Use It For Fuel

If you run in healing circles, you are very familiar with the concept of letting it go. Letting go of what no longer serves is a cliché that has good intention, however, it is vague. How do you let something go? And then it has the unintended implication that you can actually get rid of something as if you can put it in the trash, and it will get hauled away.  Just because it is out of sight does not mean that it doesn’t exist any longer. There it still sits in some landfill somewhere.img_2850

There is a law in physics about how nothing can be created or destroyed. It simply changes form. The molecules just come apart and reform into some other substance.

When I was preparing for a bonfire on the night of the super full moon, I collected an odd-looking seedpod bundle from my palmetto tree. Having flowered in the spring, it was already dead, but, with all its tumbleweed-like branches, it looked like it would make quite a dramatic pyrotechnic display.

On the way to the ceremony, I thought – what if you could use the unwanted thoughts, feelings, beliefs, energy patterns, tension, or body blockages for fuel?

img_2380At the bonfire, the other participants were leery of setting fire to the seedpod. They were concerned that it was going to be too much, that the neighbors would object. Visions of encounters with fire department filled our heads. Sure enough, it did not disappoint. It spewed sparks and flames into the ethers for a brief period of time and then stayed lit long enough for us to release our fears and doubts we had written on paper into the flames.

Lying in bed the next morning a sense of fear came over me. I was rehashing an interaction I had with a client the day before that didn’t go well. I was trying to control the situation, and she was resisting. In retrospect, I could have brought that to conscious awareness, but I didn’t. My ego-mind spun into reaction. “Well, you are just not a good therapist,” and thus begun the internal dialogue. My ego jumped in and started defending itself because it can’t tolerate being exposed as imperfect.

My body got tense and my breath shallow. You know the routine.

Then I remembered – use it for fuel.

Once I got clear, I was able to release it into my body, and, oh boy, the fireworks got started. There was a flood of energy into all the molecules and cells, and I felt a surge of aliveness rush through my body. I maintained the feeling for as long as I could and felt grateful for my newfound ability and understanding of how to transform and transmute energy.

Is Making Art Selfish?

At the end of this last intuitive painting workshop, one participant shared that someone said to her that making art was selfish, and she should focus on her other work in which she is giving to others. Is making art and giving your heart and soul the nourishment and attention it needs selfish?

Not everybody instantly understands what intuitive painting is all about. I can point in the direction of how to make art from your inner landscape, but ultimately it is up to you to img_2814find your way through the wreckage. Yes, wreckage. We bring to the blank paper so much emotional baggage from our pasts, our families and loved ones, and our cultural conditioning that it can be intimidating to dive into the creative process.

What’s going on inside must be acknowledged first and foremost. If not, the shadow aspects will intervene and cause lots of confusion. Once you let yourself know that you are going to listen to the Inner Voice, only then do you get cooperation from your creative spirit. It is safe to show up.

That is why we start each workshop with meditation so that people can get lined up with their true selves.  This is a very important step and helps participants to put their toes in the water first to test the temperature. Your intuition is your ally on the journey, and it is accessed through the depth of your being and knowing.

During the meditation we are gathering our scattered energies and bringing our emotional img_2810lives to the forefront. People think art is about how well you can represent something, but creativity is about giving your emotional life permission to express itself unconditionally. There is no need to suppress and repress our truth. Showing up as artists involves being vulnerable, telling our truth and exposing our emotional selves.

After I finish guiding the meditation, people are free to create. Even with the intention to use our intuition, doubt and hesitation still creep in. During this last workshop, I read this quote from Deepak Chopra as participants were starting to find their way with the materials.

Today I will factor in uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. 
In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of the problem, 
out of the confusion, disorder and chaos.

img_2822Being able to embrace uncertainty, an important skill when making art, is an invaluable life skill. It involves trusting whatever shows up and how it shows up. It teaches us how to trust ourselves.

Paying attention to our emotional well-being and taking the time to risk expressing our true selves is not indulgence. It is essential to our vitality

As you can see, participants dove right in and explored, experimented and allowed the art to happen. Making art is not selfish. Art is a exquisite interplay of making it happen and letting it happen, and, in the process, nurturing yourself and healing the world!

img_2813-version-2