July 2, 2012
I don’t know what this painting is about, but what I know today is that Anderson Cooper rocks! May everyone on the planet find out who they truly are and have the courage and support to live it. Every person’s authenticity reverberates throughout the collective.
June 27, 2012
I had an urgent, unexpected thing to take care of this evening, so I only had about five minutes to paint and another five to post it on my blog. I hope to have more time tomorrow. Still, it’s wonderful to tune in, even briefly, and follow the trail of authentic impulses.
May 1, 2012
Today is the first day of the fifth month of my process art practice. I continue to be amazed that I’ve done process art every day for the past four months when I could hardly do it once every few months before this year. There’s a lot to be said for making a public declaration, regardless of how many people visit my blog.
For me, there’s also a lot to be said for not turning this into a marketing opportunity. At least once a week, I have the thought that I could be painting differently, or writing differently, to give visitors a more interesting experience—you know, I could work hard to write something profound every day, or I could paint for longer each day so something deeper/different would come out. But I always come back to a sense that this is my authentic, unembellished experience, and that’s what’s most in line with my original impulse for doing this project. So I’m going to keep not trying to be anyone I’m not.
I’ve come to that conclusion about other aspects of my life, too. I tried last year to turn myself into someone else professionally, and it became clear before long that it wasn’t the right path for me. I know someone who’s pursuing the path I thought, for a brief time, that I wanted, and I have occasional twinges of jealousy. But I know in my core that it’s not right for me—and that something else is, and it’s in the process of being born.
March 12, 2012
I’m loving this process of painting the first thing that comes to me and then changing what I’m painting the instant I get an impression of something else. It’s almost as if each thing—yellow or purple or sphere or curved line—is asking to be brought into material form, and it’s up to me whether it gets to or not, based on how willing I am to get out of the way and be true to what comes to me.
I spent most of the day switching between too many writing and editing projects, and by midafternoon I was overstimulated from all the switching. It was a pleasure to unplug from it and paint for a little while—and also to spend a little time with my cloud buddies. Here are a few of them.
March 2, 2012
I decided to take a break from the painting I’ve been working on for the last couple of days. I think there’s more that wants to be painted, but it wasn’t calling to me today. I felt an urge today to paint something that wasn’t careful. While I was painting, I thought back to an art class I took long ago in which the instructor had as his goal to support students to paint something authentic—something that wasn’t coming from their minds. He had us choose a medium we wanted to work with and to work really fast to bypass our minds. This was a good twenty-five years ago, and I had a lot of inner censorship going on back then, so I struggled a lot in the class. Today—not so much.
Some days I feel prompted to go deep within when I do process art. Other days, it’s about the movements my body wants to make and the colors my eyes want to see.
March 1, 2012
When I decided two months ago to do process art every day in 2012 and blog about it, I thought that finding time to do art was going to be the challenging part. I’m finding that blogging is the harder part.
It’s become easier and easier over the last two months to get into the mindset that doing process art is a refuge from the seemingly relentless pressure to be productive. Today, for example, I was feeling temporarily annoyed with an editing project, so I eagerly set it aside in favor of swimming in watery-looking colors for a while. But blogging is another matter. It’s fine when I have something to say, but when I don’t, it’s a challenge. Maybe it’s because I spend so much of my time using words, between my coaching and writing and editing activities. Sometimes I just want color and line and shape—and sometimes, really, just color and water. I’m thinking that my blogging can be like my process art—just let out whatever’s there, with no goal of having Deep Thoughts. This is about cultivating authenticity, after all. If I had a traditional meditation practice, there’d be some days when I had cosmic insights and (many) other days when I’d watch my mind chatter or be bored or whatever. I’m seeing that the same is true of my process art/blogging practice.
February 28, 2012
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I wrote in yesterday’s post about how taking an authentic step opens up a string of possibilities that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.
I’ve been thinking about the sense I’ve had for a long time that I wouldn’t be becoming all of who I’m capable of being without good support in my life. Due to the circumstances of my upbringing, I grew up with a persistent sense of insufficiency and the conviction that I wasn’t ever going to get what I needed. That sense carried over into my adult life, and it was the reality I lived inside for decades, despite my voracious appetite for personal growth. But it’s only in the last few years that I’ve started to really feel a sense of sufficiency in my life, thanks in part to some dynamite Internal Family Systems therapy after a rough breakup five years ago, and in part because of having Charlie in my life.
It’s strange to think about the choice points in my life. If I had made different choices, my life wouldn’t have opened up as it has. But perhaps I never would have made different choices—that’s how clear the intuitions were about both IFS and Charlie. It’s another reminder of why I do process art every day and why I keep making it a priority to listen to what wants out. It’s also why, these days, I’m okay with not knowing who I’m supposed to “turn into.” I trust that living my life as true to myself as I’m able will lay the groundwork for the next phase of my life. How could it be otherwise?
