  That didn’t work.  Before I knew what was happening four medium circles appeared diagonally across the left side of the cross:  white, purple, green and gold.  The white then became red.

Then orange wanted to come burst forth from around the bottom two circles and form some kind of shape around them. It didn’t work.  I grew frustrated.  The orange ended up muddier and muddier and muddier.  It turned into this hideously orange circle that disgusted me.  I was extremely unhappy with it.

So I turned my attention to the bright orange and gold at the top of the painting.  I wanted something of beauty and Light.  I painted a large purple star in the open corner.  It was beautiful.  The star next to the full moon with orange flame.  It was a nice story.  I felt better -- distracted from that hideous orange...

Then I set my attention to the cut out purple star in the center of the painting.  I painted it purple again.  Then I painted a smaller star lavender in its center.

Then I found myself on my back flat on the floor unable to move.  It was not the stars that did it.  The stars kept me standing.  The stars kept me from entering the Darkness...

It was that hideous orange circle that did it.  It brought me to the floor.  All my crap, all my Shadow, all that I feared in the Darkness...the hideous orange circle....

My teacher joined me as she usually does when I’m on the floor.  She asked me three things I could do to the painting:

  1. paint a blue circle below the four circles.  There was no energy there.  That was an attempt to fix the orange circle, to make it look better.
  2. Orange upward around the star.  There was no energy there.  I did not want to mess up the beauty that was there. I wanted that Light.
  3. I took a deep breathe and went deep down into my Soul.  Then I spoke without thinking or knowing what was going to come forth:  black.

“What?  No not black”  I thought.

My teacher, however, jumped on that.  She knew it came from deep within, from my Creative Self, my Soul.  “where?”

“Where the green line is.”

“Get some black, put it on your pallet and paint it where the green line is.”

And she sat with me until I stood up....

I grabbed the black paint.   I began in the middle above the star.  I put paint there and began to drag it upward and to the right.  I kept at it until it felt done.  
Then I began to drag it to the left.  Some of the black paint came in contact with that hideous orange circle.  I had a physical reaction to that touch.  I felt tainted.  I felt disgust.  I must have made a loud noise because my teacher was looking at me.  You okay?  yeah.

It was hard for the black to meet the orange.  For darkness to meet my wounds and crap.  When I went to pull more black, that orange was there.  Then it was on my hands.  Then it was being mixed into the black where the black began.  I was not happy about it, but I kept going until I felt like the black was spread out like it needed to be.  Then I stopped.

I scrubbed my hands to get all that orange black off them.

I stood back and looked.  I liked the way the black interacted on the right and the top.  It looked cool, rich, deep inviting darkness with something to offer.

I struggled with the black on the left.
“Is that covering your orange to hide it?” my teacher asked.
“They are together, layered one over the other...merged.”

And at the end of the night I’m left standing with that.  As I move deeper into the darkness of Solstice, I wonder what my inner darkness will reveal to me, if anything.

I continue sit, each morning and night, in that darkness.  Patiently.  Sometimes calmly.  Other times with much agitation.  

And I wait....
will the Light return?