Soon after I finished this painting, I casted it aside; I didn’t think it worth showing. While it has a lot of texture, clean and clear movement, and much glass and glitter throughout hinting at the energy of a teeming inner life; it did not measure up. That day, I encounter the specter of comparison in an email.
The piece was created during a 30-day art challenge stint with a friend. The theme was “just express yourself without any other intention”. In other words, every piece was to be personal and devoid of a need to be exhibited. We thought we would bypass the inner critic and free ourselves to play and experiment with new ideas. But when I opened my friend’s daily email with her piece attached, I decided that hers was better, prettier, more colorful, and artsier. Why did I judge mine to be lesser? How did I go from being at one with my painting to become doer and critic?
In a flash I simply forgot how much fun I had painting the ground, adding the thick textures and letting the brush and the spatula tango with each other. In that moment, I neglected to remember how accenting the movement with sparkles and glass created the magical sense of freedom I was feeling. At the click of a mouse, I dismissed the center glass marble I had placed as my beacon; a clear golden eye that delights in the freedom of being and the source of pure light incarnate. The moment I became conscious of my friend’s (and others by extension) judgment I was no longer speaking my truth. For only when we are centered and at one with our inner language, what we express comes through us from Source. As we handle our brushes, dip it in paint and apply it to the surface, that inner core becomes one with Spirit. As boundaries melt away, a work of art is born.
When we express ourselves, be it through painting, music, literature or any other means of self-expression, we are doing the highest form of spiritual work. We are in the flow and the language simply makes the correct strokes. Each dot is perfect, each line unique; just as we are. At the moment of creation, there are no boundaries. We are at one with Spirit and what comes through is the masterpiece that we are. It is God speaking. There is only one doing the work. When we do not express the truth of our being, by doing what we think others would like, or judging ourselves short, the ego enters and as we become divided, we are unable to connect with the all. “When something from the Beyond descends into you, writes Osho, you are needed to be one…When you are divided you are in this world; when you are undivided, you have transcended – you are no longer here, you have penetrated into the Beyond. Then boundaries meet and the boundaries meet in you. So the whole effort is how to become undivided, how to become one.”
When we seek approval and recognition from others to evaluate our worth, the vast universe of the unknown with all its treasures closes its doors to us. Busy seeking the opinion of others, we are deaf and blind to the real source of inspiration; the Beyond, our connection to Source that allows us to dissolve our human boundaries and free us not only to live the life we came here to live, but to live that life to its fullest flow.
So today I decided to publish this painting and even offer it for sale. It is the highest expression of my truth and I call it A Balloon with Its Skin Off after a story I found in an Osho paper called Returning to the Source. The quotes in the fourth paragraph also come from this work. On chapter 8 Osho recounts the story of a school teacher who asked Charlie Brown to define nothingness; without hesitating, Charlie stated that “nothingness is a balloon with its skin off”. Osho then explains that this represents us who become whole when we take our skin off; that which was dividing us.
A Balloon with Its Skin Off is a 7.5” x 11” x ½” acrylic and mixed media on cork. You can purchase this masterpiece by clicking the New Works Gallery.
Speak your truth, stay centered and have a great week. Your comments are greatly appreciated!