February 27, 2012
Doing process art this afternoon was an educational experience. I painted some yellow and then got a strong hit about darkening the blue at the bottom of the water. Some part of me didn’t want to follow that impulse, so I kind of pushed it aside and asked where to go next. Again I got a hit that dark blue was the next thing to paint.
It was kind of like: Don’t ask the question if you don’t want to know the answer. Then I remembered something about writing that I recently shared with a friend. I do a lot of nonfiction writing for educational publishers, and I always begin an assignment by creating the space for the writing to show up—I create a Word doc, give it a name, and type a few preliminary phrases or sentences. Then I let it “cook.”
When I come back to it the next day, more words want to come out. They wouldn’t have if I had tried to extract them the day before—I know, because I’ve tried to write that way. I need to create the space, take a small step, and step away from it. When I do, all the things connected to that first step start spilling out, one after another.
A string of things were connected to darkening the blue water in this painting. If I hadn’t added the dark blue, all the steps that followed it wouldn’t have had an opportunity to be born. Each authentic step we take opens the door to countless more.
NOTE: I mentioned a while back that I’d announce when I had my first visitor from Africa. Welcome to the new visitor from South Africa. I’ve now had visitors from every continent except Antarctica! Welcome also to the new visitors from Sweden and New Zealand.
February 13, 2012
Last night I was thinking about how much time I spend doing process art and blogging about it, and some part of me was thinking, “Whine—it’s not even the middle of February yet, and I made a commitment to do this through the end of the year.” It’s a big time commitment, and most nights I get to bed much later than I prefer to. I was also thinking about how I sometimes have the thought that this endeavor isn’t worthwhile because I don’t have X number of visitors to my site every day or X number of people who have signed up for my newsletter.
Thankfully, after I have those kinds of thoughts, I remember why I’m doing this. I remembered—again—this morning while I was painting.
I’m doing this to practice and keep fine-tuning my ability to perceive—and act upon—the authentic impulses I sense when I get quiet.
And I’m doing that because it’s the best way I know of to give my deepest self every possible opportunity to be in the driver’s seat in my life.
This morning I was looking through a few boxes to find something, and I came across a CD of backup computer files from June 2007. That was an important time in my life, as I had ended a relationship with an emotionally abusive man the previous September, and I was working hard to come to an understanding of how it was that I allowed myself to stay in that relationship after he started becoming abusive. I know now that I stayed because I ignored a lot of warning signs—the little blips on my inner radar that told me something was wrong. I was in therapy for a while to become conscious of all those blips that I ignored at the time, and I’m doing process art to keep learning to listen better—not just to the internal warnings but also the energy pulses that signal my organism saying, “Yes!”
January 31, 2012
I was working on this painting and meditating on patience and the fact that lots of things take patience, and just because they do doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them. Painting the dark purple between the magenta brushprints took patience. A little voice in my head thought that maybe I shouldn’t be painting the purple because it was a painstaking process—maybe I should paint messier or with a different brush, or perhaps just let the background there be white instead of purple. But no—the impulse to paint the purple felt authentic, and it felt right to stay with it as long as I did, regardless of whether I was Having Fun (such a high priority in our culture).
And then I was thinking about a coaching class I’m taking called Seasons of Change, which is based on Carol McClelland’s book by the same name. Today in class we were talking about winter solstice—the darkest day of the year—and what it means to sit in the dark and wait when it’s not yet time for the light to come. The class discussion took me back to late 2003 and early 2004, when I had two breast cancer scares. I was so panicked and paralyzed with fear at the beginning—until I got an inkling that the Universe was trying to tell me something. Once I was on the trail of that perspective, I did process art every day (sometimes several times a day) and kept saying, Okay, Universe, you’ve got my attention. What is it you want me to learn?
I kept drawing spheres. At first they were far away, but over time it became clear that they were coming toward me. Finally they were so big and close that they rolled right over me, flattening me in the process. Surrender. Just let go and quit fighting. Quit making your life be about what you oppose.
I’ve heard of people saying that their cancer was a tremendous gift because it changed their perspective so dramatically. I used to think, “Yeah, right” until my cancer scares. Now I think of them as one of the most transformational times of my life. I learned a lot about sitting in the dark and aligning with what the Universe wants for me. I learned about the ecstasy of aligning with what the Universe wants for me—which is also what I want for myself when I get beyond my conditioning. That’s what this year of doing process art is about—making space in my life for my essence to come through and to consider, every day, that who I am might be more, or different, from who I’ve been being. It takes patience to stay with that process.