Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunshine in my Pocket ...
At last, some space to write about yesterday's adventure on the bush art meditation! I'm only going to write the pertinent bits, otherwise I reckon I could write a whole new blog on the experience!
So, as Dylan Thomas would say, 'to begin at the beginning' ...
On arriving at Linda's 'Creative Seeds' studio we had to choose an Aura-Soma bottle to decide the colour we would be using in our painting. (The Creative Seeds website offers an explanation of the Aura-Soma colour system). The idea is just to choose a bottle without thinking as to why you need to choose it, just go with the one you are drawn to. Well, being me I couldn't choose between two bottles of the same colour just in a different combination (a lovely purple, and a lovely red). Aura-Soma bottles have 2 layers - I asked why one combination felt calm and the other felt like it was shouting at me when they were both the same colour. Linda suggested that maybe the 'shouting' one would be more of a challenge for me, so I was very brave and decided to use the more challenging colour combination. We were then asked to paint a white shape in the centre of the board, and the bottom colour on the bottle was to be the surrounding background colour (our 'soul' colour), graduating from the white to the pure colour at the edges.
Well, I don't know what was going on, but I felt very restless when painting the shape which I was trying to make into a circle, which rapidly turned into a feathery pattern round the edges, and I knew I didn't want that at all! I just seemed to be full of a nervous energy! So after painting my red background, I took another brush, a few deep breaths and rounded the edge of my circle off again - almost symbolizing my 'grounding' myself.
As last time we started our bush walk at a stream, and this time our subject was to be 'Life Rhythms' - we would be thinking about how we have moved, and are moving through life. Again we would be stopping at points along the path to meditate upon themes and questions brought up by Linda. The first thing I saw was a small sign in the bush with the words 'Revegetation area - PLEASE RESPECT' and those last two words spoke volumes to me! I wanted people to respect me, but I also had to have respect for myself! We walked a few steps more and stopped to think about our birth. Now I have never been able to re-visit this important moment in my life through meditation, and have always been envious of people who could, but as Linda was explaining that we have all come from a pure white light, I had this image of me being in a beautiful space surrounded by this light, then all of a sudden I was in this world screaming "Oh my God!", and all I could feel was fear! It makes me smile to think of that now, but I also understood that I have moved through a lot of my life with this fearful feeling. Quite a revelation for me.
We also looked at the view from a rocky plateau which helped us to look at the bigger picture of our lives. How had we moved from childhood to adolescence to independence? My first thought was 'fearfully', but then I spied a beautiful orange butterfly and realized that although that is how it felt like some of the time I've managed to get this far and can look at the whole of my life and be happy about it. I made it! We also looked at seeds on the grass and considered the spiral shape of some of the plants and trees - either turning inwards or expanding outwards and embracing life.
A most powerful part for me was when we stopped to look at a tree that had a dead branch from a bush fire, but also new growth on other parts of the trunk. It had to let go of the dead part to refocus energy into growing the remaining healthy part. At this point Linda asked us what we had to let go of. I really felt I had to let go of my fear of life. When I looked back at my life I could see all the good parts (and there were many) but realized I had been living under the shadow. The shadow seemed so heavy, impossible to move out from, but also very small, much smaller than the good times. What is amazing too is that I've been looking at my memories of childhood, university and so on, and this is just a continuation of that work - it is true that when you need to learn, the teacher will appear! Art is most definitely my best teacher, where I am able to express myself safely and most closely to my soul.
Linda made a point of saying that we are supported by the unseen, love, friends, and nature reflects this support. Even though we live in a harsh, rugged, often dry environment, nature still manages to flourish, very symbolic for our own lives.
My list of feelings experienced yesterday were euphoric, challenged, happy, sad, scared, felt physically sick, breathless - but by the end of it I really felt challenged and that I had survived it. Inner work is not easy, but for the intrepid explorer it reaps the most valuable rewards.
My resulting painting is shown above. It came out really quickly! Expansive arms, welcoming life, the spirals show my tendencies to turn inward, but also to turn outward and embrace life. The white circle is the pure white light at the centre of our being. The orange at the top is actually a butterfly, to symbolize transformation, I used gold on the painting as I think that people respect gold and as I said before this was important to me, so much so I've written 'please respect' in orange oil pastel at the bottom but don't know if you can see that! Purple was my other 'Aura-Soma' colour, but again also a colour demanding respect and reflecting my spirituality which is important to me. I've called this painting "Sunshine in my Pocket" as along the path I saw a small quartz stone that glittered up at me - I felt compelled to pick it up, it was lovely and warm from the sun so I held it in my hand until the warmth faded, then put it in my pocket to remind me of the walk. It now sits on my dressing table as a reminder of my journey with the rhythm of life.