It is my great pleasure to be on the other side of end of 2014. At the holidays I have a history of bumping into all the parts of me that want to say no to life. Something about this time of year really brings it on for me. So in anticipation of this I signed up for a 7 day Silent Retreat to force myself to meet these energies without checking out in my usual Christmas time ways.
So for 7 days along with 20 others I was silent. The majority of the days were spent in sitting meditation and walking meditation. The first meditation of the day started at 6:30am and the last ended at 9:45pm. I got to see all my mind's thinking without having any distractions from it. Thinking, thinking , thinking , and more thinking. I became aware of how mean my thoughts toward myself can be and how much suffering they can cause me. I got to learn about practicing loving kindness toward myself and making friends with my inner demons, meaning those parts and places within me that I judge as unacceptable or wrong. I made friends with my migraines, with my feelings of inadequacy and shame, my ancient thoughts of being unsafe and trapped, and with my anger toward having to be human and in community with others. Yes I definitely have a rich shadow side to say the least. But l gleaned on a deeper level what I always learn from painting which is that I am, we are, everything: the dark, the light, the up the down, the you the me, the destruction, the re-birth, the fear, the courage, etc.
I realized that I can love myself just fine when I'm feeling light and love and connected to the whole but when the darker colors of the spectrum are up for me I really withhold love from myself and feel unworthy of receiving it. This contraction of course causes great suffering and leads to unhealthy cycles of trying to escape the feelings (caused by the judgmental thoughts).
Ahh the suffering that is created simply from not accepting whole heartedly what is. This is true in our life and this is true in our paintings. One of my teachers likes to say that the small will always argues with what is, while the heart's will always communes with it. Intuitive Painting like mediation is a path to liberation. In the painting process just like meditation we get intimately acquainted with the habitual thought forms that stop our flow or shut us down. In painting as well as meditation we learn to connect with ourselves as pure awareness where in the stillness and intimacy of silence or painting, time ceases and we are empty vessels. Like I always say "we paint until the painter disappears".