January 3, 2012
I was working on an editing project at my computer for much of the morning, and I kept visiting my blog and looking at how my painting changed between two days ago and yesterday. I kept scrolling back and forth between the two paintings, mesmerized by something I couldn’t put words to. And then it came to me—a sense that the area with the jerky purple and magenta brushstrokes is a womb containing unformed chaos out of which the sprouty, flowy things emerge.
I wasn’t looking for meaning—it showed up on its own. And once it did, I felt a compelling urge to dive into the chaos and swim in it. What an amazing thing to make my highest priority this afternoon to immerse myself in what’s calling to me—so different from how I’m used to prioritizing my days.
I let the jerky movements take over. They alternated with pressing, stamping, stabbing, trailing, and other movements I don’t have words for. As I was painting, a thought that came to me in my first Painting Experience workshop returned—that of the relationship between process painting and the concept of “unwinding” in craniosacral therapy. In the words of Gary Strauss, the developer of CranioSacral Unwinding,
“We are designed to digest our life each day. When we don’t and life is too hard, tension or the undigested experiences can get stuck in our body and we tighten. As we get tighter, the connective tissue gets harder and loses elasticity. In unwinding, the tension starts to back out of the system and releases.”
Every moment when I get out of the way and allow my body—my organism—to follow its natural inclinations, I’m contributing to my healing. What a concept! It’s the polar opposite of what so many of us are taught, which is to squelch our natural instincts and mold ourselves to an image. It’s no wonder we end up so armored and out of touch with ourselves. With each chaotic brushstroke, I invite the paint to soften me and lead me to my authentic self.