May 24, 2012
I was thinking about this painting today long before I got back to working on it, and I saw in my mind’s eye dancing colors all around the central “seed,” so that’s what I painted. At first I had the thought that it was chaos, but then I sensed that it was dancing. Freedom. Life force bursting out of the seed. I like it.
And I can identify. I have a persistent sense that I was restless to be born—to no longer be inside my mother. When I tap into being inside her, I keep imagining a little voice saying, “Get me out of here!!” I felt the same way in my family and in the Midwestern city where I grew up. The West has always called to me. I feel home here‚ free to explore life within and around me without feeling as though I’m in a straightjacket.
The seed was the potential, and it was good while it lasted. Now I’m happily in a different phase.
March 17, 2012
I don’t know what happened with this painting. I sat down to paint and immediately got a sense of the red S-shaped things and then some small red dots. After that, all hell broke loose. It was as if some force took hold of my hand and started jerking it around in a frenzy. It was fine, of course, though my mind told me more than once that the style didn’t match the rest of the painting. I trust that something that wanted out got out, and that’s all that matters.
I’ve been somewhat of a homebody for the last several months—most likely the result of having gone on a long and rather dissatisfying trip last October and coming home craving a period of time of not having to adapt all the time. But yesterday Charlie said that although he loves being home, he really wants to do some traveling again before long, and I started to get really restless for a new adventure. Even if we can’t actually go on a trip for a while, we’re going to start researching and planning one. This is the first time in a really long time that I haven’t had a trip on the horizon, and it’s taking its toll. We’re talking about a trip to Oregon to see a close friend of mine whom I haven’t seen in a few years, and we’re dreaming of trips to Alaska, Hawaii, and Scotland.
Here’s today’s cloud photo:
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.