“There is a divinely inspired potentiality for creative expression within each one of us that the world needs and is awaiting.” – Eric Butterwortth
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh
If we listen to them and allow them to, dreams have a way of opening us up to new ways of being. There are so many facets of our lives that can change with inner work such as dreamwork. For many, one of those facets is the desire to express creatively. There is a societal meme that only certain gifted people are creative. I used to buy into that. But now, I believe that everyone has the potential to be creative. Creativity is not as much something you do as it is an expression of your soul that wants to come through you. That being said, there is something that can feel extremely vulnerable about creating. Perhaps that is why many of us shy away from it. It can be helpful to find a friend or mentor, to help you get started. Luckily for me, the opportunity to find a creative mentor kind of fell into my lap! Here is the story of how it happened….
Christine, a friend from my writing group is discovering ways to help people tap into their creativity. I excitedly volunteer to help with her endeavor. For years there’s been a longing inside me to paint. A fantasy has played out in my mind… the array of colors, the textures, the brushes, the white canvas waiting. And now I’ve got an opportunity to live it!
The creative meditation happens over the phone. My heart beats excitedly with anticipation. Christine begins, “Take a deep breath…. allow your body to sink down as if it is connected to the earth… feel that connection….” Resting into this space I feel my body soften. As I continue to melt into this place she asks, “Does an image come to you?” Searching in my minds eye there is nothing. Panic sets in and a voice inside says, What if nothing comes? Maybe this isn’t going to work. I disregard the voice. More blankness. Nothingness. My patience is tested as I wait in this void. Finally, an image comes. It’s like remembering a dream. It just appears there. It’s a sphere and there are sharp edges covering it. The edges scare me. There is a hardness to this prickly sphere. Christine asks me about the image and the feelings that are coming up. Anger comes. Now there is a black square framing the sphere. The anger is there still but now it is energetic and painful in a way. Christine asks if I want to let go of this anger and if so, what do I need to do to let go of it. A red swirl appears in the box, over top of the sphere. It’s moving in a counter clockwise direction. When Christine asks about it, the word “swoosh” keeps coming to me. I say it a few times. The word goes with the image. Swoosh. Swoosh. There is a lot of energy in it. She asks if there are other colors. I see some yellow. The swoosh breaks through the right side of the square, breaking it open. Tendrils of energy are released into the space there. There are all kinds of colors that sparkle out there with this energy. Blues, greens, pinks, yellows. A magical place.
Our next meeting is at her art studio a week later. The white blank canvas is there. The brushes sit waiting. There are tubs of paint with tons of colors to pick from. The art fantasy I’d been imagining for so long is now is materializing. I’m diving in!!
Christine takes me through a short meditation as I hold the blank canvas close to my chest as if I am blessing it with my heart and soul. There is something that wants to be expressed here today. Let it find its way to the canvas.
Its time to create the image from my thumbnail sketch. Christine is casual, relaxed. I follow that lead. This is fun! I start with the black square. This is really happening. I can do this. Now comes the swoosh! It’s like I’ve been waiting for this. There is energy that sweeps around and finds its way outside the box. Swoosh. Swoosh. But soon I hear a voice. You aren’t doing this right. You don’t know how to do this. This isn’t turning out right. Maybe Christine senses this. “Don’t hold back.” she encourages. The dark voice lifts and I start to have fun with it. No holding back. No thinking. Just grabbing color on the brush. Eventually the swoosh with its escaping swirling energy is finished. Now it’s time to add color outside the box. Vibrant colors catch my eye and I use them to paint some circles. I add a little texture and I glob on the paint. As I finish up the circles, it seems that the painting is finished. I realize that I’ve been here for 3 timeless hours. Christine has been like a steady, encouraging presence for the entire time. It feels like she’s been the midwife for the birth of this new baby of mine. I name it, “Explosion of Expression.”
Immediately after arriving home, I hang my new creation on the wall. Excitement quickly shifts as something else stirs inside me. What is this? Disgust? Shame? Disappointment? Rejection? Something is not right about this painting. It does not make me feel good. (Had I thought it would?) The swirl inside the box is ugly. Every time I walk past it, I cringe a bit. This painting needs to be fixed. I shift it 90 degrees. That’s a little better. Now it looks like long flowing hair. I know! Maybe I can paint over it in some way to make it look prettier. I’ll call Christine and see if she can help me salvage it.
A few days later I turn the painting back to its original position. It hangs at the bottom of the steps so I pass it often. There is a moment when I stop resisting and I find a way to accept the painting as it is. I don’t exactly know how that shift occurs but somehow it becomes clear to me that this painting is my soul’s expression. Some of what it wants to express is not pretty. The swoosh that escapes the box seems to be full of rage mixed with passion. There’s been a huge wall of resistance holding in the swirling energy. But there is an explosion, breaking down that wall. It breaks through to a world filled with color and wonder. The painting is not only a snapshot of me in present time, it holds a memory of my past and knows my future.
Christine works one on one with clients and groups helping them go within in to find and birth their creative dreams. See www.christinesartworld.com for more information.